Archive | International

Opening the Book on European Literary IP

Many literary properties with European roots rank among the top licensed character IPs globally, but they have historically had a difficult time gaining a footing in the U.S. market, remaining niche brands even after decades of attempts to broaden their publishing and licensing efforts. Recently, however, there are signs that a handful of these classic […]

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Is U.S. Cricket Licensing on a Sticky Wicket?

Cricket is the second most popular sport globally, after football/soccer, with an audience of more than 2.5 billion across 180 countries. It is particularly strong in South Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, and especially India); Australia and New Zealand; England (the birthplace of the sport); the West Indies including Trinidad and Tobago; South […]

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Young at Heart

Classic entertainment properties looking for fresh programming ideas, a way to reach new audiences, and/or a boost to merchandise sales have long created child or baby versions of their well-known characters. Examples extend from Tiny Toon Adventures in the early 1990s to Spidey and his Amazing Friends in recent years—to name just two of many. […]

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Boba Tie-Ins Bubble Up

Bubble tea, or boba—a creamy, tea-based drink containing tapioca pearls—was invented in Taiwan and has been spreading around the world, including into the U.S., where boba drink outlets are becoming ubiquitous at malls and elsewhere. The U.S. bubble tea market was forecast to reach $464.29 million in 2023, up 6.9% from $434.11 million in 2022, […]

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Mascot Mania

Sports and cultural festivals in China give birth to extensive licensing programs, often centered on a cute mascot, with the design of the mascots and the products often highlighting elements of traditional Chinese culture. These initiatives typically inspire hundreds and sometimes thousands of products sold through official shops near the venue and online through sites […]

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The Value and Variety of VTubers

Consumer interest in VTubers (“virtual YouTubers”)—which got their start in Japan in the mid-2010s—has expanded significantly since the start of the pandemic, both in these digital influencers’ country of origin and abroad. VTubers are anonymous creators who use motion-capture and other technologies to create an animated avatar, usually anime-like in style, that does everything a […]

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Characters Clean House

“Robot vacuums,” the small, self-propelled appliances of which the Roomba is the best-known example in the U.S., are popular in Japan, which is a leader in the manufacture and design of robots for industrial and consumer use and where small house sizes make the devices practical. And, as is the case with other small appliance […]

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Up a Creek Without a Padel

Pickleball has been one of the fastest-rising sports—in participation and licensing interest—in the last couple of years. But another up-and-coming racket sport, padel, is emerging in mainstream popularity and seems to have similar potential to pickleball. Padel, played with four people per team, is described as a cross between tennis and squash. It takes place […]

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Painting a Picture

One of the products in the gift shop at this year’s sold-out Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a licensed plush figure depicting Dick Bruna’s rabbit character Miffy as Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. This is the latest in a small but growing group of collaborations, mostly taking place in Europe or Asia, whose design inspiration […]

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