Opinion: A view from Europe

Worldwide Licensing Exposition a success...
May 1, 1998

Worldwide Licensing Exposition a success

Licensors, ad agencies and manufacturers exhibited their wares and ideas at this year’s version of the Worldwide Licensing Exposition (WLE) in Munich, Germany, home to many of the country’s manufacturing companies and television networks..

Experts from all fields spoke at the three-day event about the trends and the issues that are currently facing the licensing industry. Several speakers underlined the importance of creating strong licensed properties, especially in a marketplace where competition to attract the purchasing power of young consumers is extremely fierce. Other speakers told attendees how licenses can add value to existing products, and how they can properly promote licensed goods through advertising campaigns and in-store promotions.

Although the merchandising and licensing industry is still in its infancy in Germany, it has shown tremendous growth over the last few years. In 1997, retail sales of licensed merchandise were estimated at DM1.2 million, a number that industry analysts expect will double by the year 2000.

The issue of securing licenses is of particular importance to German television producers, too. With a glut of programs already available to buyers, most companies must spend a fortune in advertising costs trying to promote their shows effectively. Product tie-ins, such as CDs, videos, fan clubs and toy lines, can absorb some of those costs, while also serving to raise the awareness of a show in the public’s consciousness.

While organizers are planning to hold the WLE in Munich in 1999, they should consider moving it to a new city every year, as a way of generating interest in the industry.

Florian Haffa is a member of the board of EM.TV & Merchandising AG (formerly EM-Entertainment), a Munich-based diversified communications company.

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