Highlights from some of the key firms at Licensing International.
Running from June 12th to 14th, this year's Licensing International Expo is likely to be the most exciting and diverse yet, according to Advanstar.
Here, we run down just some of the companies which will be on the showfloor and the brands taking pride of place on the booths.
One of the most talked about properties of the moment, Activision will be showcasing Skylanders.
A number of partnerships have already been secured including JEM Sportswear (t-shirts), Mad Dog Concepts (sleepwear), ABG Accessories (headwear and cold weather), Thermos (lunch kits and FUNtainers), BDA/Power A (carrying cases and game accessories), Rubie's (costumes), Penguin Books (publishing), Brady Games (strategy guides) and Trends International (posters).
The sequel - Skylanders Giants - is also likely to draw a big crowd. Due out in the autumn, it will feature eight new collectable figures that are twice the size of the main Skylanders cast in both physical and virtual form. There will also be new regular sized characters, while those fom Spyro's Adventure will also be compatible.
American Greetings Properties
Strawberry Shortcake will welcome a new touring show throughout Latin America later this year, plus the expansion of a global publishing programme, a long-term partnership with Pernambucanas Department Stores in Brazil and QSR promotions with McDonalds Latin America and Asia Pacific, KFC in China and Jollibee in the Philippines.
In addition, the Care Bears are back, with The Hub network debuting a new CGI animation in the summer. Toys from Hasbro are due in spring 2013 in the US and other key international markets.
Finally, the Holly Hobbie programme continues to expand throughout Europe and includes recycle stationery products from Pigna Nature, and a DTR apparel programme with 275 Springfield outlets. In addition, the brand has a line of agenda and novelty books from V&R Editorias in Latin America.
This year, Beanstalk is focused on developing licensing progrmmes for recent additions to its client roster, including Talking Friends, MovieStarPlanet, Honda, Old Bay, Chiquita, Rosa Mexicano and Matthew Williamson, among others.
Other brands likely to be on display inclide Stanley Black & Decker, Nesquik, Harly-Davidson and the US Army, plus celebrity brands Salma Hayek and Paris Hilton.
Big Tent Entertainment
Big Tent will showcase several of its new and existing properties.
Key brands will include pop culture hit Domo; Discovery Communications’ Discovery Kids, TLC and Science properties; PixFusion, which specialises in personalisation products; Miffy and Friends; and Purple Ronnie.
Brand Licensing Team
The branding agency is exhibiting at Vegas for the first time and will showcase a number of clients.
These include The Coca-Cola Company, Fender Musical Instruments, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Morris Animal Foundation and Chick-fil-A.
Bruno holds the worldwide rights for Soft Spots, a collection of six puppies which it launched at last year's show. It has already closed a number of deals, with products including balloons from Pioneer Balloon and bags, backpacks and school accessories from Paso showcased in Vegas.
Wooly, meanwhile, currently consists of 26 animated episodes which are aired on Dutch and Belgian television. The firm will be looking to build the property further during the event, while it also represents Angel Cat Sugar, Fido Dido, Twisted Whiskers and Almost Naked Animals.
The boutique licensing agency has a number of artists and designers on its books. It will be exhibiting at Vegas for the first time in the Art & Design area, and will be featuring artist-designer Ragnar, who is now seeking licensed partners in all categories.
CBS Consumer Products
Star Trek will take centre stage this year, with the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the May 2013 release of JJ Abrams' second Star Trek movie, which features Hasbro as master toy licensee and a new multi-platform video game from Namco Bandai.
The Primetime collection not only boasts shows like NCIS, The Good Wife and America's Next Top Model, but it also features the Showtime library which includes Dexter, Weeds, The Borgias and Californication among others.
The new Club CSI: series of children's novels further expands the CSI: children's programme, which also includes a DTR line of science kits with Toys R Us. Finally, the Television City classic collection features such shows as Brady Bunch, Dynasty, Happy Days and Twilight Zone, while CBS is also celebrating milestone anniversaries for Cheers and Mighty Mouse this year.
A raft of new and existing brands will make up Classic's presence in Las Vegas.
Where's Waldo? is celebrating its 25th anniversary with new licensees, broader retail presence and several territory launches. It recently launched its first Android app (Gameloft), while a third Apple app and its first Facebook game (both Ludia) are also due. The brand's retail presence will also be expanded to take advantage of the anniversary.
Masters of the Universe, meanwhile, is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and Classic has brought on board several partners to complement Mattel's toy line. Key licensees include DC Comics, Changes, Disguise, New Era, Mill Creek and Funko, with more due to be announced.
