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Licensing show kicks off in New York


NEW YORK The International Licensing Show kicked off in New York City June 10 with a handful of new deals and property debuts along with a new report that shows licensing revenues dipped slightly in 2007. Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures started the show Tuesday morning with a preview of their joint feature film The Last Airbender that featured an appearance by director M. Night Shyamalan. Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products president Leigh Anne Brodsky said the studios have high hopes for the film due in July 2010.

“The Last Airbender is a living, breathing, organic brand that’s poised to explode and our strategy is to work with partners who want to authentically build the brand around the globe,” said Brodsky.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced a new deal with the Safeway supermarket chain for a line of healthy foods for kids using its Looney Tunes characters.

“It’s going to be a co-branded line called Eating Right for Kids that’s an extension of their Eating Right line of food for adults,” said Karen McTier, executive vice president of domestic licensing and worldwide marketing for Warner Consumer Products. The products are due for a soft launch in September.

At an afternoon press conference, Disney Consumer Products president Andy Mooney said the company is on track to produce a record $30 billion in retail sales in 2008 and that the company is eyeing the $50 billion sales mark.

“If we sustain the growth we’ve had over the past eight years, we could hit $40 billion in annual sales within the next three years and eventually hit $50 billion,” said Mooney. He said sales of product based on the Pixar film Cars alone produced $2.5 billion in sales last year and that a sequel is due for release in 2012. 

On the show floor, attendees lined up to pose with actor Leonard Nimoy, who was there to promote licensing efforts for the new Star Trek movie due from Paramount in the summer of 2009. Nimoy will star in the film as an older version of Spock.

The day before the show opened, the Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association (LIMA) released its annual survey that shows licensing royalty fees fell 0.8% in 2007 to $5.98 billion compared to $6 billion in 2006. The numbers were down in all categories except entertainment, TV and movie character licensing, which jumped 1.1% to $2.7 billion last year, accounting nearly half of all royalties.

Categories that dipped include art (down 3.8%), trademarks and brands (down 2.7%) and music (down 5.3%). “Certainly, the current soft economic conditions have contributed to the relatively flat performance in 2007 following three consecutive years of growth,” said LIMA president Charles Riotto.

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