Independent production company Acamar Films enjoyed phenomenal success in 2019, earning it a spot on the 2020 Top 150 Global Licensors report with $68.8 million in sales of licensed products and merchandise.
The award-winning company behind the incredibly successful preschool animated series “Bing” experienced remarkable growth thanks to the launch of a brand-new toy line by new EMEA and Australia master toy partner Golden Bear, as well as “Bing’s” rapid international growth strategy. The largest international growth came from the Italian market, where “Bing” recently won Property of the Year 2019 at the Bologna Licensing Fair. Thanks to more than 40 best-in-class licensees ranging from toys to location-based attractions, quality product executions and considerable marketing support, “Bing” has quickly become a top preschool property in Italy. Publishing and toys were also key growth drivers.
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License Global spoke to Acamar Films about its successful year and being recognized as a top licensor.
License Global: How does it feel to be included on License Global’s Top 150 Global Licensors report for the first time?
Acamar Films: Acamar Films are delighted to be joining the Top 150 Global Licensors list. Having enjoyed incredible success in key European markets, this is just the beginning for international award-winning preschool animated series “Bing,” as Acamar Films have exciting global expansion plans.
What were some of the licensing wins that contributed to your 2019 licensed retail sales success?
The “Bing” licensing program accelerated significantly in 2019 primarily thanks to the launch of a brand-new toy line by new EMEA & Australia master toy partner Golden Bear, as well as “Bing’s” rapid international growth strategy.
The new toy line, which included award-winning soft toys, figurines and wooden puzzles, launched in fall/winter 2019 in the U.K., Italy, Poland and The Netherlands. The line was an instant success with preschoolers and quickly sold out across all territories for Christmas 2019.
The biggest international growth came from the Italian market, where “Bing” recently won Property of the Year 2019 at the Bologna Licensing Fair, announced online earlier this year. Thanks to over 40 best-in-class licensees ranging from toys to location-based attractions, quality product executions and considerable marketing support, “Bing” has quickly become the top preschool property in Italy. Publishing and toys were key growth drivers with Giochi Preziosi toys, Giunti books, Pon Pon and Centauria magazines and Diramix sticker albums being distributed nationwide. “Bing’s” top retail partners in Italy were Giocheria, Toys Center along with grocers, independents and the kiosk distribution channel, which drives a large part of “Bing’s” Italian publishing and collectibles program).
“Bing” is strongly positioned to become a top international preschool brand, benefitting from optimum broadcast placement and robust integrated marketing plans. Through research and community engagement sentiment, it’s evident that Bing’s audience already has very strong affinity toward the brand, and this in turn drives demand for “Bing” products and experiences. All of this underpins Acamar Films’ licensing wins and success at retail.
As a leading licensor, how do you plan to extend and elevate your licensing success even further this year?
The “Bing” licensing program enjoyed phenomenal success last year, laying strong foundations for future growth. The licensing team are committed to building out a wider and deeper retail footprint, growing in FMCG categories, creating innovative licensed product ranges, entering new markets and strengthening “Bing’s” theme park presence and live stage show offering. Launching direct-to-consumer platforms and new touchpoints such as apps and e-commerce sites is also fundamental to our growth plans. Bingsters and grownups are highly engaged through our broadcaster partners, YouTube channels, Facebook, Instagram and our new “Bing: Watch, Play, Learn” app, which launched in the U.K. in September last year and very recently in Italy and Poland. With more than 500,000 downloads and a Best App award win at the Creative Bath Awards, it’s been a fantastic additional way to harness engagement and love for “Bing.”
With the view to continue and elevate success, this year Acamar Films created a dedicated U.K. team, welcoming Louise Simmonds in the new role of head of U.K. licensing and merchandising and Caroline Payne as U.K. marketing manager. Laura Clarke was promoted to head up licensing and merchandising in EMEA following successful CP launches, strong YouTube performance and the expansion of Acamar Films’ agent network in the last 12 months. In the U.K., “Bing” was listed in the top 10 fastest growing toy licenses from January to June 2020 in a recent NPD Insight report, which further demonstrates that our strategy is bearing fruit.
Are there any new deals you can announce?
Despite the unprecedented global situation, we are so pleased that the appeal and strength of “Bing” has allowed us to close some deals and sign new partnerships during this period. Along with some very exciting publishing, experiential and agent announcements coming soon, we have recently revealed a live stage show partner, Trend Media, who will be bringing “Bing” to the stage in The Netherlands and Belgium from October 2021. We have also just welcomed MV Sports to the AW20 portfolio in the U.K., following a successful wooden toy launch by new partner 8th Wonder earlier this year.
To read more about Acamar Films’ triumphant year, download the complete 2020 Top 150 Global Licensors report here.