April 6, 2018
MGM joins with new partners to reorganize its licensing and merchandising business.
The three licensing agency partners are Brandgenuity, Jokar Productions, and Brand Sense Partners, which actually began a strategic partnership with MGM in June 2007.
"These partnerships will allow us to become more diversified in managing the intellectual properties that we control," says Travis Rutherford, executive vice president of MGM Consumer Products and Location Based Entertainment.
"The studio model is a challenging one when the flow of content is sporadic, but with such a deep library, we haven't had enough resources to really tap into all the opportunities available to us.
"Now with the additional resources these companies are bringing to the table—most notably in sales, retail development, and product development—wewill be able to fully realize value of our library and the MGM brand portfolio, as well as control costs."
According to Rutherford, MGM Consumer Products will retain its core executive team and will continue supervising strategy, managing creative services, marketing, and managing consumer/trade messaging and advertising.
Here's how the business responsibilities will be divided among the three licensing partners:
- Brandgenuity. The New York-based agency, founded in 2003, will be managing all of MGM's core entertainment properties including: Pink Panther; new "Pink Panther & Pals" animated series, which began production this month; two Stargate franchises—Atlantis and SG-1; "Storm Hawks" from Nerd Corps Entertainment; Robocop franchise; Legally Blonde franchise; the new Fame movie: and the new Death Wish movie.
- Jokar Productions. The Los Angeles-based agency, headed by Jon Rosenberg, formerly MGM's executive director of global licensing and publishing, who recently left the studio and returned to managing his own company, will handle worldwide publishing, licensing of all the publishing formats, and a complete book packaging service. "We can now deliver book prototypes and finished books to potential licensees and retailers worldwide," says Rutherford, "and we will be able to leverage John's relationships in the international marketplace with format licensing."
- Brand Sense Partners. MGM has expanded its relationship with this Los Angeles-based agency that began working with the studio nine months ago to evaluate nontraditional licensing opportunities under the MGM brand with particular emphasis on the iconic "lion" logo. Rutherford says the relationship will now also include licensing and product development for the MGM Library of 4,200 films as well as genre-based licensing properties such as Midnight Movie, Soul Cinema, and Tough Guys. "We will also be expanding the Rocky and Highlander franchises," he adds.
Rutherford says that this new hybrid business model will result in a "net gain that we could not have delivered if we stayed under the old model. We will have more people at retail, more on licensing sales, more product development resources, and more strategic planning."
He adds, "MGM will still manage all of the creative resources, continue to use outside design firms and style guide companies as appropriate, continue to maintain creative/marketing budgets annually to support our property portfolio, and assist in a collaborative manner in retail development."
According to Rutherford, MGM has also divided the international marketplace into four subsegments that will be spearheaded by the following executives: Europe, Tricia Samuels; Americas, Paul Flett; Asia/Pacific, Warren Schorr; and Middle East/Japan, to be led by Rutherford himself.
Rutherford believes the new structure of MGM Consumer Products could result in the business doubling in three years and that "would be a significant goal and a formidable accomplishment."
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