It’s all coming together. Licensing, distribution, production-increasingly, you can’t talk about one without mentioning the others. It only makes sense to integrate all three into the same conference, so in the interest of keeping up, NATPE is introducing a licensing component to its KidScreen-sponsored animation pavilion for the very first time in 1999.
Nick Orfanopoulos, NATPE’s senior VP of conferences and special events, says that adding the licensing component is just a way of recognizing the changing nature of the deals already made at NATPE. ‘There is licensing business done at NATPE,’ he says, ‘but until now, just about all of it has been done out of the existing booths. Our goal is to start something new.’
The Animation and Licensing Pavilion will replace last year’s Animation Pavilion, which has shown slow but steady growth from 12 exhibitors in 1996 to 26 in 1998. It will occupy about 14,000 square feet of NATPE’s 382,000-square-foot total, and Orfanopoulos says that adding the licensing component can only help to further the pavilion’s growth. As of mid-December, 29 exhibitors had signed up for the space, with Sunbow Entertainment snagging the largest booth.
Paris-based Carrere will have a significant presence in the pavilion, and head of sales Natalie Bournat says the move to add licensing complements her company’s recent decision to create its own licensing and merchandising department. Carrere’s new licensing head, who had yet to be chosen at press time, will eventually be spearheading the attempt to break into the U.S. merchandising business. Bournat adds that Carrere’s plunge into licensing largely resulted from its sale of Sheherazade to Fox Kids in the U.S. Bournat will be looking for opportunities for both Sheherazade and Buddy Buddy. . . A Dog’s Life come NATPE.
New York animation house GLC will also be testing the licensing waters for the first time in the pavilion this year, with its new property The Buddy System, a 13 x 30-minute series consisting of short vignettes featuring a 3-D CGI ‘odd couple,’ and Chris Hyun, VP of business affairs, is hoping the animation-specific location will help NATPE-goers find his company, which is attending NATPE for the first time.
Bill Hutten, president of Valencia, California-based Encore Enterprises, will be at NATPE for the fifth year, and in the animation pavilion for the third. Hutten handles most of his licensing and distribution through agents, but he welcomes the licensing component as a possible aid to finding new merchandising reps for his flagship series The Chucklewood Critters and other properties in early development. ‘For companies such as mine, it probably exposes us to more people than we could otherwise travel to on an independent basis to explore,’ he says.