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These months have been particularly intense for Licensing Magazine, as we have produced, just a little over a month apart, two rich issues of over 100 pages each: the first, the Spring issue, which covered the industry’s main event, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, within which the Bologna Licensing Fair/Kids is organized, and which was attended by over 31,000 international professional visitors (+10% compared to last year), 100 countries represented and +1,500 exhibitors; while the second is this issue, which covers the industry’s main event, the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, where we are present with distribution bins and our own booth #B125. Moreover, with this issue we plan to cover as Media Partner other summer events dedicated to various industries.

The circulation and distribution of Licensing Magazine is now one of the pillars of our success. In fact, after Las Vegas, we will be present at the most important European retail event, Shoptalk Europe, in Barcelona, and then we will cover the two most important events dedicated to German and French licensing, namely BrandMate (where we will also organise a conference!) and France Licensing Day The week after we will be in Annecy to cover MIFA – Annecy Animation Festival, and launch our new editorial baby, the European Animation Journal! Next, we will attend Content Tokyo for the first time and return to Sheffield for the Children’s Media Conference, as we do every year. Finally, games are becoming more and more central to our business, and we will be covering the industry’s most important international event, Games.Com, in Germany for the first time at the end of August. Meanwhile, we are gearing up for a very busy Fall and a number of conferences and events that we will be organizing. So, keep following us and we will be happy to meet you at one of the upcoming events. Write to us to fix a meeting and tell us your news!


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Cristina Angelucci


Rossella Arena


Francesca Wolfler

SPECIAL THANKS TO Alessandra Maccaferri, Andrea De Amicis, Nepal Campagna, David Kleeman, Melissa Goodrich, Rob Hutchins, Josh Selig


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The editorial staff has taken every care to obtain from copyright holders the authorization to publish the pictures in this issue. In any cases where this has not been possible, the editorial staff would like to make it known that they are available to eligible parties to settle any amounts that are owed. Trade publication registered at ROC number 25906


Aniplex of America Expands

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Franchise


What’s New with Studio 100 International Brands


Celebrating 45 years of Strawberry Shortcake

Harnessing Pop Culture

Appeal: breaking the rules and having fun with Brand Mash-ups


Four key trends in Europe

in APAC, China and LBE


Minecraft at Licensing Expo 2024


Miffy on Tour in 2024. Connecting with fans

Nelly Jelly together with “3Megos” to create a new Comedy Pre-School Series


Riding the wave of international success


Get ready for two incredible new Smurfs’ console games!


Angry Birds 15th anniversary and focus on building transmedia success


The evolution lies within Maurizio Distefano Licensing’s properties


Big news for the Boomez and Elastikorps toy lines


Las Vegas Licensing Expo 2024 Preview


A lifestyle brand through kids’ content perspective. The case of Mini Smiley


Mystic Moose and WowWee’s new Planet Mojo Toys connected to Blockchain


Legendary Power


Me and My Avatar: Three Tips around Licensing for the Creator Generation


It’s showtime! Products of Change’s future focus for Licensing Expo

Cover Story Interview 16 16 76
News News News 36 22 40 26 29 30 31 44 48 32 50 52 54 58
Focus 62 68 70 74 76 26

BRANDmate returns to Offenbach for the third

The second edition of France Licensing Day









CONTENTS 15 CMC The Strength of Connection SHOPTALK
Europe returns to Power Retail’s Digital Transformation
Japan, the country’s largest character
brand licensing trade show BLE
Licensing Europe 2024. More than 150 exhibitors confirmed
unique kids channel DEVOLVER DIGITAL Cult of the Lamb: The First Verse Interview Interview Entertainment Publishing 82 90 84 86 91 92 94 100 108 92 102 100 AMPERE ANALYSIS From books to screen: facts and figures TONUCCI & PARTNERS
The role of artificial intelligence in the creation of
fandom CONTENT
Unlocking authentic
TV: the end of Content ... as we know it
the world of Talking Tom
premium global video
WHAT’S NEXT The next events to follow! Trends Trends Trends Save the Date Events Events 80 96 106 108 110 YOUNG HORIZONS INDUSTRY Young Horizons Industry, the international coproduction forum for films and series for kids and youth 88

Aniplex of America Expands Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Franchise

Unstoppable Anime Scores New Licensing Deals as well as New Product Launches Timed to the May 12, 2024, Season Four Debut

Aniplex of America, Inc. unveils an extensive expansion of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba franchise in 2024, introducing a wide array of new products and forging multiple new licensing and promotional partnerships, including direct-to-retail collaborations, as well as toy, apparel, gift accessories and gaming products. These launches and new agreements coincide with the season four Hashira Training Arc debut on May 12, exclusively on Crunchyroll.

Aniplex of America will be attending Las Vegas Licensing Expo 2024 (Booth U224) with a view to extend its partnerships in categories such as publishing, homewares, packaged goods, health, beauty, fashion collaborations, and more.

Aniplex of America is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Aniplex, Inc. —a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan,

Inc.—best known as a producer and distributor of anime films and series, including Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Aniplex of America oversees the distribution and licensing of the anime across North and South America, the United Kingdom and Ireland, South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – from Beloved Manga to Anime Sensation

From its origin as a manga series penned by Koyoharu Gotoge under SHUEISHA’s JUMP COMICS, which sold over 150 million copies, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’s rise became explosive with the masterful anime adaptation from ufotable, which brought to life this gripping tale of tragedy, perseverance, and redemption.

The TV anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba premiered in 2019

“Demon Slayer has amassed a dedicated fanbase, drawn in by its gripping storyline, breathtaking animation, and unforgettable characters. We’re thrilled about the forthcoming release of the Hashira Training Arc and delighted to be working with partners who continue to expand the universe providing fans multiple ways to engage with the brand at every touchpoint.” Yosuke Kodaka, President, Aniplex of America.

with the Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc, where a young Tanjiro returns home to find that a demon has killed his family, except for his younger sister, Nezuko, who has been transformed into a demon. Driven by his love for Nezuko and a desire for

Yosuke Kodaka

justice, Tanjiro resolves to become a “demon slayer” so that he can turn her back into a human and avenge the death of his family. Resonating deeply with fans who are drawn to its raw emotion, captivating storyline, and intense battles between demon slayers and demons, the Unwavering Resolve Arc topped the 2020 Tokyo Anime Awards, winning Animation of the Year, Best Script & Original Story (Koyoharu Gotoge), and Best Animator (Akira Matsushima). In October 2020, the action-packed fantasy film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Movie: Mugen Train was released theatrically, grossing over $470 million, earning $49 million in the U.S. alone, and capturing Japan’s all-time box office record—surpassing esteemed titles like Frozen, Spirited Away, Avengers: Endgame, and Your Name The 44th Japan Academy Film Prize (2020) awarded the movie the top prize for Animation of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Music (Yuki Kajiura and Gō Shiina), among others.

The series continued with Mugen Train Arc and Entertainment District Arc during 2021/2022. And in February 2023, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba -To the Swordsmith Village was released theatrically, followed by the Swordsmith Village Arc TV adaptation, which won Best Animation, Best Art Direction, and Best Fantasy at the 2024 Crunchyroll Anime Awards. The first three TV seasons are accessible across multiple platforms, and according to data released by Netflix for the 1st half of 2023, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was, by far, the most watched anime series on the platform.

Earlier this year, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba -To the Hashira Training- was released in movie theaters worldwide with special theatrical screenings reaching over 140 countries and regions (surpassing the previous film’s release).  And the May 2024 TV adaptation, Hashira Training Arc, will allow fans to follow the new chapter about to unfold!

Fans can dive into the world of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba with these must-have toys, collectibles, and lifestyle products!

New 2024 product debuts include several launches in May. These include the second wave of two product lines from Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America. The 5-inch “Ultimate Legends” action figures, featuring 27 points of articulation, are created with exceptional detail to look exactly like the fanfavorite characters, Rengoku, Nezuko & Uzui. The Ultimate Legends series is presented in a collectible package with a beautiful art reveal inside the cover. And the Gashapon Blind Pack collection “Great Posing Figures” expands its lineup with new characters

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba toys from McFarlane Toys Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - The Movie: Mugen Train Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba “Ultimate Legends” from Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America

in approximately 3” scale. Each blind foil pack contains a mini-masterpiece, capturing true-to-anime details, all the way down to the sword design and manicured nails! These engaging toys join a phenomenal line of import product developed by global partner, Bandai Co. Ltd.

Also in May, McFarlane Toys introduced new character figures, featuring 5-inch renditions of Tanjiro Kamada, Sanemi Shinazugawa, Obanai Iguro, and Gyomei Himejima, along with 7-inch versions of Tanjiro Kamado (with Nezuko Box) and the popular demon, Akaza. And earlier this year Zuru Toys launched “Anime Pop,” a mystery box of 5-inch plush and will be adding new Demon Slayer product this summer.

Demon Slayer has been immortalized

in the world of collectibles through the collaboration with Funko Pop, with a highly sought after range by fans of the series and collectors alike. Five new Pop! Vinyl figures launch in late May. And home and lifestyle products manufacturer Just Funky has a fun line of products including dinnerwear, Raman bowls, glasses, Bento lunch boxes, blankets, and a mystery gift box! Products from Monogram include 3D foam blind bag clips, magnets, and coin banks; and Trends International has a wide range of new posters and calendars coming this year.

And fans can also shop by show or by product at the Aniplex Online Store, with unique products unavailable elsewhere, as well as limited edition Blu-Ray box sets of their favorite shows as well as a wide range of Japanese imports.

Unleash inner Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba style with these fashion meets fantasy collections! In the U.S., two exciting new collaborations will launch this year. Aniplex of America is continuing its relationship with leading footwear and apparel retailer Footlocker for a new Demon Slayer x Adidas footwear and accessory range. This is the second collab with Footlocker, the first was an in-demand Demon Slayer x Champion product range of apparel including three t-shirts and a hoodie in men’s, women’s, and kids’ sizes.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba x Crocs collaboration Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba home and lifestyle products from Just Funky Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba “Ultimate Legends” from Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Later this year, Demon Slayer will join Steve Aoki’s DIM MAK fashion collection following a new agreement with the two-time Grammy-nominated music producer. The Dim Mak fashion label was founded by Aoki in 2006 as an extension of his music and lifestyle brand, incorporating elements of streetwear, punk, and Japanese aesthetics, and features bold graphics, edgy designs, and a mix of vibrant colors, drawing inspiration from music, art, and pop culture.

And ongoing is a highly successful partnership with Crocs , who launched their popular limited-edition Demon Slayer line at New York Comic Con last year. Four of the hit anime’s main characters are celebrated across the Echo Clog and Crocs Classic Clog capsule collection. Each pair is equipped with thematic Jibbitz while the show’s logo appears at the footbed.

Fan-favorite lifestyle apparel company, Bioworld has an assortment of beanies, socks, backpacks and more-

-essential items for every Demon Slayer enthusiast. And pop-culture product manufacturer’s Isaac Morris and CultureFly have an ongoing Demon Slayer range including t-shirts, headwear, and socks, as well as keychains and vinyl figures.

More action from Aniplex with immersive video games and accessories

Launching April 26, 2024, Sweep the Board is a four-person digital board game developed by CyberConnect2 and published by SEGA and Aniplex for Nintendo Switch. In this game, anime landmarks like Mount Fujikasane and Asakusa take center stage as game boards where players roll dice to progress. Each board features both daytime and nighttime phases. In the daytime, players engage in events and mini-games to hone their skills, gearing

up for the nighttime challenge of hunting demons to become master DemonSlayer swordsmen!

And this same trio is behind the successful multi-platform fighting actionadventure game The Hinokami Chronicles which, as of February 2024 had sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.

Additionally, a new deal has been inked with the most viewed and mostvictorious organization in competitive gaming, Team Liquid, for Demon Slayerthemed computer accessories and exclusive apparel designs. With 250+ colleagues, Team Liquid has garnered over 2 billion views across all its platforms.

Gaming enthusiasts can now enjoy firstrate comfort with the May 2024 release of a second Demon Slayer x Secretlab chair collection - adding the Kyojuro and Shinobu characters. The first wave launched last year with chairs inspired by Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, Inosuke, and Giyu, combining research-backed

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Team Liquid Apparel and Computer Accessories Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Gaming Chairs from Secretlab Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba apparel and accessories from Bioworld Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba x Champion collaboration at Footlocker

ergonomic design and introducing a brand-new color-changing technology that is a first for a gaming chair. Driven by extensive research, development, and cutting-edge engineering, Secretlab’s award-winning chairs are the top choice of the world’s premier gaming tournaments, championship-winning teams and over 2,000,000 users worldwide.

Addtionally, AplusX Inc. and Cyber Power PC have delivered promotions with mousepads and keyboard cap products respectively.

Aniplex Unveils Exciting New Anime Lineup: Discover the Latest Releases!

Serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump (published by SHUEISHA), Mashle: Magic and Muscles, is a wildly popular manga by Hajime Komoto with over 5 million copies worldwide. The first cour concluded its story in July 2023, with the second cour airing in January 2024.

This off-kilter magical fantasy, with its unique mix of muscles and magic, is set in a world in which magic is casually used by everyone. Attending Magic School, Mash Burnedead sets his sights on becoming a “Divine Visionary,” the

elite of the elite, while hiding the fact that he can’t use magic. He surpasses the best and brightest with his ripped muscles and faces the Divine Visionary Candidate Selection Exam.

Mashle has captivated fans with its blend of humor, action, character development, and fresh take on the typical magical school genre - making it a standout on Crunchyroll.

The opening theme for the second cour, Bling-Bang-Bang-Born by Japanese hip hop duo Creepy Nuts, has become an internet sensation. As of May 1, it has been the #1 song on the Japan Hot 100 for 14 weeks.

WIND BREAKER is a popular comic about a high school delinquent serialized by Satoru Nii. This super popular series has consistently ranked at the top of rankings on Weekly Shonen Magazine’s official app,  “Magazine Pocket”, and copies are constantly being reprinted after its release!

Sakura  is a  loner  and a  high school

delinquent  who wants to be a fighter at the top of the world.  He makes his way to Furin High School, infamously known for its delinquents. However, Sakura learns that Furin High School has transformed into a group that protects the town now known as the “Chime of the Wind Breaker” -  Bofurin.

From the hottest, next-generation delinquent manga, Director Toshifumi Akai, a batch of talented staff, and CloverWorks, comes the highlyanticipated anime series!

The first English language dubbed episode hit Crunchyroll on April 18th!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Sweep the Board WIND BREAKER Mashle: Magic and Muscles


What’s New with Studio 100 International Brands

There are many new and ongoing developments at Studio 100 International, including Vegesaurs and the brand-new launch of Heroes of Childhood. Let’s find out more about both projects.

VEGESAURS. A growing success

Following the success of the first two seasons, new 20 episodes of season 3 are ready to be aired, featuring many new characters. The launch is planned for June 2024 on ABCKids in Australia and in September 2024 in the UK on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer. Already present in more than 20 territories, there are various recent deals to spread the awareness of this IP globally. Among them, we can indicate: the agreement with Ceska Televize, the public broadcaster in Czech Republic, and Eesti TV, the Estonian broadcaster; the future programming in Hong Kong thanks to the deal with the VOD platform PCCW, and in Kazakhstan with the public broadcaster Balapan; also, Portugal will

be covered thanks to the programming on RTP, and the same in Slovenia thanks to the public broadcaster RTV. English-speaking territories are very well covered, thanks to agreements signed with broadcasters, which include all the three seasons. They are ABC, BBC, TVO Kids, Knowledge Network, and Radio Canada. On BBC iPlayer Vegesaurs has reached over 28 million views since the launch of the first season, done in February 2023.

On the consumer products side, there are several projects developed so far. Among them, we can quote the successful loyalty program campaign

Picture Book by Macmillan Picture Book by Macmillan

realized by L-Founders (formerly: BrandLoyalty) for the retailer Lidl for Austria, Spain, and Denmark territories (the latter was launched last February 2024).

The Lidl campaign with “Vegesaurs” was recognized for its creative approach to engaging consumers and enhancing brand loyalty, utilizing characters from the popular TV show in a series of collectibles and plush toys distributed by Lidl stores across the abovementioned territories. This campaign effectively combined fun, education, and value, making a significant impact

2023. Last but not least, novelty and activity books will be released during the course of this year.

Also in the UK and on the publishing side, Immediate Media launched a monthly magazine last August 2023. Toys are developed by Globetrade, with a plush line distributed by local partners. Other deals include Walk Acts by Rainbow Entertainment. Finally, the licensing partners’ network is expanding, thanks to the agreements with Epic Story Media for the USA territory, and JY Animation for China.

on both brand visibility and consumer engagement. In April Studio 100 International was rewarded with a Bologna Licensing Award for this project.

Vegetarian snack products by iLove Snacks were launched at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA earlier this year and will be soon available on Amazon. Publishing is covered by Macmillan, which also owns the international rights of Vegesaurs. Picture books were launched in July 2023, as story board books were released in September

UK is among the crucial territories for Vegesaurs international success. In fact, for CBeebies Apps Playtime Island and Get Creative, Studio 100 has developed branded games, for a total of 15 mini games launched this May. In June are launched five nursery rhymes on BBC and ABC YouTube channels.

Lastly, digital content is also important for Vegesaurs. Its official YouTube channel has more than 42.000 subscribers, +3.1 million views and reaches peaks of +10 million impressions and 215K views for the most watched video. On YouTube, Studio 100 International has developed also regional channels in English,

Spanish and French languages, and there are more local channels to open. These digital channels are crucial to develop the brand awareness strategy, as they welcome clips, shorts and special contents, to keep the attention high on the IP beyond the TV programming.

Brand awareness campaigns on “Vegesaurs” keep going in 2024. The objectives are to drive streams and consumption of the new season and build further affinity for the brand and promote sales of licensed products. Studio 100 International is working to create new offline touchpoints for fans and potential customers to interact with the brand by partnering with kids’ events and family entertainment venues in the different regions where the IP is becoming popular.

