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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Industry opinions on BLE showing positive response

Brand Licensing Europe 2011 took place from the 18-20 October, and had busy halls and a good vibe, especially on the first and second days.

As a snapshot of the growing number of international visitors, Total Licensing received digital subscriptions at the show from people from 42 countries.

What did you think of Brand Licensing Europe 2011?

As opinions come filtering through and news of business deals signed and agreements forming, let us know how you thought the show went for you and your company.


Nichola Durbridge, The Copyright Group

Linda and I only re-acquired The Copyrights Group on 4th October so the new Copyrights' licensing team of myself, Linda, Polly Emery and Rachel Clarke had to hit the ground running for Brand Licensing Show. It was a busy and positive show for us with really good licensee meetings and strong international attendance. We received congratulations on the re-emergence of Copyrights from many licensees and fellow agents as we walked the show and this re-affirmed our belief that there is still a place for an independent service-orientated licensing agency in today's industry. We are looking forward to following up the many leads from the Show.


Roger Bull, Managing Director, Consultants in Intellectual Property

It was a very good event this year. I was really busy on day 1 and 2, didn't attend day 3.
General atmosphere very lively and happy, good catering and coffee. I'm saving up for Las Vegas next year. Well done to the team

Ian Downes, Start Licensing

I thought the show was fairly busy and seemed to deliver a good volume of visitors. We met new licensees, some retail buyers and of course existing customers. I think the latter category of visitors are important to acknowledge and the fact that BLE creates a really good forum to coordinate with existing customers. The show helps create focus and momentum. I would like to see some new categories of companies attend the show – I think licensing is mature enough now to push into new areas and sectors of business – for example people from the leisure sector.

I also think Advanstar/LIMA should consider a separate event which is aimed at suppliers such as Lawyers/Accountancy firms who can have a forum to sell to companies like our own. I am keen to met companies like this but not at BLE – I think it warrants its own market. I think an extra hour on day one and/or two would have been welcome. We would always like more retail visits but we did well in that sector – I do worry that retail buyers are restricted by pre ordained schedules and maybe we could open at 8am one morning for buyers only so they could walk the show. All in all a good show for us but I think licensees need to accept that licenses have a value and we can’t sanction no advance , no guarantee deals ‘because of the economy’ – Intellectual Property is a commodity that has a cost associated with it in terms of development , maintenance and ownership.


Richard Bickersteth, Managing Director, Looking Forward Productions

Our attendance at Brand Licensing Europe this year was focused on promoting the launch of the new preschool show Gombby’s Green Island from our Portuguese client Big Storm Studios, which is already securing strong TV ratings in Spain and Portugal. BLE felt much busier and far more international than last year. As a result it was the perfect event to introduce a client to the best in class licensing agents and toy companies from around the world. With such a strong attendance, one less positive thought crossed my mind: is the Licensing industry really bucking the trend of other industries or have we all got our fingers crossed behind our backs as we make those deals!


Eric Belloso, Bondi Band

BLE has been for some years already THE reference in the European Licensing industry. This year, the show confirmed this trend and the mix of quantity of people travelling over to London and the quality of decision making people attending the show made no doubt that this fair is by far the best show in Europe for our industry. Furthermore, the most important players of the parties involved in this business (licensors, agents, licensees and retailers) were attending the show and this create a great opportunity to meet everybody in three days without having to travel European or worldwide to see those people. Lastly, the dimension of this show makes it “human” and totally manageable with a rhythm of 30 minutes meeting. If you add to all those elements the great level of conferences, there is, at least from my side, nothing to complain about!! I’ll be back next year!!


Helen Howells, HoHo Entertainment

This year saw Hoho's first outing at Brand Licensing show and it was a big step to take for a small, new production company. But we had a great show and a very positive reaction to the launch of our first pre-school series, Cloudbabies. We will definitely be back next year - my only bug bear – having to try and organise next year's space right in the middle of the show.


Morag Lloyds

This was my first year with my own stand at B.L.E. As an artist it was a fantastic experience for me. It has opened up so many doors allowing me to talk directly to buyers, and to be able to show and discuss my work with some fantastic contacts that I just would never had had the opportunity to talk to had I not been there. I have learnt so much about art licensing in the process. The other thing I really found so helpful was meeting other artists and sharing experiences. I cant wait for BLE 2012.

Luma Creative, creators of the Magic Belles
We're used to attending as prospective licensees, so this was the first year that we were on the other side of the fence. We have to say, it was a lot more fun being on this side! Hard work, but fun! We had a busy three days. The bulk of our meetings were pre-arranged through our agent DCD Publishing, but we also had a good amount of unexpected visitors - including some very exciting new contacts. I think it helped that we were new and that nobody had seen the brand before. It piqued peoples' interest.
The show seemed busy and we were surprised by the amount of Italians who visited our stand and who seemed to be wandering the aisles. It seemed like we weren't in London at times.
Day three was the calmest, which is what we were expecting, though it's when we had some of our strongest meetings. That said, we couldn't help thinking that two slightly longer days would be better than three - if only for our hoarse voices!
All in all, it was a great experience and we made some very promising contacts. We're already in the process of booking our stand for next year!

