There's no doubt the main topic of conversation in New York was the move to Las Vegas in 2009, but aside from that what were the main things that impressed on the show floor? And did the 'next big thing' emerge? Samantha Loveday asked around...
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"I thought it was a very busy show. The number of visitors seemed to be as good as last year, with an increase in the number of retailers. The general atmosphere was up beat, although that could not be said about the Javits' air-con, which seemed to be struggling to cope with the heat and humidity in NY.
I actually agreed several new deals at the show and there were quite a few new projects launched. In fact I had to sign so many non disclosure agreements that I was given the new name of 'NDA Jones' by Thursday night. The best thing has to be the Character Exchange night. The worst thing has to be the humidity."
Trevor Jones, Licensing Director, Danilo

"The show was a phenomenal success for Bulldog this year. In general, market conditions are proving tough across the industry, which means people are tending to focus on the strongest brands. We are luck enough to represent some of the hottest properties in the UK right now. One of the most useful aspects of the show was the opportunity to meet with clients from overseas markets and we are very excited that our properties will be moving even further afield with new agents and licensees coming on board across a number of properties and territories.
The worst thing about the show was definitely the fact the aircon went down on day one in 100+ degree heat and, whilst it might be hotter in Vegas, at least the humidity is likely to be lower in the middle of the desert."
Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing

"We had an excellent show with a lot of pre-planned and drop by visitors. This included visitors from Latin America who showed an interest in Sonic and visitors from Europe who were interested in pan-Euro promotions. We also had very productive meetings with toy companies. The best thing about the show is the diversity of the exhibiting companies and visitors; I really do think there is something there for everyone."
Michelle Pearce, Senior UK & International Licensing Manager, Jetix Consumer Products

"We had an amazing show this year. The stand was buzzing from 9am on the opening day until 4pm on the last day, with high calibre appointments including licensees, licensing agents, rights owners and retailers. The show was even more productive (and fun) than we imagined, which is a fantastic way to say goodbye to New York. Here's looking forward to Vegas."
Mel Beer, Licensing Director, Granada Ventures

"It was our first time at the show and my overall experience was very positive in terms of meeting new business prospects and networking. It's certainly an impressive show and well worth attending, and a great platform for well established brands."
Mark Hurry, Director of Legal & Commercial Affairs, PPC

"The overall vibe was good, with there being excitement about the prospective visit to Las Vegas next year. There were certainly as many, if not more, Europeans than normal. Seeing our costume characters in action supporting licensors at the show was the best thing, but the worst was the sub-standard air conditioning in the hall on Tuesday. Overall, it was as good as ever - to some extent it's what you make it but we've never been disappointed."
David Scott, Managing Director, Rainbow Productions

"This year's Licensing Show was very productive for the Nickelodeon UK team, both in terms of licensee and retailer attendance. It was great that so many UK retailers were able to make the trip to NY and I only hope this level of support continues next year.
I think some of the licensees and licensors who have attended for many years did get a little nostalgic, but that's no bad thing. I still think reaction to the move is very mixed and that depends on your experience of Vegas.
The best thing about the show for me was the amazing Nickelodeon booth, both in terms of size and creative execution - it was a fun place to spend a few days. The worst thing was, of course, the heat. NY Licensing Show is a great place to showcase properties - I hope Vegas proves to be the same."
Clare Piggott, Head of Consumer Products, Nickelodeon UK

"The show was amazing for us. We were madly busy with Ben 10, but also had a huge surge in interest in Bakugan, our classic brands and our virtual licensing concept. It felt like the show was busy and everyone seemed to be making the most of the last NY show - certain bars will weep when they learn we won't be back next year.
High points, as ever, are the UK licensing industry abroad - what a diverse and entertaining bunch; I can even remember some of the evenings out this year!"
Graham Saltmarsh, Licensing Manager, Cartoon Network

"My show experience was very positive - we had some good meetings on Gladiators, Bang on the Door and Hana's Helpline. For me, it is a great forum to catch up with international partners - for example BOTD was featured on Sharpe's stand at the show.
I thought it seemed slightly less busy and I think Thursday the show slowed down a lot. I think the heat was a factor; I think it took more stamina this year. Personally I think it is a shame to see some stands packing up in the afternoon of the last day. I will be interested in knowing the final numbers.
I think the licensee perspective seemed to be that there was no big news or new properties. I think the Licensing Show is not so likely to be a first look event now. With better communication, more international travel and wider media coverage, it is easier to gain awareness of new properties. That said, lots of brand owners use the show to update their property and announce new directions, so it is a very valid forum to do business at. I also think it is a great way of spotting trends.
For me it was a good show and if I look at it from a value for money point of view, it was great value and I think essential to be a part of. I look forward to Las Vegas!"
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

"We had a great mix of retailers from around the world, licensees and potential new business partners. Tuesday and Wednesday were excellent and Thursday, which is normally quiet, remained steady all day. The best thing was the diverse mix of visitors. The worst thing with the show was that there was no air conditioning on set up day and, for some people, the flights home. Overall, as ever it is an amazing industry showcase with brilliant networking opportunities."
Katie Foster, LazyTown

"This year's show was very productive for us. I think it is not only the industry's shift from very hype-oriented properties to more long-term, strategic approaches to building brands, as well as our shift to being a larger company and focusing on being more strategic in our decision making and in growing brands that will last a long time. We felt that all of the right partners were in attendance and we got a lot out of our meetings.
The saddest thing was leaving the show knowing that more than 50 per cent of our licensees will not attend next year, and even fewer licensors and agents have also decided not to show, or at least cut their attendees down by half.
The overall vibe was that we are going to miss NY. Even if the Javits leaks and the hotels are expensive. This move to Las Vegas is like moving your board meeting from the conference room to Disneyland. I am afraid that everyone sees Vegas as one big gambling party and I am worried that there will not be as much business that comes out of it as we would like and expect when we come such a long way."
Anna Lisa McBride, Kidz Entertainment/EEMC

