10 Minutes with Noah Gelbart, CAA-GBG


As Licensing Week Virtual is fast approaching, License Global took some time to chat with Noah Gelbart, chief revenue officer, CAA-GBG Global Brand Management Group, ahead of his upcoming panel at the event.

CAA-GBG is a gold sponsor for the event, and Gelbart will be taking part as a speaker. He will be part of the "What Do Licensees Want?" panel on Wednesday, Jun 17. He'll use his professional insight to share what the future looks like for licensees in a post-pandemic world and highlight what licensors can do to get the most out of their licensing partnerships.

During his chat with License Global, Gelbart underscored what is on the horizon for licensing in the coming years, how sectors such as home fitness are rapidly growing in 2020, and shares how working from home has brought the international team at CAA-GBG closer than ever before.

Read highlights from our discussion with Gelbart below and be sure to register to attend Licensing Week Virtual to hear more from him and the rest of the insightful panels planned for the event.

License Global: When looking for new markets for products, what should licensees and licensors be looking for and how can they tell what sectors could be right for them?

Gelbart: It starts with understanding the needs and wants of the consumer in that market. That to me has always been the most important factor, understanding consumer habits. A lot of companies falsely believe that because they have size and scale in one country, that it will translate equally to others, but often that isn’t the case. Spending time and researching the market, consumer spending habits and trends is a great place to start. You may learn your brand is excelling in one region but might not make sense to a consumer elsewhere.

While understanding consumer habits is a huge factor, so is remaining authentic to your brand. Its critical to be sensitive to the individuality and customs in each market. Having the flexibility to localize certain aspects of your product offering while making sure you never stray too far from the core DNA of the brand and what attracted consumers to you in the first place.

What would you say is the next biggest trend in brand licensing, and how can licensees and licensors prepare for that trend?

COVID-19 has created a time where consumers are interacting in their own environment at home more than ever. Categories like at-home fitness, DIY and food & beverage are growing at a rapid pace, and I believe anything that adds convenience and ease of use for consumers at home will continue to flourish.  Look at companies like Peleton and Tonal right now, they can’t keep up with consumer demand! From my perspective, these are trends that will continue for the foreseeable future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention face masks or fashionable face coverings as the next big trend. Brands ranging from character and entertainment right through luxury fashion are all jumping on board. As the economy begins to open and consumers are stepping outside more and more, this is definitely something that retailers and brands are all betting big on.

How do you see the licensing industry changing in the next five years?

I think you’re going to see brands viewing licensing more as strategic partnerships and less traditional one-sided licensing deals. I don’t see licensing going away or down trending, but I do think it will change. Content drives commerce and can see brands (IP owners) dedicating more resources towards content development and driving their own DTC and retail platforms. Whereas in the past they may have relied heavier on licensees for marketing and retail activation, brand owners are now taking a more active role and getting in the driver’s seat to control the brands messaging at all levels.

What role have trade shows played in your strategy for licensees and licensors?

That’s ever evolving. Years ago, you went to a show to take orders and sign partnerships. In fact, when I first started my career in wholesale, I wasn’t allowed to come home without an order.  Now I think the environment has changed quite a bit. We still focus on new business development and revenue generating growth, but it’s more of an opportunity to build relationships between licensees and licensors on a broader scale. It’s nice to have so many partners both on the client and licensee side of the business together in one place.

CAA-GBG is one of the true global platforms, with offices all over the world, so trade shows are a great opportunity to get our teams together and develop strategy with our clients.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

COVID-19 has made everyday business challenging for almost everyone, but it’s also given us more connectivity internally to our global teams, and externally to our partners. Clients are increasingly leaning on us to drive new business and pivot to alternative sales channels. I’m extremely grateful for our teams at CAA-GBG who are doing an unbelievable job, working harder than ever, and delivering more value to our clients than ever before. From our perspective we need to remain nimble, continue to seek opportunities in new emerging markets, stay connected and always work as hard as possible for our clients – something we are very committed to doing.

Keynote Speakers Announced for Licensing Week Virtual


Licensing Week Virtual, a five-day online event designed to bring the global licensing industry together through online learning experiences, matchmaking and a virtual exhibit floor taking place June 15-19, today announced keynote speakers for the event. Organized by the Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets and industry trade association Licensing International, attendees will have the opportunity to tune in to four keynote addresses throughout the week from executives at Global Icons, Kraft Heinz, Netflix, and ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Held at 9:00 a.m. PST/17:00 p.m. BST Monday through Thursday, each keynote address has been scheduled at times that are convenient for both U.S. and European audiences and will be available to stream on-demand for an additional seven days following.

