Festival of Licensing: Anna Knight’s interview

Anna Knight, Vice President, Global Licensing Group, was interviewed by Licensing Italia, Licensing International Representative Office in Italy 

Licensing Italia: Why has Informa Markets launched Festival of Licensing?

Anna Knight: We have launched Festival of Licensing for a number of reasons:

At GLG, our mission is to provide licensing opportunities around the world to bring brands and products together through our global events including Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo and our global C-suite conference Licensing Leadership Summit. Because of the challenges and restrictions initiated by the pandemic, we are transitioning these events online for 2020.

This industry – like many others – relies on networking to do business and now, more than ever in our history, we need as many opportunities as possible to meet new partners, discover new brands, engage our minds with fresh content and come together as a community.

When we announced Licensing Week Virtual, we promised it wouldn’t be a one-off stop gap. We had six weeks to design and deliver our first ever digital event and we were taken aback with the amazing feedback that we received. It certainly proved that digital can work; we had over 4,300 attendees who viewed content over 32,000 times and pre-booked nearly 3,000 meetings through our Matchmaking service. Festival takes everything we learned from Virtual to deliver a truly global event with regionally tailored content and the opportunity for attendees to forge international relationships and business collaborations.

It would be an understatement to say the last five months have been tough and Festival of Licensing is an opportunity to really celebrate the global licensing industry and everything it has achieved before and during the pandemic. We want to acknowledge the people and businesses who have stepped up to the plate during the pandemic and shown true leadership, displayed inspired creativity, pivoted with agility or gone above and beyond to help others including keyworkers. And we want to bring some fun back into our lives, to get people smiling again. This industry is so sociable, and we miss that part of our working lives.

L.I.: How many attendees are you expecting?

A.K.: We are targeting 15,000 attendees across the entire Festival month.

L.I.: How much does it cost to attend Festival of Licensing?

A.K.: In line with our offline events, there is no cost to attend Festival of Licensing during the first three weeks. There is a nominal fee for IP owners, agents, consultants etc to use the matchmaking service in line with Licensing Week Virtual.
There will be a delegate rate for our global C-suite conference Licensing Leadership Summit in week four. You can view more information online at www.licensingleadershipsummit.com

L.I.: Can I attend any of the events irrespective of where I’m based?

A.K.: Absolutely. Festival is a global event and we are encouraging international inclusivity and cross-territory relationship building, so by all means log in to any/all of the festival content that interests you. Nonetheless, all events will be specifically time-zoned therefore we do also encourage you to consider that when registering. Time zones as follows:

Week One – Europe – 6-8 October – BST

  • Meetings can be booked from 7am-6pm
  • Live event content and experiences from 8.30am to 7pm

Week Two – Asia – 14–15 October – CST

  • Meetings can be booked from 2pm-11pm
  • Live event content and experiences from 1pm to 7pm

Week Three – US/LATAM – 20-22 October – PST

  • Meetings can be booked from 6am-5pm
  • Live event content and experiences from 8.30am to 7pm

Week Four – Licensing Leadership Summit – Global – 28-29 October – EST

  • Content, meetings and networking from 8.30am – 6pm

L.I.: How many exhibitors will there be?

A.K.: We estimate there will be around 300 exhibitors showcasing exclusive brand, product and content reveals across the festival.

L.I.: Will the same exhibitors be at each event?

A.K.: We are expecting that some global companies will want exhibit at more than one event (just like they do for Expo, BLE and our events in Asia) because that mirrors their business and consumer landscape. However, we believe that the majority of attendees (85%) will attend one of the three regional events therefore exhibitors will meet with different attendees each time.

L.I.: What’s new compared to Licensing Week Virtual?

A.K.: That’s a good question. We have made a number of changes, including:

  • Each experience during weeks 1-3 will be time-zoned to that territory to make it more convenient for festival goers in those territories to view live content
  • Each event will be live for 2-3 days only
  • All meetings (including the Festival Matchmaking Service), exhibitor booths and content will be accessible through a single technology platform
  • The festival is truly global and designed to be internationally inclusive and nurture cross-territory connections
  • Exclusive brand and property showcases from up to 300 exhibitors
  • 100+ hours of live and on-demand, territory and category specific content to guide businesses through the new consumer landscape
  • The chance to discover untapped talent with live License This! and Pitch the Brands competition finals
  • Fully Licensed! An unmissable programme of very special live daily evening entertainment and experiences in each region These will also be available to view on catch-up
  • Community & Wellbeing featuring a celebration of the global licensing industry, a wide range of business/career advice and mentoring, a huge industry fundraiser and wellbeing workshops focused on our physical, nutritional, creative, psychological and social needs
  • Backstage Festival Guides will help festival goers to get online quickly, easily and have the best possible experience

L.I.: Is any of the festival content live?

A.K.: Yes. All of the meetings, obviously, License This! and Pitch the Brands finales, our Fully Licensed events and networking , our live keynote headliners and some exciting content from our exhibitors. As with Licensing Week Virtual, we want to limit the amount of ‘live’ content to ensure that priority is given to the matchmaking meetings. However, all content will be available on-demand

L.I.: Is any content available to watch on demand?

A.K.: Yes, all content will be accessible on-demand either straight away or following a live broadcast. This also includes Fully Licensing! and Community Channel content.  

L.I.: How long will it remain online to watch?

A.K.: The content will remain online for one month following the end of each territory event so Europe’s content will remain online until November 6th, Asia until November 13th etc.  

L.I.: Will it be different content for each event?

A.K.: Yes, each event will have around 85% exclusive content. The remaining 15% will be globally-relevant content such as the basics of licensing etc.

L.I.: How long does each event last?

A.K.: Each event will be live for two to three days.

L.I.: Am I expected to attend for the full four weeks?
A.K.: If you’d like to attend for the full month, by all means do. However, we are very aware of the pressures on everyone’s time, so our focus is on providing as much value and meaningful relationships and content in as little time as possible, delivered as flexibly as possible to suit everyone’s agenda and time constraints. We expect the time zones to become self-selecting in that regard.

L.I.: How will License This! and Pitch the Brands work?

A.K.: We’re delighted that both competitions will be at Festival, especially after the success of Pitch the Brands during LWV. License This! will take place during the European event as a live event and Pitch the Brands will return during the US/LATAM event.

L.I.: Will there be a character parade?

A.K.: That’s the $64 million question, right? We would love there to be a character parade as much as you . It’s an iconic element of BLE and raises so many smiles on the first morning. Right now, though, all we can say is watch this space.

L.I.: Why should companies consider exhibiting?

A.K.: There are lots of reasons to exhibit at Festival of Licensing, including the chance to:

  • Meet and strike deals with thousands of international manufacturers and retailers from the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia searching for new brands to license domestically and internationally.
  • Combine impromptu and pre-scheduled video meetings to maximise ROI
  • Showcase IP to a global audience of retailers, manufacturers and the media through high-spec, flexible digital booths and a myriad of sponsorship and branding opportunities
  • Extend your brand into new categories and territories
  • Network with the licensing community – locally and globally


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