Inside Licensing News and Notes, April 25
Randi Spieker, ex-Cherokee, Rovio, Hybrid/Jem and Paramount, named Pres. of Brand Central, new position, overseeing all client management, new business and marketing; Janna Markle, ex-Brand Licensing Team, appointed VP, based in Louisville, KY, overseeing the company’s Midwest business along with several food and beverage clients, including Tropicana and Sonic Drive-In.
Imax VR Center in L.A. Sets Stage for Four More This Year
Imax’s new VR center in Los Angeles has attracted 20,000 customers since opening three months ago and has been averaging $15,000 in weekly revenue during the past month, Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told analysts. The facility, which opened Jan. 6, is a standalone center featuring 14 VR 12×12-foot “pods” equipped with a combination of HTC Vive and StarVR headsets and licensed games ranging from Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine to Lionsgate’s John Wick Chronicles. Ticket prices typically range from $7-$10 for titles that run 10-15 minutes.
Imax is planning to open additional VR centers in New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Manchester, UK this year. But unlike the standalone Los Angeles facility, those centers will be located within the lobby of a theater or within a renovated theater, Imax executives have said. The New York center will be in an AMC Entertainment theater in Manhattan and open by June, Gelfond said.
To generate content for the new VR centers, Imax and partners, Acer and Creative Artists Agency created a $50 million fund to create 25 games, including two – Justice League and Aquaman – that are part of a recent agreement with Warner Bros., Gelfond said. Imax owns a “small portion” of the fund. The titles will have an exclusive window at Imax VR facilities before launching more broadly for home use, Gelfond said. “We anticipate a number of deals similar to” Warner Bros., “advancing through the pipeline in the coming months,” Gelfond said.
Imax also is working with Lionsgate, which is expected to release a title based on the theatrical feature Now You See Me later this year.
Imax, Richard Gelfond, CEO, 905-403-4500, email@example.com
Hasbro Readies Subscription Box Service
Hasbro is entering the subscription box business with a service that will launch mid-summer with a focus on games, says a company spokeswoman. The Hasbro Gaming Crate will be delivered on a quarterly basis priced at $49.99. Subscribers will select either a party- or family game-themed box containing three games. Hasbro is handling fulfillment and shipping.
Hasbro, Simon Waters, General Mgr. and SVP Entertainment and Consumer Products, 818-478-4804, firstname.lastname@example.org
Felix to Festoon Dutch Fashion Brand
Dutch fashion retailer Scotch & Soda is venturing into licensing for the first time, creating apparel combining its Amsterdams Blauw denim brand with NBC Universal’s Felix the Cat, says CPLG’s Matt Tobia, whose agency represents NBC Universal.
The collection, which will incorporate 42 SKUs in men’s, women’s boys and girls, is among the first licensing agreements struck for Felix the Cat in Europe since NBC Universal acquired the character in buying DreamWorks last year. The line will be carried starting this fall at Scotch & Soda’s 180 stores. Amsterdam Blauw apparel is sold through more than 8,000 locations in Europe including department stores, independent fashion and ecommerce retailers, but distribution for the co-branded line hasn’t been set, says Tobia.
CPLG, Matt Tobia, Account Mgr., email@example.com
Coty Deal To Bump Up Burberry’s Licensing Revenue
Burberry Group’s licensing revenue is projected by management to increase 20% in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, buoyed by its new agreement with Coty for beauty products. Coty is paying about $150 million for the long-term license plus another $50 million for inventory (Inside Licensing, April 6).
Burberry’s granting of the license to Coty followed some “serious cleaning up” of its beauty business where it slashed the number of UK distributors to 35 from 3,500, Chief Financial Officer Julie Brown said. The move was a sharp turn forBurberry,which set up an internal beauty division 2012 after buying back the license from Inter Parfums. Burberry weighed a “number of bids” for beauty business before selecting Coty based on its “distribution and scale” as well as its experience handling luxury brands, says Brown.
Burberry Group, Julie Brown, Chief Financial Officer, +44 20 3367 3000
The Toy Association Is TIA’s New Name
The Toy Industry Association renames itself The Toy Association, embarking on a new strategy that emphasizes branding and digital communication. The 1,098-member organization is launching a new web site and is expanding core services and extending new ventures including the consumer Play Fair event and ShopToys365.com, a B-to-B digital market for toy retailers and suppliers. It will continue with the North American International Toy Fair in New York in February and the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas in October.
Steve Pasierb, Pres., 212-675-1141, firstname.lastname@example.org.