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Amazon Uses Keynote to Highlight Launch of Merch Collab by Amazon image

Amazon Uses Keynote to Highlight Launch of Merch Collab by Amazon

At the Keynote session at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas yesterday, Amazon launched Merch Collab by Amazon, bringing together brands and a group of about 150 artists to produce licensed apparel and other products.

The program, in development for about a year and in testing for six months with CBS Consumer Products, Cartoon Network, Hybrid Apparel and YouTube influencer Shane Dawson, is designed to speed the process of bringing licensed items to market and making them for sale through a brand’s Amazon storefront.

In crafting a program, brand owners and Amazon create style guidelines for the IP, which are submitted to the artists, who decide whether to create a design. Once a design is developed, it is submitted to the IP owners for approval.  If approved, a product could be posted in the online store in as little as an hour. Brand owners decide how many or how few artists to work with. Dawson, for example, is working with two artists on his line of apparel, jewelry and other products, says Erin Stover of United Talent Agency, which represents him. Under the agreement, royalties are split with one-third going to artist and two-thirds to the brand, which pays Amazon for the service.

The decision to launch Merch by Collab was largely tied to Amazon customers seeking a broad selection of products, Amazon VP Nicholas Dennisen said during the keynote presentation. While brick and mortar retailers typically may carry 2-3 variations of a t-shirt design, Amazon customers may seek 100. For example, the best-selling shirt licensed from Cartoon Network’s “Rick and Morty” via the program features a character that appeared only during the show’s 2013 debut season. There are hundreds “Rick and Morty” designs on Amazon, 84% of which sell, Dennisen said. Eighteen percent of the 84% generate the bulk of sales, he said. The service also builds on Amazon’s Brand Registry, which was launched a year ago in an effort to combat counterfeiting.  About 60,000 brands have registered for the registry, Dennisen said.

“The physical constraints of off-line retail can restrict the types of brands and the number of branded products consumers can purchase and ecommerce removes these constraints,” Dennisen said. ‘The most successful brands online aren’t necessarily those on retail shelves.”

For brand owners, the motivation behind joining Merch Collab is driven by the need to monetize the peak of a show’s popularity, said Veronica Hart of CBS, which launched with Merch Collab with “Star Trek”, “Twin Peaks” and “American Vandal.” In addition, the new service will allow brand owns to test new IP and use sales data to help guide product distribution.

“It is an opportunity to give a wide array of products to our audience and fans,” said Peter Yoder of Cartoon Network. “With all the designs and characters that are in ‘Rick and Morty,’ each resonates differently with each fan and we aren’t able to provide as much we would like to to brick and mortar.”

With Amazon having the ability to print on demand, “it gives us a chance to do a lot more time-sensitive products so if a new episode comes out we have something in the marketplace the same day,” said Yoder “We can that take advantage of the fans wanting to be able to live that moment.”

Contacts:

Cartoon Network, Peter Yoder, VP, 212-275-6535, peter.yoder@turner.com

CBS Consumer Products, Veronica Hart, VP Licensing, 212-975-6894, veronica.hart@cbs.com

United Talent Agency, Erin Stover, 310-776-6229, stovere@unitedtalent.com.

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