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As part of its efforts to help its members and the broader licensing community build diverse and inclusive workplaces, Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry – has unveiled a new Accelerator Program aimed at bridging the gap between underrepresented, diverse entrepreneurs and the resources they need to build profitable, high-growth companies within the licensing industry.
The Diversity & Inclusion Accelerator Program was developed by Licensing International’s IDEA Committee (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility), a group of high-level executives from across the global brand licensing industry working to advance this cause and conversation. The launch of the Accelerator Program was announced at the latest Diversity & Inclusion Workshop Wednesday, Nov. 18, which saw executives from Horizon Group USA, Encantos, Marquee Brands and WildBrain discuss challenges and share insights.
Maura Regan, President, Licensing International: “We have always been committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best and brightest from all backgrounds to our incredible industry. The findings of our study of diversity in the licensing community – conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s University and released back in August – made it clear that there is still much work to be done in this regard, and our Accelerator Program is another important vehicle to continue creating meaningful change.”
Companies chosen to participate in the Accelerator Program will receive benefits valued at over $100,000 including monthly mentoring meetings with industry leaders, enrollment in the Coursework in Licensing Studies professional certification program and a one-year Licensing International membership.
To be considered companies:
Applications are being accepted now through April 30, 2021, and the 2021 Accelerator Program Cohort will be announced the week of May 24, 2021. Licensing International
Noted German publisher Cross Cult, recently announced as partner for Aconyte’s wide range of fantasy novels set in the worlds of many of Asmodee’s games, has also snapped up Day Zero, the tie-in novel to Ubisoft’s sensational new video game, Watch Dogs®: Legion.
Day Zero – to be titled Tag Null in German – is a direct prequel to the events of the game, designed so fans can finish reading the novel and immediately start playing. It follows four diverse Londoners just a few years from now, whose lives are turned upside down when they become drawn into a murderous conspiracy that threatens the safety of the entire city. Hacker, politician, petty criminal and private policeman – for all four of them, life will never be same again.
Authors are James Swallow, bestselling author of the Marc Dane thrillers and veteran tie-in writer, and Josh Reynolds, noted for his many exciting novels set in the Warhammer universe and several acclaimed Aconyte novels. Watch Dogs®: Legion — Tag Null will be released on November 26th in paperback and ebook, with an audiobook edition to follow. Asmodee
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry – is proud to announce the launch of its newest initiative, the Licensing International Scholarship Program. Designed to inspire the next generation of talent while advancing the understanding of licensing in society, the program will grant scholarships to deserving individuals who are interested in a career in brand licensing.
Maura Regan, President, Licensing International: “This program is all about investing in the future of our industry and placing the business of brand licensing front and center among young leaders at the start of their career journey. So many of us stumble into brand licensing by chance. By introducing our industry to students at the start of their professional life, we hope to create a generation of passionate, skilled professionals who actively pursue careers in licensing.”
The Licensing International Scholarship Program will be funded by donations made to Licensing International’s Foundation. Companies and individuals wishing to contribute can do so in two ways:
Fund-raising for the Scholarship Fund will formally begin with the upcoming Licensing International Holiday Party, a global, virtual get-together set for December 3. The event is free to attend, but registrants are encouraged to make a small donation to the Scholarship Program if they are able. Every little bit helps – even small donations can make a big impact!
Licensing International will begin accepting student applications for scholarships in January 2021. Scholarships will be awarded to students seeking degrees in business, marketing, design, engineering, entrepreneurial studies and other brand licensing industry-related programs, who also meet a number of other eligibility requirements. Licensing International
Following the successful launch of The CATAN Puzzle Book, Welbeck Publishing Group and Asmodee Entertainment are pleased to announce that they are expanding this exciting collaboration with further titles based on two more well-known gaming brands from the Asmodee portfolio. This new collaboration will see both Days of Wonder’s Ticket to Ride and Space Cowboy’s Unlock! titles join CATAN in Welbeck’s range of boardgame-inspired puzzle books.
Ticket to Ride, from Asmodee’s Days of Wonder studio is the award-winning game of cross-country train adventure, with more than 8 million copies sold worldwide. Unlock! is a cooperative card game inspired by the hugely popular escape rooms phenomenon, and is produced by Asmodee’s Space Cowboys design studio.
