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“We have a growing and evolving portfolio”

We chat to eOne’s evp of global licensing, Andrew Carley about BLE, Peppa at 15 and what’s to come.

With Brand Licensing Europe fast approaching, The Source caught up with a number of licensors and agents with successful properties in the preschool space to find out their plans for the remainder of the year, thoughts on the retail landscape, trends and why the show is so important for them.

Today: Andrew Carley, evp of global licensing, eOne

Which preschool brands will you be showcasing at BLE?

At BLE 2018 we’ll be showcasing our hit preschool brands Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. We’re also very excited to be presenting a new preschool property at the show this year called Ricky Zoom.

Can you run through how the licensing programmes for each are shaping up?

Peppa Pig continues to be one of the top performing preschool properties in the world and now has over 1,000 licensees globally. The property continues to perform well in the UK, with sales uplifts from 2017 – which is impressive for a brand that’s been in the market for 14 years, in a very difficult retail climate. The reaction to the brand in China has been incredible. The first of many Peppa Pig World of Play indoor play attractions will launch from Merlin in Shanghai in autumn 2018 before rolling out to Dallas, Beijing and New York through to 2019. We’re gearing up for the brand’s 15th anniversary celebrations in the UK and Australia 2019, which will be marked throughout the year with lots of exciting plans including a nationwide theatrical release, brand new touring stage show, new episodes, top tier partnerships and retail events,  in addition to further expanding our product ranges in new and existing categories.

2019 also marks the ten-year anniversary of Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom and Fiery Light Productions will be bringing back the popular live stage show for a tour of 45 theatres across the UK and Ireland from February 2019.

PJ Masks has swiftly become a leading preschool property in multiple territories and broadcast ratings have soared thanks to a growing slate of FTA and VOD partners. The global licensing programme has enjoyed exceptionally strong sales led by Just Play’s master toy line with products now available through multiple partners across a wide range of licensing categories in most markets which will further expand in 2019. Series 2 launched on air earlier this year to strong ratings and there will be lots more exciting adventures in series three and series four offering a fresh pipeline of content through to 2021.

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Will there be any new launches or sneak peaks of upcoming brands?

We will be introducing our new property, Ricky Zoom, to partners at the show for the first time. The show is set in a town called Wheelford which is populated by motorbikes, led by our hero Ricky Zoom, and we think it will be a big hit with preschool boy audience. It has obvious licensing potential because the characters are vehicles, which we know is a popular play pattern for this age group, and the narratives also show them facing relatable preschool challenges which a broader preschool audience can enjoy.

We’ll also be introducing new elements for all our brands, including Peppa Pig, which has a very on-trend festival theme running through the content and marketing plans for 2019, and PJ Masks which will be inspired by new content coming through in series three.

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What major trends have you seen emerging in the preschool space over the course of 2018? As a brand owner, how have you reacted to them?

Traditional bricks and mortar retail globally is facing significant pressures with the UK probably experiencing more change than many other countries, margins are being eroded and consequently there is an increasing focus on non licensed/generic product.

However, the preschool segment, while not escaping unscathed, remains a strong performing category. In order to sustain the interest it’s now imperative that licensors look at every consumer touch point and help to enhance that experience.

Traditional TV remains the key platform for driving preschool awareness, however, all licensors now think beyond that. Our YouTube team is now creating opportunities to help drive traffic to retailers and retail events as well helping to support our licensees with highly targeted marketing campaigns. We also complement our traditional animated content with spinoffs on you tube that features fans enjoying content and product such as toys in a relatable environment such as a bedroom or living room.

Experiential has become the buzz word over the last couple of years and covers a myriad of experiences. Whilst most people tend to think of stage shows and theme parks we have opened a host of mixed interactive experiences that enable the consumer to truly engage with the characters. Overall It’s a rapidly changing environment with a very tough retail climate, however licensors have never had so many opportunities to directly engage with the consumer on so many levels.

PJ

How important is BLE for you for showing preschool brands?

BLE gives us the opportunity to meet with partners and retailers in a very concentrated period of time and is a great way of generating new leads. I hope that our growing slate of properties demonstrates our commitment as a licensor and our ability to champion high quality original content and nurture that into long-term evergreen properties. Beyond our own portfolio, the show is always a useful gauge of what’s going to be big on the licensing agenda in the year ahead.

What messages do you want to convey to licensees and potential licensees at BLE?

That we have a growing and evolving portfolio that reflects the needs of consumers and retailers and each property presents a strong proposition for long term, well supported sales in product lines that parents and children will love. We continue to invest in the brands and our own internal structure, which has also grown to reflect that evolution,  to ensure that marketing and product development keep the properties fresh and strong year after year.

What would you most like to achieve for your preschool brands from this year’s show?

As a business, eOne Family & Brands has a reputation of creating high quality, original programming that can sustain successful properties. We hope that our partners will be inspired by the new content and marketing plans for Peppa Pig and PJ Masks and that the show gives Ricky Zoom a good launch platform to kickstart the licensing plans.

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