The growth of Indian Licensing is linked to a spurt in organized retail

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jiggy-jeorge-founder-and-ceo-dream-theatre-pvt-ltdThe Indian industry, over the years, has warmed up to the idea of licensing. The fact that it is moving to new genres and shifting focus from kids to adults, owing to shows like Game of Thrones, Batman, Superman and host of other big franchises is a testament to this. At the helm of the licensing industry is Jiggy George, Head of The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association and Founder of Dream Theatre. Exchange4media caught up with George who shared his insight on the licensing industry, the reasons behind IPs not being able to leverage success in the merchandising front and more.

Excerpts:

How has the journey been with Dream Theatre and how has venturing into jewellery and digital licensing helped the brand?

As a company, we have always been in the forefront of driving change. We’ve been growing the market from being a kids-and entertainment market to a more encompassing one. We’re driving the strategy for Angry Birds which was India’s first successful digital property, not based in the TV, to become one of the hottest licensing properties in India with a slew of products and FMCG promotions. We also explored new areas of licensing like a jewellery collaboration with Mrinalini Chandra for Candy Crush – a collaboration that brought together a new age digital property with India’s jewellery legacy using craft techniques like Meenakari and Jaali. In yet another first, we represent two YouTube phenomenon, ChuChu TV and Gummy Bear for global rights.

Being the pioneer in the industry, can you tell us about the kind of growth that the licensing sector has witnessed? How much is the industry pegged at?

It’s a sea change! The pre-licensing era was the pirated, parallel imports days without any active legitimate licensees or play in the market. And today, along with Brazil and China, we are the emerging market of the world in licensing, valued at US $1396 million of retail sales as of 2016. It’s a market teeming with opportunities across multiple licensing genres and a solid base of property owners, licensors, representative agents, licensees, retailers and allied firms at play.

While there is a latent demand for products, has retail addressed the penetration and have knock offs reduced?

One of the tick marks for licensing to success in any market is organized retail and this is one place India lags behind woefully. Organized retail is still less than 10 per cent of the market and therefore there is a massive gap in demand and supply of authentic licensed products. The result is piracy. India now has a strong set up of licensees which are able to create world class products at prices that work for India, but we still have a long way to go to reach every consumer and every fan. E-commerce has managed to address this to some extent; licensing will really flourish with the growth of retail.

What are the reasons behind IPs not being able to leverage success on the merchandising front?

India has had some great success stories with home grown IPs like Chota Bheem which also has a very successful licensing program. While there are some massive hits of local IPs on TV, most of them have not been able to leverage the same success on the merchandising front. Licensing needs a long term vision and strategy and needs to be a part of the blueprint when a property is being created.

More often than not what we see in India is that after a property becomes a hit on TV, its quickly extended into licensing as an afterthought. For instance, Dream Theatre is the global licensing partner for ChuChu TV, but before embarking on the licensing journey, we worked closely with the team to set the vision, the strategy and got the property license ready. This deep dive into planning the licensing objectives, life -cycle and the strategy is what most Indian IPs lack and are therefore not able to reach their full potential.

How does licensing help in elevating campaign presence?

Licensing based campaigns are clutter breaking and effective. We are so used to seeing the same principles and communication strategies at play for years that they are now falling on blind spots. Using licensing to align the communication message or product DNA can really help create stand-out communication, more-so in the digital space and this is one area which marketers and agencies need to push harder. Licensing has delivered solid results in promotional licensing across FMCG players versus same old generic promotions and it has the same potential for delivering the message and achieving the objectives for marketing.

What is the way forward for Dream Theatre and your recent venture Mojostar?

For Dream Theatre, we see massive potential of the overall business in India and will continue to consolidate our leadership position in Entertainment, Sports and Lifestyle. 2018 will see a special focus on growing Lifestyle brands and DTRs in retail and a lot more engagement at retail. On the international front, we are in discussion with a few iconic properties which we will be announcing soon. Our quest for doing more, pushing the envelope, bringing the best of international to India and vice versa will continue through 2018.

In India, there is an obvious market opportunity for celebrity brands but the authentic approach to celebrity brand creation has not yet matured. And this is where Mojostar is laser focused and envisages creating three to four celebrity partnered brands in the next five years.

