Building on the success of the 100 licensee-strong Digimon merchandise program in the U.S., Saban Consumer Products Europe is infusing the global marketplace with a steady stream of Digimon product. Initial merch, including Bandai’s toy line, launched in June in the U.K. and is set to hit retail in France by September.
Jean Philippe Randisi, managing director of Saban Consumer Products Europe, which owns licensing rights to the series in the U.K. and France, says launches in categories like toys, books, apparel, housewares and stationery are closely timed with the rollout of the Digimon TV series in these territories. Digimon is now airing on ITV in the U.K. and will appear on France’s TF1 in September.
‘We’re trying to avoid overstocking the property and burning it [out] in a few months,’ says Randisi. As well, he hopes the Digimon movie debuting in Europe next spring will add longevity to the property, along with a CD from Maverick Records, which holds worldwide music rights to the film. Randisi says there will be no other film-specific licensees. Other categories like food-including promotions with fast food chains and cereal companies-will likely be explored for 2001.
Some of the product in Europe comes from licensees already producing merchandise for the U.S. market, however additional French and British licensees have also been inked. In the U.K., they include publishing partners Penguin and Pedigree Books, Magic Box International for stickers and albums, Blues, Distribution Network and Trutel for apparel, Blueprint and Danilo for stationery, GB Posters for posters and Zap for bedding. SCP France has signed licenses with TF1 for videos, Blues Filobranca for apparel, Transcontinental Sportswear Systems for shoes, and Panini for stationery and stickers.
Randisi says that in general, anticipation for Digimon merchandise is high, with the Pokémon craze still going strong and helping to spur interest in these types of anime properties.