“The licensing community, like many other businesses at this time, is looking for direction,” says Anna Knight, Vice President, Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets. “We look forward to welcoming each of our keynote speakers who will provide listeners a unique perspective on the landscape and how they have found business success through the licensing industry.”

Keynote details can be found below.


Monday, June 15
Kraft Heinz: Leveraging Over 100 Years of Heritage 
Speaker: Christopher Urban, Vice President of Global Strategic Capabilities, The Kraft Heinz Company 
Overview: With more than a century of brand equity, it’s no easy task to extend and grow a brand with such deep and rich heritage. But that is exactly what Kraft Heinz is doing – starting from the beginning, even though the beginning was long ago. Join Christopher Urban in a fireside chat as he discusses the monumental task of leveraging such nostalgic brands as Heinz Ketchup, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Philadelphia, Jell-O, Kool Aid and more strategically, keeping this particular piece of global Americana top of mind for the next 100 years. 
Moderator: Amanda Cioletti, Event and Content Director, Licensing, Informa Markets 
Platinum sponsor: Brainbase 
Sponsor speaker: Nate Cavanaugh, Chief Executive Officer, Brainbase


Tuesday, June 16
The Future of Consumer Products and Retail: Top Industry Execs Share Where We Go From Here 
Speaker: Pam Kaufman, President, ViacomCBS Consumer Products; Geoffrey Greenberg, Co-President, Just Play; Andrew Tucker, Vice President, GMM Seasonal, Toys and GM, Family Dollar; Felicia Frazer, Random House; and Zion Doran, Senior Director, Integrated Promotions and Partnerships, Kellogg’s 
Overview: Hear from senior leaders in consumer products and retail on key issues including changing consumer behavior, the increase in alternative shopping methods and what this means for the future of the business.  
Platinum sponsor: ViacomCBS


Wednesday, June 17
How to Create a Culture of Equality  
Speaker: Michelle King, Director of Inclusion, Netflix, and author of the book The Fix 
Overview: The best way to set up your business for the future is to create equality of culture – what does this look like and how can this be done? What does this mean for leaders, and how is equality an invitation for leaders to lead? What does this look like practically? What is it they can do and why is this key to leading effectively, while showing tangible examples of how they can do this? What are the challenges that women experience in terms of the barriers, and how are leaders not aware of that? What are the barriers that men encounter? Why is this imperative for businesses in terms of setting the organization up for the future? This keynote will explore the future of work and the ways to demonstrate your competitive advantage and what that looks like, helping leaders find an inclusive way to frame the argument. This topic is a business imperative given some of the transformative changes that are coming from innovation and tech within the next 5- to 10-years. Join Michelle King in preparing your brand for disruptive changes that are coming. 
Platinum sponsor: Jewel Branding  
Sponsor speaker: Julie Newman, Founder, Jewel Branding


Thursday, June 18
Invisible Marketing: A Hidden Tool for Connecting with Consumers Through Licensing Partnerships 
Speaker: Jeff Lotman, Chief Executive Officer, Global Icons 
Overview: Jeff Lotman is founder and CEO of Global Icons, one of the world’s leading brand licensing agencies, as well as the owner of Fred Segal, a top boutique fashion retailer based in Los Angeles, Calif. Lotman’s keynote will focus on highlights from his newly published book Invisible Marketing, in which he postulates that in the brave new world of ecommerce and digital marketing, well-known brands need to focus on licensing as an essential tool for successful marketing. This is a must-attend session for all brand owners and managers needing an education on why licensing is critical for a brand’s marketing success, as well as for companies seeking licenses to sell more products and experiences.    
Platinum sponsor: OpSec Security 
Sponsor speaker: Bill Patterson, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, OpSec Security


Additional content programmed includes sessions on hot topics affecting the licensing industry, courses under the Licensing University banner from Licensing International that will set your foundation for business, and a score of networking events that range from meditation to a fitness break with the NFL Players Association, live trivia and much more.


For the full agenda or to register for free, visit www.LicensingWeekVirtual.com.

