BLE Announces Most Inclusive Educational Program to Date

BLE’s License Global Theatre will feature 25 sessions that span sustainability, publishing, animation, gaming, esports, heritage, fashion, Brexit and more.

License Global

September 25, 2019

5 Min Read

With presentations, interviews, demonstrations and panel discussions bringing the worlds of character, entertainment, brand, lifestyle and art and design licensing to life, this year’s Brand Licensing Europe educational program is the most inclusive in the event’s 21-year history.

BLE’s License Global Theatre will feature 25 sessions across the show’s three days on sustainability, publishing, animation, gaming, esports, food and beverage, heritage, fashion, influencers, digitalization, retail, Brexit and more. Keynotes are scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 2 and Thursday, Oct. 3, and will be announced in September.

BLE takes place Oct. 1-3 at ExCeL London. Visitors can register for free via

“We are incredibly proud of this year’s conference program–it’s comprehensive and cohesive and considerate of everyone visiting BLE,” says Anna Knight, event director, BLE. “With sessions on gaming, publishing and heritage licensing, we have tied the educational content to this year’s themes, delivering rich, deep content that’s of real value to retailers and licensees.

We cannot wait to announce this year’s two keynotes, one focusing on animation and the second on esports. We just know they are going to be packed out. All BLE sessions are free to attend–just like the show itself–and space will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. When it comes to the keynotes, we recommend that visitors arrive at least 10 minutes before they start to avoid disappointment.”

The current program is as follows:

Tuesday, Oct. 1

  • Introduction to Licensing (Panelist: Kelvyn Gardner, managing director, Licensing International U.K.)

  • Panel discussion: “Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore the Impact of Sustainability on Licensing” (Panelist: Trudi Bishop, director, Bee Licensing Consultancy)

  • Panel discussion: “Innovations in Food and Drinks­­–How Licensing Is Helping Deliver Excitement in Consumables” (Moderator: Louise French, vice president, business development and marketing, Beanstalk. Panelists: Richard Benjamin, director, Manchester Drinks; and James Rae, co-founder, Pops)

“Licensing in the food and beverage area has become increasingly complex and competitive as multiple brands look to broaden their appeal through new brand extensions,” says Louise French, vice president, business development and marketing, Beanstalk, and panel moderator. “The session will explore how leading brands in the sector are employing innovations to create a broader brand experience. With participation from leading licensees on behalf of Pimm’s and TGI Fridays, the panel will provide insight into how these much-loved restaurant and beverage brands are leading the charge in product development and marketing, leading to joyful discovery for consumers.”

  • “Opportunities in Kids’ Licensing” (Panelist: Melissa Symonds, director, U.K. toys, EuroToys)

  • Panel discussion: “How Can Toy Licensing Recover its Sparkle?” (Moderator: John Baulch, publisher and managing editor, Toy World (Panelists: TBC)

  • 1+1=3: Strategies for Creating Effective Collaborations­–Brought to you by Licensing International (Panelists: Roz Nowicki, executive vice president, Peanuts Worldwide; and Christine Cool, international brand licensing manager, Perfetti Van Melle Group)

  • Accessible Luxury: How Can Fashion Boost the Different Categories of Licensing (Panelist: Maurizio Distefano, president and owner, Maurizio Distefano, the Evolution of Licensing)

Wednesday, Oct. 2

  • Preparing for Brexit­–Brought to you by Licensing International (Panelist: Victor Caddy, partner, Wynne-Jones)

  • U.K. Book Brands: Trends and Bestsellers in the Children's and Food and Drink Genres (Panelist: Hazel Kenyon, book research director, U.K. and Ireland, Nielsen Book)

  • Heritage Brands: How They Evolve to Stay Relevant While Seamlessly Weaving Stories of the Past into the Present (Panelist: Helen Webster, licensing director, Style Library; and Ellie Walton, licensing designer, brands, Style Library)

  • Panel discussion: Successfully Navigating the Changing Retail Environment (Moderator: Richard Pink, managing director, Pink Key Licensing. Panelists: Ruth Golightly, senior buying manager, George Childrenswear, girlswear and babywear, Asda; and:

    • Gabrielle Sims, head of licensing, Fat Face;

      • Will Stewart, founder and managing director, The Point. 1888;

      • Rachel Wakley, general manager consumer products, U.K. & Ireland, Warner Bros. and

      • Holly Oldham, managing director, Rubie’s U.K.

“I wanted to host a session that is totally relevant to retail as it’s changed so much in the last 12 months: it’s such a pressurized industry, so many big brick-and-mortar names have lost their way, and online is massively more important these days,” says Richard Pink, managing director, Pink Key Licensing, and panel moderator. “This means retailers need to be so much savvier about licensing, and I have a retailer, agent, licensee and licensor on the panel. By bringing together experts from each side of the licensing equation, I intend to show how they are adapting to the changing environment to maximize the opportunities and will be encouraging them to share valuable nuggets of wisdom with the audience.”

  • How Brands Can Succeed in Location-Based Entertainment (Panelist: Ella Baskerville, business development manager, Blooloop)

  • The Increased Digitalization of the Kids’ Ecosystem and the Opportunities and Challenges INXP (in-experience purchasing) Offers the Licensing Industry (Panelist: Nick Richardson, chief executive officer, Insights People)

  • Influencers 2.0: What You Need to Know­–Delivered by Licensing International (Panelists include Katie Bohm, head of EMEA, HYPR; and Ian Shepherd, founder, The Social Store)

  • Panel Discussion: “From Page to Product (Panelist: Susan Bolsover, licensing and consumer products director, Penguin Random House UK)

Thursday, Oct. 3

  • Introduction to Licensing (Panelist: Kelvyn Gardner, managing director, Licensing International U.K.)

  • Panel discussion: “From Console to Consumer–Retail Activation in the Gaming World (Moderators: Ian Joynson, vice president, brand development, Tinderbox. Panelists: TBC

  • The Theatre of Gaming in 2019–An Industry Pauses for Breath (Panelists: Dorian Bloch, senior client insight director, GfK)

  • License This! Finale: Watch the six finalists battle to win one of two License This! Awards in front of a panel of widely-respected judges from all areas of licensing and manufacturing.

BLE 2019 takes place at ExCeL London from Oct. 1-3. Register for free at

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Brand Licensing Europe

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License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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