Total Licensing Winter 2023

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Winter 2023

Regular Features

Comment 6

Global news

The Gary Pope Column 76

Products of Change ................................................... 88

Legally Speaking 96 What’s On 98

North America

Kidscreen Summit - A Preview ............................... 78 Canada

Profile: Michael Albert of TCG Toys ...................... 80 The Canadian Market 81 Leading Entertainment Brands in Canada ......... 84


Kennedy Publishing - Acquiring Licenses 22

The Carat Shop at Toy Fairs .................................... 26 Sesame Street in Europe 28

The Power of Pokemon ............................................ 30

TeamTo: An Eco-friendly Studio 31

Interview: Spain’s Zinkia 34 New Licensing Partners for Jazwares .................... 37 The Power of Moonbug 38

Nordics: A Wide Variety of Entertainment Brands ............ 42 The Nordic Marketplace 44 Creating Profiles for The Moomins 48 Susan Bolsover’s Lightbulb Moment! ..................... 52 MIPCOM - A Review 54

Chefclub Readies for 2023....................................... 56 Germany Fear is Not a Good Counselor ............................. 57 Germany - Land of Opportunities? ..................... 59 Spotlight on German Licensing 61 Sustainability with Maya the Bee............................. 92

Asia and Middle East

New Horizons for Beyblade 32 Licensing in the MENA Marketplace...................... 74 Culture Empowers the Chinese Economy 86 Licensing China - A Shenzhen Success Story ....... 94


Hamleys Builds Experiential Retail 50 Movies 2023 - Get the Popcorn Ready! 68 The World of Toys and Games ................................ 69 Focus on Video Game Licensing 71

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Welcome to the first 2023 edition of Total Licensing. Whilst over the past couple of years, we have been plagued (quite literally) by COVID and all that it entailed, this year sees a different set of issues, some as an aftermath of the pandemic and others as a by-product of the terrible conflict in Ukraine, brought about by the Russian invasion. The cost of living, in virtually all major economies has spiked dangerously. Consumers are poorer as a result which filters down to their buying power. Inflation is running at over 10% in the UK and 8% in the USA and Germany. But the UK’s cost of living crisis might look fairly mild compared to other countries. Its inflation rate was 10.7% in November 2022, compared to 12.6% in Italy, 16.% in Poland and over 20% in Hungary and Estonia. Even China, which has been largely immune to the pressures felt by much of the world, had inflation grow to nearly 3% during 2022, not helped by a continuous round of draconian lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of COVID.

Of course, all of this means that consumers are concentrating on essentials before anything else. And that, of course, has an impact on licensed merchandise.

The Holiday season was better than expected generally (which isn’t saying a great deal if you consider the levels of expectation). However, whilst retail sales jumped by around 7% in the UK in December, this was driven by higher prices rather than consumers buying more. In terms of the online/offline split, in the US it is estimated that around 70% of Americans are shopping online now – an increase of 14% from 2020. This accounts for nearly 15% of total sales. In the UK, whilst online shopping stands at over 25%, this figure fell slightly during the Holiday season –largely as a result of postal strikes. In Germany 29% of Germans shop at least once a week on line and the German e-commerce market stands at around 99.1 billion Euros – behind the UK but ahead of France.

As we enter the first quarter of what everybody agrees will be a difficult year, of course we are now into Toy Fair season with Hong Kong, London and Nuremberg fairs taking place in the first few weeks of the year.

It will be interesting to see how the toy industry copes with the global issues. Last year, the main topics of conversation were inventory and the supply chains. This year value for money is on everybody’s lips.

Overall, the global toy market achieved a value of around 102 billion USD last year and is expected to grow by a little under 5% a year reaching 135 billion USD by 2028.

Key markets in this are the US and Europe – particularly the US who have introduced initiatives to reduce imports from China and, therefore, should see their domestic industry boosted. China, of course, is one of the largest producers and exporters of toys. Internally, there is high demand for educational toys and the general growth in China is expected to propel the growth in other APAC territories. Asia Pacific is expected to show the fastest growth in upcoming years compared with other regional markets. This will also be helped by India who are increasing import duty and pushing the growth of their domestic toy industry.

So where does that leave the licensing industry? Actually experts predict that the market for movie, comic, TV and other licensed toys, including action figures, is expected to bolster market growth. STEM toys will continue to be popular as will building block-based toys such as LEGO.

By the time this issue is out, Hong Kong will be a memory and we’ll be gearing up for London and Nuremberg toy fairs. Total Licensing will, of course, be there with a keen eye on what’s looking promising for 2023 and beyond. Don’t forget to pick up your printed issue of Total Licensing at the shows. And if you see us in the aisles, do stop us to say hello. We’d love to see you.

Co-Publisher © 2023 Total Licensing Ltd Printed in England. All illustrations are reproduced by permission of their owners. No part of this magazine may be copied or quoted without permission from the Publishers first. Total Licensing Ltd does not warrant or assume any legal liability for the accuracy or legality of contents, images or advertisements submitted to the magazine. Opinions of the contributing writers are their own and do not reflect the opinion of Total Licensing Ltd. 6 TOTAL LICENSING LTD 4 Wadhurst Business Park Faircrouch Lane, Wadhurst, East Sussex TN5 6PT UK Tel: +44 (0) 1892 782220 Fax: +44 (0) 1892 782226 Co-Publisher Francesca Ash Co-Publisher Jerry Wooldridge Editorial Director Rebecca Ash Japan Agent Roger Berman, ZenWorks Office Manager Helen Bowerman With thanks to those who contributed to this issue
Francesca Ash Jerry Wooldridge


Hasbro has recently unveils the first publishing lineup from ‘Learn with Peppa’ – a major new worldwide brand extension that builds on Peppa Pig’s natural alignment with learning.  With help from early years specialists, the “Learn with Peppa” programme’s learning framework includes seven categories that cover a broad mix of topics to help little ones understand the world around them: My Body, Creativity, Maths, English, Emotions, Our World and Community.

The first Ladybird publishing launch became available for families in the UK and many territories around the world starting January 2023, with additional books releasing throughout the year, offering more than 80 preschool titles across printed books and eBooks, along with physical and digital audio books. Through Ladybird’s initial product launch, young learners can enjoy phonics books in five levels, followed by novelty, board and activity books covering a range of early learning concepts.

To support the brand extension, Hasbro has launched a dedicated ‘Learn with Peppa’ website where consumers can find out more about the extension and help support children’s learning journeys. Following the publishing roll outs, a series of new and exciting interactive content is expected to drop on YouTube as well.

To further help preschoolers on their learning journey, Hasbro will launch an in-house developed learning app that will complement the series offered by Ladybird so children can enjoy them together and independently.

For ages 3-5 and their grownups, the

subscription-based app will be focused on three main learning domains: Literacy, Maths and Science. The app aims to help preschoolers embrace learning through exploration, creativity, humour and play, with activities that adapt to a child’s experience and development.

“The beloved Peppa Pig brand is perfectly positioned to help deliver learning experiences that kids love and parents trust,” commented Michael Kelly, Vice President of Global Publishing at Hasbro.

“Sparking from the in-home learning boom, ‘Learn with Peppa’ is a longterm, global brand extension that we expect to be an incremental growth driver. Although publishing forms the cornerstone of the program, Hasbro’s long-term ambition is to fully activate our Blueprint 2.0 strategy by creating exciting new branded products and experiences centered around the importance of learning – and with the special help from everyone’s favourite preschool character, Peppa Pig. We’re excited to see what the future has in store for ‘Learn with Peppa.’”

For families across North America and Europe, publishers Scholastic US, Penguin Random House Espana, Hachette Livre, Gyldendal, Otava, Tukan, Alvilda and Media Service Zawada will be the first to debut their ‘Learn with Peppa’ publishing programmes throughout 2023. More detail will be announced in the coming months.



Mattel has revealed the all-new line up for Disney Princess and Disney Frozen to consumers.

The new line from Mattel celebrates the magical adventures of Disney Princess and Disney Frozen with unrelenting attention to detail, incredible execution and fresh thinking, bring-

ing iconic characters and stories to life through rich systems of play that spark imagination.

The line delivers on consumer kids insights on what they want, including more animal friends and sidekicks, reveal innovation, castles, houses and vehicles, hair play and colour change, and expanded storytelling opportunities. Offerings include Disney Princess and Disney Frozen characters accompanied by accessories, such as Queen Elsa and the Water Nokk ready to adventure beyond Arendelle.

Toys on-shelves now, globally, include bright colours, true-to-character facial features, hair fibre tailored to the characters, and premium fabrics.

The Disney dolls line from Mattel will also include unique collector offer-

ings for adult fans that will celebrate the Disney Princess and Disney Frozen characters in a brand-new way with premium offerings to expand every fan’s collection. Together, Mattel and Disney will also bring the Disney Villains out of the shadows with a curated collection of premium dolls, capturing these mischievous characters in a new light.

The new line up, follows last year when Mattel announced it would have the global licensing rights to develop lines of toys for Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing, including fashion dolls, small dolls, and figures.

Through the agreement, Mattel will develop dolls based on Disney Princess including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Brave, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Tangled and Disney Frozen.



Authentic Brands Group, has announced a partnership with Peerless Clothing (Peerless) for Hickey Freeman. Through the long-term agreement, Peerless will design, manufacture and distribute Hickey Freeman tailored clothing in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Hickey Freeman is one of America’s most historic luxury menswear brands, inspiring generations with its iconic silhouettes, fine craftsmanship and uncompromising quality. Powered by its Lifestyle platform, Hickey Freeman is an important brand within Authentic’s diverse portfolio.

The new agreement with Peerless supports the company’s goal to reinforce Hickey Freeman’s elevated position in tailored clothing while extending the brand to a new generation.

Through a shared vision and commitment to upholding brand integrity and excellence, Authentic and Peerless have enjoyed a strategic and successful partnership spanning many of Authentic’s brands, including Hart Schaffner Marx men’s and boy’s tailored clothing,Van Heusen men’s tailored clothing and outerwear and Shaquille O’Neal XLG men’s tailored clothing. Authentic and Peerless are also preparing to announce a partnership for Brooks Brothers kids in the coming weeks.

“We are very pleased to announce our newest partnership with Peerless for Hickey Freeman,” said Jarrod Weber, Group President Lifestyle, Chief Brand Officer at Authentic.

“Alvin Segal, who passed away last year, built Peerless into one of the largest and most prestigious tailored clothing companies with an impressive stable of designer labels. Dan Orwig, President of Peerless and Douglas Raicek, EVP and Principal of Peerless, are doing an incredible job upholding and extending the company’s legacy of unmatched tailored clothing expertise, unwavering dedication to its brand partners and strong retail relationships.”

Weber continues, “We are confident that through our partnership with Peerless, Hickey Freeman will continue to deliver the same high quality and value for which the brand is known and loved.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Hickey Freeman to Peerless,” said Dan Orwig, President of Peerless. “Our shared vision with Authentic is to uphold Hickey Freeman’s commitment to the art of fine tailoring. Hickey Freeman is an enduring American heritage brand, and we are excited to partner with Authentic to help progress the brand’s long-term strategy and legacy.”


Bel Licensing has further expanded the licensing program for The laughing cow/La vache qui rit, Babybel, Belcube and Kiri brands with a bunch of partnerships across the US, Japan and Europe.

In the US, a brand new deal brokered by Design Plus Licensing with Voilà Vintage, consists in a reissue of one of the most famous The laughing cow advert using the giclée technique.

In Japan, deals brokered by Copyright Asia, include various Kiri apparel range designed by Rainboworks available at Green Parks or Beams and soon Belcube collectible rings with Bandaï.

In Europe, deals brokered direct or by Pink Key Licensing cover various categories from The laughing cow apparel and underwear ranges by Textiss/Freegun and The laughing cow and Babybel  cycling jerseys by Summit Different to The laughing cow puzzles with Upyaa! and The laughing cow and Babybel kids collectibles with Klein Toys passing by The laughing cow and Babybel 3D magnets by Albo Trade International without forgetting The laughing cow and Babybel costumes with Jadeo. “We are benefiting from the terrific work done with our licensing agents those past years plus the recent The laughing cow 100th anniversary in 2021 without forgetting The laughing cow awarded Corporate Brand of the year 2021 by Licensing International France” says Patrick Tamburlin, Bel Licensing Manager.



Paramount Consumer Products Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) in partnership with Munro Footwear Group have joined forces on a range of new SpongeBob SquarePants school shoes that put the fun in going back to school and keeping kids comfortable while they learn, grow and play.

Munro Footwear Group is Australia’s leading retailer and wholesaler of fashion and comfort footwear with 290 stores nationally including Williams and Mathers that will stock the new school shoes from January through to 3 February 2023.

Every pair of SpongeBob SquarePants shoes purchased before 30 January this year, is an entry into a competition for a school to win a KOMPAN GreenLine playground, responsibly made from recycled ocean waste and single-use plastics, worth $40,000 AUD.

Vice President, Paramount Consumer Products, UK, Ireland, Israel and ANZ, Venetia Davie said: “This partnership is helping parents get their children excited to get ready for back to school. The shoes and overall campaign are all about kids having fun from their tippy toes with new SpongeBob SquarePants shoes on their feet, right to their fingertips, with a chance to enhance their school with a world-class playground made from recycled materials.”

Chief Merchandise Officer, Munro Footwear Group Phil Scala said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Paramount Consumer Products to produce a dedicated Back to School


Brigitte Bardot Master licensee and the New York brand Epona Valley have joined forces through a luxury, colorful and refined hair accessories and jewellery collection.

Each piece in this line is reminiscent of a flowery valley which draws its inspiration from Brigitte Bardot and Epona Valley shared values: affection for natural beauty and respect for animals.

This collection is centered around two materials of the highest quality: silk taffeta which is 100% polyester coming in four different colors, and a 14k gold plated brass set with Swarovski gems.

The capsule collection is made up of unique designs inspired by nature; such as still in bud or perfectly bloomed roses, and is absolutely museum-worthy. Every piece of the Epo-

SpongeBob SquarePants shoes collection using 100% reclaimed leathers and premium materials.

“The range was designed in conjunction with a team of Australian podiatrists with growing feet in mind and will be available to customers shopping at Williams and Mathers, in-store and online and is sure to be popular this Back-to-School season.

“It follows our long tradition of making sure children have the right footwear for growing feet that can take them from the classroom to the rough and tumble of the school yard.”

Managing Director, KOMPAN ANZ, Justin Edwards said: “It’s such a wonderful opportunity to join forces with Paramount ANZ and Munro Footwear Group on this campaign that for every pair of shoes purchased, gives children a chance to win their school some fantastic playground equipment that is fun and engaging.

“Our award-winning and environmentally friendly GreenLine play equipment turns post-consumer waste like fishing nets, ropes and single-use plastics into durable and beautiful products for children of all ages and abilities to play, exercise, grow and learn.”

na Valley x Brigitte Bardot collection is made with locally sourced materials by craftsmen in New York workshops. The whole line of accessories is now available on Epona Valley eshop which offers worldwide shipping.

Family Trademark TLM, the exclusive Master Licensee of the Brigitte Bardot trademark, is a subsidiary of the French group V2D Lingerie.

Epona Valley was established in 2013 after its founder, Rachel Celia Gittler was photographed wearing one the her creations, that she had made for fun; it resulted in turning her artistic passion into her profession allowing her to beautify every women.

Epona Valley is named after the roman goddess, Epona; protector of animals.

Epona Valley accessories, based on its designer creativity, are inspired by nature’s beauty and pureness.



Bidaya Media has agreed a strategic partnership with Strata, an advanced manufacturing company, to sponsor the newest season of the popular Emirati cartoon “The Adventures of Mansour”. Launching in 2023, Strata will sponsor the production as part of their commitment to empowering UAE Nationals and contributing to the production of the globally-recognized show.

Strata’s support will help illustrate the UAE’s success stories, inspiring future generations in an effort to encourage cultural awareness, preserve the national identity, and strengthen the sense of belonging to the nation amongst Emiratis. Additionally, the sponsorships reflects Strata’s support of the creation of high quality Arabicspeaking content focused on children, in line with the company’s efforts to highlight Emiratization among the local community, in alignment with the UAE leadership’s vision. Strata will also support the series’ role as a platform for inspiring themes such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), coding, and more, instilling these values in the younger generation.

Imane Salem Tlamid, Public Relations Manager, Bidaya Media, said “As an incredibly popular series among young Arabic-speaking children, we’re proud of how The Adventures of Mansour strikes the important balance between entertainment and education for younger children. We’re delighted to enter this partnership with Strata, as they sponsor the new series of the show, which will help to further spread a positive message of national pride,

health and the importance of academia to the next generation.This showcases the show’s substantial impact and that, above all, it plays a key role in nurturing and fostering Emirati identity and culture among our community.”

Jassim Al Marzooqi, Human Capital Manager, Strata, added “Our sponsorship of the Emirati cartoon series The Adventures of Mansour plays an important role in enhancing Emirati identity and culture among the youth, and introducing children to the requirements of modern technology. By supporting the new series, which has gained a large fanbase locally and globally, we are empowering and elevating projects that promote Emirati culture and customs. This is vital as we continue to preserve and protect our heritage. For these reasons, we’re proud to be part of this inspiring and ambitious project.”

The popular cartoon, which recently celebrated a decade of achievements, aims to communicate directly with Arab children whilst encouraging a passion for Science, Technology, Engi-

neering, and Mathematics (STEM), in addition to Emirati national identity and a balanced lifestyle as a few key themes. The show, which is the brainchild of award-winning creator, Rashed Alharmoodi, has exponentially grown to captivate younger children across the Middle East.

The Adventures of Mansour has racked up over 2.3 billion YouTube views, 3.1 million subscribers and 322 million watch hours in the last 90 days. The new series aims to build on this success and has improved production quality and aims to raise awareness for the culture and values that represent the UAE both locally and internationally, tackling issues of international significance such as AI, the role of and reliance on technology, climate change and space exploration.

The series targets children aged 6-12 and is funded by Mubadala and the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) as part of their efforts to support children content creation that support inclusion, culture, and Arabic language.


To expand access to sport for all athletes, Nike is launching an initiative with Netflix to offer Nike Training Club (NTC) content for Netflix members to stream which began December 30, 2022.

Netflix’s more than 223 million worldwide members now have access to NTC programs that cater to all fitness levels, require minimal to no equipment, and span yoga, strength and high-intensity workouts. Each NTC training program will include multiple episodes, totaling more than 30 hours of sessions released on Netflix in two parts. Nike will launch five training programs at the end of December, and additional programs will launch throughout 2023. Members will be able to access curated programs or select workouts by type or duration, and the programming will be available in 10 languages via all Netflix plans. The new initiative will feature a custom Nike collection on Netflix. Members can also search “Nike” to find the workouts.



H&M has announced the launch of the H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox. H&M Loooptopia is an immersive experience on Roblox that lets players experiment with materials and patterns in a playful way, creating the next virtual garment and wardrobe for their avatar. Partnering with metaverse studio Dubit, H&M’s new interactive online experience also puts circular actions at the heart of the fun.

“People who shop and wear H&M garments and accessories are increasingly spending time in virtual spaces and digital worlds. The H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is now allowing us to explore new ways to engage with our current and new customers in the places they love to be, both online and offline,” says Linda Li, Head of Customer Activation & Marketing, H&M Americas. “In the coming years, H&M will continue to explore this

fast-growing expanse of virtual and augmented realities.”

The H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is an immersive 3D experience filled with social interaction, engaging environments, mini-games, styling sessions, alternate worlds, events and more.  It allows users to experiment with their digital identity and learn about fashion and circularity in a fun, creative, and playful environment on the Roblox platform that’s connecting millions of people through immersive shared experiences, all while encouraging creativity and self-expression.   “We loved collaborating with H&M to build the H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox- the place on Roblox where anybody can be a fashion designer,” says Andrew Douthwaite, Chief Commercial Officer, Dubit. “H&M wanted to offer an experience that promotes fun and sustainability,

in keeping with their brand DNA of Style, Creativity and Culture. It’s been amazing to see the concept evolve from the initial design and workshop through to this iconic launch.”

At the heart of this interactive world is a vibrant city square which sets the stage for visitors to embark on play sessions in visually stunning alternate worlds like Rainbooow Fields, Neon Studiooo and Fabric Fooorest. In these environments, users can gather a variety of fashion ingredients by engaging in mini-games, styling sessions, liveevents and more. Users can style their avatar with newly created clothes, and compliment these with accessories, dance moves, music tracks and special effects to create a performance on the runway. They can also catch up with friends to trade clothes, take selfies or just admire each other’s latest creations. When it’s time to change up a style, they can recycle old clothes to earn super-rare elements and become the star of the runway show.

“At H&M we want to encourage the emerging generation of digital natives to express themselves through fashion both off and on screen. H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is an exciting new world that unleashes creativity and lets players create and evolve their virtual wardrobe on Roblox, so they can feel the most like themselves through their avatar,” says Max Heirbaut, Global Head of Brand Experience, Metaverse, for H&M.


“I’m proud

one of Brian Mariotti’s Funko first clients,” said Marty Krofft, co-creator of Sid and Marty Krofft Pictures. “Funko continues to be so innovative and I know the Krofft Digital Pop! will bring much happiness into the collectible community.”

The Funko Digital Pop! line incorporates non-fungible tokens into animated digital trading cards based on Funko’s stylized figures. The cards are available in both standard and premium collectible packs. Each pack offering is limited to 12,500 packs, for a total of 250,000 digital collectibles available through the drop.

Every pack purchased also offers fans a chance to reveal a rare Funko Digital Pop! when opened, which can be redeemed for one of six limited edition physical collectibles. Redeemable collectibles for this series include Sleestak Leader, Seymore Spider, Jimmy with Magic Potion, Horatio J. Hoodoo and Freddy Funko as Sleestak.

Funko and Sid and Marty Krofft Pictures have partnered to bring the Saturday morning icons to Funko’s Digital Pop! lineup. The collectible series features memorable characters from several groundbreaking Sid and Marty Krofft shows, including fan favorites Horatio J. Hoodoo, Seymore Spider and many more from their uniquely crafted world. The collectibles were made available for purchase from January 13 through the Droppp platform. that Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures was


Santoro will be showcasing a wide portfolio of brands at this year’s Toy Fair with particular focus on evergreen brand Gorjuss. All new Gorjuss collections will feature heavily including Fairground and Through The Looking Glass – an extension of the popular Wonderland range. 2022 has proven a fantastic year for the brand with impressive new licensee and agent signings alongside the expansion into live experiences. Gorjuss continues to perform as one of the top girls’ brands across Europe with Italy and Greece remaining strongholds while the Balkans emerge as an impressive new market with collectible campaigns insight for 2023 and beyond. Leading licensees include Benneton, Panini, Deagostini, El Corte Ingles, Nakas, Aznar Innova, Safta, MarMar, Graffiti, Balocco and Joumma.

Alongside Gorjuss, Santoro will launch a ‘first look’ at noughties brands Jeli-Deli and Tutti-Cuti, which are set for revival in early 2023. Both Jeli-Deli and Tutti-Cuti enjoyed huge success in the Y2K era, and what better time to bring them back than with the revivalist movement! Also showcasing Santorus, the luxury lifestyle brand created by two generations of the Santoro family, consisting of flamboyant imagery, quality materials and born out of a love for fantastic art which adorns the luxe hotels of the Middle East and UAE, as well as Pfizer’s New York offices.

This Toy Fair, Santoro will be showcasing brand new Gorjuss collections, along with a fantastic range of licensed products following an industrious 2022. Gorjuss continues to span myriad product categories and has further widened its Toys & Games offering with a host of new developments including dolls, craft,


Japanese company Kensin, under its Art of War brand, recently announced a new product drop - the Beherit 2020 Sapporo Edition –three-dimensional versions of the Beherit, a key item from the bestselling Berserk manga comic. The product was launched on 10 December and orders are currently being accepted until 12 February 2023. The new edition celebrates the Sapporo, Japan opening of the hugely successful Great Berserk Exhibition, which runs from 14 January to 12 February 2023. The new products are reproductions of the Beherit, an important item depicted in the Berserk manga, written and illustrated by the late Kentaro Miura, who sadly passed away in May 2021.


2024 will see Steamboat Willie, and that original design of Mickey Mousee enter public domain in terms of copyright law.

The copyright that has stopped others from using Mickey Mouse on their products, actually runs out in 2024 which means that anybody can use the world’s most recognized mouse without either permission or a licensing fee. As you would expect, though, there are some caveats. Disney will still have their trademarks protected as these do not have a time limit.Therefore, it is likely that people can use the original image of Mickey but not the name Mickey Mouse. In addition elements of his look will still be protected. For example, he did not wear white gloves until 1925. Therefore, these won’t go into public domain until 2025. Also the original Mickey from 1924 was in black and white. This will be copyright free but no colour version will become available until 2035 – 100 years after Mickey first appeared in colour. It will be interesting to see what happens…..

collectibles and games set for SS23 and beyond. With a raft of new licensees signed at the start of the year, a flurry of Gorjuss goods hit the shelves in AW22, including a much-demanded craft collection, under new licensee Studio Light, and a dazzling range of wrapping paper and greetings cards with new partner Cromo N.B. in Italy. Leading licensees include Benneton, Panini, Deagostini, El Corte Ingles, Nakas, Aznar Innova, Paola Reina, MarMar, Graffiti, Balocco and Joumma.

Gorjuss continues to perform as one of the top girls’ brands across Europe and the latest signing of agent Empire Multimedia set to open up the Asian market for Gorjuss across Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.


Kennedy Publishing: The Acquisition Publisher of Choice

Tell us about your exciting acquisitions for 2023

Kennedy Publishing are first and foremost an acquisition publisher and we’ve built a successful business model for taking on titles over the last 18 years, with multiple launches on the horizon for 2023.We can confirm that Kennedy will be publishing Top of the Pops and Go Jetters magazines, both of which are licensed from BBC Studios. Go Jetters will join our strong portfolio of pre-school acquisitions, including Peter Rabbit, Octonauts and Mr Tumble. The brand encourages children to be excited by adventure and exploration while learning

the highest quality offerings on the news stand. This is achieved by our specialised team that can give each title the attention it needs to deliver unique, high-value products that edu cate and engage chil dren.

We will also be ex porting both titles, for the first time ever, to overseas English-speaking territories including Australia and New Zealand.

What do you look for when acquiring titles?

With our years of experience, we can pinpoint successful brands that have the potential for further growth. We focus on identifying brands that are trusted by parents and children, brands that have engaging stories behind them and heritage or evergreen brands that need reinvigorating with a fresh outlook and

it’s trusted and likeable then, regardless of a brand’s presence on television or in toy aisles, we can make it work.

Can you tell us about your previous acquisition success stories?

Since our formation in 2005, we have acquired over 20 titles. Acquisitions are in our company DNA and we are committed to bringing children their favourite brands. We have increased sales on some acquisition titles by over 90%, including Barbie and Blaze and the Monster Machines. Our transformation of these sales figures has allowed us to build trust with licensors and established Kennedy as the acquisition publisher of choice, which has contributed to our ranking as the second-largest children’s magazine publisher in the UK.

