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Monday, 27 June 2011

Licensing show: What the industry thinks - updated

The Licensing Expo International, which took place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is over for another year. Below, please find some comments from those who also attended the show.

Some of the strong themes from the 2011 show included the continuing trend for nostalgia, and of course many more companies making the foray into gaming.

The International Licensing Excellence Awards took place and winners included Victoria and Albert Museum and Dom Perignon, Hello Kitty, Discovery Communications/The Joester Loria Group, and Toy Story 3 which took the title of Best Licensed Program of the Year.

Opinions varied strongly on the show, with many people claiming that the show had regained some of the positivity and momentum of previous years, and others citing disappointment at the lack of anything ‘new’ in the halls.

The majority of people spoken to agreed, however, that the meetings and talks that were held were all worthwhile - the recent years’ economic downturn having the converse effect of meaning that only people who were there to do serious business attended the show.

Please find comments below from executives from Skechers, Eone Entertainment, King features, Scholastic, Bulldog Licensing, Muhammad Ali Enterprises, Baby Genius, Kilogrammedia, Little Airplane, Start Licensing, V&A, Chorion, MyMediabox, The Wildflower Group, Oxford Limited, CPLG, Penguin Group, Space Enterprises, INK and JELC

What others thought of the show…

“Licensing Expo 2011 was an enormous success for Skechers. With a growing entertainment initiative, very strong public visibility of our brands, and a major press release strategically released on the Monday before the show announcing our licensing agreement with Li & Fung; we were not only booked completely with appointments, but also enjoyed the luxury of a vast array of walk-in prospects that appear, at face value, to be quite promising. Traffic at the Skechers booths, located on one of the main aisles, was very steady. We were particularly excited to welcome visitors from all points of the globe who showed substantive interest in exploring licensing programs for Skechers, Skechers Fitness and Skechers Entertainment. We were impressed not only with the quantity of visitors received, but with the quality of the companies they represented. As a result of our exposure at Licensing Expo, we look forward to announcing many more licensing deals in the near future.”
Paul Flett, Senior Vice President, Global Licensing - Skechers USA


“Definitely a worthwhile trip, it’s essential to have a presence at this show – it’s expected. Particularly with Peppa just taking off in the US, it was a good chance to showcase the brand. On the UK side, some licensees only make global license agreements so it was great to revisit conversations with potential licensees with US now as a potential too – the feedback was very positive. It’s great to meet up with licensees (both existing and potential) to update on all of our properties, as well as retailers of which there was a very high presence this year. We’ll be back next year.”
Hannah Mungo, Head of UK Licensing – Family, Eone Entertainment


"In light of the economy, King Features had an excellent Licensing Show. People were there to do business. And aside from the continued growth of our classic properties like Betty Boop and Popeye, King Features enjoyed heavy traffic on high end properties like the art of Romero Britto and our latest exclusive project with Bloomingdale's featuring Vintage Beetle Bailey....

a celebration of classic comic art and high fashion coming this October."
Frank Caruso, Vice President, Creative, King Features


“The Licensing International Expo has grown in stature and professionalism since it first moved to Las Vegas three years ago. The show provides a valuable opportunity to meet with potential partners from around the world and for attendees to share in the excitement of the latest merchandising and licensing campaigns. I was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the participants and the attendees. We found it to be a worthwhile experience.”
Leslye Schaefer, SVP of Marketing and Consumer Products, Scholastic Media.


“Licensing Show was a phenomenal success for us... Gogo's is now the biggest-selling collectable brand across US retail including Walmart, Walgreens, etc. and so the traffic to the stand was unprecedented as licensees and retailers recognised the sheer scale of the opportunity with a brand which has already taken most other major territories by storm. Right across the Bulldog portfolio, we have top-performing brands, whether we're looking at LIFE and Shoot which have been selected right across top fashion outlets and major gift retailers in the UK through to Monkey which has been picked up extremely widely at retail. International trade was very strong for us with brands like Goochicoo which is now rolling out its UK success into other areas of the world and it was great to meet with a number of the top UK retailers. In fact, I think the only negative about the whole show for us was the fact that the numbering of the floor plan had once again been outsourced to Fibonacci as 'clear' and 'consecutive' were too obvious for Licensing Show.”

Rob Corney, Director, Bulldog Licensing

“Although it appeared to me that foot traffic was down from previous years, Muhammad Ali Enterprises had a great show. We had a very positive response from licensees and potential partners as we shared our new ALI70 campaign for 2012 and lots of productive meetings.”
Kelly C. Hill, VP Worldwide Licensing, Muhammad Ali Enterprises, LLC


"It could have not been a better attended show. The show had it all, anything and everything was possible to achieve. From licensing partners to the highest level of retail and strategic partners, our potential success was unlimited.
The Freedman service at the show was fantastic as well. That was a ton of planning.
Thanks to everybody for a job well done.”

Howard Balaban, Founder and Executive VP of New Business, Pacific Entertainment Corporation – Creators of the Baby Genius Brand.


“As ever the show was very busy for us – most of our clients either exhibit or attend and we’re always keen that they meet with as many members of the press as is viable. I thought perhaps the aisles were a little quiet at some points but also heard that there was a lot of ‘real’ business being done. As ever Eye Candy and The Mix Bar were popular evening hangouts although a bad cold meant that regrettably I saw less of the social life than in previous years.”

Jane Garner, Director, Kilogrammedia PR


"Licensing Show was like a pinball machine, complete with bells, flashy lights, and the adrenaline that always comes with trying to get the high score. It was an exhilarating three days and, from my point of view, the industry feels healthy and upbeat and ready to roll the dice on exciting new brands, particularly those with a strong on-line presence."

