Let’s Get Digital Tech-inspired properties are poised to take off in 2016

Let’s Get Digital Tech-inspired properties are poised to take off in 2016


The future is now, according to industry chatter at the 35th Licensing Expo which took place in Las Vegas June 9-11. Looking ahead was the growing importance of digital platforms as a showcase for new and existing brands.

One example? Awesomeness TV, a teen focused You Tube channel, recently started a consumer products division to capitalize on merchandising concepts inspired by its roster of teen TV stars. A sign of the property’s potential, Kohl’s  S.o.R.a.d junior line, which was designed with input from the stars of Awesomeness TV and released last fall, has generated strong sales, in store traffic and thousands of social media hits.

For the younger set, Amazon Studios (which develops feature films and episodic series for the retail behemoth) touted its award winning shows Addenoids, Tumble Leaf, and Wishenpoof.

And Netflix, another popular steaming service giving traditional TV a run for its money, announced that Masha and the Bear, a popular Russian pre-school production, will be available in late summer.

Of course, licensing’s traditional power players like Disney still have plenty of new and re-booted properties poised for success in 2016. Disney’s roster includes a live action Tinkerbell movie, Tink, starring Reese Witherspoon (still in production), and an Alice in Wonderland sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, set to debut on May 27. Fashion apparel targeting kids and adults will be included in the product offering. According to Josh Silverman, the EVP of global licensing at Disney Consumer Products, the company continues to succeed by incorporating the storytelling and authenticity into its licensed product design.

That authenticity–not to mention on trend styling–are traits that will keep well-known properties front and center with shoppers, says Peter Yoder, the VP of Cartoon Network Enterprises. “The days of the slap on licensing [are over]. You have to be fashion forward to gain entry to new fans,” he adds, pointing to his company’s soon to be announced apparel partnerships for Adventure Time and Power Puff Girls, which will put style front and center.

Another trend that still has (four) legs? Pet brands had a strong presence at the show. An array of apparel, toys/ games, stationery and more will roll out at retail next May in honor of The Secret Life of Pets, a 2016 summer movie from NBC Universal/Illuminations Entertainment. Meanwhile, Pixar’s film Zootomic hits theaters next March.