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Articles from 2019 In December


Advance Auto Parts Swerves Into DieHard Deal

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Advance Auto Parts has acquired the DieHard brand from Transformco for $200 million.

The asset acquisition will give Advance the right to sell DieHard batteries and enables Advance to extend the DieHard brand into other automotive and vehicular categories. In addition, the deal allows Transformco to sell DieHard brand batteries through its existing channels pursuant to a supply agreement with Advance.

Advance is also granting Transformco an exclusive royalty-free, perpetual license to develop, market and sell DieHard branded products in non-automotive categories.

“DieHard is among the most successful and one of the most widely trusted brands in the auto industry, and we have long believed that the brand has even more potential,” says Peter Boutros, president, Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard business unit, Transformco. “DieHard revolutionized the automotive battery category when it launched in 1967 and has continued to be a leader in the category. Advance Auto Parts’ acquisition of this iconic American brand will complement our plans to introduce new DieHard products in non-automotive categories such as sporting goods, lawn and garden, authentic workwear and other exciting new categories.”

Carrera, LicenseWorks to Launch Licensing Program in India

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Carrera Jeans plans to enter the Indian market in 2020.

The apparel company has partnered with LicenseWorks to help them expand into India through licensing partnerships.

Carrera is excited to begin working with the team at LicenseWorks, who are known for their strategic thinking and strong connections in the Indian market,” says Gianluca Tacchella, chief executive officer, Carrera Jeans. “India is an important market for us and our launch here is in line with our vision to reinforce our position as a leading global fashion & lifestyle brand.

LicenseWorks have targeted manufacturers and retailers across various categories including apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and kids.

“We look forward to partner with some best-in-class licensees in India to help launch a complete collection of products across apparel, footwear and accessories,” says Rishabh Singla, managing partner, LicenseWorks.

Galaxyland to Become First Hasbro-Themed Amusement Park

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A licensing agreement between West Edmonton Mall and Hasbro has been announced, transforming Galaxyland into the first Hasbro-themed amusement park in the world.

More than 25 attractions, rides and games will be redesigned with themes including G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Monopoly and Play-Doh. The plans also include a Hasbro retail space and themed restaurants.

“Galaxyland has been providing entertainment to locals and visitors from around the world for more than three decades, and we’re thrilled to bring a number of exciting rides and activities themed to many of Hasbro’s iconic brands,” says Matt Proulx, vice-president of location-based entertainment, Hasbro.

The 165,000 square foot space, “Galaxyland powered by Hasbro,” will open by winter 2020.

Cartamundi Goes All In with United States Playing Cards Deal

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The Belgian privately-owned group Cartamundi has announced the completion of the acquisition of The United States Playing Card Company.

This acquisition marks the addition of the Bicycle, Bee, Hoyle and Fournier brands to the Cartamundi playing cards portfolio and is in line with Cartamundi’s strategy to strengthen its role as a key player in the global entertainment industry.

“This is an exciting time for Cartamundi,” says Stefaan Merckx, chief executive officer, Cartamundi. “The addition of USPC immediately allows us to take advantage of growing playing card sales in the U.S. USPC’s leading position in Spain is highly complementary with Cartamundi’s European footprint and fits perfectly in our plans for strategic growth.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary for Cartamundi, while Fournier celebrates its 150th anniversary. In 2020, the Bicycle brand will mark 135 years as the most widely used consumer card brand as well.

“Our commitment to delighting consumers, cardists, magicians and casino players with world-class quality remains our mission,” adds Michael Slaughter, chief executive officer, United States Playing Card Company.

40 Percent of Americans Shopped Direct-to-Consumer in 2019

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According to a new survey from communications agency Diffusion, 40 percent of Americans have made a purchase from direct-to-consumer brands in the last year.

The study found 14 percent of those shoppers made between one percent and 19 percent of their purchases from DTC companies. Another two percent of respondents said they did almost all of their shopping through DTC brands.

DTC purchases overtook traditional retail in notable categories such as health and beauty products at 35 percent, apparel at 34 percent and tech and gadgets at 26 percent. Leading reasons for choosing DTC purchasing over a traditional retailer was cost at 48 percent followed by fast, free shipping and easy returns at 43 percent.

Social media or influencers accounted for 19 percent of how consumers heard of the direct-to-consumer brands, followed by print or online ads at 18 percent, word of mouth from friends at 15 percent and print or online reviews at 14 percent. About nine percent of respondents also reported hearing of direct-to-consumer brands through podcast ads.

Though DTC was popular, the survey also found that consumer had interest in visiting a DTC’s physical store. As many as 37 percent of those studied wanted to visit a physical shop to get a sense of the product, 32 percent wanted to visit for convenience, and 28 percent wanted to receive the product right away. Another 27 percent expressed interest in visiting multiple DTC brands in a single location. Even with those options, over 26 percent of Americans still look for positive reviews or media coverage before making a DTC purchase.

