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Articles from 2020 In April

What Brands Can Learn from Streaming Content in Lockdown


People around the world have been asked to stay at home in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 virus. As so many of us are finding ourselves looking for ways to keep busy at home, the rise in streaming content has been tremendous. The global community has flocked to streaming services from Netflix to Hulu as a way to stay busy while stuck indoors. 

Karolin Himmel of JustWatch recently shared how streaming usage has seen a massive rise since stay-at-home orders were put in place around the world. JustWatch reported that all the major streaming providers saw a three-figure percentage bump as consumers flocked to there streaming devices for things to watch.

“It’s not just Netflix that profits from the pandemic, but Netflix had the biggest increase, followed by Disney+ with +290% on JustWatch,” says Himmel.

Streaming service

+% increase since March 17th



Disney Plus


Amazon Prime Video




A jump in streaming viewership coincides with unique initiatives aimed at providing consumers e-commerce opportunities while streaming movies and TV at home. NBCUniversal recently announced NBC Checkout, a service that lets viewers scan an NBCU code on their television screens and add products to a universal e-commerce cart.

The ShoppableTV feature is aimed at conveniently giving retailers the ability to connect video entertainment with shopping opportunities in real-time. NBCUniversal has also announced that it will waive technology and cart fees for the platform for the rest of this year to help companies adjusting to shop closures due to the pandemic.

Globally the rise in streaming shows that certain sectors are booming during the quarantine. The specific increase in streaming may not be a simple aberration, either. Studios such as Universal and Disney have chosen to release films early online during the pandemic. Titles such as “Onward” and “Trolls World Tour” have been released online ahead of schedule as movie theaters have temporarily been asked to close during the shutdown.

The early streaming play has worked for many studios with movies like “Trolls World Tour” earning their biggest digital debut ever. The “Trolls” strong debut coincides with a strong retail and licensing program from Universal, which was still able to move forward despite the pandemic.   

The entertainment world may be evolving to handle the COVID-19 pandemic but the rise in streaming speaks to the ways IP is still reaching consumers. While the situation may be different, streaming is undoubtedly helping to spread films globally. So, despite being stuck at home, the data shows that millions of people are finding small respites by watching the movies and TV they love with their families.

V&A: Heritage and Retail in China

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Heritage Popularity

Art is enjoying huge popularity in China, particularly amongst the younger generation and the interest in cultural heritage and art institutions has grown immensely in the last few years. The V&A is achieving continued growth in China, in close alliance with our master licensee Alfilo Brands. We are pushing forward with ambitious plans for licensing, retail, pop-up stores and online promotions. Collaborations now include cosmetics, eyewear, apparel, accessories, homeware, luggage and confectionery.

Retail Partners

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Key to building the V&A’s retailing presence is forging relationships with the major online retailers and Tmall.

One such collaboration was with Shiseido, participating in’s ‘Super Museum Day’ at the end of last year. This proved very successful, seeing 230,000 online visitors on the day whilst also helping to increase brand awareness and promote the V&A’s collection. The comprehensive marketing and press campaign included beautiful photography shot at the V&A.

The first V&A experience-based stores opened in China in 2018. Building on this success of at the end of 2019 we collaborated with Tmall Club to launch a pop-up store at the Tmall Ideal Life Experience Center at the popular Shanghai K11 shopping mall. Open for a week, the store displayed product from four licensees: footwear with Basto, tea giant Twinings, contact lenses from 4inlook and camera brand Lomography.

Further initiatives continue: this month the V&A will once again co-operate with Tmall to participate in International Museum Day whereby customers can vote for their favourite museum ‘character’, with the V&A’s being Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This will link through to the V&A’s Flagship Tmall stores, which will showcase over 50 products recently launched on the store, the first of a series of 200 new SKUs currently in development.  

New Launches

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On the 18th May, the V&A will also make its debut launch with renowned beauty brand, Lansur. The range includes foundation, concealer, lipstick and an eyeshadow palette decorated with the stylised and flamboyant Art Nouveau portrait 'Zodiac' originally created by Alphonse Mucha in 1897. 

Cote d'Or will release their second series of limited-edition chocolate gift boxes this spring. This follows their successful debut launch in 2019, which featured boxes with details of a mid-19th century English furnishing fabric from the V&A’s textile collection.

Social Media Presence

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Social media platforms are critical to growing brand awareness and maximise promotions in China. We are accelerating the utilisation of the V&A’s social media channels to highlight and promote our product ranges, whilst reinforcing the authenticity of the inspirational source. This activity is paying dividends, as the V&A presence continues to gain recognition in China, the V&A’s Weibo account was even placed in the ‘Top 10 Most Creative Museum/ Cultural Institution Weibo Account’ in 2019, the only overseas museum to achieve this accolade.