Anything else you’d like to share about Kennedy’s outlook on 2023?

launched in 1995, and at its peak sold over 100,000 copies per issue. Kenne dy are proud to have been able to save this title from closure and now have the opportunity to keep this heritage brand going.

What are your plans to develop these titles going forward?

Both titles will be given what has come to be known in the industry as the ‘Kennedy Effect’: an editorial, gift, design and distribution refresh that ensures our magazines are some of

When we acquire a new title, we have a long-term vision — many titles in our portfolio have been published for over ten years. The most important thing to consider is how our readers would respond to the brand. If

Acquisitions will always be the backbone of what we do but we are consistently proving ourselves as a fantastic publisher for new brands too. We don’t just capitalise on the initial launch popularity but ensure we nurture brands for long-term growth, meaning the magazines can remain on the market for many years to come! Many of our titles have outlived the brand’s TV shows and toy lines. We are undoubtedly entering a time of uncertainty for the children’s magazine market but by continuing to focus on what we do best, producing highquality, educational and fun magazines for children, we are confident that we will weather the storm. Watch this space for even more acquisition announcements…



One of the world’s greatest mobile battle royales shifts into high gear as Maserati’s performance vehicles are introduced to the battlegrounds PUBG Mobile, one of the world’s most popular mobile games, recently announced a partnership with globally renowned car manufacturer Maserati. The deal, which was facilitated by Endeavor-owned IMG, gave players a chance to command some of Maserati’s first-class sports cars in-game.

Internationally recognized by its iconic trident, Maserati planted its roots in Bologna, Italy in 1914 and now continues to push boundaries internationally with its innovative design and drive for excellence worldwide. The brand has developed a reputation as an arbiter of Italian elegance, and is known for its forward-looking perspective.

The cars introduced in Pubg Mobile included the super sportscar MC20, Maserati’s lightweight yet powerful

coupe with a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 engine, and the robust but stylish Levante, Maserati’s SUV offering, as well as a special unlockable surprise vehicle. Players were able to take the wheel of Maserati’s sports cars from November 18 through December 31, 2022.

“We’re always looking to provide players with partnerships that enrich the PUBG Mobile experience. With Maserati’s historic record of remaining at the forefront of their industry, they made the perfect partner for us to collaborate with,” said Vincent Wang, Head of PUBG Mobile Publishing at Tencent Games. “We’re thrilled to help bring together the worlds of automotive design and interactive gaming as the virtual world expands and becomes more crucial to the development of global technology as a whole.” Sum Huang, CEO of Endeavor China, added: “PUBG Mobile and Maserati are both widely considered as some of the most influential and coveted brands among young generations. As Maserati’s licensing agency, we feel extremely privileged to land this great IP in PUBG Mobile, providing game users a brand-new experience with worldclass sports cars.”


ZAG has signed with BTS Eventos to develop and promote a series of branded family racing events across Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Peru, based on Miraculous - Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. The first races will take place in Brazil where Marilson Dos Santos—a two-time champion of the New York Marathon and the first South American to win the race, three-time champion of the Corrida de San Silvestre and Finalist in London 2011 - is confirmed to participate. The inaugural event is a walk and run at the Villa-Lobos Park in São Paulo on February 12, expected to attract over 5,000 fans of the show who will have access to superhero characters Ladybug and Cat Noir as well as themed activities. Each participant will receive a kit with a t-shirt, chest number, and participation medal, with premium kits also to include various items. Fans can also choose to participate in shorter or longer races depending on age and ability. Miraculous races are also currently in the works in

Brazil in Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, and Rio de Janeiro, with the latter also having a roller-blading option. The runs in Chile and Argentina will take place in Q2, 2023, and 2024 “We are so excited to have partnered with BTS Eventos to create these live experiences for our Miraculous fans that combine healthy sporting activities and entertainment,” explains Angela Cortez, VP, Licensing, Latin America and Canada. “Miraculous has captured the hearts of kids and families across the region. We can’t wait to kick-off this event in Brazil where brand awareness for Miraculous is high, at 88% according to a recent report by Brand Trends International.”

The new events follow ZAG’s successful promotion at Emoción Deportiva on July 17, 2022, in Mexico, featuring Miraculous branded merchandise. Parents and children ran in pairs, and runners received an exclusive Miraculous bag, medal, face mask and t-shirt with options of 1, 2, 3, and 5-kilometer runs.


The Carat Shop have over ten years of manufacturing experience in officially licensed Jewellery and Accessories, for brands such as Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Friends: The TV series. Their product ranges have continued to grow over the years, starting from novelty and premium jewellery pieces including necklaces, charms, bracelets, and earrings, to gifts like hair accessories, bookmarks, pens, pencils, and keyrings.

Best-selling lines of The Carat Shop’s products tend to follow the trend of design, rather than product type. Some include Golden Snitch,

Time Turner, Deathly Hallows, Fawkes the Phoenix, Platform 9/4, and Dobby the House Elf. Their Spinning Time Turner necklace, possibly one of the most recognisable items from the Harry Potter franchise quite rightly sits at the top of the best seller list. It represents the trinket Hermione uses to attend more classes, and wearers like to re-imagine themselves in Hermione’s role as they turn the sand of the replica piece.

2022 saw a big expansion of The Carat Shop’s gift collections, adding many new lines focused on the four Hogwarts Houses. Ranges include Lanyards, hairbands, scrunchies, bracelets, pin badges, necklaces, keyrings, and earrings. These new ranges allowed

best of Harry Potter, from the four Hogwarts Houses to the Yule Ball, Fawkes the Phoenix, and Platform 9 ¾ amongst others. Our Harry Potter Jewellery and Accessories Advent Calendar has been the most anticipated product each year for the run up to Christmas. Each year brings a different design, each more magical than its predecessor. Display samples of their brand new 2023 advent calendar and baubles will be on show at the Toy Fair in London and will be available to pre-order.

At the Toy Fair, they will also be showcasing ‘Starter Pack’ options across their collections, for those unsure of how to first introduce the range. Incorporating the best-selling items, and coming in varying sizes, these packs are a fantastic way of gaining exposure for the product and generating customer interest in shops and online. They also offer a significant amount of POS and display materials such as spinner display stands, High-Quality product photography and banners to support this.

them to resonate with more of the family, with items appealing to fans of all ages and genders. To support new product launches they have created a series of Look books and catalogues for buyers to browse. With interactive links and video also incorporated in the digital versions, clients are also free to use the content to promote the product once they have it in-store or online.

Christmas gifting has become a staple in The Carat Shop’s product launches year on year, and 2022 was no different. Introducing nine new Christmas Baubles with products hidden inside, these best-selling lines once again sold out at pre-order, making them a Christmas must-have for stockists in the lead up to the festive period. Designs of these showcased the

The Carat Shop will be exhibiting on Stand UL60 in the Grand Gallery at the London Toy Fair 2023 between 24- 26 January and Spielwarenmesse 1- 5 February 2023 Hall 1 Stand F-05. They will be gladly welcoming new and existing business. For all trade enquiries please email or call +44 (0) 1279 442 528.


Sesame Street reaches new heights in Europe!

You may think you know Sesame Street from growing up with the brand, but you are in for a surprise! While fan favorites Cookie Monster will always have a love of cookies and Elmo will always love “love”, everyone’s furry friends continue to excite fans of all ages as stars in brand new content and unexpected collaborations around the world.

Produced by the nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop, Sesame Street has never shied away from tough topics. Its latest season, streaming on HBO Max in the U.S., is devoted to helping children grow up with a healthy self-identity and sense of belonging, in full celebration of our diverse world. Both beloved and new friends model the power of relationships and show the many ways we are all connected and belong in our families and communities.

Sesame Street is also reaching new heights in Europe with the launch of Sesame Street Mecha Builders. Having debuted on Germany’s Super RTL this autumn, the 3D animation reimagines Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Abby Cadabby as robot heroes-in-training who use their STEM superpowers to solve problems. Mecha Elmo has a ton of gadgets - some useful, some not so much. Mecha Abby’s stretchy arms can lift heavy objects and reach far away places. Mecha Cookie has a handy hammer hand, googly vision, and springs to help him bounce from place to place. Viewers will love this

new take on classic characters. And the adventures continue with Cookie Monster. RTL+, Super RTL and Sesame Workshop are in production for Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck with Steffen Henssler, a new cooking show for German children and families. Debuting in spring 2023, the 13-episode series stars TV chef Steffen Henssler, Cookie Monster and Gonger, a Sesame Street character appearing on German TV for the first time. In each episode, Chef Gonger asks how, when, and where food grows. How do you weigh ingredients? How do you store different foods? Cookie Monster wants to try everything, of course! And expert Steffen shares his knowledge about food and its preparation. The three are joined by celebrity guests and delicious dishes are cooked, baked, and sizzled with great passion. Gonger and Cookie Monster also take their truck on the road to explore ingredients more deeply. Sesamstrasse will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in Germany in 2023. To mark this milestone, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MK&G) unveiled a major exhibition titled “Sesamstrasse: 50 Years and Counting.” Visitors are invited to immerse themselves into the world of Ernie & Bert, Elmo, and Cookie Monster. Created in cooperation with the NDR (Sesame Workshop’s long-time co-production partner for Sesamstrasse), the exhibit highlights the design of

the puppets, sets, costumes, props, and music pieces and introduce the creative minds and skilled hands behind the children’s TV series. There’ll be more special events, unexpected collaborations, and new content throughout the anniversary year.

Extending the laughter and learning of its flagship brand, Sesame Workshop is thrilled that Just Play becomes its multi-territory master toy licensee for Sesame Street launching in 2023. Under this multi-year partnership, and with a dedicated focus on Europe, Just Play will manufacture and market an expansive array of products. Key preschool play patterns and categories include plush, figures, playsets, vehicles, role play/dress up, bath, and learning toys. Just Play will also contribute to Sesame Workshop’s social impact efforts by providing funding for initiatives that bring early learning and support across a broad variety of challenges to children around the world.

“Age is just a number, and nowhere is that more apparent than when you think about the iconic brand Sesame Street,” said Chris Becker, Director of Franchise, Europe, Sesame Workshop. “We are a heritage brand, but you won’t catch us resting on our laurels. We enter new product categories with innovative, fresh approaches, do deeper dives, and team up with creatives who can reimagine our characters in surprising new ways giving consumers a daily dose of Sesame Street.”


The Power of

Pokémon continues to soar through a dynamic programme of activity across its multiple pillars. Ever innovative, a series of exciting new releases and creative collaborations are keeping the brand at the forefront of pop culture and driving a fresh surge in popularity.

Pokémon toys continue to fly off the shelves, with the brand continually a UK top 5 toy property 2022. As of November, it was #4 property YTD. New releases and refreshes of the toy range are boosting its success. Popular examples include Jazwares’ cuddly 5” sleeping plush and corduroy plush, and articulated Flame and Flight Deluxe Charizard, plus seasonal holiday calendars for Halloween and Christmas.

Funko and Mattel have also enjoyed increased sales and added to their growing range of Pokémon products, including Mattel’s MEGA Motion Pikachu and MEGA Adventure Builder sets, plus collectable new Funko characters including Pikachu, Eevee, Mewtwo, Vulpix and Grumpy Pikachu. Meanwhile, November’s official Squishmallows launch on the Pokémon Centre UK was a huge success, with

the release of the huggable plush selling out.

Buoyant toy sales have been supported by an incredibly strong programme of out-of-aisle and promotional activity across retailers which looks set to deliver Pokémon’s biggest toy year to date in the UK. Highlights include a dynamic toy space activation in Harrods which launched alongside the World Championships – held in the UK for the first time ever – in August. At Tesco, a cross-category pallet promotion launched in 400 stores in November – double the store count from 2021.

Pokémon continues to forge exciting partnerships to offer fans new and increasing ways to interact with the brand. Some key apparel collaborations this year included super cool footwear for kids and adults from renowned brand Clarks in August; a fun fashion collection with ASOS in July; and a series of special collections with Zavvi throughout the year, from an Arceus inspired range, a Pokémon day collection, a Legendary Pokémon range and one tied into the new Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon

Violet video games.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game continues to break records, helped by the release of the Pokémon GO expansion, a special collaboration inspired by the popular mobile game Pokémon GO.

This year’s eagerly awaited Nintendo Switch video game launches included Pokémon Legends: Arceus in January, which took trainers into the past of the stunning Sinnoh region; and November’s Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet, a new evolutionary step in the Pokémon main series exploring an open world where various towns with no borders blend seamlessly into the wilderness. And there’s no let up to the exciting activity in 2023! Covetable new toys are coming, including first partner Pokémon from the Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet games, while the innovation continues with more dynamic retail activations and imaginative collaborations on the horizon – all set to take to build on Pokémon’s position as one of the most popular and successful global entertainment brands.

It’s been another sensational year for Pokémon, with the iconic brand building on the incredible success of its 25th anniversary year in 2021, which saw it scale new heights.

TeamTO’s Cutting-Edge New Studio in Paris Embraces Social and Environmental Changes

Leading creator of kids entertainment TeamTO – known as much for the quality of their animation as for their commitment to social and environmental issues - is pleased to announce the opening of its revolutionary new, cutting-edge studio in Paris.

Located in the Bastille neighbourhood, the studio will feature a host of energy saving and green protocols, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and making it one of the most energy-efficient studios in France. The innovative methods developed are the culmination of fifteen years of research and experimentation initiated by founder Guillaume Hellouin and implemented by TeamTO CTO JeanBaptiste Spieser and his maverick

technical team.

TeamTO’s environmental policies started 17 years ago, from everyday micro-choices such as going paperless, using only reusable cups and utensils, encouraging the use of electric or pedal-powered vehicles, and even experimenting with warming up a swimming pool using heat from their servers.

Larger green initiatives for the new studio include choosing the location based on the commuting distances and access of its 200+ employees to reduce travel; creating green areas that require minimal water while providing bird and insect ecosystems; using lowenergy, free cooling ventilation and 100% renewable energy; extending the use of workstations (6 years) and servers (10 years); and a data-center enhanced by an AI-based open source management software. Together, the cutting-edge technologies and policies will reduce the studio’s carbon footprint by 63%.

In 2012 TeamTO received UNESCO recognition for Plankton Invasion, an animated satire on global warming for teenagers & young adults TeamTO created the first animation carbon footprint calculator during the

production of this series.

Guilaume Hellouin, Co-founder and President of TeamTO, commented, “I’m so proud of the work achieved by my entire team, from technical to production, who over the past four years where able to imagine, develop and create this incredible, artist-centered and forward-thinking animation studio! The result is truly amazing, it is a nest that will nurture the next generation of talent for the next 15 years!”

Guillaume Hellouin and Corinne Kouper are multi-award winning kids content producers that have won broad international recognition for their animated series (Emmies, Annies, Pulcinellas, Cartoon Producer of the Year, etc.), as well as for their impact on the industry as a whole (Ecran Total Personality of the Year, World Animation Summit Hall of Fame, UNESCO, etc.) They also have contributed concretely to the diversification in the production business, and an increase of the French talent pool, with their free animation school (ECAS), and Kouper’s work with Les Femmes s’Animent (a French organization that helps women creators in the animation industry).

Revolutionary Eco-Friendly Animation Studio
cut Carbon Footprint by 63%
TeamTO’s environmental policies started 17 years ago.

It’s been an actionpacked year for anime specialist ADK Emotions NY Inc as it continues to accelerate the growth of its hit IP Beyblade Burst in key international markets.

The brand has achieved a significant number of firsts during the past 12 months, including the launch of the official Beyblade Burst TikTok account, a debut appearance at Anime Expo in L.A. in July, and its first foray into the metaverse (in partnership with Hasbro and online game platform Roblox).

Add to that a continuous flow of engaging new anime content, live activations, and toys and consumer products designed to give the brand’s evergrowing fan base the optimal all-round experience, and Beyblade Burst is on course for a fruitful 2023.



celebrates a year of ‘firsts’ and unveils 2023 plans

2023: get ready for Beyblade Burst Quadstrike

With Disney XD currently showing Season 6 of Beyblade Burst, Beyblade Burst Quaddrive, and Netflix streaming Season 5 of Beyblade Burst, Beyblade Burst Surge, excitement is building for the launch of Season 7 of Beyblade Burst, Beyblade Burst Quadstrike.

Featuring an official theme song by altmetal band Our Last Night, the latest installment in the animation franchise will debut in 2023, and will be accompanied by the launch of brand-new toys.

“We can’t wait for Season 7 to launch,” says an ADK Emotions representative. “Our animation production partners have once again excelled themselves, producing incredibly imaginative, bestin-class content that we know fans worldwide are going to love. We’re equally delighted with the products designed to accompany the new series from our master toy partner Hasbro, which continues to innovate in the toy space and offer toys that simply can’t be found anywhere else.”

ADK Emotions has a packed calendar of in-person and digital events lined up for Beyblade Burst in 2023, including epic battle tournaments and social media activations. Beyblade Burst will also be present at all the key industry expos and conventions, allowing licensees and future partners, as well as fans, to connect with the brand in person.

2022: TikTok, WWE, Roblox and more 2022 saw the brand expand its digital

footprint to TikTok with the launch of dedicated channel @beyblade_official. The latest addition to the brand’s digital ecosystem joins its popular Instagram and Facebook accounts and hugely successful YouTube channel (excl. Asia), which has accrued more than 3.3 million subscribers and experienced 360 million views since its 2017 debut.

Offering fast-paced and eye-catching animated clips, character reels and battle videos, product unboxing and ASMR content, the channel plays to the brand’s multi-generational strength, allowing young fans the chance to explore the vast back catalogue while enabling fans of nostalgia the chance to re-watch classic moments.

Continuing to innovate in the digital space, in November, ADK Emotions took Beyblade into the metaverse for the first time ever, collaborating with Hasbro and global online game platform Roblox to create branded Beyblade Burst Quaddrive in-game activations within fighting game Ultra Power Tycoon (which has had 254.6M visits since it was created in 2021), and climbing game Tower of Misery (3.3B visits since 2020). The special content, which was available from 21 November until 16 December on mobile, console, PC and Tablet, allowed users to collect Beys, battle in a larger-thanlife stadium, and even ride on their favourite tops.

Beyblade Burst experienced another first in July, making its debut at Anime Expo in Los Angeles. Visitors to the consumer-facing event, a celebration of Japanese pop culture, were invited to visit the Beyblade Burst panel to

enjoy screenings showing the latest Beyblade Burst animation and a quiz where participants answered questions to win a prize.

The brand’s interactive booth featured a free play area and a stamp rally game where participants could collect stamps by winning matches. There were also formal tournaments on all four days of the convention (1–4 July), where players battled it out for the chance to win toys, pins, stickers, merchandise and limited-edition Tshirts.

Providing yet another in-person touchpoint for fans of the brand, in November, Beyblade Burstreturned to Anime NYC for the first time since the pandemic. Representatives from Beyblade Burst’s master toy partner Hasbro and adaptation experts ADK Emotions NY held a special Beyblade Burst panel on 18 November, taking the audience on a deep dive into both Beyblade Burst toy design and the animation process. The panel concluded with a trivia session, and a giveaway of the latest toys to participants.  Rounding off the year, Beyblade Burst’s partnership with powerhouse wrestling brand WWE brought heartpounding action to the live space in Q4. Fans of both brands were able to enjoy a range of Beyblade Burstactivities before the WWE Survivor Series live event on 26 November at TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, including the chance to get hands-on with the Beys at a designated free-play section. There were prizes and offers available to visitors, including coupons offering specials deals on the purchase of Beyblade Burst toys at Toys “R” Us at Macy’s.

The event was supported by social media promotions on Facebook and Instagram from WWE Stars Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston and online content on UpUpDownDown, WWE’s premiere video game YouTube channel, kicking off with a video release featuring 11 WWE Superstars participating in a Beyblade Bonanza.


Interview: Zinkia

Can you outline some of the plans for the 20th anniversary of Pocoyo?

The 20th anniversary of Pocoyo will be marked by the evolution of the brand, to be revealed in the new season, which is already the fifth. This rebranding also touches on Zinkia’s corporate brand, which, in this way, will mark a turning point.

We would love to make our plans public, but if we do, we would lose the surprise effect. Pocoyo is going to have intense activity, from super-disruptive digital initiatives to more traditional formats, such as music festivals, meet & greets or the figure of Pocoyo in the Wax Museum in Madrid, which has already been recently opened.

And give us some history to how Pocoyo started out…

Pocoyo comes up from the desire to turn our vocation, something that amused us, into our way of earning a living.The need to transform ourselves and our environment into something better. If you add to that excitement, tons of talent, a young team, terribly inexperienced, but with a crazy desire to do different things, the result is Pocoyó. A content that shook the industry by taking a “cartoon” animation style to 3D, taking simplicity as a virtue, putting technology at the service of the stories, something that sadly, seemed to be less valued in CGI. You have some great news around the brand including signings with Alexa and in Mexico. What’s next for Pocoyo?

Pocoyo is currently undergoing a

period of intense activity. In recent months, its growth has been reinforced with the signing of major alliances with HBO Max and Cartoon Network, Disney+ and Netflix, among many others. It has also added licensees, with the incorporation of large companies such as Penguin Random House. In terms of content production, in 2023 we will start the fifth season of the series and we have several special content collaboration projects. How has Zinkia evolved over the years?

In recent years Zinkia has undergone a huge transformation, from such apparently unimportant aspects as changing our office after 18 years or the corporate identity; to other fundamental aspects such as buying the Canary Islands production company KOYI and its intellectual property assets: Bumpy, which will start production at the beginning of 2023, GhostBros, which will be presented at the next Kidscreen. We have also developed a new IP such as Yanco, Dina and the Dinosaurs, after 15 years without tackling any new project. With Pocoyo, in the last three years we have produced more original content than in the previous 15 years, its international presence has been multiplied and YouTube channels have grown from 11 million subscribers in 2019 to close to 40 million in 2022, going from 1.8 billion videos watched to more than 6.5 billion. The new year is a new starting point. And can you outline the whole 360 offering of the company? Our content continues to have the aspiration of becoming a brand, a franchise that reaches its target audience wherever it is: TV channels, platforms, YouTube, social networks, Apps, video games. At Zinkia we have a core team capable of producing or leading each of these kind of projects, keeping the brand values and adapting the content to the medium, working with transmedia narratives and offering original content that inspires children and families.

In terms of distribution, we manage our YouTube channels, we manage

social networks in coordination with licensing agents in each territory, we have a Fast channel in testing in Spain, an OTT channel in the USA. In addition to, of course, selling our content to TV channels and platforms around the world, we started to manage our means of distribution, establishing a dialogue with our audiences and analysing statistical data that gives us a clue as to where we are getting it right and where we are getting it wrong. In terms of licensing, this is reflected in something that has marked all our projects, where toymakers and licensing agents have always contributed their vision from very early stages.

Which areas of licensing are you specifically focusing on at the moment?

Each content means a target audience and the combination of both, content and audience, has a specific licensing strategy.

Toys continue to be key in preschool content, in terms of turnover, retail presence and marketing investment. Publishing continues to be another of the pillars of licensing. Bringing reading closer to children and families, bringing your brand into the home through a book is very enriching and improves parents’ perception of your content. Textiles understood as part of fashion, hygiene products, of course, music and why not art or technology.

And what areas do you think, in general, will be the real growth areas?

The universe of NFT’s makes sense to us if we treat it as digital art. In other words, if it is unique, if it is rare, if it is original, if it has value in itself.

We don’t believe in collections of thousands of NFTS’s of speculative value or false added value, we are a bit allergic to that.

We love live events, where the technology makes them unique, cinema films where you have to leave the mobile phones on and it offers a completely different experience... Maybe we just like to play, invent and do things a bit differently.

Victor M. López, Managing Director, Zinkia Entertainment, sat down with Total Licensing to discuss Pocoyo’s 20th anniversary, new IP and plans for the future.


The Insights Family, the global leader in kids, teens, parents, and family market intelligence, launches their annual Future Forecast 2023 report ( ), which predicts twelve key trends in the kids, teens, parents, and family universe to watch out for next year.

This report is using their class of one insight methodology and ties into their purpose that aims to put kids, teens, parents, and families at the heart of everything they do. The report which uses the company’s extensive knowledge and insight of surveying more than c700,000 family members across 22 countries every year, has continued to track and monitor the impact of several key factors such as environment, economy, education, technology and changing audience habit.This results in a real-time understanding of these factors into how they are transforming the attitudes, behaviour, and consumption of kids, teens, parents and families around the world.

This year’s predictions include:

• The perfect storm of post covid impact and economic downturn will inevitably impact the sea of subscriptions on offer to consumers. Subscriptions will need to merge to stay relevant against this global economic background;

• Gaming will come to the high street by merging virtual experiences with real time shopping and event-based high street fun;

• Gamified communities will become a greater factor in your brand ecosystem in order to reach a target audience. How it is executed will be critical;

• Demonstrating values and sustainability mission in an authentic way will be important in a world where audiences continue to increase their power and collective voice on brands that do or DON’T adhere to their high standards –and most critically their spending power en masse could make or break a brand;

• Linear is making a return in the wake of economic concerns and the growing urge to cut costs;

A kid-first world will continue to grow with non-kid focused sectors looking to develop their brand and marketing strategies to include family and kids. The power is with kids and that trend is only getting stronger; The eco system available to brands to reach an increasingly fragmented audience is growing. An ecosystem approach to your brand is critical to face 2023 with the chance of reaching kids, teens, parents and families.

Nick Richardson, Founder and CEO at The Insights Family commented, “The world is changing. We are seeing throughout our data that kids and teens are becoming more influential within their households and amongst the family. Their attitudes, behaviour, and consumption patterns are developing in line with the beliefs they hold true to themselves and will act upon. Kids and teens increased financial empowerment and connectivity has granted them greater power and influence than they have ever had before. That’s why here at The Insights Family, we have realigned our purpose to inspire organisations to put kids, teens, parents, and families at the heart of everything they do.”


Global kids and family entertainment major Toonz Media Group has partnered with India’s ELE Animations Pvt Ltd to co-produce Drac and Skeletons, both companies said in a joint statement recently.

Developed and owned by Toonz and ELE, it has an international appeal for kids 4 to 7 years old. The spooky chase comedy series will be produced into a 78 x 7” animated series in 2D Digital format in two versions— an International version in English and an Indian version in Hindi.

Toonz will undertake the responsibility for the entire pre & post-production of the series. Voice-over and post-production of the international version will be handled by Telegael, a Toonz affiliate company based in Ireland.

Toonz will also have the exclusive distribution rights to exploit the series in all media and platforms including L&M rights worldwide, except Ireland. ELE Animations will undertake the responsibility for the entire animation production of the Series.

“We consider this agreement with ELE Animations to co-produce this Indian IP as a strategic one as Drac and Skeletons has a universal theme,” P Jayakumar, Chief Executive Officer of Toonz Media Group said and added that there will be both domestic and international versions because of the major interest from broadcasters.



Jazwares, a global leader in toys and licensing are snuggling up to new UK licensing partners, to create meaningful product extensions for UK fans and collectors, as Squishmallows continues its evolution into a powerhouse lifestyle brand.

