The 17 trends that will define brand licensing in 2017.
Tony Lisanti, global editorial director,
More acquisitions likely.
Following the announcement in October that AT&T will acquire Time Warner for a reported $85 billion, the age of the mega merger will likely continue in the entertainment business as content, customers and scale are critical.
The China factor.
With his bold proclamation last year to own all six Hollywood studios, Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Corp., could continue to execute his plan. The company owns M Time, Legendary and formed a joint venture with Sony last year, so stay tuned for the richest man in China’s next move.
Record box office performance.
The North American box office generated $11.4 billion in 2016, smashing the previous year's record. And with the number of blockbusters in the pipeline for 2017, another record year is not out of the question.
The Walt Disney Company became the first studio to top $7 billion in box office sales worldwide in 2016 driven by
Finding Dory, Star Wars
Captain America: Civil War
, the top three performers respectively at the box office in the U.S. Look for more of the same in 2017 with
Beauty and the Beast, Gaurdians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Cars 3, Thor: Ragnarok
Star Wars: Episode VIII
, plus others.
In addition to the aforementioned Marvel films, the superhero list includes The
LEGO Batman Movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman
are all in the pipeline, proving that the superhero genre is still incredibly strong, but yet causing concern that might begin to wane.
The recent announcement by Viacom that it will build a theme park in China is yet another on a long list of examples that live events of all sorts around the globe are a key strategy among the world’s licensors.
Nickelodeon made an impact with its revival of popular 1990s shows such as "Rugrats," and this trend will continue, reinforcing that retro sells.
More leagues, more teams, more products along with huge fan participation makes this a viable business with strong licensing potential.
Shelf space after Disney.
With the widespread popularity of
and numerous other Disney properties, the battle for retail shelf space continues to be a challenge for other licensors. It’s become part of the business of licensing.
The incredible popularity of Spin Master’s Hatchimals this past holiday season is another reassuring case study that new brands can break through with consumers and retailers.
For e-commerce, the future is now.
As Internet retail sales outpace traditional brick-and-mortar, the dynamics of retail merchandising is changing rapidly and creating new opportunities for licensed brands.
For various business reasons, major studios have new leadership including Warner Bros., NBCUniversal, Sony, Fox, and realignments have changed the structure of many CP divisions, putting the emphasis on different initiatives from events to international expansion.
Virtual reality and augmented realty.
The VR experience will continue to evolve, not only for gaming, but also for various events, sports and theme park attractions. "Pokémon Go" set the bar and other similar games will hit the market.
Apple has certainly been doing it, Microsoft has followed suit and now more traditional stores are adopting it, as well. Consumers continue to demand more interactive and better experiences at traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores. Toys 'R' Us is now testing a smaller more interactive store that enhances the overall shopping experience, engages customers and better showcases brands.
More and more sports personalities, music artists and television personalities along with traditional celebs, are looking to licensing for brand-name recognition and the growth in e-commerce and mobile commerce is making it easier to sell products to loyal fans.
Ambassador for licensing.
Now that celebrity licensor and president-elect Donald Trump is moving to the White House, perhaps he would consider appointing a guru of licensing who could address key industry issues including various taxes and counterfeiting.
Looking to 2018.
There’s a strong case to simply say, as the late sports figure Yogi Berra made part of his vernacular, it will be “déjà vu all over again.”
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