SHOW PREVIEW: Licensing Forum - Central & Eastern Europe

Now in its fifth year, LF-CEE is currently the only licensing event for the emerging Central and Eastern European marketplace. As the industry gets ready to make the trip to Prague on March 16th and 17th, Licensing.biz takes a look at what they can expect to see...
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20th Century Fox

Fox will be sharing a stand with its licensing agent Kidz Entertainment/EEMC.
Licensing director Jennifer Buchanan will be representing the firm at the show, with the main focus on retail opportunities across Central and Eastern Europe, both for The Simpsons 20th anniversary and Ice Age 3.
Speaking of The Simpsons, and the 20th birthday milestone will be supported by local TV partners, as well as Fox Home Entertainment, creating plenty of potential for retailers operating in these markets later in the year.
Following the success of IA2 across CEE, IA3 offers further potential for the retail sector. In-store activity is planned to promote the film release in all CEE markets, in addition to a strong merchandise programme.

4Kids Entertainment International

Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, 4Kids' MD, is looking forward to meeting a number of potential partners in Prague.
"4Kids is bringing three of our hottest boys' brands, each with the hallmark trading card game, toy line and great TV series that you'd expect from 4Kids' entertainment brands," Vauthier-Cellier tells Licensing.biz. "Dinosaur King chronicles a race across the globe to bring dionsaurs back to life; Yu-Gi-Oh 5 D's is the next chapter of the successful Yu-Gi-Oh franchise; and the newest property to launch is Chaotic, currently present in Poland, but launching here to other markets in the region.
"We will also represent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their 25th anniversary year, graphic design brands The Pig and Jim Henson and Pajanimals.
"We are very pleased to be participating and hope to meet lots of potential partners, with whom we can create products and promotions that will excite consumers in new markets."

ARS AG

Swiss-based ARS is the universal licence holder for the two dimensional use of M.I Hummel's original pictures and illustrations of the figurines manufactured in Germany.
The licensing programme in the US and Europe is growing steadily at retail - there are currently over 100 licensed products from more than 30 licensees worldwide ranging from books, giftware, decorative and tabletop accessories, woven products, fine art prints, needlework and craft kits, embroidery kits, stationery and paper products, Christmas items and jewellery.

Art Ask Agency

A selection of 'concept' properties will be on offer from the company.
These will include Mega Minimals - which is close to a launch date for its animated TV series in Spain and Italy, with other European countries planned; Min, a new concept in licensing, according to the firm, with Random House already owning the publishing rights; and Alchemy UL13, a collection of urban accessories from Alchemy Carta.
Several lifestyle properties will also be showcased including City Girls, Haynes Publishing and Bikini, along with fine art brands like Alchemy Gothic and Victoria Francés.

Bang on the Door

The design-led brand is exhibiting in Prague with the aim of further expanding its international success.
Originally started from a Camden market stall, the brand now has over 700 characters, employs five people, works with ten international agents and has over 40 licensees covering territories from Europe, Brazil and Australasia to the Far East.
Additional new products being marketed in the UK this year include greeting cards by Hallmark, calendars by Danilo, Nintendo DS games by Mindscape, gaming bags and PC accessories by Mad Catz, educational stickers by Primary Teaching Service, lunchbags by DNC UK and socks by Drew Brady.

Cartoon Planet

For the first time, Cartoon Planet will be acting as a licensing agent for Scholastic Entertainment in Poland.
The firm is an importer, producer and distributor of licensed character merchandise in the gift, toy and back to school categories. It has been established in the Polish market since 2000.

Chorion

The firm is a premier sponsor of LF-CEE and will be represented at the two-day show by its agent in the territory, Plus Licens.
The main focuses property wise will be on Noddy and Mr Men.

Croco Worldwide

Specialising in licensed campaigns for major FMCG companies, Croco is one of LF-CEE's original exhibitors and continues to support the show heavily.
This year, the firm will be presenting new innovations in licensed products, according to global director of sales Alexis Venn.
"LF-CEE provides the perfect platform to showcase our company and some innovative new licensed products for promotional and retail use. Croco's unique positioning in the marketplace means that our clients can deliver innovative licensed programs at the most competitive cost; we are eager to present LF-CEE attendees Croco's unique approach to innovation and production."

