BLE 2010: The Verdict

We ask exhibitors and visitors for their views on this year's show.
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"In summary, the show was great. It was very well attended by licensees and retailers. Nick's stand was buzzing with particular interest in our new properties: Team Umizoomi, Victorious, Winx Club and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and lots of retail activity planned for Spongebob Squarepants and Dora. We had a greater number of pre-arranged meetings year on year, especially with retailers. We also had a fantastic level of ad hoc meetings so the stand had a fantastic atmosphere. The third day was definitely a valuable addition to the event."
Trudi Hayward, VP, UK & Australia, Nickelodeon Consumer Products

"BLE was excellent. As a first time visitor, the show was productive and exciting. We had heavy traffic for all three days and quality attendees."
Elie Dekel, President, Saban Brands

"We were very happy with the show. Being a global team, there are so few opportunities where everyone is in the same place at the same time and the show provides a great platform for this. The quality of the exhibitors and attendees was great and it was super to see so many of the big retailers attending. Our stand position and prominence at the show really helped draw a lot of interest too. The jury is still out for me as to whether the third day is needed, however."
Melissa Wallace, UK Licensing Manager (Outbound), Lego UK

"It was a really positive show for eOne, the stand was constantly buzzing even on the third day. There was a big buyer presence this year which is always great to see. It's a good chance to have a quick catch up on our licences and strategy for next year and beyond. As well as existing business, we found it to be a great year for new business - more so than other years - with many exciting opportunities to follow up on. But, surely it would make sense to keep the show open until 6pm? 5pm seems just that little bit too early."
Hannah Mungo, UK Licensing Manager, Entertainment One

"This year's show was very busy and there was a very positive feeling about the place, which was great. We had our biggest ever stand and the Gallery Suite which helped ease the pressure on meetings. It was great to see lots of retailers and the third day was a welcome bonus, it meant we could see most people and engage with walk ups rather than have to do a crazy post week chase around. Will we be back in 2011? I believe we've already booked the stand."
Graham Saltmarsh, UK Licensing Director, Turner CN Enterprises

"There was a very positive feel to the show. All the attendees, whether stand owners or visitors, seemed to be very active, busy and engaged. Not just the quantity but the quality of our meetings was impressive. We saw all the people we had hoped to see and more. It was very busy. And, while the third day felt quieter, it was still busy with both scheduled and drop-in meetings."
Anna Hewitt, Head of Licensing, Coolabi

"It was very, very busy and much more positive than 2009. Last year, I'd guess, people didn't know where we were headed in terms of the economy, I think this year people were a bit more confident and could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We had good meetings; there were lots of licensees and more retailers seemed to attend than last year. The third day definitely helped, too."
Rob Wijeratna, Joint MD, Rocket Licensing

"A mixed bag this year, with some experiencing, or preparing for tough times. What was most impressive was how most people are prepared to work harder and look beyond their core business. The frantic speed-dating feel keeps everyone focused and, while nobody was putting out, we're looking forward to some more intimate encounters over the coming weeks. The show really needs to be earlier in the year, reflecting the increasing length of manufacturing lead times and buying cycles of most of our key industries. Although there is a chance of some last minute business, realistically anything new will be unlikely to come into effect until 2012, particularly in the areas of toys and gifts."
Rob Goodchild, UK Licensing Manager, Aardman

"This year's BLE was very slick, it ran like clockwork for the Chapman team. I thought the atmosphere was upbeat and there was a strong sense of togetherness across the event. All the right people seemed to be there, and lots of them. We had honest and productive meetings with key retailers with great promotional outcomes."
Nikki Grass, Director of Marketing, Chapman Entertainment

"I thought it was a very very good show - probably the best so far. There was a very positive atmosphere, with great meetings and proper deals concluded and decisions made. The third day worked really well and stayed reasonably busy throughout. Wednesday was a particularly good day."
Valerie Fry, Director of Licensing, Chapman Entertainment

"It was a very busy show for us and all clients seemed in a much more positive mood. We're very satisfied with the meetings, both the number we had and the quality. The third day was very helpful and we still had meetings back to back, although footfall was slow in the afternoon. The Advanstar exhibitor party is becoming an event for all attendees - I think it should be planned like that from the beginning. It's a great forum to catch up with people you cannot see during the day."
Bettina Koeckler, SVP, Licensing EMEA, Chorion

