VEGAS 2011: The reaction

What licensors, licensees and retailers thought of this year's show.
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"LIE was a great show. The atmosphere was fantastic, it seems that everyone has now settled into the venue and has worked out how to navigate Las Vegas which is a feat in itself. I actually thought attendance was up, the level of retail attendance was impressive and the quality of my meetings was really high. LIE is probably the only time of the year when we have the attention of licensees and retailers over a sustained five-day period and it is, of course, a great opportunity to catch up our US counterparts and see what our competitors are up to."
Paul Bufton, General Manager, Warner Bros Consumer Products UK

"The total attendance across EMEA felt down slightly from the year before but, from our perspective, it was business as usual with meetings back to back starting the Sunday before the show and finishing on the Friday post the main show. It's the one location where all our offices from around the world are also present, so we can meet and introduce global and international parents to new market opportunities. Plus it also gives us the chance to see what our competitors are up to."
Alan Fenwick, VP, Turner CN Enterprises

"I noticed a lot fewer representatives from licensors this time round which put pressure on those that did attend. I don't expect to see my UK account manager, indeed it is good to get in front of more senior members of staff, but their diaries are quickly filled by the already signed key players. Screenings and after-show events are great for more depth and further networking. Licensing is an industry that relies heavily on networking and the all in one place venue facilitates this very well. It's not just about the back to back meetings, many important conversations happen outside of the convention hall. For me, it was a great opportunity to focus on our licensing strategy for a whole week."
Vicki Lacy, Sales Director, Paladone Products

"For us it was a very busy show with lots of activity. We had interest across various categories and for different markets worldwide, and we also had some high calibre walk-ons. For us, the show performed well above expectation as we had a lot of demand for Sonic in Hedgehog in particular. I'd like to see longer opening hours on the Wednesday in order to be able to meet more people. Also, for the future it would be nice to have an app with a meeting booking tool that links to the hall map, so that people can easily identify the location of your stand. The show continues to prove invaluable as an arena for international meetings and the timing is essential in relation to new licences for upcoming seasons."
Sissel Henno, Head of Brand Licensing, Sega Europe

"The attendance seemed a little muted on day one, by day two the showfloor was buzzing, but by day three the attendance had dropped off again. Monday has grown in importance for pre-show meetings. Overall the show runs well, and while New York still feels like the home of Licensing Show, Las Vegas delivers a different vibe - everyone in one location really provides a focused environment. The feeling from the floor was one of the ongoing appeal of established hits, with few new properties breaking through."
Jennifer Lawlor, SVP Consumer Products, Zodiak Rights

"The show seemed a bit quieter overall and certainly there were European visitors who have come before who didn't make the trip this time around. However, the show works. If you have major principals you have to be at the show; this is not one to miss. The 10am opening on the first day of the show, and the lack of a show catalogue until day two were lowlights, plus if you want the art and design section to stay you must stop moving them around. As a visitor it is a must-attend show."
John McInnerny, MD, Allsorts Licensing

"Licensing Show always proves to be worthwhile for us. It provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase our key brands, generate excitement for the campaigns we will be rolling out and meet with a broad and leading cross section of licensees, agents, retailers and promotional companies in such a short time. Retailer attendance was impressive - with key retailers attending from all over the world from Japan to Spain, France to the UK and North America."
Nicole Blake, EVP Global Marketing & Consumer Products, Classic Media

"I would say that we found the show quieter than last year. We were in a different location and probably one with a generally lower footfall. However, on the positive side, a higher proportion of those who enquired seem to be valuable leads for us to follow up. The navigation and numbering system continues to be a mystery to many visitors, although better than before and helped by the positioning of floor plans in strategic positions. We are planning to exhibit again next year. We've reserved space already - in what should be a more buzzy location."
Lauren Sizeland, Director of Business Development & Licensing, V&A Licensing

"I may be mistaken but UK attendance looked to be slightly down this year. There seemed to be a few familiar faces missing this time around on both licensor and licensee side. The best licensor presentation had to be the Power Rangers summit, while the Hit cocktail party was also very good. Hopefully we'll be back next year. It's a good forum to benchmark and compare similar licences, also to see what's working well in the US and discuss properties with fellow licensees in other sectors. In some cases it is useful in helping make final decisions on which licences to go for."
Phil Ratcliffe, Sales & Marketing Director, MV Sports

"The first day was great, really buzzy, as was the Monday where I took a lot of meetings in the coffee lounge at THE Hotel. Day two was definitely quieter, as was day three after midday. It's essential to have a presence at this show; it's expected. Particularly with Peppa just taking off in the US, it was a good chance to showcase the brand. On the UK side, some licensees only make global licence agreements so it was great to revisit conversations with potential licensees with the US now as a possibility too - the feedback was very positive."
Hannah Mungo, Head of UK Licensing, Entertainment One