FremantleMedia Enterprises

FremantleMedia will be bringing a number of high profile properties to Prague.
These will include Rebecca Bonbon - a French bulldog which has already enjoyed success in Japan - which it represents exclusively on an international basis.
The Idols and Got Talent platforms will also be showcased, along with Merlin, H20, Family Feud, Hole in the Wall and The Price is Right among others.

Hip Designs

"We believe that the Eastern European market is a challenging and growing market that we need to explore," sayd Jeroen van Kuik, head of international licensing at Hip Designs. "After several international successes with our brands, it is great to start this new adventure at the LF-CEE 2009 in Prague."
Current properties in the Hip portfolio include the popular Animal Soup and Bad Alice, plus the likes of Babybird & Bundle, Little Bugs, Me Monkey, Maude, The Paul Greenwood Collection and Hugmeez among others.

Intercontinental Licensing

Headed up by George Medina, the firm - which is a division of Intercontinental Greetings - boasts an art catalogue of over 30,000 images, while it is also continuing to build its new book division.
Its book list consists of a wide variety of titles whose foreign language printing rights are still available in many key territories. This season, for example, the firm is introducing Woodstock 1969: The First Festival for the older reader, plus several books aimed at younger age groups.
Clients' products include calendars, posters and prints, gift bags, giftware, puzzles, tins, greeting cards, stationery, school products, home decorative, tabletop, t-shirts and textiles.

Jane Evans Licensing Consultancy

The boutique agency, with over 30 years experience in developing and managing global licensing programmes, will be representing a number of brands.
Withit - which boasts icons such as Mad Cow, Glamour Puss and Cheeky Monkey - will be exhibiting through JELC. Created in 1998 and launched through the UK independent sector, Withit has now developed into a major licensing programme throughout the UK and is pushing into Europe through France, Benelux, Spain, Germany, Italy and Greece, as well as into Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.
Products are focused on the nine to 15 year-old girls market and include fashion and accessories, back to school stationery and gifts. Recent deals include a promotion with Burger King across all European territories for September and October this year.
Bad Cat, the teen art-based property created by US apparel company Mighty Fine, will also be showcased. Having been introduced to the UK market in 2006, the brand is making good inroads in the territory, as well as in the likes of France, Germany, Benelux, Poland and South Africa.
Other brands represented by JELC will include male clothing property Plain Lazy and Mad Keen, for those obsessed with fishing.

Jetix

Jetix now controls the full licensing rights for LazyTown across the Central and Eastern European markets.
The show is currently the top rated series on Jetix Poland, Jetix Hungary and Jetix Romania.
Dan Frugtniet, Jetix's regional licensing manager CEE, says: "LazyTown is a very strong property that launched on all Jetix CEE channels in early 2008 and became an instant smash hit. We will be promoting the new series at Licensing Forum."

Kidz Entertainment/EEMC

"This is an important year and an important Forum for Kidz Entertainment/EEMC," explains Morten Geschwendtner, chairman.
"We'll be bringing strong properties from our portfolio to talk about, including pre-school favourites Thomas, Bob the Builder, Roary the Racing Car, Fifi Forget-Me-Not, Postman Pat and our newest signings for this age group - In the Night Garden from BBC Worldwide and Little Princess, which is looking very attractive already with broadcasters in place in all key Eastern European markets.
"We'll also have Bratz and Bella Sara for older girls, plus evergreen favourites The Simpsons, Pokémon and Fox's movie, Ice Age 3.
"A big focus for us will be Miffy, which has great potential for lifestyle products thanks to its endless adaptability and iconic look, and on Lego, the best performing family/children's brand in the world in 2008 and a very strong new introduction to the Licensing Forum.
"We are hoping to find new partners at Licensing Forum to introduce our properties to and work with, and to build relationships with retailers and advertising agencies. Kidz Entertainment/EEMC is one of the strongest companies in this market and with more than ten years experience, great merchandise programmes and successful movie promotions, we are looking forward to a very positive event."

