Marketing Coordinator Aiste Altonen explains the licensing programme behind the successful online social network.

How MovieStarPlanet is stepping it up a gear for 2014

Firstly, can you tell us the story behind the brand?

MovieStarPlanet, established in Denmark in 2009, is an online social network with creative gameplay features aimed at the tween age group. Users can immerse themselves into the virtual world by creating their own expressive movie star-like avatars. In this creative online space, users are encouraged to direct their own movies, make artbooks, decorate their rooms and share all of their content with their friends.

Based on in-game popularity of their creations, users are awarded virtual fame and StarCoins, which is the in game currency. These can be used for ‘living’ on the MovieStarPlanet and purchasing desirable items such as pets, clothes, accessories and animations.

MovieStarPlanet is free to play, but users progress quicker and have access to exclusive items (e.g. clothes, chat rooms) if they pay to become a VIP member. The social factor is a very significant part of the game. Similarly, community feeling is the key element in MovieStarPlanet’s vision of being a social network for tweens.

How did the brand perform in 2013?

All in all, 2013 was a great year for our brand, as MSP has exploded among the target group and we now have more than 160 million user profiles worldwide. We expanded the MSP community by launching in five new markets, which makes us present across 16 countries and 11 languages worldwide.

We have been successful in identifying what our users love and based on these insights we have added several new features to the game, making it even more fun and engaging. Launching the game on both mobile and tablet was a significant milestone, allowing our users to experience MSP universe on multiple platforms. Children’s safety online is always on the top of our agenda, and we are proud to have established valuable third party relationships and endorsements with many local and global Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), who are leaders in online child protection.

How many licensees does it have to date, and in which categories?

Following the great online success of MovieStarPlanet, we have expanded into a variety of avenues in terms of licensing. Our foray into the world of physical consumer products includes licenses for publishing, apparel, stationery, HBA and home décor categories.

What are some of the best performing products?

We have a solid and extremely loyal fan base, who love all the products we introduce and purchase physical items to make their physical world resemble their virtual one within MSP. Publishing is a unique category, which allows us to continuously engage with MSP fans by interlacing the virtual and physical worlds and we are glad our fans also enjoy interacting with our brand offline.

Are you looking to sign more licensees this year – if so which categories are you targeting?

We are keen on expanding our licensing programme with the right partners, especially since our users love the brand more than ever and our popularity is on the rise worldwide. Creativity and expressing oneself through personal style are some of the core elements of MovieStarPlanet, which is why apparel and home décor are always extremely relevant categories and something we are looking to expand upon.

Do you have any special marketing initiatives or promotional activity planned for 2014?

In 2014, we will continue to actively advertise on all major children’s TV channels in the large majority of our markets. We also have concrete plans in place in terms of social media marketing for our target group, as our fan base in that space has been growing exponentially due to our efforts to engage with our users in a more direct and real time fashion. In terms of our licensing programme, we continuously cooperate with licensees to promote MSP merchandise to our users online through various channels.

What has the reaction from retail been like to the brand?

As usual, some categories perform better than others, but certain retailers surely didn’t complain when merchandise was flying off the shelves. We are continuously flooded with messages from kids asking where they can purchase MSP magazines, stationary, home décor and other items in their respective countries.

What would you most like to achieve with the brand by the end of 2014?

The future of MovieStarPlanet is about growth, through new market launches, continuous and steady innovation in gameplay based on user insights and extensions beyond the virtual world. MovieStarPlanet is always looking for ways to improve through extending game-play features, and transcending the experience into mobile platforms.

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