Brand licensing often goes hand in hand with great entertainment IP. So, what do you need to know about this fast paced industry? Award winning licensing agent Caroline Mickler offers her expert insights in our latest ‘Connections’ blog.
The landscape in which kids entertainment and the parallel world of brand licensing sits is changing rapidly. The changes are not only happening where children are searching for and viewing content, but also in the way they look for merchandise associated with their favourite characters.
The retail space is also evolving at a rapid pace. While the traditional bricks and mortar stores are still dominant, online spend is ever increasing. Competing for space in the traditional retail store is becoming harder for small or new kids entertainment brands as shelves are often dominated by large production companies’ merchandise. Online retail becomes an important player for the smaller companies to gain ‘space’ for consumers to find their brands.
As online spend grows, high street stores need to create a reason for people to bring their children into stores. Companies like The Entertainer and LEGO are good examples of how retailers are adapting to this by creating a sense of theatre. When you enter the Leicester Square LEGO store in London, it is not the boxes of the latest LEGO that draws you in, but rather the chance to take your photo in the life size LEGO underground carriage or play at the ‘Pick and Build’ wall. Major toy retailer, The Entertainer, regularly has toy demonstrations and character visits to their stores to keep customers coming back.
Keeping up with the trends
It is not only in-store theatre that is important, but also being quick enough to recognise the latest trend such as fidget spinners or slime. These can be successful married up with your IP. Understanding where kids are consuming content or finding the latest trends is now vital for the children’s licensing industry and moving on with these trends as quickly as the kids do is also a necessity.
While linear TV is still an important player in brand building and awareness for entertainment properties, the way the children are consuming these shows is moving more toward SVOD, and user generated content across a multitude of platforms. The rise of ‘kid influencers’ on YouTube creating ‘unboxing’ content of new crazes and toys is on the increase. Social platforms are not only generating the rise of the kid influencer but also the rise of user generated content. Children are able to snap, video and create their own content on platforms such as PopJam, SnapChat and Musical.ly, creating a whole wave of content that traditional kids entertainment properties are also now competing with for ‘eye balls’ and engagement.
One way retailers and the licensing industry have been able to become part of this fast-paced kids entertainment space is through personalisation. Examples include companies such as LEGO creating the in-store ‘Mosiac Maker’, or Evode group working with toy retailer, The Entertainer to create personalised branded products online and delivered to the store for collection. Online, the children’s digital brand, Bebods give kids the chance to create their own character and share their world via the PopJam platform.
The future is certainly up for grabs by the agile in the industry.
Caroline Mickler is an award winning licensing agent at Caroline Mickler Ltd
It’s not every day you make the decision to return to a job you left more than four years ago but that’s exactly what I did, returning to Franklin Rae at the tail end of last year. So why did I come back? Well, that’s an easy one.
Franklin Rae has a long legacy in working with media and entertainment companies, helping them to communicate their messages to the industry as well as promoting their content to consumer audiences. Working with creative companies has always been something I’ve loved and getting to do it at an agency with such a unique offering was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
The team here at Franklin Rae have such a wide range of experience, they all bring something unique to the table. Whether it’s a heritage in working with brands and/or producers, a passion for factual programming, a somewhat unnerving love of Rob Brydon, experience working in-house for distributors, a history of working for the trade press, or a love of all things TOWIE, everyone brings something to the company which helps to build our effectiveness and deliver for our clients.
Not only does Franklin Rae pride itself on its communication strategies, it also looks to bring added value to clients in a range of different ways. Connecting people is an important part of trying to bring that added value and as you can see from this month’s newsletter we’ve spent the past few weeks working with Edge Investments, setting up opportunities for production companies/content producers to meet with a VC and hear all about what they are looking for and how to be investment ready. Our feedback showed that those who attended found the event really useful and that’s what’s important to us.
Our plan for 2018 is to continue working with creative companies, connecting those in our network and adding value wherever we can. If Rob Brydon also wanted to stop by that would be a bonus.
By Leigh Turnbull, Managing Director, Franklin Rae
Christmas is the perfect time of year to look back and reflect on what’s made some of the best TV moments of 2017. There’s been plenty of highlights across all genres in the past 12 months, and the FR team have picked out their favourites. See if you agree with their choices!
Big Little Lies
Sky Atlantic – March 2017
Melanie Webb, Senior Account Director: “I am a sucker for a good TV drama. So, I absolutely loved this series and the grand finale was one of the best hours of television I’ve ever seen. The climax was teased from the very first episode, and part of the intrigue of this series was trying to solve the mystery (before it happened). The series worked back to front, which was a clever narrative tactic. The whole scene was shown in complete silence which not only made it so much more powerful, but was testament to the incredible acting and direction. I can’t wait to see what the second series brings.”
British & Irish Lions
Sky Sports – August 2017
Abi Williams, Account Manager: “It takes something special for me to get out of bed at 8am on a Saturday morning. But, I was committed to getting up and watching all three test matches for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand this summer. And the commitment certainly paid off. After a disappointing start, the last two games made for some of the most entertaining TV of the Summer. I have to confess to watching the last 5 minutes of the final test behind a cushion. Now I can look forward to opening the DVD of the behind the scenes documentary in my stocking at Christmas, and reliving the whole thing again.”
