VEGAS 2010: The Verdict - Licensing.biz

VEGAS 2010: The Verdict

Licensors, licensees, agents and retailers give us their views.
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"It was a very positive trip for 4Kids/4Sight. We had six new properties to show, each with very different positioning in the market; visitors to the stand were very keen to learn more about them. All the meetings were focused with business in mind, less general curiosity, which made them productive. The atmosphere was very positive from both the larger retailers and licensees. However, the distance is still a difficulty for smaller retailers and it would be good to see more international retailers attend - although there did appear to be more than last year. We will definitely attend next year. The format is good, well organised and it is the rendezvous of the year."
Sandra Vauthier Cellier, MD, 4Kids Entertainment

"We had a great show. Visitor numbers had significantly increased and there were noticeably more UK retail buyers attending, which is a significant factor for us. The increase in exhibitors, along with improved in-hall signposting gave the show a much more cohesive feel. Another nice improvement was the improved entrance area with its marketing and display opportunities. It gave us a great platform to showcase a range of our products to visitors waiting to register, and really attracted a lot of attention."
Richard Hollis, Head of UK Licensing, BBC Worldwide

"The show was buzzier and busier. There were some very good licensor presentations; the ones that got it right focused on later 2010, 2011 and beyond. Warner and Fox stood out, with the Glee flash mob making Fox the winner. We'll definitely be returning next year."
Emma Cairns-Smith, Head of Licensing, Egmont

"Overall the show felt busier and there was definitely more of a buzz. Nobody mentioned New York that much and it seems as if the show has settled in Vegas. The WB showcase was an unmitigated success; the stand was packed and our schedules were non stop, not to mention some pleasant impromptu meetings. The trip was definitely worth the effort."
Paul Bufton, UK General Manager, Warner Bros Consumer Products

"From our experience, attendance was certainly up on last year with many more companies making the trip. The aisles were constantly busy and some of the stands were very impressive. It's a great space for a licensing show. My only comment would be that attendance was low on the final day. In terms of growing our brands internationally, Vegas is definitely the place to be. You'll find us in a slightly different area next year, but E1 will without doubt be there."
Hannah Mungo, Licensing Manager, E1

"Catching up with all of our international agents to showcase our new properties, as well as old favourites, definitely made the trip to the States worthwhile. From our point of view there was great attendance from international retailers and licensees. I would like to think that year-on-year, the show in Vegas will continue to grow. We are already looking to book our flights for next year."
Melissa Brown, Director of Marketing, Chapman Entertainment

"We definitely felt that attendance was up on 2009 and there was a great buzz especially on the first day. However, the last day, as suspected, was significantly quieter and all but done by midday. Although signage for stands had apparently been improved, it was still proving difficult for clients to find booths."
Helen Howells, Commercial Director, Target Entertainment Group

"The attendance and energy level was up from last year and should be even bigger next year. Las Vegas is a superior venue from our vantage point - closer to our home base in Hollywood, more modern facilities, better amenities, lower cost. We are very happy that Advanstar made the move and will definitely be back as an exhibitor in 2011."
Darren Kyman, Executive Director, Marketing & Retail Development, Paramount Licensing

"Overall, traffic at the show was pretty solid, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Chorion booth was packed throughout the show, buzzing with meetings with potential licensees, current licensees, our international agents and retailers. Many of the key people we do business with were there and it was great having so many productive, face to face meetings."
Tamra Knepfer, EVP, Brand Management & Marketing, Chorion

"We were extremely busy with meetings back to back. It definitely felt like attendance was up significantly over last year - not only based on our meetings but how crowded the showfloor seemed and the general tenor of the show. The show remains an important venue for Sesame Workshop and we will be back next year."
Maura Regan, SVP & General Manager, Global Consumer Products, Sesame Workshop

"For us, the show is not about finding new properties - we usually have things on our radar beforehand - it's more about confirming what we already know or moving things to the top of the list following feedback from peers/contacts in the industry. It's always a good way of doing this as everyone is together in one location. For retailers, this is quite important, as we don't always have time to do this in depth when we are back in the day job, with week to week trading. Highlights were the buzz and camaraderie - as always, there was a real sense that everyone was happy to be there."
Emma Baker & Barbara Robinson, Mothercare