For the future, combining experiential marketing and social media is key for engagement in China. Rather than just relying on influencers/KOLS, the V&A are looking for more User Generated Contents, encouraging involvement and participation from viewers. For example, the V&A Cos Play Competition enabled people to recreate their own V&A poster, learn more about the museum’s programme and also combined a commercial element promoting a V&A Tmall gift prize. 

Live Streaming

With so many people currently staying at home, the demand for digital content is higher than ever. Live steaming content is of paramount importance due to the level of interaction and engagement it offers. The V&A are increasingly engaging in live streaming, either via large planned live stream events or through weekly product live streaming. When Twinings ran a live streaming event on Tmall recently, it was a huge success, with over 1.2m viewers during just a 5-minute broadcast. The V&A Flagship Tmall shop now provides a weekly live stream where consumers can ask the host questions about any of the V&A products for sale, post live comments and generally interact with the host and the brand.

Future Outlook

A vital part of the museum’s mission is developing new ways to share the V&A with the rest of the world. The V&A brand is growing from strength to strength, enabling the V&A to bring the wonders of the museum to people across China through new product ranges and engaging experiences.

The museum is proud to have received award nominations this year for two of its licensed ranges in China, which is a good indication of our brand and merchandise appeal. Of course. Our wish is that this will increase as we become more established in the territory.

Global Retail Activity One Month After Lockdown


People across Europe have lived under stay-at-home orders for a month or longer. Social distancing measures have been put in place across the continent to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as we all get used to our temporary new normal, countries and retailers are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Lockdown measures are gradually being loosened and retailers are beginning to make plans to welcome consumers back into shops. In countries once hit the hardest such as Italy and France, people will soon be allowed to shop again at previously shuttered retailers in a few weeks. Italian factories and parts of the supply chain that were temporarily closed will also be allowed to reopen starting just next week (BBC). While the French government plans to open back up certain parts of the retail ecosystem by May 11 (Financial Times). 

The easing of restrictions expected over the next couple of months won't welcome back the status quo we all took for granted a year ago, but it does highlight the reality of a post-pandemic future. Over the next year, the reopened businesses will have to cope with potentially weary consumers and who are still adjusting to what happened earlier in the year. That's at least what has been seen in countries farther ahead in the pandemic timeline, such as China. 

Despite much of modern life getting back to normal in the region, people have shown to be still cautious of retail shops. According to data reported by Reuters, Retail sales decreased over 15 percent in March year-on-year, extending the decline seen in the first two months of the year when the virus hit China the hardest. 

The plunge in consumption has even led local authorities and companies to create voucher programs aimed at increasing spending. While early signs don't show the program creating too much change as consumers are mostly buying essential items, the hope is the program will eventually expand to increase spending in other retail verticals hit harder by the pandemic. Li Daxiao, chief economist, Yingda Securities, told Reuters that China's economic priority should currently be to encourage spending on necessities, before potentially rolling out the program for more expensive items at a later stage. 

China's voucher program, and direct stimulus payment programs in regions like the U.S. and Hong Kong, speak to the radical ideas being introduced by companies and governments looking to stem the economic downturn caused by the shutdown. Retailers specifically are working to quickly adapt to trends towards e-commerce, where sales have been hit less hard by the stay-at-home measure. 

As more people head online while stuck at home, major companies such as eBay and NBCUniversal are pushing to provide new platforms as well as training to retailers. eBay's "Up & Running" program will help retailers develop an e-commerce presence amid storefront closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While NBCUniversal has announced, it will waive technology and cart fees for its Checkout platform for the rest of the year. 

In the coming months, shopping will still look quite different from what it used to be in the modern world. However, as the world begins to come out of the haze, the inklings of normalcy are slowly ramping up. 

The task at hand is not necessarily small, nor easy, but novel thinking from business leaders and world governments will have to play a crucial role in getting the world up-to-date as quickly as possible. As early initiatives have shown, patience and the digital world that has already been growing will be a crucial aspect of what pushes the retail world further in the next year. 

Fuel Partnerships on How to Market Retail Right Now

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Marketing to retail consumers today has taken a different tone to say the least. Amid a global health crisis, extending lockdowns and consumer re-evaluation of essential purchases, retail is facing one of the most difficult challenges since the downturn of 2008. So, how are retail brands marketing themselves successfully, and what can brands learn from the leading examples? 

Fuel Partnerships – a Florida-based retail marketing agency – is a specialist in speaking with consumers, whether it’s in-store or via omnichannel means. Considering that “91 cent of every consumer dollar” is spent through brick-and-mortar, we speak to Erik Rosenstrauch, founder, Fuel Partnerships, to get an insight into how retailers are weathering the storm online and in-store during the coronavirus pandemic. 

