Research just published by Brand Licensing Europe has revealed that after 20 years and 450 episodes, "The Simpsons" is the most successfully licensed television show of all time.
Officially the longest-running primetime comedy in TV history, The Simpsons has more than 400 official licensees and worldwide retail sales topping $8 billion. The BLE survey asked global licensing professionals to rate a range of film and television shows and characters in terms of licensing success, including the ability to generate a successful revenue stream through the sale of licensed merchandise from clothing to toys, games, books and films. The Simpsons took 31 percent of the vote, followed by Sesame Street at 26 percent and Looney Tunes at 10 percent.
Harry Potter was voted the most powerful licensed film character of all time, with 20.8 percent of the vote, narrowly edging out Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker at 20.6 percent and Superman at 20.1 percent.
The power of the more recently launched property Twilight was evident; vampire Edward Cullen took more than 32 percent of the vote as the most profitable film character of 2010, followed by Buzz Lightyear at 27 percent and Harry Potter at 18 percent.
The survey also asked which TV show would be most likely to offer the best licensing opportunities should it be revived again. The Muppet Show came out on top with nearly 35 percent of respondents putting it ahead of Star Trek at 24 percent and Friends at 7 percent.
The survey also helps answer the question, who is the ultimate super hero—with 33 percent, Spider-Man netted the title of most valuable super hero of all time, ahead of Superman at 31 percent with the caped crusader Batman at 29 percent.
And finally, Lost, despite finishing in 2010 after six seasons, is not lost forever. The drama was voted the TV program with the most potential for further licensing growth, taking nearly 30 percent of the vote, ahead of New Jersey-based mob drama The Sopranos at 16 percent and Baywatch at 12 percent.
The survey boasts feedback from a diverse global panel of heavyweight licensing brands across many different sectors, from newspapers to film, digital and technology brands through to sportswear, retail and FMCG, gaming, automotive, toys and fashion, plus an interesting sample of global media organizations.
"The licensing power of film and television is phenomenal, so it's not surprising to see The Simpsons top the survey given the bold and clever nature of their licensing program," says Jessica Blue, event director of Brand Licensing Europe 2010. "Brand Licensing Europe attracts more than 230 exhibitors and 5,000 attendees annually, making it the No. 1 place for brands to explore opportunities and develop new avenues for extension and commercial revenue."