Why Latin America is the next licensing market to watch – EP GRUPO | Contents – Mentoring – Events – Brands and characters


As the effects of the pandemic loosen their grip on some parts of the world, Latin America is beginning to experience a long-awaited period of recovery and growth.

Latin America saw the second largest increase in license sales last year, growing 9.7% year-on-year to $13 billion, according to the Global Licensing Industry Study 2022 published in July by Licensing International. Toy giants Mattel and Hasbro are doing well in the region, as highlighted in their latest financial reports. Mattel said its total gross sales in Latin America rose 33% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year, while Hasbro’s net income from consumer product sales in the region rose 36% year-over-year.

With companies making products for children eyeing the area for expansion opportunities, Kidscreen reached out to three successful companies in Latin America to get the scoop on what’s working and why.

Pinguim Content do Brasil has been deeply rooted in the region since launching in 2009, quickly making waves with the debut of the 2D animated adventure series Peixonauts on Discovery Kids Latin America.

“Back then it was the number one channel for preschoolers. And when Peixonauta became the highest-rated show, kids, parents and companies started calling us, hungry for consumer products,” says Celia Catunda, Creative Director at Pinguim. “It was hard to deal with, being our first property. But it was a great opportunity to learn about the market and traders in Brazil and give us the right context to succeed.”

For the company to build a strong foothold in the region, the “right context” included hiring Brazilian licensing agency Redibra to help develop its first PC program and partnering with Paramount Pictures Brasil to handle home video production for the series.

While toys, publications, and apparel were Penguin’s mainstays at launch in 2012, the company began moving Fishtronaut into new categories including software, back-to-school items, and entertainment in pursuit of a full licensing program.

Building on what it learned from its partners, Penguin brought its licensing and marketing teams back in-house in 2019, just before the pandemic.

And luckily, the company had O Show da Luna (156 x 15 minutes) in their pocket. This 2D animated educational comedy series debuted on Discovery Kids in 2014. It follows the adventures of a young woman passionate about science who treats the world as a giant laboratory for her ambitious experiments.

“Schools in Brazil have had a very difficult challenge adapting to online classrooms and teaching children basic subjects like science,” says Camila Garcia, director of L&M at Pinguim. “Eventually, they started borrowing our content because Luna’s core values ​​resonated with kids and parents supported our program.”

While Penguin used the same consumer product launch strategy for O Show da Luna as Fishtronaut, the strength of the response to the Luna line prompted creative thinking within the company.

Following an episode of the third season of Luna in which he visits his family’s farm and learns about the values ​​of raising animals and vegetables, Penguin decided to continue with food as a category, striking a deal with French poultry company Label Rouge to launch a licensed product of free-range egg lines in supermarkets and mass retailers, including Walmart.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based ZAG Entertainment expanded into the Latin America region in 2017 to capitalize on the global presence of its flagship CG animation, Miraculous: Ladybug Adventures.

Targeting the region’s population of 44 million children between the ages of zero and 14, the company now has nearly 100 licensees working across Latin America to cover every conceivable product category, from toys and apparel to back-to-school and party.

“In 2021, ZAG decided to change its strategy in Latin America,” says Angela Cortez, vice president of consumer products. “Instead of working with licensing agencies, we have established a direct operation for the consumer products business so that dedicated local teams can be closer to partners, retailers and distributors and build an evergreen, strong and sustainable strategy.”

This change was key to ZAG’s success in the region, she adds, as it allowed the company to operate at a local level, understand the differences between countries in the Latin American region and respond to key challenges such as economic, tax and political fluctuations.

While the pandemic has affected retail sales in the region, Cortez says ZAG’s consumer products business has boomed in response to a surge in demand for e-commerce solutions. In 2021, the company established its own e-commerce department and launched an official ZAG online store to help its partners sell licensed products online.

An additional 18 ZAG stores operate through online retailers, including Amazon, with a further 26 stores to open in 17 countries by the end of the year. Together they offer over 10,000 products.

ZAG also launched collaborations with several brands – such as fast-food giant Burger King, cosmetics manufacturer Revlon and Italian collectibles company Panini – to expand the reach of Miraculous and give series audiences reasons to stay engaged between them.

While ZAG has quickly expanded into the region with its most successful properties and successful consumer product line, UK-based Moonbug Entertainment is in no rush.

Moonbug is working on a full multi-category CP program for Hispanic preschool audiences after researching how its flagship properties CocoMelon and Blippi perform with Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audiences online.

“Looking at our YouTube audience and watch time, we know that Latin American Spanish is the second best performing language and Brazilian Portuguese is the third best,” says Marta Braun, Moonbug’s director of distribution for Latin America. “We know there is a strong demand for our brands in the market and there is a strong engagement from our consumers.”

Although Jazwares, CoComelon and Blippi’s main gaming partner, is already in the market, multi-category programs are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022, starting with Mexico.

Marisela Escobedo, senior territory manager for Moonbug in Latin America, says she believes the company can be competitive in the market by engaging local agencies to help promote its portfolio of brands.

“Latin America is becoming a highly digitized region, but each country requires a very specific social media strategy, as the influences and emerging trends are often different,” says Escobedo.

It also seeks to incorporate digital elements into the company’s physical products in the region to increase its value.

“The public in Latin America is looking for quality, competitive prices and products that really tell a good story, especially when it comes to toys. I think by adding codes that unlock exclusive content or augmented reality elements, we satisfy their hunger for these types of products and stay competitive.”

The two Moonbug executives agree that while the region is full of unique challenges, the toughest ones they have to overcome as a young studio are building their shows from scratch and finding a niche to effectively compete with the Latin American giants.

“There is a hunger for our products and our content. We just have to settle down and prove that we’re here to stay,” says Braun.

This article originally appeared in Kidscreen Magazine August/September 2022.

Source: Kidscreen

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