It was the biggest Brand Licensing Show ever, hosting studios from the U.S., production companies from Europe and brands from all over the world. There was an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward the show's extension to three days and to the best lineup so far in the Licensing Academy. As you move from London to Cannes and to Mipcom, where some of the properties make an additional appearance, here is a handy list of news highlights from the BLE show floor:
- HIT launched its new preschool show "Mike the Knight." It's been a long time coming, but Mike, from author Alexander Bar and Bob the Builder's chief writer, looks very promising with his catchphrase, "Be a knight, do it right!"
- Sony launched the international licensing program for MIB3 with talk of a full-blown 360-degree mass market program and a long-lasting fashion and lifestyle campaign based on the world of Men in Black and aimed at young adults.
- The assistant buyers taking part in the first Retail Mentoring Program completed their final projects at the show. Nominations and planning for next year's program will start soon.
- DreamWorks appointed U.K. independent agency, Rocket Licensing, to manage the Puss in Boots program.
- BBCWW exhibited at a new stand with a new focus—less on selling and more on brand management—explaining its plans and added value to partners for brands such as Top Gear and Dr Who that have become international hits. Its preschool series, "In the Night Garden," debuts in November on U.S. channel The Hub.
- Saban, whose Power Rangers costume characters greeted visitors to BLE 2010, announced its agency lineup for the brand around the world. They include CPLG for Western Europe, Kidz Entertainment for Scandinavia/Eastern Europe, Haven Licensing for Australia/New Zealand, Segal Licensing for Canada, CLM for South Africa and Exim Licensing for Latin America (excluding Mexico).
- Sanrio announced a deal with Liberty Fabrics, in which Liberty's designers have incorporated Hello Kitty with archive designs to produce beautiful fabrics available for sale and for licensees.
- Chorion unveiled the newest member of its Mr Men and Little Miss gang. Called Little Miss Princess, she is pink, wears a crown and is already the subject of a limited fashion line.
- Zodiac Rights (previously RDF Rights) announced a new property for girls, called Qpiz. It's been created by an in-house digital media company and exists as animated shorts, in books, on Facebook and online. Broadcast starts on Valentine's Day 2011.
- Ultimate Fighting Championships continues its march on Europe, with products at U.K. retailers Argos and JJB Sports. The first UFC expo takes place in London this month, and ring girls welcomed visitors to the stand at BLE. European licensing is by Jane Evans Licensing Consultancy.
- Two contrasting British publishing classics got an airing and signed deals at the show, courtesy of agent Metrostar. Licensing for the Ultimate boys' comic, Viz, is expanding into gift and home categories after successful clothing lines with Next and The Officers Club. Preschool favorite Dear Zoo signed its first deal with Shreds, makers of aprons. It's going to be the first of many.
- Turner CN Enterprises celebrated a new signing, Puppy in My Pocket, in collaboration with MEG, Giochi Preziosi and ME. At BLE, it highlighted its developing role as a third-party agent. It wants to use its expertise with boys' properties to develop girls' properties, preschool and lifestyle brands. It also launched boys' action property Generator Rex.
- Age UK debuted with a powerful message about product development and licensing for older consumers.
- 4Sight Solutions, part of 4Kids Entertainment International, extended its Crufts program with a magazine deal from Cream Content, and introduced The Duck, The Hamster and The Rabbit to its artlist portfolio of fish-eye photography of animals.
- CPLG unveiled some inspired new Star Trek artwork, the result of a deal with publisher Haynes to make a Star Trek manual. Haynes produced a manual in its inimitable style, and the detailed, technical artwork is now available to license.
- FremantleMedia Enterprises celebrated being back at the show with a host of European deals for Rebecca Bonbon, including Italy's Sicem International for 200 SKUs of ladies' and girls' fashion apparel launching in January 2011 and a fashion deal with Germany's biggest multi-channel retailer OTTO.
- Nickelodeon celebrated the jewels in its crown, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
- Brand Licensing Central & Eastern Europe is open for business. This, the second BLC&EE event, will be held on March 7 and 8 at the Royal Corinthia Hotel in Budapest.
- Classic Media's Where's Wally is 25. Did you see him at the show? Classic focused on its four core brands, Wally, Postman Pat, Guess with Jess and Tinga Tinga Tales, ahead of its Mip announcements about newly acquired properties.
- Sony and IMPS made a big hullabaloo about the Smurfs, a longtime favorite property in Germany on the brink of a global comeback, thanks to a new film release.
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