Merchandising Prague

One of the leading licensing agents in the CEE region, Merchandising Prague has a good balance of both international and local properties to show off at the event.
As well as globally known franchises like The Smurfs, Betty Boop and Popeye, the company also provides the rights to Czech cartoon characters from Zdenek Smetana, Radek Pilar, Ondrej Sekora and Jaroslav Nemecek.
The firm's strategy is to develop and implement successful long-term licensing programmes with a diversified portfolio of IP assets across a broad range of categories and products.

MGL

One of the UK's most successful graphic licensing companies, MGL represents over 70 artists and has an archive of thousands of images.
The artwork incorporates many different themes and styles including wildlife and nature; underwater landscapes; dragons and fairies; floral and fine art; pets and children.
Some of its showcased artists will include Haruyo Morita, Colin Thompson, Lisa Jane, Greg Cuddiford and Zorina Baldescu.

Panini

A returning exhibitor to LF-CEE, Panini has much to shout about at this year's shindig.
The Panini Group is a world leader in the stickers and collectibles market and regularly produces collections for major sporting events, entertainment titles and movies. It is also the fourth biggest European publisher for children, the leading comic distributor in Italian bookstores and developing a strong programme in the multimedia field.
"We're really happy to attend the fair again in 2009; it's important to be a part of such a significant event in a strongly growing marketplace," comments Simon Benton, export director.

PMR Publications

A media sponsor of the event, PMR provides market information, advice and services to businesses interested in Central and Eastern European countries, as well as other emerging markets.
The company places a big emphasis on the retail sector throughout CEE.

Pyramid International

Formerly known as Pyramid Posters, the company officially changed its name on February 1st, and will be looking to significantly boost its profile in Prague.
The firm currently holds over 200 active licences in the music, cinema, television, lifestyle, brand and generic areas. Its products include calendars, art prints, stickers, button badges, badge packs, lenticular posters, accessory packs, postcards and canvas prints, as well as traditional posters.

Sheepworld AG

Based in northern Bavaria, Sheepworld AG is a young creative company which designs, manufactures and distributes high-end gift, back to school, plush, greeting cards and gift books for the international teen and tween market. The theme, in case you hadn't guessed, is sheep.
Sheepworld currently has over 25 licensees in categories ranging from bedding to car accessories, with partners including Ravensburger, Herding, teNeues, Bertelsmann, Quelle, Otto, Arvato, Mobivention, Leomil, Pictura France and Passion Cards Poland.

The Licensing Machine

Founded in 2006, TLM is an operating division of Panini Group dedicated to the management of TV, home video, promotional and merchandise rights.
The company is the exclusive representative of the Naruto franchise for six European territories (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria and Switzerland), as well as representing Deltora Quest, D.Gray-Man, the Death Note TV series and the live action movies of the same name among others.
It also represents the company's corporate brand Panini Collection and Mizz, based on the fortnightly magazine.

Turner CN Enterprises

The company will be showing off the next chapter of hit show Ben 10 - Alien Force - where an older and wiser Ben will embark on a series of new adventures with fresh alien superheroes.
In addition, visitors to LF-CEE will also be able to preview new animé property Bakugan and The Secret Saturdays, which is due to be broadcast across EMEA this year.
"This is the first time that Turner CN Enterprises has had a stand at the Licensing Forum and we're very excited to introduce our properties to CEE based licensees, manufacturers, retailers, broadcasters, promotional companies and advertising agencies," said Jason Rice, territory manager for Central Eastern Europe, Germany, Middle East and Africa.
"Central and Eastern Europe represents one of the fastest growing licensing markets in the world and we are fully committed to developing our key brands and supporting the development of the licensing industry in these markets."

VIPO Land

Another first time exhibitor at LF-CEE, in just four years, the VIPO licensing programme has grown from one book and one plush dog to a global brand, with the 3D animated series televised in 100 countries.
There are 26 episodes of VIPO - Adventures of the Flying Dog, and 50 characters, all of which are involved in the licensing drive.

Vision Licensing

This will be the first time that Vision Licensing has taken a stand at LF-CEE.
The company represents licensing opportunities from leading fashion illustrators and contemporary artists. It has a large collection of artists and images, of which a number will be on display including Reilly - whose work fuses international high glamour and street chic with motifs of urbam culture and gritty images of Hackney, his home in East London - and Barbara B, who studied at the European Academy of Arts and the University for Graphic Arts in Germany.

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