Chris Jolly, Brand Director, The Feelings

Exhibiting for the first time with the launch of The Feelings at this year’s Brand Licensing Europe, we had a great reaction by many expressing that we had created something new and original which was long overdue. "The Feeling" we got from people was that they were bored of the same old properties with nothing new and original being introduced to Licensing, even re hashing many older properties to fill the gaps, its time for something new.


Cathy Snow, Trading Manager, RSPCA

As this was the first year our new style guide and licensed artwork has been available we (RSPCA) were cautiously optimistic regarding the response. So we were delighted at the overwhelmingly positive comments from potential licensees and retailers. We came away with plenty of new contacts and some fantastic opportunities. I don't think we could replicate the same level of interest at any other event.


Jane Garner, Director, Kilogrammedia

BLE just seems to get busier and better each year – most of our UK based clients exhibit and the feedback from them all has been very positive. The extra day is very useful and although people tend to look a little weary towards the end of the show it’s because they have been so busy which can only be a good thing!

Angela Hall, MD of H&A

Brand Licensing Europe has become a key focus European event for the licensing industry and this year I found it continued to be well supported by UK and European visitors. We are well in touch with the industry and key trends, yet BLE is the perfect opportunity to refresh ourselves on licensing opportunities for H&A. As such, this year we found a brand which we had looked at some time ago and now feel there is a new possibility for us to use.


Emilee Feldman, My Mediabox

We noticed a number of new exhibitors and participants in attendance at BLE this year! It was a busy show that allowed a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and peers within the industry as well as to connect with new ones. This year, more than ever before, we have noticed that participants are eager move forward with online applications such as My Mediabox.

Fred Gaffney, Gaffney Global

Best show ever! Changing times. HIT/Mattel. Great fit. Many many opps!


Grahame Grassby, Stella Projects
Brand Licensing Europe is an important fair for the Australian market as many of the licensed products distributed in Australia are sourced from UK and European companies.
I really like BLE as it provides a great opportunity for the indie UK properties to be seen.
This year’s fair was upbeat and of particular note was Mattel’s acquisition of Hit Entertainment.
From a TV perspective both Fremantle and Zodiak seem to be doing really well at the moment.


Peder Tamm, President, Plus Licens
Having taken part at many fairs during the years, this was one of the best. It was a truly international fair and we could reach out with our world wide rights to clients from countries such as Brazil. China, Turkey and others. The fair proved to be very instrumental for us indeed.
Eva Brannstrom, Executive Vice President, Plus Licens

This years fair is bigger, has more visitors, it's bustling and growing in all the right directions. BLE is more and more becoming THE licensing show for the European Licensing industry. BLE might for us become more important than Vegas in the future. We were also glad to see many of our existing clients there, especially from Eastern Europe and Russia.


Saphia Maxamed, LIMA Member Services Manager

Another successful show for us this year. I met up with a number international visitors. Our returned members from Russia and Japan were among those with hectic schedules.
Interestingly, I spoke to a number of Middle Eastern companies and I am looking forward to see the growing numbers of visitors from that part of the world.
It was also very nice to see LIMA global networking party - living up to its name- (gathering an international audience)
Thanks to all attendees who made the party such a success - we will definitely host another party at BLE 2012.


Jane Kennedy, Head of Sales, Consumer Products, Zodiak Rights
This year's show was very busy and there was a very positive feeling about the place, the atmosphere really was buzzing. All the attendees, brand owners, licensees and buyers alike, seemed to be very active, busy and enthusiastic which is always a great sign. Deals were being done on the stands and it was great to see retail attendance was high again this year. The third day was still generally quieter, however it gave us a change to accommodate all the walk up enquiries we had on the first two days. It’s also good that it fell after MIPCOM this year as we were really able to give the most up-to-date TV sales info to support our brands.


Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, 4Kids/4sight:
We got quite a bit of walk up traffic which is a good indication that our booth displays work and people were intrigued to find out more about Max Adventures and Chicaloca. Having the dogs on the stand on Tuesday helped as well, they were an absolute hit with everyone and people enquired about The Kennel Club. We also had Max Adventures ice cream which was a good ‘ice – breaker’ (pardon the pun).

Simon Kay AT New Media
Overall impression of the show: less people, higher quality leads. We prefer that.
Tristan McGee. Hari’s World
Our primary focus for the event was to attract Hari’s World Licensing Representation however aside of our programmed meetings there was an encouraging level of interest from those walking by and experiencing the opportunity of the Hari’s World Brand for the first time and we are now amidst a positive follow-up!

Rob Corney, Bulldog Licensing
This year's BLE was a superb show. Perhaps the pre-show expectations were lower than normal given the bigger picture in the economy, but it seemed like the most positive show for years with both licensees and retailers actively seeking out new opportunities to bring excellent brands and innovative product to market.

