First Word--July 2004

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Needless to say, Licensing 2004 International Show was abuzz. According to Advanstar Communications, owner of Licensing International Show and License! magazine, the number of exhibitors increased 14 percent over last year's show to 520 total exhibitors showcasing 5,700 properties. Attendance topped 20,600, ending a three-day run at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, June 10.

Over the days following the show, other business-to-business magazines seeking show reviews asked for editorial opinions. During one of the interviews, I was struck by the editor's comment: "Someone else said there wasn't a standout property." Indeed, there wasn't a "runaway" property. But that's because licensing and merchandising have become so sophisticated in their approach at retail-from promotions and co-branding to exclusivity-in so many different categories, that it's become difficult to pinpoint "just" one success story. This year, in our post-show coverage that begins on p. 34, we opted to produce a layout that is more pictorial than a post-show wrap-up. While tidbits of information are available on many companies, what you'll find is a live, vibrant show floor: the people and the properties that continue to make strides in licensing, and the newcomers who are looking to achieve the same.

That's the reason behind Link (Licensing International Networking Conference), which officially made its debut at Licensing Show. Brought to you by License! magazine and scheduled for November 2-4 in Miami, FL, the conference is expected to further raise the bar in licensing and merchandising. Sessions have been arranged in much the same way the magazine is arranged. All consumer product categories covered by License! monthly-Art, Brands, Character, Entertainment, Fashion, Interactive, Publishing, and Sports-will be touched upon in topical tracks, including Promotions & Co-Branding, State of Retail, International (with a particular focus on Latin America), Financial/Legal, and Marketing to Demographics. Link is not a Licensing 101 summit, it is a comprehensive international consumer products conference for high-level executives who want to learn from other consumer product sectors beyond their own. That has and always will be the License! magazine strategy, a crossover of categories, except this time we're doing it live. Over the next couple of months, via this column and e-mail notification, you will learn of the many executives who will join us in sunny Miami, as well as the keynote speakers and general sessions that are sure to attract attention. To learn more about Link and how to register, visit www.linkconference.com.

In other License! news, I am pleased to welcome Warren Kornblum, chief marketing officer, Toys "R" Us, to our Editorial Advisory Board. As with other members, Warren will help to shape the editorial found on our pages, particularly as we head toward January 2005 when our magazine will have additional features and design elements. Like our industry, we must continuously change and evolve.

I also am proud to announce that Regina Molaro has been promoted from associate editor to senior associate editor. She has been an invaluable member of our editorial team since joining last year, and spearheads our art and fashion editorial. Join me in congratulating Regina on this accomplishment.

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