License to thrill: Q&A with Festival of Licensing VP Anna Knight

The first-ever Festival of Licensing, this year’s online substitute for the annual Brand Licensing Europe, kicks off next week. VP Anna Knight reveals what attendees can expect from the event. 

What can attendees and exhibitors expect from the first-ever Festival of Licensing?

Festival of Licensing is a month-long virtual celebration of the global licensing industry with regional specific events for Europe (6-8 October), Asia (14-15 October) and the Americas (22-24 October).

Exhibitors attending the festival will be able to promote their IP, network and hold on-screen meetings with up to 15,000 retailers and licensees from across the globe. Primark, Target, Asda, Zara, Tesco, Carrefour, Selfridges, El Corte Ingles and Forbidden Planet are among the global retailers who have registered already.

Attendees can enjoy the networking, content and IP discovery they expect to find at any of our physical events – Brand Licensing Europe in London, Licensing Expo in Vegas and Licensing Expo China and Licensing Expo Japan – plus experiences that would have been impossible offline.

Retailers and manufacturers can register for free at www.festivaloflicensing.com and start booking meetings now with over 150 exhibitors currently confirmed, including ViacomCBS Consumer Products, KOCCA, Crunchyroll, Hasbro, Octane5/BrandComply, Aardman, Acamar Films, BBC Studios, Cyber Group Studios, Edutainment Licensing, Metrostar, Magic Light Pictures, Rocket Licensing, Rovio Entertainment, Sagoo and SEGA.

Festival of Licensing content includes:

  • Live exhibitor brand showcases from 12pm – 1pm and 3pm – 4pm every day.
  • Regional-specific daily Live Stage keynotes
  • Live panels and tons of on-demand content including in-language regional guides from Licensing International
  • Retail Programme with advice clinics and exclusive educational content from Trend Bible, Kids Industries. The Insights People and Buyers Eye
  • Community & Wellbeing programme from ViacomCBS Consumer Products, with free wellbeing workshops, careers advice and professional mentoring sessions
  • Hasbro Happy Hours programme of evening entertainment

How much about the existing Brand Licensing Europe has changed in the pivot to a fully-virtual event?

Very little, actually, the biggest pivot has simply been the platform itself. We are seeing amazing support from the industry, so you’ll see similar exhibitors – big and small – amazing brands and properties and great educational content.

What benefits have you found from taking the festival fully online?

One of the beauties of digital is that it makes the previously impossible possible. So, from the outset, we have really encouraged exhibitors to think differently and creatively about the way they use their time online, and to wow visitors with content and experiences they wouldn’t have been able to share in the physical space. Another benefit include not having to travel to attend virtual events, which is critical right now, because many companies – and indeed, countries – still have travel bans in place. This is opening up our digital events – and the licensing industry – to a wider and new audience, which is great.

What opportunities will there be at the event, specifically of interest for the TV industry?

The TV industry is one of the strongest represented exhibitor segments at Festival of Licensing – and that’s worldwide. We have the networks, content producers, award-winning animators all using the festival to announce how TV, licensing and content can work together to build new consumer bases and sell more product. We have also an amazing range of IP represented by those exhibitors that manufacturers and retailers can browse, have meetings about and, hopefully, strike deals. With Covid-19 lasting longer than anyone thought at the start, more and more households are coming together to consumer content in numbers never seen before – consumer products will benefit from that for sure.

Kids animation has been able to continue through Covid, how are you looking to represent this resilient sector?

We have some wonderful brands exhibiting such as Aardman, Magic Light Pictures, eOne, Hasbro, ViacomCBS, Cartoon Saloon, Mediatoon – the list goes on. All of these brands (and more) will have a platform to show what’s new, what’s different, how retailers in particular can capitalise on this resilience with new product ranges. We also have lots of sessions within our Live Stage Agenda – both live and on-demand – offering updates into this area – so check out the agenda online at www.festivaloflicensing.com

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