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Roku, Future Today Press Play on LEGO Channel

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Future Today has announced it is expanding the footprint for its programming by launching three new streaming channels for ROKU platform the U.S.

Future Today’s new FAST channels on The Roku Channel include:

  • HappyKids: a free and safe app designed to educate and entertain millions of kids of all ages with music, stories and activity guides across multiple platforms every day.
  • iFood.tv: iFood.tv has a collection of more than 50,000 cooking shows and video recipes every foodie will devour.
  • The LEGO Channel: a channel dedicated to inspiring and developing the builders of tomorrow where kids can watch their favorite LEGO minifigure characters.

 “Over the last few years, The Roku Channel has become a formidable force in delivering free, ad-supported linear entertainment,” says Vikrant Mathur, founder, Future Today. “The company is always innovating and improving its customer experience by growing its significant channel offerings. We’re excited to partner with Roku to deliver even more free linear TV channels on The Roku Channel. We are an innovation-first company helping shape the OTT landscape. Roku is a foundation for consumers who count on them to deliver the latest and greatest in entertainment content.” 

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‘The Walking Dead’ Invades Magic the Gathering

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Wizards of the Coast has announced their latest Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair drop, a crossover with the universe of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which will launch on Oct. 4.

The limited drop will include a premium foil set of cards, with all but one of them being revealed in the coming weeks and the last one being kept a secret for players to discover. 

“Wizards of the Coast is thrilled to collaborate with AMC to bring these iconic characters to the greatest strategy card game,” says Bill Rose, senior vice president, Magic: The Gathering design and development, Wizards of the Coast. “We can’t wait for fans of both Magic: The Gathering and AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ to discover fun new ways to play when they add this Secret Lair drop to their collection.”

AMC’s The Walking Dead Secret Lair drop will be open for pre-order for a limited time between Oct. 4 and Oct. 12. The Oct. 4 launch will coincide with AMC’s “We Are The Walking Dead Weekend,” beginning with “The Walking DeadSpecial Event: The Whisperer War Final Showdown followed by the premiere of “The Walking Dead: World Beyond “ and ending with a special episode of “Talking Deadwhere fans can anticipate an unboxing and preview of the cards.

Magic: The Gathering is one of the most seminal works in the history of gaming,” says Clayton Neuman, vice president, games, AMC. “So, we were beyond thrilled to work with Wizards to pair it with one of the most beloved series in the history of television. These cards are a perfect blend of the two universes, and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on them and discover all the tricks we’ve hidden up our sleeves.” 

The cards included in the drop will be new to Magic: The Gathering. It will depict the characters of the TV Series in card form. Included cards have never been seen before in Magic: The Gathering and bring unique gameplay and text, which will only be legal in Legacy, Vintage and Commander play styles.

Magic: The Gathering's Secret Lair is a collection of curated, limited-edition releases. The most recent drop celebrated a fan-favorite Magic character with Yargle Day on Sept. 3rd. Other drops with varied themes includes supporting International Women’s day, collaborating with Wizard of Barge for an all-slime crossover, or getting involved with International Dog day.

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MGM, TCG Entertainment Team for Live Film Concert Series

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MGM and TCG Entertainment have announced the launch of a new live “Films in Concert Series” featuring “Rocky” and “Legally Blonde” that is set for summer 2021. 

The partnership with TCG Entertainment is part of MGM’s overall strategy to grow its portfolio of live events and immersive experiences that let fans enjoy their favorite movies and characters well beyond the silver screen. It marks the first time that audiences around the world will be able to experience the anthems of “Rocky” and fan favorite tunes from “Legally Blonde” performed live by a full symphony orchestra and played in sync to the films.

“MGM is looking to create additional ways that fans can interact with and enjoy their favorite stories and characters well beyond the end credits of the film,” says Robert Marick, executive vice president global consumer products and experiences, MGM. “The concert events for both ‘Rocky’ and ‘Legally Blonde’ are part of our strategy of developing meaningful experiences that fans will love. TCG are true experts in this space and we couldn’t have asked for better partners as we kick off this brand-new initiative.”  

For “Rocky,” the “Rocky in Concert” series will include six musical events for each of the six films in the original franchise. Audiences will be able to hear the music from the films performed live by a full orchestra while watching the movies on screens. Each of the events will also feature interactive experiences along with pop-up retails kiosks and exclusive merchandise. 

“We are excited to be working with MGM on bringing the iconic ‘Rocky’ film series and ‘Legally Blonde’ to the concert hall,” says Stephen Cook, president, TCG Entertainment. “Both ‘Rocky’ and ‘Legally Blonde’ are fantastic films with great music.  These shows will perform in symphony halls, theaters and performing arts centers around the world.” 

Both events are currently scheduled to tour through North America, Europe and Australia, with additional markets to be added.  The concerts are planned to begin in July 2021 and run through the end of June 2024. 