"The footfall seemed high, although a lot of people did their networking away from the show or in the lobby, or even in the pool... Also a lot more of the studios and licensors are holding longer presentations for up to 300 guests during show hours, so you have to arrange meetings around licensee availability. As ever, it is good to have the licensing industry in the same place. It's a great opportunity to hear what else is going on and get a feel for where your brands stand against the competition. There was slightly better signage this year, but still room for improvement."
Jane Kennedy, Senior UK Licensing Manager, RDF Rights

"Attendance seemed to me to be about the same as last year. There was a good feel to the show and, from our point of view, definitely a worthwhile trip. I liked the space set aside in the aisles and around the halls for visitors to sit and meet. It was very useful and much better than at most other shows."
David Scott, MD, Rainbow Productions

"The show was well attended and busy for us. In terms of buzz, there is not one lead property like in years past, so manufacturers and retailers alike really have to search out opportunities. This makes their jobs harder, but ultimately more rewarding. The spectacular magic that was in NYC two years ago and years past seemed visibly absent last year, but definitely back this year. The toughest part about the show for us is that you can't be everywhere at once and see everyone you'd like to see."
Carole Postal, President, CopCorp Licensing

"The excitement is definitely back and growth is back on the agenda for most key players. The attendance from EMEA licensees wasn't necessarily up substantially, but the excitement and attitude was much more positive both from the licensee and retailers side. There was an increased interest from retailers for DTRs. Our initial reaction is that the show worked well for us."
Bruno Schwobthaler, SVP, Sales & Business Development EMEA, WBCP

"We found the show very worthwhile, as we managed to meet new potential clients that we wouldn't have otherwise got to meet in the UK. Some of our existing clients also have creative teams in the US, so it was invaluable for relationship building. Attendance did seem to be up on last year and there was definitely an exciting buzz, particularly on the first day. The key exhibitors seemed to have made much more of an effort with their stands. They were much more colourful, vibrant and impressive, which in turn added to the excitement."
Paula Taylor, Commercial Director, Dot Dash Design

"It was a very worthwhile trip, to be able to meet all the licensors in one place in a very short time. We had a number of discussions with brand owners on exciting new projects for 2011. However, trying to get into a late start 10am show and the ridiculous security were lowlights for me. A 10.05am door opening where people could not get in to start appointments at 10am is shocking."
John Carolan, Buying Manager, Childrenswear, TU Clothing

"Overall the show seemed to be well attended by both international and domestic delegates, although I did hear from some people that the attendee count was off from last year. That said, we were as busy as ever, with a huge focus on our new Babar series. Our highlight, without question, was our Beyblade: Metal Fusion summit. We had a large international turn out."
Peter Maule, VP, Worldwide Home Entertainment & Licensing, The Americas, Nelvana Enterprises

"We felt that there was a much more positive and upbeat feel to the show this year, the buzz definitely seemed to be back. Attendance overall seemed to be up, although there were some smaller, more focused teams making the trip from the UK. We had some very good meetings with a range of key UK retailers, as well as meeting many UK licensees. More meeting areas were useful, however the show signposting was as confusing as ever. We'll be returning next year as visitors."
Rob Wijeratna, Joint MD, Rocket Licensing

"I thought the first day was dominated by the bigger players and the big stands - there was definitely a busy crowd around the middle of the show with people wanting to deal with the studios and networks. I would say some of the sides of the show seemed to be a little under populated with traffic and maybe the floorplan needs to be revised to ensure there are no flatspots. For me, shows are a great way of creating momentum - we found people were making decisions and commitments to properties and deals that previously they hadn't been willing to do show. The show, and its London equivalent, do have a real sales focus."
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

"The show was a great success and provided the perfect platform for us to announce the US sale of In the Night Garden to The Hub. There was a real buzz to the atmosphere and we were very impressed with the scale, look and organisation of the event. The US is a key market for us and Vegas gave us a brilliant opportunity to showcase our brands."
David King, Commercial Director, BBC Worldwide