Does same celeb ambassador for decades help a brand?

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ambassadors-celebrity-thinkstockIn early February, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan dazzled Australians by appearing in a black fishtail-style gown with a perfectly fitting lace bodice embellished with gemstones. The former beauty queen was attending the launch of a Longines boutique in Sydney in her capacity as the Ambassador of Elegance for the Swiss premium watch brand. Rai has been the face of Longines since 1999 and more recently, the endorser of French cosmetics brand L’Oreal since 2003. Likewise, her Bollywood counterpart Shah Rukh Khan can boast of South Korean automobile giant Hyundai retaining him as their ambassador for two decades (and more).

Brands are often seen changing their celeb ambassadors as the seasons change, bringing in currently reigning icons and younger faces to portray the brand’s evolving qualities. Why then do certain brands prefer continuing their association with a particular celeb for years together?

Brands are all about the long-term, about consistency; and if the celebrity too can be ‘long-term’, it’s a rare phenomenon, says advertising and branding veteran Ramanujam Sridhar. He says Hyundai (for example) have acknowledged the value of Shah Rukh to the brand’s launch, success, and growth. “Shah Rukh has been involved with the launch of the company when it was not so well-known here and SRK was the big brand. His ads ‘Should I or Shouldn’t I’ certainly made waves. His charisma and appeal to women helped the brand as he did commercials with Preity Zinta. It’s a tribute to the resilience of the star and the consistency of the brand owners that the association has endured,” says Sridhar.

Just like in any partnership, long-term associations, especially when they continue to stay relevant, are always good for a brand, says Jiggy George, founder & CEO of brand management and licensing company Dream Theatre. According to George, the brand and the celeb must continue to evolve and echo the same DNA. “The celeb’s performance equity must continue to grow in such associations and if that is not the case, the association can run the risk of being out-of-touch,” says George.

Moreover, having the same ambassador enhances brand recognition and recall, say experts, as the celeb becomes the signature of the brand, helping the message to get delivered faster to the consumer.

However, the drawbacks of the same face for a brand are too many to be ignored. Long-term associations with a celeb can do more harm than good, says Kaustav Das, CEO of creative agency Ralph & Das.

Firstly, says Das, the brand’s fortunes get inexorably linked to the celeb’s fortunes. If the celeb faces a controversy or his or her performance sinks, it impacts the brand. “Secondly, celebs age and their personality matures over time. But brands have to evolve and stay fresh all the time. Celebs cannot necessarily evolve to comply with a brand’s re-set vision,” says Das, who feels that hiring celebs ‘’is the conventional wisdom of lazy marketers.”

Having different ambassadors helps maintain freshness in a brand’s communication, say experts, “As new celeb endorsers address changes in consumer preferences. It also helps to send out a new message or advocate a novel product or service with a new celeb.”

Do mascots like the Amul baby or Air India maharaja stand a better chance over celebs then?

“Perhaps”, feel experts. Das says the mascot can evolve. “A fine example is the V-Guard kangaroo evolving after 40 years. Or the Qantas Airlines kangaroo that has undergone changes over the years.”

Mascots can never get into controversies, says Sridhar. “But the challenge is that they have no appeal of their own and it has to be entirely created. But brands like Amul have managed to do it over the years.’’

Mascots can also be used to convey topical messages (like the Amul baby) “without having to resort to long-term planning, coordination, shoots, etc. But mascots have to be created and invested in over decades to turn legendary,” says George.

‘CELEBRITY’ING
Having the same ambassador enhances brand recognition and recall, say experts
A celebrity or a mascot becomes the signature of the brand
But having different ambassadors helps maintain freshness in a brand’s communication

Tiger Shroff launches active lifestyle brand ‘PROWL’

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MUMBAI: Joining the long list of celebrities like Hrithik Roshan and Virat Kohli, Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff has unveiled his first active lifestyle brand, PROWL.

The brand is jointly created and owned by Shroff and Mojostar, a joint venture between Kwan Entertainment and Dream Theatre.

This is the first brand launch for Mojostar, which has plans to create a house of lifestyle brands with celebrities.

