The first day of Licensing Expo 2014 on Tuesday was well attended and energetic, with most exhibitors and attendees feeling upbeat about strong foot traffic, new relationships, and deals being forged.
A number of news announcements coming out of the show touched on the book industry, including new book-related properties becoming available for licensing and several freshly inked publishing deals.
A new agency, Alita’s Brand Bar, introduced an initiative with St. Martin’s Press in which the Brand Bar will represent the publisher’s leading women’s fiction authors, including Kristin Hannah, Jane Green, Lisa Scottoline, Mary Kay Andrews, and others, for promotions, collaborations, and licensing. The agency also represents the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise.
Merrymakers, which licenses Pete the Cat, introduced three additional book properties for licensing. They include The Wonderful World of Rosemary Wells, which features illustrations from Wells’s 120 picture books; Duck & Goose, a 22-book series by Tad Hills; and Miss Bindergarten, illustrated by Ashley Wolff and written by Joseph Slate.
Scholastic announced the launch of a licensing initiative tied to its August 2015 feature film based on the Goosebumps franchise. It also highlighted the expansion of its Scholastic brand, including a back-to-school initiative with Tara Toys and Walmart featuring 30 educational learning products, a 30-item Scholastic for Baby program from Baby King, and wooden toys from Cross Strategy Products. Scholastic’s direct-to-retail program for branded writing implements and art supplies continues at Office Depot and OfficeMax.
The Copyrights Group, in association with Lindberg Marketing + Media and Jam Brands, Inc., announced the expansion of the Paddington Bear licensing program leading up to the Paddington film in December 2014. New products to hit the market this year range from healthy snacks to kids’ travel seats.
Knockout Licensing, which launched a Little House on the Prairie lifestyle licensing program last week, announced that it is representing a Sony TV series based on the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, which have sold more than 25 million copies globally. It plans to sign licensees in apparel and accessories, home goods, gift and novelty, and collectibles.
As for new publishing programs, the animal-protection group ASPCA announced a collection of children’s books for spring 2015 with Studio Fun International (formerly Reader’s Digest Publishing). Sesame Workshop added Sourcebooks to its roster of approximately 30 licensees in the U.S.; it will introduce higher-end hardcover storybooks tied to Sesame Street this fall. And Activision announced a Skylanders comic book series from IDW and coloring books from Crayola; its master licensee, Penguin, has sold 2.5 million copies of Skylanders Universe titles worldwide.
Meanwhile, movie studio Dreamworks Animation, which launched Dreamworks Press earlier this year, introduced Awesomeness Ink, an imprint that will translate the entertainment from the online hub AwesomenessTV into print.
All told, 400 exhibitors at Licensing Expo—150 of them new to the show, according to show producer Advanstar—are highlighting 5,000 properties, ranging from entertainment and sports brands to artists, fashion designers, and corporate trademarks. The show runs through Thursday in Las Vegas.