Books are playing a starring role at this year’s Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas, which began yesterday.
Several property owners were highlighting new publishing deals, for example, encompassing properties and formats for all ages. Among the news items officially announced yesterday were DHX Media’s signing of Simon & Schuster as the master publishing licensee for the relaunch of Teletubbies, Goldie Blox announcing Random House as the first licensee for its girl-centric, engineering-themed toy brand for ages 6 to 8; and Scottgames adding Scholastic as the publisher of young adult books for its videogame Five Nights at Freddy’s.
First-time Expo exhibitor Candlewick Press is using the show to gauge interest in a number of its properties. It was spotlighting franchises that have a licensing history, such as Guess How Much I Love You? and Maisy, as well as newer entrants into the consumer products world, such as the Judy Moody series, Leslie Patricelli’s board books, and Bears on Chairs.
Scholastic is touting Norman Bridwell’s original artwork for Clifford, launching a nostalgia-themed licensing program focusing on apparel and accessories. The first licensee, for t-shirts, totes, and onesies, is Out of Print. Scholastic was also highlighting new-to-licensing series such as Whatever After and I Survived. Jason Tharp, author of Super Monsta Friends, was doing appearances at the Scholastic booth.
Licensors of all stripes are highlighting books in their displays this year as well. PBS Kids is featuring Downtown Bookworks’ PBS Kids book-plus kits and Candlewick’s Peg + Cat books, infant products brand Sofie la Girafe has a range of DK’s board books at its stand, Random House’s Ugly Guides are on display with other Ugly Doll merchandise, producer Out of the Blue is exhibiting Simon & Schuster’s Daniel Tiger books, and Hasbro was putting a spotlight on Del Rey’s G.I. Joe novels and IDW’s ROM: The Space Night graphic novels, among others.
The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (LIMA), the sponsor of the Expo, released its annual survey on the size of the global licensing business. It found that retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide grew 4.2% in 2015, to $251.7 billion. Licensed products based on properties with roots in publishing totaled $15.7 billion globally in 2015, according to the survey, while licensed tie-in publishing reached $8.7 billion.