There are many events that are relevant to members of the licensing trade across Western Europe throughout the spring – various Toy Fairs, Spring Fair, Bologna, Mipcom – but the Kazachok Forum is the only one which is purely licensing focused.
Something which event director, Nathalie Chouraqui, is well aware of as she states her plan to develop the Forum’s international focus even further to ultimately become the spring licensing event for Western Europe.
The show has certainly come a long way since it was first held in 2004. Then it had seven ‘desks’ and 120 participants; in 2005 it had 15 exhibitors and in 2006, it had 30. This year – with the show extended to two days - 74 companies will be on the show floor, representing over 1,500 properties. These include Mattel Brands Consumer Products, Nickelodeon, Planet Jr, Fitzroy Media, Classic Media, CPLG France, 4Kids, FremantleMedia, Toei Animation, Lagardere and WWF to name just a few. Chouraqui is expecting around 1,200 visitors, mainly from France, with Germany, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Italy also well represented.
“For most [of these companies], the Forum is the only show where they exhibit,” Chouraqui tells Licensing.biz. “We are going to host the big relaunch for Beyblades, presented by Lagardere, and the new 3D series of Maya the Bee. These two properties have chosen the Forum to make their first appearance in the licensing world. Also, Babar is going to celebrate its 80th birthday at the Forum; Nelvana will celebrate with themed activity on the show floor and is going to present the new 3D series.”
As well as the stands, Kazachok offers 25 pitching sessions across the two days, where licensors can present their strategies to visitors, plus six conference strands. The seminar programme will cover such subjects as the leading countries in the international licensing market, children and their behaviour before branded merchandise, social networks, the culture and heritage sectors, retailers’ needs and WEB licences and their 360 development.
“The conferences are always crucial to the Forum and provide a high level of content and expert opinion, which will be of interest to the industry and its leading players,” Chouraqui says. “The chosen topics are designed to explore current and future trends in greater depth, such as new media or social networks. In essence, the Kazachok Forum is the first opportunity in the annual licensing calendar for international players to come together and do business in a focused and convivial way – all the logistics are taken care of, so exhibitors and visitors alike can get the most out of their day.”
The Forum will also be the first outing for the Fédération Francaise des Droits Dérivés, or F2D2 – the body which was launched on March 10th to represent the French licensing industry. “We have high hopes that F2D2 will transform the French licensing industry into a real, acknowledged business sector,” says Chouraqui. “Talking more generally about trends, we can say that licensing is more and more present in the service industry. Similar developments are taking place in the financial services sector. For example, the Olive & Tom brand is promoting a client loyalty programme during the World Cup. Also, the older licences are strongly coming back with a new look and new animated series, plus ecology is also a strong trend.”
Unsurprisingly, Chouraqui has big plans for Kazachok Forum going forward: “In five to ten years I hope it will be a big international event with its unique French ambience and approach to business – relaxed and sociable, yet deal driven and focused – and where people will do a lot of business. I also hope that every kind of brand will be present.”
The seventh Kazachok Forum runs on April 8th and 9th at Halle Freyssinet, Paris.