Josh Selig, Founder and President–Little Airplane Productions


“My view was that the Show was more subdued than before and from a UK point of view less well attended - I would caveat that by saying I was a visitor not an exhibitor but I felt the bigger stands were starting to dominate the show to the detriment of other exhibitors and offsite meetings were impacting floor traffic. Bang on the Door had a stand and did well with visitors from 'emerging' markets such as Brazil - indeed for them markets such as Brazil are showing rapid growth and a good approach to innovate. This is one of the values of this show it does bring together the international community and it is a gateway to international markets - that said as more shows crop up and shows like the London Show are more successful it will be difficult to maintain anequal momentum for all shows. I also felt for such a glitzy city that the show hall , the fabric and structure looked a little tired and it could benefit from some thought in terms of making it a better 'display' venue.”

Ian Downes, Start Licensing


“We that we found the show quieter than last year. We were in a different location and probably one with a generally lower footfall, so that may be the reason for it being quieter for us. However, on the positive side, a higher proportion of those who enquired seem to be valuable leads for us to follow up and after all we want quality rather than quantity!

It seemed there was a much smaller contingent from the UK also. Perhaps that's because the shows in Europe are more effective and therefore less need for Vegas.

Obviously, I was delighted that we won the LIMA award for Best Art Licensed Brand of the Year and I hope that will help leverage our endeavours to expand into the US.”

Lauren Sizeland, Director of Business Development & Licensing, V&A Licensing


“This year’s Licensing Expo was even busier than the 2010 show. We had back-to-back meetings with agents, licensees and other partners from around the world. It was particularly interesting to see a growing number of retailers attending the show. As coordinated cross-category licensed programmes become increasingly important, retail buyers want to experience the industry firsthand at Licensing Expo while tracking brand developments and new trends.”

Bettina Koeckler, SVP Licensing EMEA at Chorion


“This year's licensing show was a great success for Mediabox. The show had it all- from animal mascots parading the show floors to otters and penguins adding to booth decor. We had back-to-back meetings with potential customers and it was great to catch up with our current clients. Our booth was in a great location and it opened a lot of opportunities for us to meet a variety of attendees as they stopped by to grab information and to see what Mediabox is all about.
The show always serves as an invaluable opportunity to learn what is new in the industry, to meet people from around the globe, and to share how Mediabox can help with licensing efforts. We are looking forward to next year's show!”
Caitlyn Blizzard, Sales and Marketing Coordinator, My Mediabox


“Licensing Show was busier than ever, though the halls seemed strangely empty. We were really happy to see such buzz around Moshi Monsters and Peppa Pig both launching in North America. As always, it was great catching up with licensors and agents outside the UK, not to mention the late nights with colleagues from London. Gaming companies had a much bigger presence this year, and we left the show with two brands in particular that we really, really want to publish. Fingers crossed!”
Eric Huang, Publishing Director, Media and Entertainment, Penguin Group


"Overall, we found the Licensing Expo to be very good for The Wildflower Group. Girl Scouts of the USA, Pillow Pets, Natural History Museum, and Bunnies By The Bay continued to generate a lot of buzz for us as we finished up pending deals and opened up discussions on new product categories. There was a lot of excitement for our two newest properties – the world-famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the popular app Cut the Rope – especially since mobile apps is a growing category for licensed content, and Cut the Rope is one of the top-selling apps."

Michael Carlisle, principal of The Wildflower Group


“This was my first trip to the Licensing Expo in Vegas representing the University of Oxford licensing programme and hopefully it won’t be my last. I had an opportunity to meet all our international agents as well as licensees such as Discovery Bay Games at or after the show – it’s great to put a face to a name when you’re new in a job! Plenty of information was exchanged from product and range updates, to the latest news and developments from Oxford Limited, as well as a couple of contracts too. Parties, dinners and drinks kept me more than occupied after the show and of course Vegas itself did not disappoint at all – sunshine, sightseeing and shopping!”

Hannah Aspey, Licensing & Brand Manager, Oxford Limited


“The Saturday Virgin flight was filled with a good mix of Licensors, Licensees and retailers and this was reinforced with good meetings in and around The Mandalay for the official three days of the show. I hope to be back there next year.”

Mark Hurry, Space Enterprises

“Overall impression of the show: From the feedback I got, the general feeling seemed to be that there were fewer people at the show than last year and not much ‘buzz’. However, our actual experience as an exhibitor on the Plain Lazy stand was slightly different. It’s certainly the case that we did not have huge numbers of unsolicited meetings. However, those meetings we did have, were with very solid, reputable companies with a genuine interest in the Plain Lazy brand.”
Jane Evans, JELC

“Making the trip to Vegas is always very valuable for us because it is the one time in the year when we get to see the full line-ups of our biggest partners from the US and consequently the only opportunity we have to show them to our customers. We would have liked to see more of our customers going, but it is a long and expensive trip and several are only attending BLE in London this year.”
Peter Schnohr, Ink

“Was it a worthwhile trip: Absolutely 100% worthwhile – imperative part of CPLG’s calendar and “Job Done” further cementing our relationships with both licensees and licensors Globally.”
Tim Juckes – CPLG


“Definitely a worthwhile experience from an acquisition, new business, retailer and manufacturer prospective. This show gathers companies from around the world under one roof for 4 days so from a practical stand point, very easy, efficient and was a very productive trip! This trip also gives us the opportunity to catch up with peers and partners and get updates on trends and industry changes.”

Sandra Vauthier-Cellier

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