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Peanuts Celebrates 70th Anniversary with New Deals

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Peanuts Worldwide has announced a slate of new licensing deals in honor of the brands 70th anniversary.

Peanuts Worldwide will appear at Festival of Licensing, a month-long large-scale digital gathering that unites the global licensing industry to connect, learn, strike deals and do business on an international stage. The event takes place Oct. 6-29. Register for free now!

This year, Snoopy and the gang have been featured on collections with the Brazilian apparel company Mar Quente, as well as Nordic fashion house Soulland and French retailer Cyrillus. In the accessories’ aisle, Timex has bowed limited-edition watches and LA Rocks released a line of 70th anniversary Peanuts jewelry. Out of Spain, Woodys launched 70th anniversary eyewear featuring the gang.

“Peanuts is beloved around the world and it is gratifying to see so many wonderful collections celebrating this occasion,” says Roz Nowicki, executive vice president, Peanuts Worldwide. “Not many brands can claim this level of relevance 70 years after they began. Charles Schulz’s characters and the human experiences they embody, still delight fans today.”

In addition, German homewares retailer Butlers celebrated the Peanuts anniversary with a line of dishware, while France’s Leblon Delienne launched Snoopy figures featuring a platinum-colored heart to celebrate the occasion. Smeg, known for their domestic appliances, will also release 70 limited edition refrigerators.

Longtime Peanuts partner Hallmark released a collection, including figures, stationery and gifts celebrating the gang’s 70th anniversary. For the crafters who want to incorporate this event into their creations, Springs Creative has released a line of 70th anniversary fabric by the yard. Polaroid is encouraging fans to capture this once in a lifetime moment with film featuring the characters. The Peanuts Book from DK, written by Simon Beecroft with a foreword by Stephen Colbert, celebrates the legacy of the comic strip.

The brand has secured a number of promotional activations as well, including the Gong Cha bubble tea chain in Australia, MOS Burger in Taiwan and celebratory cakes at Hummingbird Bakery in the U.K. Promotions continued with Kewpie mayonnaise in Japan, activations at 7-11 stores in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and festivities at the North American dog-daycare franchise Dogtopia. Fans in Brazil can celebrate with a Snoopy Virtual Run hosted by HT Sports in October.

While many experiences shifted timelines or moved to virtual, several activations in Asia marked the occasion, including a Snoopy Run in Chengdu, China, and “What a Wonderful Day” – an exhibition at MoCA Shanghai. Japan even hosted a 70th anniversary temporary store in an airstream trailer – The Peanuts Trailer Shop.

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The Licensing Mixtape: Digital Media and the Democratization of Licensing

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According to a 2019 Pew Research poll, 73 percent of U.S. adults watch videos on YouTube. That number jumps up even higher to more than 90 percent for adults ages 18-29. The ubiquitous nature of the platform has led YouTube to be a massive opportunity for influencers. From kid influencers such as Blippi to makeup personalities including NikkieTutorials, YouTube has become a go-to destination for influencers looking to have an immediate connection with fans.

That connection is now translating to licensing more than ever before. In the latest episode of “The Licensing Mixtape” podcast, Sid Kaufman, licensing agent, United Talent Agency, highlights how the digital media ecosystem has democratized licensing to establish a swath of new brands as merchandising success stories. Steven Ekstract, brand director, Global Licensing Group, chats with Kaufman about the evolution of the licensing business and how today’s influencers have revolutionized the business as we know it and made data more important than ever.

“Retailers need product to perform, that's the partnership. If we can deliver a brand that has licensees that can perform, the retailers want that. But historically, it was more about hyping and pumping up a brand and creating kind of a groundswell,” says Kaufman. “Today, it's all about performance. Its unequivocal – retailers know, at the end of the day, how much they sold, how much they sold against your competition, how much they sold against last year's numbers. So, it's very data driven.”

Hear more from Kaufman in the latest episode of "The Licensing Mixtape," and be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud or Spotify

 

National Trust, CJ Wildlife Team to Protect Wildlife

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The National Trust and CJ Wildlife have teamed to develop a new collaboration that will highlight licensed products, with every purchase benefiting National Trust projects.

The new collaboration is named For The Love of Nature. It comes after months in lockdown that has seen the U.K. emerge with a new-found appreciation for open spaces, gardens and national heritage sites.

“We are thrilled to be working with CJ Wildlife and sharing the expertise they bring for the future prosperity of our nation’s wildlife,” says Becky Stanford, brand licensing manager, National Trust. “This collection will allow our supporters to provide safe environments for wildlife in their own gardens and experience the joy that seeing wildlife flourish brings.”

The collaboration includes a five year agreement, in which CJ Wildlife has pledged a minimum of £775,000 support, starting at £75,000 per year and rising to £240,000 in year five.