UK Squishmallows sales have doubled in 2022, achieving mind-blowing rates of sale of over 100 at toy specialists whilst ranking as the 2nd fastest growing property on UK NPD. The brand is set to double sales again moving into 2023 with over 250+ new Squishmallows entering the UK market. Incredible results in the toy aisle are further fuelled by out-of-aisle activations across all major retailers supported by a robust marketing campaign where the UK’s biggest TikTok stars showcase their Squishmallows squads. Since Squishmallows’ debut in 2017, the brand has become known for its ultra-soft feel and adorable designs, delighting fans of all ages with the Squishmallows’ unique and lovable personalities. In 2022 Squishmallows took the US toy industry’s top honour, the Toy Association’s coveted overall Toy of the Year award, while also hitting the monumental milestone of

125+ million plush sold globally. On social media Squishmallows content has officially squished through the roof, generating over 7 billion video views on TikTok and @squishmallows (and related hashtags) tagged in more than one million Instagram posts. Additionally, the Squishmallows social media channels have ballooned to more than 1.2m followers and nearly 100 global and local Facebook groups have been created by fans. In the metaverse, recently launched Squishmallows on Roblox continues to surprise and delight fans of all ages ascending to the #1 toy game by concurrent players with a massive 8.5m registered unique users. Recognising the brand’s vast global audience and multi-generational appeal, Jazwares has introduced a premiere Squishmallows global licensing programme. Following tremendous success in the US, an extensive global programme is now in place, supported by some of the biggest names in consumer and lifestyle products. Offering very exciting launches for 2023, UK partners include Bioworld, with a fantastic range of branded apparel and accessories, Character World with a cosy range of bedding, HarperCollins Publishers offering the Squishmallows Collectors Guide, Aykroyds and TDP Textiles with nightwear, loungewear, swimwear and underwear collectively and Crackerjack UK Ltd launching Squishmallows lip and nail products.

Continuing to grow the Squishmallows licensing programme, Jazwares is delighted to announce a host of high-profile partners in UK and Ireland. New Squishmallows fashion and apparel collaborations will include socks by Roy Lowes, hats by Drew Pearson and footwear by Poetic Brands. Squishmallows calendars and greeting cards will be available from Danilo, while Ravensburger will offer a Squishmallows puzzles range. More exciting partnership announcements are coming soon as the Squishmallows license programme expands into new categories including health and beauty, stationery, food and drink, gifting and trading cards.


Moonbug Entertainment: Creator Brands Leading the way

2022 has been a year of rapid growth and expansion across Moonbug Entertainment. The company’s leading franchises, CoComelon and Blippi, have seen expansion and diversification over the past year with new shows such as Cody Time, Meekah and Juca launching, as well as new product offerings (such as the new CoComelon video game, stage shows and award-winning toys).

Additionally, Moonbug grew its IP portfolio with the acquisitions of The Little Angel Network and One Animation in February and May of 2022 respectively.

Geographically, throughout the year, Moonbug has shown substantial growth, expanding its presence in EMEA, LATAM and APAC. New linear channels were launched in markets such as Malaysia, Turkey and across African countries (via a partnership with MultiChoice, Africa’s leading entertainment company).

Moonbug’s shows also reached new audiences via international streaming services such as Rakuten TV in Japan and premium local kids channels such as Clan in Spain or TelevisaUnivision across the US and Latin America. Moonbug’s shows are currently

available in 32 languages and feature on more than 150 platforms globally, including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sky, Super RTL, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Tencent, Youku and Roku.

Content expansion has been key. In 2022 Moonbug expanded into new industries such as podcasts (CoComelon Story Time on Spotify), gaming (CoComelon: Play with JJ launched back in November), and live entertainment. Additionally, back in December, Cameo Kids was launched, including a lineup of animated Moonbug stars from CoComelon and Blippi Wonders.

The company’s consumer products business also continued its global

expansion through partnerships and licensing deals with top brands such as Rascal + Friends, Just Play, Jazwares and Tonies to name a few. The quality and strength of these brands and products has not gone unnoticed. Moonbug’s CoComelon brand won Top Licensed Property in the Licensing Awards held in Las Vegas in May 2022. Looking ahead, the focus for 2023 will be to continue developing the very best products with the best partners within the industry, whilst bringing to life its much-loved brands.

Key franchises to look out for 2023: CoComelon, Blippi, Little Angel and Oddbods

Over a short period of time, CoComelon has grown into one of the top toddler and preschool properties in the world. Its mission to inspire positivity and nurture a growth mindset for kids has attracted the imagination of many licensees and retailers. Over the past year, CoComelon has grown 31% in YouTube subscribers with the show now boasting over 163 million subscribers globally. The franchise has also seen expansion and diversification with new shows launching (It’s Cody Time and CoComelon Animal Time) as well as new consumer product and live entertainment offerings.


In 2023 Moonbug is looking forward to bringing to life the best products for all CoComelon fans across EMEA from toys to fashion, home to toiletries, food to publishing, gaming and much more. The team has been working closely to ensure partners reflect the very best of the content back into products, bringing the show to life with products infused with music, role-play and learning. Moonbug’s ambition is to allow every child the opportunity to play with its characters wherever they are.

There are exciting plans for the brand throughout the year including, CoComelon Lane airing exclusively on Netflix in 2023. And fans should keep their eyes peeled, as JJ will be walking the aisles of London Toy Fair 2023!

Blippi inspires curiosity in preschoolers around the world by creating content and experiences that are relatable, accessible and make learning fun. Blippi has become a worldwide sensation with more than one billion monthly views across platforms including Netflix, HBO Max, Cartoonito, Sky, Amazon and YouTube and hundreds of millions of fans around the world. The franchise has expanded rapidly since it was acquired by Moonbug Entertainment in 2020, is available in more than 20 languages, including ASL, and is distributed by more than 30 global broadcast and streaming partners.

The Blippi brand has experienced great momentum, with continued distribution expansion bringing the

content onto new platforms as well as the launch of new content formats, such as the Blippi Wonders animated show. Moonbug has been working closely with Jazwares, the master toy partner for Blippi, to ensure this momentum is reflected back into the product line, as well as exploring opportunities to expand into new and relevant product categories in the future.

Little Angel was Moonbug’s first acquisition since becoming part of Candle Media and it is one of the fastest growing kids’ channels on YouTube with over 100 million subscribers. Since the acquisition, Moonbug has been working on delivering an innovative and truly unique preschool offering that ties to the core themes and attributes of the show such as creativity, playfulness and imagination. The company plans to develop the brand across new

categories in the coming year.

Oddbods is the award-winning nondialogue show featuring the madcap yet charming antics of seven unique and relatable characters: Jeff, Pogo, Newt, Fuse, Zee, Slick and Bubbles. Oddbods entertains and inspires children around the world, whilst celebrating individuality and diversity.

The show was acquired by Moonbug Entertainment back in May 2022 and has aired in more than 180 countries. The brand also has a presence on digital content platforms such as YouTube, where it has over 28 million subscribers and averages 26 billion views across its sixteen YouTube channels.

As digital entertainment increasingly dominates everyday lives, Moonbug continues to work towards fulfilling consumer needs and the audience’s love for its properties. After the US, UK and Australia, European markets are now showing a huge growth of YouTube viewership.

A key focus throughout 2023 for Moonbug will be international expansion as well as working with their partners and licensees to identify new business opportunities across international markets such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Exciting times ahead, which the team is very much looking forward to!


As The Walt Disney Company marks its 100th anniversary in 2023, Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing will unveil exciting new collections and experiences celebrating Disney 100 Years of Wonder. 2023 will celebrate the storytellers who have brought generations the wonder and magic that is Disney, and the fans and families who have brought Disney into their hearts throughout the past 100 years. Everyone can share their favourite moments using #ShareTheWonder and #Disney100.

Unparalleled List of Global Licensees: The LEGO Group and Disney will celebrate the anniversary across the year by inviting families to share the wonder of storytelling, imagination, and creative play that LEGO Disney has inspired over the 24 years since it launched. Using the ultimate creative medium of the LEGO brick, the the magic of exciting new Disney stories and bring friends and families together to dream, build and create with magical new LEGO Disney

Additionally, fans will be able to celebrate Disney 100 Years of Wonder with an incredible slate of new commemorative collaborations launching throughout 2023.Collections include fashion and accessories brands like Coach, footwear brands such as adidas, memorable jewellers like Pandora and toy manufacturers such as Mattel, Hasbro and Funko.

To coincide with Disney100 and the Year of the Rabbit, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit has emerged from the vault and has sprung into the pop-culture zeitgeist through a

playful and contemporary collection from Givenchy, now available globally in stores and on Additional world-renowned licensee collaborations in the home, toy, fashion industries and more will be announced throughout the Disney100 celebration.

shopDisney Collections

Celebrate The Walt Disney Company’s Timeless Legacy shopDisney launched the Disney100 Premium Celebration Collection in December, featuring exciting pieces including the iconic Mickey Mouse Ear Hat. Additional collections will roll out throughout the year on shopDisney including

Disney100 Oswald Collection will shine a spotlight on one of Walt

Global brands line up to commemorate Disney100 through unique product collaborations across Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, 20th Century and National Geographic The LEGO Group, Coach and more to launch a slate of innovative, creative and playful product collections throughout 2023 from Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing

Disney’s earliest creations, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Disney100 The Eras Collection will showcase fan-favourite periods of time in the company’s history, including the early years of The Walt Disney Studios, Disneyland park and more. Disney100 Decades Collection will celebrate beloved classic stories from the company’s legacy, including Steamboat Willie (1928) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), and countless others.

Sharing the Wonder Fans and families can join in by sharing their favourite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, 20th Century, and National Geographic memories using #ShareTheWonder and #Disney100. These posts will honour and spotlight the countless memories Disney and its fans have made together over the past century. Whether it be the magical moment of meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time at Disneyland Resort, a family movie night watching Disney Encanto, or playing with fanfavourite Star Wars or Avengers toys, everyone is invited to share their own wondrous moments experiencing the magic of Disney.

In addition, the celebration will showcase fans’ favourite stories and beloved characters with monthly themes. Since it all started with a mouse, the monthly Wonder of … celebrations will kick off by shining

a spotlight on the Wonder of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Throughout the month of January, special collaborations will honour these pop culture icons. The month-

iconic vintage posters from Disney movies and Parks attractions.

Disney fans can also enjoy more releases throughout the year, including the search and find title Disney Princess: Magical Worlds (Studio Press), the 7 Days of Friendship Storybook (Igloo) and a new title in the Studio Press staple Museum Series Disney Museum, which celebrates 100 years of the company through a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book with development artwork from the archives. A special Disney100 edition of the bestselling Advent Calendar (Igloo) is also planned to celebrate the magic of storytelling during the next holiday season. Enduring classic The Disney Book (DK) will be released as revised editions with new covers for Disney’s 100th anniversary.

long celebration of Mickey and Minnie will culminate in Anaheim, California with the launch of the Disney100 Celebration at Disneyland Resort which includes the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway on January 27, 2023.

Other Wonder of… themes include Wonder of Play and Disney’s “Wonder of Friendship,The Experience” – which will see Disney open the doors to an immersive multi-sensory experience targeted at Gen Zs and Young Adults. Opening in London in May, groups of friends will have the chance to venture through 1000 square metres of different experiences and installations set across four rooms, including Alice in Wonderland, Lilo & Stitch, The Lion King and Mickey and Friends. Taking place between May to October 2023 across the UK, France, Germany and Spain, ticket sales for Disney’s Wonder of Friendship, The Experience will be announced soon.

Disney Publishing Worldwide

For those looking to be inspired by Disney’s beloved tradition of storytelling, readers and collectors can now pre-order The Vintage Poster Collection Colouring Book (Studio Press), where fans can enjoy colouring

Experience the Wonder Through Video Games

Throughout the year, Disney will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary with exciting updates and new content for popular games through a variety of in-game activations, content updates and social media activations from games including Disney Dreamlight Valley, Disney Mirrorverse and many more. Popular match-3 mobile game Disney Emoji Blitz will begin the celebration with new limited-edition emojis releasing throughout the year, including Platinum Mickey!


Licensing in the


BrandTrends shares the Most favorite Entertainment brands in the autumn of 2022

The BrandTrends Group has unveiled some major findings from its most recent research, and some key facts can be extracted when compared to the previous three years.

With a combined children population of 2.8 million, Sweden and Denmark (often referred to as “brotherfolks”) are an interesting part of the Nordic countries.

Sweden is known for several famous innovations, such as Alfred Nobel’s creation of dynamite (yes, the same who instituted the Nobel Prizes). Or Anders Celsius’s invention, the centigrade system, which uses degrees Celsius to measure temperature. The first pacemaker that controls patients’ hearts’ beating was also developed in Sweden.

Of course, many of you already know IKEA, originating from Sweden, or even Volvo, Tetra Pak and Electrolux or Ericsson.

Denmark tops the list of the happiest nations in the world, with all of the Nordic countries following closely after. Denmark is renowned for its philosophy that no one is superior to the other. It plays a significant role in the society’s egalitarian and accepting culture.

Naturally, a lot of you already know

about LEGO, one of the most favorite Entertainment brands to children, families but also adults! And what’s about Pandora or even Ecco, not to mention some well-known beer brands in the world.

Well organized and segmented markets

In comparison to other countries, the total number of brands existing in these countries may be viewed as low. When compared to Canada or Spain, the 150 different brands that children up to the age of 14 know about seems low. However, this competitive set is rather severe given the size of the targeted population. When broken down to a thinner demographic level, each age group and gender is familiar with around 75 different brands of those 150. And, in their tradition of equality, a very large proportion of those brands are well known by both the boys and the girls.

Where videogame brands typically experience short-term growth

As expected, LEGO lead the most favorite brands, and even rise on the long-term (+1.4 pts). The market’s most intriguing statistic, though, is

that videogame brands, led by Roblox, have increased significantly despite experiencing a decline three years ago! I should claim that the countries are back in business with the global trend.

Comic book characters slowly develop

The Marvel and DC Comics universes have experienced substantial development, much like many other well-developed countries. As a result, Marvel achieves 6.8 % of the most popular brands in the autumn of 2022, up from 2.5 % three years prior, while DC Comics reaches 1.9 % against 0.8% three years prior.

Marvel does not, however, occupy the leadership or challenger roles, in comparison to the majority of the countries, even if the brand finishes a respectable #5 rank. The fact that the Nordic marketplaces carry a wide variety of regional brands, such Bamse, Babblarna, and Bolibompa, is another interesting aspect of these markets. Additionally, the vast majority of these regional brands focus on infant and preschool audiences rather than older kids. Since LEGO is one of the most well-known companies in many nations throughout the world and frequently competes with Marvel and other leading brands for market share, I chose not to list it in the previous; but you understood my point.

Ownership and Licensing Opportunities

Overall, the Nordic market is lively in terms of products with an entertainment license. The variety of purchases has expanded in terms of product cat-


egories and quantity (more categories, more products within each category), but it has also increased by 5 percentage points in terms of new consumers who don’t currently own a licensed product (about 138,000 new buying households for the demographic group).

Overall, this indicates that the market for these products will grow over the next year (2023).

Another thing to keep in mind is that, aside from the dynamic Swedish brand Bolibompa, all regional brands often exhibit significantly smaller customer demand gaps than do the other worldwide brands.

A greater variety of entertainment brand categories are expected for the Nordic markets

Due to their unique characteristics, the Swedish and Danish markets demand a greater range of varied entertainment brands and balance the many formats: whether they are international or regional brands, originated from movies, TV shows, videogames, or comics, there is a place for many of the products.

Even while the most popular brands have the same market share as in other developed nations, their makeup leaves room for other players and growth potential for up-and-coming firms.

There are a ton of possibilities emerg-


ing for mid-level brands, giving those who can take advantage of the opportunity the potential to forge their own path to the top. The level of sophistication of the countries and the numerous options make it challenging to pass up this opportunity.

The current report provides a detailed analysis of brand awareness, popularity, and purchase intent of the most important Entertainment brands within a country. The most crucial aspect is that it predicts product category purchasing intentions. The service reports on 11,500+ different Entertainment, Fashion, or Sports brands four times a year, and interviews 200,000+ people ranging in age from infants to seniors in 42 countries, including Canada.

The BrandTrends Group is a global full-service supplier of marketing research with a focus on brand, lifestyle, and attitudinal trends as well as specializing on children, youth and families (but not only!). The BrandTrends Group monitors up to 53 markets each year.

Thanks to BrandTrends Group’s in-depth knowledge, expertise and unique, proprietary analytics, clients are able to identify the best opportunities in retail activation, consumer attitudes & behavior, competitive environment, and brand line design.

The BrandTrends Group clients are renowned global companies, spanning from consumer package goods corporations, Entertainment studios, retailers, and industry bodies.

More? Visit

If you would like more information, please contact Philippe GuinaudeauBrandTrends at

LEGO Roblox Peppa Pig Spider-Man Marvel Disney Minecraft Fortnite Paw Patrol Barbie Bamse Babblarna Batman Pokemon Harry Potter 11.3% 8.6% 8.0% 7.1% 6.8% 5.6% 5.5% 5.4% 4.1% 3.9% 3.9% 3.8% 3.8% 3.6% 3.1% Most Favorite Entertainment Brands
years old
Oct/Nov 2022 % Respondents
- Denmark and Sweden
- 14
- Multi-choice

Founded in Copenhagen in 2005, NLC operates across a number of small fragmented markets covering both Nordics and Benelux. With HQ in Copenhagen and a local office in Amsterdam, NLC is specialized in building licensing programs across a complex mix of languages, cultures, currencies and non-crossing retail environment.

With a strong portfolio coming from long term partners Warner Bros. Discovery, Mattel, HIT and ASO, NLC’s clear strategy is to keep focused on few licensors in order to provide dedicated and focused services.

Besides striving to drive and grow lo-

mand for Wizarding World consumer product is incredibly strong and NLC worked with many prominent names like LEGO, Funko, H&M, C&A and many more during 2022.

The ultimate style icon and girls property Barbie celebrated a big increase in popularity during 2022, Barbiecore became a thing and one of the biggest fashion trends of the year. NLC enjoys working with the brand and sees increased business within toys and fashion as core categories. Licensees like Skybrands delivered collections for Name it and Sparkjøb – and also C&A developed an apparel collection for Barbie.

For the younger audiences, Fireman Sam continues as strong preschool property in Nordics and Benelux. Simba Dickie is delivering age appropriate roleplay toys and coordinated by NLC we have had several fun and educational retail activations during ’22 across both regions.

NLC successfully entered into novel licensing with Danish design icon Hoptimist, Mønthuset - for an exclusive commemorative coin, and Bak’s Bakery with traditional Danish cakes, to mention but a few. That Danish Jonas Vingegaard won the Tour de France was simply a cherry on the cake. During 2022 NLC secured new fashion DTR collaborations. Hummel KIDS launched two collections; one with Harry Potter and another with cool Batman designs. Also one of Europe’s leading fashion retailers, C&A, jumped on board with collections for Looney Tunes, FRIENDS, Batman and Harry Potter.

cal business in the two regions NLC is successfully growing its international reach by teaming up with Nordic and Benelux based global partners, such as H&M, Pandora, Bestseller, Hummel and C&A to name but a few.

“Everyone in the NLC team is striving towards excellence across category management, brand management, retail management over to product development as well as contracts and finance. We are constantly seeking to secure accountability within all of NLC and across all stakeholders. NLC is a long term business partner dedicated to bringing growth for licensees and licensors by matching the right brand with the right product category” says Kirsten Gyde, Managing Director at NLC.

From a franchise perspective, the Wizarding World continues to enchant the hearts and imaginations of fans around the world and is one of the most successful franchises of our time. The de-

NLC worked harder than ever before to secure not only bigger and stronger partnerships through 2022, but also a vast diversity of partnerships opening doors into new categories. For the first time ever, NLC, entered into a licensed collaboration for alcohol. The Danish craft beer company Mikkeller developed a range of beers under the Games of Thrones umbrella.

More new licensed business was explored around the Tour de France, that held its Grand Depart in Copenhagen over the Summer of 2022. As official licensing agent for the Tour de France,

Closing off 2022 with an esteemed local award – the Gazelle 2022 – for continuous growth over four years, is a certificate of honour for the Copenhagen-based company. The award I a prestigious prize awarded annually by a Danish financial newspaper. While the world is holding its breath going into the new year, NLC notice a continuous appetite for licensing for both 2023 and 2024 in both regions. There is a very special occasion for celebrating 2023. Warner Bros. Discovery is turning 100 years and NLC is working with all Warner Bros. Discovery divisions to celebrate this amazing birthday on a local level. NLC is looking forward to announcing exclusive licensed products and retail activations to support.

For the fans of Wizarding World, 2023 will not disappoint. February 10, the anticipated console game “Hogwarts


Legacy” will release. Events and retail activations including kidult consumer products will support the release during the first quarter of the year.

With an unprecedented rich content pipeline for DC with four theatrical movies; Shazam!,The Flash, Blue Beetle and Aquaman: The lost Kingdom, and three new series plus a major game release for the Suicide Squad in May –the DC Universe will be hard to miss in 2023.

There is much more entertainment coming for 2023 for all ages. One of the most popular animated comedy series for an adult audience is Rick and Morty. The show is the no. 1 Top TV show on HBO Max across all Nordic and Benelux countries (source and the fan driven demand for merchandise is growing.

Another Top TV show on HBO Max is the successor series to the global phenomenon Game Of Thrones, House Of The Dragon. With a successful season 1 premiere in 2022, the franchise is moving into the new year with a huge following of fans, hungry for merchandise to take them through to the next season.

Picking up the Barbiecore fashion trend of 2022, the hype will continue into 2023 in anticipation of Barbie, hitting the big screen in July 2023. Barbie is ever evolving and remains both resonant and relevant, so it’s no surprise that the original girl empowerment brand and ultimate style icon is ready to make her leap to the silver screen. For Barbie consumer products 2023,

NLC will launch many new fashion collaborations within apparel, personal care, accessories, and bags to name a few. There’s no doubt that Barbie is the pop culture phenomenon of 2023! Taking her into 2024 to celebrate her 65th anniversary.

Another doll legacy brand, Monster High, will be re-awakened in 2023. The successful doll franchise that was originally launched back in 2010 is coming back with all new content and new look. Monster High will premiere on Nickelodeon in Nordics and Benelux in March ’23 supported by new dolls and licensed products within toys & dress up, arts & crafts, collectables and publishing.

For preschoolers, Fireman Sam is continuing into 2023 with all-new content and exciting stories about everyday heroes; new characters, new uniforms, new locations – and new toys from Simba Dickie to roleplay and engage the children. Ravensburger puzzles, live shows, meet & greet and fun & educational retail events are all continuing into 2023.

NLC continues the partnership for the Tour de France, with the upcoming all-new Netflix documentary releasing in Spring 2023. The series will consist of 8 episodes of 45 min taking us to the engine room of the Tour de France team during the 2022 Grand Depart in Denmark and the greatest bike race in the world: Tour de France!

First established in 2015, WildBrain CPLG’s Nordic office is spearheaded

by Slawomir Ekiert, Regional Managing Director CEE & Nordics, who has successfully built and grown the Nordic office into a team of eight and a leading player across the region. WildBrain CPLG Nordics is home to a robust portfolio of brands spanning evergreen entertainment and preschool properties, including PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, My Little Pony and SpongeBob SquarePants; classic character brands, such as Peanuts; lifestyle brands, including Yale and Harvard universities and Chupa Chups; gaming brands, including Sonic the Hedgehog; and local brands, such as Hatten Förlag’s beloved Babblarna.

Across a robust portfolio, the team continues to strengthen its activity across a diverse range of categories to drive growth. As part of this, the team is rapidly expanding its FMCG business and, most recently, secured a collaboration with Bonne for Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol branded smoothies, on behalf of Hasbro/eOne and Nickelodeon, respectively. WildBrain CPLG Nordics has also established solid relationships with local FMCG retailers, including Coop. Additionally, the team is activating projects with make-up brand CAIA, which was co-founded by one of the most prolific influencers in the Nordics, Bianca Ingrosso, and also with fast-food chain Hesburger for PAW Patrol.

In fashion, WildBrain CPLG continues to celebrate a long-term partnership with leading retailer H&M, which has expanded and now encompasses a va-


riety of successful collaborations for the agency’s partner brands. The team has also forged partnerships with key fashion retailers, including Kappahl and Bestseller.

For the publishing category, WildBrain CPLG has robust partnerships in place with leading local publishing houses, including Otava, Story House Egmont, Forlaget Alvilda, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, Tukan, Vigmostad and Björke. Additionally, the team recently executed a stand-out book campaign with Burger King for PAW Patrol activity books.

Under the agency’s dedicated Corporate & Lifestyle division, ASPIRE, WildBrain CPLG Nordics is also driving growth for lifestyle brands in the market. Key activity includes a broad range of soft lines for Yale and Harvard universities, alongside the ongoing expansion of Perfetti Van Melle brands, including Chupa Chups. The team is also expanding its long-standing partnerships with leading gaming companies and is currently driving growth for SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog, with a range of new partners and product launches planned for 2023.

Additional activity includes a recent deal for Peanuts with Danish design company Boyhood for a collection of wooden figurines, which will be available globally. The team also further expanded the seasonal licensing programme for Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in 2022, with a raft of partnerships targeting the whole family, including a new collection at H&M.

Ferly Agency is a boutique licensing and publishing agency with its’ feet on the ground in Helsinki, Finland and Vancouver, Canada. They represent a carefully selected portfolio of brands but are also constantly looking for new brands with potential in the Nordic markets. They have built strong relationships with local licensees and retailers in their markets, as well as a vast network of global sub-agents. These grant them the unique position of representing brands both locally in the Nordics as well as globally.

In publishing, their scope of work depends on the rights and territories granted. They have extensive

experience in directly building and managing worldwide publishing programs with their vast network of publishers. For example, they have created the global Angry Birds publishing program and represented the brand for many years in publishing. Their Creative Studio with years of experience in creating style guides and visual assets for their clients is a key service the Agency offers. They have worked with a multitude of brands, segments and age demos, and always search for the best possible look for each brand.

Currently Ferly Agency represents a strong portfolio of clients such as Moonbug Entertainment’s global phenomenons CoComelon and Blippi, tween gaming hit Star Stable Online from Star Stable Entertainment, and Molang from Millimages. They also represent brands stemming from the Nordics such as CupOfTherapy and have had great success taking local brands global.

With their in-house animation studio, they also build their own brands, and their pre-school animation brand Momolu and Friends is steadily building into a global hit, with the broadcasting rights sold to many strong international TV and streaming channels. In Finland, Momolu’s home market, the li-

censing program is developing steadily with many new licensees coming onboard in 2023.

Plus Licens is an independent licensing agency with HQ in Stockholm, Sweden that represents entertainment, lifestyle, and design brands in Europe, the Nordics, Central Eastern Europe, and globally. The portfolio includes entertainment brands from major studios, global icons, lifestyle, and design brands.

With Plus Licens expanding representation with a portfolio of brands across Europe, the local markets in Nordic and CEE continue to be very important. In particular pre-school properties play a big role in the licensing scene that requires local building and a hands-on approach.

Pre-school properties are very much in-demand in the Nordics, including the BAFTA-winning Bluey, the top 10 Netflix series Cry Babies Magic Tears, Dino Ranch and Petronix Defenders which are placed on all Nordic public broadcasters, and Gigantosaurus with its brand-new toy line.