PROWL will target young consumers, who lead a high activity lifestyle and are constantly on the move. It will feature clothing and accessories to fit the target consumer’s active lifestyles.

PROWL is expected to go live for consumers by June 2018 and products will be priced between Rs 1,000 – 3000, available on all leading e-commerce platforms.

Abhishek Verma, CEO, Mojostar said, “There is a gap in the active wear market; in products for hyperactive young Indians. We find that traditional active wear brands have over specified the products, whereas the young consumers want simplified functional products that offer great style. Products that help you look amazing, are suited for multi-functional movement and are easy to maintain, is the need of this market. We are committed to providing that.”

“I am a part of creating this brand and it feels great to be involved with everything and at every stage. This brand is a reflection of my identity and this is how I live. I love to be active through the day, which is why I want to wear something that is stylish, looks good, and yet gives me the freedom of uninhibited movement”, said Tiger Shroff.

Pegged at around $7 billion in size, active wear industry is growing at 18-20% annually. However, the space is dominated by international brands.

 

Courtesy: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com

How Hollywood is cashing in on appetite for branded merchandise in India

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The market for licensed merchandise in India is exploding; according to a recent report by ESP, a Group M company, licensing and merchandising (L&M) is a staggering Rs 87,000 crore plus industry in the country. This constitutes between five and seven per cent of the global L&M market, small but significant enough for every superhero franchise to flood the market with a figurine or branded accessory. However, less than 10 per cent of the total Indian L&M pie comes from Indian brands. and American pop culture rules the niche, even as studios put their might behind popular domestic television icons and Bollywood and the Indian Premier League bring out their celebrity led merchandise.For Hollywood, the L&M market in India is now an integral part of their movie marketing strategy. The pre- and post-release weeks are marked by a slew of products around the movies, their contribution to the total kitty growing at a steady clip. This year, for instance, Disney has a range of merchandise around its latest Star Wars movie (The Last Jedi) just as it had for Thor: Ragnarok towards the end of 2017. Sony Pictures too has an assortment of products ready around its latest release Jumanji 2. But none of the big Bollywood releases over the past two years (Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is the exception) have even come close. What is holding them back?

Not just child’s playMerchandise is not just a kids’ game; that is what most Bollywood producers and Indian television magnates do not understand say industry experts. So far the maximum efforts have been towards popularising licensed merchandise in the kids’ entertainment genre. From Chhota Bheem (Turner) to Motu and Patlu and Shiva (Viacom18), the popular characters have been used to develop merchandise aimed at school-going kids.

However this is a rather myopic view of the opportunity believes Bhavik Vora, founder and CEO of brand consultancy Black White & Orange Brands. Especially because the growth of online marketplaces in India has opened up an effective sales channel for such products and the global playbook of studios shows that the young adults and even people in the late twenties to early thirties are big consumers of merchandise.“While kids’ (entertainment) brands have got traction, it is a limited audience, so the scope to scale up is limited. What is attractive, from a business point of view, about the licensing rights from Marvel, DC and some of their TV shows, is that it lets one tap into the 14-35 year age group, which is scalable.” Also this is the age group that transitions from being dependent on parents to fulfil their demands to being able to buy their own merchandise. No one can afford to ignore this group, he believes.And yet Indian brands have repeatedly done that. Currently, with the exception of Baahubali to some extent, there has been no effort to nurture an older age group of consumers. Instead brands fashioned on characters from the Marvel and DC universe, or from popular shows like Game of Thrones, the Big Bang Theory or even Friends which went off air 14 years ago, are focused intently on this age group.

Underestimating the opportunityHome-grown content producers and IP (intellectual property) owners have also failed to recognize the potential of the merchandise market. Jiggy George, founder, Dream Theatre that works with several international studios on their merchandise development in India says, “The focus on homegrown IP’s started only three to five years back. Indian broadcasters were late to party in a way.