The firm also recently acquired Noddy and Olivia from Chorion, and the two pre-school brands should prove a key draw on the booth.
Postman Pat is gearing up for the launch of his first feature film in 2013 - it hits the UK on May 24th 2013), with consumer products due to relaunch. This will include new toys, publishing and fresh packaging.
Other properties on the Classic booth will include Voltron, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, Casper and Peter Cottontail.
Headlining Coolabi’s Vegas slate is pre-school property Poppy Cat. The Joester Loria Group is the exclusive licensing agent for the brand in North America, and a home entertainment deal for the US with eOne was announced in January. Licensing agents for other major territories both in Europe and worldwide are in the process of being appointed for roll out of licensing programmes in 2013 and beyond, in line with broadcast plans.
Scarlett & Crimson will also be highlighted, which is represented by Lisa Marks Associates in the US. Coolabi has recently extended its agreement with beauty company Japonesque, which already covers US cosmetics for the brand. The new deal includes a range of bath, body and haircare products for the US market, plus a brand new cosmetics range for the UK.
Finally, Purple Ronnie is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Hallmark is launching a number of refreshed ranges, while other key licensees on board include Primitive State (apparel), Personalised Memento Company; and Macmillan (publishing).
Visitors to the CopCorp booth will be able to check out a raft of brands. These include the popular Jim Benton’s It’s Happy Bunny and Pink Cookie.
Joining these will be Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey; fashion brand Zoodorable; Japanese design property, MoshiMoshiKawaii; Jim Benton’s Just Jimmy and Jim Benton’s The Misters; Barcode Kitties; and men’s fashion brand, Crusade.
CPLG and Cookie Jar will be showcasing a solid mix of evergreens, pre-school and new properties.
These include Caillou - for which Toys R Us is offering an expanded assortment of merchandise in the autumn - and Richard Scarry's Busytown, plus Johnny Test, which has a new season of 26 episodes in development.
With $4 billion in global retail sales since the 2003 re-launch, evergreen girls' property Strawberry Shortcake is poised for even further growth. Hasbro launched an all-new toy line in 2009, selling over five million dolls to date, while more than 12 million DVDs have been sold since 2003, including two million in 2011; the highest annual unit sales to date. Penguin has also shifted almost 14 million books since 2003. A new theatrical show is due to premiere in January 2013 in the US, while various other new licensees are on board.
Other properties on the booth will include classic video game Space Invaders; teen TV hit Degrassi; construction toy brand, Erector; and the Harlem Globetrotters.
DHX Media, with its subsidiary Wildbrain Entertainment, will be showing a solid slate of established and newer properties.
Leading these will be Yo Gabba Gabba and Rastamouse, both of which have a healthy portfolio of partners signed up.
Newer brands will include Animal Mechanicals - which is an action adventure series for pre-schoolers - plus Monster Math Squad and UMIGO (U Make It Go), which is described as a transmedia music property that features animated videos and consumer products with interactive digital components.
Discovery Enterprises International
Returning to Vegas for the second year, DEI's licensee base has grown by 92 per cent in the last 12 months alone.
Animal Planet, Discovery Expedition and Discovery Explore Your World will headline DEI's presentation slate. The firm is also due to announce significant brand developments including its expansion into Asia and its commitment to driving innovation through the licensing of its channel brands.
LA-based Evolution revealed its new team of company partners back in May: Travis J Rutherford (president of licensing and retail development); Adam Unger (president of sales and marketing); Stanley Lerman (MD and COO); and Ryan Broomberg (EVP).
At the show, the firm will be representing Summertime Entertainment's new 3D animated CGI feature film, Dorothy of Oz, which currently has 33 licensees on board. Zinkia's Pocoyo - for which the firm is the licensing, retail development and brand management agent in the US - will also be on the booth, alongside Zydeco Studios children's novelty brand, Floppets.
Fox Consumer Products
Fox returns to Vegas with a solid portfolio, as we've come to expect from the entertainment giant.
The world's longest running scripted series, The Simpsons continues to make history, Sons of Anarchy is revving up for a new season and Family Guy and New Girl continue to grow their fanbases. In the sports category, new programmes will be revealed for the Fox Sports brand, while on the big screen, franchises are king with new releases coming from Ice Age, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Rise of the Apes and Rio. Steven Spielberg's new sci-fi adaptation, Robopocalypse, will also be highlighted.
Highlights from FME will include new boys action adventure brand, Monsuno.
