Kicking off on March 24th, the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair attracted just shy of 2,000 visitors last year. We chat to Cristina Angelucci from the organiser BolognaFiere about what we can expect this time round.
Firstly, how long has the Fair been established?
This will be the seventh edition.
How many exhibitors/visitors did you record in 2013?
1,800 with 50 exhibitors.
Have these numbers been increasing?
Yes - we've passed 60 exhibitors and we are expecting more visitors as well.
Can you run through some of the key companies?
More international companies from UK and France. First time of Brasil with LID GROUP. All the major Italian licensing agencies and also the major broadcasters such as BoingTV, RAI, MEDIASET and Discovery. There will also be a bigger Fashion Business Area and International Lounge.
How many visitors are you expecting, and from how many countries?
We can't say but surely more international then ever.
Can you talk us through some of the events happening at the Fair – for example, the Licensing Retail Day and the conference programme?
There are 20 events in two days, plus the Licensing Retail Day on the third day. We are the privileged window to go deeper on the main news from the Italian animation industry, with a tribute to the tenth anniversary of Winx and other previews from Italian producers, such as the next hot property TopoTip and the presence of the artist and author Bruno Bozzetto, well known all over the world. Then, the pre-school theme will be a focus in the programme of previews for the audience attending, with also discussions on the Little Prince rights in the public domain starting from 2015. The Licensing Retail Day is a unique event on itself, as we are the only licensing event which organises a direct matching between retailers and exhibitors.
How important are these additional elements to the show?
For us they are crucial. For us the event, is a successful mix of the exhibition and contents elements.
Are there any new additions/changes to the Fair this year?
We have 14 new exhibitors coming and an increasing Fashion Business Area.
How important is the event becoming in the wider licensing trade show calendar, do you think?
Well, I think that, also thanks to the conjunction with the Bologna Children's Book Fair, we are the definitive event, only second to London, usually taking place in October. Thanks to this, the events calendar for the EU professionals is perfect, as we are six months away one from the other.
How do you work with the Bologna Children's Book Fair?
Our show is organised in the same fairground of the Book Fair, in a separate hall.
Is there any event crossover?
Yes, we share visitors, promotion and communication activity.
Will visitors to the Licensing Fair be able to also attend the Book Fair?
Yes, with no need for an extra ticket.
How is the wider retail environment in Italy at the moment?
Well, the mass market is leading with the specialised retail chains. The small boutiques are really suffering. In Bologna we will host 22 big retailers, matching with our exhibitors, and six of them will be from the major mass market buyers.
Why should UK execs make the trip to Bologna for the Fair?
To meet Italian partners who don't come to London, and there are a lot. Mainly manufacturers, who are excellencies in apparel and accessories; to open a new business region thanks to the matching with retailers; to meet all the worldwide publishing industry, thanks to the conjunction with the Book Fair.
What would you most like to have achieved with the Fair this year?
The top increase of the Licensing Retail Day delegates; last year we got ten retailers coming, who have become 22 in only one year, for a total of 40 retailers.