In addition, there seems to be little or concerted effort to work towards growing the eco-system.”George believes that the potential (even in the kids’ genre) for L&M is huge. This is evident from the huge viewership numbers many of the kids’ shows stack up. But converting this audience into merchandise fans is a hurdle that few have been able to cross. And just as the game has spun away from the domestic content producers in the kids’ genre, it is set to go the same way for Bollywood and sports—the two areas that have big merchandising potential in the country.The Indian Premier League franchises like Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Bengal Warriors (Pro Kabaddi) and the All India Football Federation have tried but not been successful so far. Ditto for Bollywood. In the past, films like Ra. One, and Krrish have launched merchandise around their movies as have recent titles like Raees and Rock On 2 but the response has been tepid.“The most important lesson that Bollywood could learn from its western counterparts is the way it looks at merchandising. It’s still treated like as marketing tool more than a revenue stream. The effort invested in growing it is insufficient. For the L&M piece to make business sense, a significant investment and a long-term plan needs to be in place. That, unfortunately, isn’t happening,” Vora says.Another area that could see some traction this year is celebrity licensing and here many believe Indian sports heroes have learned their lessons well.

Be it Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma, and several others, there have been a spate of celebrities taking themselves to the shelves. However, the big challenge here would be to ensure that personality is not lost in making of the product.“For celebrity owned labels or merchandise to work, the product has to be immaculate. The Indian consumer is very costly and quality conscious and if the product is not up to the mark, it could backfire,” says George. Celebrities must also ensure that their labels eventually turn independent of their success or failure on the screen or on the field. Vora believes that patience is the key and the only Indian brand to have done this is Salman Khan’s Being Human. No amount of controversy or failure keeps fans away from his label; now that is a consumer that every celebrity covets.

Trends In Brand Management

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Angry birds

Top brand trends world over and in India saw a few patterns that will continue to be at play in 2018 as well. A quick note on a few key trends as we see it emerge and take center stage from the lens of licensing:

The growing influence of social media marketing allowing brands to connect directly and meaningfully with consumers and a trend within the ambit of social media marketing was the was of the rising importance of content – it wasn’t about pushing advertising, but creating content which was helpful to the audience. We are seeing massive numbers from India of fans engaging with brands in India, across age groups be it games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, but also for entertainment brands. Candy Crush has seen 1.94 billion downloads for its games since its launch to December 2016 alone. Take Oggy and the Cockroaches for example, another brand has 3.14 million Facebook fans of which around 1 million fans are from India.

Celebrities became a more influential force in 2017 not just in delivering brand messages, but also in launching their own brands. Celebrity licensing and merchandising is a multi billion dollar industry in advanced markets, and we are seeing the emergence of the Indian celebrity, be it in Sports with Virat Kohli or with Bollywood with Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Jacqueline Fernandez, Tiger Shroff and others.

Licensing and Merchandising in India is also coming of age with the advent of Lifestyle, Sports, Fashion and Corporate brands. FIFA, Real Madrid, The Smiley Company, NBA are a few of the many international brands that have generated interest across the cross section of business, retail and consumers. The other trend in this space is the growth of the business coming from adult segments in apparel, apparel accessories, footwear.

 

Infact, Candy Crush saw a jewelry collaboration with top Jewellery designer, Mrinalini Chandra, launch out of India in November. It was the first of its kind collaboration for Candy Crush worldwide and a sign of a maturing market, which is now looking at new categories in lifestyle beyond just apparel.

Retail brands are also seeing a distinct shift and growing interest in their private brands and are exploring licensing tie-ups across entertainment, lifestyle and sports brands under their private labels. This is happening across both online and offline retail and is a business that will continue to grow.

The VOD space is another emerging market in India were brands are in the big race to establish themselves as Numero Uno. Hotstar, Jio TV, VOOT, Amazon Prime are some of the top players. Sports, News, GEC, Kids are the core content components. While international content is big, it’s the regional content that is a game changer, propelling players to focus on not just international titles and series, but also local available content and the commissioning of Indian IPs and rising India brands in the content space.

The writer is founder & CEO, Dream Theatre Private Limited

Xilam eyes big business in India

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French animation giant Xilam and the makers of popular series – Oggy and the Cockroaches – has big plans for India, it’s fourth largest market, after securing a raft of sales in the region across kids’ catalogue.

Europe’s one of the biggest animation company says it continues to make its mark in India with shows been sold to Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Sony and local Indian video-on-demand (VOD) platforms including Amazon India, Alt Digital and Hungama.

