Billy Langsworthy talks to Trudi Hayward, SVP head of global merchandise for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, about the success of Thunderbirds Are Go, Poldark’s potential and the crowded boys’ market.

ITV’s Trudi Hayward on the success of Thunderbirds Are Go

What has been the biggest challenge facing the licensing industry this year?

It’s currently a tough market, but we are noticing things improving all the time.

One of the biggest challenges is that there are many similar brands at the moment. In particular, the boys’ market is currently very saturated and with the significant market support behind big budget franchises, it’s becoming very difficult for new properties to break into.

However, I do think strong brands like these are good for the market because their halo effect helps to spread confidence among both consumers and retailers.

What do you want to achieve by the end of 2015?

It’s been a tremendous year for us and, in particular, for the Thunderbirds franchise so far.

We’ve launched the highly anticipated Thunderbirds Are Go series and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic show.

We’re also currently busy preparing for the TV premiere and licensing programme launch of Thunderbirds Are Go in several new markets including Middle East, Israel, Europe, the Americas and Japan.

By the end of 2015, we want to continue to build upon this momentum and ensure the success of all our properties continues into 2016 and beyond.

Where do you see the next big growth coming from in the licensing industry?

I see increasingly imaginative partnerships and product ranges driving growth in the industry as companies strive to bring increasingly fresh and inventive products to consumers.

For example, the apparel category always presents interesting opportunities for brands to be creative and engage consumers of all ages in exciting ways.

Elsewhere, I see technology continuing to develop at a rapid rate and enabling different licensees to push the boundaries even further.

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