"It was a great show and we made a lot of new contacts from all over the world. It is still the best marketplace for licensing."
Nicolas Loufrani, Smiley Licensing

"The show seemed to be incredibly busy, especially on Tuesday when people were fighting over places to sit in the food hall. The overall vibe, however, was a bit subdued and tired, some of which could be put down to the heat, but mostly I feel because it was all so familiar and everyone is anticipating next year's change. It was certainly a hot topic of conversation and the bookings seem to be going very well.
Best thing about the show was the amazing amount of conversations I managed to cram into the two days I was there. It would take me weeks in the UK to get through that amount of exchange of information. Worst thing? Well, everyone's going to say the heat, so I'll say the final licensing gathering in Rosie's. David Scott is a wicked man!
Overall view of the show was that it was very worthwhile attending and sad that it was the last NY show. But bring on Vegas and a fresh approach with new attendees (and networking opportunities).
Janet Woodward, Head of Licensing, Coolabi

"As always, this is an excellent show for business and networking opportunities. Our diaries were, generally speaking, full with half hour back to backs before we even left London and we also had some very good quality walk-ons.
The general vibe was good, although business is definitely more difficult for the majority. There didn't appear to be any 'hot' movers and shakers this year - then again, maybe we are getting a little frosty eyed when it comes to being wowed.
As always, the show was buoyant and good. It is always an upbeat show in-situ - the difficult part is to maintain such 'selling environment' optimism back on home soil when the hustle and bustle of the Javits aisles and booths are no longer front of mind. That said, strong brands and excellent roll out execution mostly win through in the end."
Stephen Gould, Co-MD, 4Kids Entertainment

"The best thing about the show from our point of view is the fact that it gets everybody from the licensing game all in one place at the same time. Although we have to travel half way round the world to do it, we end up having a high proportion of meetings that a) we'd never actually have here in the UK or b) take us many weeks to achieve the same. And, of course, we got to wear our suits."
Richard Radford, The Silver Satsuma, Roy Lowe & Sons

"TLC having a stand was extremely useful for the Entertainment team. It was an excellent show for us; we had great retail and promo meetings and, of course, seeing our licensors."
Lisa Shapiro, MD, TLC Entertainment

"From my point of view, the show was the busiest to date with meetings scheduled every half hour on all days - unfortunately this meant there was little or no time to walk the show. The networking is excellent with so many licensors and licensees in one place. To further grow our relationships with these clients, it was imperative for us to make sure that we held as many licensee/licensor meetings as possible, which we hope we managed!
There were no negatives for me, other than trying to get away from the Javits by cab. Overall, I had a blast. Extremely beneficial - I'm just dreading the necessary follow up."
Tim Juckes, Category Director, Apparel and Housewares, CPLG

"The show was very productive for RDF Rights; we had full diaries throughout the three days with quality licensees, retailers and agents from around the world meeting with us to discuss our brands. Our portfolio of properties has been very well received and we closed deals and generated a significant amount of new business.
Best thing: seeing how far we and our brands have come in our first year in the kids market. We're pleased with the level of interest in RDF as a new player in the market. The show was a great place for networking, building relationships, as well as meeting agents and international licensees under one roof. The worst thing was the heat!
Overall, an excellent week for generating new business and showcasing our brand portfolio."
Angeles Blanco, Senior Licensing Manager, RDF Rights

"Even though the Beanstalk stand was busy, walking the aisles, the show actually seemed a little less busy than last year. I suspect the stats will show that there were fewer visitors this year over last year.
There was still a steady stream of Europeans at the show, but the significant increase I noticed was in the number of visitors from Asia, particularly from India and Korea. Most were representing fledgling agencies or agencies that had started in character licensing and were now interested in moving into brands.
There was considerable talk of the move to Las Vegas, but I did get the distinct impression that Europeans at the show intended to make the longer trip next year. The visitor loss we see might be those New York-based marketers who will come to the show when it's down the road, but not when it's a plane ride away. Time will tell.
Overall, I was very positive about the show with some good quality meetings - especially from an international perspective. I also moderated a seminar during the Licensing University programme which was well attended with a great Q&A session at the end."
Ciaran Coyle, The Beanstalk Group

"We had a very busy show and had meetings with good quality retail and international contacts. All in all, I think it's true to say that Chorion's stand was one of the busiest at the show. There seemed to be an air of uncertainty and mixed opinion among visitors and exhibitors about the move from New York to Las Vegas."
Keith Pashley, Marketing Manager, Copyrights

"The show was much busier for us. We doubled the size of our booth this year and we were still full almost continuously. We had more key properties - including Mr Men & Little Miss, Olivia, Truck Town and The World of Eric Carle - all of which received considerable attention. We also incorporated the new properties that came with our recent acquisition of Copyrights, including Beatrix Potter and Paddington Bear.
The show is Chorion's open house. It's great to see colleagues and partners and best for the unanticipated opportunities that come out of the show. The worst thing is that we can't see everyone we would like to meet with.
We are a global company and this is truly the global licensing event of the year. There is still no substitute for face to face meetings. You have to be there."
John Collins, Senior Marketing Manager, Chorion

"We had a steady stream of clients from Europe, the Americas and Asia that included both manufacturers and agents, and there was great interest in our properties including Ruby Gloom, Grossology and Max & Ruby.
The buzz of the show was as strong as ever and we don't plan on losing any momentum for next year, as our clients all plan to visit the new venue in Las Vegas."
Mark Northwood, VP, Licensing, The Americas, Nelvana Enterprises


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