Meet the Licensing International Excellence Awards Nominees


Licensing International has announced the nominees for the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards in the category of Best Brand: Entertainment/Character/Toy – Animated.

More than 600 entries were received this year from companies in 22 countries and were judged by a panel of 152 executives. Entries this year came from all over the globe including a pair from Asia and four from the U.K. and Europe. They also include a pair of toy/game-based properties alongside those from more traditional media sources.

Here are the nominees for Best Brand: Entertainment/Character/Toy -Animated.


Batman – Warner Bros. Consumer Products (France)

Successes in this program include the “Galeries Lafayette x Batman” operation that provided a sales boost at the Paris retailer. The sell-through ran at double the usual rate, with 80 exclusive products created with international & local brands. A six-meters high Batman Mask was displayed on Champs-Elysées, known as the most iconic avenue in Paris.

In addition, the third largest comics festival in the world, Festival d’Angoulême, carried Batman’s color for edition 2019. An exhibition of Batman x Alex Israël in Marseille also gained huge media attention.


“Bing” – Acamar Films

Since its U.K. launch on CBeebies, “Bing” has seen many successes. It now broadcasts in 120 territories with more than 6.5 billion YouTube watch time minutes and is the fastest growing Facebook channel for a pre-school show.

“Bing’s” ever-expanding licensing program now has more than 100 licensees in Europe. It is already the number eight toy brand in Italy overall. Master Toy partner, Golden Bear, had a phenomenal launch in autumn/winter 2019, with Bing toys proving to be the company’s fastest selling range in years.


“Boonie Bears” – Fantawild Animation

“Boonie Bears” has the number one animation brand in China since its debut. Boonie Bears has partnered with more than 200 licensees at home and abroad, such as Master Kong and McDonald’s. There are more than 3,000 types of licensed merchandise and the annual sales of merchandise reached more than 735 million USD. It’s the first animation brand in China to engage in licensing in the categories of medicine and home decorating.


BT21 – Line Friends

Since its release in 2017, BT21 has recorded more than 3.3 billion Twitter exposures and more than 19 million SNS followers. It took less than 90 minutes for the BT21 X CONVERSE collection to sell out online and only 2 hours for BT21 X Anti Social Social Club – of which 70 percent of sales were made in the U.S., proving its strong fan base beyond Asia. In addition, other deals like the limited edition ‘Leica SOFORT BT21’ sold out in record times.


“44 Cats” – Rainbow

“44 Cats” is proving a long-term success and already boasts recognitions including an award from the Media Observatory of Italian Parents Movement, awarding the series as a family friendly show promoting a harmonious view of community, while the second one was the Golden Dolphin for Best Animated Series at the Xiamen International Animation Festival. It is growing tremendously in terms of subscribers and views on YouTube, and ratings on TV and VOD are increasing worldwide.


“Peppa Pig” – Hasbro/eOne

2019 was one of the biggest years to date for “Peppa Pig,” with multiple global activations amplifying brand awareness throughout the year. This included Chinese New Year’s Year of the Pig theatrical release and retail promotions, eOne’s 15th anniversary celebrations for Peppa in U.K. and Australia, a multi-territory brand collaboration with Hunter, India’s Cricket World Cup campaign, additional World of Play attractions, new live orchestral show format and the brand’s successful entry into the music charts which resulted in 24 million global streams in just 6 months.


“PJ Masks” – Hasbro/eOne

“PJ Masks” enjoyed another year of growth in 2019, become the number three largest preschool toys property in the U.S. The brand’s success was fueled by the launch of new episodes from season three and expansion into new markets including China where the series launched on CCTV in March. A packed schedule of partnership activations and retailtainment tours powered up fan engagement and helped drive retail footfall. The new album release built on the brand’s track record and delivered 58 million global streams whilst a new coding app Hero Academy contributed to a total of 81 million app downloads globally.


Pop! – Funko

Pop! is a phenomenon with products spanning the entire globe.  International sales grew 57 percent in 2018 as Pop! started amassing fans from all over the world.  The Pop! train is going full speed ahead.


Warhammer – Games Workshop

For more than 30 years, millions of fans globally have been collecting, building, painting and playing games with armies of miniatures – from space Marines to dragons and everything fantastical in between. Warhammer has not only withstood the test of time and been a presence on the high street for more than three decades, sales have doubled from £125 million to £257 million in the last three years alone. With new partnerships including Marvel, Bandai and Funko, a successful publishing division and a live action TV series in development, Warhammer, is set for another record-breaking year.