“It is fantastic to work on two more projects with the great team at Welbeck. Their puzzle books manage to capture the spirit of the individual games and IPs. The format of a puzzle book casts both into a new and exciting form that draws readers in and keeps them happily engaged. Welbeck is a fantastic partner to work with and we look forward to seeing their adaptations of Ticket to Ride and Unlock! Soon,” says Alexander Thieme, Asmodee Entertainment’s Licensing Manager for the project.
The Ticket to Ride Puzzle Book will be a narrative trip across continents, and along the way, the reader will have to solve 100 puzzles in order to complete the journey successfully. It will combine the classic board game artworks with the new puzzles, and will be written by experienced puzzle writer and board game designer Richard Wolfrik Galland.
The Unlock! Escape Adventure Puzzle Book will provide a new way to enjoy the popular Unlock! Escape Adventure series by translating the game onto the page to create an engaging and interactive escape room-style experience. Multiple scenarios will be included, written by Jason Ward, a celebrated entertainment writer and puzzle creator whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Little White Lies, Dazed, Curzon, The Quietus, and IdeasMag.
“Both Unlock and Ticket to Ride, as well as many other Asmodee boardgames are ideally suited to the development of a puzzle book journey and we’re thrilled to be expanding our partnership with Asmodee. As with the games themselves, both titles will combine storytelling with the challenge of finding creative solutions to the puzzles embedded in the story and stimulating the reader’s mind whilst immersed in the worlds of these rich global brands,” adds Wayne Davies, Group Publisher, Welbeck Publishing.
Publication dates will be announced at a future date, with both titles to be published in a soon-to-be confirmed range of different language editions. Asmodee
Asmodee Entertainment are delighted to announce that Aconyte, the new fiction imprint of global games group Asmodee, has secured a multi-year agreement with Cephalofair Games to create brand new fantasy novels set in the world of their acclaimed GLOOMHAVEN games.
Created by maverick game designer Isaac Childres, Gloomhaven debuted in early 2017 and quickly became recognised as one of the top fantasy games ever – it currently sits at #1 on Boardgamegeek.com’s all-time best games chart. Collected together in a massive box stuffed with exquisite plastic miniatures, floorplans, rules and an intriguing selection of sealed boxes, it offers an unparalleled fantasy gaming experience. Players are a motley
selection of mercenaries, drawn into strange events in the town of Gloomhaven, as dark powers start a move to seize control. Decisions at each stage as the plot unfolds send players down unforeseen paths towards new adventures, as the game builds across many sessions into a deeply involving tabletop campaign.
The sequel, Frosthaven, is expected to take players north to a previously unexplored icechoked outpost in 2021. The game’s Kickstarter, run early this year, set a new record, with close to $13 million pledged by the time it closed. Aconyte plan to publish novels in both the Gloomhaven and Frosthaven settings. The first Gloomhaven novel is expected to hit shops in summer 2021, with further volumes already being planned.
Aconyte publisher Marc Gascoigne commented: “Gloomhaven is one of the most impressive new games, and game worlds, of recent times. The immense success of the Frosthaven launch has pushed interest in this incredible fantasy world to fever pitch. We can’t wait to bring fans new adventures and legends from Gloomhaven and beyond.”
Cephalofair’s CEO Isaac Childres said: “I am very excited to see experienced writers take on the world of Gloomhaven, and really drill deep into the lore to come up with thematic and engaging stories that are harder to tell in a board game format."
As part of its ambitious mission to set up exciting new content platforms for both wholly owned and top flight third-party properties, Asmodee Entertainment have recently announced Aconyte’s plans to produce novels set in the worlds of some of Asmodee’s most popular games and a host of characters from the Marvel comics universe. The imprint’s mission is to go beyond tie-in fiction and novelizations, to produce vibrant stories with richly imagined characters in living, deeply realised settings. The list debuted in early September 2020, with sales and distribution handled by Simon & Schuster. Asmodee
Our interview with Maura Regan, President Licensing International Inc.
No doubt, Maura Regan (President Licensing International Inc.) is one of the most influencial women in (licensing) business. And a person with clear views and principles, she is willing to take a stand for. We proudly present this short interview with an executive, who has a message.
Bringing more than 20 years of global licensing and media experience, Maura joined Licensing International in December 2016 and assumed the role of President in July 2018. Under her leadership she is serving to help define and shape the future focus for the association. Licensing International is the premier association for the global brand licensing industry. Its purpose is to foster the growth and expansion of licensing around the world and create greater awareness of the benefits of licensing to the business community at large.
