Germany's Licensing Future Lies in Myriad Sectors

The future of the licensing business in Europe's largest economy is difficult to call. As is the case everywhere else, Germany is in for difficult economic times in the immediate future, but there is less agreement

April 6, 2018

4 Min Read

The future of the licensing business in Europe's largest economy is difficult to call. As is the case everywhere else, Germany is in for difficult economic times in the immediate future, but there is less agreement on how difficult, for how long or what is to be done about it. But what everyone does agree on is the aging of Germany's key licensing demographics. i1_494.jpgi1_t_111.jpg

Andreas Niedergesaess, who recently was appointed vice president of Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products in Germany, believes, "The most important trend in the German market right now is the emergence of interactivity, the development of technology and the need this creates to get your properties across all platforms—especially the digital ones, such as Nintendo DS, gaming and online gaming." Niedergesaess also identifies "a lot of growth in Germany in co-branding, corporate branding and brand licensing," which he sees as having an especially important role "in attracting older age groups, a demographic that is becoming more and more important in the German market." i2_214.jpg

By contrast, Bettina Koeckler, vice president of licensing and sales, U.K. and EMEA, at Chorion, sees "a strong trend toward classic evergreens on the one hand and fashion/lifestyle-based brands on the other." This, she believes, is because "in a market as competitive as Germany, both licensees and retailers seek to minimize the risk of failure by looking for brands which have either already proven themselves in the market or at the very least have an established level of awareness amongst consumers." i3_122.jpg

Niedergesaess sees "a huge potential for growth in the German market, which is nowhere near as mature as the U.K. or France, for example." He also agrees with Koeckler on the growing importance of lifestyle in German licensing, pointing out that the LIMA figure of €2.5 billion ($3.5 billion) as the value for the German licensing market in '06/'07 (the most recent year for which figures are available) "was all about character licensing, but now you'll see big brands such as Coca-Cola, MTV, etc., going deeper with their brands."

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This growing importance of lifestyle is further emphasized by Diana M. Dieckmann, vice president of licensing, Germany, Eastern, Central and Southern Europe, at Fremantle Media Enterprises, who estimates that "50 percent of that €2.5 billion was accounted for by fashion and fragrances." And she also thinks target demographics in Germany are getting older, noting, "The main purchasing group in Germany is now 10 and up, and sales also are increasing faster to young girls than to young men," which she also attributes to the growing importance of lifestyle. i5_68.jpg

The older-skewing German market also has produced some interesting successes, which would be regarded as anomalies in other territories—a case in point being Telcast and its 3-D glasses. Telcast is a German content and technology company, not usually active in the area of licensing, but, from time to time, it runs very successful campaigns built around the glasses. "The last time we did this," says Telecast president and chief executive officer Thomas Hohenacker, "We did a season with Kabel 1 of 'America's Biggest ... ' and we licensed the glasses to a television listings magazine, which saw sales rise 5 percent, and also to a chain of opticians, Rollerbock. In total, we distributed approximately 3.5 million glasses."

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Certainly the aging of the key demographics is fundamental to Nick/Viacom's plans for Germany. Pointing out that "in 1999, LIMA only recognized the 3–13 demo as having any significance in Germany, whereas now it recognizes 3–5, 6–13 and 14–29," says Jean-Philippe Randisi, Nick/Viacom's senior vice president and managing director for Europe, Near East, Africa, Canada and Latin America. He adds that "with two very strong and complementary brands in Nickelodeon and MTV, we are very well placed to take advantage of this shifting age tectonic." And, he went on to reveal to License! Global, that "2009 will see the announcement of some very big and ambitious plans for the MTV and Viva brands, involving lots of products and definitely targeting tweens, teens and young adults." i7_36.jpgi7_t_20.jpg

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