For a full listing of the categories and the nominees please click here.

Handheld Goes Big: Mobile Gaming Edges Toward $100B Forecast in Global Revenue


From the golden era of Nokia’s “Snake” to the age of “Candy Crush” and “Angry Birds”, mobile gaming has always been a powerful medium. However, thanks to advanced smartphone technology and rising audiences, mobile gaming is stepping into an entirely new age. 

The mobile gaming industry itself has reached a global revenue of over $77 billion in 2020 (source: Newzoo) thanks to a huge uptick in engagement, a 6.7 percent rise in smartphone users (3.5 billion) and the advent of ‘mainstream’ mobile gaming intellectual properties. 

The platforms supporting the mobile gaming world such as Apple, which will generate $38.8 billion on Apple Store this year, and Google Play ($27.8 billion) according to Newzoo, are now battlegrounds for new indie games, licensed games from external brands or movies and big-name retro titles making their way onto new technologies. 

Whether it’s pay-to-play, subscription-based gaming like Apple Arcade or in-app purchased fueled titles, more and more games are making their way to the top rankings. Today, “Pokémon GO” – the title that revolutionized augmented reality in mobile gaming – and SYBO Games’ “Subway Surfers” – which has been the subject of countless successes in the brand licensing market – are the leading games in terms of downloads, each surpassing 1 billion players. 

Esports titles that originally launched on consoles, such as “Player Unknowns Battlegrounds” (200 million monthly players in 2019 according to vieesports.com) and “Fortnite” (129 million downloads to date and over $1 billion in revenue) are also supporting the competitive evolution of the mobile games market and reaching global markets with ease. 

Mobile games that have reached peak engagement, even before the global pandemic, have supercharged their fan-base with brand licensing programs, movies (e.g. “Angry Birds” and “Angry Birds 2”), promotional runs (e.g. “Despicable Me: Minion Rush” which garnered 950 million downloads) as well as countless consumer product ranges. 

While the mobile gaming medium is a rapidly growing market in its own right, the COVID-19 pandemic measures are adding fuel to the fire and supercharging engagement, time spent on each app and number of players as the world is given more time. Another key element in the future of the mobile game industry is the arrival of 5G. This hyper-speed access to the web, combined with more powerful phones emerging all the time, will create a platform for some of the biggest names in gaming to add their own titles, properties and versions of major release titles via mobile. 

Put simply, as the world’s culture continues to change amid the global pandemic, mobile gaming’s first $100 billion year has been forecast for 2023 (Newzoo), which will undoubtedly make way for more big names in the medium, more big titles and huge advancements in everything from gameplay to licensed / licensable properties.  

The Week in Retail


Retail is changing with an unfathomable pace. To try and keep up, we’ve provided the week’s latest wrap-up of U.K. retail at a glance. 

Fat Face Gains £15m Stimulus Under New Owners 

Drapers has reported that a series of lenders – from banks to debtors – will take over the majority share in the business in place of private equity firm Bridgepoint. This new injection of cash will also present a significant reduction in debt, according to the internal report seen by Drapers, and will bring about a new phase of positivity and activity for the brand. 

B&M Post Uptick in Sales 

Discount store group B&M has announced a 3.7 percent uptick in U.K. sales for the 2020 financial year, alongside a revenue stream of £144.1 million from French retailer Babou – acquired by B&M in 2018 – during the period B&M acquired the brand in 2018. The reasons behind the uptick came from the reports own survey insights, stating its customers are using more discount stores, diversifying their retail options and the fact its buyers still enjoy shopping in town centers. 

Ocado Raises £1bn Equity to Back Online Deliveries 

Reports have covered the Waitrose grocery delivery service Ocado’s major investment in its online offering as it backs the trend of stay-at-home shopping. Thanks to rapidly rising share prices (40 percent this year), the new focus on delivery during COVID-19 is bolstering Ocado’s future plans as it opens new shares and raises £1bn to enhance its service. 

Inditex Broadens Technology Plans 

Inditex chairman Pablo Isla is bolstering the retail group’s in-store technological abilities of brands such as Zara, noting it will be introducing tailor-made digital architecture for both store and company through a EUR 1bn expansion of capital expenditure. Inditex will also be looking to capitalize on the forecasted 25 percent of its business that will be purely online by 2022 following Q12020 saw online sales reach 50 percent, up 95 percent on April alone. 

