An international view: “Our business is all about a long-term proposition”

TF1 Licences’ Marina Narishkin on managing to avoid a big impact on negotiations in progress and looking to Q3 and Q4.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country across the globe.

LicensingSource.net has been catching up with a selection of licensors and licensing agents from Europe, the US and Russia to find out more about how their businesses have been affected and how they see the rest of 2020 playing out.

Today, we head to France to get the views of Marina Narishkin, director, TF1 Licences.

“There has been a serious work increase despite the business decrease to prepare post lockdown, as soon as the Chinese factories reopened. The licensing trade is a ‘chameleon business’ which is obliged to constantly change and adapt through many fields of the changing economy: online retail switch, e-commerce, new businesses, mergers in the production world and toys and games sectors, etc.

Unfortunately, some small businesses have been negatively impacted, but some sectors have done quite well. Our sister company, TF1 Games/Dujardin experienced a real boom for its board games, especially grassroots family games such as Mille Bornes.

Because licensees are agile and our business is all about a long-term proposition, we have managed to avoid a big impact on negotiations in progress. The French government has also protected the companies with financial contributions which were welcomed to support the economy.

The Q1 and Q2 royalties from on permanent lines will be impacted, but the moderately good news is that the Q1/Q2 are not the big income drivers, the main royalties in entertainment is expected in Q3 and Q4. If lockdown had taken place at Christmas, the licensing economy would have been massively impacted. Since many agents make 30% of their business Q1/Q2, it is always better to do 50% of 30% than 50% of 70%.

The work levels and pressure on employees will increase while companies play ‘catch up’ to recuperate a maximum amount of loss of business.

Unfortunately, we are going to see some bankruptcies, but a couple of major challenges will be the retail environment that is trusted by some massive companies like Amazon. In our environment, companies who survive today are either big and merging/buying companies or small and agile. We need to watch out for over-sized companies and licensors who might monopolise business and kill opportunity.”

This feature originally appeared in the summer 2020 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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