Generating an estimated US$325 million at retail each year, the Mexican licensing market is dwarfed by its neighbor to the North. But with the highest per capita income in the region and 33 million kid residents, many industry players think Mexico holds a lot of untapped potential. Certainly that was part of the reason behind an historic deal recently inked between MTV Networks Latin America and the country’s largest media entity, Televisa.
Building on existing broadcast distribution deals – including the placement of Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1 on Televisa’s Sky Mexico and Cablevision services, and the terrestrial broadcast of hit shows including SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer – Televisa is now Nick’s exclusive licensing agent in Mexico. This is the first time a powerhouse like MTVN has paired up with a Mexican broadcaster in the licensing and merch arena.
Under the new agreement, Televisa will represent all Nick properties eligible for licensing in Mexico, exercising a first right of refusal on any new ones to hit the market. Manuel Torres, MTVN Latin America’s VP of licensing and merchandising, says the two companies will formally introduce the new management to Mexican licensees and retailers in February. In the meantime, Mary Carmen Alday Rotter, global licensing managing director for Televisa, says she’s conducting a full review of the existing Nick portfolio, which includes SpongeBob, Dora and Rugrats, to assess what’s working and what category/promotional holes need filling.
Plans are also in the works to craft new licensing programs for Nick properties that will be entering the Mexican market in 2005. This list includes Rugrats spin-off All Grown Up, puppet show 31 Minutos (Nick Latin America’s recent acquisition from Chile) and brand-new Dora offspring Go, Diego, Go! Rotter expects to begin signing licensees by the end of Q1 so that product will be on shelves for Christmas 2005. At the same time, she’ll be managing the Mexican merch programs for Nick flicks Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Barnyard.
As for strategy, Torres and Rotter are sticking to product categories that have traditionally generated heat in the Mexican market. ‘Promos and food & beverage will always be king here,’ says Rotter. But she adds that the prospects for apparel, accessories, back-to-school and board games are improving.
To further cement the relationship between Nick Latin America and Televisa, Editorial Televisa, the broadcaster’s publishing division, has been granted the license to revamp Revista Nick, the Mexican version of Nickelodeon Magazine. Now a monthly publication with a circulation of more than 20,000, Torres expects the glossy to serve as a great cross-promotional vehicle. For example, there will be a number of opportunities for sweepstakes and contests highlighting TV shows that air on both networks. Torres says clients and licensees from both the Televisa and Nick Latin America bases will contribute to the magazine.