"I felt that attendance was excellent this year for the first two days, almost all the showcases I attended seemed to be oversubscribed and the buzz around the show was electric. But the difference in attendance between the first two days and the last day was incredible. I was really surprised at the lack of people attending on the final day. For me, this was an extremely worthwhile trip, I saw several new properties which were really exciting. I will definitely be returning next year - I'm already trying to find one of the deals I kept being told about that people had achieved."
Alison Pilgrim, Senior Licensing & Brand Development Manager, Golden Bear

"It was a really good show overall for us. UK companies definitely kept it tight in terms of attendance though. I do think the noise levels in the hall need to be looked at; it's tough enough competing with other exhibitors, but an opera singer doesn't help when you're trying to give a presentation! We'll definitely be back next year and have booked space in an increased traffic aisle."
Claire Shaw, VP, Consumer Products & Retail, Classic Media

"I felt there was plenty of excitement, but some uncertainty also. I came across a little negativity; many licensees look to us for new ideas not just the same old ones refreshed. It's tough to deliver every year. It was very worthwhile, in uncertain times it is even more important to get together. Observing this very resilient industry in action is always uplifting."
Paul Berrington, Head of Agency, Black & White Licensing

"I think this year the show has settled into its new home in Vegas well. It's a great trip for anyone in the business to make from the EU as it allows you to contrast and compare the two markets and meet US licence holders and compare notes; never a bad thing to do. There were lots of improvements from last year, but more and better stand information in the hall would be good."
Jeremy Orriss, Director, Hot Topic

"The show felt quieter and smaller than expected, but the stands present looked fantastic and for FME the trip to the US was definitely worth it. We had a huge amount of interest in our brands, in particular a big interest in Rebecca Bonbon. Our schedules were completely packed and we even had some retailer walk-ons. However, the advertising community were noticeable by their absence. This is one of the disadvantages of being in Las Vegas as opposed to New York. The only improvement that could be made for 2011 would be potentially tying in E3 with the expo so that visitors could coordinate their time Stateside better."
The FremantleMedia Enterprises team

"I felt the show was busier than last year, more exhibitors, more licensees and, importantly, more retailers. It was great to be able to sit down with people without fighting for space. The event was very buzzy every day, with perhaps a slight tail off on Thursday. It was extremely worthwhile; I had really great meetings with our licensors and the opportunity to do some very positive licensee introductions, plus there were some excellent presentations. Highlights have to include seeing the Elvis Cirque de Soleil and actually meeting Pricilla Presley and coming off a winner on my first time on the blackjack tables."
Tim Juckes, Category Director, CPLG

"There seemed to be a very positive vibe overall. The companies we spoke to were really buoyed up and seemed very keen to take things forward. We gathered a huge number of what appear to be very valuable leads. The row labelling was much improved, but we still had quite a lot of people asking us for directions for specific booth numbers. I think the balance of visitors needs to be evened out over the three days. Day one was very, very busy and day three very, very quiet."
Lauren Sizeland, Director, Business Development & Licensing, V&A Licensing

"I think that it was a good show. There appeared to be more people in a far more positive frame of mind than last year. The buzz was vastly better than last year and almost on par with New York. In terms of improvements for 2011 it would be great if the layout was easier to navigate."
Alex Bloom, Commercial Director, Spearmark

"We had a fantastic show which surpassed our high expectations. Our schedules were fully booked in advance, but the traffic at the show from both licensees and retailers was strong - especially given the huge interest surrounding In the Night Garden. Our new booth was terrific too, giving us room and technology for meetings of real quality. We'll definitely continue to support the show next year and, given the success of 2010, I'm looking forward to it already."
Tom Keefer, SVP Global Licensed Consumer Products, BBC Worldwide

"The buzz was certainly back and I think attendance was up a little from last year. It was definitely a worthwhile trip. I've already seen business coming through from potential licensees and people that I met at the show and, of course, it was great to be able to connect with some of our established licensing partners that I rarely get to see at other times of the year."
Catrina Stock, Licensing Director, Western & Southern Europe, LazyTown

