Saturday, June 12, 2021

InPark exclusive: Anna Knight of Informa Markets discusses the 2020 Festival of Licensing and the attractions industry

Interview by Judith Rubin

The licensing of intellectual property (IP) is a key factor in the creation of visitor attractions today. Providing an environment for networking and business conversations that can lead to IP- and brand-centric LBE and themed entertainment projects is the Festival of Licensing, is a month-long virtual celebration of the global licensing industry running from 6-29 October. It includes regional-specific events for Europe (6-8 October), Asia (14-15 October) and the Americas (20-22 October), and closes with the global C suite Licensing Leadership Summit (28-29 October). Anna Knight, Vice President of the Global Licensing Group at event organizer Informa Markets shared information about the event and current trends. Visit www.thegloballicensinggroup.com

What kinds of trends are you currently seeing for licensing in the visitor attractions space? Would you say this was a hot spot for licensing opportunities?

As the world attempts to adapt alongside the ongoing pandemic, we’re seeing an emerging trend amongst consumers who are looking to licensed consumer experiences and products to invoke the sense of nostalgia within them. Millennials and younger consumers are especially seeking familiar brands for support and direction during these uncertain times. Brands that carry legacy behind them have a good opportunity now to re-enter the attractions sector to connect with consumers looking to experience branded entertainment as a source of entertainment and comfort.

What are some of the ways that Festival of Licensing will be a valuable forum and networking space for companies in the attractions sector? 

Networking is the prime component of the brand licensing ecosystem. Apart from the multitude of educational content offerings, Festival of Licensing will feature plenty of networking opportunities for professionals in the attractions sector.

I highly recommend interested attendees completely fill out their Matchmaking profiles for our Festival Matchmaking Service to maximize their time at the event. What’s also brilliant about the Service is that attendees can schedule pre-planned meetings and impromptu booth drop-ins—all virtually. Moreover, we recently announced our Hasbro Happy Hours Program, which provides attendees the opportunity to engage with one another through fun activities such at the end of each ‘work day,’ including trivia, cocktail hours, and a Licensing Mask-arade Party.

Tell us about some of the innovations designed to make the Festival of Licensing platform deliver a meaningful experience to participants in multiple regions, particularly in attractions. 

Virtual conferences and events have certainly lifted one barrier to entry that attendees commonly face, location. Yet, time zones can be a hindrance to many working professionals across the globe. Hence why we purposely curated specific content to cater to specific regions in their own time zone as the first step to best support and address a global licensing audience.

The evolution of the event platform is something we, as the event organizers, are constantly working on with our platform provider to create and drive the attendee experience to something as close to an in-person event as we can make. For Festival of Licensing in particular we want to create a robust exhibition hall experience that one can experience at any of our in-person events.

Many of our exhibitors have ties to the attractions industry such as Hasbro, Herschend Entertainment Studios, Natural History Museum, Aardman Animations, The Pokemon Company International, and ViacomCBS to name a few. Additionally, several of our Live Stage sessions will touch upon location-based experiences and how they will evolve during and post COVID-19. One particular session of interest I would recommend attendees tune into is the “Hasbro + eOne: Fueling Franchises Together” panel which will feature the Hasbro Vice President of Location Based Experiences, Matt Proulx discussing with eOne representatives on brand licensing strategies for franchise growth.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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