Promotion of LIDL loyalty campaign Picture Book by Macmillan Vegesaurs Lidl campaign

HEROES OF CHILDHOOD. Riding the Retro Wave

Studio 100 International takes a step back in time and rediscovers the magic of (young) parent’s childhood with its new label / brand “Heroes of Childhood”. With this initiative, Studio 100 International is actively invigorating its iconic brands and breathing new life into its vast catalog. The company is revitalizing its classic heroes and stories, crafting a new brand platform that resonates with today’s zeitgeist while honoring the original wonder and allure of its tales.

Embracing the timeless charm and universal appeal of these classics, Heroes of Childhood emerges as the quintessential celebration of the beloved retro and nostalgia wave sweeping across the globe.

In early April, Studio 100 International launched the vibrant Studio 100 –Heroes of Childhood YouTube channel, dedicated to whisking teens and young adults away on a nostalgic and fun adventure. Many of the characters and series gathered under this brand will be familiar to the target audience from their childhood: Maya the Bee, Heidi, Vic the Viking, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, and Sindbad the Sailor are just a few of the beloved icons ready to leap from the past and spark delight once more.

In addition to numerous clips from the original series of the 1970s and 1980s there will be enthralling, new and entertaining content uploaded each week including character specials, shorts, and compilations. The innovative “crazy clips” breathe fresh life into iconic moments, reimagined with a modern twist for enjoyment not just on YouTube but TikTok as well. Initially launching in Germany, Studio 100 International’s plan with this ambitious project is to gradually introduce more languages,

extending the joy and nostalgia to a global audience.

In conjunction with the launch of these social media channels, Studio 100 International is introducing a trendy Heroes of Childhood fashion collection featuring cool and cheeky designs. This fashion line is available on leading online platforms such as Zalando, About You, OTTO, limango, and Amazon Fashion. By combining modern street style with iconic elements from the series, the “Heroes of Childhood” also create a bridge between generations.

The wave of retro vibes is getting an unstoppable momentum as a fashion trend and Studio 100 International’s timeless brands and characters offer a comforting presence in an everchanging world, evoking memories of simpler, joyous times. They serve as a bridge connecting our shared past with the vibrant presence, inspiring new generations and rekindling cherished memories.

In this page: Heroes of Childhood Fashion lines


Celebrating 45 years of Strawberry Shortcake

WildBrain’s iconic Strawberry Shortcake is celebrating her 45th anniversary in 2024 with a host of new products and experiences for fans of all ages.

In collaboration with makers, bakers and creators, the brand Straberry Shortcake is unveiling new fashion collections, delectable treats, sweet social content and delightful artwork throughout the year, highlighting Strawberry’s legacy over more than four decades.

Elizabeth Litten Miller, WildBrain’s VP of Franchise Strategy, talks about the brand’s approach to the anniversary festivities, championing bakers, artists and entrepreneurs who are showcasing their talents and unique perspectives on Strawberry Shortcake’s enduring appeal.

What are the most important initiatives that you have organised to celebrate the anniversary of Strawberry Shortcake?

Strawberry Shortcake is an homage to vintage, creativity and friendship. It has been an incredible 45-year journey for Strawberry Shortcake and her berry besties. Themes of making, baking and creating are at the heart of the celebrations for this milestone year and are proving to be as popular and current as ever. All our partners are honoring Strawberry Shortcake’s timeless appeal

Elizabeth Litten Miller Top Image: A Leading Role x Strawberry Shortcake Capsule Collection

in truly inspiring ways, and we’re excited to see even more sweet collaborations unveiled this year and beyond. One of the most amazing things about this milestone is the range of ways fans and partners honor and celebrate how Strawberry Shortcake has inspired them across generations. This anniversary has seen us work with a broad array of partners—from specialty retailers and established licensees to female entrepreneurs, artists and influencers who have reimagined the brand in their own style—which has resulted in some highly creative and exciting products and activations across all four of Strawberry’s iterations. In particular, we’ve seen resurging popularity from partners and fans alike for classic Strawberry and her adorable bonnet and bloomers. Today, a heritage brand with a consumer products past is prime for re-invention, and what’s hugely exciting is the momentum Strawberry Shortcake is gaining as a pop culture icon and fan favorite.

Among the 45th anniversary products, there are sure to be plenty of new sweet treats inspired by Strawberry Shortcake...

Baking is truly at the heart of Strawberry’s DNA, and we have some very special partnerships with inspiring female bakers, including Namaya Navaratnarajah, founder of CakesByNams, who designed a special selection of themed cakes that debuted the Strawberry Shortcake 45th anniversary logo with a signature burn cake across our social channels. We are also partnering with Jennifer Mihalovits of Dough & Arrow for a range of delicious strawberry cookies and with America Ramirez’s PeachyCakes on another fantastic layered cake selection that celebrates all eras of Strawberry Shortcake and her “berry besties”. Strawberry Shortcake also took over cake artist extraordinaire Amirah Kassem’s flagship Flour Shop’s NYC store in February with a Strawberry Shortcake sweet treat gifted to the first

50 visitors. These are just a handful of examples of the amazing bakers who are creating some wonderful products, supported by social content and promotional events where fans can immerse themselves in Strawberry Shortcake’s world.

And when it comes to the brand’s retail presence, what are the latest updates? Our partnership with pop culture retailer For Your Entertainment (FYE) on a direct-to-retail confectionary range, which includes sugared gummies, freeze-dried ice cream and sodas, is a wonderful example of how we’re working with specialty retail. The FYE Strawberry Shortcake merchandise will also feature an extensive range of exclusive licensee products, including Mad Engine’s adorable ceramic bowl, a drink tumbler and a matching mug with further items coming soon.

Fandom-first retailer BoxLunch has launched a 25-piece collection to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Strawberry Shortcake. The product assortment includes apparel, home, novelty, auto, sleep, accessories, pins, bags and jewelry, and pays homage to the brand’s massively successful doll and merchandise line, which has been bringing joy to audiences since its introduction in 1979.

We’re also connecting with fans at a more local level, which can be seen in our partnership with Prisma Vintage in Austin, Texas, which hosted a Strawberry Shortcake pop-up during the SXSW festival. The pop-up included curated fashion and accessories items from a whole host of our amazing partners, including BOY MEETS GIRL®, Erstwilder, Cakeworthy, BoxLunch, A Leading Role, Loungefly, and SpooksieBoo. All these fandom-focused retail initiatives are part of a broader campaign of “flashback favorites” that includes major chains like Walmart, where we have launched a Strawberry

Cakeworthy x Strawberry Shortcake Apparel Collection The Loyal Subjects x Strawberry Shortcake Toy Range

Shortcake collectibles range with The Loyal Subjects at 3,900 stores, including the iconic ragdoll and fashion doll in her signature Berry Bake Shoppe.

Tell us also about Strawberry Shortcake’s new fashion collaborations...

Fashion is one of our core pillars for Strawberry Shortcake and, in keeping with the brand ethos, we’re focused on celebrating self-expression and inclusion. We have been thrilled by the creativity and innovation in our apparel partnerships.

Dress-up and apparel brand A Leading Role’s Strawberry Shortcake 45th anniversary capsule collection includes a stunning pink tulle skirt adorned with strawberry sequined icons and a crossbody purse, a pink faux fur jacket and bespoke Strawberry Shortcakeinspired boots, skillfully designed by artist Regina Yazdi. Styled alongside our Strawberry Shortcake Anniversary tee from Golden Hour available at Norstrom, this look captures sweet pop vibes perfect for our birthday celebration. Long-standing partner Dolls Kill released its fourth Strawberry Shortcake collection this spring, featuring their signature eclectic, fan-driven style with a faux fur-lined cardigan, corset mini dress and midi skirt. The collection also includes stunning accessories and footwear plus new home items such as a porcelain tea set and duvet set-inspired by vintage quilted patterns.

Lifestyle brand Loungefly’s new line gives a nod to 80’s Strawberry Shortcake in denim, gingham and eyelet detailing complete with her signature strawberry scent. The capsule includes heartshaped crossbody bag, a matching wallet, and two mini backpacks.

It was also very important for you to form partnerships with inspirational female entrepreneurs and artists. Can you give us further details?

Our approach includes our many

collaborations with female entrepreneurs and artists—and it’s one that speaks to the enduring legacy of Strawberry Shortcake through generations of girls. We’ve seen incredible engagement with femaleled businesses and women creatives, all keen to pay tribute to Strawberry Shortcake in their own unique way. With BOY MEETS GIRL®, a contemporary female-led athleisure brand, we collaborated on a signature capsule that symbolizes founder and Strawberry Shortcake fan Stacy Igel’s belief that young girls, like Strawberry Shortcake and her diverse circle of friends, can achieve anything they set their minds to.

We’ve also partnered with celebrated artist SpooksieBoo on a series of seasonal accessories and collectible capsules, for Halloween, Holiday and LA Comicon, as well as an art installation at Rockefeller Center.

Additionally, we’ve recently launched our Strawberry Shortcake Collective with online fan epicenter Threadless Here, dozens of artists have paid tribute to the World of Strawberry Shortcake offering fans unique designs available on everything from tees to skateboards. This month, we’ll be featuring LA-based artist Annie Holley whose unique design pays homage to fashion magazines of the 1990s and 2000s with a Strawberry Shortcake friendship-inspired graphic soon to be available on Threadless. Most recently, in partnership with Threadless we launched our 45th Anniversary fan art contest, in which we received hundreds of fan submissions. We’re thrilled to be rolling out many of these designs over the coming months.

PeachyCakes x Strawberry Shortcake Loungefly x Strawberry Shortcake


Harnessing Pop Culture Appeal: breaking the rules and having fun with Brand Mash-ups

In today’s market, when it comes to keeping heritage brands relevant, break-frame strategies are essential. The traditional belief that different IP should not crossover is being turned on its head—and to wonderfully creative effect. WildBrain is seeing some exciting mash-up opportunities, with Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake brands being embraced by contemporary artists and partners excited to pay tribute to their childhood favorites.

The IP mash-up approach is a great way to drive multi-generational fandom. For our iconic WildBrain franchises, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake, we’re able to draw on pop culture and heritage appeal to engage kids and adults alike.

This is seen in our latest playful partnership with UK-based street artist collective, MurWalls, building on the success of our initial Teletubbies x MurWalls collaborations launched in 2022 and spotted at Pride in London, RuPaul’s DragCon UK and House of Teletubbies LA. This second activation sees the ultimate Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake mash-up come to life. With four unique designs that marry the brands together, including a Strawberry Shortcake-inspired Noo Noo, the exclusive MurWalls art will be made into a limited-edition apparel and accessories collection available on the Teletubbies DTC website and TikTok shop. This mix brings together street

art and fan-favorite brands in a unique homage that’s bang on trend for fans hooked on heritage characters.

This year also saw a mash-up between Strawberry Shortcake and Yo Gabba Gabba! with The Bestie Collection by celebrated artist SpooksieBoo. The sweet assortment of accessories features Strawberry Shortcake and her adorable Yo Gabba Gabba! friend, Foofa. Designed with love and adorned with vibrant artwork, each piece is a celebration of the magic of friendship. Our long-standing collaboration with Dolls Kill has seen innovative and fresh products that fit the edgy Dolls Kill aesthetic while still focused on our IP. Its fashion and accessories range features Strawberry Shortcake’s adventurous personality combined with glam, punk, and festival fashion looks, while for Teletubbies, they took inspiration from the over-the-top colorful thematic of the show and built a collection and campaign that embodies rave and

MurWalls x Teletubbies + Strawberry Shortcake Mash-Up. Left image: Dolls Kill x Teletubbies Apparel Collection

festival vibes, perfect for our Gen Z demographic.

In celebration of artistry and mash-ups, we’ve also worked with Threadless for Strawberry Shortcake’s anniversary. Artists from indie to established have created unique new designs that embody the essence of the brand, inspired by their personal connection to the characters. These designs are available on the Threadless web shop across multiple categories.

We’re always exploring new approaches to bringing our brands to fans in wholly fresh and authentic ways, and we have more exciting mash-ups with our own franchises and third-party brands coming over the next year and into 2025. These mash-ups are part of a holistic strategy that allows us to harness the nostalgia and heritage of our beloved brands, while giving our partners the creative freedom they need to reimagine the brand for their audiences.

SpooksieBoo “The Bestie Collection”

Four key trends in Europe

John Taylor, VP, Northern Europe and Pau Pascual, VP Southern Europe, MENA & South Asia, WildBrain CPLG, spoke to LM about how their brands are interpreting four key trends in the European market.

Power of Nostalgia for Heritage Brands

PP: There is consistent demand for iconic franchises with proven appeal, and well-known heritage IPs are driving multi-generational licensing partnerships. Peanuts is a great example of a brand with an enduring legacy across demographics, and we’re seeing a wide variety of successful retail collaborations across Europe. It’s a similar picture for Strawberry Shortcake as we see a resurgence in popularity for classic Strawberry in her 45th anniversary year.

The Grinch, but there’s also much anticipation for The Cat in the Hat movie, set for release in March 2026, as well as big potential on other Dr. Seuss titles like The Lorax and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Creative Brand Collaborations

PP: There’s been a significant shift in the industry towards a more creative and collaborative approach, which transcends traditional licensing contracts, and this is set to continue. One of our superpowers at WildBrain CPLG is our in-house creative team who deliver standout executions in fresh new ways.

storytelling to create meaningful connections. As we continue to expand our global reach—most recently across Asia-Pacific—we continue to focus on a “Glocal” approach, with global strategies that are underpinned by our local expertise in territories worldwide.

PP: We’re seeing this approach work successfully for MGM’s Wednesday in Europe, where we’re curating local bestin-class partners to launch co-ordinated activations at retail, focusing on a “less is more” strategy. It’s an approach we’re also taking with our licensing programmes for PLAYMOBIL® and SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog

JT: The Teletubbies is another one of our franchises with significant multi-generational appeal. It’s also the case with our partner brands, such as Dr. Seuss’s slate of iconic IP which have a growing presence at European retail. Christmas is always strong for

JT: Innovation gives us a competitive edge for WildBrain’s owned franchises and our partner brands. A great example is our recent partnership between Kith and Peanuts. The integration of the two brands and how the creative assets linked to the instore activation was incredible.

Importance of Consumer-Centric Strategies

JT: As the industry evolves, brands are increasingly focused on engaging with consumers on a deeper level, leveraging

Growth of Seasonal Opportunities

JT: One trend that continues to gain considerable momentum is the traction for brands around key seasonal events. Christmas is undoubtedly a major retail opportunity, and our programme for Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch in 2023 was the biggest yet.

PP: Halloween is also becoming a bigger opportunity for brands such as Wednesday, and with a second season coming, we’re excited to further develop our licensing programme in Europe!

Zara Kids x Wednesday Apparel Range. Top Image: Primark x How the Grinch Stole Christmas Range

Growing in APAC, China and LBE

Three key representatives from WildBrain CPLG give us the opportunity to learn more about their work in the APAC and China regions, and LBE developments.

How is your team currently organized in APAC, and what are their skills?

Ben Peace, VP APAC: We continue to grow our capabilities and presence across the region as part of WildBrain CPLG’s recent Asia Pacific (APAC) and China expansion. The team of 18 licensing executives across six offices in APAC now manages ten markets in the region, including Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Since we established our APAC business just over two years ago, we have developed some standout retail programmes in each market including our partnerships with Shinsegae in South Korea and SM Megamalls in the Philippines.

Our slate of much-loved WildBrain franchises, including Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake, are performing well and we’re seeing great traction in APAC. The iconic Peanuts brand, which we represent on behalf of Peanuts Worldwide in APAC and China, has proven a huge success in its core categories, and momentum is building in wider categories as we head towards the brand’s 75th Anniversary in 2025.

We’re also continuing to focus on driving consumer products programmes for global toy brand PLAYMOBIL®, Devolver Digital’s gaming phenomenon Fall Guys and Supercell’s hit gaming franchise, The World of Clash

What are your latest partnerships and innovations in this region? And from your perspective, what are the biggest local licensing trends at the moment? Benjamin Bao, VP Greater China: We’re seeing considerable growth in China for Peanuts, Teletubbies and In the Night Garden, and we have developed major retail partnerships, including Miniso and Tmall. We look to partner with local licensees to develop products that appeal to Chinese fans across all demographics: for example, we recently launched Teletubbies collectible figurines with key partner, Pop Mart.

Emerging trends we’re seeing in China, particularly amongst young people, include the rise in outdoor adventures such as hiking and camping, as well as owning pets for that sense of companionship. Local tourism is also high on the agenda, as well as a continuing trend for location-based entertainment where fans can interact

Miniso x In the Night Garden Toy Range. Left Image: Pop Mart x Teletubbies

Collectible Figurines

with their favourite characters first-hand.

What developments do you have in mind for the LBE sector?

Evi Sari, VP LBE: Location-based entertainment (LBE) is booming worldwide, and we’re excited to build on this trend, with key opportunities in Saudi Arabia, China and Korea. Beyond traditional theme parks, we’re pursuing smaller-scale attractions like family entertainment centres, touring exhibits and more—”entertainment in a box” designed for urban lifestyle malls. China saw 400 new mall openings in 2023 alone—this rapid growth has prompted mall operators to use high-quality LBE to attract families by becoming “shoppertainment” destinations in the face of intense competition.

With this momentum, we’ve partnered with Max-Matching Entertainments Co., Ltd., one of the largest LBE licensees in China, to bring beloved characters like Peanuts, Teletubbies, and In the Night Garden to life through immersive experiences that will boost retail traffic in major new mall developments at toptier urban locations.

SM Megamall x Peanuts


Minecraft at Licensing Expo 2024

Mojang Studios’, creator of Minecraft, attends Licensing Expo to connect with current partners face to face and to evaluate new opportunities to extend the Minecraft franchise beyond the game.

opportunities to interact with the franchise.

This year, Minecraft is celebrating 15 years of gripping adventures, mindblowing creations, and a community that has left its mark on every block! Be on the lookout for new and exciting initiatives, including content, merchandise, promotions, and new

Minecraft, the best-selling video game of all time, has sold over 300 million copies worldwide across multiple platforms since debuting in 2009. In the consumer products arena, Minecraft now touts over 180+ licensing partners globally. Throughout the last couple of years, led by Federico San Martin, Senior Director of Global Consumer Products, Minecraft has rapidly ramped up their consumer products business by focusing their efforts on category expansion, retailer relationships and international growth through their agent partnerships with Retail Monster, their US retail agent, CAA (Europe, LATAM, Japan) and Merchantwise (Australia and New Zealand).

