LicenceIndia : What are the key trends in the broader licensing industry? Anand Singh : The character-based licensing segment is set to grow aggressively over the next few years, and with increased awareness and affluence in smaller towns across the country, several global players are expanding their distribution network to tier-II and-III towns. In addition, licensing activity is showing signs of expanding beyond the FMCG sector, and companies in real estate, banking and pharmaceutical are also emerging as a key base of licensees LicenceIndia : Consumers in smaller towns are increasingly purchasing a range of licensed products. How are you leveraging this opportunity in tier-II and-III towns? Anand Singh : Our licensed products are available in more than 200 cities as well 10,000 outlets, along with our online partners. In addition, we get real-time data related to our products from our distribution network and licensees, and it helps in improving our operational efficiencies. We are also looking for suitable opportunities in other countries in the South Asian region. LicenceIndia : Which licensing category in your portfolio has seen the strongest growth in demand? Anand Singh : The strongest growth has been seen in back-to-school category including stationery, schoolbags and accessories. The average purchase size for accessories is Rs 170, while it is Rs 1,000 for school bags. In addition, I would like to highlight that the northern region accounts for nearly two-fifth of Cartoon Network India’s total merchandise sales. LicenceIndia : Competition in the licensing segment is getting rather intense with the entry of several global icons. How are you promoting your merchandise portfolio? Anand Singh : We conduct promotional activities across our distribution channels at the time of launch of products and SKUs. In addition, we also employ a communication and marketing campaign during various times of the year, especially during summer and Diwali vacations as well as year-end promotional activities. Our licensees, too, are involved in various school ‘contact’ programmes, and they also offer promotions and campaigns for consumers and trade partners, respectively, from time to time. LicenceIndia : Kindly provide more details on your licensing activities related to Roll no 21? Anand Singh : Roll No 21 is an animation series related to children attending a school in Mathura, UP, and we have already finalised licensees for back-to-school, publishing, confectionery, stickers and workbooks. In addition, we are in discussion for other categories as well. LicenceIndia : How do you view promotional licensing versus merchandising? Anand Singh : Promotional licensing has been an important source of revenue for us, and we’ve had associations with several brands including Cadbury, Wrigleys and Britannia. This strategy enables both the players to create a ‘win-win’ growth strategy. In contrast, merchandising requires a significant investment by the licensee, and it is also a long-term association. LicenceIndia : What is your criterion for selecting licensees? Anand Singh : We prefer licensees who have considerable expertise in a category along with a well established manufacturing/ sourcing and distribution capabilities. In addition, partners need to have a suitable design team, awareness for kids-related licensingand a strong financial position. LicenceIndia : Cartoon Network Enterprises, is a leading player in the domestic licensing industry. Kindly throw more light on your activities? Anand Singh : Ben 10 remains key to our licensing portfolio across the South Asian region, and we have also launched a licensing and merchandising program related to the popular children’s serial Roll No 21. Apart from that, we also offer merchandise related to Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, and Dexter’s Laboratory, along with M.A.D., our live TV show. In addition, we also represent third-parties including characters like Beyblade for licensing and merchandising activites.
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