The Spielwarenmesse at Nuremberg’s exhibition centre traditionally opens its doors at the beginning of the year. Scheduled to run from 27 to 31 January 2021, the event has been called off in good time as a direct result of the persisting Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in its long history, the world’s leading toy fair has been postponed until the summer by organiser Spielwarenmesse eG. The decision was made by the supervisory board on 24 September and comes in the face of rising infection rates and further restrictions on travel.
A short-term solution to the global challenge of Covid-19 is not yet in sight. The new change in circumstances and concerns over the health of all participants make it almost impossible to stage the Spielwarenmesse and guarantee the customary level of quality at the end of January. Many countries around the world are currently experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 infections, leading to new travel restrictions also in major European cities. These developments are casting doubt among exhibitors and visitors over whether they should be taking part in an international trade fair. This uncertainty has been voiced in intensive discussions with the Spielwarenmesse team.
Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, stated: “We very much regret the decision to postpone the Spielwarenmesse 2021.” Preparations for the 72nd event in January were already well under way. Based on the guidelines of the Bavarian State Government, the Health & Hygiene Concept drawn up in collaboration with the local health authorities and venue operator NürnbergMesse, was well received by all participants. “I’d like to thank everyone who joined us on this path, and I feel sure that the improvements we have made will benefit all future events and appearances,” concluded Mr Kick.
Spielwarenmesse eG is currently in talks with NürnbergMesse to find a suitable date for the Spielwarenmesse 2021. In the meantime, the website at www.spielwarenmesse.de will continue to provide exhibitors, retailers and buyers, as well as media representatives with a large offering and a plethora of information about the toy industry. The digital platform is continually being expanded as an extra service and a complement to the physical exhibition experience. Spielwarenmesse eG
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the brand licensing industry – has launched a new, multi-faceted Career Center designed to connect employers and licensing professionals across all disciplines and career stages with relevant opportunities.
“Providing members of the licensing community with opportunities for professional development and career growth is core to our mission, and one could argue, more important now than ever,” said Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “Our industry, like most others, is in flux right now, but there is opportunity out there, and this new Career Center will help connect the wealth of talented executives in our industry with companies that need their skills and expertise.”
The Licensing International Career Center is available on all devices via the Licensing International website or by going directly to www.LicensingInternational.careerwebsite.com. Here are just some of the exciting new resources available to job seekers and employers–
Recruit for Open Positions:
Manage your career:
It’s always free for anyone to post a resume to the site and apply for jobs. Licensing International members can also post jobs for free, and non-members can choose from a number of flexible packages to list their job opportunties. Licensing International
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the global brand licensing industry – has appointed industry veteran Graham Saltmarsh to head its division in the United Kingdom as Managing Director. Saltmarsh’s appointment marks the beginning of a bold new chapter for Licensing International in the world’s second-largest licensing market. In this role, Saltmarsh will be responsible for advancing the business of licensing across all sectors of the industry in the UK, creating programmes in support of current members and developing initiatives to meet the needs of future members, as well.
Saltmarsh has spent the bulk of his career in licensing-focused roles at some of the world’s most influential media companies including BBC Worldwide and Nelvana. Most recently he served as Director of Licensing & Retail for the UK & Nordics at Turner Broadcasting where he oversaw the consumer product and marketing activities for key properties including “Ben 10,” “Powerpuff Girls” and “Rick & Morty.” Before discovering the joys of licensing, Saltmarsh was a sound engineer and made extreme sports films, so it’s possible he’s responsible for some of the worst music and programmes the ‘80s had to offer. Saltmarsh is a passionate supporter of the licensing industry’s Light Fund and has run the London marathon and rowed from London to Paris with a team of like-minded lunatics. His future fundraising activities will all be beer-related.
“In these trying times it’s more important than ever to bring all the different elements of this amazing industry together to share knowledge and expertise,” says Saltmarsh. “I am looking forward to working with Licensing International and to connecting people who are passionate about licensing and retail to drive the business forward.”
“We are thrilled to have Graham on board, leading the charge in the UK for Licensing International,” says Licensing International President Maura Regan. “His deep understanding of the UK licensing community, combined with a fantastic ‘can do’ attitude is a wonderful addition to the Licensing International team.”
Saltmarsh will officially move into his new role on 15 September and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Licensing International
The winners of the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards were unveiled earlier today in a first-for-the-industry, live, virtual event that brought together nearly 1000 industry executives from around the world for a much-needed and well-deserved celebration.