Growth of the Licensing Program

As part of the licensing expansion efforts for the brand, they will launch

products for the first time through multiple collaborations within the Beauty and Consumer Electronics categories, as well as a partnership with Colgate in the oral care category. In addition, Mojang Studios has also signed new partners and products, including PEZ (collectible candy), Igloo (coolers), Felt Right (home décor), Give and Go (cookie and structure kits), Krusteaz (Buck Wild Savory Snack Mix), Bright Matter books (workbooks), Minecraft Go Gurt (yogurt), Minecraft bikes by Dynacraft, Minecraft Ideas Book by DK, and Minecraft

Pop Up Book by Matthew Rinehardt. Additionally, Secretlab is launching a new Enderman gaming chair skin and Wolf lumbar pillow which will debut in May 2024.

15th Anniversary Celebrations

To kick off its 15th anniversary celebration, Minecraft has partnered with Walmart on a nationwide retail launch kicking off in Q2 2024 with

Federico San Martin

various licensing partners creating branded merchandise, including a collection from Justice, featuring an array of tops, bottoms, accessories, sleep sets, and swimwear.  International retail highlights include activations at Parco (Japan), Big W and The Warehouse (Australia & Nz), Smyths (EU) and C&A (LATAM) among others.

Minecraft Theatrical Movie Release in 2025

Mojang Studios, in collaboration with Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. and Vertigo Entertainment, will release its first ever live-action adaptation of Minecraft on April 4, 2025.

Mojang is very excited to see Director Jared Hess’ vision of Minecraft come to life with exciting and dynamic performances from the ensemble cast including Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Dune), Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda, The Mandalorian, Super Mario Bros. Movie), Danielle Brooks (Peacemaker, Orange Is the New Black), Emma Myers (Wednesday) and Sebastian Eugene Hansen (Lisey’s Story).

The film will offer fans a new perspective on the world they know and love. Through compelling storytelling and world-building, the film will deepen the lore of Minecraft and explore aspects of the universe that may not be fully realized in the game alone. The Minecraft community can expect stunning visuals that capture the iconic blocky aesthetic of Minecraft while also expanding upon it to create a visually rich and immersive world. Mojang is

working in conjunction with Warner Bros. to deliver this vision into a multicategory Licensing and Promotional program.

The film serves as a significant expansion of the Minecraft franchise into the realm of film and entertainment media. It will introduce the Minecraft universe to new audiences who may not be familiar with the game, further increasing the franchise’s reach and cultural impact.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon. Mojang Studios is currently working with licensing partners to release merchandise in support of the movie release. For core and movie opportunities, please contact



A lifestyle brand through kids’ content perspective. The case of Mini Smiley

After developing world-renowned brands and positioning them in lifestyle categories, The Smiley Company recently ventured into the pre-school market for the first time with the launch of Mini Smiley, a 3D animated musical series produced by PGS Entertainment and launched on YouTube. We spoke to Nicolas Loufrani, CEO of The Smiley Company to learn more about this new project.

Tell us more about Smiley. Why can it be considered an evergreen brand, apart from any customer’s category? Smiley’s enduring appeal lies in its universal message of happiness and positivity, which transcends age, culture, and industry boundaries. Its timeless designs and optimistic ethos have made it a constant presence in popular culture for over 50 years, resonating with people of all demographics.

Remaining relevant over time is paramount for us as a brand. We are constantly evolving and expanding into new territories.

Which are the values and mission of the brand?

At Smiley, our values are deeply rooted in positivity, creativity, sophistication, and storytelling. These principles guide everything we do, shaping our

Nicolas Loufrani

The products and experiences created will help Smiley enter new retail spaces and engage with new demographics, all while featuring the unique and sophisticated design style The Smiley Company is known for.


Smiley Company:

50+ years legacy

The Smiley Company has transformed the iconic Smiley icon into a global retail empire. Originating in 1971, it was created by journalist Franklin Loufrani to symbolise good news. Now led by CEO Nicolas Loufrani, the company has become a powerhouse in brand licensing, emphasizing spreading joy and positive vibes. Smiley has evolved over the last 50 years, to having a strong presence across fashion, lifestyle and many other sectors. Smiley has a unique position with their partners enjoying success across all age groups and genders from tweens & teens to adults. Smiley is now set to expand in to preschool markets with Mini Smiley, aligning to the brand values of Positivity, Storytelling, Sophistication and leveraging Smiley brand awareness, desirability and partner relationships along with an allencompassing multi million Euro launch plan.

mission to spread happiness and positivity through unique and engaging collaborations, aligning with shared values of our esteemed partners. We believe in fostering connections and inspiring people to embrace optimism in their lives.

As part of our mission, The Smiley Company is continuously evolving. We are committed to supporting the growth and development of innovative ideas that make a difference for the future. We collaborate with the biggest and best global and local partners to amplify our message of positivity through our products and experiences. Together,

Some Key Figures:

• 5O+ years history

• Rated among the Top 60 Global Licensors

• Over 40 million products sold across 147 countries in 2023

• Consistent double digit growth year on year since 2006

• 2023 social media reach of 192M followers

• Trademarked in over 100 countries

we aim to create a world where joy knows no bounds, driven by a positive marketing message that resonates with people everywhere.

Which are the worlds of Smiley?

Smiley encompasses various worlds, ranging from fashion and lifestyle to entertainment and licensing. Each world offers a unique experience and engages with consumers through different mediums, catering to diverse interests and preferences.

Let’s shift our focus to Mini Smiley. What is the Mini Smiley brand all about? Mini Smiley offers a compelling opportunity to engage with a wide demographic ranging from babies and preschoolers to kids and families. This diverse audience represents a significant market segment hungry for immersive and educational content that resonates with the Smiley brand ethos.

The purpose behind the extension of the Smiley brand is multifaceted. It seeks to boost sales by diversifying into new product categories, fostering a sense of collectability among young enthusiasts, and broadening its consumer base to include new audiences.


Strategically positioned on the foundation of over 50 years of Smiley’s success among adults and teens, Mini Smiley is uniquely poised to expand its influence to captivate the youngest demographics and families. This strategic move not only reinforces Smiley’s legacy but also opens doors

to new avenues for engagement and growth.

This animated series plays with a special link with parents. In which terms?

Mini Smiley aims to foster bonding and connection between parents

Retailers who have joined SmileyWorld (non exhaustive):

• Global DTRs: H&M, Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, GAP

• Department Stores: Galeries Lafayette, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Palacio de Hierro

• Local Fashion Chains and DTRs: American Eagle, Cotton On, Kiabi, Next, Primark, OVS, Terranova, Gemo, C&A, Reserved, Lefties, Hot Topic, M&S, Splash, Babyshop

• Mass Retail: Target, Walmart, Asda, Tesco, Carrefour, Auchan, Lidl, Aldi

Licensees who have partnered with Smiley cover over 450 key categories across:

• Fashion & Accessories

• Home & Gifting

• Hi Tech

• Health & Beauty

• Stationery

• Publishing

• Toys

• Games

• Food & FMCG

• Jewelry & Watches

and children through shared musical experiences. The series’ sing-along format encourages parents to join in the fun, creating cherished moments of togetherness and enhancing the parent and child bond.

Who are the partners of this project?

Mini Smiley is a co-creation with children’s animation powerhouse PGS Entertainment. Securing a partnership with Sony Music ensures a high-quality musical experience for Mini Smiley’s audience. Q2 2024 will also see new launches with top-tier YouTube Partners, further expanding the series’ reach.

What is the strategy behind Mini Smiley’s licensing development?

The idea behind Mini Smiley’s licensing development is to leverage the emotional connection and popularity of the series to create a range of consumer products that resonate with our target audience. It involves developing a comprehensive toolkit and style guides for boys and girls, along with discussions with potential lead partners in categories like toys, publishing, and promotions. By strategically expanding


For more information, please visit

Alternatively please contact Usha Chauhan Global Press & Trade Marketing

The Smiley Company

Watch Mini Smiley on YouTube @ MiniSmileyWorld

our presence in the kids’ market while staying true to our brand identity, we aim to complement the success of SmileyWorld and attract younger audiences to the brand.

Discussions with potential lead partners are ongoing to launch the consumer products program, focusing on key categories such as toys, publishing, and promotions. Leveraging Smiley’s expertise in consumer products, the company will oversee this part of the project, ensuring a dynamic and impactful brand experience. The products and experiences created will help Smiley enter new retail spaces and engage with new demographics, all while featuring the unique and sophisticated design style The Smiley Company is known for. Strategic brands and retailers are targeted to engage their audiences through coordinated marketing strategies, creating a halo effect and driving sales. The program is designed to complement, rather than cannibalize, the success of SmileyWorld, which targets older kids and focuses on fashion, trends, and different iconography.

Mini Smiley is expected to support the classic SmileyWorld 2-12 products popular with moms and young kids by targeting younger audiences and attracting them to the brand at an early age.

Somehow, with this IP, Smiley covers the kids’ audience/customers in a more structured way. Correct?

Yes, Mini Smiley enables us to engage with younger audiences in a more structured and targeted manner while still appealing to our core audience of older kids who love SmileyWorld. It’s a strategic move to expand our presence in the kids’ market while remaining authentic to our brand identity.

Do you aim to find new partners’ profiles/categories (e.g. Toy and Publishing) through this new brand?

Absolutely. Mini Smiley presents an

opportunity to collaborate with new partners in categories like toys and publishing, leveraging the series’ unique appeal to create innovative and


engaging products for children. We’re excited to explore these partnerships and further expand the Mini Smiley brand.

An animated musical made to win the hearts of preschoolers and parents.

Mini Smiley is an animated musical series designed for children under 6 years old. Step into a vibrant world where each Mini Smiley wields a unique power that springs from positivity. The episodes aim to spark children’s imaginations and strengthen the bond between parents and their little ones. Featuring songs performed by children, the animated series resonates genuinely with youthful viewers. The music is composed by industry veterans known for their work with global pop sensations such as JLo and Justin Bieber. Combined with high-quality animation, Smiley has created a captivating world that is cherished by both kids and parents alike. Mini Smiley is produced by PGS Entertainment known for hit brands such as Alvinnn!!! And the Chipmunks, Miraculous Ladybug, or The Jungle Bunch.


• Children under 6


• 78 original songs, of 2 minutes each

• 26 mega hit covers, including Y.M.C.A by Village People and more to come

• Various formats from compilation to covers and more

Content Roll out:

• Launching February 21st, 2024 on YouTube, Tik Tok, and all social media

• Music Distribution by Sony Music Entertainment’s Magic Star, the official global kids and family division of The Orchard, a leading global music distribution and artist + label services company

• Starting September 2024, partnership with leading YouTube channels with 10B + views

• Planned launches with leading TV platforms for Fall 2024 / Early 2025

Content Development Strategy:

• One new musical season of 52 songs per year

• Long form TV series planned for 2026


Miffy on Tour in 2024. Connecting with fans

While preparing to celebrate 70 years of brand heritage in 2025, Miffy is connecting with more and more fans around the globe in 2024.

Exciting news has of course been that Mercis and Canal+ are going down the rabbit hole to create a new CG toon Miffy television series. Updated storytelling and the introduction of new characters will ensure that Dick Bruna’s Miffy reflects the world around kids today. The global release in 2025 coincides with Miffy’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

In the run up there are no dull moments for this always curious and fun loving bunny who is now visiting both Paris and Berlin.

Mall of Berlin

A pop up store has been opened in the Mall of Berlin which will run until the

middle of July. Again, just like in London, the overwhelming enthusiasm took everybody by surprise but serves as a testimony to the incredible potential this classic brand stills is exhibiting today.

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann

Long-term retail partner Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann also intensified the collaboration by further opening its doors to accommodate a broader collection of Miffy products.

During the Easter period two shop-inshop activations were launched, one on the 5th floor in ‘lʼunivers enfantin’ and an exclusive collaboration with master chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin at



Complimentary art & design workshops for the whole family where given by local artist Jules & Lily, Anne Boivin, Malicieuse, et Poulette Magique.

Starbucks & Miffy celebrating Spring

‘Welcoming customers into the heartwarming world of Miffy’ saw the start of The Starbucks® + Miffy collection.

The successful initial promotion was in March and a second promotion will follow in December of this year. Featuring a blend of Miffy design mugs, tumblers, cold cups, puffer tote bags in various colours, hot cup

For more information about Dick Bruna’s life and work, visit | official official

charms and a unique barista Miffy, the launch in Singapore stores surpassed expectations.

A follow up roll-out will make the products available in also in Hong Kong, Vietnam and possibly more territories later this year for an even bigger immersive experience.

About Dick Bruna, Miffy and Mercis bv

Miffy was “born” on 21 June 1955, when Dutch artist Dick Bruna first drew the character to entertain his young son whilst on a rainy seaside holiday in Holland. The series of picture books which followed used simple illustrations and rhyming text to explore the universal experiences of childhood, immediately earning Bruna international critical acclaim as an author and artist.

69 years later, the Miffy books have sold more than 85 million copies, and are currently published in more than 50 languages and merchandise available across five continents.

Based on respect for art and the world of a child Miffy has over the years evolved into a brand synonymous with quality, design and fun resonating with the child if all of use.

Global rights owner Mercis bv carefully manages Miffy’s global explorations through highly integrated business units in the fields of publishing, media and licensing, in collaboration with a network of highly valued partners.

Miffy x Starbucks Miffy at Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann

Nelly Jelly together with “3Megos” to create a new Comedy Pre-School Series

Nelly Jelly, a Lithuanian IP born from a popular hit kids’ book series, with a successful licensing programme, joined by 30 partners in its native market, is now going international with a new comedy preschool series in collaboration with British Animation Studio 3Megos.

In the upcoming series, Nelly Jelly is presented as an intelligent, determined, strong-willed 6-year-old girl with a huge imagination, who sometimes simply needs a little help from her monster friends.

“Nelly Jelly is a relatable and loveable character, and its concept is already proven to work. We are not starting from scratch here - we’re starting with an IP that has a track record of people liking the characters, and there is a distinct

storyline and a plot,” comments Martin Lowde, co-founder and CEO of 3Megos.

“The situations and problems that Nelly Jelly finds herself in are familiar to most children. In addition, her monster friends Jim and Jam are adorable and funny, and children love messy situations that are a part of the plot, especially because Nelly Jelly always finds a positive resolution. The parents will also relate to the learning moments, and, in the end, the series will model good behavior. This is why we believe the series will be loved by

kids and their parents around the world.”

Indeed, the world of Nelly Jelly is similar to the world of any kid - she has real friends, pets, family, and real children’s problems. She’s good-hearted and optimistic, she’s also determined and smart, but when trouble hits, it creates a call into the monster world.

“And that’s when the magic happens - her monster friends sense when she’s in trouble and burst onto the scene. Grown-

NELLY JELLY Martin Lowde

ups never see her Jim and Jam - only her best friend Mattea and family dog Teejay can. Nevertheless, her parents know all about the monsters, as Nelly Jelly is very open in sharing stories about all of her adventures,” says Martin Lowde.

For example, we find out that Jam is a female monster, loving and protective, with a super-strength power - which she uses without thinking too much of consequences. Jim, on the other hand, is a big monster, who is neat and smart, but not nearly as strong. He is clever in a “book learning” kind of way and considers himself very wise - however, the only book he has is “The Big Monster Book of Humans,” which isn’t always very accurate.

“In the good company of Jim and Jam, Nelly Jelly deals with problems any kid might have - such as the fear of darkness, starting school, or even not wanting to tidy her room. Through the use of her imagination, and with the help of the monsters, Nelly Jelly finds solutions to her problems in the most creative and fun way,” explains Martin Lowde.

“By having played in our local sandbox, and having achieved mega success at home, we know how to get the attention of kids around the world.”

Simona Krasauskienė, CEO of NJ World, the company that manages the Kakė Makė (native IP) and Nelly Jelly IPs, says that the new Nelly Jelly series offers a heartwarming, relatable story, with elements of music, fun, surprises, and comedy, making it great for family coviewing.

“Our IP developing team, experienced and forward-thinking, is collaborating with Emmy and BAFTA Film awardwinning animation studio 3Megos: we have united to use our joint expertise in children’s preferences for entertainment and our understanding of the latest trends,” says Simona Krasauskienė.

At this year’s Annecy Festival, Nelly Jelly IP, participating together with “3Megos,” will be ready to share the trailer of the new animated series.

As Martin Lowde explains “First of all, we’re developing for traditional broadcast, and then we will be developing a YouTube strategy alongside it and looking at all of the other SVOD and AVOD channels that can support this series. We predict there will be quite a lot of interest from the producers, so we are getting ready.”

Global trends through children’s entertainment content

The original content of Nelly Jelly IP, number one in its native market, has always reflected on global trends. The IP is now taking a new shape to meet the needs of the current Alpha and the new Beta generations, who are globallyminded content creators and users, vastly oriented towards YouTube, social media and gaming. At the same time, the Nelly Jelly universe keeps on living in books - its original creator, writer and illustrator Lina Žutautė, who started 14 years ago, keeps telling new Nelly Jelly stories for children of every age.

In a world that has become a kids-first world, children become the creators of their reality and want to participate in the process of content creation - and relate to Nelly Jelly, who is also the creator herself of her fantasy world.


Pioneers in the native market

Nelly Jelly is the number #1 children‘s IP in its native region and it is the first one to bring innovative solutions in kids’ entertainment and to work together with the top players in the market to offer top quality through licensed products.

In the home market, made of a population of 2.6M people, 160K of

which are children of the target age, original Nelly Jelly (locally known as Kakė Makė) books have a circulation of 15-30,000 versus the 2.000 total run of other books titles. In addition, the IP sells over 2 million licensed products and services annually: the Lithuanian brand “Kakė Makė” has 30 local license partners, including manufacturers across nine categories.

Besides the hit book series, Nelly Jelly has expanded to multiple platforms, including live events, theatre and experiential events. The main publisher of the Nelly Jelly brand, Alma Littera, continues to publish Nelly Jelly content reflecting some of the major children‘s content international trends, for a total of 25 new titles released every year.

A licensing success story

When it comes to licensing business, the Nelly Jelly local brand is currently experiencing strong momentum in all categories, such as retail partnerships, and collaborations with top manufacturers - who cover not only Lithuania, but also the Baltics and other European markets - and, of course, product development, enabling

a 360-degree community engagement model.

