CMC @LBF: Changes and Challenges Confronting Licensing

Posted on: Sunday 17 March 2019 1:13am by Simon Bor


Tim Collins (The Brand Director)


Susan Bolsover (Penguin Random House)

Trudi Hayward (Trudi Hayward Licensing)

Ashley Holman (Riverside Brands)



Peppa Pig took three years to work. A property has to work in six weeks now.

Live and experiencial events bring consumers into a dedicated space with a gift shop at the end.

If kids leave a platform you have to catch them somewhere else.


The changing nature of how children find content is creating new challenges for the licensing industry. Tim Collins, MD of The Brand Director asked: ‘What has been the evolution of the business model?’

Susan Bolsover of Penguin Ventures, the licensing arm of Penguin Random House Childrens, handles the classic characters owned by the group. ‘The world of licensing is now part of everyone’s life,’ she observed, ‘a child’s attention is constantly being grabbed by all sides.’

Ashley Holman, now MD of Riverside Brands is a former consumer products executive of Nickelodeon. He thought that the biggest change in the last twelve years was how TV shows were funded. CP is no longer an add-on, it is the main funder of the show. Paw Patrol, for instance, was brought to Nick by a toy company with Keith Chapman. The problem now was that because CP funds the programmes, there is increased competition.

Another former Nickelodeon executive, Trudi Hayward of Trudi Hayward Licensing, said that a property has to be on every platform to survive. It needs as much exposure as possible because kids are just not watching linear TV. Susan agreed and said that if kids leave a platform you have to catch them somewhere else. Kids can move on very quickly after binge watching a show on streaming services. Trudi wondered how lead times for products could be shortened. Peppa Pig took three years to work, a property has to work in six weeks now.

Ashley said that is was often the case that he had to get a retailer onboard before licensees would commit these days, Susan adding that Waterstones was really good for them, giving dedicated spaces for products like Peter Rabbit close to the books.

Tim asked about the growing dominance of Amazon. Susan said that it was a fact of life, but it doesn’t follow that if you pay Amazon via promotions such as curator pages, that it will always work. Amazon isn’t the be all and end all.

Ashley said that the fastest growth in the industry was coming from FMCGs (fast moving consumer goods) such as yogurts and other foods. Susan added that live and experiencial was rising fast, such as stage shows and theme park rides. ‘It’s a way to bring consumers into a dedicated space with a gift shop at the end.’

Trudi talked about the growing market in China after the changes to the second child policy. What has changed is that China is becoming a co-investor in IP. Tim wondered if Britain might be ideally placed to take advantage at the moment thanks to the China/US spat.

CMC @LBF 2019 #TCMC children's media CMC licensing

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