2022 has been a great year for Paddington. Starring in the viral skit opposite the late Queen Elizabeth II, Paddington reached +500 million people and became a character of comfort in


and outside Britain when the Queen was laid to rest this fall.The pre-school series ‘The Adventures of Paddington’ is airing on SVT in Sweden, DR in Denmark, and NRK in Norway. Next year Paddington celebrates his 65th anniversary and is gearing up for his third movie.

Plus Licens licensed several fashion collabs during the year, including the global UCLA x High Snobiety collab with M@rket, Cambridge University x Replay in Europe, and Paul Frank x Scout in Italy. The standout Nordic collab 2022 has been Hello Kitty x Soulland. The collection from the Danish high-end streetwear company was revealed on the runway at Copenhagen International Fashion Fair in August. The fashion show received great press and photos of the Hello Kitty garments were featured in Vogue Runway, Vogue Scandinavia, High Snobiety, and Hypebeast.

Boyhood, a new partner from the Nordics revealed their Paul Frank wooden collectible figurines just before Brand

Licensing Show London in September. The collectibles were showcased in the Plus Licens booth during the fair and launched on the Boyhood website later in the fall.

2022 celebrated the 40th anniversary of Care Bears, in the Nordic visible in the collections for all ages from H&M and the baby collection at retailer Cubus.

Sony’s star streaming series Cobra Kai continued to hit top numbers at Netflix with its fifth season premiering in August and the first Cobra kai items from H&M launched this spring.

New animation from Sanrio premiered in December - a brand new series about Gen-Z favourite, the lazy egg Gudetama was released on Netflix and ‘Hello Kitty Super Style” for viewers 5-8 years started streaming on Amazon Kids+.

The coming years will have some great movie releases from brands in the Plus Licens portfolio. In 2023, the sixtime Oscar-winning sci-fi epos Dune will return in November, and a new Ghostbusters movie land in cinemas

next one is planned to hit shelves in March 2023.

A Nordic brand in the Plus’ global portfolio is Mölkky - a family game that has been embraced by young creatives and students. For most the outdoor game made from discarded wood is a social event. For some, the game has become a serious competition, and Mölkky licensor Tactic is supportive of the development of international initiatives such as the yearly World Championships.

Bok-Makaren AB has appointed leading licensing agency Rights & Brands to represent Alfie Atkins (Alfons Åberg) as master agent worldwide for merchandising. With knowledge and experience of building literature-driven Scandinavian brands, Rights & Brands will develop a global licensing program for Alfie Atkins.

The Alfie Atkins books, or Alfons Åberg as he’s known in the original Swedish titles, are written and illustrated by Gunilla Bergström. Gunilla Bergström (1942-2021) was a pioneer in many ways, thematically as well as artistically. She was the first to introduce the collage technique as a storytelling method in picture books and the first to write about divorce for children. Very early on in the world of children’s literature she used a father instead of a mother as the primary parent in her stories. Gunilla Bergström’s stories are psychological mini dramas set in everyday life, often with magical elements.

between Halloween and Christmas.

2024 will see the premiere of Paddington 3, Legendary and Toho’s Godzilla vs. Kong, and Sony’s Gran Turismo. And around Christmas 2024, the Swedishoriginated Handbook for Superheroes is set to hit the big screen.

Handbook for Superheroes is a successful illustrated book series that have sold over 1.4 million copies in Sweden and tells the story of the young superhero Lisa and her friends. With seven published books so far, the

The first Alfie Atkins book was published in 1972. Since then, more than 25 stories have been published and about 10 million books have been sold and translated to over 40 languages, with new editions being released continuously. Alfie also features in animated TV-series, feature films, audio books, theatre shows and musicals. In Scandinavia, Alfie Atkins is established as a classic among children, parents, and grandparents.

“We are incredibly happy and proud to represent Alfie Atkins as master agent” says  Kristin Tjulander, Nordic Commercial Director at Rights & Brands. ”With our vision to bring Scandinavian brands based on literature, art and design to a global arena, it feels


natural to have Alfie Atkins as a part of Rights & Brands. Bok-Makaren is doing a fantastic job of developing high-quality content that we will build on when finding new partners and continue to develop existing ones.”

On a different note, Rights & Brands is proud to welcome Finnish artist Teemu Järvi.Teemu Järvi is an artist and designer of many talents. He specializes in wilderness themes and his art and projects include a wide range of printmaking, book and magazine illustrations as well as product designs and concepts. Rights & Brands will represent Teemu Järvi for merchandising and publishing rights.

The works of Teemu Järvi derive from the artist’s lifelong love of nature. A ceaseless explorer of Finnish woods and lakes, Järvi is familiar with the wildlife through first-hand experience.

He works with traditional tools such as the reed pen, creating works of art that transport us from our hectic urban existence to the soothing calm of primeval wilderness.

Regarding the Moomins, LLP SA has launched Moomin licensed collections for their brands  Cropp,  Reserved and Sinsay, in physical stores and online. The collections are designed in-house by LPP and have featured apparel and accessories for women and children.

LPP S.A is a company with Polish roots that manages five recognizable brands: Sinsay, Reserved, House, Mohito, and Cropp. In the last 30 years, LPP Group has become the largest fashion company in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, they operate a chain of over 1700 stores across 40 countries worldwide.

In terms of the Smurfs, Rights & Brands

report that Finnish streetwear brand Billebeino just launched their latest collaboration.

Billebeino has previously launched collections with both  Popeye and  The Beatles. For this third collaboration with Right & Brands, Billebeino has chosen to work with the world-famous blue characters: The Smurfs.

Kid’s Concept and Rights & Brands are proud to present a new collection of items for the children’s room, inspired by the works of Carl & Karin Larsson and details found at the artist couple’s home, Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn – also known as Carl Larsson-gården.

Kid’s Concept is a Swedish design company that creates functional and innovative products, aiming to spread joy and

encouraging more play for all children. Together with the Carl & Karin Larsson estate, Kid’s Concept has created a collection of high-quality wooden toys and items such as doll wagon, rocking horse and games, and an apron in true Carl & Karin Larsson aesthetic.

“Our hope is to pass on a bit of Swedish cultural heritage to future generations, in our own way. This is my interpretation of the bold colour palette, design language, and the fine details that can be found on the Carl Larsson estate and in his paintings.” says Lotta Hallenius, Designer and Product Developer at Kid’s Concept.

Finally, the forever-joyful Swedish sock brand Happy Socks are back with an unforgettable experience for the ultimate Beatles fan – the Collector’s Edition Gift Set features 24 crowdpleasing pairs of socks, a 4-pack gift set and single pairs of socks featuring six new styles.

The fab four are back again for an allout The Beatles bonanza. An endless source of inspiration, the legendary musical geniuses from Liverpool taught us that all we need is love! Now they’re back and ready to rock once more –in vibrant Happy Socks colors. Let it be an unforgettable experience for the ultimate Beatles fan.


Creating long-form profiles for The Moomins

Five copywriting tips for family brands

At Riot Communications, we’re lucky to have worked with some of the world’s most-loved family brands – from literary classics like Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, to stars of the screen including Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit.  We were recently asked by our longstanding client Moomin Characters to pen new long-form profiles for all the key characters in Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories – which was a great honour, as these profiles are used so extensively, from the brand’s consumer-facing website to its guidelines for licensees – and it got us thinking about best practice when copywriting for family brands.

Here are five top tips we wanted to share:

Go back to the source

Whether the source material for the brand is a set of books, comics, scripts, a film, TV series or game, the best way to prepare for a copywriting task is to re-immerse yourself in the world of the brand as it was first imagined by its creator. What’s the atmosphere like? What are the values that come through in the source material? What stylistic choices have been made? What effect does that create? Actively thinking about these questions will deliver the best results – but even just reading a few pages or watching a couple of short clips should help get you into the right mindset.

Know your characters

We love working with character brands and have learnt a thing or two over the years about why certain characters appeal more deeply than others. The trick is tension –characters that are one-dimensional can serve a purpose, but the ones that stay with us are the ones who are more complex and contradictory.

For example, in the Moomin stories, Moomintroll both loves adventure and continually seeks the warmth and safety of his family home. His best friend Snufkin is both fiercely independent and utterly reliable: although he leaves for a solo adventure each autumn, he faithfully returns to Moominvalley every spring. Finding the tension in your characters will help unlock what really makes them tick.

Pay homage

In most cases, you won’t want to be exactly mimicking the original creator or source material, but you should pay homage to their style – so it’s important to be familiar with it. What tone does the source material

take? Are there particular sayings or turns of phrase that the creator (or characters) use? What reading age is it aimed at? Think about how you can capture something of the creator’s or the character’s voice in what you’re writing – this can be subtle yet still reminiscent of the original material.

Offer something for both children and adults

The most beloved family brands appeal to all ages by offering something for grown-ups as well as for kids. Can you work in some humour or philosophy or worldly wisdom that will speak to older readers, without making the text inaccessible or incomprehensible to children? The key to this is creating layers of meaning, so that different people can take different things from the text.

Have fun

This should be obvious – but if you’re not having fun writing something, how likely is it that people are going to have fun reading it? Be playful, be free, and let your love of the brand shine through. You can always tone it down in subsequent drafts, if required, but it’s better to have an abundance of enthusiasm that you can edit down later than not enough warmth or passion coming through in your writing.

If you’re keen for further inspiration, you can read some of our new character profiles for Moomin Characters blog/sniff/#1ef03f0b


Utku has 18 years of success in driving global thought leadership, project and content management, delivering strategic business intelligence and insight to major international companies. Throughout his career, he has led many global research programs across a wide range of diverse and dynamic industries including Toys & Games, Licensed Consumer Products, Consumer Electronics, Apparel & Footwear, Homewares & Home Furnishings, and Personal Accessories & Eyewear. With solid market research background, Utku regularly writes for leading industry publications focusing on the most recent trends and developments. A sought-after speaker, he also presented at worldrenowned industry events including Licensing International Mind Mix Executive Conference, PlayCon, Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, World Congress of Play, and Walmart Global Toy Summit highlighting key findings from the latest global research studies.

Hamleys’ new immersive and interactive store at Westfield London opened at the end of November 2022 just in time for the crucial festive season is a clear testament to the rise of experiential retail and the ‘Retailtainment’ store model. Supported by its entertainment team and toy demonstrators, the new in-store concept features an indoor slide, suitable for both children and adults, a Hans & Gretel dessert boutique, a Nerf target practice area as well as a Playmobil play area. Furthermore, the captivating retail space, dubbed as ‘magical’, also enables shoppers to experience meet & greets with Hamleys Bear as well as an array of other Hamleys characters, and special guest appearances from the TV/film universe.

The new branch opening is part of the expansion programme for the company, an iconic multinational toy retailer. Founded in 1760, Hamleys has become famous worldwide for its brick-and-mortar stores, captivating experiences as well as eye-catching shop windows. This approach also allows the company to command high prices.

According to its financial statement, Hamleys’ total global revenue, which includes the sales of goods and franchise income, stood at £5.214 (US$6.36) million in 2021, down from £5.523 (US$6.73) million in 2020. In the UK, its London flagship store on Regent Street was forced to close during lockdowns like many stores deemed non-essential closed to curb the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Even when trading, the lack of tourism and lower consumer footfall made a big impact on sales while a big chunk of office workers also stayed away. It is clear that the company is fighting back with further investments in brand new and unique store experiences.

Hamleys’ latest retail space came after LEGO’s expansion of its London flagship store in Leicester Square in August 2022, which became the world’s biggest LEGO Store, boasting a Personalisation Studio, new LEGO builds reflecting British culture (i.e. Harry Potter and James Bond’s Aston Martin), hands-on unique LEGO experiences such as Tree of Discovery and an Interactive Storytelling Zone. The store experience is one of its key USPs differentiating both Hamleys and LEGO from rivals and making their outlets a destination in their own right.

Experience where it counts COVID-19 and confinement measures have accentuated many consumers’ cravings for experiences and entertainment. In an era where the price can often seem like the deciding factor, a return to experiences is more welcome than ever. Many consumers continued to turn to online even in the aftermath of the pandemic, as a matter of convenience or potential cost-savings. Where in 2020 much of

the redirection of demand online was circumstantial given closures and the immediacy of disruption, it has now increasingly become a matter of choice. Physical retail could capitalise on this. On the whole, retailers need to extend their offer beyond mere retail and act as a venue, not just a shop. Investments in human resources need to deliver the differentiation of a ‘human touch’ and stores need to avoid ‘showrooming’ through initiatives like redeemable in-store credits and in-store exclusives. With COVID-19 has forced consumers and brands to reimagine what an experience looks like, retailers are trying to meet the challenge and lure consumers back through exciting, stimulating, and fun in-store experiences.

The future of retail requires an understanding of the new consumer

We are living in a hyper-connected world, however, consumers still crave in-person experiences. As such, they are expecting in-store experiences to carry on additional functions like entertainment and social interactions. Indeed, more than a fifth (21%) of US consumers say that they favour in-store experiences that make them feel like they are part of a community (In-store Experiential Retailing, US, 2021) while almost half (48%) of Chinese consumers always have a product trial offline before they buy products (Omnichannel Retailing, China, 2021). In the UK, 60% of consumers say they miss going shopping as part of a day out (COVID-19 - Retail and E-commerce: A Year On - UK, 2021).

Evidently, consumers still value the advantages of shopping in-store, which include the ability to try products in person and to be helped by customer service associates. This trend is not about countering online sales, but

Hamleys gears up to build on “Experiential Retail” with its new state-of-the-art store
Hamleys Westfield, White City, London

instead turning shops into enjoyable experiences that promote purchases—either in-store or remotely. Shops are windows and adverts as much as places to purchase stock and need to extend the time people spend there as well as the frequency of their visits. Online and physical are complementary to each other and embracing digital shopping experiences doesn’t have to mean cutting the brick-and-mortar retailers out of the equation, or even their digital equivalents. By offering consumers a direct manufacturer’s storefront, toy & game brands can offer customers exclusive offerings, pre-order notifications, and crowdfunding opportunities they can’t get in stores. The majority of parents (61% married and 60% single) in the US prefer shopping at dedicated toy and game retailer stores over mass merchandisers (Traditional Toys & Games, US, 2022). Hence, the importance of specialists cannot be overlooked despite the rising popularity of online which was turbocharged by the pandemic.

Target and expand the growing “kidult” market

Going forward, Hamleys can look into expanding its consumer base beyond kids actively targeting adults as LEGO has very successfully done while capitalising on comfort and nostalgia.

Mintel Trend Extend My Brand validates that brands are expanding into new categories and demographics to find new business as well as intrigue consumers. Toys and games remind

adults of their own childhoods, likely times when they had a lot less stress on their minds. While children remain the primary recipient of traditional toys and games, adults shopping for themselves make up a surprising 55% of consumers, surpassing those buying as gifts for others (Traditional Toys & Games, US, 2022).

Adults have limited time due to a multitude of factors and largely enjoy engaging with other forms of entertainment. Those adults who do purchase toys and games may be inclined to make such purchases because they sparked some fond childhood memory. Premium versions of classic toys may be the ideal product for those consumers; with no need to develop play features, these products can focus on high production quality or realistic likenesses.

Brands in the toys & games business that have not considered developing a line of products with appeal to adult collectors may want to rethink their position, as it could greatly expand a brand’s consumer audience. It remains to be seen how Gen Z will react to parenthood, but they are typically expected to delay adulthood and may remain toy and game purchasers for themselves longer.

What’s next?

Inflation and energy prices are rising in many regions, leading to consumers changing their spending habits, as explored in Mintel’s Value Trend Driver. With inflation and the conflict in Eastern Europe intensified, value becomes

an increasingly important factor in purchase decisions for consumers who are trying to mitigate the impact and stick to a budget.

Brands that target the premium sector such as Hamleys and LEGO need to demonstrate their products’ high quality, proving that they are worth investing in. Consumers living in unprecedented times will be looking for trustworthy and reliable products, so retailers should highlight these qualities and make consumers feel confident that they won’t come to regret their purchase or be left unsupported. As also highlighted in Mintel Trend Experience is All, experiences will always have a role to play in consumers’ lifestyles, but that doesn’t mean what an experience looks like won’t evolve. The most important component to keep in mind for brands is that an experience whether in-person or digital has to offer value.

As experiences become more accessible with technology, consumers will become more selective with how they spend their time. A shopping day out will continue to be a leisure activity for consumers and it will increasingly be a choice rather than a necessity. There is a huge opportunity and good retailers will continue to do well. Both Hamleys and LEGO are in prestigious positions where they can leverage their heritage and reputation.

However, it is important to note that, in the backdrop of the current cost of living crisis, if consumers rein their discretionary spending further, retailers who charge premiums for their products, may see their sales decline in the short term. They may also need to adopt new pricing strategies to increase sales and compete with Amazon and other online retailers.

Standing out in a crowded place will be more important than ever to succeed, moving forward. Therefore, retailers are also strongly recommended to collaborate with other brands to create a buzz, and make experiences stronger, more worthwhile, and unique.

Hamleys’ immersive Playmobil and Nerf stations in its new store are excellent examples that show how this could be achieved.


Lighting up the Industry

Susan, tell us what lead you to found Lightbulb Licensing?

Like most people the licensing industry was something that I discovered by accident, but I am so glad I did! It has given me some amazing opportunities over the years and I have been fortunate enough to work on some incredible IP from film and TV properties to literary and heritage brands and even sports. I wanted to use that rounded experience to help clients both big and small on their licensing journey and now felt like the right time for me to do that. I feel my experience coupled with the enthusiasm I still feel for the industry have somehow aligned and so, Lightbulb Licensing was born.

And for those who don’t know, a bit of your industry history.

My first encounter with licensing wasn’t even in the entertainment space, but while I was working in legal publishing. I had to negotiate a license with the Financial Times on behalf of the Law Society who jointly published an annual directory of expert legal witnesses; a far cry from where my career then took me, but I learned what a license was, how a contract was negotiated and what the basis of an agreement was. My first move into

anything entertainment and character related was a short stint with BBC Worldwide where I was lucky enough to work in the Global Brand Development team and see how licensing and broadcast / home entertainment content worked in tandem to create a brand. I then moved to Italian publishing company, DeAgostini, where I was fortunate enough to work with some big licensors including Lucas Films, Disney and New Line Cinema on some huge franchises including Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. I honestly learned so much ‘on the job’ through that experience before mov-

by some amazing colleagues, many of whom have gone on to do amazing things, lead global teams and become good friends. After almost 10 years there I left to set up the Penguin Ventures team which I was so incredibly proud to head up for nearly another 10 years. Getting to work on, and shape, publishing IP such as Peter Rabbit and The Snowman has been a real privilege, plus I got to see my name on a Hollywood movie as an Executive Producer, which was something I never thought I’d ever see! So, all of that amazing experience, exposure to lots of different and diverse projects; some of them with no roadmap at all, led me to where I am now.

What is the significance of ‘lightbulb’?

ing to the UK Licensing University of CPLG! I think on day one I was thrown into a call with DreamWorks Animation (we were working on Shrek at the time) and Sony Pictures (on Spiderman 2) as the “publishing expert”. That really felt like such a big deal, but I loved the sink or swim feel of it and I was lucky enough to be surrounded

I am so glad you asked this question! I spent a long time thinking about what to call my company as I wanted it to reflect both how I felt about licensing as well as my own personal values and way of working. I really value clarity; I’m a “tell me as it is” kind of person! I think once you can illuminate something, make it clearer and less daunting it’s so much easier to then see what needs to be done or how something can be improved and what better

Susan Bolsover reflects on her 20 years of award-winning industry experience and how this lead to the creation of Lightbulb Licensing Susan Bolsover Managing Director/Founder
“Whether you need a candle or a small torch to get you started on your journey or a giant arclight to show the way it’s possible to find the right light for the job.”

way to do that than through shining a light on something – hence lightbulb!

Lightbulbs are also often used as a universal visual symbol for ideas too and that really appealed to me. So, I like to think that there is a light for every situation.

Whether you need a candle or a small torch to get you started on your journey or a giant arc-light to show the way it’s possible to find the right light for the job.

And what, in your opinion, does your personal skillset bring to clients?

I would hope my varied experience means that I can be flexible and offer clients the right level of service and expertise to help them in their licensing journey. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to make some amazing connections both in the UK and internationally, a network I also hope I can tap into to help my clients.

I’m a pretty chatty and curious person by nature as well and love to solve a problem and connect the dots which means I don’t feel phased by there being no defined path to get something done which I think is really exciting. Tell us what kind of relationship clients can expect with Lightbulb! Well hopefully an open, transparent, and fun one! Building a trusting relationship with clients is key and I hope this is something I’ve done over the

years. Also, starting out on this journey as a solo business owner means I can hopefully bring a more personal level of service that can sometimes be more challenging to do in a corporate environment. I really want to forge a partnership with my clients so that they feel in control of their own licensing journey with my help and support.

Plus I love a road trip so it’s great to be able to have clients around the UK and internationally and to meet them in their own working environment, it really helps me get a sense of who they are, what they are looking for and above all how I can help support them. What services do you offer to the industry?

When I started out in my licensing career, I was very much on the licensee side, primarily in publishing and early gaming content, and so I have a real understanding of what a licensee needs to create compelling product. Once I became an agent working in the same broad category areas, I often reported into a totally different team on the licensor side to my colleagues, because publishing, gaming and so on is seen as an extension of the core content and not necessarily a “licensed product.”

This brought me so much closer to the creators themselves and it was a real privilege to be on calls with writers, directors and producers (many of

whom I was a fan of anyway) and to be able to hear about their process. When I then became a licensor I had the opportunity to put all of this together and to think about strategy and building a brand and a licensing programme. So in terms of what I can offer to clients I can work on either individual projects, such as finding the right partner for a specific category or supporting a partner with targeting a retailer, or help someone new to licensing get their IP ready for market and build a strategy or, as I am with Licensing Link, work more as an agent and provide sales services. Basically, I can think like a licensee, an agent or a licensor.

And what are the core beliefs behind creating the company?

Bringing clarity, flexibility and a can-do attitude are really at the heart of what I want to bring to Lightbulb Licensing. I love helping someone take their idea, vision, or dream and trying to make that a reality. I have been so fortunate in my career to largely work with like-minded blue-sky thinkers who come up with crazy ideas and then turn them into something, it’s what keeps me motivated. I’ve often said to colleagues, licensees, and licensors “what about if we did X” sometimes with truly no idea of how to do it, but I think that’s when the fun starts, is figuring out how to do it and seeing what happens!

“Bringing clarity, flexibility and a can-do attitude are really at the heart of what I want to bring to Lightbulb Licensing.”

Here’s looking at you, MIP

Casting our eyes back at 2022’s MIPCOM and MIPJunior...


Hailed as one of the busiest and most successful markets to date, the 38th edition saw buyers and property owners come in their droves, hundreds of content screenings and a host of new trends for next year.

Total Licensing is a proud media partner of MIPCOM and MIPJunior.
Here are some key facts and figures from the 2022 MIPCOM and MIPJunior.

Food, Entertainment,

Chefclub Grows and Readies for 2023 with Five New Toy Partners

Chefclub, one of Europe’s leading foodthemed content studio is delighted to announce five new toy distribution partnerships with White Knight Toys (USA), Autruche (Canada), Hutter Trade (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), JPM Toys (Benelux), and CMC (the Middle East). The companies will be the exclusive domestic agents for Chefclub’s unique line of kids cooking utensils entirely designed to give children independence in the kitchen. The deal was announced by Francois Papyle, Chefclub’s Commercial Director: “We are delighted that our products will be distributed by these partners. We are building a new category in the kid’s market with a holistic approach that includes products, educational content and food themed entertainment. Our partners already have strong presence in their own market and will distribute Chefclub kids mainly in toy specialists, bookstores, concept stores and DIY stores. Our partners pay close attention to details regarding store execution, consumer experience and service. They are ready to hit 2023 and maximize Chefclub kids presence in stores!”

Marie-Laure Marchand, SVP Global Consumer Products & Business Devel-

opment, Chefclub, added, “The success of Chefclub’s own kids line is helping to establish the brand in many markets and is providing a solid opportunity to expand into toy aisles.With the help of our licensing partners we look forward to expanding our toy line categories, especially in role-play, games, and art & crafts.”

Chefclub’s kids product line has been designed entirely inhouse with the primary objective of giving kids autonomy in the kitchen, enabling younger kids to cook, and making food preparation a whole-famil;y, sharing experience. These include child-size ergonomic knives with finger guards, measuring cups that use characters in addition to numeric measurements, cookie cutter sets to create 3-dimensional animals and chocolate covered biscuits, and fully illustrated cookbooks suitable for pre-reading cooks. Outside of the kids range, Chefclub also has a 50-piece cookery line with leading company Tefal (Chefclub by Tefal) available across Europe at retail and on Amazon, as well as 24+ cookbooks based on their on-line recipes.

All of Chefclub’s consumer products stand apart for the inhouse research and development that integrates the

needs and trends of their vast online community of content consumers: Their videos garner well over 2.5 billion monthly views across many digital, AVOD, SVOD and fast channels such as Pluto TV, Samsung Plus, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat and their own proprietary channels.

This unique pre-existing brand awareness not only provides direct, interactive marketing support for the brand, but also delivers customized marketing research in real time. Further support for the Chefclub brand comes from live events and promotions, such as its recent collaboration with Klepierre Shopping Malls and the flunch restaurant chain in France, as well as a new animated series Chefclub Adventures (52 x 11) launched at Mipcom with Somewhere Animation, Mediawan Kids & Family’s 2D animation label.

With 150 million global subscribers –half in the US and UK - the company has become an unrivaled producer of food-themed entertainment from its ten in-house studios in Paris.

Chefclub will attend Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg at the Hutter Trade Booth Hall 10,1 Booth A 08. and the Atlanta Market show with US distributor White Knight Toys.

Toys Head to US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux and the Middle East

Spotlight on GERMANY

Fear is not a good counselor

I bet all of us, who are reading this today, wish to be back in the good old days, when complaining about incapable politicians, about the everchanging dollar exchange rate and being too

Total Licensing spoke to Peter Hollo, who is running Licensing International in Germany, owner of the TOYS & GAMES Report, high profiled management consultant and a true insider to the business. He gave us some very personal comments on how the market is doing in Germany.

wish they didn´t have to experience, what is going on today. But it´s our life, our time and our business. So all we can do is face it, be brave and take comfort in the words, that nothing lasts forever. Not even the good

But enough of this overly dramatic and slightly negative framing. As much as the British like to talk about the weather to start a conversation, we Germans love these dark and sinister framings to start a conversation, because they send these pleasant shivers down our spine and give us the unique opportunity, to clearly state, that this might scare the others, but not us. Of course.

And because fear is not a good counselor and as a positive counterpoint let´s have a look at the German toy market, as one of the key industries for licensing. If we can trust the figures, that NPD provides us with, and why shouldn´t we, then the market share of licensed toys against total toys has gone up from 25% to 26% in November 2022 vs November 2021. And that is really promising. Even if this results from a lower decrease in value, compared to non-licensed toys. It means, that the market for licensed toys is more resilient, compared with non-licensed toys in times of crisis. And assuming, that 2023 will we be another year of a worldwide multilevel and multisource crisis, that is definitely good news for our industry.

