Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 36

Sony Pictures Consumer Products
an apparel and collectibles program, enhanced with major
support from specialty retailers.
Following in the slate is "Hotel Transylvania 2" (September 25th, 2015) the second installment to the popular franchise. Simon & Schuster's children's division will
publish a series of storybook formats. Halloween d├ęcor,
softlines, bakery, giftware and party goods round out the
merchandisable categories.
Moving into 2016, Sony is excited for the April 2016 release of "Goosebumps," the classic Scholastic property, and
for "Smurfs," which will be completely computer-animated
and directed by Kelly Asbury. This new Smurfs movie is an
origin story featuring the popular classic characters from
Peyo, a Belgian comics artist who created the Smurfs comic
strip. Both of these properties will create licensing opportunities in all major categories.

TV Licensing
Licensing efforts for a television program often begin by
examining the initial response to it. "Normally on a TV
show we do an initial launch and create an online website
for those fans who love it the very first week," Economos
relates. "We wait until there is the critical mass of consumers you need in order to make a program truly successful at
retail." Of course, there are exceptions.
"Initially for 'Breaking Bad,' because it was a fairly edgy TV
show, we waited until it became a cultural phenomenon in
the third season to launch a bigger program," he recalls. But
the licensing approach for a "Breaking Bad" spinoff program
about a lawyer from the original show is different. "With a
TV show like 'Better Call Saul,' we already know that there
is an audience for this show," Economos maintains. "So we're
launching a licensing program the first season as opposed to
waiting until the show becomes successful."
A project that will move from television to printed media
in spring is the suspense-filled drama "Blacklist." In partnership with Titan Publishing, a monthly comic will be followed by an in-world dossier and then expanded with
original fiction. The comics and books are being
created in close collaboration with
the show's creators. Sony also is
exploring mobile opportunities.
Other titles from Sony's TV
Division include Ron Moore's
"Outlander" and "Powers,"
which is based on Brian Bendis' comic book series launching exclusively on Sony's
Playstation Network.
Because of the expense
of creating licensed prod36

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

January/February 2015

ucts, properties must be examined carefully to determine
whether they will be profitable. "Not every TV show, nor
every theatrical release has the potential to become big
enough for us to launch a merchandising program," Economos concedes. "If it does become a cultural phenomenon,
we will follow up. We can be very quick to turn around a
program, starting with soft lines and leading to more collectible merchandise."

The Classics
Sony also manages a very successful portfolio of classic
properties. "Ghostbusters" is a Sony franchise that just keeps
giving over the years. A new Stay Puft marshmallow shooter
toy, Ecto-1 Lego set, and with a 30th anniversary deluxe
coffee table book are new products in the market. Most recently, Sony also announced a partnership with 3D Systems'
3DMe platform to create 3D printed personalized figurines.
This platform allows anyone to take a picture of themselves
and turn that picture into a 3D printed figurine in the likeness of their favorite characters.
"Breaking Bad" also continues to be a hit, in spite of the
series ending. For the adult collector audience, a new line of
Poptaters collectible figures will be released based on characters from the show such as "Fries-enberg," who will be
released in spring as the first character of the series.

Expanding into Digital
Digital licensing also is being practiced at Sony Pictures Consumer Products, such as the Smurfs Bakery mobile app and
the Smurfs: iTalk app, allowing kids the opportunity to interact with their very own Smurf and play with three smurfy
mini-games. The licensing arm is also developing apps for
"Hotel Transylvania" and "Goosebumps," and its characters
are making guest appearances in popular mobile games.
With the current line-up of properties and ones on the
horizon, Sony Pictures Consumer Products plans to come
up a winner. Economos attributes Sony's licensing success
to several factors. "Really sticking to our strategy but still
being flexible if something occurs
where we have to change it
a little bit," he says. "You
never know what
consumers might really latch onto from a
show. We're all consumers, and we all
know what we'd
want to buy.
I'm willing to
listen to any
idea." O


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 2
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - January/February 2015 - 5
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