SixMajor new licensing program planned for A+E Networks’® HISTORY® brand. By Staff Writer

A+E Networks Brand Licensing is heading into Licensing Expo 2017 with an expanded portfolio of new properties and brand licensing opportunities. Titles include the launch of licensing and merchandising for HISTORY’s newest series SIX and upcoming drama series Knightfall.

A+E Networks is also introducing cross category licensing programs for the iconic HISTORY brand. Currently, Lyons Press is developing a line of illustrated book titles based on HISTORY’s “Breaking History” programming block. The first of four hardcover titles debuts this fall in October with Breaking History: Vanished!: America’s Most Mysterious Kidnappings, Castaways, and the Forever Lost, followed by Breaking History: Lost America! in Spring 2018. 

Lionsgate, A+E Network’s packaged media partner, is also collaborating with Lyons Press to release a Breaking History branded DVD set.  

New partners and categories for A+E Networks’ established properties will be featured at Licensing Expo 2017, including Ancient Aliens and Duck Dynasty, plus popular franchises, Bring It!, The Curse of Oak Island, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, The Rap Game and Forged in Fire.

Additionally, A+E’s Network will showcase plans to further expand its live events and experiential business, which launched last year with the hit summer tour, Bring It! Live, based on the original Lifetime® series, Bring It!. Back by popular demand, Miss D and her Dancing Dolls are returning to the stage again as part of the Bring It! Live 2017 forty-city summer tour, kicking off Saturday, June 24 in Baton Rouge, La.

A+E Network’s Brand Licensing team manages licensing for A&E®, Lifetime®, HISTORY® and FYI™.

Fancy Food ShowWelcome to the Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show.

Imagine a wonderland of the world’s best chocolate, cheese, olive oil, charcuterie, savory snacks, spices, organic products and more. You’ll find these products, and the entrepreneurs behind them, at the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City from June 25-27.

The Summer Fancy Food Show (SFFS) is hosted by the Specialty Food Association (SFA), which is celebrating 65 years of bringing innovation to the specialty food industry. The not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,400 members around the world with resources, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace.  

SFFS is the largest trade show for specialty food and beverages in North America. The sold-out exhibit halls are filled with more than 180,000 new products, new brands and top-quality classics from 2,600 exhibitors from across the U.S. and 48 countries, proudly representing the $127 billion industry.

“The Summer Fancy Food Show is a food lover’s paradise for the taste buds and the mind,” said Phil Kafarakis, president, SFA. “Tasting the latest product is only one part of the show, it’s also about understanding the industry. The amount of information we offer – whether it be from our education programs or from our future of food experience, new this year or from our awards programs – should leave everyone walking out with a list of new favorite foods and a wealth of information, arming them to make specialty food a part of their daily lives.”

Some of the highlights for the 2017 show include:

LevelUP, a NEW Immersive Attraction

The new exhibition immerses attendees in tastes, technology and trends of tomorrow. The program will feature future consumer food trends and the forces driving them, food commerce of the future in digital, retail and food service, leading-edge market research and keynote and enhanced education sessions.

Education Program

SFA is presenting daily seminars, panels and discussions of thought-leading and business-building topics at SFFS to inspire startups, established manufacturers and buyers at all levels of expertise to succeed in the ever-changing marketplace. Sessions will include a “Retailer Roundtable” of top supermarket, specialty and e-commerce buyers discussing the future of specialty food and “The Basics: The Business of Specialty Food,” a full-day workshop on June 24 to acclimate young companies to the industry. In addition, the daily “Excite” series of short talks assembles problem solvers, disrupters and thinkers to highlight innovations in product development, food production methods, foodservice and retail experiences, and evolving consumer trends.

Business Builders 1-to-1

Customized match-making program where exhibitors present their products in pre-arranged meetings with top buyers for retailers, distributors and foodservice. More than 1,200 one-on-one appointments are set to take place in sessions facilitated by SFA.

sofi™ Awards Showcases for Outstanding Specialty Foods of 2017

Established in 1972, the sofi Awards advance culinary excellence and creativity worldwide by recognizing the outstanding work of SFA member companies. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation. The 2017 sofi Awards, which had 3,000 entries across 39 categories, produced 154 Winners in the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and New Product categories.

sofi™ Awards Product of the Year

For the first time in the 45-year history of the sofi Awards, a Product of the Year award will be given. The winner will be announced at the show.

