Character licensing remains an important pillar of the entertainment industry. But without the right controls, properties can be damaged and licensing programs undermined.
Media licensing offers a dizzying array of options, from Marvel superheroes and Disney princesses to Minecraft. Licensing is an industry worth more than $300 billion a year, with character and entertainment licensing representing almost $130 billion. Sales of licensed toys and apparel were an important contributor, with toys featuring heavily in media licensing, both as licensors and licensees, as toy companies have also become media content creators.
From major properties to niche publishers or animators, licensing builds brands, generates income, and creates complexity – Funko manages 1,100 licenses alone.
Elsewhere, gaming grows in scale and cultural significance with franchises, such as The Last of Us and Tomb Raider, transferring to the screen and driving demand for merchandise. It’s a similar story in publishing, where a certain boy wizard is unarguably the most successful example to date. It is a competitive and vast playing field, both for licensors looking to attract partners and for licensees aiming to take on premium properties.