"Attendance seemed pretty much the same overall and I think that, after the change from New York, the show has now settled into a regular shape and dynamic that we can expect going forward. The licensees we spoke with seemed upbeat. I think a show like this is all about looking forward and seeing the potential for new brands, so there generally tends to be a positive vibe. It's such a key event in the industry, we'll be back next year."
David Scott, MD, Rainbow Productions

"The attendance overall seemed up on last year and the show was as busy as ever. It was definitely a worthwhile trip for us - both our UK and US offices attended and we were able to pool our resources and get initial thoughts on-site. I think that the show was really helpful. On a retailer level, we didn't feel that there was a huge amount of presence from the UK side, although some good players from the US industry attended."
Robyn Morgan, Licensing Director, Underground Toys

"We were certainly busier than last year, but we had a standalone booth in a busier location, where as last year we shared space with our agent in a very poor location. We picked up over 50 leads, some of which I am sure will result in deals. We found the mood positive, with a lot of interest coming from South America. We found the North Americans are still very risk averse."
Richard Edmondson, Commercial Director, Carte Blanche Greetings

"There was positivity around the show, even though retail is a challenge, with margins being key. Licensors are just starting to listen regarding the desperate need to keep licensed product competitive against retailers own designs. I think a cinema showcase like the one at Brand Licensing Europe would be a good addition."
Martin Lowe, MD, Roy Lowe & Sons

"It's certainly the case that we did not have huge numbers of unsolicited meetings. However, those we did have were with very solid, reputable companies with a genuine interest in the Plain Lazy brand. For me, at least, the show certainly seemed easier to navigate this year. We'll be back next year. If the Plain Lazy brand secures an apparel partner in the US, the team may decide to exhibit again next year - and we would certainly be there to support them."
Jane Evans, MD, JELC

"For Ink the show was good, and my guess is that there were approximately the same number of people attending as last year, although perhaps less were there for the entire duration. I liked the wi-fi - the opportunity to be online while working the show was a great benefit. I think the show needs to work even harder to attract more international licensees. As it is a long and expensive trip for Europeans, it is important that there should be things at the show that you cannot access through your local agent or at BLE. In our eyes, Vegas could also benefit from being more sales oriented."
Peter Schnohr, Ink

"The show was very busy for us, but the feeling was that attendance was down from last year. It's very worthwhile though, as it gives us a chance to meet all our counterparts from around the world and see what they are up to. Also, we had four new brands to launch and we got to meet most of the UK licensing industry in just three days. We met all the key retailers, except Tesco, and had very positive meetings with them about future activities. Our licensees sounded very upbeat as well."
Graham Saltmarsh, Head of Licensing, Turner CN Enterprises

"For me it was the opportunity to meet with international agents from all corners of the world. Personally, I thought UK/European licensee attendance was down. I would like to see the show move back to New York in the near future; I think this would increase UK/European traffic."
Anna Hewitt, Head of Licensing, Coolabi

"There seemed to be a continual flow of traffic and footfall didn't seem either up or down to be honest. I was extremely pleased to have had a number of retail meetings on all days, all with positive outcomes and feedback. It was absolutely 100 per cent worthwhile."
Tim Juckes, Category Director, CPLG

"I have to confess, but I am starting to enjoy all aspects of the show in Vegas. It was a good turn out by us Brits and the show felt familiar and a good place to do business. Attendance felt down on previous years, but it's really up to the individual to make something of the show."
Mark Hurry, Space Enterprises

"I thought it seemed quieter than previous years, particularly off the main carpet aisles, but bigger in terms of number of exhibitors. The buzz was perhaps not as good as last year, but everyone seemed positive about business opportunities and the exhibitors I talked to were positive about the quality of business. Booth design and accessibility to people as an indie UK agent was good, and there was a great mix of brand owners/agents with a great array of brands. On all levels the show worked for me and once again the close proximity to meeting places, hotels etc meant loads of impromptu meetings could be arranged and as ever the networking was great. However, I think that the show treats the art and design category poorly. It's an important sector and once again they were confined to a far corner. Signage and segmentation could be improved. The LIMA facilities were excellent for those of us without booths."
Maggy Harris, MD, Ignition Licensing

"We felt that the attendance was down from last year in terms of traffic flow. However, we had a good show and 95 per cent of our appointments pre-planned showed up. We also had unplanned appointments from various Latin American clients. The trip was certainly worthwhile, but I think the opening times on the first day could be earlier than 10am. We'll be back next year: we have reserved our space which will be bigger and in a better location to showcase our properties."
Richard Woolf, International Licensing Director, Withit

