Over 32,000 unique content views and 2,900 digital meetings took place across the five-day online event.
The first-ever Licensing Week Virtual, organised by the Global Licensing Group in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, took place 15th-19th June, bringing licensing industry professionals together from across the globe at a time when physical networking and deal-making was not possible.
The virtual conference and exhibition secured 4,477 attendees globally from the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and more, while attendees included Build-A-Bear, Guess, Primark, Selfridges, Target and other world-renowned retailers. Some 2,933 virtual meetings were scheduled throughout the five-day period, and, on average, attendees spent more than 23 hours on the event platform.
The virtual event showcased the need for developing new, and nurturing existing, industry connections, as well as forward-thinking and educational sessions for the licensing industry, which generated $292.8b in global sales of licensed goods and services in 2019, according to the Licensing International 6th Annual Global Licensing Survey.
The event also highlighted a number of emerging or developing trends as a result of the pandemic. Video streaming is projected to reach $27.1b USD in 2020. As the number of streaming subscription services significantly expands, with movie studios launching their own services and traditional movie theatres unable to show films, more streaming properties have opened the door to vast licensing potential as a wider category of viewers are consuming more content than ever, due to stay-at-home orders, and are thus establishing deep-rooted connections with new properties. Companies such as Universal Studios, with its early video-on-demand release of Trolls World Tour, are releasing licensed products more closely aligned with the entertainment property itself and are able to promote product hand-in-hand with early digital launches.
Virtual Licensing Week also notes that retail and licensee communities have turned to e-commerce to slow the loss of revenue caused by Covid-19. With companies now focusing product roll-out efforts through an e-commerce channel, the need to be highly visible digitally and make online shopping a viable alternative to in-store shopping is a scalable and viable strategy, as the pandemic forced non-digitally native and hesitant consumers to understand the e-commerce landscape, from mobile kerbside orders to delivery groceries. Due to the shift, direct-to-consumer opportunities will be a larger segment even as retailers begin to open.
Overall, the virtual event has been hailed as a success. “This business is built from connections and the fact that the number of meetings coordinated during the event virtually mirrors the number set up in-person at our live events showcases the industry’s immense need for connections and learning, ” said Anna Knight, Global Licensing Group vice president, Informa Markets. “The most critical part of setting up a virtual event such as this was keeping our community needs at top-of-mind, and also realising that not every single element of a live trade show can transfer over to a digital event beat-for-beat. We’re pleased with the results of Licensing Week Virtual and will continue to complement live events with digital offerings to continue to reach the broad and agile licensing community.”