The Shifting Landscape of Entertainment Licensing and Merchandise
The Shifting Landscape of Entertainment Licensing and Merchandise
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Entertainment, akin to a wizard, has woven its magic into the fabric of the retail sector through the art of licensing. It has become the alchemist transforming beloved characters and stories into tangible magic that enriches the daily lives of fans across the globe. A look at the transformative journey of entertainment licensing through the perspectives of industry giants, sheds light on how the landscape has shifted and adapted, giving rise to innovative trends that have redefined the diverse universe of merchandise.

Global Collaboration and Strategic Alliances

The Walt Disney Company stands as a pioneer in seamlessly integrating its iconic brands into the daily lives of families and enthusiasts worldwide. Through Disney Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing, the company orchestrates a symphony of creativity that spans beloved franchises such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN, 20th Century Studios, and National Geographic.

In 2022, Disney's licensing revenue exceeded $57 billion! Disney's prowess lies not just in storytelling but in its strategic collaborations with industry titans such as Hasbro, Mattel, LEGO, Adidas, and Procter & Gamble. This collaborative approach enables the creation of world-class products across diverse categories, captivating a global audience.

A key focus for Disney's licensing strategy is the localization of global titles. Efforts are directed towards expanding product sourcing within India while tailoring products to specific preferences. Simultaneously, Disney aims to position India as a key export hub, broadening its international presence.

Barbie: The Phenomenon

The fever of Barbie, which gripped 2023 in its tight pink grip, was felt in this country too, with malls and streets turning Barbie pink to celebrate the release of the iconic film. Numerous collaborations took place – from Aldo’s pink collection to NYX’s special Barbie collection, everything turned pink and how. Mattel reaped the benefits all over the world and Barbie came back stronger and more empowered. The toymaker reported net sales of $1.92 million, up 7 percent while net sales rose 9 percent. Mattel executives credit the Barbie movie, the year’s highest-grossing film, with playing a big role in lifting sales and earnings. “Our results benefited from the success of the Barbie movie, which became a global cultural phenomenon, and marked a key milestone for Mattel,” Mattel Chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz said while announcing the results.

Mattel has calculated the revenue boost from the Barbie movie to be $125 million, including sales of dolls and related merchandise, and movie earnings. The majority of that revenue was realized in the third quarter, according to Mattel.

Gross billings in the doll category were up 24 percent, and Barbie sales were up 14 percent.

“For the industry overall,” Maura Regan, President, Licensing International said, “Barbie demonstrates why licensing works, how licensing works. And from a consumer experience, the consumer wants to have that brand experience every which way. They want a movie experience, they want to wear it, they want to take it home, they want Barbie’s Dream House, they want Barbie’s convertible.”

Digital Transformation and Global Engagement

The Pokémon Company International's commitment to creativity and engagement earned it the prestigious 2022 License of the Year accolade from The Toy Association. For more than 27 years, Pokémon has maintained its position as one of the world's most beloved entertainment franchises. Its extensive range of video games, apps, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, consumer products, animated series, movies, and competitive events under the Play! Pokémon banner has contributed to its enduring popularity.

This positive momentum serves as the driving force behind The Pokémon Company International's (TPCi) robust licensing program. This program spans across various categories, including gaming, toys, apparel, accessories, designer collaborations, home décor, and publishing. TPCi has strategically partnered with licensees to innovate and introduce new, unique ways for fans to interact with the Pokémon brand. This commitment to creativity and engagement earned TPCi the prestigious 2022 License of the Year accolade from The Toy Association.

Similarly, Amar Chitra Katha, a stalwart in print-centric storytelling, navigated a digital metamorphosis during the pandemic, embracing Direct-to-Consumer dynamics. Preeti Vyas, CEO and President, Amar Chitra Katha notes, "Thirty percent of our users on the apps are from North America," highlighting a surge in digital engagement during the pandemic.

As technology leaps forward, Amar Chitra Katha envisions a brand that transcends platforms. Preeti muses, "If I can digitally stream content from my server to your brain, we should be able to do that," emphasizing the brand's commitment to staying ahead in the rapidly changing digital landscape.

Amar Chitra Katha's digital platforms have over 1 million active users monthly!

The world of entertainment licensing and merchandise has evolved significantly, driven by global collaboration, strategic alliances, localization efforts, diversification, emotional connections, and digital transformation. As these trends continue to shape the landscape, the magic of beloved characters and stories will undoubtedly endure, captivating audiences across the ever-expanding global stage.


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