“We are delighted to now be working with the National Trust and are very proud of the licensed product range we are launching,” says Claire Smith, chief officer, partnerships, products and business development, CJ Wildlife. “Both of our organizations are passionate about supporting wildlife and caring for the places where it can thrive. We look forward to the coming years and the difference we can make together directly for our wildlife and more indirectly by sparking joy in people who connect more with nature.”

Using FSC-certified timber and several products made from recycled materials, these products will be rolled out across garden centers, supermarkets, pet shops, gift shops and other major retailers through 2020.

The deal extends the National Trust brand, which was recently leveraged for a line of puzzles from Wentworth.

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Groovy Chick Launches on ASOS

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Bang on The Door’s Groovy Chick Organic has hit ASOS. Daisy Street is the licensee supplying ASOS.

A range of 100 percent organic cotton t-shirts have launched on ASOS with organic cotton hoodies and organic cotton sweatshirts to follow in the range.

“Putting the deal together has been tough, firstly insisting on the organic route and being prepared to relinquish margins for the sake of the environment,” says Andrew Levy, licensing director, Bang on The Door. “Not only have we insisted on organic product, but we have reduced packaging by using a sticker in the product pack. Early sale indications are extremely positive demonstrating the enduring appeal of Groovy Chick and her new generation of fans.”

Those interested can purchase the products now on ASOS.

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Mark-it Smart Launches Marilyn Monroe and Thomasville Collections

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Mark-it Smart, a leading incentive merchandise and gift supplier to the gaming industry, has announced a new partnership with Authentic Brands Group, a global brand development, marketing and entertainment company and owner of the Thomasville home furnishings brand and the Estate of Marilyn Monroe, to develop branded product lines for the casino gaming industry. 

"I speak on behalf of the entire Mark-it Smart team when I say that we are thrilled to join forces with ABG to bring these iconic brands to life with products catered specifically for casino patrons," says Mark Ditteaux, founder and chief executive officer, Mark-it Smart. "Mark-It Smart is dedicated to manufacturing quality products tailored to the needs of the casino and gaming industry.” 

The Thomasville partnership will include products that echo the brand’s legacy. The line will feature a range of items including tabletop, cookware and small appliances. The Marilyn Monroe collection will include one-of-a-kind bedding, handbags, luxury towels and beauty accessories that honor Marilyn’s spirit. All merchandise will be gifted to casino patrons when they come into select locations to play. 

“As we continue to expand the offerings within ABG’s brand portfolio, it is essential to strategically align ourselves with industry leaders,” says Jarrod Weber, group president lifestyle and chief brand officer, Authentic Brands Group. “Mark-It Smart’s proven expertise and in-depth knowledge of casino-style promotions and gift supply aligns well with ABG’s commitment to delivering compelling products across all consumer touchpoints. We are pleased to collaborate with them on Thomasville and Marilyn Monroe.”

The Thomasville and Marilyn Monroe casino merchandise collections will launch late Q1, 2021. 

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Liberty Media Appoints President and CEO for Formula 1

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Liberty Media Corporation has announced that Stefano Domenicali will assume the role of president and chief executive officer of Formula 1. Chase Carey, the current chairman and chief executive officer, will move to the role of non-executive chairman.

“Chase has done a phenomenal job leading F1,” says Greg Maffei, president and chief executive officer, Liberty Media. “He assembled a first-class commercial and sporting organization that has a long list of achievements, including broadening the appeal of the sport, growing its digital presence, establishing new technical regulations, securing a cost cap for the first time and reaching a new more equitable Concorde agreement with the teams. His actions have reinforced F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport. As always, he has been a great partner and I look forward to his continued counsel in his new role as non-executive Chairman. We are excited to welcome Stefano Domenicali as president and CEO of Formula 1. Stefano brings a rich history of success in F1 at Ferrari and the broader auto industry at Audi and Lamborghini.”

Stefano began his professional career at Ferrari in 1991, where he held various positions, increasing his responsibility until he became the team principal for Ferrari Formula 1 in 2008. In 2014, he joined Audi AG as vice president, new business initiatives, and then was appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Automobili Lamborghini in 2016. During his time at Lamborghini, he successfully grew the brand in major global markets and across platforms, producing strong financial results. He is a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, on which he serves as president of the Single Seater Commission.

“I am thrilled to join the Formula 1 organization, a sport that has always been part of my life,” says Domenicali. “I was born in Imola and live in Monza. I’ve remained connected to the sport through my work with the Single Seater Commission at the FIA and I look forward to connecting with the teams, promoters, sponsors and many partners in Formula 1 as we continue to drive the business ahead. The past six years at Audi and then leading Lamborghini have given me broader perspective and experience that I will bring to Formula 1.”

Domenicali will begin his job in January 2021.

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