The event, hosted by Handcraft VP and stand-up comic Marshall Mizrahi, saw licensing powerhouse Martha Stewart inducted into the Licensing Hall of Fame and a showcase of this year’s six international Rising Stars: Krystyna Braxton (NFL Players Inc.); Allison Cimino (RockLove); Carolina Garcia Souza (Cinecolor Colombia, representative of The Walt Disney Company); Gao Qiang (Tencent); Hannah Stevens (The Point.1888); and Louis Yenik (Crunchyroll). Newly redesigned trophies for both the main Awards and the Hall of Fame were also unveiled at the event, designed by Alternatives and PowerStation Studios, respectively.
The 23 Awards winners hail from around the globe, including companies from Brazil, France, Germany, Korea, the United Kingdom and the U.S., and were unveiled by 10 leading licensing executives who each brought their own special flair to the event. The Coca-Cola Company and Sesame Workshop each “took home” multiple trophies – Coca-Cola swept the Food & Beverage categories, winning Best Product for its Coca-Cola-flavored Tic Tacs in partnership with Ferrero, and picking up the prize for Best Food & Beverage Brand of the Year. Sesame Workshop’s “Sesame Street” was named Best Live-Action Entertainment or Character Brand and also won for its “A Cautionary Tale” promotion with Squarespace. Meanwhile, Wildbrain CPLG was crowned as the first-ever winner in the newly added Best Licensing Agency category.
A number of companies supported the Licensing International Small Business Global Grants Fund by taking space in the Awards Program, which was made available digitally Monday. Thanks to their contributions, the Grants Fund has raised more than $110,000 to help small businesses in the licensing community impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To find how to donate to the fund or apply for a grant, click here.
“This year marks the 35th anniversary of the International Licensing Awards, and while we had of course looked forward to celebrating in person, this virtual gathering was an amazing event,” says Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “Perhaps more than ever it was important to celebrate the incredible creativity and innovation of our industry. Seeing the very best work of this industry on display, alongside some of the dynamic executives who drive it, was a powerful reminder that, in the wake of uncertainty, the power of trusted brands and well-known licenses is more critical than ever before.”
Here are the 23 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards winners:
BEST LICENSED PRODUCTS
BEST LICENSED BRANDS
Provided by Bugg Report, Australia
Squatter’s focus on sheep farming reflects the inextricable link between this industry and Australian history more broadly. Since 1797, wool has been central to Australia’s economy, agricultural practices and to the collective consciousness of its people. Early settlers soon discovered that with its infertile soil and dry climate, Australia was well suited to the production of high quality wool. The fibre quickly became the cornerstone of Australian agriculture and the nation is often said to have “ridden on the sheep’s back” as it strove for economic development. The Squatter board-game, which has been a household favourite in Australia for nearly 60 years, offers players a rough simulation of life as a sheep farmer with all the daily trials and tribulations this entails.
2022 will see the 60th Anniversary of the Iconic Australian board-game SQUATTER… With in excess of 500,000 games sold in Australia, it is the largest selling Australian game of all time. This is something to be celebrated and has proven the longevity of its game play. The Squatter team have already begun the planning process for a special limited edition 60th Anniversary version of the game and they anticipate that this will be supported with promotional activities and given its heritage, strong media coverage of this event.
Recent planning meetings have established a global strategy which will see the brand expand into other similar markets in Australia, which have strong primary producing industries including a commitment to agriculture.
The plan focuses on the following:
Get ready for the new card game to join the Squatter station.
This structure will form the basis for the on-going growth of the brand and the team are confident of engaging new generations towards the game and the brand, whist strengthening the aspect of the game’s traditional teachings of how one would go about operating a sustainable business, not just in Agriculture.
Most excitingly, the development and release of two new formats to be added to the Squatter family… SQUATTER MATES card game and SQUATTER COMPACT for people on the move are now underway. These new additions will allow the business to scale and broaden distribution concurrently. With new price points and innovating design and packaging, this will signal a much greater interest in the brand.
Squatter is extending its appeal to younger and more mobile players. Squatter Compact brings all the features of the classic board game in a versatile edition for two-to-four players and is packaged to be travel friendly. Squatter Mates is a card game with a twist for players of all ages who like all the Squatter fun in a faster game.
With these two new additions Australia’s iconic game Squatter presents a more compatible format for retailers with products of a distinctly Australian flavour. As these new advances roll-out, the team have been busily re-contacting both Government and primary industry organisations to secure additional re-endorsements for the game. This will provide added comfort to set a path for the game to be accepted into the schools system around the country as a learning tool for accounting methodology and sound business practices.
