Coming off a record-setting 2008, thanks to scorching consumer products sales for Ben 10 and Bakugan, Cartoon Network Enterprises EMEA is widening its remit and changing its name to kick off the New Year.
As of January 1, the division became Turner Enterprises, adding home entertainment licensing and digital content sales to its consumer products purview for Turner Broadcasting’s host of networks (CN, Boomerang, Cartoonito, CNN, TCM) across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Alan Fenwick, who headed up CNE for the region, is taking the helm as VP of Turner Enterprises. He says the expertise built and successes achieved over the past year, in particular, gave Turner higher-ups the confidence to broaden the scope of Fenwick’s group.
Right off the bat, he has sealed a three-year multi-territory deal with Warner Home Video for Turner content. Currently, he says, there’s just a small fraction of Turner’s library available on DVD in the region, and he expects the new deal will add significantly to already strong sales in the category.
Besides test-driving new content sales avenues in home entertainment and digital, Turner Enterprises will work more closely with the channel’s ad sales division, Turner Media Innovations, to offer one-stop shopping for licensees.
‘We’re finding our partners want to work with us beyond our properties and extend the relationship to other [licenses] they represent,’ says Fenwick. To that end, his team has already led roughly 25% of TE’s licensees through immersive sessions on what makes today’s kids tick, designed by Turner’s research arm for advertisers and media agencies.
On the licensing side of the business, look for TE to start launching programs based around non-Cartoon Network properties in the Turner portfolio, including preschool-targeted feed Cartoonito and some of the programming it currently airs. In fact, Fenwick says he’s secured the UK licensing rights to several series on Cartoonito and should be announcing individual merchandise program details later in the year. Additionally, Turner Enterprises will continue looking for new third-party properties to represent, as it did with Bakugan, its first one, in 2008.
Turner Enterprises also intends to expand the reach of its IP into nontraditional licensing categories, including theme parks. The company has just soft-launched a fully branded Cartoon Network park in Kuwait City that’s slated for a hard open in Q1 2009, and Fenwick says he’s entertaining similar offers in at least four other territories. He also suggests that live ticketed shows, modeled after the successful Cartoon Hall events held in Asia and the Middle East, are earmarked for growth.
As for staffing up to carry out TE’s ambitious plans, Fenwick was in the process of appointing two commercial directors at press time. He’s also looking at increasing the headcount in the marketing and sales departments as new business warrants.