Xilam is widely identified as having creativity and expertise in the field of physical comedy and slapstick humour.

According to Marc du Pontavice, Xilam’s founder and CEO, 2018 will be an important year for Xilam as it is moving into preschool with Paprika – its first property in the field. “We hope this launch will accelerate the growth of Xilam’s merchandising revenues. We are also planning to launch the first Oggy products in India, which we anticipate will please millions of fans,” he adds.

It has selected its key property – Oggy and the Cockroaches – as flagship brand to establish a 360 approach in India. The series has strong brand awareness among kids and parents, says Marie – Laure Marchand, senior vice president of Xilam’s Global Consumer Products and Media Distribution.

“We released Oggy season 5 (Oggy through the Ages) last August on Cartoon Network and have worked with them closely to prepare this launch with several mall activations, social media campaigns and an extensive school programme. We are seeing a massive support on social media with more than 1.3 million Facebook fans coming out of India alone,” she exclaims.

To expand its brand experience in India, Dream Theatre has been roped in as the licensing agent. They represent Oggy and are now in discussions with several partners for Back to School, bags, publishing and accessories and collectibles.

“We already have Play Planet on board which will be releasing the first Oggy plush next week just in time for Christmas, as well as Woodstock which has developed a very fun line of t-shirts sold online,” she adds.

In 2018 Xilam plans to celebrate Oggy’s 20th Anniversary – an important year for the brand.

Subscription video-on-demand or SVOD platforms are a strong accelerator in supporting Xilam’s growth, says Pontavice. “We already work with Amazon Prime India and Netflix and are looking at new business opportunities,” he adds.

YouTube, in three years, has become an important component attributing to the revenues, Pontavice explains. “Although it’s only generating revenues for the library titles as premium, and is usually reserved for TV or SVOD, it accounts for a good third of our digital revenues. This is a precious tool through which we create a direct connection with our fans, allowing us to leverage cross promotional opportunities for merchandising and communication purposes,” he argues.

Until recently the animation industry was heavily dominated by the US and Japan, and to a lesser extent by France, Canada and the UK. In the future, this market will become more of a multilateral one, with much content being offered by emerging markets like India, China and Brazil, he forecasts. “These territories are demonstrating there is a lot to learn and master with expertise in premium animation content,” he adds.

It cannot be denied that Asia is fast emerging as Xilam’s key business model, even stronger than the US.

“We have managed to establish very strong brands, including Oggy and the Cockroaches, Zig and Sharko, throughout the continent, and have successfully sold almost all our catalogue to TV. However, we have only touched the surface so far and we believe we still have important growth ahead of us, especially with the development of digital,” Pontavice feels.

Ahead of its premiere next year, Xilam has already signed a presale for its brand new animated series Mr Magoo. As per plans, in 2018, Cartoon Network Asia will air the 78 x 7-minute series in Southeast Asia, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, India, India subcontinent, and New Zealand.

Cartoon Network Asia has taken seasons 6 and 7 of Oggy and the Cockroaches. The series is distributed in more than 160 countries around the world and is watched in 600 million homes.

Chinese distributor Jetsen Huashi Wangju Kids has picked up the digital rights to season one of Xilam’s Zig and Sharko. The series is slated to be released in China across VOD platforms in 2018.

On being asked if Xilam foresees consolidation in the market in the days to come, he argues animation is driven by creativity. No giant will change that, especially as content is now in the stronger side of the business. “Anyone has the ability to distribute, however very few can create.”

Dream Theatre liaises launch of Candy Crush jewellery, Esha Gupta, Roshan Abbas, Kubbra Sait attend launch

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Esha Gupta, Sayani Gupta, Sapna Pabbi, Kritika Kamra, Additi Gupta, Shaheen Abbas, Roshan Abbas, Kubra Sait attended the Candy Crush Jewellery Launch, hosted by Mrinalini Chandra and Dream Theatre at Olive, Bandra.

