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‘You’ve got to be open to everything’ says LIMA panel

Licensees and licensors welcoming new content platforms with open arms and ready to grab opportunities.

Licensees are ready to grab the opportunities being presented by the raft of new content providers such as YouTube, Instagram, Netflix et al.

This was the overwhelming message from both Gurdev Mattu, md of Fashion UK, and Lawrence Trist, md of Finsbury Food Group, who were both speaking as part of LIMA’s annual House of Commons panel session yesterday (Monday October 9).

Hosted by LIMA UK md Kelvyn Gardner, Gurdev and Lawrence were asked if they would consider taking a licence from a property outside the world of television.

“Yes, without a doubt,” confirmed Lawrence. “We’d love to have a go – why the hell not? It won’t hurt your company and you have to keep an open mind. It would be great to try and get in at the ground floor and try and identify from people where we should be.

“Our challenge is how we interact with the likes of YouTube and other content providers in the future within the product arena.”

Fashion UK’s Gurdev admitted that another challenge was knowing where the next content opportunity was going to come from.

“Gaming platforms, YouTube and other content platforms have been very successful; you have to keep an eye on all of them or you will miss out. We’re trying to grab every opportunity.

“The quicker your lead times are, the more flexible you are, which means the more ahead of your competitors you are. This is a constant challenge and the fast moving content world certainly keeps this at the forefront.”

Eric Karp, head of licensing Buzzfeed, told the assembled delegates that he thinks we need to expand our definition of ‘broadcaster’.

“Content is better than it ever has been; we certainly don’t have a content problem. More platforms are out their right now – Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube… they all need more attention.”

Meanwhile, Rikesh Desai, director of licensing at BBC Worldwide, and Pete Yoder, vp of Cartoon Network Enterprises, said that their businesses have also changed the way they view content to help grow their licensing programmes.

“People are more understanding of licensing now,” said Pete. “People understand the revenue that can be generated from licensing; it is now an integral part of the business and not just an afterthought.

“Each of the different platforms helps create a bit of a particular story or a character.”

Rikesh, meanwhile, said that while the preschool sector was still driven by broadcast, the millennial generation was consuming content in shorter form and were going elsewhere. This meant that the corporation had to switch up its focus, with initiatives including moving BBC3 online.

For both licensors, experiential activity remains key for interacting with fans and giving them an extra experience of their favourite brand – from preschoolers up to adult.

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