Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), the licensing division of Cartoon Network, has announced its foray into the consumer products segment. It will launch three main Cartoon Network characters - Power Puff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory and Johnny Bravo.
CNE officials informed that subsequent characters will be launched later. Addressing a press briefing, John Friend, Sr. VP, CNE, said that CNE is eyeing a 50 per cent growth in sales this year and is planning for strategic tie-ups.
CNE plans to use popular channel, Cartoon Network and other on-ground marketing efforts to make noise around the products. The advertising would be done across all mediums including retail promotions and advertisements in trains.
Presently, the company intends to concentrate on networking and has no plan to foray into manufacturing in near future. CNE products will be available in 20 Indian cities and would be introduced across categories like apparel, accessories and the likes.
Jiggy George, Director, CNE, India and South Asia, said, "If we are not present everywhere, you are not present anywhere. We need to be present in the mind of our TG and it makes sense to be included physically in their daily life."
The phased out launch will see The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory enter the market first and Johnny Bravo products later in the year. Kids Next Door and Hi Hi Puffy Yami Yami are scheduled for 2006.
The presence is with over 1500 retailers, with over 180 product variants in 20 Indian cities. CNE has an entire corner dedicated for its products at Lifestyle outlets. The distribution is expected to be in place by Diwali.
CNE has also set up a legal council and initial letters have been sent to all manufacturers explaining CNE's stand on copyrights issue. However, despite setting its operations in 2001, CNE chose to launch now, when other players like Disney and Nick products are also already vying for attention. George denies that it has lost out owing to late entry.
Said he, "We needed a strong retail format and this is the best time, also given the permission for FDI in retail."
Friend added, "There are four points that makes this the best time to launch. The market has mature distribution, strong infrastructure, promising size and opportunities and an opportunity to connect with kids. Moreover, since Cartoon Network has had a taste of huge success, now is the apt time to leverage it for its kid products."
Mattel and Cartoon Network had partnered for the promotion of Barbie's presence in the consumer products segment, which now is direct competition. "We realise that but this isn't going to effect the relation in anyway," said Friend.
Making his stand on all these competing elements, George maintained that Powerpuff Girls is about an interesting story that kids can identify with, unlike in case of Barbie, thus giving an edge. CNE is concentrating carefully as it works on the price points knowing that price is a big factor for purchase.