The emphasis was on the tween market, mostly girls, at Licensing 2006 International as publishers and licensed property owners shopped for deals to help them reach that large and lucrative demographic.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products was highlighting Tweety as a fashion property for tween girls. It is talking to publishers about book formats focusing on self-expression, such as how-to craft and fashion design books as well as journals and diaries that feature the popular bird. "Tweety is very much about fashion," said Dave Rupert, WBCP's senior v-p, global publishing, hardlines and Canada. "And the craft trend is very significant in publishing right now." Warner is also developing a line of Tweety books for younger kids, and the company hopes to announce deals for both the tween formats and the younger book line within 60 to 90 days.
DIC Entertainment was speaking to publishers about two tween-targeted television properties, CAKE and Horseland. The first is a live-action series about a girl with a cable-access craft show and, like Tweety, has potential for craft and how-to books. The second is an animated series with potential for fiction formats including chapter books, as well as nonfiction about horses (always popular with this age group). "It's not often that you have an animated property that has real-world applications," commented Risa Kessler of RHK Creative, who represents DIC's properties to book publishers.
Publishers were also exhibiting tween properties at the show, hoping to extend their characters and brands into other merchandise categories. B*tween Productions was looking for licensing and entertainment partners for its eight-title Beacon Street Girls series, which has sold more than 300,000 copies in less than two years. B*tween, which produces some nonbook merchandise in-house, recently signed a deal with Keyser for branded personal care products, according to Bobbie Carlton, director of marketing.
Star Farm Productions' Edgar & Ellen, a Simon & Schuster book series that has inspired a Nickelodeon TV show, was represented at the show by the Wildflower Group. This was just one of at least a dozen edgy-but-humorous goth-themed properties aimed at tween and teen girls. Most properties come from the world of design, but they often have plans to enter the publishing category. HIP Designs' Bad Alice is an example; its agent, the Joester-Loria Group, believes the property has publishing potential in tween formats.
Among the many other tween-targeted properties highlighted at the show were Archie Comics' Betty and Veronica, represented for licensing by Brand Central, whose licensed publishers include Miramax Books, Penguin and, most recently, Cider Mill Press; Hannah Montana and High School Musical from Disney Consumer Products, which has had past successes with tween programs such as Lizzie McGuire; and Coraline, a 2008 film from Universal Studios, based on the Neil Gaiman book.
Guinness World Records, part of HIT Entertainment, was seeking partners in apparel, interactive games and mobile phone content to add to its existing roster of licensees that include electronic games and puzzles. All licensed goods are meant to drive consumers back to the annual Guinness World Records book, said Alistair Richards, chief operating officer, who added, "Even if we make money on [licensing], it's still small beer."