An important pillar in the growth plan will also be to work toward the appointment and partnership with key professionals in international markets, including the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Squatter hopes to develop a footprint for the brand in these markets initially and as other markets emerge, duplicate the plan.
Another key activation to the plan will be the establishment of a Custom Division. This will allow for the development of special editions of the game, including limited edition versions such as ON THE LAND… Squatter will look to partner with organisations on a collaboration basis where the Squatter brand can assist in enhancing like-brands and together create a powerful marketing tool.
Squatter, a favourite with Australian families for decades, is a board game with enduring appeal. Players enter the world of sheep farming, battling droughts and wild dogs, winning at the stock sale and wool market and they experience the ups and downs inflicted by the Tuckerbag. Squatter brings cheers and fears to be fondly remembered for generations. Bugg Report
Leading toymaker JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK) is pleased to announce strategic moves to enhance direct sales teams and bolster its supply chain in the key international markets of Spain, Italy and Mexico.
“It is great to have been able to implement these meaningful updates to our international sales capabilities, within a challenging landscape that has been painfully affected by the COVID-19 pandemic”
With a new distribution and logistics facility, based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, JAKKS is well positioned to support its direct sales. By moving goods through Rotterdam, the largest gateway into Europe, JAKKS will be able to achieve increased economies of scale with centralized all-continental European distribution operations.
“It is great to have been able to implement these meaningful updates to our international sales capabilities, within a challenging landscape that has been painfully affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dan Cooney, EVP JAKKS International Division. “We have further established our ability to sell directly, as appropriate, while continuing to nurture and protect our very strong network of all-important distribution partners.”
In addition to its European activities, and after many years of expanding direct selling efforts in Mexico, JAKKS’ Mexico City office is now fully established to manage 100% of its direct sales in the market. This office will both enhance the operations and finance team in the Mexico City, as well as serve as a hub for all LATAM customer support, retailers and distributors.
JAKKS will continue to work with its key distributor partners worldwide to maximize sales opportunities for its broad multi-category portfolio of licensed brands, as well as products based on JAKKS’ internal I.P.. Jakks Pacific
Licensing International – the leading trade organization for the brand licensing industry – hosted its first Diversity & Inclusion Workshop Monday, August 3, bringing together some of the leading minds in licensing and retail to discuss the challenges and opportunities organizations face as they look to enhance diversity and inclusive practices in their workforces and culture.
Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University kicked off the event with a presentation of the findings of their recent benchmarking study of diversity in the licensing industry, commissioned by Licensing International. Among other findings, the research shows that while 30% of companies surveyed currently have a D&I program in place, only 10% have budgeted financial support to those programs.
“If you don’t measure, you don’t you have any substantive understanding of where things stand or a benchmark by which to gauge success,” says Maura Regan, President, Licensing International. “This research is the crucial first step in creating real, lasting change in our companies and the global licensing community as a whole.”
The full research study is now available for download at www.LicensingInternational.org.
Following the presentation of the research results, newly elected Licensing International Board Member Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO & Co-Founder of Encantos, was joined by Petco’s Chief Marketing Officer Tariq Hassan, for a screenside chat about what it means to create an organization that is truly inclusive and how to go about doing it.
“You cannot only do this from executive-level down,” said Hassan. “If you want to tell people to bring their authentic selves to work, you’ve got to allow them to have a place to express it, and you’ve got to allow it to then influence the decisions of the company. … ‘You don’t have to ask for permission to be who you are’ – we have to create a culture that celebrates that insistence. When you put it that way, it stops being about what’s wrong, and it focuses on the energy and creativity of what’s right.”
The panelists who participated in the third part of the event echoed that sentiment, and shared details about how they are nurturing diversity at their own companies. They included: Bryony Bouyer, Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion and Multicultural Strategy at Hasbro; Cindy Levitt, Senior Vice President of Licensing, Mad Engine LLC; Dolores Ordas, Vice President of People and Culture, Mad Engine LLC; and Eric Ueno, SVP of Human Resources of Hot Topic Inc.
Here are just some of the insights that were shared:
Much of the conversation throughout the event centered on where and how organizations can start to take action. To that end, Licensing International is proud to share its new Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit, developed in conjunction with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. For the next month, Licensing International is making this Toolkit available to the global licensing community at large, after which time it will continue to be available to Licensing International members and partner trade organizations.
Download your copy of the Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit here.