King Digital Entertainment, a leading interactive entertainment company for the mobile world, continues to expand its Candy Crush consumer products offering, with a new range of jewelry by leading Indian designer Mrinalini Chandra. Fans and candy-lovers around the world will be able to get their hands on a range of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches and rings inspired by the deliciously sweet world of Candy Crush. The deal was facilitated and is being managed by Dream Theatre, King’s licensing agent in India and South Asia.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer an array of Candy Crush inspired jewellery to long-time fans of the game,” said Philippe Bost, VP International Consumer Products, Activision Blizzard. “Our colourful designs are really brought to life by this striking jewellery range and the Kaleera series will add extra sweetness to any bride’s special day.’’

Commenting on the range, jewelry designer Mrinalini Chandra said: “We are very excited about our collaboration with Candy Crush.  Our jewelry will comprise of hand crafted pieces inspired by the game with a quirky but chic aesthetic that is emblematic of our label. It will incorporate traditional craft techniques of Meenakari and Jaali from India infused with modern design aesthetics. Launching in the festive season, the range has something to offer every candy-lover.”

Founder and CEO of licensing company, Dream Theatre Pvt. Ltd, Jiggy George said “We are thrilled to have facilitated this partnership between Candy Crush and Mrinalini Chandra. The collection is stunning, making it ideal for Candy Crush fans and fashionistas alike.”

The collection is launching on 29th November 2017, just in time for the Christmas season, and will be available on www.mrinalinichandra.com and leading ecommerce sites. The collection comprises of Necklace, Choker necklace, Ring, Cuff bracelet, Earrings, Charm necklace, Charm bracelet, Brooch pin in couture range and Y necklace, Two finger ring, Single finger ring, Lariet necklace, Candy Unit brooch, Earring, Hoop earring, Open bangle, Bracelet in mass range.

Candy Crush Saga is one of the world’s most popular mobile games in the world and along with its sister titles, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Candy Crush Jelly Saga, is played by many millions of people every day. Candy Crush Saga and its sister title, Candy Crush Soda Saga, are two of the top 10 grossing mobile games in the U.S. Over one trillion game rounds have been played in Candy Crush Saga alone since its launch.

King continues to grow its consumer products offering across the globe supported by its global network of 19 licensing agents. King has signed 145 licensees to date.

Fatak Patak addressing the dearth of integrated toyline for kids

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An ardent admirer of GI Joe and He Man as a child, Suhas Sundar, CEO of Indo-Japanese IP company Nihodo Media is the brains behind the brand animated movie series called Fatak Patak. SUndar believes that Indian kids have been grossly overlooked and targeted toylines for them are almost an afterthought.

And this is the gap Sundar aims to fill with the integrated toyline of Fatak Patak thereby making it one of the first kids franchise to use toys and gameplay as integral to content in India.

In a candid conversation with License India, Sundar spoke about the integrated toy line which is one of its kind for Indian market. He also emphasized on the trend of indianized content that is creating ripples in the industry.

– Talk to us about the IP Fatak Patak and the integrated toyline.
It primarily started with us wanting to work on our next TV show. We have done two animated movies with Cartoon Network. We were exploring what to do as our next IP and we didn’t want to go down the same path of what we have done earlier or what was on air at that point of time. There is lot of great content of Indian origin; in fact most of the top ranking shows are Indian.

We wanted to do something different while following what has been done around the world in terms of the toy line integrated with an animated series or an IP and that was the starting point. We started conceiving the toy line concurrently with the production of the series.

This may be something new for the Indian market, but it has been done all around the world. Every time they think of kids’ IP, they think of complete 360 degree experience where the kids play with the toys, watch the show, play games on tablets, consoles etc. that is how we approached this entire IP.

– Is Indianized content the new trend of licensing industry?
It we look at it, yes that seems to be the trend. If you look at path breakers like Green Gold; what they did with Chhota Bheem was totally unprecedented. Before they did; there was no Indian IP that was licensed and merchandise was rolled at such a vast level. Of course now there are likes of Motu Patlu proliferating in the market. Definitely I do believe that Indian audiences will have much deeper connection to an Indian concept.

– So has global content lost its demand in India?
It is not that global contents do not work in here; Doraemon is still one of the most undisputed leaders in kids’ entertainment in terms of an IP, but Indian content will always have a connect with audiences for sure.

