With its second innings on Hungama TV started in May 2014, Pokémon has become talk of the town not only on screen, but also on retail shelves. Also, this year marks 20th anniversary of the anime series globally. With Spring Summer collection 2016, character has debuted across retail shelves in India. Susumu Fukunaga, Corporate Office, The Pokémon Company reveals company’s brand licensing strategy for Indian sub-continent.
How has been the response for the Pokemon licensing program in India?
The response has been fabulous. After the re-launch of the series on air with Hungama TV, we saw interest peaking from potential licensee across categories and today have a strong programme in place. Pokémon products of Toys, Apparel, Back to School, Stationery and others have received an overwhelming response from consumers and the coming months will see a roll-out of many new interesting categories and product lines.
How different is global licensing program in India?
We don’t see many differences in the licensing program. There is a large adult program in some of our key markets like Japan and the US where kids have grown up with Pokémon. India currently is a pre-dominantly kids market. However we are seeing demand now emerges in India as well for adult apparel which is very encouraging for the brand.
The big difference we see is perhaps at retail. In most of our other markets organised retail is very strong and therefore products are available across chains. Stand-alone stores forming a large segment of the retail landscape in India is a bit of a challenge, but we are seeing strong sales in eCommerce, which is a good development.
What categories are still open for India?
Dream Theatre, our representing agency is currently scoping the market for home furnishings, personal care and fashion accessories for kids including watches, eyewear etc.
What are the parameters of selecting an ideal licensee?
An ideal licensee should be strong across product development, creative management, distribution and retail relationships and last but not the least, marketing.
What is your go-to market strategy with new product lines?
Our objective is to delight fans of Pokémon with all our products. Our focus has always been on creating strong lines of products which is priced right and is available across retail.
How do you analyse the existing market of India from licensing per say?
We believe in the fundamentals of the Indian market. Pokémon is strong on TV and has a very huge fan base. There is a huge demand for authentic licensed merchandise and Pokémon is now on a solid footing with great products across categories and at various price-points. India also has strong purchasing power. Organised retail needs to become stronger, but overall, we see huge opportunity in India as a market.
Which has been the most promising category for Pokémon?
All our launched categories are doing well; kids’ apparel and back to school in particular, have had a strong performance.â€‹