Last year the brand signed agreements with 8 new partners and launched nearly 70 new products under the local “Kakė Makė” brand. Last year, the expansion was focused on the Food & Beverages category, which grew by 98%, and entered into new partnerships and 10 new products. Among the new partnerships, there is the innovative brand Leafood company (producing salads grown on a vertical farm).

“These partnerships aims to help children to live authentic experiences,” says Simona Krasauskienė. “They are becoming more and more focused on sustainability, climate change, physical and emotional well-being.”



Riding the wave of international success

The Moonbug world is expanding not only in Europe and the USA, but increasingly in Asia as well. In April, they made their first appearance as an exhibitor at the Hong Kong Licensing Expo, and more news and plans are in store for the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.

Moonbug’s franchises and content appeal to global audiences, and the approach when entering new markets is to always do it in a way that is locally and culturally relevant.

Asia is an incredibly rich and diverse region where there is a big opportunity for growth. Their strategy is to join

forces with best-in-class partners that can ensure to enter these key markets authentically and with the right approach. That means collaborating with the best licensing agents, the best brands and the best distribution platforms in each region.

For example, in Japan, they partnered with the global Japanese fashion brand UNIQLO on a range of CoComelon T-shirts that started rolling out globally last March, with some markets still to launch later in 2024. As part of the partnership, they created bespoke content where CoComelon characters go shopping at a UNIQLO-inspired store with the product range on display. Through coordinated and integrated marketing efforts across YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, it’s possible to see a growing success of this partnership and the beginning of a longlasting relationship.

Also in Japan, in March 2024, Moonbug and Japanese streaming platform

Francesca Romana Gianesin, Head of International at Moonbug Entertainment CoComelon inflatable event in Hong Kong. Image above: 8-meter tall inflatable JJ in Malaysia

U-Next signed a deal that will see over 600 episodes from Moonbug’s big shows being available to U-Next’s nearly 4 million subscribers.

In India, Viacom18 has been appointed as their licensing agent. Their local expertise and experience in India will be sure to create the best scenario to capitalise on the strength of Moonbug’s content in this key market with the best consumer products range and experiences.

China is another key market where there is a lot of opportunity and will continue to build on the successes already achieved there. Given its unique content distribution landscape, Moonbug’s content is already available in the biggest and most important platforms there, including Tencent, Xiaomi, Huawei, TCL, China Mobile and China Telecom to name just a few. Efforts will continue in 2024 by partnering with Tencent to create social media accounts for their key franchises, further connecting with Chinese fans and families.

It’s worth mentioning the recent partnership with Taiwan Mobile, which

Cody themselves. The amazing success was recognised with the experience winning 2 MAFTA Golden Horse Awards. They worked with a range of retailers and product distributors to ensure that fans could also browse an amazing range of CoComelon products.

Moving to Hong Kong, a Christmasthemed CoComelon inflatable event produced by Make It Loud in 2023 won the prestigious ‘KLOOK Partner Awards - The Best of Hong Kong and Macau 2023’. Expect to see more of these events “popping up” in other countries in Asia, offering kids and families an unique and powerful way to experience the brand. In this region, Moonbug signed an agency agreement

started earlier this year, and is one of the largest telecom companies in that market. This partnership will bring Moonbug content to ‘MyVideo’, which is Taiwan Mobile’s OTT platform, 24/7, including content in Chinese as well as English, which will be refreshed with new content compilations every month. As part of this partnership, there will be also content from key Moonbug franchises being broadcast on the regional children’s channel MOMOKids Beyond content, the partnership also means that CoComelon consumer products will be available for purchase on the MOMO website. Taiwan Mobile and Moonbug also have plans to collaborate on the development of new IP, co-productions and live events.

One Universal Production (OUP) created an amazing inflatable CoComelon popup event in Malaysia that ran for 44 days and delighted 2.3 million fans! It was an incredible event that included a giant 8-meter tall inflatable replica of JJ, along with a climbing and hexagon maze, and the world’s first CoComelon bus parade, complete with appearances of JJ and

with I-Licensing and together they are preparing a social media and social commerce launch.

Another very important milestone is that for the first time ever the Blippi Wonderful World Tour will come to Asia this year. Announced in April, the show will play at the New Frontier Theatre in Manila, the Philippines, July 6th and 7th with 3 performances each day. Filipino kids will see world-famous Blippi be joined by his special friend Meekah, with fun songs and dance. The plan is to bring this amazing show to more countries in Asia in 2024 and beyond. Last but not least, on the Consumer Products and Experiences side, as part of the commitment to further enhance Moonbug’s presence in Asia, for the first time ever, they are present at key licensing shows in the region, including Hong Kong Licensing Show (April 2024), where they had 80 meetins in 3 days, and the China Licensing Expo (October 2024). These is an opportunity to meet existing and new partners to continue bringing Moonbug franchises to life in new and exciting ways.

CoComelon bus parade in Malaysia UNIQLO x CoComelon

Get ready for two incredible new Smurfs’ console games!

The Smurfs announced two upcoming console games in collaboration with Microids: The Smurfs - Village Party and The Smurfs – Dreams.

Publisher Microids and IMPS have recently announced the release of two amazing new video games, The Smurfs - Village Party and The Smurfs – Dreams

Developed by Balio Studio, The Smurfs - Village Party will be available

on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC from 6 June 2024

Papa Smurf is throwing an extraordinary party! To mark the occasion, he is asking all the Smurfs to take part in the preparations to make the party unforgettable. The player must scour

the village and invite all the Smurfs to the event, but beware of Gargamel who has heard about the party and will do everything he can to spoil it... In party game mode, get your friends and family together for hours of fun in 50 mini-games inspired by the world of Smurfs. In adventure mode, set off on a thrilling journey full of quests,

About Microids

Microids is a French video game publisher. Founded in 1985, Microids’ editorial strategy now focuses on 4 major areas: adventure games, racing games, retro gaming and games inspired by iconic titles. By collaborating with renowned studios and authors (Revolution Software, Sloclap, Oddworld Inhabitants, Pendulo Studios, Eden Studios, Go Nagai, Charles Cecil, Benoît Sokal, Paul Cuisset…), Microids has become a major player in international video games. Taking inspiration from legendary titles, Microids reaches a wide audience and creates original adventures which give gamers the chance to play as some of their most beloved characters.


meet over 100 iconic Smurfs and explore 10 different regions (Enchanted Forest, Snowy Mountains, Gargamel’s Territory...).

Other game features include 19 playable iconic Smurfs, 31 outfits for your playable Smurf, 6 types of games (sport, quickness, luck, memory, battle and accurancy), 2-4 local multiplayer.

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a sleeping Smurf? Now’s your chance to find out!

Dive into a brand-new adventure in the heart of the Smurfs universe with the all-new 3D platformer: The Smurfs - Dreams, where the most fantastic dreams collide with the darkest


The Smurfs - Dreams marks the latest venture from Ocellus Services, renowned for their expertise showcased in Marsupilami: Hoobadventure. In The Smurfs – Dreams Gargamel has devised a new diabolical plan to capture the Smurfs. The infamous character has cast a cunning spell on the sarsaparilla bushes, the Smurfs’ favourite delicious treat, plunging them into a deep sleep. Players will embark on a dreamlike quest to awaken all the Smurfs before the diabolical Gargamel reaches the village.

Whether you’re playing solo or with a friend, immerse yourself in enchanting or nightmarish realms, and explore the dreams of your favorite Smurfs as you traverse levels of varied gameplay in a unique adventure where each Smurf has their own special abilities.

Players can collect patterns to customize their characters with new clothing and unlock various surprises along the way. To save the Smurf Village, get ready to embark on an

epic journey to the farthest reaches of imagination! This 3D platformer offers exciting challenges and captivating puzzles to solve, providing total immersion in a magical world where imagination comes to life. Featuring a unique and colourful style that evolves as you explore different dreams, in 4 dreamy worlds with 12 levels and 16 mini-levels to complete and discover the secrets of the Smurf village.

The Smurfs - Dreams is scheduled for release in late 2024 on PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam, GOG, Microsoft Store, Epic Game Store).


Angry Birds 15th anniversary and focus on building transmedia success

For this special anniversary year, Rovio is developing a series of exciting activities in celebration of Angry Birds and expanding the storytelling through transmedia.

Gaming and brands collaborations

Last March, SEGA® and Rovio™ announced a groundbreaking crossover event that brought together two iconic gaming worlds – Sonic the Hedgehog™ and Angry Birds™. For a week players could explore the franchise crossover in five mobile games, including Angry Birds 2™, Angry Birds Dream Blast™, Angry Birds Friends™, Sonic Forces™, and Sonic Dash™ on the App Store and Google Play. This special event has marked the first brand crossover since Rovio joined the SEGA family last year, which aims to bring together two fanbases that span the globe. Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog have a strong global presence in the mobile landscape, with millions playing their games daily. The

crossover presents an opportunity to introduce new players to each franchise while also giving returning players a truly one-of-a-kind event.

Expanding the story of Angry Birds through transmedia initiatives is a core strategy for Rovio and a vision shared by the parent company, SEGA. Both companies have iconic intellectual properties with roots in gaming, seeing success in everything from licensed products to feature films. This crossover exemplifies the strength and versatility of Sonic and Angry Birds, extending beyond gaming to offer a valuable experience for players and fans of both IPs.


Every year on Earth Day, the world

turns its attention to the importance of environmental conservation. Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds die from injuries caused by plastics. That is why this year, the Angry Birds games have been united under the banner of “birds helping birds” to raise awareness for the damage that plastic waste does to environment. Angry Birds Dream Blast, Angry Birds 2, and Angry Birds Friends have been all participating with special, limited time events that have informed players on environmental issues and direct them to where they could learn more.

Through gaming, players have been able to recognize the collective power of small actions. The Angry Birds Dream Blast Earth Day campaign exemplified this principle, demonstrating how a


seemingly simple act within a game can contribute to a global movement for change.

Making learning fun

Last Summer, the Angry Birds announced a partnership with Legends of Learning, who create web-based games to give classrooms a dash of fun, while delivering crucial math and science knowledge. Finally, this year Legends of Learning release the first two of a series of new educational Angry Birds games that promise to make students’ classroom experiences extra impactful.

Angry Birds Eggstraction uses the Angry Birds to teach the concepts of collisions (something the birds have plenty of experience with) and forces. In the game, students join the Angry Birds in an experience that leaves the slingshot behind in favour of the “Sproing-O-Matic” – a bird propelling device created by Professor Pig. Students have to employ this instrument to overcome the forces of egg-stealing evil, as well as actual forces of physics, to defeat the piggies and reclaim their eggs. With any luck, players can use enough force and the correct trajectory to collide directly with the piggies’ egg-stealing snouts.

Angry Birds and the Multiplication Portal challenges students to brain teasing math problems to topple stone walls. By launching the correct number of birds through the correct portal, the birds can take down the walls and get one step closer to protecting their precious eggs – with the power of multiplication. Multiple multiplication challenges await in Angry Birds and the Multiplication Portal, with a multitude of challenges to overcome – the perfect way to hone those multiplication skills.

A new animated series

Last year Prime Video and Amazon Kids+ announced a series order for Angry Birds Mystery Island, from Eric

Rogers (Futurama) and Titmouse. The animated series features an ensemble cast that includes Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows), Kate Micucci (Scooby-Doo!), Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings), and Nasim Pedrad (Saturday Night Live). Over the course of 24 episodes in the first season, the show promises lots of fun, mystery, and adventure, with irreverent humor and pop culture references that all members of the family will enjoy.

Angry Birds Mystery Island introduces three new Hatchling characters — Mia, Rosie and Buddy —and a foreign-

exchange piglet named Hamylton

These rambunctious tweens receive an all-expenses-paid (and completely un-asked-for) island getaway, when they are mistakenly catapulted onto an uncharted island. Left to explore the exotic sights, smells, and unexplained phenomena of their new environment without any adults around, the ragtag bunch quickly learns that, in order to survive and make it back home, they need to unlock the mysteries of the island together.

Chris Prynoski  (The Legend of Vox Machina),  Shannon Prynoski  (Fairfax),  Antonio Canobbio  (Arlo the Alligator Boy),  and Ben Kalina  (Harriet the Spy) at Titmouse are executive producers along with showrunner Eric Rogers. Mystery Island  is the first Angry Birds series created with Amazon, and its launch is planned by the end of May this year.

Future plans

Exciting partnerships are going to be announced throughout the year for the 15th anniversary from fashion to design products and exclusive collectibles. First of the partners came out at toy fairs, as a new plush line from Posh Paws and toys from Character Group. Keep your ears open as more big news is coming from the brand!


The evolution lies within Maurizio Distefano Licensing’s properties

Maurizio Distefano Licensing’s entertainment category proves itself to be as strong as ever with animated series that rank only the top positions among the broadcasters lists of programs.

Bluey, for a starter, is increasing day by day its awareness in Italy among consumers and Licensees who see its true potential given to its highly relatable contents, the series’ simplicity and its ability to keep the audience glued to the screen in every single episode. Today there are a total of 3 seasons available on Disney+ and the episodes of the third Season are also airing daily on Rai YoYo. The series ranked #1 show on Rai Play which is confirmation of its success.

This year, Bluey will also be guest again at La Posta di YoYo, one of the most loved shows by children in Italy. Only in April, 3 special new episodes were released: “Ghost Basket”, “The Sign”, a special extended episode of 28 minutes and “Surprise” on Disney+. Numerous fans followed the launch making it a great success.

Another thing that makes Bluey so unique is its originality, the style guides are very rich and they offer great

inspiration to the licensees that decide to get onboard. As of today, there are many licensees who picked Bluey for their products, among these are Multiprint, Diramix, Mondadori, Dolfin, Lisciani and Giochi Preziosi as Master Toy distributor.

Bing continues to be among the most loved animated series. Its audience of 0- to 6-year-old children follows the episodes with great enthusiasm on RAI Yoyo, Prime Video, Disney+, Vodafone,


DeAJunior, Tim Vision and on the Bing: Watch, Play, Learn app, as well as on YouTube, where Bing has more than 1.5 billion views and more than 220 million hours of playback in Italy alone. The ongoing campaign held by Acamar Films in collaboration with the Italian Society of Pediatrics and Assonidi, “Le Buone Abitudini”,  reaching over 250+ million Italians,  keeps collecting great results thanks to the attention  given to important social issue themes such as: nutrition, outdoor playing, health and child care, the importance of sleeping, winning the fear of doctors and hospitals and many others…

Since its launch, Bing has licensing programs activated content distributed in over 130 countries territories, 2.8 million app downloads across 5 countries, 36  YouTube channels, 7 billion lifetime views and a social reach that goes up to more than 16 million.

If we focus only on the Italian market the results are equally incredible, with more than 40 active licensees and many more to come. A very special news is coming up this summer, thanks to the partnership with Costa Crociere, the famous Italian cruise ship, where Bing will be on board to meet Bingsters with meet&greets, parades and dancing themed parties.

Masha and The Bear manages very well to keep up the pace thanks to the series strong consistency throughout the years in always providing new contents and getting onboard of whatever new technology or communication media the new generations offered. The animated series has been with the Maurizio Distefano Licensing agency for 10 years - in fact, it was the very first property entering the agency’s portfolio. This great classic, which has always entertained its fans thanks to its fun

and wild adventures, today boasts more than 160 billion views on YouTube and holds a Guinness World Record as the most-watched animated video. Its episodes have been airing on Rai YoYo for 11 years and have consistently maintained a position in the top three titles. Moreover, according to data from the international analytical agency Parrot Analytics, the show has been the #1 most in-demand children’s show in Italy since 2020. Masha and The Bear proposed every year a new style guide and trend guide giving licensees the chance to always work with new assets and elements and offer fresh new products on the market. Bauli under the Motta brand is the perfect example of how the new style guides give a fresh look to products. This Easter, Motta launched for the first time the Colombina, a traditional Italian Easter cake very appreciated during the festivities. That’s not all, in fact, Brand Italia launched the new anti-mosquito bracelets this year, which are very colorful and joyful. Pon Pon Edizioni is


getting ready to launch 4 small activity books related to Masha and The Bear songs. Each book is dedicated to a specific song of the series that kids can dance and sing along to. Giochi Preziosi is the new Master Toy.

Moving onto the digital properties,  CoComelon  still boasts the position as #1 YouTube Kids Channel in the world and #1 Kids show on Netflix.

Italy is still the #1 Country in the EU (UK excluded) in number of views on YouTube in 2023. CoComelon Lane, the new original and exclusive Netflix series launched November 17, 2023 with great engagement by the audience because of the genuine and relatable themes like going to get your first haircut or going to your first dentist appointment. These events are all lived by little children as great challenges so this new series gives them a small push and comfort to help face them. In Italy, Giochi Preziosi is the Master Toy distributor. That’s not all the entertainment category of the agency holds, in fact, there are so many other strong properties such as ALVINNN!!! And the Chipmunks, the #1 show on K2, who’s licensing program in Italy is very solid. Citterio has been onboard with ALVINNN!!! And the Chipmunks since 2016 with the perfect kids snack Un Due Tris!; Balocco this year again, presented its Easter Egg with Alvin and his rocker friends. Edizioni Play Press continues to boast fantastic results for its Enigmistica. Another IP of the entertainment category is Tara Duncan, the great story of an ordinary girl who ends in OtherWorld as the niece of the Meme’s Empress. Idefix et les Irréductibles, is another great IP of the MDL portfolio, the 3D animation series which shares the story of Idefix, Asterix’s famous companion, who has the perfect team who will help him defend Lutetia. Finally, Gigantosaurus is the animated series about the wild adventures that four dinosaurs get dragged into living in the Cretaceous period.