"I thought the show had a great buzz this year and it's clear it is now a very serious contender to Vegas. The attendance was very good. I felt that the extra day was a benefit, as there was adequate time to have the necessary meetings and look around the show. I think it's the right decision to keep it to three days."
Patrick Bailey, Commercial Director, Blues Clothing

"The show was very busy, with lots of retailers in attendance. It was really upbeat and I would say we got more out of this show than Vegas in terms of relevant properties and brands for VMC. We had three full days of meetings and the third day makes it much better to fit everything in."
Laura Sumner, VMC

"I felt the atmosphere was very upbeat, especially the first two days when the traffic was highest. It seemed like people had a positive outlook and were ready to do business. I was quite pleased with both the foot traffic and quality of meetings we had. I ended up with lots of drop-in meetings and for the most part they seemed to be serious potentials, the type of partners we would be interested in working with."
Kelly Hill, Director of Licensing, Muhammad Ali Enterprises

"Our comments are generally positive. Even though the presence was composed of the usual people, some missing have been noted. But we can say there wasn't a perception of a downturn. We were very busy for all three days."
Stefano Mastropietro, VP, Sanrio EMEA

"The atmosphere across the three days was upbeat, which is a positive sign for the whole industry. The teams were busy meeting both existing and prospective licensees and retailers. Our Screening Suite presentation was oversubscribed on both days. With a Glee flash mob performing Don't Stop Believing to open the session - a highlight and a first for the show - 2010 marks an exciting year for the business, as we launch Glee at retail and set the stage for the longer term."
Fox Consumer Products

"I found this year's BLE as international as it has ever been - at least in the last ten years that I've attended. It seems to have become the perfect complement to Licensing International and the third day made it a much more useful place to conduct real business. Very positive."
Andrew Kerr, MD, AohK! Commercial

"Traffic was good but dropped off the final day. It was nice to see so many Europeans and the atmosphere seemed good and less pessimistic than the year before. I think the third day was necessary but many overseas clients left early for flights. The venue still works, but it needs more screening rooms and use of new medias. For an entertainment industry, some sections were a little stuffy."
Darran Garnham, Director of Strategic Sales, Kidz Entertainment

"Overall, our impression of the show was really positive - it was definitely buzzy, buoyant and upbeat. Attendance was good - there were certainly a lot of key buyers and more people from overseas than previous years - although the first and third days were a little quieter than the Wednesday. I think the third day was an excellent move and, yes, we'll be back in 2011. The only obvious change I would make is to run the show until 6pm on the first two days, closing at 5pm was too early."
Alicia Davenport, Licensing Director, DRi Licensing

"My feeling was that visitors were well prepared, quite focused and there to do business. We had a regular stream of walk on visitors coupled with meetings we had pre-arranged. Generally the attitude seemed to be positive with a strong dose of realism. We were very pleased with the quality of people we met. I think we had a good blend of existing and new licensees coupled with retail buyers. I think a show that includes screenings and seminars benefits from the extra day. I think from a practical point of view, it allows people to catch up if they miss meetings or spot a new opportunity."
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

"Overall it was good and Advanstar should be commended. The show provides an alternative for those not wishing to make the Vegas trip. Attendance was good, but there seemed to be less visitors from Southern Europe, presumably due to the economic situation."
John McInnerny, MD, Allsorts Licensing

"Our experience was positive. A lot of companies are looking for new opportunities, which suits us because interactive platforms offer a new way of doing things compared with traditional TV and retail. We were happy with the meetings we had, but we always want more and better."
Paul Comben, MD, AT New Media

"The atmosphere was very upbeat. Because it was a three-day event, it didn't start as intensely as last year though and it finished earlier in the afternoon on the last day. Clearly we were happy with the calibre of guests we saw. We had all the major manufacturers on the stand and all the leading people in their respective fields. The third day worked well for us."
Michael Gottlieb, Head of Licensing, DCD Publishing

"It was really strong, very enthusiastic and a great crowd. The market was much more optimistic than in the past few years. We were a first time exhibitor and I couldn't be happier; we had great walk ons from the obscure to M&S, Asda and Argos who all wanted to know more about our brands and plans."
Tim Collins, Commercial Manager, Consumer Entertainment, DC Thomson

