]> Warner Bros. Consumer Products makes strategic moves and a commitment to television licensing. Newly created positions and a newly created team will spearhead t

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

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Warner Bros. Consumer Products makes strategic moves and a commitment to television licensing.

Newly created positions and a newly created team will spearhead the identification, development, and nurturing of new properties from the worlds of Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network programming. First up is Maryellen Zarakas, a former Disney exec, who has been appointed vice president, general manager, television licensing, reporting to Karen McTier, executive vice president, domestic licensing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. image1_174.jpg

The move comes as no surprise. In conversations with Dan Romanelli, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products Worldwide, in License!'s Entertainment Roundtable (February 2003) and Close-Up (June 2003), the exec commented that the Studio now understands the marketing value of consumer products, and the consumer products team was working with the Studio early in the game to identify licensing/merchandising opportunities. Beyond major films and library properties (WB franchise), the consumer products team also has been handling TV programming licensing/merchandising initiatives.

License! spent some time at the recent MAGIC show (August 25 to 29 in Las Vegas) chatting with both Zarakas and McTier about the new television team and out-of-the-gate programming that Zarakas and team will focus on.

New Deal

While McTier stresses that Warner Bros. clearly wants to deliver quality shows that are well rated and appealing to kids, the appointment of a television consumer products team is a win-win situation that will enhance and help both television programs and consumer products. "There is an openness between animation and TV programming with consumer products. They want our input and that of our partners." image2_44.jpg

Joining Zarakas' team is Kathleen Wallis, another former Disney exec, as director of licensing, television licensing. Zarakas says two more key positions also are desired, one in retail business and one in marketing/promotions. Searches are already under way.

McTier explains that since the existing WBCP team has handled television programming and animation as well as franchise properties, the division going forward will be "franchises stay within the core consumer products group." However, licensing and merchandising programs were already under way for some television properties, and McTier says those programs will remain under supervision of the core consumer products team, keeping Zarakas and her team in the loop.

First Up

One such property, ¡Mucha Lucha! (Kids WB), already has up to 30 licensees in the merchandise mix, with Jakks Pacific named master toy licensee and Ubisoft delivering Mascaritas of the Lost Code for Game Boy Advance. Going forward with the property, McTier says back-to-school items and ancillary categories are on the licensing agenda.

Teen Titans (which premiered on Cartoon Network in July) is another out-of-the-gate focus. A master toy licensee is about to be named. As for future properties on her radar, Zarakas says, "A host of new properties is in development in animation and TV, and we're getting in early at the pitch stage," noting that she will handle licensing and merchandising for programming from preschool to the Adult Swim block. She identifies Xioalin (pronounced Shy Lin) Showdown, targeted at ages 6 to 11, coming in November 2003 as one such focus, as well as Krypto (a DC Comics property) coming in 2005 and targeting ages 3 to 6.

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