Report – Steps to Retail Success

Posted on: Saturday 07 July 2018 12:29pm by Simon Bor

Sarah Fletcher (Maximum Licensing) asked the question: ‘Is it tough for new IP to break through?’

• Amazon must help to police licensing better.
• Licensed products help reluctant readers get a book in their hands.
• Licensing is not about exploiting but extending a property.

Ian Wickham (Licensing Link Europe) was first to answer. ‘Yes, it is difficult for new IP to break through’. With major retailers going and others in trouble, the market place is tough. Consolidation is a further problem, the proposed merger of Sainsburys and Asda especially. It’s the discounters who can be used to launch products now, as Warners have with Lidl and Aldi. ‘It’s tough at the moment but you have to know what’s going on.’

Licensing consultant, Richard Hollis, said: ‘It’s very easy for retailers to take licensed products off the shelves in hard times.’ The other thing to remember was that the top 20 licences represent 60% of the market, so it’s always tough for new entrants. He also thought that good licensing was not about exploiting but extending a property.

Gary Panton (Penguin Random House) agreed. Licensed properties might not always be commercial successes, but from a publisher’s perspective, they get reluctant readers to pick up a book. When asked if it’s wise to rest properties, he thought that properties like Beano and ‘Peter Rabbit’ had never really gone away. The danger as an adult is to want to revive something you knew as a child yourself. ‘Peppa Pig’ keeps coming back, because of the writing of the show. He reminded us that ‘Thomas’ dipped after Ringo was dropped as narrator.

Libby Grant (We Are Bloom) said that retailers were risk averse. Going back to old properties was seen as reassuring. She said that retailers often asked for exclusive licences these days, which works with companies such as Primark who want to get product in and out of stores in six months. She said that ‘Paw Patrol’ was a great example of new IP coming through. ‘It’s a perfect storm of the proven success of Keith Chapman, Spinmaster as toy company and Nickelodeon as broadcaster.’

As a licensee, Patrick Bailey (Fashion UK/Global Licensing) said: ‘If there weren’t opportunities, we wouldn’t be doing it.’ He thought that agents were really important. ‘You have to trust people as a licensee.’ He said that if you have the right brand, you will sell it. He would usually want an IP with a TV platform but didn’t think that was the case with everyone. After a question from the audience about licensing online, he said the first thing that had to happen was for Amazon to start to police licensing better. Too many unlicensed products end up for sale there.

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Simon Bor

About the author

Simon Bor


Simon studied Animation at Farnham, and, more recently, was awarded an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University. He set up Honeycomb Animation with Sara Bor and has been involved in children’s television since the mid 1980s. As a writer, Simon has co-written and created several shows including Milkshake’s 'Funky Valley'. As a director and… Read more