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6 things we learned at the Licensing Forum

Emili Alsina, Director, Ediciones Just

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The Licensing Forum was for the seventh consecutive year a meeting point for the industry and an opportunity to exchange knowledge and business opportunities. It was held on September 12 at IFEMA, Madrid, and we were able to listen to many ideas and proposals for the future. We would like to highlight these six reflections:

1. The industry appreciates a day that serves to exchange views and ideas to boost businesses. Like every year, we are working to improve as much as possible our Forum and we appreciate all your comments.

2. Licensing is a very dynamic industry. Even in difficult economic times, agents and owners came with new licenses and proposals. For example, El Ocho incorporated four new properties to its portfolio, Mattel introduced Ever After High and two Hit Entertainment properties new to our market, CPLG presented an art property based on the works of Michelangelo, and Biplano brought to the Spanish market a phenomenon in Russia - Masha and the Bear.

3. This is probably a sign that the market is leaving behind its caution. While 2013 has been a year in which the sector was all for sure bets and classic properties, consumers feel the need of new products and brands. 2014 will be a very different year.

4. In fact, José Manuel Cuesta, coordinator of Fnac, said during the panel discussion on the growing power of retail, that "there is a lot of imagination in the licensing industry". Indeed, the sector is providing solutions and original proposals that serve to differentiate the offer and adds value to every product.

5. The relationship between retailers and agents and owners is closer than some years before, but there is still work to do. In the round table it was clear that licensors need retailers to have a higher level of knowledge of the industry, but retailers in turn need the licensed offer to meet their expectations.

6. There is much to be done in the online market. As explained by Fernando Pérez, director of NPD in Spain, online toy sales account for 3% in Spain, and could reach 10% in about three years. It would still be a modest percentage compared with other European countries, but it would mean to more than triple sales.

Finally, despite the difficulties offered by the market, we would like to acknowledge the loyalty of the industry. Twelve of the thirteen companies that exhibited at the Forum had been present earlier, with Fremantle Media debuting with its own booth. This is a vote of confidence that drives us to improve the formula as much as possible to make it even more useful for all professionals.

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