M. R.: What led me to this role was my love and respect for this amazing industry. I have a deep appreciation as well for the hard work and talent driving the industry. The achievements are awarded with the Licensing International Excellence Awards each year. It has been sheer good fortune to have gotten to work with and learn from incredible people over the years.
Licensing is not just about toys. What are the industries with vivid licensing activities? How would you characterize the differences among them?
M. R.: The licensing business is far larger than most people realize, accounting for US$280.3 billion of global retail sales and other revenue, according to Licensing International’s Annual Global Licensing Survey. It’s an extremely diverse business; toys are the second largest product segment (apparel is the largest), but account for only 13% of the total market, or US$34.5 Billion. The next largest merchandise categories are fashion accessories, software/videogames, home décor and food/beverage. Viewed by type of license, entertainment/character is the largest segment (44%), followed by corporate brands (22%), fashion (12%) and sports (10%).
There’s nuance to creating licensing deals each of those categories and property types that can be affected by such factors as the brand’s visibility, marketing support, category margin norms, and seasonality, among many others. Realistically, each licensing deal is unique, and the shape of the deal will also depend in part on both the brand owner and licensee having a clear idea of what they’re looking to accomplish. Is the brand owner interested in sheer revenue, or perhaps more in enhancing the brand’s visibility in support of its core business. From the licensee’s perspective, is the main goal to generate sales, or does a specific license open the door to a new distribution panel? It’s extremely important for the licensor and licensee to make sure their goals align.
Education is a big part of your member offerings with webinars, the Licensing University® and your CLS program. Why is this so important for the industry and what is unique about your programs?