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News of the world: “In 2024 our agency will celebrate its 10th anniversary”

MDL’s Maurizio Distefano talks award wins, continuing to look for the ‘next big thing’ and building a portfolio of strong IP targeting young adults.

For our annual overseas round up, asks a selection of licensing industry insiders in key territories to tell us about their takeaways from 2023 and the challenges and opportunities they expect to encounter in 2024, and for a single word to sum up each year.

Today, we head to Italy, with Maurizio Distefano, president and owner, Maurizio Distefano Licensing.

“2023 was challenging from a business perspective, but MDL had a pretty good year – including Bluey triumphing in the Best Property of the Year category at the Bologna Licensing Awards, and wins for CoComelon and Corto Maltese at the Digital Licensing Excellence Awards.

Business highlights include the launch of wonderful products from Giochi Preziosi, the new master toy licensee for Masha and The Bear. In addition, we have been part of initiatives that go above and beyond brand promotion. With preschool favourite Bing we’ve started a new partnership with SIP (the Italian Society of Pediatrics) and Assonidi (Italy’s biggest nursery association) aimed at supporting the wellbeing of children and their families.

Reduced consumer spending and a lower birth rate are leading to retailers reducing inventory and putting mainly bestselling properties on their shelves. We aim to trim the list of IPs represented so that we can focus on the strongest properties. But will we also continue looking for ‘the next big thing’. We hope to build, over time, a portfolio of strong IP targeting young adults, an area with huge potential.

One more thing: in 2024 our agency will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Stay tuned!

I’d sum up 2023 with the word resilience. My word for 2024? Growth.”

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2024 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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