Covering the adult target there’s the brand category that includes some equally strong properties in the market. To name one of them, Baileys, the

original Irish cream and the world’s most loved spirit brand, known for its iconic creamy taste and the delicious flavor it delivers in each of its products. This year Mec3 joined the Baileys lineup of licensees by launching the new Baileys ice cream flavor which will be available in all the best ice cream stores. The delicious desserts by Dessert Manifattura are available in the refrigerated section of supermarkets in three different varieties: Chocolate & Baileys, Tiramisù with Baileys, and Caramel & Baileys. Caffè Borbone launched its unique Baileys coffee cream which can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Vicenzi had an impressive launch to support thier latest Grisbì, the fantastic shortbread biscuits that has the unmistakable taste of Baileys cream. Guinness recently met the interest of Bengy & Company S.r.l who chose the world-renowned beer for its T-shirts and hoodies which will launch in FW24. For 258 years Guinness has travelled around the world and has contributed to the cultures where it landed as well as absorbing part of those cultures. What makes this IP strong in the market is its DNA: Power, Goodness and Communion.

Il Milanese Imbruttito is also a great brand appreciated by the adult target. Pon Pon Edizioni is, in fact, going to work on a series of fun and captivating products such as an annual calendar, the answer books and a puffy sticker collection and many other stationary products. The launch is set for September 2024.

Another great classic is Asterix, the Gaulish warrior that faces great challenges with the help of his friend Obelix. Since 1961 Asterix the Gaul


sold 400 million copies in 111 different languages and dialects. Last year the movie Asterix & Obelix the Middle Kingdom was released and according to Box Office it was watched by 2,7 million people internationally and on Netflix it collected 20 million viewers.

This year in SS24, Intimissimi Uomo launched the Asterix new amazing underwear collection which includes

pajamas, T-shirts, underwear and slippers, available now in all shops. It’s important also to mention LIFE in the brand category of the agency, the iconic American magazine that is now an archive of more than 10 million images made by only the greatest photographers in history. Only 5% of the images in the collection have been published leaving the rest undiscovered.

ISA (International Space Archive) is another library of images, but in this case, the collection is of photographs and videos taken during the most important space missions of different countries: Apollo 11, Explorer 1, Gemini 4 and a lot more.

Fall Guys and Army of Apes complete the agencies’ categories covering videogames and NFT collections with their distinct offerings. Fall Guys brings its whimsical and competitive multiplayer gameplay, fun characters, and vibrant worlds, captivating gamers worldwide. On the other hand, Army of Apes ventures into the realm of NFT collections, introducing unique digital assets backed by blockchain technology, creating a novel experience for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Together, they enrich the gaming and digital collectibles landscape, offering diverse avenues for entertainment and engagement.

Maurizio Distefano The Evolution of Licensing includes in its portfolio the best properties and brands to develop a very successful Licensing Project.



Big news for the Boomez and Elastikorps toy lines

Cicaboom announces unmissable news for its Boomez and Elastikorps brands: the acquisition of important manga licenses, the creation of the Naruto board game, and the Heropop line.

Cicaboom, an international company specialising in the design, production and marketing of toys, publishing and entertainment products, has created several winning brands over the years, such as Boomez and Elastikorps. The company is about to launch a series of novelties for 2024, mainly related to the acquisition of popular manga licenses.

Boomez, from 3D figures to board games

The Boomez are 3D collectible figures with a unique and iconic design created by Cicaboom. Using character cards, Cicaboom adds simple, fun and innovative gameplay to collectability. Each wave is made up of all-new characters in regular or variant versions, with precious finishes and limited editions for true fans. For each wave, exclusive characters can be found inside the Flowpack Blind, giving an added value for collectors.

After the huge success of the four waves of superheroes and beloved Marvel characters from Spider-Man to Groot, the series expanded into the manga world with the Naruto, One Piece and My Hero Academia brands.

The first license to be released will be Naruto, with main manga characters such as Naruto, Kakashi, Sasuke, Itachi, Minato, the nine-tailed fox Kyubi, and active distribution in Italy and France. Important characters in the series such as Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade will only be present in the Flowpack Blind.

The Boomez line is about to undergo an incredible evolution, with board games that will allow you to enjoy the full potential of this fantastic product! An additional game level, which will

be precisely sold in a box typical of classic board games, inside which are four miniatures, one of which is sold exclusively with the board game, a game board and other cards and accessories for the game. The board games will be graphically customised for each brand (Marvel, Naruto, My Hero Academia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, One Piece) and each hero will be characterised with his own abilities, allowing unique and customised interaction with the game system (for Marvel the Hulk will be able to jump on


the game board, Iron Man will be able to fly, etc.).

The Naruto board game contains numerous elements such as a game board, obstacles, 40 support cards, dice, 240 fiches and 4 of the best-loved characters: Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and a Kyubi Gold created especially for this 8+ board game.

There are also 14 passport sheets: each one represents all the specific abilities of each ninja, allowing players to experience a true adventure in the world of Naruto and an ever-changing gameplay experience depending on the character chosen for the game.

More fun with the Heropop Elastikorps line!

The stretchable characters in the new Heropop Elastikorps line are distinguished by the iconic big round head and small body. This first

with a branded target to hit, with which you can challenge your friends.

Heropop line can be found on newsstands, in toy shops and in mass distribution, with Cicaboom’s Elastikorps characters, such as Gold Tiger, Finny, Dark Panther, Sharky... Two new collections have recently been launched: the Spiderman line, with 6 regular-size characters, and 3 Maxy characters (Spiderman, Venom, Miles Morales); the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, with Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael in regular and Maxy sizes.

Cicaboom wants to further enhance the Elastikorps brand through the exceptional One Piece license, thanks to

collection includes 12 characters in normal size (10 cm), and 4 Maxy characters (16 cm), available in 2 colours. Heropop have already become the most viral stress-relieving toys; in addition to being able to manipulate them with your hands, they are also very hilarious to throw or crush on the floor, and it is interesting to see how the big head takes on funny expressions. Riding on the American cornhole trend (a game in which you throw cloth bags usually filled with corn, towards a wooden platform with a hole, trying to get the bag into the hole), the company has provided each pack

an agreement with Toei. The protagonist Luffy, who already has stretchable features in the manga story, will be declined in four Elastikorps versions, each with unique accessories: the ultratrendy Gear 4 (Snakeman, Boundman, Tankman) and G5 (Sun God Nika). The line is currently available online and in the best toy stores, with a September 2024 release date scheduled.

A line that is sure to excite One Piece fans, but not only. Cicaboom is also considering developing smaller, 12 cm characters for the One Piece brand. The search for other interesting licenses for Elastikorps will also continue.


Las Vegas Licensing Expo 2024 Preview

The latest news from some Las Vegas Licensing Expo exhibitors (Mandalay Bay Convention Center, 21-23 May).

LEGO (stand F178), which attends the Las Vegas Licensing Expo for the first time this year, has been ranked for the second consecutive year as the most reputable company in the world in the annual Global RepTrak®100 survey released by the RepTrak Company. The LEGO Group, Illumination and Universal Products & Experiences are revealing the full lineup of LEGO Despicable Me 4 products. Illumination’s newest chapter in the biggest global animated franchise in history, Despicable Me 4, will arrive in theaters

worldwide 3rd of July 2024. The sets are packed with exciting details, functions, and new characters including Mega Minions and AntiVillain League (AVL) Minions, as seen for the first time in Despicable Me 4. The AVL Minions, who look like secret agents in their suits, help capture and arrest villains. Mega Minions are not only larger versions of the well-known Minions, but, they also have secret superpowers, including the ability to stretch to surprising lengths or fly through the sky.

The four new sets for ages 6-9 and up are: The Minions and Banana Car, a 136-piece set featuring a banana car, with a driver seat, removeable engine as well as tools, gadgets and a bunch of beloved Minions. Fans can also get the Minions’ Music Party Bus, a 379-piece model including functions such as a push-along bus that can turn into a Minion Party Playset once opened, featuring a hot tub and DJ station. In addition, the Brick-Built Gru and Minions set made of 839 bricks shows a large Gru figure with

Top Image: Brick-Built Gru and Minions. Above image: Minions’ Music Party Bus

jointed and moveable arms, hands and fingers, surrounded by five Minions and their accessories. The set also include rotating features and brand-new

characters. Additionally, the 868-piece Minions and Gru’s Family Mansion set includes the growing family of six with Gru, Lucy, Gru Jr. and the girls: Margo, Edith and Agnes alongside the iconic house, a gadget-filled laboratory and three Mega Minions.

Mattel (booth R180) has partnered with Samsung to deliver its first three 24/7 Free Ad Supported Streaming (FAST) channels on Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free TV streaming service. The Mattel channels are set to go live later this year and will be free to access from Samsung Smart TVs, Galaxy Devices and on the Web

Sony Pictures Entertainment is proud to return to Licensing Expo in 2024

at Mattel’s channel highlights include Barbie and Friends by Mattel, where viewers can join Barbie and her best doll friends as fashion, friendship and thrilling adventures take center stage; Hot Wheels Action by Mattel, featuring heartpounding races through the world of Hot Wheels, epic battles with He-Man and Skeletor, and charming railway adventures with Thomas & Friends; and Mattel Jr., a child’s passport to a world of enchantment, education, and endless fun with Kipper the dog, Pingu the adorable Penguin, and all of FisherPrice’s beloved characters. With themes of family, friendship and fantasy, Season 2 of the fan-favorite animated series Barbie: A Touch of Magic is sure to enchant audiences globally. It consists of 13 22-minute As

N214) will reintroduce an in-booth 15-foot

video wall with a state-of-the-art interactive display, so attendees can immerse themselves in beloved properties including Ghostbusters and Karate Kid

In March, Sony unveiled a slate of new products and unique collaborations in tandem with the theatrical premiere of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. The robust consumer products program, anchored by key licensees including Hasbro, Funko, Timberland, and Kellogg’s, was designed to transcend generational boundaries and resonate with fans of all ages, with all interests.

On-site, Sony will celebrate upcoming theatrical releases Karate Kid (December) and Paddington In Peru (January 2025).

On the television front, 2024 will see the highly anticipated return of The Boys season 4 on June 13th, and the much awaited sixth and final season of Cobra Kai. Sony will also welcome new properties to their slate of television IPs, including the upcoming first seasons of Universal Basic Guys on Fox, Sausage Party: Foodtopia on Prime Video, and Outlander: Blood of My Blood on Starz.

Sony will also announce the expansion of licensing programs for Goosebumps on Disney+ and Hulu, The Last of Us on Max, Twisted Metal on Peacock, and Gen V on Prime Video – all in anticipation of forthcoming second seasons.

part of their experiential presence, Sony Pictures Entertainment (stand The Minions and Banana Car Gru’s Family Mansion

episodes and is available from April 18 on Netflix in the U.S., as well as APAC (excluding China), Spain, South Africa, Nordics, and Benelux. Later this year, Netflix will roll out the new season in other regions including Portugal, the U.K., the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, Latin America, Poland, Central & Eastern Europe, France, Italy, and Germany. Beyond Netflix, other global distribution partners for A Touch of Magic’s second

season are POP (UK), Super RTL (Germany), Gulli (France), Cartoonito (Italy), Canal Panda (Portugal), Cartoon Network (MENA), Zoom (Israel), Minimax (Eastern Europe), MiniMini (Poland), Ejunior (UAE) and Discovery Kids (Latin America). Barbie: A Touch of Magic’s April 18 release has been accompanied by a full music EP, including the singles “Got the Magic Touch” and “Center Stage”.

Dependable Solutions makes a pivotal advancement in the licensing landscape

With enhanced tools for addressing naming inconsistencies, tracking sustainability, connecting systems, and centralizing operations, Dependable Solutions (stand D208) makes a pivotal advancement in the licensing landscape.

McCormick, a global leader in seasonings and condiments, exemplifies the transformative power of Dependable Solutions’ platform on licensing operations. The platform they use, developed by Dependable Solutions, serves as a centralized hub for managing contracts, streamlining operations, ensuring compliance, and facilitating communication and workflows.

“The ability to have all our agreements in one place has been extremely beneficial in staying ahead of expiring contracts. Not only has this helped with our conversations with our licensing partners, but it has also instilled a sense of confidence knowing we have a complete overview of our total licensing business,” said McCormick’s Brand Licensing Manager, Ana Murphy.

Managing compliance and tracking royalties can present significant challenges for licensing teams of all shapes and sizes. Inconsistencies in naming conventions, particularly when dealing with diverse cultures, languages, and territories, are very common. “Pants” to one partner could easily be “trousers” to another, the “United States” could be “USA” or even a part of “North America”.

Dependable Solutions has improved its mapping tools to robustly manage naming convention discrepancies. Users can easily record alternate names for SKUs, territories, IP, sales channels, product categories and more. The system can then automatically associate the data collected with the users’ preferred naming convention.


The Hot Wheels Legends Tour presented by Mobil 1 is a global phenomenon, back for its seventh year in search of the next Garage of Legends inductee. Beginning May 11, car builders from around the world will compete for a chance to have their one-of-a-kind car immortalized as a 1:64-scale die-cast and join a legendary group of Garage of Legends life-size Hot Wheels vehicles. This year’s Tour kicks off in Miami with a live event, in partnership with Walmart, on May 11 and will travel across 13 countries, with new event stops in Columbia and the United Arab Emirates.

The agency Licensing Works!® (stand C222) is introducing The Wingfeather Saga, a CG animated fantasy series, adapted from the best-selling YA novels published by Penguin Random House, with over 1 million copies sold in the U.S. The series targets children 8-12, with family co-viewing, and the series scores 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The agency will feature the new Zorro series, which debuted in the US Top 10 on Amazon Prime Video. In addition, the new Paramount+ (International) 8-episode series written, produced, and starring Academy Award-winning actor Jean Dujardin will be discussed along with the new Disney+ remake

On April being Autism Acceptance Month, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for the launch of Cousin Hodie Playdate, an online game from Donkey Hodie, the hit PBS KIDS (booth M236) puppet series and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood spin-off from Fred Rogers Productions! Cousin Hodie Playdate has been launched this month on and the PBS KIDS games app.

Cousin Hodie Playdate was created as a low-pressure way for children to practice recognizing and identifying their own big feelings as well as those of their

peers. In the open-ended “sandbox” experience, young players join new character Cousin Hodie as well as his older cuz, Donkey Hodie, in a game of Dinko Doodle Disc Drop, where they are encouraged to guess how Cousin Hodie is feeling by paying attention to body language, verbalizations, and scenarios related to different emotions.

The new game features a variety of settings – including visual support in the form of high contrast, a highlighted interactive mode, and reduced visual effects – to help players of different abilities and needs engage with the experience. There

of its classic Zorro TV series starring Wilmer Valderrama, and written by Bryan Cogman (Game of Thrones & Lord of the Rings). Sony has several feature films slated and new comics and merchandise are launching. Moulin Rouge is celebrating 135 Years in 2024, to be featured at this year’s

are also audio controls for sound effects, voice over, and music, and even gameplay settings that let players (and/or their caregivers) change what emotions are allowable and how frequently they occur, so children can focus on specific emotions or avoid an emotion that might be triggering for them.

Both Carleá Jean Magee, a User Experience Researcher with a background in psychology, clinical counseling, and applied behavior analysis (board registered), who identifies as neurodiverse herself, and Dr. Natascha Crandall, advisor for the Donkey Hodie series, advised on the game.

In addition, Melanie Harke, an interactive producer at Fred Rogers Productions, who works on both Donkey Hodie and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (the first Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood spinoff series), played an integral role in developing the game.

The accessibility features in this newest game are also present in some of the previous Donkey Hodie games, including Detective Donkey, which was recently recognized as a Webby Honoree.

The new online game Cousin Hodie Playdate

Licensing Expo. The 10x Tony Award winning Musical based on the Baz Luhrman film continues to thrive on Broadway and resonate with audiences 5 years after its debut in addition to touring the US more than 20 years after the film’s release.

In addition, Kewpie is celebrating 115 years of cuteness. New apparel, collectible, and retail collections are launching throughout 2024 and 2025! Licensing Works!® and Penguin Ventures renewed their relationship representing Eric Hill’s best-selling book series Fun with Spot. Signature title Where’s Spot?, is the first-ever lift-the-

flap book and is available everywhere books are sold. Penguin Random House has new titles launching each year, with more than 65M books sold worldwide. Fun With Spot has all new animation in development from Guru Studios. Coming off the successful 100th Anniversary Celebration of Winchester Mystery House, the next 100 are underway with new merchandise introduced throughout 2024 and new entertainment in development.

UNIS Technology, a leading manufacturer of amusement and arcade games, has joined forces with acclaimed London based toy and entertainment company, Toikido (stand E81), to unveil Piñata Smashlings crane

Since its launch on Roblox, Piñata Smashlings has captivated over three million players worldwide with its vibrant and engaging gameplay. Now they can step into the enchanting Piñataverse and interact with their favorite Smashling and Bashling characters in real life like never before. The new crane and physical toy will further enhance fan engagement by bridging the gap between the physical and online world of the Piñataverse. Fans can now extend their gaming experience beyond the screen, bringing beloved characters like Dazzle Donkey and Mo Tiger into their homes with exclusive Piñata Smashlings plushies, available at UNIS’ online store.

Licensing Magazine is present at the Las Vegas show as a Media Partner!

Licensing Magazine considers the Las Vegas Licensing Expo a must-attend event within its calendar made of dozens of trade shows organised in Europe, Asia and the US. That’s why the magazine has a presence in Las Vegas with this Summer issue, distributed at booth B125 and at distribution bins dedicated to industry magazines. Each day LM will report on key industry news through the Dailies LM E-News newsletters.

Send your news to to be featured in our newsletters

Piñata Smashlings crane


Mystic Moose and WowWee’s new Planet Mojo Toys connected to Blockchain

Leading Web3 gaming ecosystem Planet Mojo by Mystic Moose is teaming up with globally recognised toy company WowWee to bring the popular Planet Mojo game characters to life.

Planet Mojo, a leading web3 gaming ecosystem by Mystic Moose, and WowWee, an award winning global toy company with such hits as Fingerlings and Robosapien, have announced a collaboration to create toys and products around Planet Mojo’s IP, characters and lore. The toys will bring the physical and virtual worlds together by connecting the real world toys with Planet Mojo’s in-game Digital Collectibles (NFTs).

At its heart, Planet Mojo talks about nature vs technology set on a mysterious planet with a deep history. Its evolving narrative is told through games, cinematics and other media extensions with visually stunning clan “Champions” and the “Mojos”, who they are committed to protecting. The Mojos are plant based creatures sprouted to protect the planet after a mysterious

object strikes the planet, spreading a technological virus across the land and its creatures.