Industry Newcomers

The “New Brands on the Shelf” pavilion will feature 35 up-and-coming specialty food producers who are SFA member candidates. They will showcase dozens of niche and artisanal specialties.

What’s New, What’s Hot! Showcases

The showcases will feature hundreds of specialty foods that represent the hottest trends in new products, natural and organic. It provides a snapshot of companies on the exhibit floor.

Front Burner: Foodservice Pitch Competition

Four exhibitors will pitch their foodservice-ready products to a panel of specialty food buyers in this live competition taking place in front of an audience of show attendees. All contestants will get exposure and feedback on their products and the winner will receive a promotional package from SFA, including editorial coverage, advertising, and a pro press release. 

Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony

SFA honors the past and inspires the future through the Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony. The Hall of Fame has 25 new inductees. Five SFA members are being honored for their career achievements in specialty food.

Giving Back

At the end of the show, exhibitors will continue their long tradition of giving back by donating thousands of pounds of meat, cheese, produce, confections and snacks to the Specialty Food Foundation, which will in turn donate the products to City Harvest, the SFFS’s longtime charity of choice. Last year, exhibitors donated more than eight-and-a-half tractor-trailers full of specialty food to help feed hungry New Yorkers.

The Summer Fancy Food Show is a trade only show, occurring in New York City from June 25-27. The Winter Fancy Food Show occurs in San Francisco, Calif., from January 21-23, 2018. 

LOL Surprise The global licensing program includes apparel, accessories, publishing and stationery. By Bianca Herron

At this year’s Licensing Expo, MGA Entertainment Inc., or “MGAE," will share details of a new global licensing program for its successful doll line, L.O.L. Surprise!TM.

The fashion-forward doll line took the retail market by storm when it launched this past December. L.O.L. Surprise!TM comes packaged in multi-layered balls that, when unwrapped, reveal various accessories for the doll found at its core. 

In 2018, MGAE – the world’s leading privately held toy company – will kick off its global licensing program and release a variety of fresh and innovative licensed products of the doll line, which will be done in four phases:

* Phase I will target fashion apparel, sleepwear and accessories;

* Phase II targets products, including health & beauty, gift & novelty, stationery & party good, and crafts & activities;

* Phase III will encompass publishing, back-to-school, game & electronics, and home décor; and

* Phase IV will encompass food & beverage, seasonal and sporting goods.

“In developing the global licensing program, we have a seemingly limitless opportunity to engage potential partners in every key product category – from apparel and accessories to publishing and stationery – buoyed by the phenomenal consumer response to L.O.L. Surprise! and the continuing success with major retailers including Toys”R”Us, Walmart, Target and Amazon,” MGAE’s Head of Global Licensing Juli Boylan said in a statement. “L.O.L. Surprise! is a truly innovative toy and we have an equally impressive licensing program!”

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Stu Seltzer award photo Seltzer won the 2017 Ambassador of the Year award for his 13 years of service teaching. By Bianca Herron


Stu Seltzer, president of Seltzer Licensing Group, recently took home New York University’s 2017 Ambassador of the Year award for his 13 years of teaching and service to the NYU community.  

Seltzer has taught a brand licensing class for undergraduates at New York University since 2004.  The prestigious Ambassador of the Year award is given to individuals who have shown to be excellent supporters of the school.

“In his time as a professor at the university, Seltzer has been the definition of an ambassador, not only educating our students but also providing them with meaningful connections and wonderful learning opportunities in and outside of the classroom,” said Nadav Friedman-Grunstein, vice president of the NYU SBS Award Committee, in a statement.

Additionally, Seltzer Licensing Group has also provided many NYU students with internships and full-time employment, Friedman-Grunstein added, noting that Seltzer is the “definition of this award.”

