Royal Opera House - Licensing.biz

Royal Opera House

As probably the first performing arts organisation to exhibit at Brand Licensing this year, the firm hit the ground running with an extremely successful show.
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The team plans to exhibit again and in the meantime is hoping to capitalise on the contacts made and expand its licensing business.

The Royal Opera House is the home of the world-class Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies. From its iconic building in London's Covent Garden, it is a focal point for national and international artistic excellence.

Renowned stars and rising talent inspire diverse audiences around the world and The Royal Opera House is maximising the opportunities afforded by new technologies and as well as regular broadcasts on television and radio, is now screening performances into cinemas across the UK, Europe, Canada and the US, Japan, Australia and shortly into India and South Africa.

The Royal Ballet tours internationally every year, and The Royal Opera makes its first overseas tour in a decade to Japan in 2010.

The licensing department was set up in 2002 in order to maximise the potential of the brand and currently employs one member of staff, Gwyneth Campling, licensing manager. ROH Enterprises was established more recently and consolidates the merchandise and licensing businesses under its managing director, Stephen Michael.

One of the company's most prolific deals is with Italian ballet clothing company Freddy. The partnership is a joint sponsorship and licensing contract with The Royal Ballet. A special Royal Ballet Dancers Collection was created with input from dancers at the Company.

Gwyneth Campling, licensing manager explains: "It was a natural link for both organisations and is working extremely well."

The firm is in talks with companies on a range of new deals. Campling says: "The Royal Opera House is a very prestigious brand and we are talking to a number of high profile companies who fit in with our purpose and mission.

"Stationery is high on the agenda as well as perfume and jewellery for adults. For children’s licences we are looking particularly at apparel both as dress up and everyday."

The licensing strategy for the company is to focus on direct to retail licenses. The ROH is currently talking to a couple of notable companies in this field. Campling comments: "A high street retailer would be the perfect solution for us."

The first licences for the company have been aimed mainly at adults and have been marketed on websites, in high street outlets and through its own distribution channels.

Campling expands: "We are looking at the children’s market now and feel this is a rich seam to be tapped. Dance is the UK’s fastest growing art form with 13 per cent of the population attending dance events. In the UK there are in the region of 1.7 million amateur ballet dancers of which 1.4 million are between the ages of five and 18."

The Royal Opera House operates a finely balanced and complex financial model comprising government funding, box office income, sponsorship, philanthropy and commercial activities including hiring of the venue and licensing.

"To date, we have not seen any impact on our ticket sales but are constantly monitoring for any changes," Campling furthers. "Each year there's a natural turnover of sponsors which is to be expected for all arts organisations and this past year has been no different.

"However, over the last few years we have looked to diversify our sponsor base and this is holding us in good stead for the uncertain economic times we now find ourselves in.

"We have also sought other revenue streams, such as the acquisition of Opus Arte, the multi-platform arts production and distribution company, two years ago and are distributing our recordings into cinemas." 

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