Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney said the licensing business has become so sophisticated in recent years that Disney considers licensing a "business model" and not just a part of its consumer products business.
"Not long ago, the business was just a matter of licensing a movie, releasing the movie and moving on," says Mooney. "But now, the industry has developed a level of sophistication in the way brands are managed and in the timing of content and the flow of content."
That increased sophistication is being driven by a number of factors, including the sheer volume of new properties pouring into a limited space, the increasing demands of retail partners and new social media.
Toys"R"Us senior vice president and chief marketing
"We've been a lot more cautious about inventory," says Dodge. "At the same time, we've really stressed the need to differentiate and create events around product launches that bring people into stores and drive sales."
Retailers and manufacturers have also become more aware of the need to promote new properties and products on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
"To my children, social media sites have apparently become as essential to life as electricity and water," says John Frascotti, global chief marketing officer for Hasbro.
"But your promotions have to be well planned because social media isn't right for every brand and what works today won't necessarily work tomorrow." Frascotti says Hasbro has had success promoting its Nerf brand online with live demonstrations.
Brand owners will also have to become more socially and environmentally responsible in the future in a society that holds corporations more accountable for their actions. Mooney says Disney made a decision several years ago to promote only healthy foods for children.
"In the food area, we took a leadership role and created guidelines for making only healthy foods for children," says Mooney. "And it's been a great success because the business we initially lost has come back and increased beyond what we had before."
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