The Licensing Show Is Coming; A Visit with Jessica Blue

Headerf LE16- Website Header- Logo and dates-01-01Jessica Blue is Senior Vice President at UBM Americas and oversees the Licensing Expo. UBM Americas, formerly known as Advanstar, organizes the annual event that is sponsored by LIMA, the Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association. Licensing Expo takes place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada from June 21 through June 23. Here is my interview with Jessica:

Richard:

I have been attending the Licensing Show since the first ones held at the Hilton in New York. How has the show changed over the years?  What new and exciting things will I see this year?

Jessica:

I always enjoy talking about the evolution of Licensing Expo. It’s exciting to look back on the growth of the show. The Expo has increased in size and scope steadily each year with a rise in attendee, exhibitor and retailer participation. Exciting developments in recent years include the addition of a huge Opening Night Party, the Digital Media Licensing Summit, the re-design of the floor to include three zones: Character and Entertainment, Art and Design and Brands and Agents and new for 2016 an exclusive Matchmaking Service. This is a pioneering online platform that will allow attendees and exhibitors to arrange key meetings in advance of the show. By searching through thousands of exhibitor and attendee contacts, exhibitors at Licensing Expo can now connect with new and existing partners to arrange meetings. Expo attendees can also search exhibitors and arrange those key meetings that will help create relationships and licensing deals.

Richard:

Is there any hope for New Yorkers that there will be some kind of a licensing event returning to Manhattan?  After all, the Hilton is still there.

Jessica:

Las Vegas is now the true home of Licensing Expo and will be going forward. UBM recently launched the inaugural NYC Summit: The Business of Brand Licensing on March 1-2, 2016 in New York City. The two-day executive level conference and networking event was developed by License! Global Magazine in partnership with the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA). The Summit sold out two weeks before it opened and more than 250 people attended. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and it will run again next year.

Richard:

For those who have never attended the Licensing Show; what is the benefit of making the trip to Las Vegas?

Jessica:

We hear from attendees time and again how a great licensing deal with the right partner has transformed their business. That’s the real benefit and if you aren’t there, you could be missing out on the opportunity to grow your business exponentially. There is nowhere else on earth where you can compare and contrast 5,000 brands on display and talk to those brand owners about brand extension and licensing opportunities.

Richard:

Some trade shows have struggled in recent years.  What is the state of the Licensing Expo?

Jessica:

I am happy to report that we are almost sold out for 2016, which is a great position to be in. The show will be larger than last year and Licensing Expo continues to be the place where the licensing industry meets each year to shake hands and make deals that ultimately become toys. In 2015, 16,150 licensing professionals attended the show, representing a 3% increase from last year’s event. This figure includes a 6.6% uptick in international attendance with one in three attendees coming from outside the U.S. The countries with the greatest number of attendees were Canada, Japan, Mexico and the U.K. with significant increases from Australia (+31%), Brazil (+30%) and China (+12%). Sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the 2015 Expo featured 460 exhibiting companies in 232,000 square feet, an increase of 6.5% on 2014. As well, we were excited to see more retailers attended than ever before, up 15%, which was noted by many exhibitors. The 2015 show ended on a strong note with over 70% of the 2015 floor space re-booked for this June.

Richard:

We always like to ask a personal question (well not that personal).  In your case, do you have a licensed character sitting on your desk? 

Jessica:

Sadly, I had to trade in my i-phone 5 for an i-phone 6 last week and my fabulous Minion phone case doesn’t fit the new phone. I will be purchasing a new case but I’m not sure which brand I’m going to pick just yet!

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