Our annual spotlight on the newcomers to BLE kicks off with publisher, DC Thomson.
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DC Thomson (stand B005) has been involved with licensing for over 25 years, mainly focusing on the iconic characters from the Bean and Dandy comics such as Dennis and Gnasher.

One of its earliest licensees was Robert Harrop and the companies still work together with new products on the way for 2011.

In recent years, the firm has further extended the licensing programmes to include Bananaman, Jackie and Commando products.

At BLE, DC's stand will showcase its key brands and it will be situated next to its UK licensing agent, Start Licensing.

Collins reveals: "At the show we will debut our plans for The Broons – best known amongst Scots - but arguably one of the biggest character brands never to have been licensed."

Also revealed at the show, will be new plans for The Beano, both kids and adult themed products and a new vision for warfare comic, Commando, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, as well as opportunities for The People’s Friend and Shout, the teen targeted fashion title.

Commenting on the firm's decision to exhibit at BLE, Collins told "It’s the right thing to do. We have sometimes been a little publicity shy and not shared enough information about our vision for the brands and what we can offer retailers and licensees."

He continued: "We have massive untapped potential with our brands and are looking to develop new relationships with licensees and retailers."

The publisher is hoping to cover some key areas for The Beano and Dennis & Gnasher at BLE this year, such as toys, stationery and party.

The Commando brand already has a strong publishing programme in place with Carlton, but the company is also looking to licence the brand into a wide range of adult gifts and stationery.

Finally, The Broons covers a wide range of products, but DC Thomson is looking to tap into the digital opportunities for the brand.

Collins comments: "One of our big opportunities is digital – we have access to five million pages of comic book material from the 1930s to current publications."

As well as its strong portfolio of brands, DC Thomson also operates as a licensee, with lines including the new Jacqueline Wilson magazine for teen girls and WWE for boys. Collins said: "We are expanding our children’s magazine publishing business so are on the look-out for new properties as well."

DC Thomson has a wealth of experience in publishing newspapers and magazines and has been in operation for over 100 years, but the origins of the company stretch back further when the company was originally involved in shipping.

The firm publishes regional titles in Scotland as well as the Sunday Post and Weekly News and within the magazine sector, its own kids titles include The Beano, The Dandy, Shout, Commando as well as licensed magazines.

Within its mature portfolio, DC still publishes the UK’s oldest magazine, The People’s Friend. It is still a family business and privately owned with current chairman Andrew Thomson heading the drive to transform the company into a 21st century media business.

Within the group, other publishing companies include Parragon Books, Peter Haddock Publishing, Puzzler Media and leading digital group Brightsolid who recently acquired Friends and Genes Reunited.


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