Monsoon Accessorize Group Escapes Administration 

After the Monsoon Accessorize Group – which also includes Franky & Benny’s and Quiz brands – fell into administration last night, Drapers has published a report today that outlines the swift group buy-out by owner Peter Simon and his holding company Adena Brands. Ultimately, this decision has saved 2,300 jobs and protected another 4,500 in its supply chain according to Peter Simon, as well as introducing a new era for the group of brands as a whole. 

TeamTO, Edizioni Ink Publishing Deal for ‘Mighty Mike’ in Italy


Kids’ entertainment company TeamTO has signed its first licensing deal in Italy with publishing company Edizioni Play Press for the animated slapstick series “Mighty Mike.”

The agreement will see a series of sticker, coloring, magic coloring and activity books distributed in kiosks nationwide beginning this month. Play Press is the first licensing partner for “Mighty Mike” in Italy.

“We are really excited to be partnering with TeamTO as their first Italian licensee for publishing in kiosks and mass market,” says Sarah Polito, licensing manager, Edizioni Play Press. “We are certain that the successful correlation between the editorial content of Play Press and the strength of the Mighty Mike character will make for a great partnership. Edizioni Play Press will launch this new brand in the market in June 2020, with a wide range of formats for Mike’s little fans, like magic albums, coloring books, activities with stickers and activities with crosswords and games.”

Uncanny Brands Pops Marvel Captain America Deal


Uncanny Brands has taken on another Marvel icon with the Captain America Popcorn Maker. The hot air popper transforms Cap’s shield into the lid of the machine, which is removable and doubles as a serving bowl.

This movie companion is available now exclusively on Amazon.

Spotlight Licensing, Bonavista Optics Eye ‘Downton Abbey’ Line


Spotlight Licensing has teamed with Bonavista Optics to create a “Downton Abbey”-inspired line of custom sunglasses and eyeglasses.

“Downton Abbey’s” story, music, photography and talent are a feast for the senses,” says Bonnie Ashley, owner, Bonavista Optics. “This has been an exciting process, bringing some of that art and ambiance into eyewear. We are presenting an optimum product to the discerning ‘Downton’ fans and anyone who loves sophisticated and stylish eyewear.”

The eyewear will be available first in the U.S. and Canada, followed by the U.K. and European region. Purchases can include prescription sun or computer lenses.

“Downton Abbey” sunglasses will be sold online at BonavistaOptics.com, as well as on Amazon. Pre-sales began in May. In addition, the ophthalmic line of eyewear will be available exclusively at participating optical stores or eye doctors’ offices in the U.S., U.K., Canada and EU within the year.

MaskClub Launches Kids’ Face Masks

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MaskClub, a new mask company owned by Trevor George of Trevco, has expanded its offerings with new licensed kids’ masks.

This makes MaskClub the first online destination to launch kid-sized face masks in partnership with brands like “Sesame Street,” Warner Bros. and more. Designs include logos, characters, graphic prints and more.

Masks are available here.

Chefclub Appoints Raft of Licensing Agents


Chefclub has announced the appointment of four new licensing agents to represent the Chefclub brand across key territories. New agencies include Maverick Products (North America), Active Merchandising (Germany), Caravanserai (Spain and Portugal) and ETS (Italy).

“We are thrilled to be working with Maverick Products, Active Merchandising, Caravanserai and ETS as they are all experts in their respective markets and will be instrumental to our commercial expansion,” says Marie-Laure Marchand, senior vice president, consumer products and business development, Chefclub.tv. “The international growth of our property is a strategic priority as we have grown so fast in the last year and already established a solid footprint in North America and Europe on social media already. It is now time to offer licensed products to enable consumers to further engage with their favorite cooking programs. The kitchen is a tremendous land of opportunity, and Chefclub has built healthy foundations in order to harvest multiple licensing opportunities in the kitchen space.”

Chefclub is a leading cooking brand on social media with more than 12 billion views in 2019 and a community of 80 million followers. Chefclub has now inked a deal with these agencies to capitalize on the engagement and love for the brand by creating profitable licensing programs in North America and key European territories.

The four signed agencies boast high expertise in IP management, having worked for such major names as Nickelodeon, Mattel, Sony brands, “Peppa Pig,” “PJ Masks” and Betty Boop, among many others.