Licensing Italia Q&A LAS VEGAS LICENSING EXPO 2019
Licensing Italia, LIMA Representative in Italy, Jessica Blue, Senior Vice President, Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets
L.I. Which are the most important novelties of 2019 Las Vegas Licensing Expo?
Jessica Blue: Licensing Week, the schedule of networking and educational events surrounding Licensing Expo will kick off on Monday, June 3rd. One of our favorite new events we’re launching is “Pitch the Brands,” a new program providing a select group of inventors the chance to pitch their product to an esteemed group of panelists, including executives from Beanstalk, Boy Scouts of America, the NFL Players Association, and Nickelodeon, for a chance to win a prize package valued over $18,000 from InventHelp to move their product forward.
We’ll be hosting the Global Licensing Group Party at an exciting new venue this year, the state-of-the-art HyperX eSports Arena, where attendees can enjoy a night of free game play, drinks, and networking. Sponsored by Ubisoft, a Licensing Expo veteran and leader in gaming, the Party will also feature a video game tournament that will showcase the excitement and production of an eSports match. It’s sure to be an event that attendees won’t want to miss.
Lastly, to enhance the attendee experience, we are moving Licensing University and the Keynote to the main expo hall to make it easier for attendees to attend sessions, schedule meetings, and explore the floor.
L.I. Which are the main goals this year?
J.B.: Licensing Expo Las Vegas serves the global licensing market and represents the largest market within the licensing industry – North America – which accounts for more than 50% of the global market. As the industry grows, we strive to meet the needs of the market and our clients.
The event brings together brands and products across all categories. This allows for new collaborations and partnerships to form that may be a first of its kind. Many of the most successful collaborations and licensed product programs began as a conversation at a Global Licensing Group event. We promote innovation by creating robust meeting places for brand owners, product manufacturers, and retailers. The opportunity to network, meet with partners, and develop new business is of utmost priority.
This year is no different. Mirroring the growth in the licensing industry this year, we’re thrilled to see new brands from growing property categories exhibit on the show floor, including art and design, food and beverage, eSports, publishing, sports, and toys. In fact, we’re welcoming approximately 150 new exhibitors to the show floor this year.
Not only will you find new exhibitors from prominent American brands, such as Bradford Licensing (representing Game of Thrones), Encyclopaedia Britannica/Merriam-Webster, Funrise, Garbage Pail Kids, M&M’s Retail, NASCAR, Penthouse Global Licensing, Summoners War, and Stan Lee’s Pow! Entertainment, but also brands from around the world. New international exhibitors hail Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. To achieve our goal and help foster networking and business development within the industry, we launched Matchmaking in 2016. The Matchmaking Service is a one-to-one business networking tool that lets attendees and exhibitors secure meeting before the show even begins. In 2018, close to 5,000 meetings were arranged via the system before the show’s opening, a huge success. And this year, we’re already pacing ahead!
L.I. Which is the main topic of this year? Why have you chosen it?
J.B.: This year, a category that’s made a big splash in the world of licensed products is video games; we’re seeing eSports becoming the new frontier of sports licensing. This trend will be reflected on the show floor through exhibitors such as Summoner’s War, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and Nintendo. We’re excited to see many collaborations come to fruition at Licensing Expo that will continue to advance this evolution in gaming. With this trend, it was a no-brainer to move our official party to the brand-new eSports arena in Las Vegas.
We also see health and natural products continuing its meteoric rise within licensing. Specifically, many of our exhibitors will be showcasing cannabis and hemp related products. We’re excited to welcome PRØHBTDinto the show for the first time this year. They market lifestyle and wellness brands to global audiences, and their presence at the show will include an exclusive curated marketplace hosting hemp and CBD consumer brands. As the CBD market alone is expected to be worth $22 billion in the U.S. by 2022, we believe PRØHBTD’s involvement at Licensing Expo will open many doors for participating brands in the health and wellness category.
Of course, retail is always top of mind. The Licensing Expo Keynote is a must-attend. Our speaker, Rachel Shechtman, founder of STORY and Brand Experience Officer at Macy’s, is disrupting the industry in all the right ways. We’re excited to have her share her experience and speak to how brands can create a deeper connection with consumers. Brick-and-mortar retail is still the major driver for licensed consumer productions – representing over 75% of all sales. Her Keynote will explore innovations that address evolving consumer expectations while driving foot traffic.