‘Star Wars,’ Marvel to Boost Disney’s Already Dominant Licensing Biz
When it comes to licensing, Disney is the undisputed king of the castle.
The Mouse House generated $39.4 billion in retail sales from licensing, dominating the category with 80% marketshare, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Assn., more than any other studio or entertainment conglomerate.
But Disney believes that figure could rise even higher now that it controls Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise, the second most successful licensed property behind Disney Princesses.
In fact, Disney Consumer Products said it’s “poised” to widen the gap between its rivals even further as it plans to grow the “Star Wars” business through additional licensing opportunities, according to Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products.
“The Disney brand is our most powerful asset and with the acquisition of Lucasfilm, our franchise portfolio has never been stronger,” said Chapek on Monday night during a Disney presentation at the start of the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. “Our rich and diverse content slate is full of opportunities to connect with the consumer in new and exciting ways through incredible storytelling and compelling characters. There is simply no better time in history for licensees and retailers to be associated with Disney.”
“Star Wars,” and Marvel’s “Avengers” and “Spider-Man” franchises, as well as original programming from Disney Junior, including “Sofia the First” and “Doc McStuffins” will headline new content and merchandising programs for Disney in fiscal 2014, which begins in September. For example, “Sofia the First” merchandise makes its way to mass retailers for the first time this summer with toys from Mattel, JAKKS Pacific and Jay Franco and more. “Doc McStuffins” will expand into apparel and home decor, while “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” will launch a Lego Duplo line later this summer.
It also plans product pushes around studio releases “Maleficent,” which will reintroduce audiences to Disney Princess Aurora; the animated “Frozen;” “The Muppets Most Wanted;” Disney’s animated “Planes;” and Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,”
Disney’s licensing business is aligned around five strategic brand priorities: Disney Media, Classics & Entertainment, Disney & Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Princess & Disney Fairies, Lucasfilm and Marvel.
“With the industry’s most extensive franchise portfolio that includes the iconic Mickey Mouse, the mega boys franchise Marvel’s Avengers and top film franchise Star Wars, it’s critical that we continue to focus on the consumer and devise a strategy that aligns this rich and vast library of content with key markets and segments,” said Josh Silverman, executive VP, Global Licensing, Disney Consumer Products. “Our licensees and retail colleagues are poised for incremental growth opportunities as we drive the development of compelling new products and retail programs that complement each other across the spectrum.”
“Star Wars” and Marvel’s superheroes are especially being turned to as a way to target boys. While new animated series “Star Wars Rebels” will help fuel interest in the sci-fi franchise, J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” out in 2015, will do much of the heavy lifting, followed by standalone films tied to the “Star Wars” universe.