The TV series premiered on Nicktoons in the US in February and has since seen strong ratings growth, with over one million viewers tuning in during its first two weeks on air. Monsuno will now roll out in over 60 markets worldwide, with multi-platform launches in the UK, Australia and New Zealand in spring on Nicktoons, plus further free to air deals to be announced.
As distribution and ancillary rights agent for the brand, FME recently signed deals with Jerry Leigh of California (apparel), VIZ Media (paperback and graphic novels) and Accessory Innovations (backpacks, lunch totes, etc). It is now seeking partners for phase two categories.
Moving on, and Tree Fu Tom combines elements of heroic action, fantasy and magic, coupled with interactive physical activity. FME is taking a phased approach to the CP roll out strategy, with the initial launch focusing on toy, publishing, apparel and DVD categories.
The firm is also showcasing Bellator Fighting Championships, the mixed martial arts brand, for which it is handling the licensing, digital and ancillary rights for the US and international markets.
The Aquabats Super Show will also be on display. The comedy adventure series premiered in the US in March.
Grani & Partners
The firm will be focusing on Gormiti, Dino Froz, Hello Kitty, Ben 10, The Smurfs and Dragon Ball - licences that have bought it the most success in the promotions field.
In addition, the firm has also created some of its own collectables brands - these include Calamiticars, Jewels of the Heart and MUMs, which is a collection of 36 3D monsters.
Hit will be focusing on Thomas & Friends, Mike the Knight, Fireman Sam and Angelina Ballerina, plus other core properties Barney, Bob the Builder, Pingu and Rainbow Magic.
This year, Thomas & Friends is introducing fresh friends and destinations, with a new CG animated 60-minute feature – Blue Mountain Mystery – due for release on DVD in the autumn. To support this, licensees worldwide – including Fisher-Price, Random House, Egmont, Mega Bloks and Tomy – will create more than 75 tie in products.
Discovery Bay Games and Hit will introduce the first Thomas & Friends iPad game ‘appcessory’ and corresponding apps in the autumn. This will join the 15 apps already available.
Moving on, and Mike the Knight launched last autumn in Canada on Treehouse, the UK on Cbeebies and France on TF1, arriving in the US on Nickelodeon in February and Australia and ABC. Most recently, the series has been sold to Super RTL in Germany, while the broadcaster has also been appointed as the property’s licensing agent in the territory. The total number of broadcast sales to date stands at 17.
Nelvana Enterprises represents the series in broadcast and home entertainment in Latin America and France, as well as broadcast in the US, while Hit handles the property in all other territories globally. Over 40 licensees have signed up, including Character Options as master toy partner in the UK, while a full US programme will kick off in 2013. CPLG Benelux and TF1 Licenses have been appointed licensing agents in their respective territories.
Fireman Sam currently airs in 159 territories in more than 60 languages, and is now in its 25th anniversary year. In addition, Hit is also keen to attract new partners for Angelina Ballerina. A new DVD – Angelina Ballerina Dreams Do Come True – debuts in August and will air on PBS Kids later in the year.
Strong activity is also taking place for Bob the Builder – with Character Options due to launch a new range of toys in the UK later this year, alongside other product arrivals. Barney and Rainbow Magic will also see new product launches.
Finally, this summer, the All Inclusive Collection will launch newly designed kids clubs and interactive indoor and outdoor kids’ areas featuring Hit’s Little Big Club – Thomas & Friends, Barney, Bob the Builder and Angelina Ballerina. The Little Big Clubs will open this summer at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punto Cana, Cancun Palace and Aventura Cove Palace. In addition, the first Little Big Club theme park will open in the autumn in Puteri Harbor, Malaysia.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Meeting rooms 7628/7629
With its tenth season premiering on June 4th on Fox, and two more seasons in production, Hell's Kitchen boasts a regular audience of over six million viewers per episode. ITVS GE is working with Firefly Brand Management to launch a new licensing programme, which was kicked off by signing two deals with T-Line Design and White Coffee.
T-Line will be producing a line of HK t-shirts which celebrate the show's catchphrases - nine different designs will be available. Meanwhile, White Coffee will produce a line of coffee, tea and hot chocolate, with the first four coffee flavours available in the autumn.
Firefly is continuing to expand the HK licensing drive into other categories such as housewares, food, beverages, games and publishing.
Moving on, and a Thunderbirds licensing programme is to launch in the US, Japan and Australia. ITVS GE expanded the brand's retro futuristic image by signing CaféPress, an on demand apparel licensee, to produce branded apparel. The firm will also be extending the brand to include clothing, accessories, games, gifts and stationery. Other Gerry Anderson properties on show will include Stingray, Joe 90 and Captain Scarlet.
