Licensing lessons at Mip Asia

HONG KONG – With television sales to Asia increasing, licensing spinoffs have become the flavor of the month at this Mip Asia. But a lack of knowledge by regional players means a slow road ahead.

The numbers fueling the excitement are 25 and 25. Licensing retail sales in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for $25 billion in 1995, second only to the United Sates. That is combined with the fact that a majority of the region’s population is under 25, traditionally the core market for licensed products.

Rita Rubin, senior VP at United Media Licensing, feels that some companies are expecting to run before they walk. She is advising that licensing begin with marketing core areas such as apparel and accessories before getting into television.

Adam Driscoll, managing director of licensing information publisher A-4 Publications, acknowledged that there is a long way to go in educating the region. “We are dealing with market ignorance,” he said, adding, however, that Asia’s strong brand consciousness and a growing middle class will only help to push the trend along.

For the time being, Japan is the only developed market, accounting for $12 billion in retail sales in 1995. Australia ranks second with $5 billion. The rest of Asia combines for $5 billion-$7 billion.

Participants at this year’s Mip Asia said they felt the new licensing section was underrepresented, but expected a steeper learning curve.

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