Viacom18 Consumer Products announced two new flagship partnerships with FC Barcelona Merchandising and Rainbow International for strengthening its sports and lifestyle portfolios at its first Viacom18 Consumer Products Annual Trade Fair. As a part of these partnerships, Viacom18 Consumer Products acquired the master licensing rights in India for Spanish football club FC Barcelona and Italian fashion brand Winx Club.
Viacom18 Consumer Products’ deal with FC Barcelona enables the business to design, produce and market the iconic FC Barcelona in India. Fans can now buy everything from FC Barcelona apparel to sports gear right here in India. The entire product portfolio consists of about over 200 SKUs to start with and will be available at all leading online retail websites and retail stores across India.
Adding scale to its range, Viacom18 Consumer Products has also acquired exclusive licensing rights from Rainbow International for the iconic Italian fashion brand Winx Club. The Winx fairies are a blend of traditional and contemporary. Aiming to make it the most popular fashion brand in India for young girls, the merchandise will include toys and a contemporary apparel line, available across the biggest offline and online retails stores by early next calendar year.
Announcing the partnership, Saugato Bhowmik, Senior Vice President – Consumer Products, Viacom18 Media said, “We at Viacom18 Consumer Products are operating in exciting times today as we are extending our footprint from merchandising for network owned brands to acquiring master license rights for iconic brands across the world. Being an extremely progressive segment with high growth potential, sports merchandising has been a key focus category for us. Leveraging on this opportunity, we are excited to partner with FC Barcelona and acquire rights for one of the most widely loved football teams in the world. Further strengthening our product portfolio, we will also bring the extremely popular Winx Club to India. These partnerships are key milestones in our endeavor to fortify our position as a house of global brands.”
On display at the trade fair were a range of about 800 products across categories including brands like Motu Patlu (apparel, back to school products), Ninja Hatori (toys), Power Rangers (apparel, toys, footwear), bCreative Comedy Central (Tees, Novelty, Collectibles)and FC Barcelona (apparel, accessories, balls, bags etc.).
Through its various associations, Viacom18 Consumer Products has moved beyond conventional categories, giving consumers a slice of its iconic brands like MTV, Vh1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central as well as non-network brands that span over 50 categories and 60+ licensees.
In terms of growth in 2015 they expect the consumer products division to grow from 500+ SKUs to 2,000+ SKUs, more than 1 million products in the market and a footprint of more than 10,000 in distribution and retail platforms.
Industry experts estimate the industry to be roughly about Rs.3,50,000 crore of retail sales growing at over an odd 12%.
With regards to the investment into it Bhowmik said, “Viacom18 Consumer Products was conceptualized to monetize the iconic brands and characters that we as a network have created and invested in. Thus the investments going into building the characters Motu- Patlu and Nina Hattori are on-going. At consumer products our job is to leverage and use that investment and work with the best partners who can manufacture great quality products for our customers. If one had to add up that investment that is more than the size of many brands put together.”
Bhowmik further also said that at this moment ecommerce will start to contribute roughly half the business without giving any exact figures. “At this moment ecommerce contributes to a significant part of the business and this only grows from here. Because that is our game changer. Sitting here I can get last mile distribution in Northeast, Rajasthan, south India and everywhere overnight with ecommerce. Which does not mean the offline retail becomes less important. Offline retail is key for all the top 36 metros in the country and that’s why we have over 10,000 touch points in these markets but beyond that online retail is clearly where we want to go,” he said.
On the revenues it is expected to contribute to the overall business model he said, “We are clearly headed towards double digit contributions to this business. We have taken baby steps but we wanted to get the best partners on-board first as we did not want to compromise on quality. And this is at the heart of the Viacom18 group strategy. Creating a strong Ecosystem which can be monetized at a later stage is a key part of the business. We will create media brands, we will promote our media brands and we will have a very flourishing eco system outside the channel through our line of businesses such as consumer products and integrated network solutions. ”