For more than two decades, Mystic Moose’s team and founder Mike Levine have been on the cutting edge of the physical-digital revolution creating a multitude of award winning products for leading toy companies blending physical and digital play.

“We’re once again excited to work with Mike and Mystic Moose. Planet Mojo is an exciting IP rich with possibilities of toys and beyond,” said Andrew Yanofsky, Head of Marketing and Operations at WowWee “WowWee and Mike’s team are innovators, and I’m excited to see our early concepts come to life!”

This collaboration marks a significant step forward for web3 gaming, blurring the lines between the digital, blockchain

We invite you to follow Planet Mojo’s official website, Twitter, and Discord for future updates.

and physical worlds. Toys will come with a QR code, allowing owners the ability to mint them into Digital Collectibles, fostering even deeper connections with Planet Mojo’s world and characters.

“We’re incredibly excited to announce our partnership with one of the industry’s leading toy makers, WowWee” said Mike Levine, CEO & Founder of Planet Mojo

“These initiatives reflect our commitment to innovation, community engagement, and expanding the reach of the Planet Mojo universe. We can’t wait for our players and fans to experience everything we have in store!”



Legendary Power

An overview of the latest exciting licensing deals for some of the most inspiring USA brands: Dolly Parton, The Harlem Globetrotters, Jonnie Jonckowski.

The global superstar Dolly Parton has created 49 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 120 career-charted singles over the past 50+ years. Since 2019, Parton has developed an authentic and diverse product portfolio, spanning signature fragrances, baking lines, pet apparel and accessories, greeting cards, disposable partyware, collectables, mass market branded clothing, and more.

On the heels of announcing her cookbook Good Lookin’ Cookin’ with sister Rachel Parton George (releasing September, 17th via Ten Speed Press), the country artist recently launched her first multi-category home collection featuring a wide array of home, kitchen, and tableware products. From a Guitarshaped mini skillet to a custom Toile print depicting Dolly’s childhood home, each item is a nod to Dolly’s legacy and her remarkable journey from her humble Tennessee beginnings to worldwide stardom.

“Home is as much a state of mind as it is a place for me,” states Parton. “I am excited to share these new kitchenware collections inspired by my childhood memories. While we didn’t have much that money could buy growing up, spending time with family over a meal created priceless moments that have lasted me a lifetime.”

The collection kicks off with the launch of cast iron cookware, developed in partnership with Lodge Cast Iron Featuring a range of seasoned cast iron skillets with unique Dolly-inspired designs, the cookware line combines style and functionality for creative home cooks. The products are available at Cracker Barrel, and Lodge’s e-commerce site and factory stores.

Inspired by Dolly’s rural upbringing in the Smoky Mountains, the homonym home collection prominently features a

Top and Above images: Dolly Parton’s home collection - Lodge Cast Iron

Toile print depicting key moments from her early life including the log cabin where she lived with her eleven siblings. The collection built in partnership with Lifetime Brands includes tabletop, home decor and kitchen tools for cooking and entertaining, as well as table linens and soft kitchen textiles in collaboration with Mainstream International. The products will launch online and in retail in March 2025.

The World-Famous Harlem Globetrotters– the originators of basketball style, recognized by the United Nations in 1951 as “ambassadors of extraordinary goodwill,” can boast a legendary 98-year history. Founders of the fusion of sport with entertainment, the Harlem Globetrotters occupy


a unique and special space in the American sports and entertainment landscape, as well as in the history of African-American integration into mainstream US professional sports. Today, the organization tours the world playing over 200 games domestically throughout North America and over 150 games internationally throughout continents including Asia, the Americas, Europe, Australia, and much more. They have signed with licensing giant IMG to further develop the brand in anticipation of their 100th anniversary milestone in 2026.

“The Harlem Globetrotters continue to lead and redefine global basketball culture. With their athleticism, exceptional skills, unique brand of humor, and their ability to connect with cultures around the globe, they’ve inspired millions and ushered in an irreplicable brand of sports entertainment that’s beloved by all,” said Keith Dawkins, President, Harlem Globetrotters & Herschend Entertainment Studios “As we approach our 100-year anniversary in 2026, our partnership with IMG will be instrumental in deepening our connection with fans, new and old, around the world.”

Under the new agreement, IMG will draw inspiration from the legendary team’s history and iconic brand identity to develop a wide range of products and experiences from toys, collectibles and memorabilia, to publishing and video games. Equally, IMG will be seeking an

official outfitter and footwear partner to carry the Harlem Globetrotters into their next century.

Following her 2024 induction into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, participating in an upcoming PBS documentary film on her incredible life, and the launch of her new line of merchandise, bull-riding legend Jonnie Jonckowski is surging back into the public consciousness, decades after the pioneering Western sports athlete rode her last bull.

tenacity, and untamed spirit with Montana accents.

The first phase of the new merch line called Jonnie X PBR was unveiled at the recent PBR (Professional Bull Riders) event in Billings, MT. Items include jacket, crew neck, hoodie, shirt, and buckles from Montana Silversmiths. The collection reflects Jonnie’s power,

The PBS film Jonnie weaves Jonckowski’s tumultuous journey to become a World Champion with her inspiring present-day story as an animal and community advocate; it will air on Montana PBS, streaming and video on demand platforms, and will be offered for national PBS distribution.

Jonnie x PBR - hoodie Jonnie x PBR - buckle PBS film “Jonnie” Jonnie x PBR - jacket

Me and My Avatar: Three Tips around Licensing for the Creator Generation

Generations Z (born 1995-2009) and Alpha (2010-present) live inherently multi-platform lives. They are the first born-digital generations, and Alphas have never known a time without mobile media.

In considering licensing strategies for kids to young adults, it’s critical to understand how they pursue fandoms and brand love across all media –from TV or streaming, to YouTube and TikTok, to game platforms like Roblox and Fortnite. They may discover a new passion on any platform, so wise IP owners use “breadcrumbs” to connect a brand’s universe in all its expressions.

Video and digital are no longer just for telling a brand’s story. Gens Z and Alpha expect immersive engagement with stories, characters and products.

A player’s avatar - their persona in virtual space - is personally designed (and redesigned frequently) for selfexpression. Extensive research from Roblox has found that in the first three quarters of 2023, players bought 1.65 billion avatar fashion items (up 15% from 2022). More than three-quarters assign importance to wearing recognized brands in virtual space. If anything, Gen Alpha is projected to have even greater spending power.

Most avatar accessories can be worn throughout the 40-million experience platform, not just in the game where purchased. Soon, Roblox will offer the ability to link games and experiences to physical product sales (a test-run with Walmart launched in April).

The digital-physical ecosystem engages video, as well. Already players can watch episodes or even features inside some Roblox games. Others have gone the opposite direction, recording in-game action as stories that are exported to a video distribution site.

Dubit has been extending brand opportunities in this digital-physical metaverse, building entire virtual

worlds (H&M Loooptopia), creating stores within others’ games (Adidas), and inserting brands into existing popular games (Kickers), Avatar item designs are researched to understand what players want; some are made in collaboration with design influencers (Rush, for Adidas).

Fans may already have put your brands or characters on these platforms. Usergenerated content (UGC) video and game platforms enable anyone to build and share experiences that represent their fandoms. In the month after “Squid Game” debuted on Netflix, viewers created over 100,000 unofficial Roblox titles around the series.

In the past, an IP owner would have


issued a take-down order. Now, there’s growing recognition of the benefits in allowing fan expressions. Netflix COO Greg Peters called the unlicensed “Squid Game” creations “tremendously exciting” and said “we should celebrate that fandom and that excitement,” as Netflix would derive both free marketing and audience insight.

By contrast, when anime distributor Crunchyroll demanded a takedown of Roblox games that included their IP, fan blowback was immediate. As author GK Chesterton wrote, “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.” Openness to fan expression, backed by vigilance in protecting brand values, is often the best approach with the creator generations.

Based on our experience bringing licensors into Roblox and other virtual spaces, here are three tips:

1) UGC in games platforms needn’t be monetized; giving it away can be a massive marketing boost. Chasing a unique avatar item drives players to branded spaces, or stores in others’ games (Dubit operates popups in many popular games).

Metasaint - a Roblox experience designed to engage young people with faith - met its one-year goal for visits in its first two days and had

10 times the annual projection for “completions” in the first weekend (finishing earned free avatar wings).

Kickers clothing brand integrated its shoes and other items into the highly-popular “Fashion Famous” game, in which players dress their avatar for a themed runway walk every few minutes. In just four weeks, players chose 9 million Kickers shoes and 18 million other branded items, and Kickers saw a significant simultaneous increase in real-life sales.

2) Don’t just recreate your products;

You can reach David Kleeman at david.kleeman@dubitlimited. com

create your brand essence. If you drop a new shoe model in real life, fans will want to wear them in Roblox. But, game worlds give you an unlimited palette to imagine brand expressions that could only exist virtually. Robloxians don’t just swap clothes - they change hair, body shape and accessories. They acquire movements (emotes). Spaces - decor, coloring, soundsare all part of branding, as well.

3) Connect virtual and real worlds. As noted above, gaming platforms will soon allow links to real-world stores. Until then, there are still options to connect virtual with physical. Dubit has pioneered Gamer Rewards, an SDK inside Roblox games that lets players earn loyalty points for various play activities that can be converted to “IRL” rewards. Conversely, players can unlock in-game bonus items by scanning codes on a physical product. An integration for Lunchables issued one billion reward points in its first 10 days.

Perhaps no development has been as disruptive to traditional licensing as the rise of UGC games and video. Of course, licensors have always listened to audiences when deciding where and how to share brands, but now the conversation is more dynamic and constant. The keys for IP owners are “openness” and “authenticity.” Even if you don’t accept every fan idea, they will appreciate and respect that you are listening.


It’s showtime! Products of Change’s future focus for Licensing Expo

Products of Change (POC) is committed to working with its partners to bring high quality content and products to the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. Here’s a preview of what you’ll find at the POC booth (S226).

Building the Change Licensing is going through a period of transformation and the tone of Las Vegas Licensing Expo this year has been set with an intentional eye on the future. When the announcement was made towards the end of 2023 that this year’s Las Vegas Licensing Expo was to explore the theme Brands at Play, Products of Change understood the assignment. And it starts with just one brick.

At the tail end of March this year, the

United Nations finally set an official date in the diary for the first ever International Day of Play. With formal recognition from the UN, specialists across the globe stand shoulder to shoulder in the protection of every child’s right to play. And unsurprisingly, the LEGO Group stands among them.

Recent research surveying more than 25,000 children from across 36 countries reveals that 75% of young people don’t believe adults take play –

Helena-Mansell Stopher, Ceo and Founder, and Robert Hutchins, Editor, Products of Change

and how it helps them learn – seriously enough. This is the drum the LEGO Group has beaten solidly for the last 17 years, ever since the launch of Build the Change.

A global, non-profit sustainability education programme now funded by the LEGO Foundation, Build the Change is the LEGO Group’s acknowledgement that the brain learns best through play. Last year, it reached over 2 million children.

“It’s about listening to kids, getting their ideas on how to solve real world problems, and then amplifying that message,” says Anders Juul, senior global programme manager at the LEGO Group “Through Build the Change, we can encourage communication, creative thinking, and collaboration. Meanwhile, as a big brand, we have the power to knock on doors and really amplify children’s voices.”

In 2021, for example, the LEGO Group played an active role in Glasgow’s COP26 climate conference by


presenting its Build the Change campaign to dignitaries and representatives.

Detailed within was not only the LEGO Group’s manifesto to empower children but the demands and expectations of children today from those currently shaping their future. As such, Build the Change has become the forum for the youngest generation to speak their minds about sustainability.

At the time of going to print, the LEGO Group was preparing to attend the fourth round of Intergovernmental Negotiations by Committee in Ottawa,

Canada as part of the United Nation’s endeavour to draw up a Global Plastics Treaty and provide a legally binding text on the world’s approach to the plastic pollution crisis.

Changing systems from within It will take more than one scribe to rewrite the future and Smiley’s Future Positive is working to change the brand licensing industry from within. Corresponding with its partnership with the United Nations to deliver UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: responsible production and consumption, Future Positive is about striking balance.

It’s an initiative that demands more of consumer products by bringing together future-thinking brands to curate a collection of more responsible products and a ten-year plan to positively and sustainably transform 100% of Smiley’s licensing portfolio.

“Consumer goods are an absolute necessity to the livelihoods of billions of people. They create our cultures,” says Nicolas Loufrani, CEO at the Smiley Company. “But the problems we create are enormous. We must absolutely change the way we produce and recycle everything.”

Future Positive already works with partners across fashion and apparel, bags, books, greetings cards, gifts and home products, and beverages. The plan, however, is to extend its ethos

Natural History Museum LEGO Group

across all the product categories Smiley currently spans.

“There has been great reaction to the movement, and we have only had positive comments,” says Nicolas. “But this is going to require massive efforts and investments to transform into concrete actions by licensees and retailers. I always tell everyone that progress beats perfection, and I celebrate our progress.”

Transparent with the truth

With word out that Chinti + Parker has partnered with the technology provider, Fabacus to pilot its Digital Product Passport across a collection of Peanuts apparel, so the licensing industry got its first taste of the future of fashion.

And, with the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive now approved in European Parliament, requirement of all textile producers to provide digital product passports will begin as early as 2026.

Described as digital product identifiers that “log the end-to-end lifecycle and journey information” (encompassing materials and manufacturing processes used; supply chain partners; and the environmental implications of a product) Digital Product Passports are tools enabling consumers to make more informed decisions about the products they buy.

“And in line with the Brands at Play theme of this year’s Licensing Expo, we want to re-frame Digital Product Passports as not only being an emerging regulatory requirement, but also an innovative business opportunity,” says Jonathan Baker, CCO at Fabacus.

Last summer, Fabacus partnered with the responsible fashion brand, Nobody’s Child to launch its first iteration of the

Digital Product Passport, disclosing circular product information including product carbon and water footprints in line with the developing EU regulations.

“DPPs represent more than a mandated short-term brand legislation,” says Jonathan. “They signify long-term opportunities to connect with audiences and will play a pivotal role in extending the life of a product, creating value within the circular economy, for example, by integrating digital links to pre-loved platforms and how to repair and recycle the product.”

A new lease of life… and licensing

With the adoption of the EU’s CSDDD comes with it a new law that will ban producers from destroying unsold clothing by 2026. As such, end-ofproduct-life processes are going to become a hot topic of the apparel sector’s boardrooms.

At the end of March 2024, Mark Litos, the co-founder of Refried Apparel rescued 50,000 pairs of denim jeans from going up in flames. An overseas mass retailer had over-ordered on their stock for that season and was looking for a means to ditch its ‘waste’.

Refried Apparel, a Massachusetts textiles expert bringing skilled seamstress work and apparel manufacturing back to the USA, fields calls like this nearly every day. As one of the country’s most prestigious fashion upcycling businesses, Refried Apparel sees the value in waste. Deadstock, damages, failed designs on garments, over orders, and glitches in systems are resources to be treasured, used, and sold back to retail in the shape of unique, one-off pieces, all at a premium.

“Giving items of unsalable clothing a new, upcycled, up-market, and unique lease of life just captures everyone’s attention,” says Mark. “We operate on the dead stock we can get our hands on. So, it’s about being flexible and the brands we work with understanding our non-traditional processes and methods. And the brands we work with today? They have been amazing. They really see the benefit of what we do.”

Today, Refried Apparel works in licensed and non-licensed goods with resorts, professional sports brands (including the MLB, NFL, NHL, and others), even corporate brands. With a team of homegrown, skilled creative talent, the Refried Apparel appeal has spread like wildfire across the scene.

Natural History Museum Refried Apparel


Unlocking authentic fandom

The agency Kids Industries launches three innovative fandom solutions rooted in 20 years of expertise.

Insights, strategy and creative agency

Kids Industries (KI) has launched three new products to make its Fandom model accessible and affordable for brands of all sizes from all sectors. The introductory training, immersive brand workshop and Root and Branch solutions, give brands access to KI’s unrivalled Fandom expertise and proven Fandom model that has previously been available to select brands including Hello Kitty, Liverpool FC and Doctor Who.

The heartbeat of brands: Fans

From the fleeting enthusiasm of a toddler for their favourite cartoon character to the unwavering loyalty of seasoned enthusiasts like the Swifties of this world, no consumer group is more intricate or valuable than fans. They are the driving force behind brand spend, advocacy, and brand longevity.

“Fans are no longer just consumers; they are the lifeblood of a brand,” said

Gary Pope, CEO at KI. “They embody complexity and value like no other audience. That’s why we’ve developed the KI Fandom Model, a sophisticated framework that enables brands to get closer to the fans, creating true connection with a franchise and building lasting relationships, loyalty and new revenue streams. And, perhaps most importantly, applying the principles of The Fandom Model can also improve discoverability.”

At the heart of the KI Fandom Model lies a deep understanding of what constitutes a ‘real fan’ and how brands can effectively leverage fandom to drive growth through the three dimensions of Fandom: Interaction Moments, SelfDefinition & Social Amplification.

The Fandom Model offerings

Developed after extensive research and dialogue with over 30,000 individuals, the new solutions are specifically designed to decode the intricate factors shaping fandom in young people, teens and adults. The new offerings will enable KI to provide a range of tailor-made solutions to meet the diverse needs of brand teams - from upskilling and creating shared thinking to large scale, bespoke studies.

As for Training, there will be a professional development workshop to provide marketing and brand teams with a comprehensive understanding of the KI Fandom Model. Participants will gain insights into fan psychology, behaviour


and engagement strategies. Armed with this knowledge, teams can explore and construct effective fandom-driven campaigns and benefit from a deep shared understanding.

An Immersive Brand Workshop is also planned. Tailored to brand teams, this full-day workshop immerses participants in the intricacies of the KI Fandom Model. Marketing, brand, product development and social media teams will learn how to apply the model to their specific contexts. KI’s fandom experts will guide attendees in designing and refining strategies that resonate with fans.