Finally, the first phase of the licensing campaign for Cut the Rope will target the game's core fans, ranging in age from eight to 24, and will focus on apparel, gifting, publishing and mobile and games accessories.
Joester Loria Group
JLG will have a mixture of corporate brands and children's properties on its booth.
Among these will be Oxford Limited, for which the firm was recently appointed the North American agent. JLG will be looking to extend on the international success the brand has already enjoyed in apparel and home furnishings, and developing these in the US and Canada.
Other corporate brands in its roster are Kellogg's, Pepsi and Mountain Dew.
Meanwhile, on the children's side, JLG is the global master licensing agent for the World of Eric Carle, while it also handles Poppy Cat and LazyTown among others.
King Features Syndicate
New York City-based King Features will be focusing on several key properties.
Popeye and Betty Boop/Baby Boop will be major highlights. These characters will be supported by Sunday Funnies, which is a collection of the company’s fan faves, including Blondie, Beetle Bailey and Hagar the Horrible, plus Army vs Navy, which is aimed at men and boys.
Mattel arrives in Vegas with a new strategic approach that is already delivering growth across its brands and licensed business.
For the first time ever, Mattel has launched three high impact, multi-platform brand campaigns to drive core brands Barbie, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels. The programmes use a number of communications including TV ads, experiential marketing, digital, social media, print and WOM.
Barbie continues to see double digit growth and Mattel has just launched the 'Wow, see what happens when you play with Barbie' campaign. Two new entertainment launches are planned - digital series Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse and musical movie The Princess & The Popstar featuring both original and licensed songs for the first time in Barbie's entertainment history.
On top of this, Barbie's adult apparel offering continues to go from strength to strength, with new programmes with Miss Selfridge and Uniqlo. There is also growth in children's apparel with new ranges launching in Benetton and Zara.
Monster High also continues to grow - the number two UK fashion doll brand has a new DVD, Ghouls Rule, which will be supported by a full marketing programme.
Mattel UK has also increased its alignment between licensing and brand teams.
While further details on its international programme will be revealed at the show, for now Mind Candy has announced four publishing partners joining the Moshi Monsters portfolio.
Debut offerings will include children’s paperback, hardcover and electronic titles from Penguin, as well as a Moshi Monsters character encyclopedia and Ultimate Sticker Collection from DK. Scholastic will have Moshling collectors guides; Reader’s Digest will produce children’s novelty books; and Prima Games will unveil a print strategy guide for the Moshling Zoo Nintendo DS game.
Nickelodeon Consumer Products
Nickelodeon will be unveiling products and new merchandising partners for new and established properties, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Winx Club, Team Umizoomi and Bubble Guppies.
NCP will also introduce a broad new line-up of Dora the Explorer-inspired toys from Fisher-Price including a dollhouse, dolls, figures, play-sets, role play toys and more.
Spongebob Squarepants' product line-up will include construction sets from Lego and Imaginext system play-sets, figures and vehicles from Fisher-Price.
Winx Club will make its debut with a new line of dolls, play-sets, accessories, dress up, role play items and Halloween costumes.
Finally, a major merchandising programme will kick off for Bubble Guppies, which is a new pre-school series.
Another first timer at the show, Paper Island will be introducing Dinosaurus to the US market. The brand has already proved popular in the UK.
In addition, female lifestyle brand Born to Shop will be showcased, with opportunities still available in certain categories. Also on display will be Fizzy Moon, which has enjoyed greeting card sales of over four million during the last two years. Finally, The Good Life is a new property with a retro feel which looks to tap into everything desirable about living in the country or by the sea.
Sega will be showcasing its main IP Sonic the Hedgehog, with news of the upcoming video game Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed.
Over the last 20 years, Sonic has achieved over 70 million sales worldwide. Last year, Sega signed a number of deals including worldwide licences with firms such as H&M, Nike and Meccano. There are now over 40 licensees in European markets covering categories including toys, publishing, apparel and bedding.
There is also an interest in some of Sega's retro titles, including Golden Alex, Altered Beast, Shinobi and Streets of Rage, as well as the Mega Drive console.
The Gruffalo and its sequel, The Gruffalo's Child, has sold over ten million copies worldwide. The first DVD has sold 250,000 units in the US alone, with the second DVD due to launch in summer/autumn with an exclusive retail window, in-store feature displays, TV, radio and print advertising.