"Overall the show was very busy, lots of people from across the industry and outside, lots of activity and generally a good vibe. The third day was good and interesting to see it was a lot busier than I thought it would be. However, the art licensing area was a little cut off from the body of the show, so a move to a more central area would be welcome."
Chris Taday, Bright and Beyond Licensing

"Another brilliant show. There's a real buzz surrounding the industry again and it's great to be a part of it. The show was packed, it always does well but it was busier than ever. It remains such an important date in the industry's calendar. There seemed to be more international visitors than in past years, making it a truly European event."
Danny Schweiger, Joint MD, Character World

"I thought the show was very exciting. I felt as though there was a lot of buzz in the air. This was the first time I have attended, so for me the show was full of quality. I will definitely be back in 2011. I think it is vital for anyone involved in licensing to be at events such as BLE. It's a must, not an option."
Mayur Pattni, MD, Pattni Imaginations

"It appeared to be the busiest show yet. The footfall remained high and the third day didn't appear to dilute the attendance over the course of the whole event. I get the impression that more retailers are using the event as the valuable resource that it is."
Richard Radford, Roy Lowe & Sons

"The show felt busy and exciting, especially for the full trading hours on the Tuesday and Wednesday. There seem to be a lot more departmental buyers attending from retail now, rather than just each retailer's licensing guru. The venue is great, but I would like to see the show move to earlier in the calendar so retailers can react to the characters on show for the following Christmas and be in the buying process for the following year's film releases."
Martin Lowe, Roy Lowe & Sons

"I felt this year's show was more confident and relaxed, with a positive vibe, although licensees are still being cautious about what they commit to. The attendance was better overall than last year's show and we had a higher level of people and were dealing with more decision makers than ever before. I am worried about the venue for next year, as it is being redeveloped."
Simon Harris, MD, Lunartics

"A fantastic atmosphere supported by huge optimism throughout. Footfall was most definitely up, with an encouraging European attendance. The extra day delivered extra opportunity. We're already booked for 2011, but this time daring to step further into the main hall."
Tristan-Sean McGee, MD, Hari's World

"In general, the industry, particularly in the branded sector, was quite upbeat. We noticed an increase in visitors from Europe, which was encouraging as we work with famous international brands and celebrities who are equally in demand in continental Europe as they are in the UK. Footfall was high for the first two days of the show, but dropped off significantly on the third day. I don't think the third day added any real value to the show. We continue to maintain the position that a two-day show would achieve all our goals and objectives. I felt the seminar programme was quite light this year and lacked any seminars focused on brands and industry trends. In addition, the programme was geared largely to an inexperienced audience; we would like to see an offer that also targets the more experienced audience going forward."
Ciarán Coyle, MD, Beanstalk

"The atmosphere was great. This was the first time we have exhibited and we were really happy with the meetings we had. However, we feel it should return to two days. The key management doesn't tend to stay until the end of the show. However, the show is increasing in size which is great and can only maximise the business opportunities. We'll be back in 2011."
Neslihan Guven Colak, Licensing Manager, Hakan Canta

"We had a good show with more good quality time with potential licensees. We still believe that two days was right for us. There should be more regular tubes and cheaper food and drink available."
Jeremy Ensor, Head of Retail Strategy & Operations, Natural History Museum

"It was an excellent show for ourselves and our exhibiting clients, Over the Moon. The show had a great upbeat buzz about it and the additional day was very worthwhile. I saw an array of UK and European licensees and retailers, all of whom expressed a great deal of interest in Pip."
Kirsty Guthrie, MD, KJG

"The show this year was certainly busier than I remember it from the previous year. Of the major principals and agents that I engaged with, the vast majority seemed to have experienced a very busy show and were on the whole upbeat. I don't think I can recall seeing as much senior level US representation at the show as we had this year. The show was certainly quieter on the third day. It might be better to run until 6pm on the first two days and finish after lunch on the final day."
David Berry, MD, Interim Licensing Management

"Great show, the attendance seemed to be perfect and am glad to see that the show has grown this year. The seminars were great and we made full use of the extra day."
Hakan Durdag, CEO, ELC


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