Whether diagnosing existing fan engagement or developing new initiatives, KI’s Root and Branch Projects offer unparalleled support. Marketing, brand, product development, social media, and content development teams collaborate with KI to create fandom strategies grounded in business realities. Bespoke primary research

“We’re committed to driving innovation and empowering brands across a range of sectors including FMCG, entertainment, gaming, preschool, lifestyle and sports, to forge meaningful connections with their audience. For brands seeking to unravel the mysteries of fandom and unlock unprecedented growth opportunities, this promises to be a gamechanger”

- from fan engagement surveys to indepth qualitative research, or a mix of methods - ensures alignment with organisational goals.

Gary Pope concluded:  “We’re committed to driving innovation and empowering brands across a range of  sectors including  FMCG, entertainment, gaming, preschool, lifestyle and sports, to forge meaningful connections with their audience. For brands seeking to unravel the mysteries of fandom and unlock unprecedented growth opportunities, this promises to be a game-changer. Brands must go beyond counting likes or shares; they need to truly understand the essence of fandom and be well equipped to build lasting relationships, foster loyalty, and drive growth.”

About KI:

Founded in 2002 by Gary Pope and Jennifer Blows, KI is the only full-service marketing agency on the planet that specialises in the family market. This dynamic team of awardwinning business, strategy & creative experts, have worked with some of the world’s leading family entertainment brands, including LEGOLAND (Merlin), Peppa Pig (EOne), The Gruffalo (Magic Light Pictures), Star Wars (The Walt Disney Company) & Dr Who (BBC Worldwide). They have worked with global charities such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in sports with Liverpool FC & in travel with Royal Caribbean Cruises. Plus, with a host of fantastic FMCG, QSR & retail brands, including The Kellogg Company, Aquafresh (GSK), McDonalds & TESCO. Across all of these brands & businesses, KI always work to connect human emotions, with market intelligence, to make businesses stronger.

To sign up for a copy of the KI Fandom Booklet, visit: https:// fandom

Gary Pope

The Strength of Connection

The next Children’s Media Conference (CMC) will take place in Sheffield from Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 July 2024. As the UK’s leading conference for children’s and young people’s content, the CMC offers impressive sessions, keynotes, workshops... Here is a preview of some of the events.

The CMC 2024 subject of Connect, Collaborate, Commit is addressed firstly by two formidable keynote speakers. Musician, broadcaster and philanthropist YolanDa Brown OBE will give the Fitzrovia Post Productionsponsored CMC Opening Keynote on July 9. YolanDa will provide a multifaceted perspective on production, content, and connecting with children.

On July 10, award-winning co-founder and Creative Director of Cartoon Saloon Nora Twomey will deliver the CMC Creative Keynote, sponsored by Magic Light Pictures. Thanks to a behind-thescenes look at how a tiny company founded by a group of friends gained its position on the global stage, Nora will reflect on their 25 years of visual storytelling.

In addition to the extensive official conference programme which will be unveiled in the coming weeks, two inspiring Extras are planned.

The new SkillBuilder workshop, Taking The Heat Out of Climate Change: Crafting Stories for a Hopeful Future,

following on from Alison Norrington’s Building Storyworlds, which was a big hit at CMC 2023, will assist you in creating narratives that tackle the climate catastrophe.

In this four-hour workshop (on July 9, 1-5 pm), participants will work with Alison and Climate Spring, to create stories that will attract kids with fun and inspire them with solutions rather than overwhelm them with doom-and-gloom. Experts such as writer Nicola Davies, director/screenwriter Eugenia Golubeva, Melissa Hardinge from the BBC, writer/ content creator Tom Jordan, Isaac

Nartey from Sky, Amanda Evans from Obki Productions, science education consultant Sai Pathmanathan, and author Chitra Soundar are among those invited.

On July 9, The International Exchange half day will be held in Sheffield again. If you’re seeking for international sales, partnerships, or project finance, you have to attend, because the event hosts a wide range of broadcasters, coproducers, funders and investors from all around the world who are eager to meet content and service sellers.

CMC 2023 Drinks Reception at Sheffield Cathedral CMC audience at 2023 Opening Keynote


BRANDmate returns to Offenbach for the third time

With strong brands on 5000 m2, an unconventional concept and the perfect atmosphere - BRANDmate, the B2B networking event in the field of brand collaborations, partnerships and licensing, returns to Offenbach on 19 and 20 June for its third edition.

The organisers of BRANDmate have prepared a platform for brand owners, industry experts and decisionmakers in the field of licensing and cooperation in the disused industrial area of Fredenhagen in Offenbach. The innovative concept makes this a leading B2B networking event for meeting, exchanging ideas and creating new business opportunities.

Compared to last year, visitors can expect a wider range of exhibitors

In addition to the major players in the industry - including Warner Bros, NBC Universal, Paramount, Mattel, RTL CP, Hasbro, WDR Mediagruppe, Seven. One Licensing, the German Football Association (DFB) and others - will be companies such as Crunchyroll, Germany’s largest provider of Japanese animation, footballer Lukas Podolski’s brand Strassenkicker, book and games publisher Kosmos, EMP, the mail-order merchandising company, the German Football Association (DFB), which will be hosting its own DFB Lounge, and the Frankfurter Buchmesse. Also taking part are cool socks from SKARPETA, with the brands RCA, Blaupunkt, Thomson, Saba

and Nordmende, surf and skateboard experts MAUI AND SONS, emoji and Bastei Lübbe’s social influencer publishing house, Community Editions. The event has also managed to secure Coca-Cola as a drinks sponsor “There is huge potential in the fans’ own ‘love brands’,” says Eva Stemmer, Managing Director of BRANDmate GmbH “This is underlined by the year-onyear expansion of our brand experience area”.

Apart from the brand showrooms and the inspiring keynote speeches, panels and talks that take place on two themed stages, BRANDmate’s updated website

BRANDmate 2024 tickets are available at

“The matchmaking function offers networking with maximum transparency and efficiency and thus ensures ideal conditions for successful cooperation,”

- Christian Ulrich, Managing Director of BRANDmate GmbH-

is an added benefit. It allows visitors to make contact and arrange appointments with exhibitors at least two weeks before the event.

“The matchmaking function offers networking with maximum transparency and efficiency and thus ensures ideal conditions for successful cooperation,” says Christian Ulrich, Managing Director of BRANDmate GmbH and spokesman for the Executive Board of Spielwarenmesse eG.



The second edition of France Licensing Day

Following a hugely successful launch in 2023 attended by 400+ French licensing professionals, France Licensing Day returns on 27 June 2024 in Paris.

The France Licensing Day 2024 will unite France’s key industry players with 50 of the world’s most influential brand owners and agents for a day of meetings and networking, insight and trend discovery, all focused on understanding what French consumers want from brands and licensed products.

The day of meetings will be followed by Licensing International France Awards - a fantastic evening of celebrations rewarding the French licensing success stories and collaborations of 2023.

What can delegates expect from France Licensing Day? The attendees will strengthen and develop their network within the French licensing community, with the opportunity to meet more than 40 brand owners and licensing agents to develop their next range of products for French consumers by 2025 including 24 Heures Le Mans, Asterix, Bayard Jeunesse, Brigitte Bardot, Hasbro, Le Petit Prince, Mattel, Mediatoon, Paramount, The Pokémon Company, STUDIOCANAL, Universal, Warner

Bros, Fédération Française de Football, Netflix and more.

First time exhibitors this year include Fédération Française de Handball, Hari International, Marubeni, Moulin Rouge, SAS Toei Animation Europe, Sanrio, Banijay Kids & Family, L’Équipe, Nerd Agency, Richard Orlinksi and ASO/Tour de France

“France Licensing Day is a must-attend opportunity for brand owners, agents, licensees, retailers, and other license stakeholders in France to meet, explore lucrative and innovative partnerships and discover the trends and brands that will impact the needs, wants and desires of French consumers through 2024, 2025 and beyond. And let’s not forget, we’ll also be celebrating the brands and products that shone in the French market during 2023 thanks to the Licensing International Awards in the evening – it’s going to be another great day for the French licensing industry,” said Matthieu Battini, EMEA Account & Business Development Director, Global Licensing Group

When: June 27, 2024, 09:00 –22:30.

Where: The International University City of Paris, 17 boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France

Registrations for France Licensing Day and Licensing International France Awards are available at https://www. A France Licensing Day ‘Day Pass’ is free for all to attend. A day pass PLUS a ticket to the prestigious Licensing International France Awards, including drinks and canapés, is priced at €64 (€56 for Licensing International members).


Young Horizons Industry, the international coproduction forum for films and series for kids and youth

Young Horizons Industry is the international co-production forum and meeting hub for film professionals passionate about making films and series for young audiences. This event is co-financed by Polish Film Institute and Creative Europe MEDIA.

It takes place annually in Warsaw as a part of the Young Horizons International Film Festival. The goal of this forum is to help creators connecting with potential partners. By bringing together projects and industry players, they facilitate professionals to exchange ideas and build new partnerships. Every year, over 300 international guests come to Warsaw for a three-day event. Among them there are experts representing companies such as Canal+ Poland, TVN/Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix, Disney, Viacom, RAI Kids, Polsat, BBC, Global Screen, DeAPlaneta, Blue Zoo Animation, Attraction Distribution, Gebeka Films, KiKA, Ketnet, and many others.

Circa 20 projects are selected to pitching sections, titled In-Development and Work-in-Progress. Among the projects to be pitched there are different formats, as film and tv series, live-action, animation, documentary, transmedia; and for many targets represented,

such as preschoolers, kids, teens, and young adults. All pitching sessions are followed by Q&A with industry experts. The aim is to help creators to learn more about the plus and minus of their project and its potential development.

Beyond pitching sessions, there are also Market Presentations screenings which highlight nearly finished projects seeking for distributors, broadcasters, festivals.

To maximise the attendance of international professionals, 1to1 meetings are organised as well. Each guest has access to an online platform where he can request a meeting prior to the event, as well as during the event.

Whereas the project presentations and matchmakings are the main pillars of this event, the forum always begins with a conference day, packed of panels and case studies. The conference allows


When: 30 September to 2 October 2024

Where: Warsaw (Poland) and online

To register: Go to https://

Registrations open July 1

attendees to discover new trends, get inspired and exchange experiences with like-minded professionals. The programme focuses on local and international case studies from Europe and CEE countries. Producers and screenwriters are also welcome to book a script or marketing consultancy with experts as well as receiving some tips on green friendly filming.

For the 2024 edition, the organisers are working on some panels to talk about licensing within the media industry, publishing, A.I., and broadcasting related to kids’ movies.

Young Horizons Industry is not only a place for established creators. During the event, in fact, there are some initiatives devoted to emerging producers and young talents, to help them to extend their network.

Licensing Magazine will attend this event for the first time as a Media Partner, and will spread the verb on the dialogue between licensing and children’s content!


Shoptalk Europe returns to Power Retail’s Digital Transformation

Shoptalk Europe is returning to Barcelona in June, following a hugely successful relaunch in 2023, with the purpose of facilitating the digital transformation of the European retail market.

Shoptalk brings together retailers, brands, technology innovators and investors, at a senior level, and over 3,000 leaders joined in 2023.

At the heart of the event is Shoptalk’s agenda-setting content programme, and in 2024 it will tackle the industry’s biggest questions to unpick how tomorrow’s consumers will discover, shop and buy, and how retailers and brands will meet their expectations. Here are few of the themes of Shoptalk Europe 2024, and examples of the great speakers who will be addressing them. Getting beyond the AI hype to share real-world case studies of which applications of artificial intelligence will be most transformational to the industry. Tian Su, VP Personalisation & Recommendation at Zalando, is heading Zalando’s market-leading work on utilising AI to deliver personalised shopping experiences; she is just one of 11 fantastic retailers and brand leaders sharing their experiences on a content track dedicated to Groundbreaking AI Applications in Retail.

What is Unified Commerce, what sectors is it relevant for, and what technologies and capabilities are needed to deliver it? Hear a Track

Keynote from Maria Jose Barrera Rojas, Global Chief Digital Officer & E-Commerce Director, Massimo Dutti, Inditex at Shoptalk Europe talking about how she is leading the delivery of consistent cross-channel experiences to their customers.

How are brands driving differentiation, loyalty and demand and how are they using the ecosystem of retail, wholesale, marketplace, DTC, and aggregators to fulfill that demand? One of the most compelling brand stories of 2023 was Mattel’s repositioning of Barbie. Hear from Sanjay Luthra, EVP Managing Director Mattel EMEA & Global Head Direct to Consumer International, Mattel, on what they are learning from their direct-to-consumer platform, Mattel Creations, as a powerful catalyst for digital transformation and greater consumer connection.

The content of Shoptalk is different from other events. The agenda is entirely editorial driven and the programme is based on industry feedback, including from their Advisory Board of leading retailers and brands. They don‘t accept payment, all 175+ great speakers for 2024 are selected on merit!

Come and join Shoptalk Europe’s community of retail industry decision-makers in Barcelona from 3-5 June 2024.

More Info here:

See agenda here:

Get tickets here:


Licensing Japan, the country’s largest character & brand licensing trade show

Content Tokyo is a comprehensive exhibition consisting of 5 specialised trade shows related to content. These events include Licensing Japan, the next edition of which will take place from 3 to 5 July.

Content Tokyo is Japan’s largest trade show, consisting of five concurrent content-related events: Licensing Japan, the premier international licensing trade show for all categories of properties and creative content from all around the world; Creators Expo, the perfect venue for creators (writers, manga artists, illustrators, photographers, etc.) to promote their work across all media; Video & CG Production

Expo, a gathering of video, CG and related content production companies; Advanced Digital Technology Expo, Japan’s leading exhibition of the latest, most innovative and high-quality solutions for entertainment experiences and interactive technologies; Ad Creative & Marketing Expo, a newly launched trade show for advertising, design, web and editorial production companies.

Content Tokyo is the place where content creators, distributors, solution/ technology providers, marketing companies and licensing professionals come together under one roof. International business opportunities are created by co-locating these events. Attendance has grown year on year: in June 2023, the event has reached 943 exhibitors and 47,092 attendees, which is +2,449 from last year.

Visitors come from 42 countries/regions and a wide range of industries, including media (22.8%), creatives (17.8%), game/ music (15.6%), advertising (8.8%), etc.

The visitor profile is attractive for exhibitors, with more than 56% above the managerial level. Exhibitors can

conduct effective business discussions by meeting directly with decisionmakers.

Concerning licenses, Japan is currently the world’s third-largest licensing market and is strongly committed to protecting intellectual property rights. In 2022, the character business market grew to $19.89 billion (Yano Research Institute)

Licensing Japan is the right place to meet directly with companies seeking your IP, including characters, brands, manga, games etc. The event brings together major licensing industry professionals including licensees and licensing agents from all over Japan: the best opportunity for you to find your agents/partners in Japan & Asia.

Participating companies include Bandai Namco, Konami, NBC Universal, Toei, Walt Disney Japan, Warner Bros. Japan, SEGA, Amazon Japan, Tencent, Aniplex and many more!

For further info


Brand Licensing Europe 2024. More than 150 exhibitors confirmed

At the end of April, entering the five-month countdown to Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) 2024, 157 companies have already been confirmed to exhibit, including six first timers - 24h Le Mans, The British Museum, Animaj, Cardio Bunny, Merchantwise Group and Unicast.

Brand Licensing Europe (BLE), Europe’s leading event for licensing and brand extension, returns in a slightly earlier timeline this year – 24-26 September –and will take place at ExCeL, London.

157 exhibitors were confirmed at the date of 24 April 2024, entering the fivemonth countdown to the event, bringing thousands of brands to BLE from all categories.

In these pages: Images from BLE 2023

Here’s a taster: UEFA Club Competitions, Tour de France,  Real Madrid from sports; Aardman Animations, Crunchyroll, Hasbro, Le Petit Prince, Moonbug, Paramount, Paul Frank, The Smurfs, from character and animation; Capcom, Sega, Pokémon, Rebellion, Sega, Bandai Namco from video gaming; Penguin Random House, Walker Books, Mercis BV (with Miffy) from publishing; Imperial War Museums, Natural History Museum, RSPB, V&A, Van Gogh Museum from heritage/ charity

BLE event director Ella Haynes declared: «The exhibitor list is already showing some amazing brands from across all categories, which is a testament to the event’s strength within the European licensing industry. It is quite simply the only place for European retailers, manufacturers and brand owners to meet, do business and sign deals that will decide what branded products consumers will be buying from December 2024 and beyond.»

Last year, 9,649 licensing professionals attended BLE. Visitor numbers increased by 28 percent, and the show attracted record numbers of retailers and visitors from France, Germany, Italy and Spain, showing the strong appetite for branded consumer products at retail.

Attending retailers included buyers from Uniqlo, Zara, Amazon, Benetton, The Entertainer, ASOS, C&A, H&M, Calzedonia, Carrefour, Fat Face, Galeries

Lafayette, Harrods, Aldi, Decathlon, Diechmann, Next, El Corte Ingles, Forbidden Planet, Frasers Group, Primark, Poundland, Accessorize, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Card Factory, Hamley’s, Claire’s Accessories, HMV, Iceland, John Lewis & Partners, Legends, Lidl, Lipsy, Asda, Selfridges and many more.

Most importantly, over 5,100 meetings were pre-arranged in the show’s Event Platform (a 17% increase on 2022)

and many thousands more took place onsite.

Rob Corney,Group Managing Director at Bulldog Licensing, said: “BLE is a must-do for anyone in the business of licensing. There’s no other venue in Europe at which so many brand owners, licensees and retailers gather in the same place at the same time, giving us the perfect opportunity to showcase our property plans for the year ahead… and more.”

Useful Reminders

• BLE takes place earlier this year, on 24-26 September 20204.

• Visitors’ registrations open in early June, but you can register your interest now at: https://www. register-interest.html?utm_ medium=referral&utm_ source=3rd-party&utm_ campaign=nam24ble-lv-pr

• European visitors are advised to book travel and accommodation as soon as possible to secure the best rate. BLE-affiliated hotels can be found here: https:// brandlicensingeu.bnetwork. com/



A unique kids channel

Pinky Toe Kids is a kids YouTube channel with more than 80,000 subscribers, that specializes in creating original songs and contemporary versions of classic children’s songs.

