Here is what we know so far...
In New York
The big news everyone in the licensing industry is talking about this past week is the possible sale of United Media by its parent company E.W. Scripps. Apparently fourth quarter 2009 licensing revenues were down 15 percent, causing E.W. Scripps to consider a sale of the unit. United Media’s largest property is Peanuts… one could call it the cash cow. Peanuts, of course, continue to be an evergreen property despite that fact that Charles Schultz, creator of Peanuts, died 10 years ago. As those of us entrenched in the licensing biz know, managing the relationship with the IP creator, or in this case, the relationship with the Schultz estate is key to a successful licensing program. This is something that United Media has excelled at. If sold, how well will the new owner be at managing that relationship and keeping Peanuts as a solid evergreen property? E.W. Scripps, take Grapevine’s advice and hold onto United Media and the Peanuts brand. 2009 was a tough year for everyone in licensing—you will see recovery in 2010 so stick with it!
Disney and the Odeon movie chain in the U.K. have kissed and made up. Apparently, the U.K. Odeon Movie Theatre Chain had announced it would boycott showing Disney’s new 3-D spectacular,
Alice in Wonderland,
because it was not happy that Disney had shortened the DVD release of the film from the standard 17 weeks to 12 weeks after the premiere. Well, this past Friday, Odeon changed its tune and has stated it has come to an agreement with Disney to show the film. Grapevine’s take is that Odeon could not afford to alienate Disney who will have some major releases like
Toy Story 3
coming down the pike.
Alice In Wonderland
in 3-D, the reviews have started coming in and it is getting raves from the critics. Disney Consumer Products has done a significant amount of softlines licensing for this edgy 3-D film. It will be interesting to see how the merchandise does at retail. It is not your typical Disney license!
Circulating the truth
Grapevine was forwarded an email sent out by another licensing trade publication, which shall remain nameless (but incorporates Licensing in its title). This publication claims in its email message that it now has more than three times the circulation of
Grapevine always enjoys a little controversy, and since it was a slow gossip week, we contacted License! Global publisher Steven Ekstract and asked for his comments. Here is what he says, “
is independently audited by BPA International, a not-for-profit, global publishing auditor. It is the industry standard auditor for business publications worldwide.
has been audited by BPA International since its inception more than 12 years ago. We believe that advertisers in
should not simply take our word on whom we reach; they deserve to see proof through an independent, verifiable audit of our 30,000 subscribers. It is sad that another trade publication serving the licensing community would find it necessary to misrepresent their circulation and
circulation and seems like a desperate attempt to sell advertising in their publication. It is not surprising though, since this same publication recently gave up having its circulation audited by BPA.
Ekstract continued, "
advertising sales story is that we reach a qualified group of retailers and manufacturing decision makers through our print and digital publications, as well as our weekly and daily e-newsletters and our comprehensive Web site and global trade shows such as Licensing International Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, MAGIC and our newest expo Brand Licensing Central and Eastern Europe. Our subscribers’ loyalty and our circulation dominance is accomplished through editorial excellence unrivalled by any other source.”
Well, I guess that says it all! Until next week.
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