First Word-December 2003

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Isn't there a sense of renewal that comes along with the nip in the air as a year comes to a close? You have new budgets, new goals, new strategic plans set for 2004, depending on how your company operates…and visions of grandeur dancing in your head. See, you're not alone.

For most of us (as I've met and spoken with many of you in my travels over the last four months), business trips are winding down for the year, and our travel schedules are somewhat set for first quarter 2004 (of course, something new is always thrown in for good measure). Now, it's time to collect our thoughts and analyze what we've seen over the last few months. To help, I thought I'd offer some property predictions for 2004 and beyond, direct from the show floors of MIPCOM and Brand Licensing London and a buzz at Mass Market Toy Expo in New York. Some only have a clip, some have series already in production, some already have licensees on board; all are potential winners in the character/entertainment categories. Here goes:

Pocoyo from Carlton International

Poko, Dragon Booster, and Lunar Jim from Alliance Atlantis

Chubb Chubbs and Astro Boy from Sony Pictures

How Clean Is Your House? from FremantleMedia

tutti cuti from Santoro

Franny's Feet from Decode Entertainment

The Koala Brothers from Spellbound Entertainment

Newton's Law, represented by The Wildflower Group

Itty bitty HeartBeats from LevyMann Entertainment

Pucca, represented by Active Licensing Europe

The Winx Club from 4Kids Entertainment

In print, we're winding down our year with a look at the Top 25 Retailers, based on 2002 retail sales figures and information from The National Retail Federation. This list not only serves as a ranking, but allows most of us to refresh our retail memories. Although you are often in front of most of these retailers, you sometimes find yourself asking, "Is that a Federated store? Is that a Kroger store?"

In other print news, Senior Retail Editor Teresa Andreoli has decided to pursue other opportunities. As a founding editorial member of License!, over the years Teresa has contributed much editorial direction to the pages of License!, particularly in the art and brand areas. We (like many of you), of course, thank her for her stewardship and wish her well in her future endeavors. New editorial members of our team will be announced next month.

From our team to your team, a happy, healthy holiday season. Until next year . . .

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