Two Pokémon Games Hatch Exclusively on Facebook

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“Pokémon Tower Battle,” developed by Bombay Play, and “Pokémon Medallion Battle,” developed by GCTurbo, have launched exclusively on Facebook Gaming.

 “Pokémon Tower Battle” allows players to battle by stacking Pokémon against one another to create Pokémon towers. As players discover, catch and level-up rare Pokémon, they can compete in real-time against friends or across a global leaderboard. The game is currently available worldwide.

“Pokémon Medallion Battle,” is a digital card battle strategy game. In the game, trainers collect, battle and evolve Pokémon in medallion form and embark on a journey with their companions to win gym badges and complete their Pokédex. Players can also discover new Pokémon, which are introduced every month. “Pokémon Medallion Battle” is currently available in the Asian Pacific region, excluding Vietnam and Oceania.

“We are excited to launch two new entries in the Pokémon franchise on Facebook Gaming,” says Tsunekazu Ishihara, chief executive officer, The Pokémon Company. “Launching these games through Facebook will allow people all over the world to experience Pokémon in digital form, and we are especially thrilled to collaborate with Facebook Gaming in enabling new audiences to enjoy Pokémon games online.”

Apple, MGM Reportedly Discuss Buyout

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The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple executives met with MGM to discuss a possible buy-out to strengthen the Apple TV+ service. Speculation began in Sept. 2019 when Apple eyeing MGM was raised by an analyst.

The MGM buyout would add over 4,000 films to Apple TV+. It would also secure 50 percent of the rights to the James Bond franchise that MGM currently holds, due to its takeover of United Artists in 1981.
The deal would see Apple partnering with Danjaq, along with the production company subsidiary EON Productions, on future James Bond films. It would also give them exclusive control of James Bond film distribution.

MGM recently emerged from bankruptcy and partnered with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna to revive United Artists Releasing as a joint distribution arm. It will release “No Time To Die,” the latest Bond film, in the U.S. and Canada, out April 10. MGM has also partnered with Universal to distribute the picture overseas on April 2.

License Global reached out to both MGM and Apple for comment on this article. MGM declined to comment, and Apple has not responded as of publishing time. We will update this article if any further statements arrive.

Netflix Unveils Most Streamed Content for 2019

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Netflix has released a list of its most popular content in the U.S.

Movies that topped the list included the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston comedy vehicle “Murder Mystery,” Beyoncé’s “Homecoming,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Disney’s “The Incredibles 2.”

Among the most popular television shows included among the most streamed content were “Stranger Things,” “The Umbrella Academy” and the newly debuted series “The Witcher.”

Other categories in the list included nonfiction programs, comedy specials, documentaries, kids and family programming as well as international releases.

Though Netflix does not usually release total viewership numbers, the streaming giant tweeted that the film “Murder Mystery” had the the platform’s biggest opening weekend ever, with over 30 million watching around the world. The film’s success led Netflix to greenlight a sequel which is currently in development.

“Stranger Things” was right behind “Murder Mystery” and was the number one streaming television show on the platform. The long-awaited third season of the sci-fi series premiered nearly two years after the premiere of its second season. The sci-fi show was the only Netflix original series to make it to the top five streaming titles, with the rest being movie titles.

Streams were calculated by counting the total number of Netflix users that streamed a title for two minutes or more. The company also used a projection model for titles that have been on the platform for less than 28 days, allowing titles like Michael Bay’s “6 Underground,” which was only released on Dec. 13, to make the list.

"We used this metric because this is a ranking, so we're looking for relativity rather than finite numbers," says a Netflix spokesperson in an interview with CNN Business. Read the overall top 10 list below:

Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019

  • “Murder Mystery;”
  • “Stranger Things 3;”
  • “6 Underground;”
  • “The Incredibles 2;”
  • “The Irishman;”
  • “The Witcher;”
  • “Triple Frontier;”
  • “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile;”
  • “The Umbrella Academy;” and
  • “The Highwaymen.”

Hasbro, eOne Wrap $3.8B Merger

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Hasbro and Entertainment One have finalized an agreement under which Hasbro will acquire eOne for approximately $3.8 billion.

The all-cash deal was unveiled earlier this year. Hasbro disclosed the closing would pay off $700,000 in eOne debt as part of the transaction. As of a recent earnings report from March, eOne has roughly $450 million in debt on its books.

“The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro’s portfolio and provides a pipeline of new brand creation driven by family-oriented storytelling, which will now include Hasbro’s IP,” says Brian Goldner, chairman and chief executive officer, Hasbro. “In addition, Hasbro will leverage eOne’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands that have appeal to gamers, fans and families to all screens globally and realize full franchise economics across our blueprint strategy for shareholders. We are excited to welcome eOne’s talented employees from around the world into the Hasbro family.”

