LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is poised to widen the gap even further as the world’s largest licensor with another year of strong growth tied to robust sales of licensed Disney merchandise and the acquisition of top entertainment company Lucasfilm Ltd. During an exclusive presentation at the annual Licensing Expo 2013 trade show, Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products, announced the formal inclusion of Lucasfilm licensing into DCP’s extensive franchise portfolio. Chapek also outlined the division’s strategy of bringing a more consumer-centric focus to DCP by aligning Disney’s expansive library of content with each consumer segment, focusing on technology and product innovation and on long-term franchise development.
“The Disney brand is our most powerful asset and with the acquisition of Lucasfilm, our franchise portfolio has never been stronger,” said Chapek. “Our rich and diverse content slate is full of opportunities to connect with the consumer in new and exciting ways through incredible storytelling and compelling characters. There is simply no better time in history for licensees and retailers to be associated with Disney.”
Headlining new content and merchandising programs in fiscal year 2014 and beyond are: the Star Wars franchise and the Marvel franchises of Avengers and Spider-Man; plus dynamic original programming from the leading preschool brand Disney Junior – such as Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, which are demonstrating blockbuster success with audiences and retailers alike. Additionally, plans for new content from both Disney·Pixar and Disney’s animation and live action studios, including Planes and Maleficent, rounds out a stellar content line-up prime for merchandising opportunities.
“With the industry’s most extensive franchise portfolio that includes the iconic Mickey Mouse, the mega boys franchise Marvel’s Avengers and top film franchise Star Wars, it’s critical that we continue to focus on the consumer and devise a strategy that aligns this rich and vast library of content with key markets and segments,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president, Global Licensing, Disney Consumer Products. “Our licensees and retail colleagues are poised for incremental growth opportunities as we drive the development of compelling new products and retail programs that complement each other across the spectrum.”
"We're excited to be part of The Walt Disney Company and to be able to marshal all the resources we've never dreamt of before," said Howard Roffman, executive vice president, Lucasfilm franchise. "There's only one place where it made sense for Star Wars to reside and that is Disney, it is the only entertainment company that understands long term: long term brand affinity and franchise planning, plus the power of storytelling and compelling characters – this is what our fans expect from Star Wars."
A look at licensing and retail opportunities ahead:
Leading the boys consumer segment with a powerful slate of content and licensing opportunities:
As previously announced Disney and Lucasfilm are in development on all-new Star Wars films. Acclaimed filmmaker J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, set for 2015, the first of three films continuing the Star Wars saga. These will alternate with standalone movies tied to key Star Wars characters. Production has also begun on Star Wars Rebels, an exciting, all-new animated television series based on one of the greatest entertainment franchises of all time. Scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel, it will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world. This outstanding line of content presents stellar licensing opportunities and deepens Disney’s portfolio across consumer segments, particularly with boys and collectors, but also opens up the Star Wars world to new fans.
With a pipeline of strong and compelling multi-platform support through 2013 and beyond, Marvel's Avengers will continue to build as one of the top evergreen franchise licensing opportunities. Marvel Studios Avengers-related films include tent-poles such as Marvel's Iron Man 3, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World (November 2013) and Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 2014), leading up to The Avengers sequel in 2015. On the television animation side, the Avengers will come to life on the small screen and in DVD in 2013, as Disney XD premieres two highly anticipated series on the Marvel Universe programming block – Marvel's Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. By leveraging compelling content and synergies across publishing and home entertainment, Marvel continues to develop a comprehensive licensing program with exciting characters and new style guides to help unify products that fall under both the individual films and the overall Avengers franchise.
Marvel’s other franchise, Spider-Man, will see a new Columbia Pictures’ film release in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2014), which will swing into theaters along with equally cool “web-slinging” products. The film is a key part of a consistent web of Spider-Man focused content support for the next few years – from the big screen to Ultimate Spider-Man on the small screen, along with interactive games, publishing and social content.
Also coming in 2014 is the launch of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (August 2014), a new tent-pole film release showcasing the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmic realm, introducing unique characters and cool, galactic gear and ships.
