The Licensing Blog

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9 Story Media Group Appoints Angela C. Santomero as Chief Creative Officer

9 Story Media GroupAngela appointed Angela C. Santomero to the newly established role of chief creative officer (CCO). As CCO, Santomero will report to president and CEO Vince Commisso to lead the creative content strategy across 9 Story Media Group. The appointment follows 9 Story’s recent acquisition of Out of the Blue Enterprises, which was co-founded by Santomero.

With Santomero’s appointment, Out of the Blue will be rebranded as 9 Story USA. The New York-based creative studio will be the anchor of 9 Story’s creative development, formative research, and creative stewardship across current series, and the studio will continue to be supported by key development staff and operations in Toronto and Dublin.

Spielwarenmesse eG Appoints New Supervisory Board Chairman

Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der Spielwarenmesse eGAxel Kaldenhoven was selected as board chairman of Spielwarenmesse eG at the annual General Meeting in Baden-Baden this month. Kaldenhoven succeeds Hans Ulrich Remfert, who retired from the post. Additionally, following a resolution at the meeting, the number of members on the supervisory board was reduced from ten to nine. Read the rest of this entry »

CPLG Restructures For Growth

CPLG has announced a restructure to reflect the increasing importance of multi-territory partners and synergies across retail, licensing, and operations, especially in Europe and the U.S.

Maarten Weck, currently the managing director of CPLG Northern Europe, will also take on heading CPLG UK. John Taylor has been promoted to commercial director, CPLG UK and Gemma Witts promoted to retail and marketing director, CPLG UK.

Maria Gurrieri, currently the managing director, CPLG Italy, will now add Turkey and Greece to her overall remit, to become managing director, CPLG Southern Europe. Anthe Louizos, managing director, CPLG Turkey and Greece, will report to Maria. Pau Pascual, who currently manages CPLG Iberia, will also take on oversight of Middle East, to support the expansion plans of CPLG MENA.

Ciarán Coyle Named LIMA Board Chairman; Cindy Levitt To Serve as Vice Chairman

Ciarán Coyle, global vice president and head of Electrolux global brand licensing, was elected chairman of the board of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA).

Board member Cindy Levitt of Hot Topic was elected by the members of the board of directors to vice chairman, and Ted Larkins of CPLG North America was voted to the executive committee as the liaison to the board of directors, each for one-year terms.

The LIMA membership has elected six new members to begin terms on the LIMA board, including  Jay Asher, Brandgenuity; Andrew Carley, Entertainment One; Eric Karp, Crayola LLC; Kelly Knock, Under Armour; Neal Rudge, Pacific Licensing Studio Pte. Ltd.; and Leigh Ann Schwarzkopf, Project Partners Network LLC.

Continuing LIMA board members include Richard Barry, EVP, global chief merchandising officer, Toys “R” Us Inc.; David Buckley, president, Copyrights Asia Ltd.; Elise Contarsy, vice president, brand licensing, Meredith Corporation; Tim Kilpin; Linne Kimball, vice president, WME/IMG Licensing; John Parham, president, Parham Santana; Maca Rotter, managing director/EVP, Televisa Consumer Products; and Henry Stupp, CEO, Cherokee Global Brands.

Discovery Communications Names Leigh Anne Brodsky EVP of Global Enterprises

Leigh Anne Headshot

Discovery Communications appointed Leigh Anne Brodsky as executive vice president, Discovery Global Enterprises. Brodsky will oversee consumer products, location-based entertainment, and program sales worldwide.

Brodsky previously served as the managing director at Peanuts Worldwide and Iconix Entertainment, where she oversaw the company’s global business, establishing the largest retail presence for Peanuts in the brand’s 65-year history.

She also served as president of Nickelodeon consumer products, overseeing parent company Viacom’s global licensing and merchandising business, including brands such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, Comedy Central’s South Park, and MTV’s Jersey Shore.

In 2011, Brodsky was inducted into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s (LIMA) Hall of Fame. She is also a twice-elected member of the LIMA Board of Directors, where she serves on its charity fundraising committee.

Mattel Launches Mattel Creations


Mattel has formed Mattel Creations, a centralized content division that will leverage the company’s global brands and library of properties to drive content across multiple platforms including theatrical, television, and digital.

Mattel’s Chief Content Officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, who joined Mattel in September, will head the cross-portfolio content strategy. Mattel has also promoted creative executive and producer Christopher Keenan as senior vice president, content development and production.

Mattel Creations comes to market with an extensive library of brands and properties to accelerate and maximize Mattel’s content development and distribution activities. As chief content officer, Balsam-Schwaber will oversee all strategies for the new division, including development slates, programming, and distribution opportunities, as well as entertainment and talent relationships.

Keenan will oversee a new centralized content development and production team, to include Playground Productions in El Segundo, the HIT content creation team in London, and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton. He will be based out of Mattel’s El Segundo offices, reporting to Balsam-Schwaber.