The question we are facing today is, will all the positive effects that licensing brings to the table be neutralized or even be overcompensated (but in the wrong direction) by us, by retail and by the customers?

Some of the future developments will


be in our own hands and some will not. So let´s make the most of what we have influence on.

It is a well-known fact, that rough times are always the times of the control department. A good control can be the life-insurance for every company, but becomes its nemesis as soon as you believe in its power to solve life-threatening situations. These can only be solved and overcome by brave management decisions, even against all well-meaning advice from the bean counters.

The cost-cutting spiral very easily becomes a downward spiral. Less experienced staff, less research and development, less advertising. All this helps in the short term, but can do massive harm, when your goal lies beyond the horizon. And that is where all of our goals, especially in licensing, should be. I would not mention this, if I couldn´t already see these cost-cutting measures coming up in the market. Let´s not make them the seeds for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We all can remember the anxious discussions about production in China, lead times and maybe not having enough stock for the holiday season. Today we all know, and that is true for many categories, there is enough stock. And even too much for starting 2023 light-hearted.

Licensees or manufacturing companies and retail will have a lot to discuss in the coming year. Because retail in many categories will be overstocked. And financial resources will be bound in too much inventory, making it hard for many retailers to place new orders. This will probably become one of the major challenges for new properties or franchises to enter the market. And it will be one of the most promising opportunities to rethink and reorganize the usual licensing value chain. Every company in this value chain will be forced to rethink old models and offer creative solutions. From the licensor or ip-owner, through agencies and the manufacturers right to retail. Everybody will have to understand the necessity of cleaning up the situation as partners. Even if this means they have to waive profits for a greater and sustainable long-term good.

So far, this is what we as an industry, interdependent in so many ways, can do and will do. And speaking for the German market, I can see a lot of new approaches going exactly into this direction. But what about the customer?

German customers love licensed goods, because they touch them in so many positive ways. They transform dull and boring items into wishes. Into subjects of desire. They are the brands of trust for ourselves and our families. They turn us into heroes, make our lives a little happier and more colorful and let us live our luxury lifestyle. This

will not change in 2023. The milliondollar-question this past holiday season and for 2023 will be, how much of their financial resources, that they actually own or will have to make available, will they be able to spend? And for the first time in almost 80 years, not willing to spend will be the question.

The cost of living in Germany has been skyrocketing during recent months after the Russian attack on Europe. The hard working German middle class is suddenly confronted with not being able to heat their homes or to fill up their cars with gas. We suddenly have inflation around 10%. Only half a year ago this was unthinkable.

Today it looks like German consumers are holding back their money and even the toy industry, which traditionally used to be a safe harbour isn´t safe anymore.

Consumers not only start saving money there, they simply don´t have any money left to spend. And that´s hitting an industry spoilt by success.

But… and I think this is very good news for 2023, as in 2022 markets for licensed goods will be more resilient than others. And we always have these high-flyers, these hype-inducing properties and franchises, that take the markets by storm. Bringing a big smile, not only on the faces of the customers, but on the industry as well.

That´s why I am pretty confident and very optimistic when looking into 2023 in Germany. And it´s this optimism, that we all need.

Because fear is not a good counselor.


The German Licensing Market appears to be a Land of Opportunities

BrandTrends Group has unveiled some major findings from its most recent research, and some key facts can be extracted when compared with the previous three years. Germans are renowned for their love of beer, sausages, and a variety of breads. They are also renowned for their rich culture, which ranges from classical music (Beethoven and Bach were Germans after all) to thinkers, writers, and contemporary entertainment like rock concerts, movies, and animation. Germany and other western European nations share numerous similarities in the areas of entertainment brands. Major players continue to exert significant impact on the global brand stage. On account of its rich cultural past, there is significant domestic brand representation. So overall, there are several intricacies to the brand’s overall cosmopolitan orientation.

A consolidated market

The top 40 Entertainment brands in Germany are concentrating awareness and likeability, resulting in a condensed competitive environment (average awareness level in the top 40 is 81%). The truth is that, up to the age of 25, children and young adults in Germany are able to collectively name 253 different brands. Thus, there is fierce competition. Since 2019, it has been steady, with minor ups and downs over the years. When broken down, each age group and gender is familiar with around 137 different brands of those 253. However, what’s interesting is how extensively cross-gendered the market is: about half (45%) of the brands each German knows would be jointly mentioned by both males and females. That leaves a short 55% for brands that target a specific gender; therefore, gender-specific brands account for around 27% from each gender.

In an article exclusive to Total Licensing, BrandTrends CEO and founder, Philippe Guinaudeau, shares his research on children’s entertainment brands in Germany.

Where comic book superheroes rise Marvel is currently the brand with the highest favorite rating for both sexes throughout the whole age spectrum, as seen in the chart. This is hardly surprising given how Marvel has developed over the past several years as the franchise’s umbrella brand (+6 points in 4 years, to 16.5%), at the

ter pieces.

In second position is LEGO. It is the dominant brand force across Europe, and more specifically in Germany. The property sits comfortably above other brands in most measured metrics.

LEGO is popular amongst boys and girls, but it is more strongly favored by boys where it sits in the top 5 in every

Philippe Guinaudeau, Chief Executive Officer, The BrandTrends Group

Philippe Guinaudeau founded

The BrandTrends Group, a global full-service supplier of marketing research with a focus on brand, lifestyle, and attitudinal trends, that monitors up to 53 markets. With offices in Dubai, Guinaudeau has a unique global analytical perspective.

Guinaudeau has more than 31 years of marketing and analytics experience, and offers expert insight into understanding the durable goods markets worldwide, analyzing the retail landscape, understanding competition, consumer behavior and the brand line architecture, and strategy planning to help clients achieve the best results. He has lived on three continents and travels the world extensively, living and breathing the international marketplace.

expense of its lower-level sub-brands like Thor or the Avengers.

A similar phenomenon also happened to DC Comics, with a strong push of the top franchise: +3 points in 4 years.

In fact, Marvel superheroes are currently being featured in both movies and television shows. And they have continued to live in the same interwoven film and television universe as additional characters become popular with audiences. The umbrella brands, Marvel and DC Comics, are unquestionably strengthened as a result, at the expense of the individual charac-

age group aside from kids aged 0 - 2 (who favor Duplo, the first age brand of the toy company).

And young children’s stories are becoming more popular In general, we also observe a sizable long-term push of children’s animation brands like Paw Patrol (#4 overall while only focused on young children!) or Peppa Pig (#5, similar to Paw Patrol). Additionally, there has generally been an upsurge in children’s educational activities in the recent quarters, driving to the appearance of brands

Guinaudeau also has extensive experience in the toys and games, licensing and entertainment industries, with a particular emphasis in the North American, European, Australian, Latin American and Asian markets.

Widely regarded as a leading authority in his field, Guinaudeau is regularly asked to speak at industry events.

Marvel Lego Disney Paw Patrol Peppa Pig Barbie Pokemon DC Comics Netflix Minecraft Spongebob Fortnite Harry Potter Star Wars Mario Bros 16.5% 12.7% 8.8% 7.1% 6.9% 5.4% 4.6% 4.4% 4.3% 4.3% 4.1% 4.1% 4.1% 4.0% 3.9% Most Favorite Entertainment Brands - Germany 0 to 25 years old - Oct-Nov’22 % Respondents - Multi-choices Question

like Tonies (the innovative and awardwinning audio system for children) or Cocomelon to a lesser extent.

We observe that Tonies is maintaining a very strong top position in Germany while having a medium degree of awareness: the brand is recognized by 60% of the younger children, both boys and girls; however, once they do, they are ardent fans, with 75% of these simply adoring the brand - both boys and girls! Hence the great popularity.


The BrandTrends Group is a global full-service supplier of marketing research with a focus on brand, lifestyle, and attitudinal trends as well as specializing on children, youth and families (but not only!).The BrandTrends Group monitors up to 53 markets each year.

Thanks to BrandTrends Group’s in-depth knowledge, expertise and unique, proprietary analytics, clients are able to identify the best opportunities in retail activation, consumer attitudes & behavior, competitive environment, and brand line design.

The BrandTrends Group clients are renowned global companies, spanning from consumer package goods corporations, Entertainment studios, retailers, and industry bodies.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Philippe Guinaudeau - BrandTrends at philippe.guinaudeau@

Ownership and Licensing Opportunities

Popularity increases consumer intent to buy. BrandTrends Entertainment is consistently demonstrating that a licensed product’s level of purchase intent is a direct result of the license’s level of popularity.That’s the exact objective of the Brand Popularity Matrix, as shown for Girls 3 to 6 years old.

1. The likelihood of consumers purchasing a licensed item associated with a popular entertainment property is strongly correlated with that property’s popularity,

2. Prime candidates for successful commercialization are on the right of the chart.

3. Less likely to appeal to consumers compared to the top players are on the left side of the chart.

4. Brands above the line have less merchandise potential than its popularity would indicate. These are typically the brands with limited products on shelves,

5. Brands below the line have greater merchandise potential than its popularity would indicate. These are typically those long existing brands, part of the regular shelf-space.

The most well-known and preferred brands in Germany are also the most popular and in-demand; these include

Tonies, Bibi Blocksberg, Idefix, The Jungle Book, Maya the Bee, and Jurassic Park, among other brands with a middle level of awareness. This fact is surprising considering that we have listed 79 distinct brands that have a significant customer demand gap and are predicted to increase in the upcoming year!

The German licensing market appears to presently be a land of opportunities

The licensing market in Germany remains extremely competitive and well-organized. Few brands consistently occupy the top spots.

However, far from being locked, the German market appears to presently be a land of opportunities. Indeed, there are many prospects emerging for mid-level brands, enabling the construction of a “place under the sun” for those who are able to take advantage of the opportunity. Not only are certain new segments expanding, like young children’s books (and notable audio formats), but new content can also rise and take over some consumption as consumers appear to be on the lookout for new offerings and willing to give newcomers on the block a chance.

Let’s get together again in a year to assess the changes that took place.

Raya and the Last Dragon Baby Shark Tom & Jerry Encanto Masha & The Bear Bambi Heidi Sendung mit der Maus Benjamin Blümchen Conni Biba & Tina Princess Lillifee My Little Pony Miraculous The Lion King Tonies Bibi Blocksberg Mickey Mouse Play-Doh Minions Baby Born Playmobil Maya the Bee Peppa Pig Paw Patrol Lego Disney Princess Frozen Barbie Minnie Mouse 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
© 2023 BrandTrends. All rights reserved Germany Girls 3 - 6 Oct/Nov 22 BPI (Brand Popularity Index)
IFP (Intentions of Future Purchases) Base N = 161

Bavaria Media GmbH, a subsidiary of the Bavaria Film Group, was established in 1979 as Bavaria Sonor GmbH. The company’s headquarter is located on the Bavaria Film studio lot in Geiselgasteig near Munich. Amongst the brands that Bavaria Media are actively licensing are Big Bobby Car, Care Bears, Janosch, Playmobil, Frida Kahlo and Stumn der Liebe. Big Bobby Car is the world’s most successful and best selling children’s slide car with brand awareness in Germany standing at 95%.

To date more than 20 million Big Bobby cars have been sold and the classic product is almost unchanged since it launched in 1972.

2022 saw the 50th Anniversary of Big Bobby Car with multiple activations and celebrations including a year-long online campaign, together with social media and influencer campaigns.

Over 150 million Care Bears have been sold since they debuted 40 years ago and Bavara Media see the brand

Janosch. The brands have more than 121,000 Facebook followers along with 108,000 Instagram followers and 73 episodes of Janosch Dream Hour are available on YouTube.The TV series Tigerntenclub has been continuously broadcast since 1996, appearing now on KiKA and ARD.

More than 6,600 different Playmobil characters have been launched since 1974 and the brand is looking ahead to its 50th anniversary next year. Product – and the licensing program – targets children aged four to twelve with ranges of collectible figures aimed at adult fans. German children have 90% awareness of the brand and the consumer products program is growing rapidly with a 54% increase in 2021. Licensees include Hering, Plastoy, United Labels, Quick, Cookie Company, Sony, Pez, Tonies, Grupo Planeta, Winning Moves, Zara and Difuzed amongst many others.

late last year and ranges of fashion, stationery and accessories launched this January. Beyond Germany, the series airs in Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Finland, Belgium and Canada.

as a classic property for three generations. Season 2 of Unlock the Magic will debut this Spring and there is also a significant investment in original YouTube animated content. The official Care Bears Channel launched in 2020 and a Care Bears film is currently in development.

Janosch was born in 1931 and is best known for his stories about Little Tiger and Little Bear. Spring this year sees the 45th birthday of Little Tiger, Little Bear and Tiger Duck and the brand targets not only children but parents and grandparents who grew up with

Frida Kahlo is the most googled female artist in the world and has become a worldwide icon for authentic and extraordinary lifestyles. New styleguides are launched annually and the Frida Kahlo program currently has over 80 licensees around the world. She is followed by 954,000 on Twitter and well over 6.6 million on Facebook. Licensees include Reserved, Calzedonia, Waterdrop, Sugarbird, Erik Sass & Belle and Karaca together with Mano, Primark, Pimkie, Asos , Thalia, Hardie Grand and Moleskine.

Sturm der Liebe is a telenovela set in the Bavarian Alps. First aired in 2005, it has become Europe’s most successful telenovela with around 1.15 million viewers per episode.

A Sturm der Liebe cookbook launched

The heart of Lizenzwerft beats for the development and expansion of brands in the licensing sector. Their service, which is individually tailored to each brand, is based on more than 30 years of expertise with entertainment licenses, lifestyle and sports brands, and even corporate brands. They have been working with celebrity collaborations just as long and successfully. they burn for their brands, because they know what is important in brand building and brand presence. With heart and soul and knowledge of the uniqueness of the brands, the Lizenzwerft team under the leadership of the two highly experienced managing directors Peter Bichler and Christopher Conzen supports their position and further expansion.

Peter Bichler, proven expert in the licensing business and head of entertainment licensing and consulting at Lizenzwerft, emphasizes: “The sheer

Germany is a very diverse country and its licensing activities amply demonstrates this. On the following pages we take a sample of different companies involved in different aspects of the industry to give readers a flavour of how broadly-based the industry is in Germany.

mass of more than 400 characters per month makes the entertainment licensing market extremely confusing for non-experts. The multitude of license themes is very specific and singular and therefore cannot be compared to the environment of corporate, fashion or sports brands. On top of that, visionary recognition of which topics will be particularly successful in 12 to 18 months requires precise analysis of all available facts. And this is exactly where we come in with our profound market knowledge. We specialize in closely analyzing entertainment markets to evaluate data-based information in conjunction with marketing plans to make a recommendation for the 1-1.5 year period in the future.

It’s a skill that our team has demonstrated successfully and with great dedication time and again for many years.”

Precisely fitting, always focusing on the power and core of the brand, Lizenzwerft advise their clients to develop unique products. With their extensive experience in the licensing business, they support clients in all areas related to the brand. Continuous scouting, strategic consulting and individual market research as well as trend analysis are as much part of their core competencies as careful analysis and sustainable marketing.

Christopher Conzen, a visionary and strategist, is a passionate networker with excellent contacts in industry and retail. At Lizenzwerft, he is responsible for brand development, brand strategy and the celebrity business segment: “Recognizing the uniqueness of a brand and its potential, implementing it optimally together with the brand owner and seeing it unfold its potential is always like a successful treasure hunt. Our drive is to enjoy the success of the brand and its owner.”

Product, design and brand should be optimally coordinated - which is why artwork development is also part of their service portfolio.

Understanding the brand essence and formulating and pursuing clear goals in a plan developed together with the license holder is one of their proven strengths. Jan Jacob Peters, brand di-

rector and sales expert at Lizenzwerft, adds, “In addition to our in-depth expertise in brand development and expansion, it is also the high level of competence of our marketing experts to provide consulting support or executive services in the implementation of the joint vision.”

In addition to high-profile designer, sports and influencer brands, Germany’s best-known model Angelina Kirsch and her brand “Rock your curves” is a current example from the portfolio of Lizenzwerft: the model, who is also a successful TV presenter of the food show “The Taste”, presents her own apparel collection for plus sizes, which claims to present the wearer in the best light and not hide her behind designs. Christopher Conzen commented, “Angelina with her natural presence and completely gorgeous manner is an absolute dream as a brand owner. She is 100% authentic, a fantastic communicator and acts from conviction. What she stands for, she wears herself. The RYC by Angelina Kirsch brand, with Angelina’s support, will see Lizenzwerft focus on the beauty, interior design and food categories in addition to apparel through a consistent brand extension strategy.” A current example is the return of the windsurfing brand HiFly. Brand director Hinrich Stürken, whose years of expertise in the national and international brand and licensing business as well as his proven success in the testimonial field make him a highly regarded contact for his high level of creativity, believes the rebirth of the brand is on course for success: “The brand, which had the self-confidence to want to name a sport after itself (Someday surfing will be called Hi-Fly) and which meets with such a positive response from active and passive alike, has succeeded in making a spectacular reappearance with its fashion partner role at this year’s Mercedes Benz Windsurf World

Cup on Sylt. We are now pooling this energy with the right partners and will make the brand fly with cool looks and its incredibly bold and attractive retro logo.”

“It’s in the nature of this very sensitive business that we cannot publicly name all the clients we advise. Trust and integrity are essential components of our successful cooperation, also with partners from the USA or China, whom we help to gain a foothold in the GAS market,” adds Christopher Conzen.

Over the last 10 years, IMG has built a strong foothold in the German market. The agency represents leading German brands like Haribo, Volkswagen, Bugatti, and the Bundesliga German football league, while also facilitating key deals for IMG’s global clients in the German market.  The agency’s German team also works closely with IMG’s sister agency WME and IMG Events to expand their licensing portfolio and execute strategic partnerships through their unparalleled network.

Munich and Frankfurt-based VP of Licensing at IMG, Sven Thierhoff says, “Through the combination of our global network and localised expertise, IMG is able to deliver impactful regional collaborations that add immense value to every stakeholder in a “one-stop shop solution”. Germany has always been a key market for the company, and our deals over the last year reflect our strength and experience in this region.”

Thierhoff is especially proud of the agency’s work with German confectionary company Haribo, “In the li-


censing industry, it usually takes about 2 years to get a new project up and running. However, in the last two years as Haribo’s global licensing representative, we have already facilitated various notable regional and global partnerships including a footwear collection with Puma that perfectly combines Haribo’s fun-loving and colourful identity with Puma’s trendy and urban designs.”

In 2022 Haribo’s iconic Goldbear celebrated its 100th anniversary with a fun array of licensed products and retail initiatives brokered by IMG throughout the year. Haribo teamed up with Casio to launch a special edition of their Baby-G shock watch, inspired by the Goldbear candies’ colourful shapes and delicious flavours. The watch has been well-received across the world among Casio collectors and Haribo lovers alike. IMG also facilitated the launch of Haribo scented candles in collaboration with Fragrance and Style. The candles come in different shapes and sizes with a wide range of scents based on popular Haribo flavours. The product is sold by most major German retail chains ranging from grocery chains like Aldi, Rewe, Netto or Edeka to online retailers like Zalando. Meanwhile, Haribo’s unique footwear line with Puma continues to be a fan-favourite since its launch in 2021.

One of the world’s largest car manufacturers, Volkswagen is known across the globe for its innovative technologies, attractive designs and classic cars such as ‘the camper van’ and the ‘Beetle’ who have become licensing personalities in their own right. As Volkswagen’s exclusive global consumer

product and brand agency, IMG facilitated a partnership with German toy brand Playmobil to launch collectable miniature versions of the VW Beetle and VW Bulli. These collectables can also be customised, giving fans a chance to design their own versions of the classic vehicles including colour combinations, figurines, stickers and even an individual license plate. The brand’s other key collaborations from last year include a VW4 Special Edition Stroller Wagon, inspired by the vintage VW Bus in partnership with Wonderfold, and a special-edition Playmate cooler, also modeled after the globally loved VW Bus, in partnership with Ig loo and rock band The Grateful Dead.   IMG has also facilitated several part nerships for Bugatti, the creator of the world’s ultimate hyper sports cars. This includes Bugatti’s first electric scooter line in collabo ration with ByTech. Launched in January, the premium scooters come in a sleek yet functional folding design and are equipped with cuttingedge technology to de liver a practical, powerful and comfortable mode of transportation. Additionally, GilletteLabs, the premium innovation vision of Gillette launched a Special Edition Heated Razor which combines the technological and design attributes of two world-class innovators to create a product of physical beauty and enhanced performance.  Finally, Bundesliga is Germany’s top professional football league, featuring some of the best clubs and footballers in the world. In a deal facilitated by IMG, Bundesliga partnered with Superclub, the football manager board game, to launch a new official licensed expansion pack. Launched globally in November 2022, the game includes player cards featuring players from all 18 Bundesliga teams, with IMG leading

the game development and launch strategy.

Pure Brands is a young, vibrant brand licensing agency based in Munich with a worldwide network. Founded in 2017, the agency specializes in automotive and lifestyle brands as well as corporate trademarks. In addition to its headquarters in Munich, the agency also maintains a branch office in Shanghai and Shenzhen. “We are experts in successfully launching outstanding licensing deals and brand collabs in key global markets,” says

Jürgen Halder, founder of Pure Brands. “By having a team of high caliber professionals in Shanghai and in Shenzhen and through our agent partners in SEA, we understand the Asian market inside out.“

Pure Brands recently made a big splash through a deal with Chinese sportswear brand Particle Fever“and the license theme The Smurfs. Particle Fever retailed at Lane Crawford among others, created a unique premium Smurfs apparel collection exclusively designed for the Asian market.

Pure Brands is also very active in the field of lifestyle brands. With the world-famous mountain resort and luxury brand St. Moritz, the agency had been able to place several fantastic licensing agreements and brand collabs at once. For example, they brought together the two iconic brands “Bally” and St. Moritz to launch a fashion collection that is available worldwide from F/W 2022 onwards


and includes 91 sku’s. It is sold in exclusive department stores like SAKS 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Kadewe, Harrods, Rinascente, Leclaireur & Selfridges. Other licensing partnerships with Moncler, DoDo and Indigo demonstrate the tremendous market potential of the St. Moritz brand.

The third major area in which Pure Brands specializes is automotive. Among its clients is the luxury car manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini, for which the agency recently brokered a major deal in the area of kid’s mobility products.

Licensee Cheerway has developed a range of high-quality mobility products for children that includes a tricycle, a balance bike and a sliding bike. The tricycle comes with special features such as foldable techniques and rim design of a Lamborghini car, they are all high-end products that follow the safety rules and are globally distributed. They are specially produced according to the iconic Lamborghini Design. Furthermore, Pure Brands executed a long-term licensing agreement between the toy brand Double Eagle and the German luxury car manufacturer RUF Automobile. The toy program includes the legendary RUF Yellowbird as well as GT, SCR and GT3 models that let the Porsche soul run free and set pulses racing.

Key clients represented by Pure Brands include Automobili Lamborghini, Blaupunkt, RUF Automobile, Pininfarina, Scholl, Dr. Scholl and St Moritz. In addition, the agency has initiated numerous deals on behalf of manufacturers and brokered contracts with BMW and Audi among others, especially for Toys and Games.

WildBrain CPLG’s well-established German office has used its extensive local knowledge and expertise to connect brands across entertainment, lifestyle and sports, with world-class partners in a wide range of categories. Based in Munich, the team oversees the agency’s activity across the German, Austrian and Swiss markets, de-

veloping a robust and varied slate of popular brands, including WildBrainowned brands Peanuts, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as such key partner brands as ZAG’s Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Dr. Seuss’s ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ and more.

For 2023, the team is significantly expanding the consumer products offering for Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir. The beloved animated show continues to be a hit on Disney Channel in Germany, with a recently launched fifth season. New content is also on the way with the brand’s highly anticipated CG-animated feature, Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie, set to be released in cinemas across Germany in 2023. WildBrain CPLG has assembled a broad array of promotional retail partnerships and product ranges to bring these much-loved characters to life in an extensive range of categories.

The new ‘Miraculous Rise of the Sphinx’ console game also recently launched building on the success of the brand’s hugely popular Roblox game, which has already notched up over 450 million gameplays to date. This digital activity expands the vast merchandise offering the team has already established for the brand, which features many long-standing licensees, including Panini and Blue Ocean (pub-

lishing), Geda Labels and Klaus Herding (home and living), Ravensburger (puzzles and games) and Deichmann (shoes) plus many more.

For the beloved character brand Peanuts, 2024 will mark the 50th anniversary of Snoopy’s first appearance as his Beagle Scout character in Charles M. Schulz’s iconic comic strips. To celebrate this milestone, the team is focused on developing new lines centred around “Snoopy’s Outdoor Adventure” in the lead up to the anniversary, with key themes including camping, being outdoors and scouting. In 2025, the celebrations will continue as the Peanuts brand reaches its milestone 75th anniversary.

In the year ahead, WildBrain CPLG will continue supporting Peanuts Worldwide’s global sustainability initiative “Take Care with Peanuts”, which first launched in October 2020 and encourages everyone to take care of themselves, each other and the Earth. As part of the ongoing global campaign, new themed episodes are released monthly on YouTube and social media platforms. WildBrain CPLG Germany continues to build the Peanuts business with a program at Deichmann across shoes, bags and accessories, following a Summer 2022


launch and has secured new licensees in apparel and fashion including Aytex, Stuffmaker, TB International. Existing partners, such as Butlers, Geda Labels, Thalia and Codello will also continue to introduce fresh Peanuts collections. Across the region the team continues to forge super-charged new partnerships for SEGA, with the new series Sonic Prime co-produced by WildBrain and SEGA having launched on Netflix in December 2022. With Jakks Pacific as Sonic master toy partner, deals secured by WildBrain CPLG include an exclusive line of Sonic Prime products from leading toy manufacturer PMI that will launch in early 2023, including minifigures, plush, games and more. Newly signed licensees for Sonic Prime in Germany include Ravensburger for puzzles and Panini for books, with many more in the pipeline.

The festive season for 2022 saw WildBrain CPLG Germany secure a wide range of partnerships for Dr. Seuss’ seasonal family favourite How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Deals include a global collaboration with adidas for a Grinch-themed version of the sportwear company’s iconic Forum Low shoe, which was supported by an extensive marketing and social media campaign. New products also launched locally, including from Thalia for gifts and Bloomerry for sweaters at C&A. For 2023, the team will build upon this momentum and has an exciting pipeline of activity for its diverse and growing roster of brands, including several significant partnerships and retail activations.

PI Kids makes books come alive!

With their interactive books, they entertain young readers, encourage their development, instill a fascination of reading and encourage their curiosity. Their ambition is to foster reading comprehension and the enthusiasm for stories that lasts a lifetime.

Together with their licensors, such as Disney or Nickelodeon, and their local authors and illustrators, they combine stories about favorite characters, such as PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, or Fireman Sam, with illustrated pictures, sounds, music, and activities to create a unique reading experience that excites and in-

spires. They do this with a wide range of formats, such as sound books, songbooks, picture books, board books and other interactive book products.

