The talent show used to be a big draw throughout the 1970s and early 1980s – with Opportunity Knocks and New Faces leading the way – before disappearing from our screens in the 1990s (unless you count The Big Big Talent Show with Jonathan Ross, but not many did).
Indeed, many industry commentators predicted that they would never be back; there being no place for such kind of entertainment on today’s TV.
It only took one man to prove them all wrong. Having already established the singing contest has prime TV fare with Pop Idol and The X Factor, Simon Cowell set about working his magic with a wider remit. And he got it absolutely spot on again.
Britain’s Got Talent debuted in June 2007 and is currently in the middle of its third series, attracting millions of viewers for each episode.
“We always knew there would be big potential for licensing around Britain’s Got Talent and it will continue to grow as the popularity of the programme grows,” Dominic Burns, senior vice president of licensing, UK, FME tells Licensing.biz. “We have a number of licensees across various categories including publishing, games, online merchandise and confectionary. We’ve also had an ongoing relationship with Domino’s which have been the on and off air sponsor for the last two series.”
Product already available includes the Britain’s Got Talent board game and magic set from Drumond Park, while following later this year will be an annual from Pedigree Books. FME is also currently seeking partners for handheld and console games, apparel, accessories, gifts and stationery.
“The programme appeals to all members of the family, from kids as young as four to grandparents, so demographics for the licensing programme depend on the category,” Burns explains. “Key brand values for Britain’s Got Talent are originality, humour, talent, ‘dreams coming true’, competition, variety, family, ‘Britishness’ and interaction, so products should fit these characteristics regardless of demographic.”
Keeping the interactivity element of the brand in any product is vital for Burns. “For instance,” he points out, “the Britain’s Got Talent board game allows the whole family to play and recreate the programme in their lounge, making it a truly complementary brand extension of the programme. Similarly, our sponsorship deal with Domino’s is a perfect fit in terms of brand values as families stay in to watch the programme and will often opt for takeaway. Series two delivered a number of top selling Saturdays for Domino’s as the TV show became compulsive viewing.”
FME even has a plan for keeping the brand alive once the TV programme has ended. “The Britain’s Got Talent Live Tour is a great way to keep the public interested in the programme beyond transmission and has proven very successful.
“The auditions process begins several months before the programme is on the air, which also gives the brand added exposure outside the broadcast period, and there are also online destinations where people can stay involved in the programme throughout the year. The official website is kept up to date with news and programme updates, as well as online merchandise, and the Facebook group also remains active. All these things keep the brand top of mind for licensees and retailers.”
With the current series set to move into the live shows shortly, the hype for Britain’s Got Talent will only grow. Indeed, Burns concludes: “The success of the current series indicates that this is going to be an ongoing, globally successful brand and we see this being reflected in the licensing programme.”