‘Star Wars,’ ‘Jurassic World,’ ‘Avengers’ Likely to Power Record 2015 Royalty Rates and Retail Sales

Character and Entertainment category made up 44 percent of all licensing revenues last year, new study reveals — thanks, “Frozen!”

Last Updated: June 8, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

“Star Wars” is the new “Frozen.” From a retail sales standpoint, anyway.

Marty Brochstein of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) told TheWrap that Disney may just outdo itself year-over-year with December’s “The Force Awakens” — despite 2014’s massive revenue from “Frozen” consumer goods.

“It takes no big brain to say that ‘Star Wars’ will be ‘big,'” Brochstein said. “Companies really have to be in the business of figuring out and making bets on how big ‘big’ is.”

Last year, the giant animation company was ill-prepared to handle consumer demand for “Frozen” swag. While the Kristen Bell-Idina Menzel cartoon movie actually bowed in November 2013, surprise demand for licensed goods was so massive that Disney spent 2014 playing catch-up.

“Disney did not know what it had,” Brochstein explained. “‘Frozen’ … was a total surprise … to how big it got and how quickly it got that big.”

But being the marketing-savvy genius that it is, Disney handled the market brilliantly, easily making “Frozen” the top brand of 2014, a year that the Industry Relations and Information SVP anecdotally qualified as “very strong.”

That said, expect even bigger things this year from Brochstein’s industry, which is likely to claim a record for movie licensing and related royalties. “Star Wars” aside, 2015 also boasts “Avengers,” “Minions,” “Inside Out,” “Jurassic World” and “Fantastic Four” — all which have huge retail sales opportunities.

On Monday, Brochstein’s trade organization released its first-ever Annual Global Licensing Study, quantifying 2014’s worldwide royalty rates and retail sales. According to the report, trademarked names and likenesses totaled roughly $13.4 billion in royalty revenues and $241.5 billion in retail sales last year. The majority of that — 60 percent — came from the U.S. and Canada alone. Europe accounted for one-quarter of the remaining sum, while Asia claimed 10 percent.

Four major categories — Character & Entertainment, Corporate Trademarks, Fashion and sports — combined for 89 percent of all licensing revenues in 2014. Character & Entertainment accounted for 44 percent of the market itself at $107 billion, more than doubling the next highest category, Corporate Trademark ($53 billion, 22 percent). Fashion was third ($29 billion, 12 percent) followed by Sports ($26 billion, 11 percent). Publishing ($12 billion), Collegiate ($4.6 billion), Celebrity ($3.3 billion), and Music ($2.3 billion) rounded out the group.

LIMA serves roughly 1,000 companies worldwide that are in the business of licensing trademarks. As this year’s study had a revised methodology and was the first time LIMA covered all countries, there are no year-over-year comparisons available. Instead, 2014 will serve as a baseline for future analysis.