License Global: What are you seeing in the retail sector now?  

Rosenstrauch: We’re seeing a very wide range of shopper behavior. Physical retail is still the fastest way to obtain products that consumers need and is one of the few respites from being stuck in your home.  However, there is a level of anxiety and discomfort to shop while wearing a mask and the need for social distance.  Many shoppers are now trying BOPIS (buy online and pick up in-store) and delivery options from physical retailers. This enables the consumer to shop online at their own convenience and yet still quickly obtain the products they need via local stores. Finally, e-commerce retailers lost share at the onset of the quarantine but are now beginning to gain in sales.  

How can retail brands effectively market themselves in this extremely difficult time? 

Consumers want stability, they want comfort. When you think about our lives, whether it’s the U.K. or USA, we've grown up with brands. Whether we’re leaning on childhood favorites like Crest toothpaste or Coke and Pepsi, or we’re learning about new brands like Uber and Apple, we have an emotional attachment with these brands and their products. So, brands need to deliver an uplifting message. Empathize, understand where consumers are mentally, appreciate what you're going through. Consumers need that. Emotionally, these people may come back and buy your products when they're ready. It's not just about numbers, it's about being a good public citizen. Mr. Rogers used to say, go find the 'Do-gooders', we need to go find the do-gooders right now. Uber's message here, which is “don't use Uber” is a fantastic example. 

I also applaud Walmart thanking their frontline workers. When this all started, everyone ran to the store to buy things they wanted right there and then. If you need an item urgently, you go to the store, you don't go online. Europe and England were the same. Developed nations had sophisticated, efficient supply chains, but no one could have handled the demand or forecasted this consumer need. So the first messages from Walmart were about recognizing these front-line employees, in the states these people are low wages employees and it's interesting to think how these are the people most critical to saving civilization. Doctors are saving lives, and the front-line retail are the ones helping you get what you need. There is a huge educational difference in that dichotomy. I thought thanking them was an amazing message. Sam's, Amazon and Publics followed suit, from my perspective here. Now retailers are trying to communicate what they're doing, across the world to help people stay safe. Everything from speaking locally to let's make sure we self-distance, how they clean the carts. Walmart, Tesco and Sainsbury's are showing consumers what they're doing to help. It's not to scare you, but to make you feel more comfortable.  

What examples are out there of great case studies for marketing in terms of retail?  

Brands must continue to market and advertise.  Past research has shown that brands which continue to advertise during a recession will grow 256% greater than brands that eliminate or decrease marketing spend.  The key is, what message do you want to deliver? 

How is this a buyer market filled with opportunities for retailers looking to engage with consumers?   

There are three traits that retailers must deliver to connect with shoppers: speed, value and convenience. The retailer that can provide all three will be the winner in the short and long term. 

The number of people who are now doing ‘clicks to bricks’ is also rising. You can order mobile and select your pickup date, you drive up and you drive away. Walmart has picked up 40% growth in that area alone in sales, in one month. The Walmart online app is the most downloaded shopping app in the states. It's surpassed Amazon. Walmart didn't want a pandemic to drive that, but they're winning left and right. It's about speed for retailers right now, it's about value (Walmart doesn't charge extra for BOPUS) and it's about convenience. I believe that for retailers to win, they must deliver on those three things. 

What are buyers looking for now and how can brands engage with this new need?   

Shoppers are looking for brands that can solve their needs, which are both physical and emotional today.  Brands that can provide physical safety; protect or remove COVID causing viruses.  Other brands supply emotional comfort and enjoyment.  Each brand must be clear about their RTBs (reasons to believe) and ensure they clearly communicate the benefit to consumers 

NYU Students to Present Sports Merchandise Crisis Solutions


When the NBA shut down live games on March 11, Seltzer Licensing’s Stu Seltzer, who is a professor at NYU, retooled his Merchandising & Licensing course to focus on finding solutions to continue selling sports merchandise without live sports. 

On May 5 at 7 p.m. EST, Seltzer’s students will present strategies for sports organizations to boost merchandise sales and licensing revenue during the current shutdown of live sports. 

Readers are invited to attend the session and meet these future sports leaders via Zoom. Click here to access the invitation and register:

Cottonwood Media, Federation Appoint Digital Marketing Director


Cottonwood Media and Federation Entertainment have announced the appointment of Tiffany Weltman to the newly created position of director, digital marketing, effective immediately.

With a solid track record in marketing that spans a decade, working for CANAL+ and MYTF1, Weltman’s main remit for Cottonwood Media, Federation’s kids programming subsidiary, will be to further develop the company’s international digital strategy working across all social media and digital platforms, as well as creating exclusive online content. She will also continue to promote Cottonwood’s kids shows, while providing on-going support to key broadcasters, and further building the respective programming brands. 

