"Superheroes, both male and female, will continue to be strong in 2009. Superheroes entertain, inspire, deliver us from evil, and are the true embodiment of escapism. There are several superhero movies slated to release this year and Americans are celebrating Barak Obama as the latest addition. As a fashion trend, retro is still strong and this genre can easily be applied to both retro and contemporary design directions for both men and women."
Gustavo Antonioni, Commercial Brands Director, ITV Global Entertainment
"As retailers become more risk averse in the current economic climate, they will continue to support evergreen brands such as Thomas the Tank Engine, that are tried and tested and I am sure will continue to grow with the new CGI programme developments and marketing support that Hit are giving it."
Sean Clarke, Head of Aardman Rights
"Bagpuss of course. This baggy cloth cat is constantly voted the UK's favourite character. Now Coolabi has acquired LBD and the rights, we intend to make sure Oliver Postgate's fabulous legacy is equally popular for future generations."
Janet Woodward, Head of Licensing, Coolabi
"WWE is going to be huge in 2009. In uncertain times retailers look to rely on classic brands and proven winners and the support package for WWE is unbeatable - UK live events, incredible TV scheduling, a super strong product line and two major FMCG promotions."
Vickie O'Malley, MD, CPLG UK
"Apart from the usual movies, one away from the norm has to be GoGo Crazy Bones from a merchandise perspective. I would also look for some online brands to break out late in 2009; by this I mean community web brands that have cross merchandising appeal."
Simon Kay, Business Development Director, AT New Media
"The early licensee response to Fame has been extraordinary but we're not surprised. Fame's combination of dance, drama, youth and energy are even more relevant now than they were in 1980. As a licensing opportunity, the same themes resonate strongly in a number of key product categories, as the growing list of Fame licensees proves."
Rob Wijeratna and Charlie Donaldson, Joint MDs, Rocket Licensing
"There will be several across all genres. Film: Transformers Rise of the Fallen, expectations from the last film are huge and customers will start buying earlier. Music: either Green Day or My Chemical Romance. Sport: I think Manchester United will just beat Liverpool. Children's: I think Ben 10: Alien Force will bring a slightly older audience and continue the success."
Max Arguile, Licensing Manager, GB Eye
"Whilst In The Night Garden is showing strong sales, Thomas will continue to dominate the pre-school sector. Hit's investment in the property over the past 12 months will ensure continued demand. The Mattel master toy appointment will be a very interesting development over the next 12-24 months. High School Musical continues to forge ahead and how can I not mention Peppa and our new property Twilight and New Moon?"
Andrew Carley, Head of Contender Merchandising
"Without doubt, there is nothing better at present in the UK and Eire licensing than the RDF Rights pre-school property Waybuloo. Since joining RDF in October of last year, I have witnessed first hand the frenzy that this brand has already generated and as we appoint the initial raft of licensees in the UK, those that are not selected are refusing to take no for an answer!"
Stephen Gould, Senior Consultant, RDF Rights
"I think 2009 will be a year of consolidation and safety first from a product and retail perspective, so the strong brands of 2008 will also be the key licences of 2009. In The Night Garden will probably remain the key pre-school licence, with a group of licences such as Peppa, Fifi and Bob the Builder also retaining their leading positions. If you're looking for something entirely new, then possibly Waybuloo from RDF or Big & Small from Kindle may impact towards the end of the year."
David Scott, MD, Rainbow Productions
"I think retro will continue to be a big trend in 2009, particularly in areas like apparel, bags and stationery. I think the success of retro styling for brands, particularly shown on t-shirts on the High Street, has been a great shot in the arm for the industry and a visual billboard for licensing. I think we will see more examples of great characters harnassed with great design for 2009. I think sport will provide a big licensing opportunity and I think Manchester United and Liverpool are both big established brands that seem to have solid foundations and global appeal."
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing
"I think one of the big licences for 2009 will be Storm Hawks. At the younger end, Bob the Builder should do well celebrating his tenth anniversary and our own Roary the Racing Car is proving to be a real winner, so we expect him to climb up the leaderboard during the year. I also believe that Fifi and the Flowertots, with her fresh new series and packaging, should continue to dominate the girls market."
Keith Chapman, Creative Director and co-founder, Chapman Entertainment
"Naturally, I believe that In The Night Garden will continue to flourish, but what really excites me is our own Roary the Racing Car. I expect he will continue to go from strength to strength and have dads glued to the TV, as well as children. Fifi and the Flowertots will continue into her fifth year as an evergreen property with an emphasis on international growth."
Greg Lynn, MD and co-founder, Chapman Entertainment
"2009 is set to be the year of the pig. The Pinky & Perky Show has had huge success and achieved very strong ratings. We already have a master toy licence in place with Martin Yaffe and the shops will soon be full of products. 2009 is also Monty Python's 40th anniversary and we are hugely honoured to be representing such a fantastic brand. Also, Little Britain USA has been recommissioned and we are in the pricess of signing up a host of new licensees. Last but by no means least, 2009 will see us promoting our superb new pre-school property, The Hive."
Mark Hurry, PPCE
"We're calmly optimistic about the licensing business in Nordic and Eastern Europe for 2009. Sure, it's time to be sensible but we can't be downbeat with some of our newest properties, which are certain to take off this year, and our more established brands that will continue to grow. Three properties to look out for here are Miffy, Bella Sara and In The Night Garden. More established properties that will continue to perform well in our territories this year include Lego, Thomas, Roary the Racing Car, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Littlest Pet Shop."
Morten Geschwendtner, Chairman of Business Development, Kidz Entertainment
"Looney Tunes is doing better and better at retail across the region. Scooby-Doo will also do very well across CEE and Ben 10 is proving incredibly popular wherever Cartoon Network has a presence. Batman is likely to have a very good year and Marvel characters will also be very hot in 2009."
Hakan Durdag, co-founder and CEO, European Licensing Company
"As an art licensing company we have been very impressed by Honey Hill, published by Campbell and illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic, and predict that it will be really strong next year in the children's pre-school publishing market. However, I think with the global credit crunch, price points and the actual content of toys will make a difference to which licences take off."
Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Agency
"In the absence of any major global sport event such as a football Euro or World Cup or Olympic Games, entertainment properties should drive the market. Firstly, Harry Potter, already the biggest movie franchise and with a blockbuster every year, which no other franchise can offer to the market. Secondly, superheroes. 2009 will see the broadcasting of the new Batman series, The Brave and the Bold, across the EMEA region. Thirdly, animation classics including Looney Tunes, supported by the new Active platform, new content, partnerships and events; Tweety for girls supported by a new music initiative and partnerships with celebrities and Scooby-Doo supported by new content."
Bruno Schwobthaler, Senior VP Sales & Business Development EMEA, Warner Bros Consumer Products
"The new kids are on the building blocks this year as Goochicoo continues to go from strength to strength. Already listed in major grocers and across the High Street, apparel, plush and wooden toy ranges will all be launching throughout 2009. Gogo's really cements its position as one of the UK's hottest brands this year with product launching across all main categories, TV advertising, new core collectables and major promotional activity and Thumb Wrestling Federation is really pinning down the competition with the toy line launching extremely successfully over Christmas."
Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing
"There will be several across varying genres to look out for in 2009. In the Night Garden and of course Little Princess will continue. New will be Waybuloo. I still believe retro and classic brands will be very strong. The Rubik's Cube celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2010 and plans are already taking shape in the merchandising arena for the end of this year and into next. In the boys market Ben10 will still be very strong."
Kirsty Guthrie, MD, KJG Licensing