Licensing Expo 2017; An Interview with Jessica Blue

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Jessica Blue is Senior Vice President, Licensing with leadership responsibilities of the global UBM licensing portfolio. In this role, Blue is responsible for steering the strategy and growth of the UBM Licensing brands and teams including Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) and License! Global magazine. Prior to this, Blue was Vice President of Licensing Expo (2012-2015), the licensing sector’s largest and most important event held in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Richard:
We are all looking forward to the 2017 Licensing Expo which will take place May 23-25 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Can you tell our readers some of what they can expect to see this year that may be different than past years?

Jessica:
This year we have a completely new look and feel for the show and we have launched the new concept of Licensing Week. Licensing Week acknowledges the many licensing events going on in and around the show such as the LIMA Awards, the Entertainment Summits, Licensing University, The Opening Night Party, The Women in Toys and Licensing breakfast, among many others!

Richard:
Some of our readers may never have made the trip to the Licensing Expo or to Las Vegas. Can you tell them why the Expo chose Las Vegas and what some of the benefits that city provides? 

Jessica:
For those new to Licensing Expo, this is the place where exhibitors (brand owners) showcase more than 5,000 brands to 16,200 retailers, manufacturers and licensees attending the show.
They are there to make licensing deals. By licensing their brands to manufactures brand owners are able to increase revenue by extending their brands into new territories and product categories—like apparel, housewares, digital content and gaming, and more. These licensing agreements generate more revenue for the retailer or manufacturer as well, who benefit from being able to use recognized and well-loved brands on their products and in their stores. You can learn more about licensing and find case studies on successfully licensed brands by clicking hereLas Vegas provides the perfect backdrop for Licensing Week and Licensing Expo. The show has a strong campus-feel as most attendees and exhibitors stay onsite and there is so much networking happening all over the city.

Richard:
I noticed that Licensing Expo is cooperating with the Commerce Department in its International Buyers Program
. Can you tell our readers about IBP and what role it will be playing at the Expo?

Jessica:
IBP is a joint government-industry effort that brings thousands of international buyers to the U.S. for business-to-business matchmaking with American firms exhibiting at major industry trade shows. Every year, the IBP facilitates billions of dollars of new business between U.S. and international companies. We have applied every year for the past 3 years and we were delighted to be accepted onto the program this year. Only a small number of shows are selected each year.

Through Licensing Expo, IBP Select will give exhibitors valuable access to more potential international licensing partners from China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea and Japan at the show. These markets collectively represent $169.2 billion in annual retail sales of licensed merchandise, and are attractive territories into which many of our exhibitors are hoping to extend their brands.

On site, IBP Select specialists will assist with pairing U.S. brands and international licensees, manufacturers and retailers, to discuss potential licensing deals as part of the Licensing Expo Matchmaking Service. The International Business Center will host two international trade specialists to help guide exhibitors looking to extend their brands outside the U.S.

The Licensing Expo Matchmaking Service is also available for free to exhibitors and retailers, manufacturers, promotional agencies and wholesalers attending the Expo to help them secure meetings through the online portal before the Expo begins. Licensors and licensing agents attending the show can get access to the Matchmaking Service by purchasing the new Networking Package.

Richard:
I also noticed that there will be something called the NYC Summit which will take place March 2nd and 3rd. Is there a relationship between the Licensing Expo and the Summit? Is it important to attend both?

Jessica:
Licensing Expo and the NYC Summit are both offered by UBM’s Global Licensing Group
—As part of our mission to provide opportunities around the world to brand owners, licensees and retailers, we offer a year-round calendar of events and media that include: Licensing Expo (May 23-25, 2017), Brand Licensing Europe (October 10-12, 2017), Licensing Expo Japan (April 28-30, 2017), Licensing Expo China (July 18-20, 2017), NYC Summit (March 2-3, 2017), License Global magazine, License Global Daily E-news and LicenseTV. A great way to stay updated on all events is to go to our licensing newsletter by clicking here

Expo and the NYC Summit are two different ways to experience licensing and network in the industry. Licensing Expo is a three-day event and the world’s largest and most influential annual trade show dedicated to licensing and brand extension. In comparison, the NYC Summit is a two-day, executive-level conference and networking event developed by the License Global team to present an intimate setting designed for networking and knowledge sharing.

Richard:
Who will be some of the companies exhibiting at this year's show?

Jessica:
Some of the new exhibitors in 2017 include Auldey Toys, FAO Schwarz, French Bull, Hang Ten, Line Friends, Toon Goggles, Vooz Co, Ltd. and Yale University.
Returning exhibitors include Iconix Brand Group, Cartoon Network, Jazwares, The Joester Loria Group, Mattel and Sony Music, among many others. With more exhibitors joining every week, these are just a few of the 5,000+ brand owners and agents showcasing at Licensing Expo on May 23-25

Richard:
What is the easiest way for people to sign up and get their hotel rooms?

Jessica:
Licensingexpo.com is the go-to place where you can register, get information about hotels, use the Matchmaking Service, learn more about IBP Select, purchase a Licensing University All-Access Pass and start planning your time in Las Vegas. Since Licensing Expo is taking place about one month earlier than usual, we’re encouraging attendees to register for the Expo and book their hotel rooms early—the best locations will fill up quickly!

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