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Exclusive: Anna Knight speaks to Toy World on all things BLE

Published on: September 12th, 2019

Toy World caught up with Anna Knight to hear her thoughts on this years BLE, which will be taking place in Excel London from the 1st-3rd October. 

Brand Licensing Europe 2019 is set to bring together more than 7,800 retailers and manufacturers with 260 leading brand owners and agents, to identify new trends, build partnerships and secure brand rights.

It was announced last year that BLE would be relocating to Excel London from 2019 as part of organiser Informa’s ambitious strategy to evolve the show, attract even more European licensees, retailers and licensors, and improve the customer experience for both visitors and exhibitors. Informa has also confirmed the event will remain at Excel London until at least 2024. While the move may have raised a few eyebrows, Anna Knight, vice president at Global Licensing Group, says that the feedback has been very positive.

“It’s human nature to be cautious about change; we all are, about everything,” she says. “But we’re delighted with the response that we have received from our exhibitors, who are as excited about the move to Excel as we are. Excel London is a state-of-the-art events facility, which gives BLE and our exhibitors the flexibility, facilities and future opportunities to grow and engage visitors in a way that just wasn’t possible at Olympia. Retail has shown us that the future lies in experiences and you’re going to see a lot more of that at BLE this year, both in the BLE themed installations and from our exhibitors. In terms of travelling to Excel, simply head for the Jubilee Line, which has so many interchanges along the Tube network, alight at Canning Town and hop up the escalator to take the DLR to Custom House. It’s that easy, and it means you really don’t have to drive unless absolutely necessary.”

In terms of content, the organiser of BLE, Informa, has moved away from a single theme for 2019 and chosen instead to focus on several all-inclusive licensing categories that offer something for everyone to take inspiration and ideas from: Animation; Gaming and eSports; Heritage x Interiors and Publishing.

“We’ve got three brilliant meet and greets in our Beyond the Book activation,” enthuses Anna. “Mr Men and Little Misses’ Adam Hargreaves, Horrible Histories’ Terry Deary and former License This! winner Charlotte Reed, who is the author of the May The Thoughts Be With You books.”

Anna proceeds to tell us more about content for this year followed by reflections on last years show, as well as after hour events and more about the new venue. Read the full story in our October issue, available to read in print and online soon.

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