Wednesday, August 01, 2007

You can customize fairies, what about products?

I just found some good coverage of this year's Licensing International convention in last month's Animation World Magazine, written by Karen Raugust. Of particular interest is Raugust's exploration of "digital dimensions" of licensing animated properties, some of which deals with one of my case studies, Disney Fairies. She writes:
It has become typical to integrate new media -- social networking, iTunes, online communities and the like -- into any youth-focused licensing program. Digital distribution helps get a property into the hands of young consumers who are not using traditional media as much as in the past, and it helps create a deeper connection between consumer and property.

Disney supported its Disney Fairies brand, which is on track to reach $800 million in retail sales of merchandise this year, even before the release of its first DVD movie in fall 2008, with a website that, sans marketing support, generated 25 million page views. Girls can customize their own fairies on the site, and they have created 1.5 million unique fairies to date. The studio plans to launch a similar site for Cars in the future.

In his annual Licensing Show press conference, Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products, said he sees more potential for online-distributed custom and personalized merchandise, which DCP already offers through a few licensees. "You can customize fairies. What if you could customize merchandise based on those, or put those in books?" he asked.

She also provides some useful info about DIC's new Kewlopolis project:
DIC Ent. creates online communities for all of its properties, including its new Dino Squad animated action-adventure series, which will air on CBS Saturday mornings. The studio recently launched Kewlopolis, a community that connects all of its property-specific sites and has its own social networking and user-generated components. Demonstrating how much the world has changed, Andy Heyward, DIC's chairman/ceo, said at a luncheon for licensees and press, "We see the TV show almost as an infomercial for the online."

The rest of the article, particularly the sections on digital games and "the majors", provides a wealth of news on current and upcoming projects of particular interest to new media/kids researchers...check it out here.

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