Licensing Biz Builds Biggest Deals

This year's Licensing International Expo packed a lot of star power, from Leonard Nimoy's appearance at the CBS booth to promote the next installment of Star Trek to M. Night Shyamalan, director of Nick/Paramount&apos

April 6, 2018

7 Min Read

This year's Licensing International Expo packed a lot of star power, from Leonard Nimoy's appearance at the CBS booth to promote the next installment of Star Trek to M. Night Shyamalan, director of Nick/Paramount's The Last Airbender to iCarly teen phenom Miranda Cosgrove autographing her first CD at the Nickelodeon booth. New product launches and reinvented evergreen properties vied for the attention of show attendees at the expo held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York June 10 – 12. The biggest names in the movie business worked side by side with up-and-coming art licensees at a show that rallies the industry's collective brain trust across the gamut of categories that makes up the licensing industry. This year's show attracted 500 exhibitors promoting 6,000 brands and 25,000 industry decision makers from 82 countries. i1_441.jpgi1_t_100.jpg

As the show wrapped, attendees were already thinking about next year's expo, which will take place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Movie studios created some of the biggest buzz at this year's Licensing Show, thanks in large part to expectations that this year's potential blockbusters can generate licensing windfalls. i2_169.jpgi2_t_88.jpg

Nickelodeon, Viacom and Paramount Pictures kicked things off Tuesday morning at an event to promote their July 2010 live-action movie The Last Airbender. The movie is based on "Avatar" the hit TV Nick animation, and is being brought to the big screen by director M. Night Shyamalan, who's past hits include The Sixth Sense.

Leigh Anne Brodsky, president Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products, says, "We're especially optimistic about this movie's prospects given The Last Airbender's global fan base. Our strategy is to work with partners who want to authentically build the brand around the globe."

Nickelodeon and Viacom also were promoting the roll out of the first consumer products based on the live-action tween series "iCarly."

The iCarly merchandising program kicked off in June with an album entitled "iPlaylist." In July, an iCarly line of products will be available exclusively in The Limited Too/Justice stores. The line will consist of apparel, stationery and electronics. i3_90.jpgi3_t_50.jpg

"iCarly" will hit DVD shelves in September with the launch of "iCarly Season 1, Volume 1." Imation will release a line of iCarly-themed products under the Npower label, available exclusively at Toys "R" Us this fall.

Warner Bros. was busy promoting a number of initiatives at the show, including the much-anticipated upcoming installment of the Batman series. The buzz surrounding The Dark Knight has created a strong foundation for a host of new licensees including Mattel, Rubie's Costumes, LOT 29, Thinkway Toys, Six Flags, Noble, EV.R. Inc. and Digital Blue for 2009 and beyond.

The new television series "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" is slated to air on Cartoon Network in the United States beginning in 2009 with an international rollout to follow. i4_62.jpgi4_t_26.jpg

A new line of Batman Lego merchandise will debut in U.S. retail stores nationwide this fall. Also to come: a line of fashion separates from C. Life, accessories from Berkshire, back-to-school supplies by Accessory Network, T-shirts from Giant and sleepwear sets from AME.

The Caped Crusader isn't the only star in the WB's portfolio. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is slated for release around the world in November and will be supported by merchandise from licensees including PopCo Entertainment Ltd (formerly Corgi International), Noble Collection, NECA, Mattel, Panini, DeAgostini, Giant Merchandising, Tonner Doll, Gentle Giant and Jibbitz. i5_56.jpg

Everyone's favorite apparition is celebrating a milestone in 2009. To commemorate Casper The Friendly Ghost's 60th anniversary, Classic Media will roll out a host of product to retail in time for Halloween, including apparel licensees Local Celebrity, Mad Engine, Briefly Stated, as well as Madacy (music) and renewed deals with American Greetings (social expressions) and MJC (men's loungewear). Compedia has developed a line of CD-Rom games. Classic Media and Genius Products also will release the first two volumes in a new Casper DVD collection.