The Cars franchise continues to benefit from a robust program across The Walt Disney Company delivering sustained reach and frequency with new Cars Toons, short-form content for media and digital platforms, and “Cars Land,” the tremendously popular 12-acre addition to Disney California Adventure® Park. DCP will also contribute to this momentum in 2013 and beyond with a wide assortment of Cars products for kids, adults and collectors.
In May 2014 Disney·Pixar will present The Good Dinosaur, a hilarious, heartfelt and original tale in which giant dinosaurs never became extinct. The innovative product line for this film brings this new Pixar world to life and plays into the affinity boys have with dinosaurs, from collecting to re-enacting scenes from the film.
Disney’s Planes is an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure about Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane whose high-flying dream gives a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. The film is set to release in theaters August 9, 2013. DCP’s merchandise program for Disney’s Planes will feature a robust lineup featuring toys, social, fashion, home and books, with broad retail support.
A growing preschool consumer segment focus and a winning tween content slate:
As a daily programming block on Disney Channel and a 24-hour channel that launched last spring, Disney Junior has quickly ascended to the top among preschool and parent viewers alike with hit series Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Never Land Pirates, as well as returning favorites Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Minnie’s Bow-Toons. Disney Junior consumer products are expanding and helping to grow preschool retail shelf space like never before.
Sofia the First merchandise makes its way to mass retailers for the first time this summer – debuting magical items from Mattel, JAKKS Pacific, Jay Franco and more. Additionally, the Doc McStuffins collection continues to grow and this year expands beyond award-winning toys into apparel and home décor. Jake and the Never Land Pirates will be launching a LEGO DUPLO line later this summer to round out the franchise’s adventure play offerings. Disney Junior is working closely with licensees and major retailers to grow its preschool market presence with compelling product development and expansion into new categories that position each of the five franchises as long-term, evergreen properties.
Disney Channel is primed to unleash Teen Beach Movie, an exuberant song, sand and surf fest set inside a retro beach party movie on July 19, 2013. Made for kids age six to 14 and their families, the movie boasts a comprehensive program of promotional partners and content extensions including a licensed merchandise line that features tween products across apparel, home décor, fashion dolls, school supplies and publishing. Tween programming continues to be a priority for Disney Channel, delivering new licensing opportunities for DCP with this coveted demographic.
DCP will also continue to support popular Disney Channel characters Phineas and Ferb with year-round sales opportunities, age and gender demographic expansion and new creative spotlighting their sidekick Agent P (aka Perry the Platypus). This summer Disney Channel and Disney XD will present an epic TV event – Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel – that will span across content, products, publishing, digital platforms and more.
Entertainment and product offerings for the whole family:
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
The Muppets will be returning to the big screen in spring 2014 with Muppets Most Wanted. Complete with new characters and incredible guest stars, the Muppets embark on a grand world tour only to find themselves wrapped up in an international crime caper. Film-related products for this evergreen franchise will be unveiled in late 2013 and into 2014 across all segments and at major retailers.
Scheduled for release in July 2014, Maleficent is the untold story of Disney's most beloved villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. The film reveals the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse baby Aurora. Product lines will span toys, role-play and seasonal categories as well as halo extensions that will reintroduce audiences to the confident, independent and fearless Disney Princess, Aurora.
WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS
Coming this November is Frozen, a comedy-adventure featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel. In the film, fearless optimist Anna (voice of Bell) teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, they race to find Anna’s sister Elsa (voice of Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. With major support companywide and a strong theatrical marketing campaign tied to the film, DCP has developed a broad merchandise program focusing on two princesses and two castles to create an exquisite, beautiful product assortment for this unique and relatable musical event film. Additional licensing opportunities exist across categories for 2014.
Disney’s classic characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Winnie the Pooh continue to reign as licensing powerhouses inspiring internationally celebrated global franchises. As the world’s most valuable franchise character, Mickey Mouse continues to resonate with today’s generation. Celebrated designer Marc Jacobs featured the iconic mouse in his spring 2013 collection, which went on to grace the covers of elite fashion publications around the world and was embraced by today’s hottest stars.