Based in Istanbul, Turkey, Pinky Toe Kids has carved out a niche for itself in the global market, achieving international success and a dedicated following. The first original song was released in 2021, and since then, they have produced over ten original tracks and several of their songs have gone viral, with A Little Princess being the most notable example. The song went viral, being used over 10,000 times on Instagram, where the related videos amassed over 3.5 million views, capturing the attention of girls and women of all ages worldwide, from Europe to America, Asia to Australia, who shared and continue to share videos of themselves dancing to this song. Similarly, a video featuring the song on YouTube Shorts also surpassed 1 million views.

The Pinky Toe Kids channel experienced significant growth in 2022 and today continues to expand.

Pinky Toe Kids distinguishes itself as a unique children’s channel, celebrated for its peaceful content devoid of harmful subtexts. The channel steers clear of all

ideologies, nurturing a keen interest in art and science among young viewers, and prioritizes the well-being of children, reminding them that they are just kids with plenty of time to enjoy playful experiences.

Pinky Toe Kids’ world includes several characters

Clumsy and brave little toe Pinky Toe goes on adventures with the Toe family, its closest friends Comet the comettailed star, and Big Cat the cat. Johny is a smart child who doesn’t want to grow up, but as time goes by, he will understand that growing up has its beautiful sides too, and he will start to enjoy growing up together with his dear friend Pinky. Crazy Jack’s renowned for inventing something new each day, fueled by his vast scientific knowledge and boundless creativity. Cherry Cho, alongside her companion Choo Choo Train, is on a quest to circle the globe, sampling every variety of cherry they encounter. Little Princess Bessie, who enjoys a joyful life with her royal parents, finds herself without her crown one day.

Throughout a journey to retrieve the lost crown, Bessie will develop many different perspectives about herself and her life.

Pinky Toe Kids’ team members

Baran Ağın, Co-founder, Head of Music, Composer

Eren Ergün, Co-founder, Scriptwriter, Social Media Strategist

Melis Tokaç Bakırcı, Head of Animation, Creative Director

Serhan Yıldız, Sound Engineer

Işık Selin Orhuntaş, Record Label Representative

Tuğçe Erkol, Content Writer, Editor


Mip TV: the end of Content ... as we know it

At the final Mip TV, the Croisette looked like a war zone. Buildings made of stucco and stone had been cracked open like eggs and their insides spilled out as they awaited final demolition.

This was more than the usual endless road work we’ve come to expect in Cannes and it seemed to foreshadow a different kind of reconstruction up ahead: the nearly empty carcass of the Palais du Festival where delegates and buyers once queued up for 20 minutes to get inside.

Well, there were no lines to get into this Mip TV. And there were no lines at Caffé Roma.

There was a lot of speculation as to why this austere 61-year-old media event had

finally imploded. Some blamed the good folks at RX but I believe the real reason for Mip TV’s demise is something much larger. In the words of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, “Things fall apart.”

Specifically, the financing models for content - kids’ content in particularhave fallen apart. The approach that was favored by the US streamers - fully financing shows with a focus on speed and quantity over testing and quality - didn’t work because it proved to be too expensive and - surprise, surprisealmost no one watched these “originals.” And the older (and now current) model of trying to stitch together coproductions with fishing lines and chewing gum no longer works because there’s simply not enough fishing line nor chewing gum left on planet Earth.

But even if you’re sufficiently talented, lucky or connected to pull off one of these two iffy financing models, chances are still slim to none that an audience will ever find your lovely show. Why? The global media landscape is now as fragmented and confusing a house of mirrors as the Palais du Festival building itself. And, as we all know, without a significant audience there is no licensing

and without licensing your show will not survive more than a mere season or two.

Although a broken system and the hangover that followed the streamers’ commissioning binge certainly played a role in the end of Mip TV, they were not the root cause. Things are falling apart for a deeper reason, and one that could soon fling us all - the markets, the channels, the producers, the streamers and the movie theatres - into the widening gyre: We’ve peaked.

For anyone who makes, sells or consumes old-school narrative storytelling - I mean the kind that has a beginning, a middle and an end - the curtain is slowly falling. As much as I wish this wasn’t true, it seems quite clear that we humans have already told one another all of the best stories in all of the best ways we could. It’s been a great run and I suspect that if one day we find an alien planet, I seriously doubt that their TV shows and films will be better than ours.

But, unfortunately, much of what we’re doing now is just riffing on what once worked. We’re rebooting and spinning off and telling ourselves (and our


audience) that adding a new twist is a creative act. Well, it’s not. It’s nostalgia. We’ve been reduced to eating bland comfort food.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the Croisette.

Among the young, we’re seeing nothing less than a revolution in the way that stories are told on screens. Their narratives are unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed; they are unique hybrids of gaming, animation, live-action, and chats which do not really begin and do not really end.

Our offspring are capturing eyeballs through a combination of bold, unbridled creativity and new technology, and their stories do something ours never could: They connect their users in real time with friends, their communities and the world, and nothing will ever be the same.

The kids - and I use the word looselyare the ones making the real originals.

“It’s been a great run and I suspect that if one day we find an alien planet, I seriously doubt that their TV

next generation. They are discarding preconceived notions about everything from storytelling to politics and they are (finally) reinventing a world that has grown calcified by people like me who still show up in Cannes and use phrases like “52 x 11:00.”

shows and films will be

As industry guru Emily Horgan wrote in The Kids StreamerSphere, “That’s the simple reality of working in kids’ mediayou’ll always need to follow them into the next new digital thing. They’ll be there ahead of you, mastering, whilst you’re following behind, usually fumbling.”

better than


Of course, most of us grown-ups view what’s on platforms like TikTok, Roblox, Billibilli and YouTube as being the narrative equivalent of junk mail, but that’s just because we’re old.

If this were the 1950s, we’d be the one’s bemoaning the appeal of Elvis Presley’s swinging hips.

And I would remind any philistines who see only danger in kids “playing” with their phones that back in 1879 the companies who sold gas lamps lobbied against electricity and did their best to convince families who owned light bulbs that - sooner or later - they would be electrocuted.

But I have great confidence in the

It’s true that their new world may not look so good at the moment but, like the half-demolished buildings along the Croisette, that’s only because: 1) they are not yet done tearing things down, and; 2) they’ve only just begun to build. The best thing we adults can do now is to encourage them, try and keep up, and not nuke the planet before they finish their important work.

Josh Selig is the 12-time Emmy Award-winning creator of The Wonder Pets (Nickelodeon) and Small Potatoes (Disney). He has contributed to The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The South China Morning Post. Josh is the President of China Bridge Content.

To learn more visit the website


From books to screen: facts and figures

To mark the launch of the brand new TV/Film Rights Centre at the last Bologna Children’s Book Fair, several conferences during the International Kids Licensing Days were dedicated to book-toscreen adaptations. LM interviewed Olivia Deane, Senior Analyst, Ampere Analysis, who chaired a panel on some figures and trends in audiovisual development inspired by children’s books.

What is the role of book-based IPs in today’s turbulent children’s media market?

One of the most important changes in the media landscape between 2018 and now is that streaming growth has stalled. As SVoD commissioners accounted for the 232% of growth in the entire media market between 2018 and 2023, this has had a direct impact on the volume of new commissions being announced. The volume of commissions announced in 2023 dropped by 13% compared to the previous year, with

children’s titles being among the most affected. These challenges mean that creating content based on ideas that have already proven popular is more important than ever.

This is particularly clear in terms of Children’s book adaptations, where titles based on existing literature have proved more robust than titles based on original ideas. The volume of Children’s bookadaptations announced declined by 9% between 2022 and 2023, compared with an 17% decline in all Children’s

commissions over the same period.

How do childrens’ preferences are affecting content acquisition and commissioning?

At Ampere we ask consumers about their motivations for subscribing to a streaming service, our survey includes questions about price, content, and viewing habits. Unfortunately, the question that the least respondents related to was one about children. Only 15% of SVoD consumers in 2023 signed up for a service because it had content that their children like to watch. This means that in a time when subscriber growth is stalling, Children’s content is simply not a priority for streamers.

However, Ampere’s consumer data also shows that subscribers who live in households with children are less likely to churn than consumers with no children. This means that while companies have reduced their commissioning budgets for children’s content, they are acquiring more children’s content for their platforms in favour of Original content in order to appease this important consumer group.

What excellent opportunities are currently being offered to IP owners by public broadcasters? And what other opportunities could they take advantage of?

Public broadcasters, and in particular those in Western Europe, were the only commissioner type to increase their volume of children’s book adaptations between 2022 and 2023, providing the most consistent opportunities for those looking to sell Children’s book IP. However, those who can find alternative funding models for Original content, for example a self-funded production company, will be able to take advantage of the active acquisition market.

Olivia Deane


Cult of the Lamb: The First Verse

Devolver Digital has partnered with Oni Press to create Cult of the Lamb: The First Verse, the first ever series of comics and graphic novels based on Massive Monster’s global video game phenomenon Cult of the Lamb.

The pre-order campaign for Cult of the Lamb: The First Verse has caused a stir on Kickstarter where it racked up 1,400 followers in just 18 hours and reached nearly 9,500 backers by 12 April. Cult of the Lamb: The First Verse will be published on 5th June 2024.

The all-new series adapting and expanding Cult of the Lamb’s sprawling cosmology is being created by comic book royalty – Alex Paknadel (All Against All, Red Goblin) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Troy Little (Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas).

Since its debut in 2022, Cult of the Lamb has grown a following of millions with amusingly dark, satirically biting adventures that cast players into the role of Lamb – a supernaturally resurrected cult leader empowered by an impossibly ancient deity to recruit followers into the thrall of his doom-laden gospel.

The game has earned widespread critical acclaim and a long list of preeminent games industry awards and nominations – including three BAFTA nominations, a win for “Best Indie Game” from the Golden Joystick Awards, and a win for “Game of the Year” from the Gayming Awards. Most recently, in January 2024, Devolver Digital and Massive Monster released Cult of the Lamb: Sins of the Flesh, the game’s much anticipated DLC expansion, garnering millions of downloads in its first week of release.

Fée Heyer, Devolver Digital head of global licensing and partnerships, said: “We’re over the moon to partner with Oni Press to create comic books and graphic novels for Cult of the Lamb fans and we’re not even embarrassed to admit we’re more than a little starstruck that Alex Paknadel and Troy Little are the

incredible talent behind them.”

Hunter Gorinson, president and publisher of the multiple Eisner Award and Harvey Award-winning publisher Oni Press, declared: “Both Oni Press and our creators are committed to serving Lamb’s dark justice with a graphic novel extrapolation that will enrapture longtime fans and introduce a new legion of readers to this darkly hilarious and compellingly entertaining world.”

James Pearmain, art director at developer Massive Monster, added: “Massive Monster is thrilled to bring the dark yet colourful world of Cult of the Lamb into the realm of comic storytelling. Offering new insights into Cult of the Lamb’s lore and world, we’re excited to share this unique perspective on the story with our dedicated community and newcomers alike.”


As a lawyer at Tonucci & Partners, partner in the Intellectual Property, Information Technology & Internet Law and Cultural Heritage Department, Francesca Perri is interested in all legal issues related to the above areas of expertise. She specialises in the protection of intellectual property rights, with a particular focus on media and entertainment law and the law relating to artificial intelligence and new technologies.

The role of artificial intelligence in the creation of IPs

What is generative AI and what role does it play in the creative process? How does it fit into the chain of editorial and TV content rights? Following her dedicated conference at the International Kids Licensing Days during the last Bologna Licensing Fair/Kids, LM interviewed Francesca Perri, Partner at Tonucci & Partners law firm, on some aspects of this evolving topic.

How can we define Generative Artificial Intelligence and what applications have you analysed in your research?

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) is a type of artificial intelligence that uses machine learning techniques to generate or create new data that are similar, but not identical, to existing data. These models can learn to create new data by analysing patterns in large data sets (big data) and using this information to generate new examples that are similar in style or content. In this way, Gen AI machine learning is able to autonomously realise creative and innovative content based on algorithmic programming provided by the programmer and then processed autonomously by the AI system, independent of human input. I have analysed ChatGPT, launched on

30.11.2022, is a powerful and versatile natural language processing tool that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to generate human-like responses within speech. This Gen AI model has been designed as an artificial conversational system capable of conducting conversations in a natural and convincing manner. Midjourney is also a Generative Artificial Intelligence programme that generates images from natural language descriptions called prompts.

What is the AI act and what do you think will be the new frontiers of copyright?

Last March, the European Parliament approved a text that is likely to become final in the coming weeks. The European legislator decided to create a law on artificial intelligence based

TONUCCI Francesca Perri About Francesca Perri

on the principle of accountability and transparency. There are AI systems and practices that are expressly forbidden and there are high-risk AI technologies that must have mandatory requirements which consistency will be controlled through procedures by institutional entities. Then, for other AI systems are required only transparency obligations. Finally, for general purpose AI models, only the harmonisation rules for placing

them on the market have to be complied with. Any use of copyright protected content through Gen AI requires the authorisation of the rightsholder concerned unless relevant copyright exceptions and limitations apply. If we think about general-purpose models, in particular large generative models, which are capable of generating text, images, and other content, present unique innovation opportunities but are

also challenges to artists, authors, and other creators and the way their creative content is created, distributed, used and consumed.

The big challenge will be the implementation and grounding of an effectively operational balance between the development and training of such models and other data and copyright protection.


Expanding the world of Talking Tom & Friends

Outfit7, a leader in the entertainment industry and a dynamic force in mobile gaming, has announced two major innovations in recent months.

Outfit7 is a leader in the entertainment industry, with its award-winning Talking Tom & Friends brand attracting over 105 million YouTube subscribers and featuring a portfolio of 20+ games with over 23 billion downloads between them. In February, Outfit7 announced a new partnership with Prism Licensing, as their new agent in India for Talking Tom & Friends. The new licensing partnership aims to bring the brand even closer to its audience in India, as the agency collaborates with local partners to grow and expand the licensing program of the brand. This helps bridge

the gap between digital and physical products and enhance the overall Talking Tom & Friends experience

Outfit7 during the first weeks of May invited players of its Talking Tom Gold Run to embark on a prehistoric adventure with the Dino Token Event Talking Tom Gold Run is a dynamic endless runner game in which players of all ages join Talking Tom and his friends as they dash through landscapes, collecting gold bars and chasing down the mischievous Rakoonz. This limited-time event transported

About Outfit7

Outfit7 is a dynamic force in mobile gaming, reaching a global audience of billions with its award-winning games. Powered by creativity and industryleading expertise, the company’s talented international team of over 400 people pushes the boundaries of the possible every day. Outfit7’s 20+ games have now been downloaded worldwide over 23 billion times and up to 470 million fans play with them every month. Its portfolio also includes numerous chart-topping animated series, theme parks, and a licensing program. You can find more information at

players to a prehistoric world where they collect and hatch Dino eggs to claim unique rewards, including limited-edition stickers. They also unlocked two new characters as temporary additions to their collection: Dino Tom, a toothy cutie with a gigantic grin, and Stone Age Hank, a super-swift caveman who adds a dash of ancient excitement to the game.

In addition to the new characters, players discovered two fresh vehicles specially designed for navigating the prehistoric world. The first vehicle is the sleek Dino Glider, offering a stylish way to soar above the competition, while the second one, the Sky Skipper, is perfect for mastering the trickiest terrains with ease.



Developing premium global video games

Founded in 2013 by Alex Nichiporchik and Tom Brien, tinyBuild is a global publisher and developer of premium video games, primarily for PC and consoles.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, tinyBuild has key operations in Europe, the US and Brazil, with over 300 employees and independent contractors.

tinyBuild’s strategy focuses on building evergreen multimedia franchises by partnering up with talented developers, top-tier licensing partners and seasoned TV & Film production companies from all over the world.

tinyBuild’s multi-million dollar franchises include the viral horror-thriller Hello Neighbor series, Streets of Rogue, Potion Craft and SpeedRunners They are looking forward to launching new IPs like the Epic Games-exclusive PvP food fighter RAWMEN and the viral sci-fi medieval war sim Kingmakers

Hello Neighbor has been a massive viral success, with over six billion

impressions on YouTube alone, and hundreds of millions of organic views coming from original content created by gaming’s top influencers.

This ground-up strategy has activated a healthy consumer products program for the franchise, with the board game, costume and apparel categories continuing to shine. Their most notable licensing partnership with master publishing partner Scholastic resulted in the creative collaboration and release of a globally successful Hello Neighbor book series that has sold over five million copies across seven books.

Now, as tinyBuild moves into cartoons with self-produced animated series Hello Neighbor: Welcome to Raven Brooks, brings new licensing agents online in territories like Turkey, Middle East, Italy, Spain and more in Europe, and works on tremendously exciting

new projects in Hello Neighbor content pipeline. The potential to bring on board new major licensees for mass retail products has never been bigger.

tinyBuild’s reach is truly global. By crafting bespoke and high impact marketing, promotional and release strategies, and utilizing relationships with over 10,000 verified social media influencers they ensure the growth their franchises across every major gaming market.

Thanks to a cross-media strategy tinyBuild looks forward to making inroads in major non-english speaking territories on the licensing front, especially as they have conversations earlier on in the game development process with high-profile master toy, publishing and agency partners.


Keep up-to-date with industry news from all over the world

Licensing Magazine is one of the only trade publications that:

- Reaches over 110 countries,

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- Offers transmedia coverage on the licensing, digital, entertainment, animation, fashion and publishing industries,

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- Is the Media Partner of over 30 leading B2B licensing, entertainment, fashion, toy and animation trade events in Europe, USA and Asia.

The next events to follow!

... And where you can find us!

















Las Vegas, USA

Barcelona, Spain

Annecy, France

Offenbach, Germany

Paris, France

Tokyo, Japan

Birmingham, UK

Sheffield, UK

Harrogate, UK

Cologne, Germany


London, UK

Toulouse, France

London, UK

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Brand Licensing Europe is the event where we launch our next issue! And it is also the first event of a packed Fall trade shows calendar. Write to to learn more and discover our next global tour!

DATE 21 - 23 May 3 - 5 June 11 - 14 June 19 - 20 June 27 June 3 - 5 July 2 July 9 - 11 July 21 - 24 July 21 - 25 Aug 12 - 14 Sept 10 Sept 16 - 19 Sept 24 - 26 Sept CATEGORY Licensing Retail, Tech Animation Licensing Licensing Licensing Licensing Entertainment Retail Gaming Licensing  Licensing  Animation Licensing

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