Brand Licensing Europe 2012: The Reaction

Official figures show that this year?s Brand Licensing Europe smashed all records in its 14-year history, including 20 per cent more exhibitors. ToyNews speaks to exhibitors and visitors for their views
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Mark Kingston, VP, Nickelodeon Consumer Products UK & Australia

“BLE 2012 was great for us. Physically, Nickelodeon had a much stronger presence than ever before with a booth that served as both a display and information centre, as well as our meeting space. The atmosphere of the event was great. 

"People seemed enthusiastic and optimistic about the industry. It felt as though there were more exhibitors on the floor, with the exhibition hall feeling easier to navigate than it has been in previous years. The Nickelodeon booth was a hub throughout the event with partners keen to talk to us. We will certainly be back next year.”

Johanne Broadfield, Senior Director of Licensing, Mattel

“Clearly the momentum of the past years saw 2012 delivering the busiest and most internationally visited ever. For Mattel, we saw an increase in licensee participation and retailer attendance, both in terms of UK and European customers. The extension into the back halls appeared to work well – visitor numbers did not seem to diminish further back.”

Jennifer Lawlor, SVP Consumer Products, Zodiak Rights

“We came to BLE with a strong line-up of properties, busy diaries and reasonable expectations. The good news is that the show surpassed our expectations, we had a great set of meetings over the three days and a very positive response to our properties. Lots of people commented on that intangible buzz that was around the show from the start. It felt like a more upbeat, positive and dynamic show than we had seen in a few years. It felt good to see the industry in that mood.”

Carl Christian Hamre, CEO, CreaCon Entertainment

“It was a very busy show, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday. The show had a really international feel, with visitors and buyers from all over Europe and the Middle East. The highlight for us has to be the amount of unsolicited interest in City of Friends from retailers and licensees, both UK and international.”

Sissel Henno, Head of Brand Licensing Europe, Sega

“The show was a great success, with very productive meetings with retailers and licensees, as well as new companies looking for opportunities to work with us. For us it was as busy as last year. I’m impressed by the growth of the show and the way Advanstar facilitates the organisation of it. I particularly find the new booking system for stand space very useful as a tool when confirming space for next year’s event. We will be back, bigger and better.”

Tom Roe, Category Manager, Toys & Games, CPLG

“The dust is still settling, but overall it was a really good show. Our stand was buzzing non-stop and it appeared there was significant presence from retail this year, so that was really encouraging. 

"I thought the atmosphere was very upbeat, all things considered.”

Will Sharman, Head of Sales, Maps Toys

“I think there was a bit more of a buzz in the air. The atmosphere was good and there were no problems with the new layout. I still think they need more seating areas for meetings.

I got fed up with long queues for coffee and snacks.”

Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing

“We had a really good mix of meetings with existing partners, some new potential partners and an increased volume of retail buyers. I think we have done a little bit better this year, obviously time will tell. I thought the atmosphere was positive and we were genuinely always busy. My little bugbear is that it would be good to see new companies from ‘new’ business sectors at the show, for example theme parks and holiday companies.”

Marianthi O’Dwyer, VP Licensing & Publishing, The Walt Disney Company UK & Ireland

“For us, BLE 2012 was the best yet. It was by far our strongest year and we hope everyone enjoyed visiting the Disney and Marvel stand and our screening room, as much as we enjoyed meeting with and showcasing our content and franchises to licensees and retailers. There was a real sense of productivity – meetings were happening left, right and centre. Although the show was full to the brim, the wide aisles allowed for plenty of open space between all the impressive stands.”

Steve Reece, Founder, Vici Entertainment

“This year’s BLE was a fantastic, buzzing show. There were more exhibitors than I remember from last time and, as ever, the meetings in the hallway were better than many fixed appointments. From talking to friends and acquaintances, it seemed everyone agreed this was a great show.”

Simon Kay, CEO, AT New Media

“It was a strange BLE – lots of chat but lots of concern at the same time. A distinct air of the unknown. That was retail. Digital was exciting. The layout at the back was nice, but it did not feel like the flow of people worked back there. It would be nice to get more ‘new’ businesses to the show that may not have been in the licensing business before, and from parts of the world where they are just getting into it.”

Richard North, CEO, Wow Stuff

“It’s always a very strong show and a good measure of the value that licensed brands add to the toy industry. The back hall allows smaller companies breaking through to gain a presence. Although in some ways it’s a shame they are not interspersed amongst the main hall, as this would mean they are guaranteed to be seen by many more attendees, who may not normally venture past their pre-booked meetings.”

Julie Quirke, Director of International Licensing, V&S Entertainment

“The footfall on our stand was significantly higher than 2011 and there was a noticeable uplift in attendance of agents and international licensees. There was a distinct buzz on the showfloor with a heightened sense of atmosphere this year; the opening of the back hall improved the flow of attendees throughout the area. We have already booked our new location for 2013, as BLE is becoming a must-attend event in the licensing calendar.”

Richard Woolf, International Licensing Director, Withit

“This year was better; the show has grown and there were more visitors. I thought the atmosphere was good and fairly positive given the economic climate. I had a quick look at the back hall and there were certainly some interesting exhibitors, although it did seem like a separate exhibition. It will be interesting to see how opening upstairs will work.”

Pindy O’Brien, VP Brand Licensing & Retail UK, FremantleMedia Enterprises

“Brand Licensing Europe was definitely better for us. Our stand was bigger and in a great location. My team has doubled in size so we were able to cover so much more and the meetings we had were good quality, with key licensees and a lot more retailers.”

Paul Jackson, MD, The In Thing

“I think in what is a pretty poor current trading climate, BLE held up well. Very few companies will have their best year in 2012, but in general I think the mood was pretty positive. I’ll be back next year.”

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