The PI Kids brand is known all over the world as the leader in licensed and sound book publishing and their books have been published for over 30 years in more than 35 languages.

PI Kids is a registered trademark of Phoenix International Publications, Inc. and is published in the Germanspeaking area by Phoenix International Publications Germany GmbH, which is part of the Phoenix Publishing & Media Group (PPMG), the largest publisher in China, headquartered in Nanjing. Prior to 2014, PI Kids was the children’s book division of Publications International, Ltd.

cense for additional activity books. Another new license was granted for plush toys, socks and kid jewellery to Love Collection Jewellery UG, and as V.I.P.’s Michael A. Lou tells us, the licensee is open for cooperations with distributors.

Amongst the most popular products are the Peppa Pig Voice Changing Microphone Deluxe Sound Book, the Paw Patrol Listen and Learn Board Book, the Peppa Pig Little Potty Sound Book and the Disney Press the Page Sound Book.

Three years ago Hamburg based licensing-experts V.I.P. Entertainment & Merchandising AG brought the merchandising for Leo Lionni´s bestselling picture books to the German speaking markets, and after a slow start the success of the brand climbs steadily.

Edel Kids released its third CD with Frederick & Friends stories that rank also at discounters among the bestsellers. Carlsen´s Lappan Verlag signed a second license for calendars and gift books for your adults and Edel Books took another li-

Frederick & Friends stories on Tonies NFC devices went so well that Tonies also signed a license for the US. V.I.P.’s newest property is ZORRO, the internationally famed hero with a 100 years track record. Backed by its 40 years experience V.I.P. expects that the massive presence in theatres, TV and Streaming Platforms (five TV series and four motion pictures are being planned by Zorro Productions International) will boost demand for licenses. In particular as the productions aim at different target groups such as the live action feature films Django/ Zorro (age PG-13), based on Quentin Tarantino’s Djano/Zorro comic book . Tarantino will be executive producer, together with ZPI’s John Gertz. Currently an animation for kids is being aired on Germany’s leading kid channel KiKa and the first live action series for TV (Age 10+) is being shot in the Canary Islands to be released in the second half 2023.

One of V.I.P.’s most recent international deals for The Beatles, that they have now represented for nearly 20 years, was with Hohner, the world’s leading harmonica company. They report “very satisfying” sales, V.I.P. says, who is just about to sign another worldwide license with another market leader.


Studio 100 report that with the launch of the first season of “Mia and me” in August 2012, an international success story developed and will continue to be told right through to 2023. The first feature film in May 2022, followed season 2 (2015) and season 3 (2017). “Mia and me - The Secret of Centopia” had the most successful start of a post-Corona German family film to date. To date, the film has thrilled more than 350,000 young and old cinema visitors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and just in time for Christmas, the DVD and Bluray release of the cinema film has also hit the shelves.

Since 2012 the series with its 78 episodes so far has been broadcast regularly on TV on ZDF and KiKA with excellent ratings. “Mia and me” is also successful internationally and has been sold to over 170 countries. Mia’s adventures will continue at the beginning

with the Tonies. Important for monthly fan activities is Blue Ocean Entertainment’s magazine, which ranks second among School Girls magazines with a circulation of over 45,000 copies. The extra magazines and special editions are also top sellers. The current sticker series for the feature film was produced in a print run of 150,000 albums and with well over 1.2 million sticker bags. A new “Mia and me” app will also be released in spring 2023. The nationally and internationally product portfolio is large and varied, and the brand’s success is further consolidated by a global agency network. Extensive and truly magical style guides for the first three seasons provide the basis for product design; the style guide for the new season comes with a new look, playful but less childlike and with softer, pastel colours. To further expand the brand’s potential in the Softlines range, extensive trend books

Street will celebrate its 50th birthday. It all began on January 8th 1973 where Sesame Street became a pioneer in German children’s television, which literally didn’t exist before, and therefore became an instant classic. To date 2,931 episodes have been produced in Germany. “Sesamstraße” is available in the ARD media library, online on, on the road with the “Sesamstrasse”-app and on YouTube with its own channel. On television it is still broadcast weekdays on KiKA and from Tuesday until Friday on NDR. To celebrate this special Birthday, many activities are planned in early 2023. There will be TV highlights such as “A Thousand Great Things”, giving homage to the show with many prominent birthday guests remembering the greatest moments on ARD in January or a special broadcast of the “Tagesthemen” news format on January 8th presenting exclusive insights and backstage footage for all young and old fans. This will be followed by several other TV and radio specials. Ernie & Bert will attend the NDR Family Concert in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie on January 28th, followed by four more concerts just for kids from Primary School.

of 2023 with 26 new episodes in the fourth season!

With more than 2.9 million YouTube subscribers worldwide, the brand also presents itself with top values in the online sector. In addition to that, there are 1.6 billion views on 10 international channels.

There are many highlights in Licensing, such as over 1.8 million books sold and a strong publishing partner in Ravensburger. Simba’s toy line consists of dolls of the elven heroes Mia,Yuko and Prince Mo, and a range of unicorns as well as plush and role-play products. Edel Kids have distributed the physical audio products from the start and are now very successful in streaming or

are now also available for the fashion segment: Denim Patches, Frosted Sparkle and of course a supplement on the theme of “Strong Girls”. Through this approach, Studio 100 Media supports its brand through a GIRL POWER campaign, which focuses on World Girls’ Day on 11 October every year and wants to convey a very clear message, especially to young girls: you can feel strong, you don’t need to be afraid and always follow your heart. This year, a big competition, cooperations with influencers, a social media ad campaign and a cooperation with and for the benefit of SOS Children’s Villages were implemented. In 2023, the German-language Sesame

To mark the occasion, the BallinStadt Emigration Museum in Hamburg is collaborating with Sesame Workshop to present an exhibition about the broadcast history of “Sesame Street” with props and costumes, a childfriendly exploration of themes such as migration, diversity and integration, and a presentation of Sesame Workshop’s international commitment.

Another exhibition will attract kids and families in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg. The MK&G is showing a large special exhibition “Sesame Street - 50 Years of Who, How, What!”.

The animated spin-off “Sesame Street Mecha Builders” will be broadcast in Germany by Super RTL (additional broadcasters in key European markets to be announced). In this new series, Elmo, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby are robot heroes in training, using their STEM superpowers to solve problems.

And another highlight is expected in


the new year: Cookie Monster and some friends will be featured in the new show “Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck with Steffen Henssler” (a famous TV cook in Germany) on RTL+ and Super RTL. Here it’s all about cooking and nutrition, which Cookie Monster and Gonger (who is appearing on German TV for the first time) are preparing with Steffen Henssler for preschoolers and their families. But that’s not all. In addition to the multi-year licensing partnership with Just Play, which will see the launch of a wide range of products - consisting of plush, figures, playsets, vehicles, roleplay/clothing, bath toys and educational toys, fans can also look forward to products in the fashion and softlines categories. The apparel will allow fans to express their personality and reflect the brands they love, whether they are children or young adults. The clothing will be trend-conscious and wearable. A special focus will be on clothing for babies and toddlers, stationery, backto-school and hard goods.

Just Play is teaming up with Sesame Workshop to develop a brand-new and extensive toy line. The new Just Play product line presents familiar characters as plush figures and electronic learning aids. The company promises that the products will push interaction and will be among the most cheerful and fun toys to be launched in Germany in spring 2023. More product launches are planned for the fall of next year.

Just Play is focusing on plush figures. From the new range, Sesame Street

fans can cuddle their favorite characters at an entry-level price, first and foremost the favorites Cookie Monster and Elmo, but also Ernie and Bert. They are all filled with 100 percent recycled material. Leading the pack is the Potty Time Elmo figure. During the summer months, a special brand marketing campaign will be carried out. Furthermore, Cookie Monster is available as a hand puppet for impulse purchases. The electronic learning aids in the Just Play range, on the other hand, are designed to promote chil dren’s development through play - for example, together with the Elmo tele phone, children learn letters, numbers, colors and even whole words and sen tences while chatting on the role-play telephone shaped like Elmo. More new products and content are planned for 2023.

For the German market, Just Play is cooperating with Alpha Team Trading Solutions - the specialist for e-commerce, logistics and sales. Managing Director Tim Mörtl is excited about the collaboration with Sesame Workshop: “We are thrilled to be work ing with Just Play and Sesame Workshop to bring this new line of Sesame Street toys to the German market. Sesame Street is a brand trusted across multiple genera-

tions, and we look forward to bringing this brand to life in German retail stores in 2023.”

Ami Dieckman, VP EMEA Sales at Just Play, comments: “Just Play is thrilled to be working closely with Sesame Workshop to launch this new toy line in Europe. We look forward to the products hitting the shelves this spring, supported by marketing campaigns and great retail engagement. The Sesame Street brand has a great heritage in Germany, and we’re looking forward to reaching both longtime fans of the brand and new, young fans.”

Munich-based agency Studio 100 Media is also on board as a partner. Says Joachim Knödler, Head of Licensing Distribution: “For Studio 100 Media, Sesame Street is the most important third-party brand - a very important and outstanding license that fits perfectly into our portfolio with its educational approach. We look forward to the 2023 anniversary year, which will take Sesame Street to another level in terms of licensing and marketing, driven of course by the extensive


Get the Popcorn Ready!

The movie industry will continue with the trends that we have seen over the last years. While there will be big ‘event’ theatrical releases, distribution will continue to be split between cinemas and digital, with movies becoming a whole immersive, interactive experience. The majority of predicted blockbusters are franchises, sequels, and remakes, and this will be demonstrated in the vast consumer product programs that are built around some of the biggest releases.

Evil Dead Rise

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Fast X

Dune: Part Two

Barbie Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania

Scream VI

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

John Wick: Chapter 4

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Talking... Dune: Part Two

For the few who don’t know about the Dune franchise, can you tell us a little more about the movies?

Charlie Donaldson, Joint Managing Director, Rocket Licensing Limited: Frank Herbert wrote a series of six seminal sci-fi novels, beginning with the first book, DUNE, which is among the best-selling sci-fi novels in history and is set thousands of years in humanity’s future. In 2021, Legendary Pictures released its big screen adaptation, “Dune” which was met with both critical and box office success including 10 Oscar nominations and 6 wins.

The highly anticipated “Dune: Part Two” is scheduled to arrive in theatres on November 3, 2023. Both films are directed by Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”, “Blade Runner 2049”).

Was there a licensing campaign for “Dune”?

There was a licensing campaign for the first movie. We had several partners on board including Abysse Corp, Funko, McFarlane Toys, Mad Engine and more. These product lines proved successful across a range of retail

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Little Mermaid

The Flash

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One

The Marvels

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

partners including Amazon, Forbidden Planet, HMV, Hot Topic, Target and Walmart. What categories are you targeting for “Dune: Part Two” and why?

Awareness of the brand is strong and expected to grow, which creates an amazing opportunity. The range of product from existing partners is set to deepen and we are adding some exciting new licensees as well that are set to release some amazing new products in the run up to the movie release.

We have a tremendous cast in this film, with several new and very important characters being introduced, which will allow us to expand our figure range.

The film also delivers incredible gadgets and vehicles, and we will be leaning into these iconic elements as well.

Will the “Dune: Part Two” licensing campaign begin well before the movie is released - while teasers are going out, say?

While there will be some products in the market in the

run up to the movie, the majority of our Dune: Part Two partners will be launching in conjunction with the film release in Q4 2023. Certain categories of products like toys, figures, collectibles, apparel and accessories are more specific to each film, and Part Two products will be available around the film’s release.

How will the licensing campaign respond to uncontrollable elements like Oscar buzz that may boost retail demand?

We’ll be ready! Our aim is to build a longterm licensing campaign to satisfy fan demand and add to the overall enjoyment of the movie and the franchise. We know what a huge impact “Dune” had and, working with our partners, we aim to make sure we will have product and retail initiatives ready for the key beats of the franchise during 2023 and beyond.


The Hottest Toys in Town

Hasbro is kicking off the new year with a lineup of new products from brands including Play-Doh, My Little Pony, Baby Alive and PJ Masks. The Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Magical Mixer Playset, reimagines the iconic mixer with twice the treats twice as fast. With a built-in carrying case, the My Little Pony Mini World Magic Mare Stream offers a glam camping experience at home or on the go. Gift a Baby Alive Foodie Cuties and reveal one of the eight impossibly-cute dolls or collect them all to create a Foodie Cuties world.The Baby Alive Fruity Sips doll offers kids a pretend juicer and sippy cup accessory so they can feed their Baby Alive doll, before it needs a change. Kids can pretend to join Catboy in the PJ Masks Cat Racer from the show complete with lights and sounds.

The phenomenon that is Bluey sees several releases this year. From Moose Toys comes Bluey’s Tree Playset - Kids can climb into Bluey’s world with this imagination-inspiring tree playset that stands an impressive 11 inches tall.The irresistible rope ladder invites Bluey and friends to climb up the treehouse

then slide back down from the other side. At the base of the tree is a seating area, a swing that fits Bluey and other character figures from the popular series, as well as a hammock to relax. Bluey Beach Cabin, Bluey Keepy Uppy Game, Bluey Escape Convertible, Bluey Escape Helicopter and Hammerbarn Shopping Playset are set to fuel imaginations and reaffirm the popularity of the Australian canine.

In 2022 Perfetti Van Melle witnessed how the toy category has taken a massive leap in its licensing program with the launch of several surprising toy launches throughout the year. Many ranges include up to three of Perfetti’s brands: Chupa Chups, Airheads and Mentos. Another common characteristic revolves around mini formats or replicas of the candy and traditional toys that are morphed playfully with the candy products.

In Asia Pop Mart, China’s leading creator and manufacturer of pop art toys, has teamed up with Perfetti Van Melle to create a fun collaboration that brings the world of Chupa Chups together with the popular character Satyr Rory, an adorable mythological creature of Korean designer Seulgie. Perfetti Van Melle is also proud to be a part of MGA Entertainment’s new co-branded collectible doll range called L.O.L. Surprise Loves Mini Sweets™. The new collection combines the global sensation of MGA L.O.L. dolls with the sentimental charm of the candy brands. Other ranges include Shopkin miniatures by Moose Toys, Surprise toys with candy replicas by Zuru and Super Impulse and jigsaw puzzles by Ywow and Ceaco Inc, which will see further expansion in 2023.

ZAG announces the launch of its first toy line from the new ZAG Play Toy division that will be unveiled at the Spielwarenmesse-Nuremberg Toy Fair. The first toys, across ten categories, all feature the company’s flagship brand, Miraculous™ –Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, to

be followed with products for the fun-filled action-adventure series Ghostforce, and the animated feature Melody, starring singer, songwriter, and actress Katy Perry. The announcement was made today by Jeremy ZAG, Founder and CEO, ZAG. The ZAG Play Toy Division, headed by Helena Perheentupa who serves as SVP (and based in Frankfurt, Germany) develops a broad range of innovative toy products that aim to offer synchronization between storytelling and the physical and digital world that

This time of year – traditionally Toy Season as we know it – brings the latest trends and hottest toys and games to the industry. London, Nuremburg and Hong Kong will see buyers, retailers, licensees and more flock from around the globe to catch a look at what’s going to be big in 2023

are deeply tied to the DNA of the company’s brands. The goal is to offer fans rich and full brand experiences, working in parallel with the company’s licensees to ensure a comprehensive and complementary offering across the globe. James Nunziati was recently appointed as Head of Global Sales for the ZAG Play Toy Division, reporting to Perheentupa. The ZAG Play Toy Division is part of ZAG Play which includes the licensing and merchandising, promotions, and gaming groups, headed by Julian Zag, EVP, Global Operations and Head of Consumer Products, to whom Perheentupa reports.

In addition to its Bluey toy range mentioned above, Moose Toys is unveiling several exciting product priorities this year.

The first licensed segment for the action-packed Akedo brand is


Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Turtles, featuring the popular characters from the animated series and upcoming film premiering Aug. 4, 2023. The crimefighting, pizza-loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a natural fit with Akedo’s fast-fighting action and humor infused play, including Akedo’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arena, Akedo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Versus Packs.

Heroes of Goo Jit Zu DC Goo Shifters have superheroes Batman and Gold Charge Flash confronting supervillain King Shark in their super gooiest transformation to date. Silly, fun-loving Minion Stuart has joined the licensed line of Heroes of Goo Jit Zu figures and thanks to his ooeygooey filling is goo-fier than ever. Fan favorite Stuart arrives at 4 ½ inches, but now that he’s been goo-ified, he can bend and stretch up to three times his size — always coming back to his original size. Stuart, once again, is a stand-out star in the next movie in the Despicable Me franchise. Fans will

be amazed by how this new Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Minion “stretches” his star power into everyday play.

Sound the Octo-Alert! Just as the Octonauts continue to expand their mission beyond the sea – onto land in “Octonauts: Above & Beyond,” the hit spin-off series of the popular preschool animated TV property, “Octonauts,” so has the line of imaginative toys. In partnership with Sony Pictures Television – Kids, this is the second new collection of toys created to assist the Octonauts team of adventurers.

Mattel, Inc. recently announced the allnew line up for Disney Princess and Disney Frozen to consumers.

The line delivers on consumer kids insights on what they want, including more animal friends and sidekicks, reveal innovation, castles, houses and vehicles, hair play and colour change, and expanded storytelling opportunities. Offerings include beloved Disney Princess and Disney Frozen characters accompanied by

accessories heart, such as Queen Elsa and the Water Nokk ready to adventure beyond Arendelle.

Toys on-shelves now, globally, include bright colours, true-to-character facial features, hair fibre tailored to the characters, and premium fabrics.

The Disney dolls line from Mattel will also include unique collector offerings for adult fans that will celebrate the Disney Princess and Disney Frozen characters in a brand-new way with premium offerings to expand every fan’s collection. Together, Mattel and Disney will also bring the Disney Villains out of the shadows with a curated collection of premium dolls, capturing these mischievous characters in a new light.

The new Hot Wheels® Rodger Dodger ™ toy inspired by the winner of the Hot Wheels Unleashed™ Design Battle is now available for purchase at major retailers globally.

The contest gave players the opportunity to create unique designs for the Hot Wheels Rodger Dodger

die-cast model through the in-game Livery Editor. After a meticulous process of evaluation, Mattel’s judges selected “Digigold” made by Hot Wheels Unleashed player Reds as the winning Rodger Dodger™ livery characterized by a dominant white color-way.


Video game licensing deals in 2022: A year-in-review

With brands doubling down on their efforts to gain a presence in the gaming and metaverse space, 2022 has been a huge year for licensing deals and collaborations in video games, especially with the global gaming market estimated to reach $184 billion by the end of 2022, according to NewZoo.

The continued growth of brand integrations and licensing deals within the game market extends way beyond the Roblox and Fortnite activations that typically dominate media headlines. While Ralph Lauren redesigning its iconic Polo Pony for the Fortnite collaboration and Elton John building a branded experience in Roblox are impressive, there are plenty of other exciting licensing plays taking place across PC, mobile and console games.

Free Fire, a battle royale game with 150 million active players. Similarly, the South Korean girl group, Blackpink, played a virtual concert in PUBG: Mobile, which was watched by 15.7 million viewers, according to Krafton, a gaming subsidiary of Tencent Holdings. And let’s not forget the collaboration between Korean boy band BTS and Cookie Run Kingdom, which lasted for over 100 days and integrated seven playable songs into the game along with new characters and cosmetic items (that you had to purchase, of course).

Most recently, Sky: Children of the Light, themed its latest season around the Norwegian pop artist, Aurora. The highlight was a 45-minute interactive concert experience with support for up to 4000 simultaneous players – the largest concert experience of its time – with Aurora-themed items costing between $5 and $25.

But of the biggest fashion highlights of 2022 has to be the deal between EA’s The Sims and e-commerce company, Depop. The new partnership introduced seller-designed clothing into the game, which can be purchased using in-game currency, while a new feature called Trendi introduced support for selling old items of ingame clothing, mirroring the way that Depop works.

More automotive brands are racing into video games

One of the biggest trends of 2022 has been licensors focussing their attention on mobile games, especially in the music business. Justin Bieber debuted a new song, performed an ingame concert, and was transformed into a playable character in Garena

Rachit came up with the concept for Layer after he successfully licensed a song from his nowdefunct band into a NASCAR racing game and was struck by the legal complexities and opaque nature of the licensing process. In 2021 Rachit founded Layer, an online intellectual property (IP) marketplace that enables game developers to connect and negotiate with the rights holders of a growing list of well-known brands.

Prior to founding Layer, Rachit worked at Sony, Zippity and GO1 both in Australia and the UK.

Designer fashion brands are bringing virtual style to games

Many of these aforementioned concerts are monetized through the sale of virtual items designed around the musicians, and there’s been a huge rise in the demand for virtual clothing in 2022 in general. Burberry, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, and Carolina Herrera have all built branded experiences on the Roblox platform in 2022, but we’re starting to see more big names in the sector shift their focus to licensing deals in the wider video game market.

More than 100 items of clothing, footwear, and accessories from the David Koma Resort 2023 collection were made available in the mobile fashion game, Pocket Style, while the Lagardère Group, owner of the ELLE lifestyle brand, started offering games and ELLE-branded quests within the multiplayer blockchain game My Neighbor Alice.

Given their long-standing experience in the sector from franchises such as Forza Motorsport, Need for Speed, and Gran Turismo, it should be no surprise that automotive brands have also been at the forefront of licensing deals in video games. PUBG Mobile demonstrated how this could be done with the straightforward approach of featuring the latest sports cars from Maserati, Dodge, and Koenigsegg as purchasable vehicle skins. And in an attempt to create some sparks amongst Gen Z consumers, BMW used the power of the Pokémon brand to inspire the creation of its electric Mini Aceman concept, themed around Pokémon’s electric mascot, Pikachu.

Need for Speed: Unbound raced onto shelves at the end of the year and proved it’s a powerhouse when it comes to being a home for IP and branded experiences. Players can dress their characters in clothing from Palace Skateboards, Versace, Puma, Vans, and Alpha Industries as they sit behind the wheel of over 40 vehicles, including Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, and Jaguar models (to name just a few).

Best of all – and one of our favourite gaming integrations of 2022 – has to be the inclusion of the American

Musicians are singing their songs at in-game concerts
Layer’s CEO and Founder, Rachit Moti

rapper A$AP Rocky. Players could listen to his new track Shittin’ Me, and customize the sounds their vehicle makes with a custom A$AP Rocky voice pack. A$AP Rocky’s music video for Shittin’ Me was also worked on in collaboration with Need for Speed.

Video games and entertainment IP are working hand-in-hand

One aspect of licensing deals that won’t come to the forefront until next year is the increased prevalence of films and television series based on popular video games.While we did see new TV series based on video game IP, including Halo and Resident Evil, we’re yet to measure the success of projects such as HBO’s Last Of Us series or the new Super Mario Bros. movie. And let’s not forget that TV series and films based on Fallout, Gran Turismo, Streets of Rage, Alan Wake and It Takes Two are all on the horizon. Of course, licensing deals work both ways in the entertainment world

and we’ve seen our fair share of new games and remade titles based on popular IP this year, many of which have been handled by smaller studios.

The release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was met with a positive response by gamers, as was the announcement of Disney Illusion Island, a new side-scrolling coop game starring Mickey the Mouse and co.

All of this is without mentioning the continued success of gaming series based on popular entertainment IP, including Harry Potter, Marvel, DC, Dragon Ball, and Star Wars.

What can we expect from 2023?

With the global gaming market showing no signs of slowing down, there is no doubt that 2023 will be an even bigger year for licensing plays in video games, especially with Cloudbased gaming services such as Xbox’s Game Pass now available on the latest Smart TVs, making access to the latest

titles even easier as gamers don’t need to spend hundreds on the latest hardware.

Newzoo’s report into IP-based mobile games released earlier this year showed that IP holders are increasingly focusing their attention on the mobile market. That makes sense, considering mobile games account for 53% of global gaming revenue. What remains to be seen, however, is how licensors will split their efforts across video games and the new metaverse platforms that inevitably emerge in 2023.

Will licensors take their chances on new platforms to be the first to do something in an exciting space or focus their attention on video games that already have established and highly engaged daily player counts in the millions?

Either way, you can keep up to speed with the latest collaborations by signing up to our newsletter over at

Rachit with Chris Illuk

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) form a geopolitical region that spans western Asia and northern Africa. The 21 MENA countries share significant cultural similarities. Their economies are experiencing strong growth, which has reached 5.5% during 2022 and is projected to remain at 3.5% through 2023 according to the World Bank.

The total population of the MENA region exceeds 580 million, accounting for approximately 7% of the world’s people. The region has 60% of the world’s oil reserves and 45% of its natural gas reserves, natural resources that have made countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, and Saudi Arabia among the richest in the world in terms of GDP per capita.

Some 90% of the inhabitants of the region are Muslims. The population skews young, with around half of the citizens of the MENA countries being under the age of 24. Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Hebrew, and Kurdish are

the languages spoken most widely in these countries, along with English and French in some of them.

When considering business entry strategies, it is useful to divide the MENA region into a few sub-regions: First - Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consisting of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE; second - the Near East consisting of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria; Third - North Africa consisting of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Three countries of MENA that are not grouped above, each should have specific strategy which are Iran, Israel, and Turkey.

The aim here is to provide an overview of the consumer media and retail industries, both of which have an enormous influence on the licensing industry.

The following points are of particular significance for assessing the products for a business in the region.

• The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on entertainment, media, and retail revenues, to the point of altering patterns of consumption in the region. However, spending in these sectors began to recover in early 2022 with a successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the region. Overall,

entertainment and media revenues are expected to increase by 3% in the region by 2024, well ahead of an expected 2% increase globally.

• The growing population, including large numbers of expatriates, is the primary factor driving the retail industry. Specifically, the region’s population is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.9% from 2021 to 2026.

• A few GCC countries are becoming global centers for business and entertainment (especially sporting events), with international tourist arrivals anticipated to increase at a CAGR of 24.1% from 2021 to 2026 to US$83.4 billion.

• Digital entertainment—led by streaming video services such as Netflix, Shahid, and Starzplay along with gaming and digital music—is projected to grow at an accelerated pace into 2024. Mobile phone usage in the MENA region is already among the most widespread worldwide, and governments in some MENA countries are expanding their digital infrastructure, so new content streaming and consumption options are becoming available for residents and visitors at home and on the go.

In the first of a regular column, Amer Bitar, head of Markettcom in Dubai gives our readers an overview of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

• Online gaming is expanding rapidly owing to the large youth population. According to recent statistics, MENA gamers spent 24% more time playing in 2020 while the global increase was only 11%. Consequently, video game revenue is expected to increase in the region to more than US$4 billion, again outpacing the global increase (of 6.4% CAGR) to become the largest segment of the entertainment and media market.

• E-sports remains a very small portion of entertainment and media spending in the region, but this sector is expected to grow by more than 20% through 2023, driven by increases in media rights, sponsorship, and digital advertising.

• Cinema box office revenues in the region have been phenomenal, growing in 2022 and expected to continue to do so by 4% CAGR through 2023, a marked contrast with a projected 2.4% decline worldwide. This increase is due in large part to the lifting of a cinema ban by the government of Saudi Arabia in 2018. The potential represented by the 2,600 movie screens expected to be in operation in that country by 2030 is particularly noteworthy, as are the expected box office revenues of US$180 million by 2024. International cinema chains such as AMC and Cinépolis as well as regional ones such as Vox have already established a presence in Saudi Arabia.