In addition, Mattel has announced two content projects under the Mattel Creations banner. Mattel has greenlit WellieWishers, a 2-D animated series for girls ages 5 to 7, from premium brand American Girl, and will unveil the new series for the first time to buyers and distributors at MIPTV. WellieWishers features a character-based story narrative centered on five best friends—Willa, Kendall, Ashlyn, Emerson and Camille—who imagine, play, sing and dream in their whimsical garden. When the WellieWishers step into their colourful rain boots, they’re ready for anything, stomping in muddy puddles, dancing with fireflies, and navigating the ins and outs of friendship through play and imagination. Written by head writer, Noelle Wright, and executive produced by Christopher Keenan, the series will be produced and distributed by Mattel Creations content distribution team and animated at Submarine Studios in Amsterdam. The series has entered production and will be delivered to broadcasters by end of year.

The latest CGI movie special for Barbie, Dreamtopia, has been taken by several world-class broadcasters around the world including: Cartoon Network (Latin-America), Super RTL (Germany), Pop TV (UK), MiniMini (Poland) and Karusel (Russia).

This summer, Barbie will enocurage kids to dream with the launch of the movie special, Dreamtopia. The all-new, magical and make-believe world of Dreamtopia is imagined by Chelsea, the youngest sister of Barbie. Barbie is known for her vivid imagination, which is something that runs in the family. The new special sees Chelsea following in her elder sister’s footsteps as she shares an assortment of fantasy worlds and heroic roles with viewers. Children from around the world are invited to experience the adventures of Barbie, Chelsea and her puppy Honey, as they swim through rainbow rivers with beautiful mermaids and fly through cotton candy clouds with fairies where their imaginations allows them to be anything they want. Produced by Julia Pistor (Jimmy Neutron, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) and animated by Snowball Studios, Dreamtopia is a new Barbie special targeting a younger pre-school demographic than previous films. Additionally, the special has digital shorts for broadcaster promotion and YouTube activation and will have a new line of dolls and pets reflective of the content and adventure games on

Mattel has been named MIPTV 2016’s Brand of the Year, and Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will accept the award and deliver a keynote speech on April 5 as part of the market’s Media Mastermind Keynote series. Balsam-Schwaber will also be present at MIPTV this year, speaking at the “Brands & Online Video Lunch Summit” on April 5 as well as engaging in an on-stage interview with Fullscreen’s Head of Sales Kevin McGurn at Fullscreen’s Digital Fronts Session on April 6.

Saban Brands Reunites Paul Frank Brand With Founder

Saban Brands appointed artist and designer Paul Frank as director of creative development for the company. Frank is the original founder of Paul Frank Industries (PFI), the creator of Julius the Monkey, and the additional cast of Paul Frank characters.

In his new role, Frank will serve as a key player for PFI, bring authenticity back to the brand, work on new character development, and additional properties.

Beanstalk Appoints Allison Ames as CEO

Beanstalk has appointed Allison Ames as CEO of the company. Ames will however continue to retain her position as the president of the firm.

In her new role, Ames will oversee the growth of the agency and offer comprehensive expertise on strategic brand extensions for its clients around the world.

Ames began her career at Beanstalk in 1997 and has led licensing initiatives for brands such as HGTV, Stanley Black & Decker, Purina, Airheads, the U.S. Army, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Salma Hayek and Danskin, among other key clients. She also re-introduced the manufacturer representation division of the agency, leading projects for key clients such as ConAgra, among others.

Condé Nast Names Cathy Hoffman Glosser Senior Vice President of Licensing


Condé Nast made Cathy Hoffman Glosser its senior vice president of licensing. In her new role, Glosser will develop and implement long-term product and content licensing strategies, and create new and enhanced revenue streams to expand Condé Nast’s portfolio of brands.

Glosser recently served as the senior vice president of business development for the Iconix Brand Group, where she worked in the entertainment division. She has also worked as the executive vice president of global licensing at The Trump Organization, and a licensing consultant for The New York Times.

Epic Rights Promotes Poulsen to VP of Artist Digital Media & Brand Development

11b506bf-bffa-4625-8512-5a95b68ed099Dell Furano, CEO of Epic Rights, has announced the promotion of Jesper Poulsen to vice president of artist digital media and brand development. Poulsen, who has more than a decade of experience in artist brand development, licensing, product development, and digital media, previously held the post of executive director, artist and brand development and continues to report directly to Furano.

In his new position, Poulsen will develop digital strategies to increase fan engagement that results in maximizing revenue across core sectors of artists’ business handled by Epic Rights, including official websites, e-commerce, fan experiences, VIP ticketing, and social media. Poulsen will continue to identify, prospect, structure, negotiate, and secure strategic partnerships on behalf of artists such as AC/DC, KISS, Aerosmith, John Lennon, Def Leppard, Billy Idol, Woodstock, CBGB, and more.

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