Just some of the big stories from last year.
Al Kahn steps down from 4Kids (Jan 11th)
4Kids Entertainment announces that Al Kahn has retired from his role as chairman and CEO, with immediate effect. Kahn has spent almost 25 years with 4Kids. Director Michael Goldstein has been appointed interim chairman of the company, with a seach for a new CEO underway.
Jean-Phillippe Randisi makes move to ITV (Jan 27th)
ITV Studios Global Entertainment appoints Jean-Philippe Randisi to the newly created role of EVP and director of consumer products. Randisi will lead the division’s full consumer products strategy, with responsibility for gaining maximum value from the businesses existing intellectual property portfolio and future content brands resulting from ITV Studios’ creative renewal.
Entertainment One continues to tick off the key milestones for Peppa Pig, seven years since its launch - with the brand grossing over £200 million in UK merchandise sales in 2010. The figure is a significant leap from 2009 - when the brand notched up £100 million.
Former Target execs reveal Hoho Entertainment (Feb 3rd)
The first production from Hoho Entertainment - the new children's production/rights firm headed up by Helen Howells and Oliver Ellis - is due to be announced in the coming months. Tthe duo are looking to use their 35+ years of industry experience to break out on their own in the kids' IP world.
Mel Beer heads to Hallmark (Feb 8th)
Making the move from HarperCollins, popular industry exec Melanie Beer becomes licensing director for Hallmark Cards and Tigerprint.
Zodiak Kids opens its doors (Feb 15th)
Zodiak Media Group combines all of its kids production and distribution under one banner, Zodiak Kids, creating one of the largest independent children's television entities in the world.
Northern Light Fund Quiz raises over £15k (March 22nd)
This month's Northern Light Fund Quiz Night broke records for attendance and the amount raised - with over £15,000 notched up for charity. The St Patrick's Day event - held at The Lowry Hotel in Manchester - was won by the Southern Light Fund team, comprised of representatives from Max Publishing, LIMA, Rainbow, Start Licensing, License to PR, DRi Licensing and Karen Addison Associates.
The Walt Disney Company reveals Disneymedia+ (April 1st)
The Walt Disney Company took the wraps off a new fully integrated ad sales and promotions operation in the UK and Ireland, Disneymedia+. The new team is structured to provide marketing partners with a single point of contact for multi-platform, multi-property and multi-target promotional and advertising opportunities across the Walt Disney Company.
4Kids Entertainment files for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. The filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York also covers all of the domestic wholly-owned 4Kids subsidiaries. However, crucially, the London office is not part of the bankruptcy filing.
Fluid World to manage Chupa Chups (April 19th)
Fluid World secures the rights to represent lollipop brand, Chupa Chups in the UK and Ireland. The firm - which will handle all licensing, PR and marketing for the consumer products programme - is planning to develop a comprehensive merchandise range to capitalise on the huge consumer awareness for Chupa Chups.
Jennifer Lawlor moves to Zodiak Rights (May 18th)
Zodiak Rights appoints its first SVP strategy and planning for its consumer products arm, with former NCP and 4Kids exec Jennifer Lawlor taking on the position. Lawlor has the wide-ranging remit to devise and oversee the implementation of Zodiak Rights and Zodiak Kids' consumer products and brand strategy across its entire UK portfolio.
Just three years after its launch, Moshi Monsters hits 50 million registered users worldwide. Over half of all UK children aged between six and 12 own a Moshi Monster, according to brand owner Mind Candy. These figures are similar in Australia and New Zealand, with the US currently reporting 15 million registered users and targeting one in three children in the US by the end of the year.
CPLG bags TOWIE (June 10th)
Lime Pictures appoints the agency to implement UK licensing programme for The Only Way is Essex. CPLG confirms that discussions for a number of key categories are already close to conclusion for the BAFTA-winning series.
Boots, V&A and BBC Worldwide lead the charge for UK companies at the annual awards ceremony at Licensing International in Las Vegas.
BBC Worldwide unveils a double digit rise in headline profit in its annual review for 2010/11, up 10.3 per cent to £160.2 million (2009/10: £145.2m), its highest ever level.
The FA signs up BBC Worldwide (July 19th)
BBC Worldwide significantly bolsters its credentials in the licensing marketplace, signing up to become the agent for The Football Association. The deal means that the firm will act as licensing agent for both the England and The FA Cup brands.