Netflix – August 2017
Xander Ross, Junior Account Manager: “Icarus has one of the most unexpected and dramatic shifts in narrative in a documentary I’ve ever seen. Bryan Fogel, filmmaker and amateur cyclist decided to see how doping would improve his performance in competition, whilst seeing how easy it was to avoid detection. In one heart pounding scene, Fogel’s contact Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov has to escape Russia following threats to his life from the state. I was on the edge of my seat wondering whether he would make it or not. It’s not often a documentary has done that so powerfully for me.”
Have I Got News For You
BBC One – November 2017
Sarah Walker, Corporate Communications and Marketing: “My best TV moment of 2017 has to be when the irrepressible and forthright Jo Brand slapped down the Have I Got News For You all male panel, when they appeared to make light of the sexual harassment claims in Westminster during the height of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Her rebuke rightly touched a nerve and garnered cheers and applause from the audience. It must one of the few times in the show’s history that both Paul Merton and Ian Hislop – and their partners in crime journalist Quentin Letts and actor Miles Jupp – have been rendered speechless. Go Jo!”
BBC Two – November 2017
Eve Edmunds, Account Executive: “The return of Peaky Blinders was long overdue and the perfect way to settle into the long winter ahead. Dark, gritty, grey and yet somehow incredibly glamorous, this series so far has been packed with the perfect dose of drama. Tommy Shelby is the star of the show as he attempts to reconcile with his family in the face of his greatest threat. In this series, the subplot of political turmoil also provides a really interesting historical backdrop to the internal drama. Never has the idea of being a 1920s Brummie gangster been so appealing.”
2017 in summary
Leigh Turnbull, Managing Director: “Despite everything going on in the world this year, we have thankfully had some pretty outstanding TV to distract us. We’ve been spoiled by incredible dramas, both returning series and brand new productions. Favourite moments for me included Olenna Tyrell’s final speech in Game of Thrones, Balaclava Man’s reveal in Line of Duty, the return of Victoria, the finale of Broadchurch, finally getting justice for Barb, everything about Catastrophe, and Tom Hardy being Tom Hardy in Taboo. New dramas to hit our screen and offer some incredible TV also included Three Girls, The Handmaid’s Tale, Mindhunter, Big Little Lies, Broken and Fearless to name but a few.
Not forgetting, we’ve also been treated to some summer fun in Love Island, Stanley Johnson negotiating his way through the jungle, Strictly shock eliminations, thought-provoking storylines from the soaps and the unveiling of a history-making Doctor. As I said to the team, it’s too difficult to pick just one of these but if I really have to pick my favourite TV moment, it might just have to be this…”
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy telly-watching!
This time every year London plays host to the international drama industry. Producers, broadcasters and commissioners from around the world come together to do business and discuss what makes great TV at C21’s International Drama Summit. So what are the challenges facing international drama producers?
During an in-depth panel about TV drama development, Jill Green, Chief Executive at Eleventh Hour Films said:
“The perfect partnership for a co-production doesn’t come along very often. The challenge for indies [like us] is making that partnership work on an international scale.”
Judging from the audience’s reaction, it’s a sentiment felt industry-wide.
This week, we had the pleasure of announcing an exciting international development and distribution deal between Eleventh Hour Films and Sony Pictures Television International Production. A UK and US collaboration that tells a story from British history, set on a US air base, it ticks all the right boxes for an international partnership.
Rendlesham is a compelling and emotional family drama inspired by the real-life UFO incident which took place at a US air base close to the village of Rendlesham, Suffolk in 1980. The series plays out against the height of the Cold War, exploring themes which resonate stronger than ever today.
With award-winning writer and director Joe Ahearne confirmed to helm the show – it also goes to show that great talent is key to making great international drama come to life.
The Rendlesham announcement coincided with the opening day of the Drama Summit, and was received with applause during sessions featuring Sony’s Wayne Garvey and Eleventh Hour Film’s Jill Green. With a full sweep of coverage across the board in Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, Broadcast, C21 and Worldscreen – the news has made an impact for Eleventh Hour at a key time in the industry calendar.
The best TV shows tap into the social consciousness of the time. Love Island gave us relief in a summer of political turmoil and now whether we want to admit it or not – social media is taking over. So when we had the opportunity to promote Keshet UK’s brand new format for ITV2 Celebrity Showmance, we jumped at the chance.
It’s all social
Following three unlikely celebrity ‘couples’ made up of TOWIE’s Chloe Sims and 5ive pop star Abz Love, socialite Lady Victoria Hervey and footballer Jamie O’Hara, and lastly Hollywood actress Hayley Hasselhoff and Geordie Shore’s Kyle Christie; Celebrity Showmance puts the celebrities’ social personas to the test.
The public was invited to witness the burgeoning ‘relationships’ through the keyhole of social media. Competing to convince their social following that the showmance was true love, the couples on Celebrity Showmance truly capture our nation’s fascination with celebrity relationships.
Who’s in on the secret?
The format has created quite a buzz in the press. Our publicity campaign has already featured in consumer magazines across the board, with coverage in OK, Closer, New Magazine, Radio Times, and TV Times to name a few.
It looks like the social world is getting on board too. On Twitter alone, posts talking about the first episode using #CelebrityShowmance had a reach of more than 19million.
Unlike any other TV game show, the public become unwitting judges as each couples’ chance of winning hinges on the amount of buzz they generate across social media.
It’s been thrilling to let the whole country in on the secret and we can’t wait to keep watching. Tune in to ITV2 on Wednesday at 9pm to see how the showmances unfold.