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I thought I'd be announcing a major change to this year's Leading Licensors list...but I was clearly mistaken. Thanks to members of our industry who made compelling arguments about the technical term "licensing agents" (you know who you are), our list now is complete with more players in the licensing business than in years past...101 Leading Licensors to be exact. Further, I now consider the term "licensor" a misnomer, particularly since the lines have become so blurred as many licensors also are acting as "licensing agents" these days. However, for those who sent a note with the argument that the list would be "incredibly entertainment heavy" (you know who you are, too), well, I beg to differ: LICENSE's list of Leading Licensors is more corporate brand, fashion brand, art brand, sports brand, and publishing brand heavy. At my quick count, more than 60 of the 101 listed are not entertainment-related.

Frankly, I'm embarrassed that I even pondered delineating among the terms and roles of licensors and licensing agents, as I decided this past January with the redesign of LICENSE to no longer categorize and detail where a property originated...similar? But a negative became a positive: In speaking with many of you, I learned just how important it is for your company to be listed. We, at LICENSE, were flattered and honored by your comments.

Regardless of the terms or the feathers I've probably ruffled (even now as you are reading my editorial...it could be worse, I could have mentioned names), our industry fared well in 2005...that's one statement that is not debatable. How did our industry stay ahead in what seems like these days a "numbers game"? Unique, new initiatives. Great co-branding deals. Retail partnerships at traditional and nontraditional channels. And not much of the same old, same old. As the consumer has matured and become savvier in choices at retail counters around the world, the licensing industry has reacted.

This issue is chock full of new initiatives. For the first time, we present a special Food & Beverage section, complete with case studies on companies such as Cadbury Schweppes, new entrees (literally) from the likes of NASCAR, and how retro corporate icons and advertising are increasing brand awareness in the apparel arena. The food and beverage sector is leading the co-branding and nontraditional channels of distribution initiatives. Some of these deals truly whet the appetite.

Next month is LICENSE's official Licensing Show Preview, complete with exhibitor listings and news from many exhibitors. In addition, we give a well-deserved salute to a legend in licensing time: Dan Romanelli of Warner Bros. Consumer Products as he officially passes the torch (or carrot) to Brad Globe. It's a must-read!

Joyceann Cooney jcooney@advanstar.com 212.951.6707

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