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Brand Licensing Europe, bet on the classic in a sector with oversupply

Brand Licensing Europe, bet on the classic in a sector with oversupply

  • Key4Communications

The fair Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) is useful to measure the pulse of the licensing market internationally. Licencias Actualidad was present in this unmissable event for the industry, held in London from 7 to 9 October. The first observation to note is that the licensing market still bets on the classic, which gives more guarantees of success. For example, Tom and Jerry triumphed in the 40s and 50s, a time when these characters were created, as much as they are popular now. Children continue to worship these drawings.

Most licenses come from the worlds of entertainment, with all kinds of products based on characters from TV shows and movies. The big screen, however, gradually loses steam in contrast to the increase in popularity of some TV series or video games. Moreover, since the advent of the Internet, digital content are also sources of licenses, such as the characters of Angry Birds of Rovio’s mobile app.

The fair also reflected a reality in the industry: the oversupply of licenses in a saturated market. If this is the first time you visit the BLE, this show can be overwhelming. You do not know where to start among such numbers of brand. Thus, it is funny to hear among manufacturers phrases like this one: "Nowadays, to be original, it is best not to have licenses." Irony aside, although licensing products brings exclusivity, it is true that for years the industry is facing a saturation where many products based on the same license are made. The result? Supersaturation and problems to differentiate from the competitors. Especially if we remember that Disney dominates 60% of the business, and the remaining 40% is split between the other players in the sector.

Still, there are gaps of light. And you could also see it in the BLE. Some of the trends that provide some fresh air are:

- New ways are sought to connect with a public more segmented. For example, we see that bloggers generated content can become licensed.

- In more mature markets than the Spanish, like the British, there is room for more exclusive agents distributing licenses from new designers or from the work of contemporary artists. This point gives us, the professionals that have been for years in the business, some sane envy, because in Spain, the licensing market is still too focused on young audiences.

- We also witnessed some exceptions to the standard pattern. Among the exhibiting Spanish companies I met a licensing agency that is in the market with properties from illustrators. Its market is international, but his case shows new possible niche markets beyond entertainment.

However, while there were no major new licenses in the BLE, being present in trade shows remains important, especially to update the status of the business and keep in touch with colleagues. It is substantial move, and who is not 'in situ' in these fairs misses valuable information to rethink future business strategies.

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