Challenges & Tributes

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In every business, there always will be newcomers and established leaders. This issue (our last editorial-focused issue of the year, as December is dedicated to our industry directory) pays homage to both.

For the last three years, I have had the unique privilege of previewing new, not-yet-aired properties with the potential for licensing and merchandising. This task (a challenge, for that matter) has been made possible through a partnership with Reed Midem, organizer of MIPCOM Junior, held annually in the October time frame in Cannes, France. Aptly named "The Licensing Challenge," it affords me the opportunity to utilize the skills the licensing and broadcast industries have taught me over my five-year tenure at LICENSE: Is the show "toyetic?" And, what is the play pattern? Is the show interactive? Will it get a child up and moving? Is it musical? And, for the moment, for the "older" generation of 'tweens/teens, how will it translate to video games, the Internet, cell phones, and other digital media? (That statement will be re-evaluated in the near future as kids under the age of 5 today are the first true Internet generation.) In addition to utilizing skills, it allows me to preview properties to watch, the potential "it" property.

With nearly 40 entries received this year, a final six pitched their properties in front of a live audience and were judged by a seasoned jury. This year's winner, BRB Internacional for black-and-white comedy The Imp, is no stranger to the Licensing Challenge, as it won the first-ever challenge for Bernard three years ago. Hence, it's a company to watch. Many thanks to this year's judging committee: Al Ovadia of Al Ovadia & Associates (who served as chairman of the jury), Bob Higgins of Cartoon Network U.S., Malcolm Bird of Kids Online (KOL), Travis Rutherford of MGM Consumer Products, and Stan Clutton of Fisher-Price. And, of course, congratulations to BRB Internacional.

Speaking of congratulations, this month, LICENSE presents its first-ever Top 75 Licensees. The list, chosen by retailers and licensors via an e-mailed questionnaire, and then weighted by me, includes licensees from every major product category. While the licensees are not ranked, they are listed in alphabetical order and include some of the most well-established manufacturers in many businesses.

Additionally, 25 years and running, Collegiate Licensing Company asked Managing Editor Lorri Freifeld to immerse herself in all things collegiate (even attending a football game) over a two-day period. The result is a tribute to CLC's 25 years in collegiate licensing, but, from the read of it, they've got more up their jerseys for the years ahead.

My travel officially ended after MIPCOM in October, and I'm happy to be on the ground in New York during the best time of year. So, from the editorial team at LICENSE, a healthy, happy holiday season and cheers to a prosperous New Year.

Joyceann Cooney jcooney@advanstar.com 212.951.6707

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