Weltman will also extend her expertise to Federation Entertainment’s overall digital marketing strategy for the group as a whole to reinforce the company’s brand as the media landscape continues to evolve. 

“It’s great to have Tiffany join our team,” says David Michel, chief executive officer and president, Cottonwood Media and co-founder, Federation Entertainment. “She is a unique executive and brilliant marketing strategist who brings substantial business acumen to the creative process. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as global audiences are turning to content across all channels and platforms to get through these challenging times.” 

‘Monopoly’ Now Available on Stadia


“Monopoly” is now available on new generation gaming platform Stadia.

Players will now be able to enjoy the game they know and love on three unique 3D living boards.

At the start of each game, players can choose from one of the six house rules chosen by “Monopoly” fans from around the world or keep games short by choosing a new objective from five goals.

For more, visit the Stadia platform.

Skechers, Dog is Good Tie-Up Shoe Collab


Brentwood Licensing has announced two new BOBS from Skechers shoe designs highlighting the Dog is Good social expression and art collection, available today.

“We’re very pleased to be associated with Skechers and its team of dog-loving footwear designers,” says Jon Kurtz, chief executive officer and co-owner, Dog is Good. “BOBS from Skechers’ iconic animal-themed styles are adored by pet lovers everywhere, and through their sales, they’ve donated $5.4 million to help save and support more than a million shelter animals. They recognize what it is we do and the strong growth of our brand and audience, and their positive message and passion for pets is in perfect synergy with our love for dogs.”

The line will be available first on and then roll out to select Skechers stores around the world.

Mondo TV Iberoamerica, Enanimation to Co-Produce ‘Nina & Olga’


Mondo TV Iberoamerica, a division of the Italian group Mondo TV, has announced that through its subsidiary Mondo TV Producciones Canarias, it will be co-production partner for “Nina & Olga,” the brand-new series created and conceived by the Italian boutique animation studio Enanimation.

Enanimation has already secured a deal for the TV series with Rai Ragazzi, the kids’ channel from Italian public broadcaster Rai.

“It is a real joy and honor to be bringing this much-loved preschool property to the screen in partnership with a genuinely innovative and respected production company,” says Maria Bonaria Fois, chief executive officer, Monto TV Iberoamerica Group. “The enormous potential of ‘Nina & Olga’ has already attracted Rai Ragazzi and will undoubtedly bring many more broadcasters on board.”

Mondo TV Producciones Canarias will share the pre-production phase of the show, while parent company Mondo TV S.p.A is responsible for the animation. Enanimation will have exclusive rights throughout the world, while Mondo TV Producciones Canarias will have exclusive rights in Spain and Andorra. Enanimation will have worldwide distribution rights, excluding the Mondo TV Canarias’ territories Portugal, Latin America and the Spanish-speaking U.S.

“Nicoletta Costa is a great storyteller, and Olga the Cloud [from ‘Nina & Olga] is one of her most delightful characters,” says Federica Maggio, chief executive officer, Enanimation. “We are looking forward enormously to bringing to life one of the most successful characters in children’s publishing in partnership with one of the leading names in children’s animation.”

The Brand Liaison to Rep How to Cake It


Baking media and consumer brand How to Cake It and YouTube sensation Yolanda Gampp have announced the expansion of licensing and collaboration opportunities to be led by The Brand Liaison.

“Of course cake-master and YouTube Sensation Yolanda Gampp is the star of the brand, but How To Cake It is so much more than just one incredibly talented influencer,” says Steven Heller, president, The Brand Liaison. “They are a media and marketing engine that creates custom content for its brand partners in a creative, fun and educational environment. That’s why they have been able to attract world leading partners like Disney, McDonalds, Mattel and more, as well as build a successful e-commerce business.” 

The Brand Liaison will continue to bring collaboration partners as well as open licensing for categories including kitchen tools and accessories, cake mixes, confections, ingredients, consumables, frozen sheet cakes for decorating, cake decorations, activity tools and kits, serving trays, dessert plates, party décor supplies, toys, games, kids products, apparel and other arts and crafts. The Brand Liaison will also seek unique opportunities for location-based entertainment experiences, subscription boxes and more, including a new virtual birthday party initiative.

“How To Cake It is always looking for new ways to provide real value to our community and customers in the form of inspiration, education, entertainment and support through the intersection of content, consumer products and live, community building experiences,” says Connie Contardi, cofounder and co-chief executive officer, How To Cake It. “With How To Cake It’s expertise in creating digital products, there is the unique, value-added opportunity to make any physica product sync up with digital educational resources and content, driving sales and eyeballs to both places. This is where How To Cake It becomes a unique and valuable partner. We have the ability to make the content and the product work together seamlessly, while we have the reach – a global community of millions – to promote it!”