Chapman Entertainment restructures (July 26th)
Chapman Entertainment is forced to make sweeping changes at its London office, affecting its licensing, marketing, production and finance teams, resulting in a significant number of redundancies.
Coolabi confirms takeover approach (Aug 9th)
Coolabi confirms that it has received an approach regarding a takeover of the firm. The company was reacting to movement in its share price - it leapt 18 per cent to trade at 8.88 pence.
A deal worth £121 million is finally struck between BBC Worldwide and Exponent Private Equity for titles currently published by BBC Magazines. Under the terms of the agreement, Exponent will acquire, in full, Radio Times and a number of magazines less closely aligned to the BBC, as well as the rights to publish BBC-branded titles under licensing and contract arrangements.
Chorion loses Lord Alli as chairman (Aug 25th)
Troubled Chorion is thrown into further chaos when The Guardian reports that its chairman Lord Alli, and his deputy chairman William Astor, have both resigned from the firm.
Zodiak Rights restructures and expands its UK consumer products team as it looks to further growth its business. Among the key moves, Jane Kennedy, previously senior UK licensing manager, is promoted to head of sales, consumer products (UK).
Andy Mooney resigns from his post as chairman of Disney Consumer Products, after almost 12 years with the company. Mooney joined the firm as president in 1999 and was promoted to chairman in 2003. Prior to DCP, he was at Nike.
Anna Hewitt joins Walker Books (Sept 12th)
Walker Books has hires Anna Hewitt as its new head of licensing, a key move in its growth strategy for the UK and international in-house licensing division. Hewitt joins the children's book publisher from Coolabi - where she held the same role. She will report in to Julia Posen, the firm's marketing, licensing and brand director.
Coolabi wastes no time bolstering its team, with the appointment of Natasha Dyson as its new head of licensing. Dyson most recently held the same role at Chapman Entertainment.
The Licensing Awards winners (Sept 14th)
The industry gathers for the annual ceremony to recognise the best of 2011. At this year's new venue, The Great Room at Grosvenor House Hotel, The Inbetweeners star, Greg Davis honoured the licensing industry's highest achievers. Over 1,300 industry execs attended the event.
First Chorion assets sold (Sept 22nd)
A new firm backed by the former chairman of Chorion, Lord Waheed Alli, acquires the rights to Octonauts and the World of Beatrix Potter, according to various internet reports.
CPLG signs three-year deal with Chapman (Oct 5th)
Chapman Entertainment appoints CPLG to represent its key brands. CPLG will now represent Fifi and the Flowertots, Roary the Racing Car, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and Little Charley Bear.
Months of rumours are ended as Mattel says it is to acquire Hit Entertainment for $680 million in cash from a consortium led by Apax Partners funds.
BLE 2011 exceeds all expectations (Nov 9th)
Total attendance for last month's Brand Licensing Europe was 7,431* according to new figures released by Advanstar. A total of 5,610* retailers, licensees and sales promotion execs attended the three-day event at London's Olympia in October.
Doctor Who movie in the pipeline (Nov 15th)
The director of the previous four Harry Potter films, David Yates, confirms that he is working with the BBC to develop Doctor Who into a movie. The film - which will take two to three years to get right - will take a fresh approach to the show, according to Yates.
Edge Performance VCT - which specialises in media and entertainment funds - invests just over £520,000 into Chapman Entertainment, which is headed up by creative director Keith Chapman and finance director Andrew Haydon.
Management buyout complete at Coolabi (Dec 5th)
Not content with Chapman, Edge Performance partners with Coolabi's chief executive, Jeremy Banks, and the rest of the firm's management team, to complete a buyout and take the company private. The deal will give Coolabi access to significant additional funds, which will allow the firm to invest in its current portfolio of brands, develop new properties and grow the business through strategic acquisitions.
A new structure puts the toy and apparel business at forefront of Nickelodeon Consumer Products, while retail marketing becomes integral to overall marketing organisation.
Lego signs The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings (Dec 16th)
Epic locations, scenes and characters from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will be available in Lego form this summer. The deal is the latest collaboration between Lego and WBCP, with the pair’s credit list already including Lego Harry Potter, Lego Batman and Lego DC Heroes.