However if you look at the toy line available in the market, everything is based on foreign IPs. Of course you will find a Chhota Bheem IP in the market; but nobody has created a toy line specifically starting from the Indian market which is integrated with the animated series like Beyblade or Pokemon in Japan.

In scenario where the kids are aware of what is available globally, we felt that we should create something specifically for them, which we can then take around the world.

– How are you going about the marketing of the IP?
Initially we are doing a movie series with Hungama channel and Dream Theatre along with their subsidiary Play Planet are doing the marketing and distribution of toys. We will amp up promotions and marketing around festivals. We will take a contest to what is happening in the market and then decide the next course of action with movies, toy line. And once this looks like a series, then we will look at exploring a full licensing program. We already have a card game developed and ready which we might be releasing as next product in market.

– How would you define the target audience for this IP?
We are looking at 5 to 10 years old kids. Boys will generally gravitate towards this toy line but that doesn’t mean that girls wouldn’t like it. I would say that anyone who has grown up playing with Beyblade or Pokemon, would find all that amalgamated in this toy line.

One can connect these characters, battle with them in real time. They actually do battle with each other when you shoot them towards each other. Then there are collectible cards and arena that comes with them, so that one has immersive game play experience along with the whole collectability factor.

The toy line has been done by Play Planet that is a subsidiary of Dream Theatre. The toys are manufactured in China and imported by us.

– When already a plethora of Indian characters are addressing to this TG, where do you see Fatak Patak fitting in?
The space that we have ended up occupying is default space by virtue of IP and there isn’t too much competition. There is no IP that has got such an integrated toy line. Motu Patlu is out and out comedy show and similar is Chhota Bheem. Ours is a comedy action show about kids battling against each other and villains using aliens.

The closest fit to our show is Pokemon and Ben 10. We started using collectability factor where character transforms into multiple aliens. The category that Fatak Patak occupies is the one where none of the top 10 shows are in India especially the home grown ones. And none of them have that integrated toy capability.

You can’t do a collectible toy action series with the likes of Motu Patlu or Oggy & the cockroaches. Our positioning might be more niche and we are speciaficaly targeting the kids who watch action comedy and love to play with such toys.

– How many retail touch points are you present at?
The products have been live on Amazon since September 2017. The toys are priced at INR 650 and come with an arena, collectible card and a shooter. We have tried to offer most of the things in one single pack. We are present across almost a thousand retail touch points pan India. Also we are available at a lot of modern retail outlets like Shoppers Stop, Big Bazaar, and we will be available with ToysRUs as well when they launch in India.

New kids franchise ‘Fatak Patak’ launches in India with animated TV series, merchandise

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MUMBAI: In line with global kids franchises like Pokemon, which uses toys as integral part of the story telling, India now has its very own franchise ‘Fatak Patak’, owned by Nihodo Media, an Indo-Japanese IP company.

The franchise has been developed to provide children with a complete experience of the animated characters on television along with the opportunity to own and play with the toys.

While the four-part animated TV series will be aired on Disney-owned kids channel, Hungama, Dream Theatre will be managing the licensing and merchandising for this franchise. Toys are distributed by subsidiary company – Play Planet.

Suhas Sundar, CEO, Nihodo Media, said, “A key desire and motivation behind this movie and toyline has been to provide Indian Kids with their own indigenous IP. Though there have been a slew of great content and innovation in Kid’s entertainment in the past few years, with the exception of a handful, most of the toys that dominate retail shelves are based on foreign IPs and toylines. In this regard, Indian kids have been grossly overlooked and targeted toylines for Indian children are almost an afterthought.”

Sundar added that his company wanted to change the status quo and give Indian kids their own world.

“It is very exciting that the series will be launched simultaneously with the toys as it will give kids the opportunity to have a complete experience of the characters and the storyline. We hope the kids enjoy both the TV feature series as well as the toys being launched,” added Abhishek Maheshwari, VP & Head, Media Networks and Interactive, Disney India.

Jiggy George, Founder & CEO of Dream Theatre, said, “Fatak Patak could very well go on to become India’s answer to iconic brands like Beyblade or Pokemon! With high quality content to engage fans on TV and character led toys to engage them off-air, this property could set the trend for kids entertainment in our country!”

