Editor's Note 46

The Top 100 Licensors list, which is compiled annually by the editors of License! Global, reflects both the power and growth of licensing in today's highly competitive retail marketplace. The Top 100 represents worl

April 6, 2018

The Top 100 Licensors list, which is compiled annually by the editors of

License! Global

, reflects both the power and growth of licensing in today's highly competitive retail marketplace.

The Top 100 represents worldwide retail sales totaling more than $135 billion—almost 75% of the worldwide retail sales of $187.4 billion reported by

License! Global

in its annual Industry Report (October 2007). Furthermore, the type of company that defines the Top 100 has continued to shift to a greater balance of entertainment, sports, and corporate brands. In fact, apparel and home brands continue to expand their licensing programs as evidenced by several new additions to the list, including Iconix Brand Group, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, and The Trump Organization.

This year's Top 100 features 20 new companies, a special 32-page reference section, a pullout chart for quick reference, a more contemporary design, and a separate listing of the top licensing agencies.

However, as is the case with almost every

top ranking published by the world's leading business magazines, the underlying news and trends are not always reflected in the numbers, but in the historical and interpretative analysis. Consider the following:

Perennial leaders.

Disney Consumer Products, with sales of $26 billion, is number one, the rank it has held since the survey was first compiled in 1998. But the interesting tidbit of information is that DCP's total sales have doubled since 2001, when it reported $13 billion. Interestingly, the number two company is Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) at $6.7 billion in retail sales, followed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and Iconix Brand Group, both with $6 billion in retail sales. In 2001, WBCP was number two with $6 billion in retail sales and Calvin Klein, now owned by PVH, was number three with $4.7 billion in retail sales.

New additions.

While there were 20 new companies on this year's list, one company that skyrocketed to international prominence is Mark Burnett Productions, with a full line of products based on the hit game show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader." Another company that has embraced licensing was The Trump Organization, with $100 million in retail sales. And CBS Consumer Products, which is aggressively expanding its core brands including CSI, Star Trek and Survivor, made the list at number 66 with $250 million in retail sales.

Rising stars

. FremantleMedia Enterprises and Jarden Consumer Solutions both reported sales of $1.1 billion this year, a major leap up from last year's figures of $340 million and $300 million, respectively. Major League Soccer also more than doubled its sales to $300 million.

Missing links.

There are always a few companies that don't make the Top 100 for various reasons. They include: General Mills, which last appeared on the Top 100 in 2006 with $800 million in retail sales; Signatures Network, which reported $180 million in retail sales in 2006, was acquired by LiveNation last November; MGM reorganized its business model in January; Paramount regained control of licensing from Nickelodeon-Viacom Consumer Products last year; and Martha Stewart Enterprises last month acquired the rights to Chef Emeril Lagasse's shows and merchandise. These companies, which were unable to report retail sales, are all power players in global licensing.

Movers and shakers:

Oftentimes, it's the companies that missed the sales volume cut-off, which this year was $50 million in retail sales, that are the ones to watch and that have significant growth potential. For example, ESPN, which is expanding Extreme Sports internationally; Jetix Consumer Products (JCP), which continues to develop key franchises such as Pucca, will focus on extending its presence in Central and Eastern Europe; and Gormiti, the boy's figure-based license from major European toy manufacturer Giochi Preziosi, which sold 30 million figures in Italy alone between 2005 and 2007, is rolling out to Europe and extending categories.

It is a bona fide accomplishment as well as an industry wide recognition to be listed on the

License! Global

Top 100. It reflects not only a company's commitment but also a true understanding of retail licensing and its future potential.

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