DCP’s strategy to break out Minnie Mouse as a fashion icon in her own right has paid off. The Minnie franchise now ranks as Disney’s No. 2 girls franchise behind only the Disney Princess franchise. Gracing the runways across international fashion week shows from Milan to Paris and Mexico to Tokyo and New York, Minnie Mouse-inspired collections were the buzz. Coming up in 2014 Mickey and Minnie will continue their ascent as muses for some of the biggest names in the fashion world and will expand lifestyle offerings across apparel, accessories, beauty, consumer electronics and home décor.
Meanwhile, Winnie the Pooh remains a favorite with parents thanks to content and product offerings that capture the essence of simplicity and wholesome goodness of this sweet ‘ol bear, but still make him relevant in today’s digital world. The popular Wonder and Wander App, for example, remains a favorite on the iTunes store.
Storytelling and role-play for girls of all ages:
DISNEY PRINCESS & DISNEY FAIRIES
With new princess character additions and through the re-releases of classic Disney films like The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition this fall, the Disney Princess franchise remains a leading licensing opportunity across multiple product categories. In fall 2014, a few months after the theatrical release of Maleficent, Walt Disney Studios will open its prestigious vault for the release of Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition on Blu-ray. DCP will support the re-release of this timeless classic with a wide product assortment, which will also be supported through television promotions, short form content, marketing, PR and social media.
Rounding out Disney’s top franchises, Disney Fairies continues its success at retail. In fall 2013 a new “Bake Off” animated short will debut followed by the release of an all-new fairies film in spring 2014. Throughout 2014 the franchise will be supported with retail programs, interstitials on Disney Channel as well as vibrant new packaging. DCP will also focus on breaking out Tinker Bell for older girls with a licensing program that will leverage all-new artwork, fun editorial and create cohesive statements across categories and “halo” programs that highlight Tinker Bell’s sassy, feisty personality.
Creating magical moments with Disney right from the start:
After its launch only two years ago as DCP’s newest brand, Disney Baby is quickly establishing itself as the premier infant and toddler brand offering a broad range of essential products for parents for every key moment of the day. The Disney Baby collection leverages Disney’s robust portfolio of classic and new characters and content with new products inspired by Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Mike and Sulley from Monster’s, Inc. In addition to showcasing innovative product offerings, the DisneyBaby.com website has also become a leading resource for millions of parents nationwide. Parents gather every day online to create a community of Disney Baby ambassadors by sharing information across Disney Baby social media channels and on DisneyBaby.com. The Disney Baby product line continues to grow with offerings now available at Amazon.com, Babies R Us, Kmart, Target, Walmart and more. This fall, the Disney Baby Store will celebrate its one-year birthday at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif.
About Disney Consumer Products
Disney Consumer Products (DCP) is the business segment of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) that delivers innovative and engaging product experiences across thousands of categories from toys and apparel to books and fine art. As the world's largest licensor, DCP inspires the imaginations of people around the world by bringing the magic of Disney into consumers' homes with products they can enjoy year-round. DCP is comprised of three business units: Licensing, Publishing and Disney Store. The Licensing business is aligned around five strategic brand priorities: Disney Media, Classics & Entertainment, Disney & Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Princess & Disney Fairies, Lucasfilm and Marvel. Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world's largest publisher of children's books, magazines, and digital products and also includes an English language learning business, consisting of over 40 Disney English learning centers across China and a supplemental learning book program. DPW's growing library of digital products includes best-selling eBook titles and original apps that leverage Disney content in innovative ways. The Disney Store retail chain operates across North America, Europe and Japan with more than 350 stores worldwide and is known for providing consumers with high-quality, unique products. Disney's official shopping portals online are www.DisneyStore.com and www.DisneyStore.co.uk. For more information, please visit Disney Consumer Products www.DisneyConsumerProducts.com or follow us at www.YouTube.com/DisneyLiving, www.Facebook.com/DisneyLiving and www.Twitter.com/DisneyLiving.
*Forbes magazine 2013