The acquisition aims to boost Hasbro IP including My Little Pony, Transformers and Monopoly. Hasbro’s deal now adds eOne properties such as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” to its portfolio.

“By combining two profitable and financially disciplined companies we expect to unlock value in the short- and long-term for our stakeholders,” adds Deborah Thomas, chief financial officer, Hasbro. “eOne’s brands and TV and film expertise, together with Hasbro’s brands, toy and game innovation and licensing capabilities, positions us to more quickly drive revenue and profit over the medium-term.”

A Decade of Influence: How Collabs Changed the Beauty Game

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From the genesis of YouTube and Instagram to the birth of influencer, the 2010s allowed a whole new licensing trend to blossom. The trend of influencer collaborations shaped beauty product licensing during the 2010s astronomically. As the beauty industry continues to evolve in the 2020s, License Global examines where the business went and where it’s headed.

The Influence of the Influencer

YouTube and Instagram influencers are a relatively new phenomenon. YouTube started in 2005 and Instagram in 2010, and monetary gain from those sources began later on as a result.

Unlike celebrities and larger-than-life companies, influencers are introduced to their audience as regular people, trying out a product and giving a review of how and if it works. Whether the influencer was using a product in a makeup tutorial or they were spotlighting the product in its own standalone video, companies took the opportunity to use influencers to their advantage.

In the 2010s, influencers were used to build brand loyalty and trust, generate sales leads, increase SEO and more. Eventually, the connection influencers established with their followers not only turned them into marketing machines but allowed them to become the faces of brands that ended up exploding on the internet.

Well-known beauty brands of the early 2000s and 2010s released their first collaborations with influencers. Becca’s Champagne Pop Highlighter, originally created as a collab with YouTuber Jaclyn Hill in 2016, still remains a best-seller among Becca products. With success stories like Becca and Jaclyn’s, brands started taking notice. An explosion of influencer-led campaigns began in the late 2010s.

The Birth of the Internet Brand

Brands born on the internet such as Colourpop and Morphe leaped forward in sales during the 2010s, largely in part due to their influencer collaborations.

Along with more traditional brands like Disney, Colourpop has released numerous collaborations with YouTuber Kathleenlights, who boasts over four million subscribers, along with multiple collaborations from smaller influencers. The makeup brand launched solely on social media and has developed a cult following on Instagram with nearly nine million followers at the time of this writing. Their popularity as a small brand skyrocketed them into selling at both Sephora and Ulta.

Another brand that started online, Morphe, released eyeshadow palettes with the likes of James Charles, Jaclyn Hill, Manny MUA, and Jeffree Star. In 2017, one million Jaclyn Hill x Morphe palettes were sold. In 2018, James Charles’ eponymous palette sold out ten minutes after its release. Morphe has continued to roll out collaborations as a result of their successes with influencers.

YouTubers and Instagram influencers also launched their own eponymous brands to roaring success. This year marked the five-year anniversary of Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Star collaborated with another YouTube giant, Shane Dawson, for the “Conspiracy” eyeshadow palette. Like other YouTube collaborations, the duo’s palette was a success, with one million palettes sold in 30 minutes.

The Power of X

From James Charles x Morphe to Jaclyn Hill x Becca, it’s become apparent the weight the “X” carries in both sales and brand growth.

It’s no secret that collaborations and licensing opportunities in the beauty space boomed in the 2010s. With the birth of the influencer, new marketing opportunities came about, and as influencers gained superstar-level fame, they gained their own licensing opportunities that raked in the cash for brands.

Classic makeup brands sold in store as well as those that ran exclusively through internet sales benefitted from collaborations in the 2010s, and executives have taken notice. According to a survey from Glossy, 38 percent of fashion and beauty brand executives said they’d see collaborations as their greatest 2019 marketing opportunity, with 59 percent of that number identifying as being from a beauty or wellness brand. 55 percent of those executives said that their influencer budget is set to increase in the 2020s.

The Future of the Influencer

At the time of this writing, 91 percent of License Global readers reported they see collaborations with beauty brands as a worthwhile venture for their business, and for good reason. Collaborations, especially with influencers, are helping keep the beauty business afloat. With the right influencer, sales can skyrocket, and brands can build a loyal fanbase as a result.

According to Harvard Business School, global spending on influencer marketing has risen from an estimated $2 billion in 2017 to about $8 billion in 2019. A forecast from Business Insider shows that spending is expected to balloon to $15 billion by 2022.

“Figure out which social media channels will attract your audience, be deliberate about how you showcase your products on different channels, and make sure the people who represent your company will be seen as authentic, trusted voices of the image you want to present,” says Alessia Vettese, who conducted the Harvard study.

Vettese’s study shows that 67 percent of women turn to social media influencers before buying a beauty product, so whether a brand is looking for exposure or a new collaboration opportunity, you can bet that in the 2020s, influencers will continue to dominate the beauty game.