‘Fatak Patak’ is a four-part animated TV Feature series about mysterious Alienoids with incredible powers from outer space competing in the Alienoid Wrestling League. The main protagonists, Sher Singh and his Alienoid Gabru will be seen in pursuit of the championship and their adventures along the way in the Fatak Patak World.

The story is set in India with indigenous story lines and localised content that the target audience can relate to. The Alienoids appearing on the show will also be available as collectibles with pro-wrestling inspired features and elements of strategy for the kids to engage in gameplay.

Licensing is the way for strategic expansion: ChuChu TV

Vinoth-Chandar-CEO-ChuChuTV

ChuChu TV, Asia-Pacific’s most watched YouTube channel for toddlers from India, has launched the global Consumer Products business for the brand. Boasting over 6 billion views and 10 million subscribers, ChuChu TV is confident of licensing being an effective strategy, states Vinoth Chandar, Co-Founder, CEO & Creative Director of the brand.

  1. Talk to us about the brand ChuChu TV.
    ChuChu TV was born purely out of passion. It was started when I wanted to make my daughter Harshitha laugh. I thought of creating a video and naming it ChuChu which is what she is fondly called at home. I did the rhyme Chubby Cheeks that starred a small girl who looked like my daughter.

I then put it up on YouTube and I was surprised it got around 3 lakh views within weeks. I later uploaded the second video Twinkle Twinkle Little Star which got even more popular and we had around 5,000 subscribers with just two videos. This was when I decided to venture into this domain and create more pre-school content. Understanding the potential, I took this ahead with my partners. This led to the birth of ChuChu TV Studios. Today ChuChu TV has grown to become a kids brand that uses the power of positive messaging, music and learning to connect with infants, toddlers and parents around the world.

  1. What made you think about licensing as an extension tool? 
    I have always believed that licensing is an effective strategy for ChuChu TV as strategically it is a good direction for us from growth perspective. In fact within few months of the launch of our YouTube channel, we did some sample toys of our characters so see how they look. We then posted it in our facebook page and got a huge reception from our fans.

We have seen that there are many digital properties that have ventured into this domain. Given the admiration that we have seen in our content, the recognition that our characters have received and that kids love our content and parents trust our content, we feel licensing is the way. Our characters ChuChu, ChaCha, Chiku, and Chika have been in all our videos right from the inception.

We also have added many new characters to our brand namely Mr.Harlo, The Unicorn Elephant, Cutians the Kittens, ChuChu TV Police, Mr.Eggsie, Wanny & Spanny from ChuChu TV Funzone. We regularly get emails asking us to provide them with our merchandise. We then met with Jiggy George, Founder & CEO of Dream Theatre, and we started our licensing program with them who are currently helping evolve the licensing strategy and find mutually beneficial partnerships. With us being an international brand, having a global presence through merchandising will be an added advantage.

  1. What are the immediate categories that you are looking for an extension?
    We are looking to focus on toys, gaming, publishing, and apparel as our core categories. We aim to launch it in 2018.
  2. What will be the point of sale and price points?
    It’s too early to speculate on this, but we would want to reach out to masses and classes – so it will be aggressively priced.
  3. According to you why should a retailer become a license for Chu Chu TV? 
    Our performance speaks for itself. We are a ‘made in India’ and distributed around the world brand. Our fans are eager to engage with us on different platforms and we will work selectively with like-minded partners who share the vision and passion!
  4. What are the parameters for an ideal licensee?
    Strong consumer focus, proven track record, ambition with the calibrated approach are what matter to us while choosing a licensee. We have poured our heart and soul into ChuChu TV – we expect the same commitment from our partners.
  5. What is your take on licensing of YouTube-centric IPs? 
    Youtube is a great platform for artists and content creators to showcase their talent and products. With over 1 billion daily Unique Users – it’s extremely impactful. Many brands have been built on the back of this popularity including ChuChu TV. As long as you’re delivering beyond the customer expectations, the sky’s the limit.
  6. What potential do they hold in India where internet penetration is yet to increase?
    India has over 250 million broadband users and while it’s growing aggressively there is significant headroom. We are very excited about the growth opportunities in India and overseas in markets where broadband penetration is a lot more pervasive. Our #1 market continues to be the US.