"It felt like there was a good buzz for sure, but the number of people did not seem as substantial. For us, a very worthwhile trip with notable progress on many fronts. A little exhausting with E3 the week before, but it is good they are concurrent now. Signage at the show could still be a little clearer in terms of stand directions/locations. The L-shape does not make it easy to keep your bearings from time to time. I will be returning - it is the one licensing show where there is almost equal prominence to most genres and sectors of the industry."
Simon Kay, CEO, AT New Media

"With over 400 exhibitors I believe that this was the biggest licensing show ever. I think that visitor numbers were also up (yet to be announced officially), but the hall is very spacious which can lead it to look less busy than it actually is. I did some very good business in my consultancy work and from LIMA's point of view we secured some new UK members and helped many existing ones get the best out of the event. Highlight was UK members winning two LIMA Awards - we will set out to get a handful next year."
Kelvyn Gardner, MD, LIMA UK

"I thought it was a little less busy than previous years. I did not have to queue to get in first thing, but that could have been because visitors staggered their meetings or were at off-site presentations. It is always a worthwhile trip to network and pick up the buzz on upcoming licences and see if properties we are interested in have moved up or down the radar. There did not appear to be as much retailer attendance as before, and most of those that did attend brought less people. Highlights? Baby Jake was a complete surprise."
Barbara Robinson, Mothercare

"The show was better this year, especially the first day. We got some good leads from the trip and some good PR regarding our billboards."
Anita Declercq, Team Coordinator, Electrolux

"Attendance seemed a little down to me, but the buzz was better. It was certainly a worthwhile trip from an agency perspective. It was evident to us that licensors have a significant slate of properties to develop, built up during uncertain times, that now require strategic creative thinking and execution to realise their full potential. However, I think the US and European media events such as CMC, MIP Junior and Kidscreen do a better job of getting people off the stands networking and the seminar tracks are overly US centric. Perhaps we'll return; there may be better ways for Skew to reach our client base."
Oliver Dyer, Skew Studio

"From my perspective as a visitor rather than an exhibitor, I thought that numbers seemed to be lower than befpre and the show atmosphere was somewhat subdued. I think one reason for this could be the increasing dominance of big companies, who have very well presented stands that dominate the show. This is good, and certainly creates an impact, but in some cases they have large meeting areas which can be quite sparse. I also think there are more off-site meetings in seminar rooms which may take people away from the show. I also think Monday has become a more important day in the show calendar.
I think the show did lack some buzz and wasn't as vibrant as I remember it. I think the general economic malaise contributed to this, but I do think that the showfloor could be reconfigured to make traffic flow more readily, maybe adding more 'free' exhibits - I liked the Product Showcase near the entrance - and maybe encourage more walk on stands."
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

"Meeting our international agents for the first time, as well as licensees such as Discovery Bay Games and exchanging contracts with two new international agents were highlights. The magician on the Boy Scouts of America stand was very entertaining - a factor that on the whole the show floor lacked. We'll be back as a visitor, but hopefully with a stand presence for the Oxford brand provided by our North American agents."
Hannah Aspey, Brand & Licensing Manager, Oxford Limited

"Highlights for me would definitely be seeing more retailers at the show. Buyer attendance emphasised that this is a valuable show for UK retail. The social side of Vegas is enjoyable and offers a great opportunity to network. 2011 was probably our most successful show in Vegas and generated some interesting leads."
Natasha Dyson, Head of Licensing, Chapman Entertainment

"It seems that the attendance was up. I believe that people are less skeptical and now convinced about the benefit of travelling at least ten hours to the West Coast. Nostalgic brands seemed to be on trend, additionally it seems the show was even more international than before, with some European and Asian exhibitors as well as attendees. It was definitely a worthwhile experience from an acquisition, new business, retailer and manufacturer perspective."
Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, MD, 4Kids Entertainment International

"The show was unbelievable for Bulldog; we had an enormously busy time with queries from potential licensees and retailers. From our point of view, I can definitely say that the buzz was back and in around ten years of attending Licensing Show, have never been busier. Right across our portfolio we had extremely positive conversations. We will certainly be returning next year."
Rob Corney, MD, Bulldog Licensing

"It was smaller than I expected relative to London - my last US licensing show was in NYC. I felt that a lot of business was done outside of the show - at breakfasts and dinners, and especially on the Sunday and Monday before the show opened. It was a very worthwhile trip from our company perspective. I had very productive meetings with many key retailers at a senior level, and built important relationships with key licensees and partners that I would otherwise not have the opportunity to meet."
Nikki Grass, Director of Marketing, Chapman Entertainment

"I certainly think that as an event it has a great presence in the licensing calendar, and is the only show I have attended where you see the global scope of the licensing business. It was great to hear about colleagues' experiences from new and emerging markets, in particular Eastern Europe and Latin America. For me it was an opportunity to build international relationships. It also provided the opportunity first hand to get a real flavour of the US domestic business, which often sets a benchmark for us on this side of the pond."
Susan Bolsover, Category Director, Publishing, CPLG


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