October 22, 2021
License Global interviews Owain Walbyoff, Chief Commercial Officer, Banijay
1. How is 500 series a major milestone for the brand, and what is the secret behind its long-running success with viewers everywhere?
MasterChef is the world’s most successful cookery format. With more than 10,000 episodes and now, having had over 500 seasons aired, such huge milestones are truly a testament to the enduring, global popularity of the show. Produced in 64 markets and seen by more than 1 billion people globally, Banijay’s creative team is brilliant at ensuring the core values of the title are upheld across all productions and this establishes a phenomenal and iconic global brand. At its heart, MasterChef is a celebration of food excellence and extraordinary cooking, and this is something we ensure runs through all the brand extensions too.
2. It's a universal format for viewer engagement, but how does this format play into brands and licensing?
All of Banijay Brands’ consumer products and licensing extensions uphold the same core principles and quality associated with MasterChef. We diligently choose the best partners to work with, to ensure that everything we offer beyond the screen reflects the viewer experience.
Banijay Brands strives to give audiences the opportunity to connect with the show off-air with authentic experiences that help them form a deeper engagement with MasterChef. We have over 90 licensees for the brand worldwide across a broad range of categories from F&B, cookware, homeware, publishing and experiential, to tapping into the engaged digital audiences through extensions such as mobile gaming. The licensing programme not only delivers significant revenues, but it also enhances engagement with the brand and further builds audience loyalty to the show.
3. What are you hoping to achieve for the next 500 series when it comes to stepping up the program, bringing the brand into homes and more?
As we surpass this milestone, Banijay Brands is committed to nurturing the fantastic products and experiences we offer, and as the show continues to establish in new markets, we can grow the footprint of the brand licensing program in these regions.
We have had great success in key growth areas such as experiential, with thriving restaurants in Spain and Dubai, the MasterChef Academy in Hong Kong, a second live tour in the U.S., multiple mall events and our MasterChef summer camps in Spain and the U.S. to name just a few. Having witnessed extensive success in this space, we will be expanding our offerings further with some exciting new ventures in the pipeline.
As consumer habits continue to shift, alongside a strong presence in grocers, with 40+ loyalty programs and our cookware range with Arovo, which sold over 2 million pieces at retail alone last year, e-commerce is an important area for us to build on. Elsewhere, we have already successfully launched e-commerce destination, MasterChef: The Official Store, on Amazon in the U.K. and across Europe, with more regions to follow.
4. How is the food and beverage space getting more exciting when it comes to brand extensions?
F&B is a great space for brand extensions, and an association with a well-known brand can really help cut through in a populated market. It is essential for us that we don’t just attach our IP to any product, but ensure the integrity of the brand is upheld, and any offerings deliver the same experience as audiences have through the show. In the case of MasterChef, it has a global reputation for culinary excellence, and this must be translated through to our products. We have seen strong success in this category, from our international F&B ranges to a fantastic selection of MasterChef wines, and there certainly is opportunity for us to build on this.
5. Is there a trend within the F&B space that is particularly exciting at the moment?
The pandemic accelerated the already increasing demand within the F&B space for trends such as food delivery, remote learning and e-commerce, which we are building on with our partners.
MasterChef’s ability to reflect society and stay relevant for audiences means that our licensing opportunities embody this too. The success of the recent MasterChef Green cookbook is a great example of the increasing demand for socially responsible brand extensions, which is an area that is dear to the heart of the MasterChef family, both on and off-screen.
Banijay Brands is exhibiting at Brand Licensing Europe. Be sure to register for Brand Licensing Europe here.
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