Licensing Of Entertainment/Character Properties Continues To Decline
NEW YORK-JUNE 1, 2012: Retail sales of licensed Entertainment/Character merchandise declined 2.2% in 2011 to $10.4 billion, according to The Licensing Letter, an independent trade publication. Retail sales in 2010 were $10.63 billion.
The sector underperformed compared to the licensing business overall, which grew 5.2% in 2011. In fact, Entertainment/Character was the only of the 13 property types tracked by The Licensing Letter to show a decline last year.
That said, the decrease was an improvement over the sector's performance for the last few years. Retail sales of licensed Entertainment/Character merchandise declined 4.4% in 2010, 19% in 2009, and 18% in 2008.
"Reasons for the declines in 2011 included weak performances from several well-established licensors that typically command a significant share of shelf space, along with the difficulty new properties face when trying to break in," says Ira Mayer, Publisher of The Licensing Letter.
Some properties proved to be exceptions to the rule, of course. For example, Star Wars and Hello Kitty were strong performers in 2011. Disney's merchandising revenues were up for fiscal 2011 (which overlaps with the first 10 months of calendar 2011, measured here), on the strength of Cars and Marvel. Its first quarter merchandising revenues in fiscal 2012 (overlapping with November and December of calendar 2011) were flat, however.
"The bright sports for Entertainment/Character licensors are the whole non-retail area, including experiential, content, and service opportunities," says Mayer. While those aren't measured in our survey - which is limited to consumer products - many licensors are reporting growth in themed entertainment, licensed travel services, restaurants, and the like.
"Entertainment/Character properties are likely to see more competition from licenses originating in digital media (e.g., mobile apps, social networks and virtual worlds, and YouTube videos, as well as video and computer games). Already, properties such as Angry Birds and Annoying Orange are generating more buzz than traditional TV and film-based properties. In fact, digital-origin properties, which TLL tracks separately from Entertainment/Character, grew 11% last year. "
Digital properties' presence is still relatively small, however; they cumulatively generated only $530 million in retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2011, with video game-based licenses accounting for much of that.
Contact: Ira Mayer, Publisher, The Licensing Letter; firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-941-1633, ext. 27.
About The Licensing Letter
The Licensing Letter delivers retail sales data, news of deals, contact information, and trend analysis to owners of intellectual property, their agents, retailers, and the manufacturers who market licensed merchandise. The Licensing Letter is published by EPM Communications, Inc. EPM is a member, but independent of, the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (LIMA).