Five Reasons to Head to BLE

With a number of new initiatives for visitors, educational seminars and more, Brand Licensing Europe is ready for October.

Now in its 18th year, Brand Licensing Europe is planning to continue the momentum from last year's show, which welcomed more than 7,200 visitors including retailers, manufacturers and licensees from 63 countries and 315 exhibitors that represented more than 2,500 properties. With a focus on global properties and advance show features that will improve attendee experience, Brand Licensing Europe is already gearing up for another exceptional year.

Organized by UBM EMEA and sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, Brand Licensing Europe will take place Oct. 11-13 at London's Olympia.

This year's show will feature the brand-new Matchmaking Service, the widest range of brands from the U.K. and around the world, educational seminars and expanded initiatives for retailers, all while highlighting the growing European market.

"I'm delighted to welcome the licensing community to BLE 2016. We've worked hard to develop this event to ensure that it's representative of the thriving sector it serves," says Anna Knight, brand director, customer technology and licensing, UBM EMEA. "With that in mind, we look forward to launching new elements to the Brands & Lifestyle Zone including a cross-category product showcase and the new and improved Retail Lounge. The Matchmaking Service, which saw huge success at Licensing Expo earlier this year, will also be available to all BLE exhibitors and attendees. From a personal perspective, I'm really excited to deliver my first BLE–here's to a fantastic and productive show."

Meet Someone New

A new addition to Brand Licensing Europe this year is the launch of the Matchmaking Service, which will enable exhibitors and visitors to request meetings with one another through an online portal ahead of the show.

The service will also allow users to create online profiles, identify key contacts based on areas of interest and job type, build relationships and create new business opportunities. The platform is complemented by a team of experienced matchmaking professionals who will assist with meeting arrangements and managing the show's new Matchmaking Lounge.

Launched at Licensing Expo in June, the service generated more than 2,500 meetings, more than 345,000 online user profile views, connected 1,000 licensors with licensees and generated $200,000 worth of business from one user alone during the three-day event.

The Matchmaking Service will be offered for free to all visitors and exhibitors in 2016.

Something for Everyone

Boasting more than 2,500 brands, characters and images on the show floor from a raft of brand owners, visitors will have access to Europe's largest collection of properties across all key licensing sectors.

This year's exhibitors include Nickelodeon Viacom Consumer Products, Activision and Pokémon, among many others, in the Character & Entertainment Zone; the Chelsea Football Club, the Natural History Museum and the National Basketball Association and more in the Brands & Lifestyle Zone; and MGL Licensing, Manu and Paper Rose, in addition to many more, in the Art & Design Zone.

The show will also showcase a number of unique, European-based properties that aren't showcased anywhere else.

A Growing Market

With 25 percent of the global licensing industry located in Europe, according to LIMA, Brand Licensing Europe has experienced significant growth over the last decade. Last year, the show hosted visitors from 63 countries, with 80 percent of those hailing from Europe.

Additionally, last year year's show was the most well-attended show in the event's history and boasted a total of 7,203 visitors–66 percent of which were decision makers–and 315 exhibitors. This year, Brand Licensing Europe has already secured more than 200 companies, or 80 percent of its 8,000-square-meters floor space, and is on track to attract record numbers.

Retailers Welcome

With retail buyers accounting for 12 percent of all visitors to the show, Brand Licensing Europe will aim to not only bring even more retailers to the event, but will make this group a priority for 2016.

A key initiative for Brand Licensing Europe is the Retail Mentoring Programme, which gives junior retailers a deeper understanding of the licensing industry.

This year's Programme will bring together more than 50 buyers from Europe and the U.K.'s leading retailers including Sainsbury's, Asda, Argos, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Claire's Accessories, Halfords, The Entertainer, Tesco and Marks & Spencer for nine months of training and education on the licensing industry, how to make deals and pitfalls to avoid.

The Programme will then culminate with a visit to Brand Licensing Europe where junior retailers will be able to put their learning to practice.

Meanwhile, Brand Licensing Europe will also launch a new initiative for retailers of all levels and across multiple categories that will provide year-round content, learning and networking opportunities that enable retailers to stay up-to-date on trends in licensing. The Retail Licensing Club will be formally launched at an exclusive champagne reception for retailers during Brand Licensing Europe.

Finally, the Brands & Lifestyle Zone will include a new in-store feature that showcases a selection of licensed products like they would appear on shelves. Product categories will include apparel, homewares, health and beauty, stationery and gifts. Participating brands will hail from various licensing sectors including sports, heritage, automotive, fashion and charity brands, among others.

Educational Seminars

In addition to hosting a raft of licensors, licensees, manufacturers and retailers, Brand Licensing Europe will also offer a range of free education programs in partnerships with the show's sponsor, LIMA.

The Licensing Academy will include panels, workshops and presentations designed to advance visitors' knowledge as well as keep them up-to-date with the newest and hottest industry trends.

There's also the Brands & Lifestyle Theatre, which will include presentations from specialists in the categories of lifestyle, sports, fashion and heritage licensing. More details on the content for the Brands & Lifestyle Theatre will be provided at a later date.

For more information on Brand Licensing Europe, or to register for free, visit BrandLicensing.eu.

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