Morten Geschwendtner, Ink
The show went very well for us. We believe the attendance was up when looking at people from our markets which is positive. Compared to Vegas, where we mainly meet licensors, at BLE we meet licensors and licensees together and deals are initiated. The present economic situation makes people focus on the long term brands where the risk is not as big as new brands…
Kirsty Guthrie, Pip the Cat
We had a fantastic show with the very best of visitors – both licensees and retailers. The state of the current economic market was discussed with many but there doesn’t seem to be the doom and gloom outlook that there was over a year ago. Overall impression of the show. An excellent show for Pip the Cat. The best so far!

Janet Woodward JELC:

The show was surprisingly buoyant and busy, and we were delighted with the response. For a small company such as ours, BLE is a huge commitment and it is always a relief when it proves successful for us.

Vickie Corner, V&S Entertainment
BLE 2011 was our debut outing for Everything's Rosie and we had a very positive response. We had a superb reaction from existing licensees, potential new licensees and retailers which goes to show that despite the current economic climate, if a property strikes a chord with the licensing community and its consumer fanbase then it will make a mark.

Matthew Reynolds, Pedigree
I felt it was a strong turnout and it was great to see key retailers attending across multiple categories. There is obviously the wider economic situation hanging around us all, whoever you are big or small. However big brands & licensing are always key tools to build your way out of these challenging times, this is particularly important to Pedigree as securing the best licenses is a key part of our company purpose and ongoing strategy.

Carole Postal, President, CopCorp Licensing
As an American agency exhibiting at BLE, we were able to meet with partners and potential partners not just from Western Europe but also Central Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, India and even Australia at this show. Even though BLE is smaller than Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, we come to London every year because we know we’ll get to see many people who don’t go to Vegas. Meeting people in person is still important to us. When building and growing successful global licensing programs for non-media properties such as It’s Happy Bunny, Pink Cookie, Barcode Kitties, Zoodorable, and Tom Arma, we know it’s essential that sub-agents, licensees and other licensing partners have a real affinity and genuine enthusiasm for our brands. Face-to-face meetings are still the best way to gauge and stoke that enthusiasm and that’s why we love BLE.
Jodi Gottlieb, Vice President – Licensing & Creative Services, CopCorp Licensing
This was the first time CopCorp has taken its own exhibitor booth at BLE so this was my first year at the show and I thought it was great. Traffic was good and the size and layout of the show were very manageable. Traffic was definitely slower on the third day but I used that as an opportunity to walk around a bit. I liked that there weren’t any gigantic booths since that made it much easier and more enjoyable to see and talk to everyone. We kept our own booth simple and focused but I think it was also very effective having our various properties – including It’s Happy Bunny, Barcode Kitties, Crusade, Fiona & The Funky Pirates, (not so) Scary Monsters, Pink Cookie, Ringling Bros., Tom Arma, and Zoodorable – all together in one place for people to see.


Roger Bull, Owner, Consultants in Intellectual Property Ltd

It was very buzzy this year. Good for me and enjoyed the atmosphere generally. Attended first two days.


Nigel Crick

I was a first timer on Tuesday and I really enjoyed the show. Met loads of people I didn't expect to see. There seemed to be a good positive atmosphere. I will be visiting again next year but for more than a day.


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

It was a great show. It felt as if there were more visitors and we were positioned in the same place, so a fair comparison year on year.

The economy wasn't influencing conversations - the enthusiasm for the V&A brand and associated opportunities was the overriding interest for us

I think international attendance increased from Eastern Europe and USA.

There were disappointingly few retailers - I understand all the gift buyers were in Hong Kong for the Mega Show, as it's the key trade show for gift buyers to attend.

However, we had good walk-up traffic. The majority of our visitors were not expected and much more worthwhile than in previous years

Although the third day started quiet, the day picked up - partly because it's the day I arrange meetings in advance, so makes the most of an otherwise potentially quiet day. Interestingly it was better overall than the third day at Licensing Expo!

As the early morning, particularly on day 2 and 3 are relatively dead and many meetings needed to continue after 5pm, it would make sense to change the hours to start at 9.30 or 10am (which would also help avoid the hideous travel experience exhibitors have to arrive before 9am) and finish at 5.30 or 6pm.

We've signed up for a stand in 2012.


Mark Kingston, Nickelodeon
There was a fantastic atmosphere and a real buzz at BLE this year. With great attendance across licencees, retailers & promotional partners, the three days were a massive success. From Nickelodeon’s point of view we wanted to showcase our portfolio, build our partnerships and make a statement about our intentions for the year ahead. We definitely achieved on all these levels. Our diaries were filled with back to back meetings with key partners and retailers, we generated some great business opportunities and made a number of news announcements about our new deals. BLE is an invaluable event in the calendar and we’re looking forward to next year already.

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