"Last year felt to me like striking out into the unknown, although like most people I was pleasantly surprised. This year I expected the show to be buzzy and attendance good, which was certainly the case. Strangely, positive aspects of the venue, like wide aisles and plentiful seating, meant that there was less of a sense of the event being crowded than there was in NY - but not being crowded didn't mean it wasn't busy. The trip was certainly worthwhile, although it is written into the Pocket Guide to Being Ginger, never do 110 degrees!"
Jane Garner, Director, Kilogrammedia

"I wasn't at the show last year as I was still on an enforced 'sabatical', so I was comparing Vegas to my last show in New York. I have to say that I was really impressed. My hope was that the licensors would use the new location to make the experience a much bigger media event, and they certainly did. The overall show seemed very positive, busy and well supported by both licensors and licensees. The only downside for me was being without daylight for three days."
Trevor Jones, Licensing Director, Danilo

"The first two days were extremely busy, with larger aisles and free seating areas being a big plus. The Thursday, however, had a knackered feel about it, though this could be attributed to a lot of Europeans having arrived on the Saturday. It was a very worthwhile show and it was nice to see a lot of UK retailers realising its value and sending staff over. We'll be back next year; it's a very good excuse for a new suit..."
Martin Lowe, MD, Roy Lowe & Sons

"I definitely think attendance was up, the show certainly seemed busier and all events and presentations packed in a bigger crowd than last year. There seemed to be a lot more exhibitors too. It was good to feel a better buzz too this year, with everyone accepting of Vegas as a venue. It was evident there were a lot more Europeans there, which helped to improve the global feel of the show. Last year felt a little too US focused. We'll definitely be back - it is a good show and a great opportunity to catch up with all the licensors and agents from all over Europe as well as the US."
Pauline Howarth, Director, Licence, Design & Innovations, Bon Bon Buddies

"I wouldn't say there wasn't any buzz this year, however, it wasn't as exciting in terms of properties as previous years. The trip was worthwhile, though; the networking opportunity alone is certainly very useful, some interesting properties were revealed and there are a lot of positives to follow up on. The international lounge and set meeting areas were very good and the show was much easier to navigate. Someone should invest in a coffee cart, it would take a lot of money as the queues were horrible at Starbucks and the food venues. I thought queuing was our heritage, not theirs?"
Carl Richardson, Kinnerton

"Overall, I thought the show had a better buzz than last year and the layout and the stand numbering was much clearer. I did think that the queues to get morning coffee were crazy, even though the show didn't open until 10am. Also, some areas of the hall were freezing. The biggest disappointment was that although the show was bigger and busier, it seemed to concentrate much more on the US domestic market. A lot of the presentations we attended either had no or very little European information included and they seemed like a waste of time to us. In order to get reasonable costing flights, we had to travel on the Saturday and didn't get home until the Friday night, which is a long time away in order to attend a show for two or three days."
Lisa Shand, MD, Blueprint Collections

"The number of UK retailers that attended seemed to attack the show in differing forms of number and stature of employees making the long trip. Overall, those who did attend, as I understand, thought it most worthwhile. Show highlight was being told by someone, who by looking at the suits thought we sold boomerangs. Will we be back next year? That depends on our tailor."
Richard Radford, Roy Lowe & Sons

"2010 did have a very positive and optimistic spin on it. Our attendance at the booth was twice the results of 2009, which makes us one happy exhibitor. Everyone we spoke with wants to do business rather than talk of the recession and tough retail market of 2009. Even with the increased numbers, we knew many of our clients and prospects did not attend so it has room to grow. Check in for the show was a breeze and the showfloor moved well with larger aisles. Also, the open atmosphere of an L-shaped hall allowed us to take the shortest trip to meetings outside our booth, even when we travelled to the other side of the venue."
Marty Malysz, Dependable Solutions

"I thought this year's show was definitely better attended. The overall vibe was more positive and upbeat; people were there to find new and exciting projects, so our slate was really well received. I will definitely be back next year. I would like the show hours to improve - a 6pm finish is too late, I found most people had left the floor around 4-4.30pm. People want to have drinks meetings and freshen up before dinner and ending the show late made it difficult. I also found that having the show start at 10am meant that more people were having breakfast meetings and not on the floor."
Polly Beel, Decode Enterprises

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