• Retail industry sales in the GCC

Overall, entertainment and media revenues are expected to increase by 3% in the region by 2024, well ahead of an expected 2% increase globally.

are expected to grow at a pace of 5.7% CAGR from 2022 to 2026 to reach US$370 billion. The forecast for non-food retail sales is for growth at a CAGR of 6.2% and for food retail sales 4.9%.

• Retail sales of personal luxury goods in the MENA countries, led primarily by the GCC, are expected to reach US$11.8 billion by 2026 for an annualized growth of 6.5% since 2021

• Retail space is expected to increase by 4.5 million square meters in the GCC countries by 2026 for a total organized retail gross leasable area in the region of 23 million square meters.

• The e-commerce market remains at a nascent stage, accounting for only 1.8% of the GDP in the GCC. However, the industry is evolving rapidly thanks to a growing tech-savvy population, increasing internet and smartphone penetration, government initiatives, the launch of secured payment gateways, improved delivery channels, and demand for international products.

Licensing in the MENA countries has yet to develop significantly. Thus, according to a 2022 Global Licensing Industry report, the region lags the

overall licensing market with only a 3.5% growth level and total licensed sales at US$5 billion. Nevertheless, there are positive signs in this regard in a few countries, particularly the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel.

Entertainment/characters, corporate/ brands, and fashion are the three main property types in terms of the sales of licensed merchandise and services in the MENA countries. Sports and celebrities are also growing property types in the region with the expansion of sports and show business in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar especially. Lego, Disney, Hasbro, Mattel, and MGA are among the top brand owners and maintain local offices in the region (mainly in Dubai). Other brands are managed either through their EMEA offices or such licensing agencies as IMG, CPLG, MBC, and Markettcom.

Location-based entertainment is a growing area of investment in the MENA region, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia again leading the way. Examples of location-based entertainment projects that are already launched or under construction in the region include the 790-acre Six Flags Qiddiya park currently under construction in Riyadh, WB Abu Dhabi, and Legoland Dubai.

In a nutshell, the MENA region offers rich opportunities for licensing, with a keen understanding of the market and the culture being, as usual, the key to growing a business in this part of the world.

About the Author

Markettcom was co-created in 2021, by Amer Bitar, prior to which he headed up the licensing business at WWE Middle East for 6 years and Ammar Jabri, an entrepreneur who created a successful premium and promotion business called Jabs Trading that becomes a leader in the promotions industry in the region. Markettcom is a Dubai-based licensing agency with offices and partners in the entire MENA region, specializing in representing intellectual property’s rights in the Middle East North Africa. For information, contact:


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us… I could go on. But I am not Dickens. And that was 164 years ago. But the whirligig of time doesn’t change the human condition and the opening lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities  turn out to be both prophetic and relevant to today. But then great stories are always timeless.

This year is going to be a weird one. The world has wobbled. The axis has flexed; not quite snapped but it has given the consumer so many things to think about and challenges to face, that nothing will ever be quite the same again.

There are many new realities to be tackled but I want to focus on just two as we kick start the New Year…

The first reality for 2023 is the digital realm. The one we’ve known has been coming for years but whose rapid insurgency through COVID has left us all with questions, opportunities and conundrums.

The second reality for 2023 is the physical realm. The one that is hard wired into us, the one that we need to function as a species driving our social impulses, yet is being constantly nipped at. And of course it is the one that until very recently, was the paradigm in which consumer products existed. The thing is, these two realms have become blended and at times we are bedazzled by the digital unnecessarily. It should however serve us, not define us.

I am no luddite. I was an early adopter of the Commodore 64 and our house chose the superior BETAMAX technology for our video recording pleasure. But when the world is on its knees perhaps it’s a good time to take stock of what is reality and what is hyperbole.

We know that TikTok is omnipotent and the effect of this in our licensing world is that it is driving micro-fandom at incredible speeds. YouTube is waning, and this shorter form is waxing. The industry is going to continue to accelerate and speed to marketas in getting actual products onto actual shelves - in the hyper-fragmented world of 2023 and beyond - has never been more important.

Digital brands have realised this and have adapted by opening physical stores or shifting into physical sales (just think standing in line at Glossier), enabling customers to try before they buy. By 2024, bricks and mortar is predicted to account for 72% of US sales - the resurgence is real. And, if we step back and think about it for a minute, it is totally expected. Isn’t it?

ChatGPT is another big trend to look out for and it looks like it is going to change just about everything. Google it. You’ll be blown away. You can ask for anything. It can write essays, design marketing plans and articulate new scientific theories with eloquence and nuance.The ethical questions are mind blowing. Creating a franchise that resonates with children however needs to be more than a string of 1’s and 0’s based on already acquired knowledge. To break out there has to be the human touch. Doesn’t there? I guess we’ll see. By the end of 2023 we’ll all know what to use an NFT for, we’ll accept that learning is best done in person by a real a teacher and all the over-hyped sentiment of the metaverse will seem comparable to that we experienced with the Sinclair C5 (Look it up Z’s). Just watch and see.

At its heart a Tale of Two Cities cautions that not everything is always as it seems. So, as we step into a brave new world of this year and all the trouble we’ve been told is going to come with it, it is important to look beyond the facade of this blended reality we all now call home.We genuinely have everything before us. We just need to apply a bit of common sense too and we’ll all be stronger, wiser and better this time next year.

In the latest of his regular columns for Total Licensing, Gary Pope, CEO and Co-Founder of Kinds Industries and Children’s Commissioner for Products of Change talks about our changing world of virtual versus reality.

The Summit of all Summits

Kidscreen Summit is renowned as one of the kids entertainment industry’s most important annual events. In 2020, the last in-person Summit welcomed more than 2,200 attendees from 50-plus countries. Top executives attend regularly to take advantage of the year’s best business networking, and to engage in critical dialogue on issues that affect the industry. With signature sessions like Speed Pitching, 30 Minutes with…, Coffee with…, Lunching with… and Cocktails with…, partners are ready to meet up in one easy-to-navigate setting.

Who will be there?

TV Programming, Acquisitions & Development Executives, Producers & Creators, Distributors, Retailers, Licensors & Licensees, Marketers, Digital Media Content, Creators & Distributors

The incredible line-up of speakers includes top people from PBS, BBC Kids and Family, Netflix, Roblox, Common Sense Media, BNNVARA, AppleTV+, Guru Studio, Disney, Thunderbirds Entertainment Group, National Science Foundation, Retail Monster, TF1, Fred Roger Productions, eOne, Licensing International, Nelvana, YouTube, Paramount, 9 Story, Nickelodeon, Kids Industries, Mattel, Studio 100, Pinkfong, Moose Toys, Sky, ITV, CBC, Women in Toys, Amazon Kids + and many, many more.

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Kidscreen Preview

TCG Toys’ Michael Albert sizes up success in the licensing industry! Michael can thank his father for all the fun and games. Literally and figuratively.

Albert, the President and CEO of TCG Toys, is a second-generation toymaker and licensing authority who followed in the footsteps of his father Harvey. In 1967, when Michael was seven, the elder Albert bought a small Canadian toy company and gift distributor. The business grew, and soon Canada Games was formed.

Canada Games became a household name with the likes of Rummoli, Ouija and Stock Ticker, and the wildly popular Pogs. A kid toy-tester for years, Michael officially joined his father and brothers at the company after graduating from the University of Toronto and has never looked back.

“The most enjoyable times of my life were those where I had a chance to

work side-by-side with my father and brothers,” Albert said.

In 1997, Michael founded Torontobased TCG Toys. Globally known for its high-quality and value toys and products with distribution in over 40 countries, the 25-year toy company has cemented itself as a leader with multi-product categories that include proprietary brands and licenses.

“Licensed products play a major role at retail and are a primary focus for TCG Toys through all core categories,” Albert told Total Licensing. “As a global toy company, we focus on properties and partners where we can obtain a more comprehensive grant to cover the high costs of developing the product.”

One such example is Megamat™, the engine of TCG’s business, with millions sold since the range launched over ten years ago. Available in a variety of sizes, including some with toy accessories, the signature licensed Megamat feature heritage properties like Thomas and Friends, Hot Wheels, and Barbie to today’s hottest brands like Miraculous and CocoMelon.

“TCG Toys pioneered the ‘playable room decor’ business that will be a cornerstone of our product mix for years to come,” Albert said. “Although competitors have tried to replicate our success, we continue to lead in this category thanks to our huge portfolio of licenses and our commitment to using high quality, non-toxic, waterresistant materials that are durable for the most rambunctious play.”

Manufacturing well-made and soughtafter products are one factor in maintaining long-lasting partnerships with key licensors like Mattel and Nickelodeon. Identifying opportunities and matching specific properties to products that fit the appropriate demographic within the company’s core categories has also proven key.

Enter Bend-Ems™. In 2021, TCG Toys acquired the trademark under license to the bendable 90s heritage action figure line. Prime for licensing, the Bend-Ems IP opened up a new category for the company, its partners, and new licensees.

Tapping into its current relationships, TCG Toys launched the first wave at retail in Q4 2021 with classic and popular kid-favorite properties Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, Sonic the Hedgehog and SpongeBob SquarePants.

“The reaction to the brand globally has been tremendous,” Albert said. “For 2023, we have distribution and new licensing partners lined up and anticipate shipping millions of units. Bend-Ems is a game changer for us.”

Among the 2023 Bend-Ems launches is WWE, one of the brand’s original collectibles and must-have favorites from the 90s.

While trends come and go (and sometimes return), as in the case of Bend-Ems™, and the industry has its ups and downs, especially coming out of the pandemic, the ever-changing landscape and need to innovate constantly keep Michael thriving. And then there is the fun of it!

“It sure beats trying to sell screwdrivers,” he said.

Michael Albert is the President and CEO of TCG Toys, a pioneer in Canadian licensed toys and games. Total Licensing caught up with Michael to find out more.

Nelvana is a top Canadian licensing, retail and brand marketing agency representing top Global brands in the Canadian market including Bluey, Sesame Street, Care Bears, Thomas and Friends (softlines, home, party and sporting goods), Bakugan and Beyblade, in addition to their owned brands like Babar, Max & Ruby and YTV.  Nelvana has also entered the creator space, representing top YouTubers Alexandra Gater (home décor expert with a millennial following) and Lauren Toyota (vegan comfort foods) for global merchandise opportunities. Nelvana has been seeing tremendous success with the expansion of the Sesame Street brand in Canada, including developing a new line of kids vitamins with WN Pharmaceuticals that has become one of the top selling brands of kids licensed gummy vitamins in the Canadian market.  They have also launched several high profile branded collaborations for adults including with Peace Collective, Retrokid and

in 2022 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this beloved brand, including food partnerships with ihalo Krunch, Eva’s Original Chimneys and Bunner’s Bakeshop in addition to a number of apparel collabs that were available widely across Canadian retail and online.  Additionally, in Fall 2022 Nelvana partnered with Toys R Us Canada on a national in-store promotion to celebrate Share Your Care Day with Care Bears which featured national out of section merchandising, a national crafting event and localized in-store events with meet and greets from the Cheer Bear and Grumpy Bear themselves.  Nelvana also launched their first creator collabs with Alexandra Gater in 2022 – their Lottie candle by Cardea Auset launched in Spring, inspired by Alexandra’s sweet kitten Lottie, and their collaboration with Ten and Co for sustainable and decorative cleaning accessories launched Fall 2022.  Nelvana’s strong connections with Canada’s leading broadcasters, retailers and licensees has allowed Nelvana to become the top Canadian licensing, retail and brand marketing agency it is today, representing premium Global brands in the Canadian market including Bluey, Sesame Street, Care Bears, Thomas and Friends (softlines, home, party and sporting goods), Bakugan and Beyblade.

Boat Rocker Studios Kids & Family division develops, produces, and monetizes a catalogue of premium live-action and animated entertainment for audiences around the world. The Canada-based Kids & Family division collaborates with Rights & Brands on multiple franchise properties.

ranch life whilst navigating the great outdoors through unpredictable challenges.

This series, packed with comedy and adventure, introduces kids to problem-solving, the foundations of forging life-long friendships, strengthening family and community bonds, and taking care of animals. Broadcast partners include Disney Jr, Disney+, CBC Kids and SRC.

Guru Studio is a Canadian creativedriven entertainment company and an industry leader in animated storytelling. They are renowned for creating, developing and producing awardwinning hit shows that captivate and inspire kids and families all over the world. Guru builds unique creative partnerships that support production, financing, distribution, licensing and brand management across all platforms.

Cakeworthy.  Nelvana also recently launched a line of apparel, capitalizing on the nostalgia of top Corus-owned TV station YTV.  The line of tees and hoodies by Retrokid has been a top seller, with their Video and Arcade Top 10 inspired hoodie being their number one selling hoodie of all time.

In addition, Nelvana has launched a number of Care Bears collaborations

With leading in-house animation capabilities and artful storytelling through Jam Filled Entertainment (2D and 3D Animation) and an investment in Industrial Brothers (Kids & Family Animation), Boat Rocker Studios is an award-winning global provider of truly original Kids & Family content.

Dino Ranch follows the action-packed adventures of the Cassidy family as they tackle life in a fantastical, “prewestoric” setting where dinosaurs still roam. As the young ranchers learn the ropes, they discover the thrill of

In the award-winning preschool series, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, True and her best friend Bartleby the cat come to the rescue of Rainbow City’s whimsical citizens. Based on the artwork of world-renowned artists FriendsWithYou, the series has capitavated children all over the world with four seasons now available on Netflix.


True empowers both boys and girls to be mindful, courageous and respectful of all living things.

Season four is now airing with a plethora of associated licensed products including toys, books, games and live shows.

In recent news, Guru has announced the expansion of True and the Rainbow Kingdom with  Fauna Entertainment securing new licensing and media deals for the brand in  Turkey and the Balkans.

Fauna Entertainment is the exclusive licensing and media distribution partner for Guru Studio’s True and the Rainbow Kingdom in Turkey and the Balkans, managing apparel, publishing, accessories, games, broadcast television, digital media, and live shows.

Fauna Entertainment has placed True and the Rainbow Kingdom on  Cartoon Network Turkey which will begin airing in February 2023 and on Bosnian national television Hayatovci in 2023. Alongside FreeTV placement, the Turkish YouTube channel managed by Fauna has already surpassed twenty thousand subscribers!

Fauna has also secured a number of key licensing partners including Beta Kids (picture and activity books),  CA Games (puzzles), Hobby Tex (bedding) and Umit Canta (backpacks) which will all be launching in 2023.  True and the Rainbow Kingdom will also be hitting the road in Turkey with live musical


shows scheduled as early as February 2023.

Canada’s Sinking Ship Entertainment is a globally renowned and industry leading Production, Distribution, VFX and Interactive studio specializing in children’s and family content. Since its founding in 2004, Sinking Ship has won 24 Daytime Emmy awards, including series wins for Ghostwriter (Apple TV+), Dino Dan: Trek’s Adventures (Nickelodeon), Odd Squad (PBS Kids), and Giver (ION) and was named the Most Innovative Producer at the 2021 Banff World Media Festival. With a global reputation for quality, ground-breaking original series and companion interactive experiences, Sinking Ship has produced more than 24 series and distributed to more than 200 countries across the world.

Sinking Ship’s Emmy award-winning brand Dino Dana has a successful publishing program with US-based independent publisher Mango Publishing.Volumes I and II of Dino Dana’s Field Guides have been #1 best sellers in Children’s Fossil Books on Amazon, and have sold into over 15 countries worldwide. In Canada, the books are distributed by Raincoast Books. The newest addition to the program is Dino Dana’s Activity Guide, which is full of stickers, fun facts, recipes, crafts, and other activities, along with 26 new dinosaurs like the Rugops, Gallimimus, and Animantarx. The activity guide was released on  Dec 6th 2022 and will be available wherever books are sold.

Calhoun Sports have been creating licensed sports apparel since 1973. NHL is their main Canadian license which they have held since 2007. The NHL is more than a licence to Calhoun, it is a partnership with changing opportunities for both parties. The license was originally granted for their specialty category of swim but has been adjusted several times to meet the needs of the NHL league giving Calhoun many new opportunities. The license was expanded to include sweat pants, and latterly their territory was expanded to include the US Market.

In 2021 they developed the Surf and Skate “Brand within the Brand” at the urging of the NHL. The Surf and Skate brand includes premium sweatshirts and t shirts with a retro style. Over and above sportswear, Calhoun has maintained beverage licenses in Canada since the 1990s. Today their only beverage brand is Molson Coors. They were lucky enough to have this brand during the “I am Canadian” program in 1994 when the “rant” became the best selling t shirt in Canada. The shirt sold extremely well in both independent and mass channels. Today Molson Coors is Calhoun’s oldest license.

As General Motors maintains a strong presence in Canada the GM license is important to Calhoun. Since 2007. Chevy Trucks, Camaros and Corvette

are well received brands in Canada. And so to entertainment brands. Popular culture entertainment brands are important in Canada. Although the life of these licenses is less than sports, automotive or beverage they have very strong selling cycles. Past entertainment licensed successes include GoT, SoA, TWD, Snoopy, Simpsons, Mash and Survivor.

E-commerce has become the most important growth sector for the company. Calhoun maintains multiple web sites and works with Amazon as a third party vendor. Their Canadian web site exploded at the beginning of COVID and Calhoun adjusted to meet the ensuing demand.

The Bay is one of Canada’s oldest


companies and biggest retailers. They have 80 stores coast to coast and dominate the department store retailer market. Calhoun is currently adding licensed shops in Bay Stores across Canada. They are currently focused on NHL products but this will change to meet new opportunities and market demand.

Calhoun is celebrating 50 years as an imprint product company. They are pioneers in the early screen print industry and one of the first companies to automate this previously manual process.

They operate a cut, sew, print, sublimation and embroidery factory. This supplements and sometimes repairs imported products from Asia. Currently they operate an 40,000 square foot factory and maintain an outside 10,000 square foot warehouse. Domestic production allows them to react quickly to market demand and trends.

The company believes that community is important to business and they are committed to their community and the history of Niagara. Their factory facade is representative of a 19th century cotton mill and they are closely involved with their local University and community activities including Community Kids, Niagara Hospitals and Healthcare and Ukrainian Relief.

Chouette/CrackBoom! Are majoring on two key licenses for 2023 –Caillou and The Little Prince.

Caillou has more than 30 years of

series comprising 52 x 11 minutes is in production. Chouette has signed to publish a first TV-tie in hardcover picture book in Spring based on one of the Caillou specials. There are also plans to publish a second book in the Fall.

A further Caillou highlight is a collaboration with CAPSANA, an organization dedicated to helping Canadians improve their physical and mental health by making better lifestyle choices, including reducing screen time via their PAUSE campaign. They recently wrote and published an  article inspired by Chouette’s book Caillou Learns About Screen Time, on the subject on helping parents teach toddlers how to use screens and technology in the healthiest way possible.

Chouette have also published a Healthy Toddler series, TV Tie-In Books in the Clubhouse and Playtime series and a series of Five-Minute Goodnight stories.

Caillou remains popular across the globe. Chouette’s titles have been published in more than 50 countries and 20 languages and their sales are estimated at around 15 million books!

Caillou has over half a million fans on social media and about 6.4 billion views on Youtube, with numbers that keep on growing each year.

April 2023 marks the 80th anniversary of the first publication of The Little Prince. More than five million copies of The Little Prince are sold each year and it is the most-translated book in the world with 500 official translations and dialects.

ous formats and concepts that are well adapted to different age groups so that more and more children all over the world can get acquainted with this classic tale and its universe.

A new animated series comprising 52 x 11 minute episodes is in production and to date there are over 250 active licensees generating over $100 million annually in retail sales.

CrackBoom! Books is also preparing a number of major promotional campaigns to commemorate the 80th anniversary, taking place in independent bookstores across Quebec, as well as possibly in major retail chains such as Toy’R’Us Canada (TBC) and Indigo (TBC).

heritage with 92 half-hour episodes as well as special events and shortform content. In addition, a new CGI

CrackBoom! is the official licensee for books featuring The Little Prince in both English and French in North America, and they are adding titles to their Little Prince collection, including one special book bearing the 80th anniversary stamp, with a final spread containing glow-in the dark stars! Featuring Saint-Exupéry’s original artwork, the books come in vari-

NTD Apparel has spent the last 30 years working to secure pop culture’s most iconic licenses, build an offering of fashion’s most influential brands and grow their in-house labels to become the partner of choice for customers, licensors, and suppliers. With forward thinking, high-level quality garments, strategic brand acquisitions and noteworthy retail marketing initiatives, we bring apparel to life. Located in Montreal, Canada they serve the entire Canadian market and more in all aspects of apparel, sleepwear, and accessories.

Some of their top licenses include Paramount, Universal, Mattel, Nintendo, Pokémon, The Grinch, Sesame Street, Carebears, Hasbro, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Sonic, Peanuts, Bravado, Epic Rights, Warner Brothers music, Colleges ( Harvard, Yale, Michigan, UNC, Florida) and more.


Canada has the second-largest land area in the world but also the longest binational land border in the world, which it shares with the United States.

The country is also widely known for its maple syrup and other top-notch food items. Yes indeed.

Additionally, the country has a strong tradition of Entertainment, and is the home of the immensely popular Paw Patrol or The Cirque du Soleil, headquartered in Québec.

A fierce competitive and segmented market

The 6 million Canadian children up to 14 years old know more than 330 different Entertainment brands altogether.

When broken down to a thinner demographic level, each age group & gender is familiar with around 112 different brands of those 330. This amply demonstrates the level of brand competition for each gender and age group. In fact, this large market is sharply divided between brands for boys, brands for girls, brands for early children, and brands for older children. And only 30% of all brands are known by both boys and girls. A small proportion, the rest being segmented!

Where comic book superheroes rise, as in many other countries

As shown in the table below, LEGO and Marvel are the two Canadian kids’

top favorite brands. However, Marvel would take over the leadership starting at age 10, while LEGO would dominate for kids up to age 9. Marvel’s share of favorite mentions has also increased from 5.6% to 10.5% over the past four years, which is a noticeable increase. And over the past few years, Marvel has emerged as the franchise’s main brand, replacing its lower subbrands like Thor or the Avengers. A notable exception in this Marvel universe is Spider-Man, whose brand saw strong growth among children up to the age of 14 and rose to the ninth spot among the most popular brands among Canadian children. DC Comics experienced a similar occurrence, albeit at a much slower rate, with a push of the top franchise: +1.3 points in 4 years. Marvel superheroes are actually currently appearing in both feature films and tv series. And as other characters were well-liked by viewers, they continued to exist in the same film and television universe. As a result, the individual character components suffer at the price of the umbrella brands Marvel and DC Comics.

And the videogame brands are successful

The spectacular development of Roblox, which increased from 2.7% in October 2019 to 8.3% at the moment as Canadians’ favorite brand, is another noteworthy pattern in the Canadian

market. And the fact is that the brand significantly expanded as much among both boys and girls, particularly the older children. But alongside Roblox, other videogame brands such as Minecraft, Fortnite (albeit temporarily at a slower rate) and Mario Bros. or Sonic The Hedgehog also experienced growth in Canada.

The growth of the entire Anime / Mangas section is another interesting trend in Canada, as it is in many more other countries around the globe. Of course, Pokemon led this growth and had a terrific year. However, other brands, like Naruto, also grew (2.4% of the favorite brands, while not in the ranking 2 years ago!).

Ownership and Licensing Opportunities

Overall, the Canadian market for products with an entertainment license is booming. Not only has the range of purchases grown in terms of product categories and quantity (more categories, more products within each category), but the percentage of new buyers who don’t already own a licensed product also increased by 6 percentage points (about 361,000 new buying households for the demographic group). Overall, this suggests that over the following eight to twelve months, the market for these products will expand.

This is a vibrant market that changes at an incredibly fast rate Canada’s market for licensed goods with entertainment brands exemplifies the market’s robust competitiveness and well-defined segments. Few brands are liked by all genders and broad age ranges at the same time. The Canadian market is active and evolves really quickly, so it is far from being frozen.

It will take more work for brands with lower penetration to grow over the pack of big licenses and continue inspiring people to connect with their brands.

For the existing brands, this offers greater opportunity to expand their brand portfolio, create spin-offs, and market new items, but it also necessitates the

of fresh concepts.

THE CANADIAN MARKET FOR LICENSED PRODUCTS IS VIBRANT BrandTrends shares the Most favorite Entertainment brands in the autumn of 2022 LEGO Marvel Roblox Paw Patrol Minecraft Disney Peppa Pig Pokemon Spider-Man Barbie Cocomelon Fortnite Frozen Mario Bros DC Comics 10.6% 10.5% 8.3% 8.0% 7.7% 7.5% 6.5% 6.2% 5.9% 5.2% 5.0% 4.3% 3.5% 3.5% 2.9% Most Favorite Entertainment Brands - Canada - 0 - 14 Years. Oct/Nov 22 % Respondents. Multi-choice question If you would like more information, please contact Philippe GuinaudeauBrandTrends at philippe.guinaudeau@

Culture empowers the Chinese economy

On November 1-3, 2022, the 15th CLE China Licensing Exhibition was successfully held at the Western China International Expo City, Chengdu, Sichuan Province. CLE China Licensing Exhibition continued to maintain its leading position in Asia with the largest scale and gathering of high-quality licensee visitors.

This exhibition attracted more than 2,000 IPs from China and abroad in all categories, including cartoon and animation such as Minions and Transformers, cultural and artistic categories such as the Palace Museum and the British Museum, fashion categories such as Pop Mart, games and sports such as World of Warcraft and NBA, film and television comprehensive arts such as the Chinese Poetry Competition.

Exclusive attendance by Leading International IPs

Many international IP giants have taken CLE China Licensing Exhibition as the only or preferred professional licensing exhibition in Asia. Properties include Minions,Transformers, Peppa Pig, Barbie, Legendary Pictures, Pokémon, Doraemon, The Little Prince, Smurfs,

tokidoki, World of Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed, Plant Battle Zombies, British Museum and other international Ips. Yet again these demonstrated how CLE China Licensing Exhibition is an important platform to spotlight IP trends and planning for future .

During the show, Universal Pictures, focusing on the upcoming Jurassic World next year, released the key imagery and information. Using the opportunity of the 20th China Toy Exhibition (CTE), China Licensing Exhibition (CLE), China Baby Products Exhibition (CKE) and China Preschool Education Exhibition (CPE) hosted by CTJPA, Universal Pictures held their Greater China Partner Conference for Universal Brand Development in Chengdu on November 3, unveiling their plans and achievements.

Alifish made an exclusive appearance with 26 costumed characters including Hello Kitty and My Melody from Sanrio, which was also the first appearance at the exhibition following the official announcement of cooperation between the two sides, expanding the exclusive authorization of manufacturing and selling products in Chinese mainland in the next five years 2023 – 2027.

In addition to the above international

exhibitors, international IP exhibitors for the first time this year included Snoopy, Teletubbies, OSAMU GOODS in the cartoon category as well as NBA and LPL in the sports category, making CLE China Licensing Exhibition the preferred platform to develop China’s licensing market.

