April 6, 2018
Cartoon Network is developing a business strategy that focuses on the products, not the deals.
According to Miller, "There were two primary reasons we chose to explore this strategy. First, Mattel and Hallmark are leading licensees in their respective fields, and we have solid relationships with each. Secondly, our shows receive a good deal of cross-viewership, so kids who watch 'Fosters' are likely to stay and watch 'Billy & Mandy,' and so forth. We decided, rather than spend time looking for individual licensees for each property, it would be more efficient to have a single company developing product for all properties that target ages 6 to 11."
Not to mention, she adds, "it fosters a strong creative relationship between our creators and artists and their design teams."
Hallmark's vice president of licensing acquisitions,
Clearly, the company is onto something here, with both Mattel and Hallmark signing on within the past year, as well as FunKo, which will roll out Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, and Samurai Jack bobble head dolls at specialty and independent retailers this fall.
"Entering into a longer-term relationship with select licensing partners not only allows us to focus on creating innovative and long-term strategies, but it also means the product line can be developed with a unified approach," says Miller.
For example, she continues, "a portfolio agreement covering the Cartoon Network brand, as well as its original series, will enable our products from Mattel and Hallmark to be presented with an over-arching Cartoon Network statement. This not only creates a strong network brand, but it gives each series a showcase of its own, and also creates retail opportunities for shows as a collection across multiple brands."
But, cautions Miller, portfolio deals don't make sense for every category.
"There are certain categories that lend themselves to these types of portfolio partnerships, such as seasonal offerings, but there's really no set formula. Each deal needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It has as much to do with the right category as it does with the right partner, one that shares your vision and objectives."
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