Licensing agents play a vital role in the growth of a country’s retail economy while strengthening the brand value of a company or a product. With India opening up to the presence of such agents, there have emerged a few leading players, of whom the five top have been featured here
Founded in 2010, Dream Theatre is India’s first independent licensing representation agency. The journey of Dream Theatre began in a coffee shop at Bandra in Mumbai with Jiggy George and five of his teammates. They started by acquiring licensing rights for Warner Brothers, Discovery Channel and Chorion. They are centric to three verticals, mainly entertainment, sports and lifestyle fashion. Their client portfolio includes brands like Liverpool FC, Smiley Company, Sanrio, The Pokemon Company, Rovio, Disney, and others. Dream Theatre also has its own brands, including a brand for infants called Beebop that offers a wide range of products available across 900 outlets pan-India.
Bradford Licensing LLC
Bradford Licensing LLC, headquartered in New York, is ranked one of the top 20 agencies worldwide. The company has been offering licensing solutions since 1986, making their India vertical the country’s first complete licensing solutions provider. Bradford Licensing India was formed with the vision of spreading awareness and promoting growth of licensing in the country. Their expertise and operational quality has led them to bag clients like Baileys, WWE, Billboard, Manchester City, Cartoon Network, Chhota Bheem, Pacman, Breaking Bad, Lamborghini Automobili, Swiss Military, University of Oxford, and more. Their multidisciplinary approach towards building LDPs for their clients has been remarked as exceptional.
Black White Orange
Black White Orange was founded by Bhavik Vora along with Diksha Mehta and Mitali Desai who now operate as the CMO and COO respectively. BWO serves in retail, distribution, brand consulting and creative solutions in India as well as overseas. The company, however, realised that Indian brands needed much more in terms of design and creative capabilities, and thus formed an independent vertical for creative solutions. It now creates properties for brands. BWO creates and designs themes that suit a brand, and gets vendors to manufacture and even sell the branded merchandise. Their client portfolio is one the most impressive in the industry, boasting clients like NBC Universal & Dreamworks’ portfolio, HBO’s Game of Thrones, Discovery Inc., Hasbro Inc (My Little Pony, Transformers, Nerf etc), SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali, Sony YAY!, Paramount Pictures, DragonBallz, Fukrey Boyzzz, Rocky, Pink Panther and Sesame Street amongst others.
Media brand Viacom18 not only has its own portfolio but has also been acquiring outside brands since 2012. It started out with acquiring Snoopy-Peanuts and now has the most impressive folio of international and indigenous brands. Viacom18 has a presence in over 180 countries and employs its reach in further creating brand value. Brands like FC Barcelona, Winx, Motu Patlu, Spongebob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and more are in association with Viacom18. It has also been a pioneer in pitching a fight against fake merchandise in India.
IMG Reliance With presence in 12 countries and collective experience of over 50 years, IMG represents some of the most iconic brands in entertainment, fashion, lifestyle and sports. Global retail sales recoreded for the brands IMG represents amount up to $8.5 Bn. Cosmopolitan, All India Football Federation, Mumbai Indians and Esquire are the brands IMG represents in India.
Based out of Gurugram, LicenseWorks is a full service brand licensing agency with expertise in over 60 product categories. Founded by Pranav Anand and Rishab Singhla, the company boasts a total of USD 70 million in terms of retail sales for its clients. Set up in 2011, the company has been growing at 20% year-on-year. The bootstrapped firm has brands like Black+Decker, Thomson, Ducati, SBPRC, and many more in their client folio.