In addition, a number of international groups, including GCA and KOCCA from South Korea, appeared together with B FAMILY and many other international IPs.

Domestic IPs bloom, with the rising of new sectors

With the development of the domestic cultural industry, new domestic Ips have emerged. CLE has become a shining stage for many classic IPs in China, as well as emerging IPs such as those from fashion, games, etc, all of which are showing vigorous development.

Alpha Entertainment, Fantawild, Winsing Animation, and other established animation companies took part again with classic IPs such as Super Wings, Boonie Bears and GG Bond. They continued to cultivate the children’s market and explore trends of Generation Z.

Tencent, Bilibili, Youku and other plat-


forms, including Street Dance of China, INCARNATION made a collective appearance, bringing many Generation Z IPs to licensees and connecting the Internet and e-commerce to help the development of IP licensing.

In the fashion category, Molly, Dimoo of Pop Mart, PandaRoll of 52TOYS, and B. Duck, the most popular Ips, attended CLE. The Finding Unicorn company, together with its FARMER BOB, made their debut in CLE China Licensing Exhibition, attracting a wave of attention.

In terms of video games, NetEase games, together with their popular “Naraka: Bladepoint”, Onmyoji, the classic Chinese IP and Paladin: Sword and Fairy from CMGE company, continued to focus on the anime market and Generation Z.

New China-Chic IP risesmuseums attract attention

New China-Chic IP has become increasingly popular with consumers in recent years. This exhibition gathered a number of new China-Chic IPs, such as cultural relics, art and traditional culture, demonstrating the value of the cultural sector.

Museum IPs have become key features of the exhibition. This year, the Palace Museum created an exclusive display in CLE for the third time. Cultural institutions and museums such

as Shaanxi History Museum, Suzhou Museum, National Treasure, Meet you Museum, made their collective debut again.

30 activities link resources to all categories

In addition to the 14th China Brand Licensing Summit Forum, the event hosted match-making meetings, the match-making meetings of the Brand Licensing Alliance, the CLE Licensing Night and the China Licensing Golden Star Awards Ceremony and other traditional activities, in conjunction with the active manufacturing and modern commerce in Sichuan Province and Chengdu.

There was also a round-table conference on IP authorization needed

to enable integration of the Sichuan consumer goods industry, the 2022 Chengdu Modern Commerce and Trade Industry Circle Building and Chain Strengthening Promotional Activities and Chengdu’s 1st International Trend IP Authorization Exchange and Docking Conference. Other activities were held building a platform for all kinds of enterprise within the industry in order to share cross-border resources and create prosperity and development.

A variety of exhibitors including museums, China-Chic, cartoon and animation, gathered with more than 1000 senior executives from industries such as toys, stationery and gifts, clothing accessories, food and beverage, cosmetics and daily chemicals, and commercial real estate, to discuss the industry trends in IP licensing and make pre-scheduled appointments.

2023 China Licensing Expo

From October 17 to 19 2023, licensors of animation, films, museums, art and other categories will gather again at the 16th edition of China Licensing Expo (CLE) back in Shanghai, to promote the continued development of the licensing business. After 15 years of development, China Licensing Expo is widely recognized as the most effective channel to understand the licensing market, promote brands, and expand licensing businesses in China and Asia.



Box-clever: Unpacking the Packaging EPR

This month, Products of Change’s editor Rob Hutchins explores the topic of Extended Producer Responsibility, its role in ushering in a true circular economy why, if it isn’t already, this new tax needs to be on everybody’s radar

The Products of Change member and award-winning international toy maker, Wow! Stuff got itself ahead of the game when it set about overhauling the packaging design of its popular range of The Gruffalo toys last year.

Working under the stewardship of Products of Change’s material and packaging ambassador, Mike Swain, the toy team underwent a thorough process of redesigning its packaging concepts from the inside out, stripping out all its single-use plastic to ‘go naked’ and present an ‘all cardboard’ solution to its packaging woes.

of the producer of packaging when it comes to end of life and transferring the onus from consumer to producer when it comes to the cost of recycling or disposal.


“We’re just seven years away from the global deadline to achieve the targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 1.5ºC and limit the potentially devastating impact of climate change and biodiversity loss upon all life on the planet.”

The process was kickstarted by the desire to ‘do the right thing by the environment’ by brand owners Magic Light Pictures and the innovative toy maker. The by-product of the project is that Wow! Stuff is now sitting in a more advantageous position when it comes to dealing with the heavy-duty legislation coming our way in 2023.

So do all toy companies that have taken up the task of reducing their plastic packaging over the last year or so… we know there’s an encouraging number of you.

We’re just seven years away from the global deadline to achieve the targets set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 1.5ºC and limit the potentially devastating impact of climate change and biodiversity loss upon all life on the planet.

With that 2030 deadline edging ever closer, you can bet that demands on your business are going to really start ramping up. Not just from a consumer standpoint, but from new rules and regulations that are starting to be brought in to bring businesses into alignment.

Chief concern this year is the Extended Producer Responsibility tax; a new legislation that does pretty much what it says on the tin – vastly increasing the scope of responsibility

It’s here to replace the current Producer Responsibility or PRN laws and lands in addition to the Plastic Packaging Tax that was introduced in April 2022 - you know, the tax that has now got packaging producers paying £200 per tonne of virgin single-use plastic packaging? The Plastic Packaging tax came with a get-out clause –introduce 30% recycled content into your plastic packaging and avoid paying the charge. The Extended Producer Responsibility law, by contrast, is going to impact everyone. But right now, no one knows exactly how.

Details on the legislation remain –perhaps purposefully – vague. What we know is that producers are going to need to start collecting data on all their packaging from 1st January 2023. The tax will be incremental – hitting the harder to recycle materials with bigger charges than materials that are easier to process at end of life.

Materials used and weight of packaging are the fundamentals being targeted here. The lighter your packaging and the better recyclability your material use boasts, the less you’ll have to pay the tax man.

“It’s about breaking away from a linear system – take, make, throw away,” says Mike Swain, Products of Change’s packaging and materials ambassador.

“It’s about redressing that balance of those highly inefficient and highly irresponsible gross practices we’ve done in the past.

“It’s also about replacing those legacy Producer Responsibilities or PRN systems and making them bigger. And it will be global. The execution will be different from region to region, but this will apply to every market

For a company like Wow! Stuff, the tax paid on its Gruffalo toy range now devoid of single-use packaging is going to be less than it would have been before the design makeover.

The overarching aim of the tax –similar to the European Green Deal that is currently under review in Brussels right now – is to nudge packaging producers into the circular economy and begin to develop reuse and refill solutions. True circularity in this way has been pinpointed as the fundamental system that will drive down emissions and reduce plastic pollution, and the UK Government has claimed it wants to be at the forefront of that transition.

“This is a very important steps towards a circular economy,” continues Mike. “It’s not the final solution as there are a huge number of other things we need, but this is a key stepping-stone towards it.”

Likewise, Products of Change wants the licensing, toys, and wider consumer products industries to be on the best foot when these incoming regulations start to take effect. It’s why we’ve been working across the membership to develop our Packaging Workstream with updates from packaging and design experts, retailers including Tesco, and industry peers from the licensing sector to facilitate conversation, collaboration and new design approaches to packaging that begin to stem our dependence on single-use plastic.

In fact, a Products of Change Packaging Guide will be made available to all Products of Change members via the online platform very soon.

While the current wording surrounding the Extended Producer Responsibility legislation makes it difficult to ascertain exactly who in the licensing industry’s licensor-licensee


dynamic will be responsible paying the EPR tax right now, there’s no reason that collectively we shouldn’t all start gathering the right data on our packaging now – because data on this will be the key.

“We know this is the right thing to do. There’s a lot of work coming our way, and we’re the ones that have to do it. But that means we are the ones with the chance to make a better future for those to come and take our place, which is why we know we must succeed,” said Helena Mansell-Stopher, founder of Products of Change.

Of course, the legislation is going to shine a whole new spotlight on the important role that design will have to play in the sustainable future of our industries. It’s true that 95% of a products impact is determined at design stage. New legislation means the same – or similar – will soon be

said of cost.

On Wednesday, 11th January 2023, our packaging guru, Mike is hosting a 30-minute introductory session on the Products of Change online platform into new processes and approaches to design waste out of your packaging from the ground upwards. The session will set the stage for a larger, one day course to be taking place in March 2023 in Central London. Design is going to be crucial in the coming years. So will, we ought to mention, the way in which the licensing and toy industries begin to transition to the true circular economy – through reuse, repair, and refurbishment as a means of keeping materials out of the waste stream altogether and retained at their highest value state within the system.

The international toy brand, Schleich could be about to pioneer a new

model for the toy industry through its Cradle to Cradle initiative to produce all Schleich toys from sustainable and recyclable material by 2027. Beyond that, however, the team is working on new processes of toy recycling that will mean a pre-loved, end-oflife Schleich toy can come back to the German toy manufacturer and be recycled back into a Schleich toy –retaining its material value like-for-like. Success in this area could set a new precedent for sustainability in the toy sector, driving a system closer than ever before to a true Circular Economy.

This, obviously, extends past packaging but given what we know about the European Union’s lean into reuse and refill and driving circular principles in packaging so far, we can only expect that product circularity won’t be far behind.


Step Changes to Sustainability

As consumers we all know we need to do ‘our bit’. Progressively the impact of cutting out single-use plastics, the move to a slow fashion movement, and making smart choices about what and where to shop is being woven into our buying patterns.

The Good Play Guide conducts independent reviews, led by child psychologist and parenting expert, Dr. Amanda Gummer. The guide rates toys and games across different criteria including educational and development value, fun and entertainment. To address a commitment to making the world more playful AND sustainable, products reviewed by the guide now have features called out which support sustainability or have some positive eco-credentials, which in turn help consumers looking to make conscious choices when purchasing products and gifts for their children.

As an industry how easily can licensed toys and games align their processes to more sustainable strategies and deliver relevant play value? Dr. Gummer sets out how licensors, licensees and retailers can make (even tiny) steps to driving industry change and meeting consumer demands for products with more eco-friendly credentials, supporting sustainable play.

Licensors can set examples

Licensors should spend time to inspire licensees in their product development missions. Much content is now positioned around sustainable and eco-friendly practices and many themes within programming and content do address a move to being more planet-aware - whether that be Peppa Pig on a beach clean, or The Gruffalo inspiring children to get outside and explore our forests. If licensees are inspired by the relevant story-arcs in the programming and brand content it can help foster sustainable changes to product development. Evolving sustainability brand guides to spark ideas around

material use and considering the number of samples that are demanded by licensees as part of product development can support a circular approach to reducing waste at every stage of the manufacturing cycle. Actions, behaviours and themes that children, see, hear and are exposed to in the early years can be a foundation for learning and even habit forming for the long term. Whether this be content or themes on screen, or play formats, products and packaginglicensors and manufacturers can make smart choices that needn’t mean a whole new supply chain or strategy shift to being that ‘little bit greener’.

Licensors can work smartly with licensees not only to ensure earthfriendly key themes of story-telling are highlighted, but to encourage the development of products that are either built to last – with enhanced play value, or manufactured with sustainability in mind. Some might call these timeless classics or heirloom toys, we call them – great play value!

Licensees should aim to engross children in play

Good examples of toys and games which are developed for multiple players are wonderful in that they promote frequency of play as there are often many different outcomes

Dr. Gummer’s Good Play Guide insists it needn’t be a big leap for licensing

and winners! This consideration of play patterns can have a real impact on the green credentials of a product, even if they haven’t been built with the highest eco-friendly credentials of location of manufacture or materials. If something is built to last, is robust and can offer open-ended ways for children to get involved it’s of course less likely to ultimately end up in landfill. Toys that allow children to explore and play, stretch their imaginations beyond the characters they see on TV or online, and inspire curiosity are always going to be picked off the shelf and played with more frequently and for longer periods. These are the toys that will stay in the family, will be passed down from siblings or be a favourite that is always brought out at family gatherings and seasonal occasions.

How we play can learn a lot from how we dress ourselves! It’s thought that the re-sale fashion industry has the momentum to surpass the fastfashion sector within 10 years, with consumers making conscious choices about how, when, what and from whom they buy. A wholesale moveaway from a throwaway culture in how toys and games are developed not only supports child development and promotes curiosity but supports a movement of reusing and resharing as much as recycling after use. Customer service functions to enable product repair, spare part supply or take back schemes will also support a brands ‘slow play’ movement whilst importantly staying top of mind when buying decisions are being made by consumers.

Watching how children play and learn

through interacting together can inspire new product development aligned to earth-friendly strategies. Examples include constructive play toys, which are great to teach children about co-ordination, building and problem solving – whether it’s building a fort, a flower or a fairy castle this type of play encourages re-build, repitch and the power of ‘trying again.’

Dress up and role play categories also give children a work out for the mind, with each ‘try on’ a new adventure to explore – when children play together in a pretend-play situation the only limit to the play is their imaginations.

Story telling at retail

We would advise that retailers don’t just consider product material and packaging credentials when looking to buy more sustainably. It’s worth thinking about play patterns to support parents concerned about being caught in over-consumption, and consider having a mix of toys across best-selling licences that deliver on repeat play as well as being trends of the moment.

Toys made of natural materials by design encourage creativity and discovery, therefore inspiring learning and development. We know that

children connect faster to their environments and surroundings when their imagination is heightened, so there can be a balance between toys that are made with clear concern for the planet in terms of the production process but also the themes of play are also crucial. Products that have been reviewed successfully by The Good Play Guide carry an accreditation which can be displayed at retail, helpful for shoppers when making decisions in a competitive market. However, sometimes the latest musthave, is exactly that, but if it delivers joy there is a certainly a positive play benefit. Our advice is to balance a brand portfolio with items which reflect the trends of the moment, but can also be offset with toys, games and other licensed items which foster longer term play. Sense-check your sustainability credentials or retail offering by thinking about play formats, the educational and developmental value from each play, the frequency of play and the longevity of the product. If your product is built to last and this is reflected in the way we can all get involved and have fun, then being more sustainable really can be child’s play.

TOTAL LICENSING 91 Sustainability
“Toys made of natural materials by design encourage creativity and discovery, therefore inspiring learning and development. “

Studio 100’s Maya the Bee

Sustainable Dyeing within the textile sector

Maya the Bee is a perfect ambassador for nature & bee protection. Thus, she plays the perfect key role in Studio 100 Media’s environmental education initiative “Project Poppy Meadow”, encouraging children and families to protect insects and act sustainably. This initiative is in collaboration with NGOs NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) in Germany and OTOP (Society for the Protection of Birds) in Poland.

In 2022, Studio 100 Media joined forces with a new media partner in Germany: the publishing powerhouse Burda, with their #beebetter initiative. With this collaboration Studio 100 aims at achieving additional attention, to reach even more awareness for its issues.

In October, “Maya” acted as testimonial at the #beebetter Award 2022, where exemplary (wild) bee conservation projects throughout Germany were rewarded, proofing that her project and the #beebetter campaign are a perfect match. Project Poppy Meadow will continue into 2023 aiming to establish Maya as a local hero to make the topics of bee protection and sustainability even more tangible. Kids and families will be addressed by a nationwide PR promotion campaign and various social media activities, informing people in an entertaining way about biodiversity while encouraging to take action themselves. In 2021 Studio 100 Media took the next step on its mission for environmental protec-

tion and sustainability with the Maya

The Bee - Eco Trend Book. Aiming to inspire licensees to take the first steps towards more sustainable production and responsible use of the resources available today and for the future. Now Studio 100 Media continues to extend this Eco Trend Book for partners with already sustainable product concepts, with several inspirations and trend extensions for babies and toddlers. Here the topic of sustainability plays a very important role within the target group of (young) moms who are showing more awareness and are willing to invest more in such products. The color palette has a Scandinavian feel and brings in more of a childlike charm and personality. There will be proposals for text editorials and slogans as well as for pop material.

Furthermore Studio 100 Media plans to go a step further by supporting its licensee License Factory with the implementation of sustainable goals in the production process for apparel.

License Factory (led by Jutta Breyer) advanced the new challenges in the existing supply chain, which begins by giving a deeper and more clear insight to the meaning of “social responsibility” and “sustainability” within the textile sector.

The pandemic, ongoing climate change, and more recently the impact of the Ukraine war on our geopolitical situation and global trade have led to a greater emotional awareness of the

survival of life, future generations, and our planet itself.

In consequence, more transparency is needed to measure the environmental footprint of any production process. This is a big challenge is the jungle of certificates and the interests of big industries, which basically mislead people and create confusion and lack of understanding among consumers. On the other hand, we may miss the opportunity to promote truly sustainable products that respect the environment. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Approx. 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from synthetic fabric dyeing and treatment only. And this negative impact affects not only the environment, but also the labour and employment situation in producing countries as well as whole societies.

License Factory has no intention of blaming any individual industry or government. It just wants to offer a positive and constructive way out of the continuous process of contaminating soils and water resources avoiding hazardous dyes and chemicals.

In terms of what “social responsibility” and “sustainability” mean, it is quite clear that we all need to be aware of what we consume and how we consume. Responsibility begins with each individual and their daily sustainable behavior and actions. We need to understand that people want to make environmentally friendly choices in their daily lives and need to have access to reliable, verifiable, and comparable information about the products they buy and consume.

For that reason and while firmly believing in its own responsibility, License Factory has invested in switching from synthetic to natural dyeing processes and will present its first cotton collection in Spring/ Summer 2023 in collaboration with responsible and open-minded licensors such as Studio100.


Licensing China 2023 ,7 – 9 April 2023

Opening hours: 09:00 - 17:00 (Day 3 opens to the public from 13:00 – 15:00)

Venue: Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, China

Toy & Edu, Baby & Stroller and Licensing China are organised by the Guangdong Toy Association, Guangzhou Li Tong Messe Frankfurt Co Ltd and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd.

For more information, please visit

The hub for licensing business amid rising demand

Formerly a small pavilion at Toy & Edu China that has grown into a trade fair in its own right, Licensing China has witnessed first-hand the rise in popularity of licensed consumer goods, which are currently all the rage in China, and particularly in Shenzhen – a growing hub for this type of business. Super hero images, animation characters, celebrity brands, to name a few, are increasingly being integrated with different types of consumer goods, as more manufacturers recognise the collaboration can transform an audience who are emotionally attached with these IPs (intellectual property) into new customers. Among all industries, the toy sector has seen significant growth of this type of business. E-commerce sales of licensed toys in China rose more than 14% in the first quarter of 2022 year-over-year. As household income increases, more consumers are now looking for products that are not only functional but also entertaining, and that also reflect their values. According to Daxue Consulting, 88% of caregivers prefer toys that reflect their own parental values. These principles are often symbolised and embodied in specific IPs, leading to more products incorporating IP images and designs that capture the heart of caregivers – a demographic that frequently purchase children’s toys. As one of three concurrent events

happening next April, Licensing China will once again join force with Toy & Edu China and Baby & Stroller China for an action-packed 2023 edition, with the show set to feature a string of exciting new licensing products.The co-located shows connected 50,437 visitors with 1,326 exhibitors from 9 countries and regions in 2022, gener ating synergies and cross-over oppor tunities between the related sectors and markets. Iconix, UYoung, Medialink and many more renowned exhibitors have utilised this platform to expand their presence in the market.

Ms Wilmet Shea, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd expressed: “After overcoming many challenges to successfully hold the three shows in 2022, we are looking ahead with confidence to another productive gathering at the 2023 edi tion. This comprehensive event will be the first major trading plat form for the industry to kick off the sourcing season in Mainland China. New prod ucts and innovative ideas from an impressive line-up of exhibitors showcas ing licensing and li censed products can be expected at the platform in April.”

Suppliers or buyers



Legally Speaking

Most Important Provisions in a License Agreement for Licensees

Since licensors will typically draft merchandising license agreements, they tend to slant them in their favor. That is why they consider it important to “control the form.”



The Essential Guide for Intellectual Properties

Licensing has has exploded into a $250+ billion worldwide industry at retail and generates more than $7 billion in royalty income for those property owners who are savvy enough to license their properties for a wide variety of consumer products.

About 8 years ago, lawyer Gregory J Battersby and licensing veteran Danny Simon introduced the first Basics of Licensing book. They published a revised version a couple of years later and followed it with a Licensee edition and then finally an International edition. Recognizing that there was a degree of commonality between these editions, Battersby and Simon concluded that it was time for the definitive work on licensing, hence, The Business of Licensing which combines the best of all three prior editions and takes the subject to the next level. This book takes the reader through the nuts and bolts of how to conduct a licensing program and handle many of the problems that it might face There is a substantial amount of reference material. They have included an expanded history of merchandising, and an extensive collection of the forms that any licensing professional may need which they intend to provide to purchasers with electronic access to the forms via Dropbox.

The Complete Business of Licensing is available at a cost of $39.95 ($34.95 for LI members). https://www. of_licensing

Gregory J. Battersby

Battersby Law Group, LLC 25 Poplar Plains Rd. Westport, CT 06880 (203) 454-9646

While licensors typically discourage a licensee from making changes to their form agreements, most will entertain at least some revisions, the extent of which will vary per the importance of the license. The larger the category, the more a licensee is willing to commit to the program, and/ or the uniqueness of the product are factors considered by licensors when considering changes.

Licensees should pay particular attention to the following provisions in a license agreement:

Effective Royalty Rates.

The royalty is the most common form of compensation, i.e., a percentage of the licensee’s sales of licensed products. Licensors will also require an advance and minimum guarantee. Care should be taken when agreeing to a guarantee to avoid a situation where the “effective royalty rate” (the rate when factoring in the guarantee) is two or three times higher than the stated rate because expected sales did not materialize.

Net Sales.

The royalty is always calculated on “net sales” of licensed products, i.e., gross sales less discounts, allowances, deductions, and returns. Therefore, licensees should pay particular attention to what they can and cannot deduct and whether there will be a cap on such deductions. If a cap is included, the licensee should be confident that it can operate under it based on its historical experience.

Channels of Distribution.

Most licensors will dictate not only the territories in which the licensee can sell products but the allowable distribution channels within the territory. Therefore, licensees should carefully review the acceptable channels. When they are defined generally, e.g., mass market, licensees should seek better definitions or examples of what these general categories mean.

Ownership of Rights.

Licensors will seek to claim ownership of everything developed by either party during the license, claiming they are a “work made for hire.”

Licensees should attempt to resist this because it will impact what they can do post-termination. At the very least, licensees should seek to retain ownership in designs developed before the license and anything that doesn’t include the licensed property.


Licensors want to control what licensees can do with their companies and, as such, will mandate that the licenses cannot be transferred or assigned to others without their approval. In some cases, licensors will demand that a “transfer fee” be paid as a condition of approval. This will significantly impact the ability of a licensee to sell their company, take in new investors, or reorganize.

Therefore, licensees who plan to sell or reorganize their businesses should carefully consider this provision.

Force Majeure.

The pandemic and related supply chain issues have shined a bright light on this provision, as licensees cannot manufacture, ship, or deliver products through no fault of their own. At the very least, these events should be included as force majeure events. Also, the notice provisions should be relaxed because of the uncertainty of many of these issues.

Materiality and Reasonableness.

License agreements include a raft of requirements where the licensee must obtain the approval of the licensor, e.g., product sample, advertising, etc. While the law builds an implied “covenant of fair dealing” into most license agreements, licensors frequently demand the sole and unfettered right to approve such submissions.

Wherever possible, licensees should attempt to require the licensor to act “reasonably” when considering submissions. Moreover, where approvals are required as a result of changes, they should only apply where the changes are material, not trivial.


British Toy & Hobby Fair

Nuremberg Toy Fair

Magic Las Vegas

Magic New York

Kidscreen Summit

Licensing World Russia

Australian Toy Fair

France Licensing Day

Bologna Children’s Bookfair

Licensing China (Shenzhen)


Toys Milano

London Book Fair

Hong Kong Int. Licensing Show

Jan 24 - 26

Feb1 - 5

Feb 13 - 16

Feb 21 - 23

Feb 12 - 15

Feb 28 - March 2

March 5 - 8

March 9

March 6 - 9

April 7 - 9

April 17 - 19

April 18 - 22

April 18 - 20

April 19 - 21

April 23 - 25 Magic Nashville April 26 - 28

ISM Cologne

Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 27 April

Annecy Festival

June 11 - 17

Licensing Expo June 13 - 15

Licensing Expo China June 28 - 30

The Licensing Awards Sept 12

Milano Day of Licensing Sept 14

New York Toy Fair

Oct 4 - 6

Sept 30 - Oct 3 Brand Licensing Europe

MIP Junior

Frankfurt Book Fair

Oct 16 - 19

Oct 14 - 15 MIPCOM

Oct 18 - 22

Australian Toy, Hobby & Licensing Fair 73 Beano Studios 15 Blue Zoo 29 Boat Rocker ...................................................................... 5 Brand Licensing Europe 97 Bulldog Licensing 21 Carat Shop 10 China Licensing Expo .................................................... 85 Howard Robinson .......................................................... 79 Jazwares 7 Kennedy Publishing 23 Kidscreen Summit 77 King Features Syndicate ................................................. 3 Konami .......................................................................17, 19 Licensing China 95 Licensing Expo 35 London Toy Fair 2 Mercis ............................................................................... 33 MIP TV 93 Moonbug 100 Paramount 1 Pokemon .......................................................................... 27 Rainbow Productions ...................................................... 8 Rubies 11 RX Japan 25 SEGA Europe 13 Sesame Workshop ........................................................... 9 List correct at time of going to press

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Articles inside

Legally Speaking

pages 96-97

Licensing China - A Shenzhen Success Story

pages 94-95

Products of Change

pages 88-91

Sustainability with Maya the Bee

pages 92-93

Culture Empowers the Chinese Economy

pages 86-87

Licensing in the MENA Marketplace

pages 74-75

Profile: Michael Albert of TCG Toys

page 80

Movies 2023 - Get the Popcorn Ready

page 68

Germany Fear is Not a Good Counselor

pages 57-58

Leading Entertainment Brands in Canada

pages 84-85

The Canadian Market

pages 81-83

Kidscreen Summit - A Preview Canada

pages 78-79

The Gary Pope Column

pages 76-77

Spotlight on German Licensing

pages 61-67

Germany - Land of Opportunities?

pages 59-60

Focus on Video Game Licensing

pages 71-73

The World of Toys and Games

pages 69-70

Chefclub Readies for 2023

page 56

Susan Bolsover’s Lightbulb Moment

pages 52-53

Hamleys Builds Experiential Retail

pages 50-51

Creating Profiles for The Moomins

pages 48-49

A Wide Variety of Entertainment Brands

pages 42-43

The Nordic Marketplace

pages 44-47

The Power of Moonbug

pages 38-41

New Licensing Partners for Jazwares

page 37

Interview: Spain’s Zinkia

pages 34-36

Sesame Street in Europe

pages 28-29

New Horizons for Beyblade

pages 32-33

The Carat Shop at Toy Fairs

pages 26-27

TeamTo: An Eco-friendly Studio

page 31

The Power of Pokemon

page 30

Kennedy Publishing - Acquiring Licenses

pages 22-25

Global news

pages 8-21


pages 6-7
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