TV Shows Bundled in Merchandising

Licensing International Expo Wraps Up in New York

The mammoth Licensing International Expo wrapped a quiet three-day trade show Thursday as caution prevailed with the weak economy, leaving media companies to milk existing properties in a budding trend of rolling up old TV shows into new packages.

About 25,000 media executives attended the three-day event in New York, looking to merchandise properties that included Gossip Girl from Warner Bros. Consumer Products and SpongeBob SquarePants from Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products.

The push to repackage familiar properties into new packages -- a sort of brand extension -- follows a trail blazed by Disney Consumer Products, which created successful all-new umbrella brands Disney Princess and Disney Fairies using familiar characters from the studio vault as building blocks.

Familiar TV property in new packages at this year’s event included the Television City line from CBS Consumer Products, TV-show-format outfit FremantleMedia North America offering multiple properties in mobile media and Warner’s comic-book-turned-TV-series Wonder Woman and comic-book character Super Girl getting a designer fashion lines.

Television City ropes together TV series such as Beverly Hillbillies, The Love Boat and Rawhide. Hallmark Cards licensed the property for greeting cards.

Licensing Expo organizer the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) estimated that royalty income to property owners from North American use of their brands slipped 0.8% in 2007 to $5.99 billion, reflecting the weak economy.

In that sum, the “characters” category -- which covers TV, movie and entertainment properties -- was the only one of 10 segments that managed an increase, rising 1.1% to $2.71 billion. Other categories included sports, music and consumer brands.