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Long term business can be only built on franchises, not on properties: Anand Singh, Cartoon Network

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Long term business can be only built on franchises, not on properties: Anand Singh, Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network Enterprises, the merchandising wing of Turner International, organised a show on September 20 to display the complete range of products available. Called The Road Show, it is a Turner International intellectual property, which aims at an annual event moving forward to highlight the new developments and announcements in the coming years. Anand Singh, Director, Cartoon Network Enterprises, shares the latest developments, the company’s key market areas, the progress of merchandising around its Indian properties and more...

What’s The Road Show about? What are the latest developments from Cartoon Network Enterprises?

Road Show is about the relationship we have with Warner Brothers and the re-launch of ‘Ben 10’ and ‘The Powerpuff Girls’. 

We are representing WB’s portfolio which includes the entire gamut of WB properties from ‘Tom & Jerry’, ‘Looney Tunes’, ‘Scooby Doo’ to television series ‘Flash’ and theatrical releases like ‘Batman’, ‘Superman’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them’. We are also announcing the biggest boys franchise for ‘Ben 10’. The latter has been the biggest property since 2007-8. We are launching new episodes of the show in October. You will see same show with new local feel. We will be launching lot of merchandises around ‘Ben 10’, in the range of back-to-school season 2017. 

We have also tied up with Future Group for DTR deal across product categories and characters of WB. It will be across all formats including Big Bazaar and FBB. Moreover, we have signed up with Myntra to launch The Powerpuff Girls (re-launched in April this year) targeted at young adults aged between 18 and 25. For them there will be new fashion range from Myntra. Our association with Myntra started off with ‘Suicide Squad’ which did very well for them.

What are your future plans when it comes to merchandising?

We are already working on closing deals for the movie ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.’ For instance, in apparels we have tied up with Bioworld. We are planning to do a lot of merchandising prior to the release of ‘Wonder Woman’ since it’s a breakout movie from DC franchise. Then we have already have deals in place for ‘Justice League Part One’ which is releasing end of next year. We have few associations coming up with strong brands with one of the DC character.

Next year is going to be exciting because we are getting some Indian shows which are made in India.

What kind of on-ground activities have you planned? How are you leveraging Comic Con?

On-ground activities include school contact programmes. In Comic Cons we also have costume appearance. Also the number of Comic Cons is increasing in India. That is working very well for us. Lot of licensees have started selling from there and getting good results. So sharp targeting is happening. We are working closely with the licensees to showcase properly on Comic Con. We support them with some of the character costume. For example, at a recent Comic Con, one of the licensees Planet Superheroes did a range of Johnny Bravo T-shirts. We helped them by sending Johnny Bravo costume which resulted in good sales.

What’s the plan around festive season?

We will have contests for which we will tie up with the modern retail chains or we will tie up with one of the top three e-commerce players. We will get some of the licensees together to run activities on TV.

What are the key focus markets you are looking at?

India is the biggest market right now. 70 per cent of the market is in India in the total South East Asia region. Of late, Bangladesh has picked up in a big way.

In India, we are equally distributed but the focus needs to be on the East which has a lot of potential, especially North East. We want to expand our traditional distribution.

How has merchandising around Indian properties fared in your company? Is there scope of more growth?

We did licensing for two properties, ‘Roll No 21’ and ‘Music, Art and Dance (MAD),’ an art and craft show on Pogo that did very well for us. We still have deals on that show. We sell about 800,000 of those books (of Music Art and Dance) every year. So MAD does very well for us.

We have back-to-school range and couple of other categories for ‘Roll No 21’.

For Indian properties, Indian characters are going to be a part of our lives. This is a huge phenomenon. Not many countries can boast of such a strong portfolio of local properties doing so well in licensing.

In my view, in licensing, you need to have franchises which are evergreen. Long term business can be only built on franchises, not on properties.

What’s your take on competition with Viacom18’s consumer product division working aggressively on its properties like ‘Motu Patlu’?

There’s a lot of respect for everyone. If all of us can work together we can increase the pie and make business. In India, business is evolving. There is place for everyone to grow.

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