Licensing trends that have proven a hit in several countries are also more likely to be successful in your own country. By keeping an eye on international developments, you can prepare yourself in time for the next blockbuster. The Spielwarenmesse® has joined with the editors-in-chief and publishers of licensing publications in a number of countries to present the trends for 2019.
Licensing in Russia: New licensing categories are gaining ground
in cooperation with Francesca Ash, Publisher
The Russian licensing industry is still relatively young and, at present, an estimated 90% of the industry is taken up by entertainment and character licenses. However, a growing trend for 2019 and beyond is the development of sports licensing, following the success of the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Sports clubs, such as Zenit Football Club are developing major programs including the opening of a chain of official stores near their St Petersburg base as well as in areas where the club has a strong fan base.
Crossover collaboration of licensing categories
A further development on this side is a number of collaborations which cross the border between entertainment and sports. Zenit enjoyed success with a collaboration with Smeshariki, an animated brand that was one of the earliest licensing success stories in Russia. More recently, a collaboration has been agreed between the Continental Hockey League and The Fixies, one of the leading current animated brands in Russia.
Corporate and brand licensing is gaining ground
As well as sports, corporate and brand licensing is gaining interest, particularly in the food and drinks area which was unheard of prior to recent times. For example Coca-Cola have appointed ELC to handle a licensing program in Russia and well known confectionery brand Chupa Chups from Perfetti van Melle have recently launched a program in the territory.
All in all, more high quality animation is coming out of Russia which will, given time, develop into successful licensing programs. YouTube is playing an increasingly important part in attracting young fans. This trend continues for sure on terrestrial television devoted to children’s broadcasting as time passes.
Licensing in Spain: The licensing sector bets on the cinema and TV series releases in 2019
in cooperation with Emili Alsina, Publisher
The licensing current situation is characterized by a downturn moment in the Spanish market, with declines in 2017 and 2018. The sector was irregular and negative, caused by the lack of a license that leads the market and is able to get a high sales level, among other reasons. Apart from that, it is necessary to add factors such as the changes in consumption habits and the tight budget of the new generations of parents, who are more in favor of invest in other products typologies or family experiences.
Changing patterns in the licensing market
Moreover, the excessive prominence of the children entertainment adding to the oversupply of licenses related with it affects the market evolution. Besides, there are other reasons such as the reduction of the licenses life cycle and the exploitation of the properties which are focused to the preschool target. It is one of the most competitive segments in the current licensing industry.
The toy and games sector is the most important category for licensing in the Spanish market. According to the NPD Group, it did not show good results in 2018 with an emphasis on its drop and representing 25% of the whole market.
The licensing sector bets on the cinema and TV series releases in 2019
The licenses with origin in the field of entertainment find themselves among the leaders of different kinds of licensed products. Coming from series and large cinematographic productions, they make licensing deals to be constant, and drive to the launch of new collections. Along these lines, the good result of the cinema and TV series releases in 2019 is the hope for the positive evolution of the licensing sector.
Licensing in the U.S.: Trend to videogame and digital based properties
in cooperation Steven Ekstract, Publisher
For age 7 and up, Online Digital brands become the key form of media influencer and this is where kids over 7 form their emotional attachments. When they love a story, character or game, they want to represent it — to play it!
Fortnite is an example of a videogame based brand that is helping to change the idea that boys over 7 are losing interest in toys. Just the opposite, in fact, boys continue to purchase character figures and other collectibles well into adolescence with the Fortnite franchise. The weekly hours spent dedicated to playing videogames, particularly one game over and over, builds tremendous emotional connection.
Digital brands create a demand for physical products
While Fortnite has captured the spotlight in 2018 and beyond, Minecraft was one of the first of the digital brands to create a demand for physical products. Minecraft’s publisher, Mojang, was slow to embrace brand extension, with some notable exceptions like the Minecraft Lego. The current excitement around Fortnite with toys would have existed with Minecraft, except for the publisher’s reluctance.
Fortnite’s Publisher, Epic Games, very quickly realized the demand for consumer products and acted decisively by hiring the global licensing agency IMG to move quickly in doing global licensing deals. As videogaming replaces traditional media properties like film and TV for kids over age 7, expect to see more toys from tech.
Toys for Kidults
Videogame properties for adolescents and older, is another major trend to expect in the toy sector in 2019. Our Trend Committee here at Spielwarenmesse® has entitled this trend the “Toys for Kidults”. Take for example Blizzard Entertainment’s massive hit “Overwatch”, an eSports favorite with master toy deals coming in 2019 from both Lego and Hasbro (Nerf).
In conclusion, the U.S., market will continue to see top licensed toys driven by media with videogame and digital based properties taking on a much more important role vs film, tv, and publishing.