“I’m honored to accept this award and honored to be part of the NYU community,” Seltzer said in a statement. “At NYU, we have the advantage of using NYC as our campus and we take the entire class to experience Toy Fair as well as visit many licensors and licensees including NBA, Nickelodeon, CBS, and interact with many leaders in the licensing industry. I love the business of licensing and thank NYU for allowing me to pass this passion onto the students.”

Mobile crowdsourcingHere are three keys to in-store data retailers can use now. By Mike Grimes


Retail is one of the most data-driven businesses on the planet. Point of sale (POS), store-level foot traffic, merchandising compliance, customer loyalty, inventory, mobile, video, beacons, sensors, lasers …

OK, maybe not lasers, but you get the idea. Retailers don’t need more data, but with e-commerce sales set to top $27 trillion in 2020 according to eMarketer, in-store data is vital to helping brick-and-mortar stores optimize their increasingly valuable physical space.

Brick-and-mortar retailers need data direction: the right kinds of data, combined in the right ways, and presented in a format that both store operations and the head of merchandising can use right now. The goal of every B&M data initiative should be to increase visibility in-store, so retailers can improve the customer experience, simplify inventory management, boost shelf health, better (or re-) train sales associates and react to customer sentiment – at scale, and in near-real time.

It’s a lofty goal but here are three keys to data retailers can use to optimize their stores today.

Data should be systemic

No single data point stays relevant for long in today’s omni-channel environment. Customers bounce from channel to channel on the path to purchase. Demographics shift. And like any good research, scalable, affordable and repeatable results are best measured over time.

The “last mile” of store performance – the shelf – was previously considered “offline” and not systemically available. Today, both retailers and brands can use mobile crowdsourcing, RFID tags and mounted sensors to capture shelf health data over time, to better regulate inventory, pricing and presentation.

Chomps Snack Sticks, a grass-fed, healthy alternative to jerky snacks, is a great example. Chomps recently used mobile crowdsourcing to explore how its packaging appeared on shelves. Over time, the brand discovered store associates were inadvertently destroying their display boxes because corrugated tops were difficult to remove. As a result, Chomps is now systemically testing new packaging designs with better perforation.

Data should be visual

Most of the population (65 percent) are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. Data visualization is critical not just in the academic world, but in business as well. Retailers should say goodbye to data locked in spreadsheets, and hello to real-time graphics that help business users analyze and act quickly and decisively.

Data visualization will become even more important as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands the number of retail data sources. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms have pioneered the eloquent, data and analytics dashboard, and we expect these platforms to continue to replace legacy data management systems.

Data should be integrated

In-store, “offline” data is just as important as sales, revenue and other online data collected by a retailer, but integration is key—they’re all interdependent. By layering data streams, retailers can not only assess the current health of their stores, but also forecast trends for better business decisions in the long-term.

To start, retailers should consider integrating a few basic data flows:

* POS and other sales data

* Market research

* Store traffic

* Associate training

* Merchandising compliance

Picture competitive analysis, and performance information on product displays, adjacencies, and more, delivered and layered on top of other data streams in real-time to create a 360-degree view of the shopping experience. Better still? Include your brand manufacturer partners in these analyses and action plans.

Data You Can Act On

Imagine you’re a merchandiser for Walmart. With systemic, visual and integrated sales and merchandising data, you discover you must improve display compliance for consumer electronics brands to agreed-upon levels, versus your current 28 percent revenue shortfall.

In another scenario, your data indicates you must retrain 35 percent of your key locations whose store associates are completely unaware of the current seasonal promotion, which expires in two weeks.

Retailers need more than incremental data to increase the performance of their stores. But with integrated data, collected systemically and presented in easy-to-read actionable dashboard views, retailers hold the keys to making brick-and-mortar an immensely valuable part of the omni-channel experience.

Mike Grimes is chief revenue officer (CRO) at Mobee, an offline data and insights platform that uses crowdsourcing to collect, organize and analyze consumer data at scale. With more than 25 years of experience building digital solutions for retail-centric organizations, Grimes leads Mobee’s go-to-market strategy, sales and business development efforts.

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