A new CGI Casper television series is in production and is expected to launch next year.

In a multiyear deal, Lionsgate has secured the home entertainment distribution rights, including electronic sell-through and VOD, for the United States and Canada to product created under the new animated Little Tikes Entertainment label. Consisting of four CGI-animated stories, the first release under the new label — "Little Tikes Land" — is scheduled to hit retail this fall.

The Little Tikes deal significantly expands Lionsgate's existing relationship with MGA Entertainment, which began in 2006 with "Bratz." The deal comes on the heels of the studio's recent agreements to become the exclusive distributor of Hit's catalog of children's non-theatrical product throughout North America and, in a deal with LeapFrog, to develop, produce and distribute original direct-to-DVD features.

Universal Studios was promoting a number of movie productions for 2009. Among them: Coraline, the first stop-motion animated film produced in 3-D scheduled for a February release and featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher; The Wolfman, based on the 1941 classic, and starring Benecio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins; and Land of the Lost, touted as one of the largest scale productions in Universal's history, starring Will Ferrell with a planned July 2009 release.

Speed Racer Enterprises has appointed four agencies to represent both "Speed Racer: The Next Generation" and the classic "Speed Racer" series for licensing and merchandising across the world. G Squared Promotion will represent the brand in Canada; Empire International Merchandising Corporation will cover all of Asia, excluding Japan; EXIM Licensing Group will represent South, Central and Latin America; and BKN will handle Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East.

A dozen new licensees have signed on to produce Speed Racer merchandise lines: Duncan Yo-Yo and Inter-Axions for toys; Baby Boom/Betesh Group for domestics and room décor; as well as H.E.R. Accessories and Infinity Headwear for accessories. New apparel licensees include JEM Sportswear, Kids with Character, Level One Concepts, MTC and Steve & Barry's. Playground Maniacs will create trading cards, stickers, collection albums, tattoos and lenticular cards.

The new animated TV series "Speed Racer: The Next Generation" airs in the United States on Nicktoons Network.

History, the award-winning cable network, announced at the show that it appointed United Media as its exclusive merchandise licensing agent. The strategy initially will target opportunities for the History brand, encompassing categories that include gaming, men's apparel, accessories, gift and collectible. It also will focus on the network's American Originals franchise of programs such as "Ice Road Truckers" and "Ax Men."

Disney Consumer Products is launching a new line of tween merchandise inspired by "Camp Rock," the Disney Channel original movie that launched June 20.

Last month, Target stores nationwide began carrying a selection of "Camp Rock" products including electronics, apparel, accessories, footwear, home décor, books, fashion dolls and stationery.

Future plans for "Camp Rock" merchandise include an expanded line of electronics, apparel, accessories, home décor and stationery. The majority of the products will be ready just in time for the back-to-school season and will continue to grow through spring 2009 when the merchandising program will extend into other retail channels.

Activision has launched the Kung Fu Panda video game based on DreamWorks Animation's feature film. The game is available for Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation3 for a suggested retail price of $49.99, the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system for $39.99, Nintendo DS $29.99 and Games for Windows for $19.99.

"Raggs," which premiered on U.S. public television stations nationwide in February 2008, has announced a multiyear licensing partnership with toy company Zizzle. Beginning this month, Raggs plush toys, CDs, DVDs and custom T-shirts will be available at online retailer Ty's Toy Box, and the brand will be prominently featured on its homepage. The first products are planned for launch in fall 2009.

Galleon Holdings launched the Skunk Fu! merchandising line at the Licensing Show. Skunk Fu! launched on Cartoon Network on May 27.

Galleon has appointed The Sharpe Company as licensing agent for Skunk Fu! in North America and the Skunk Fu! toy line has been developed and made in-house by Croco Sourcing Worldwide, a wholly owned subsidiary of Galleon Holdings.

Galleon is currently in talks with a DVD distribution partner for the United States.

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