Sharpe will also be representing Rubik's Cube, which is currently involved in a raft of activity in the US - such as the 'You Can Do Te Rubik's Cube' community outreach programme. Norton Motorcycles will also be on the booth - the British heritage brand was relaunched in 2009 and it expects to distribute 2,000 motorcycles in the US by 2015.
Mr Bean, Judge Dredd and Sniper Elite V2 will complete the line-up.
Canadian licensing agency Studio, and its US partner Established Brands, will be showcasing a raft of entertainment properties.
For North America, its portfolio includes Cut the Rope; Angel Cat Sugar; Lolligag; Coleco; coffee brand Brim; and Underalls, the relaunched women's hosiery line.
For Canada, Studio has the rights to the National Basketball Association, Elvis Presley, Peppa Pig and Tickety Toc, a new pre-school series.
Turner CN Enterprises
Turner CN Enterprises will be making its debut at the show as Cartoonito, the pre-school channel brand.
Cartoonito is the most widely distributed channel in EMEA - it is now available in 112 territories and reaches 125 million households across the region. In line with the continued expansion of the channel and its strong growth in the UK, Italy and Spain, TCNE is gearing up to showcase its full catalogue of Turner-owned and third party pre-school brands including LazyTown, Bananas in Pyjamas, Jelly Jamm and new show Ha Ha Hairies.
"As home to some of the world's best loved pre-school properties, it is a natural step for us to exhibit our pre-school portfolio under the Cartoonito umbrella at Licensing Expo," said Alan Fenwick, VP, TCNE. "Our presence at the show is a sign of our commitment to growing our pre-school business and our ambition to become a competitive force in this sector.
"The show is the perfect platform for us to launch our pre-school division internationally and inform the industry about our expertise and the amazing opportunities available within our pre-school catalogue."
Universal Partnerships & Licensing
2013's Despicable Me leads the Universal line-up, while the next instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise will also be heavily pushed.
In addition, some films from 2012's slate will be featured including the epic 3D fantasy adventure 47 Ronin (starring Keanu Reeves) and Les Misérables, the film adaptation of the global stage musical (starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe).
Even further into 2013, Tom Cruise will star in science fiction fest Oblivion; supernatural space adventure R.I.P.D stars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds; while Jurassic Park will be released in 3D.
UP&L will also feature evergreen properties such as Curious George, The Big Lebowski, ET, Back to the Future and Woody Woodpecker.
Warner Bros Consumer Products
WBCP will bring two tentpole films to the show - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Man of Steel.
Also on the Warner slate are The Dark Knight Rises, which will be supported by master toy licensee Mattel as well as a raft of other partners; plus The Hobbit: There and Back Again. WBCP is working with a range of top tier licensees, including master toy partners The Bridge Direct and Vivid, on The Hobbit films.
WBCP also continues to foster its business with unprecendented content support, growing its DC Nation block on Cartoon Network with the new series Beware the Batman and other animations. The Looney Tunes Show and Scooby-Doo also continue to grow.
The DC Comics franchise continues to be something of a powerhouse, and this year WBCP and DC Entertainment have extended their partnership with Mattel.
Other licensing categories continue to get support from WBCP's numerous iconic brands. Batman Live will debut in North America this autumn, while Harry Potter: The Exhibition is continuing its already successful run.
International art design and lifestyle brand Withit is showcasing new designs for the characters. It is looking to expand its licensees across the US, as well as Central and Southern America, plus Australasia.
The company is particularly keen to broaden the brand across the homewares, gifting, greetings cards and poster categories.
It has appointed five new licensing agents in the first quarter of 2012, further bolstering its international presence. The brand now has ten international agents.
The firm will also be showing two new brands: Doodleboos, which consists of six animal characters, and Phizzogs, which is a cartoon-style art brand.
Pocoyo now airs in over 150 markets, with over 150 partners on board worldwide in the licensing arena, too.
In the US, Zinkia recently signed a slate of new deals, brokered by Evolution, including LeapFrog Enterprises for digital content for its platforms. New branded merchandise which will begin launching at retail this summer through 2013 includes a series of books from Random House, apparel from Benetex, party goods from Buy Seasons and new DVD titles from NCircle.
Additionally, spring 2013 will see Zinkia introduce a new Pocoyo 'circus' theme.
Zodiak Kids CP Paris (Marathon Media)
Brand new at LIE is Ddee, an upper pre-school property based on an established Korean graphic concept, described by the firm as Strawberry Shortcake meets Little Lulu.
Also showcased by the firm will be Redakai: Conquer the Kairu; Totally Spies – which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year – Where’s Wally?, The Saddle Club and Gormiti.