Industry News

Insight on Italy licensing market

2018-05-09 16:56:15
By Becky Ash

Italy is a very competitive country in terms of licensing. The top entertainment brands in the country are a mixture of a number of international brands together with a few strong national brands such as Geronimo Stilton and Clementoni.

Boys and girls, as in many other countries, appreciate different brands. Infants and preschoolers are less gender-orientated, with the exception of Clementoni, Minions, Nintendo or the TV channels Cartoonito and Boing.

Nickelodeon report that in Italy, Paw Patrol it established itself in 2016 as the number one preschool property according to NPD data (December 2016 YTD) and 5th in the total market with a growth of 36% over the previous year. Paw Patrol continues to be a major player on the market going into 2017, as evidenced by the excellent ratings on both pay and FTA channels. NVCP is has fresh deals across all product categories and new launches are expected to meet the increasingly high consumer demand, starting with the new Spin Master line that will follow the third season.

In the pre-school sector, Blaze and the Monster Machines has also carved out an important market position, establishing itself as the 2nd new preschool property on the market in 2016. Throughout 2017, retail activities are planned with the most important retailers in the market to strengthen the awareness and launch of new products. Mattel/Fisher-Price renewed the current line, a magazine will be featured in all major newsstands along with a sticker album.

Shimmer and Shine, the newest property for the Italian business, launched on free-to-air in October 2016 with excellent results. Available also on pay TV, Shimmer & Shine has quickly established itself as one of the key properties of the channel. Toy licensee Mattel / Fisher Price presented products at the Nuremberg fair and got great feedback. They will launch their first line from September 2017. Easter will feature chocolate eggs and the Back-to-School season will be supported with a full line of backpacks, pencil cases and diaries. Shimmer and Shine will be a major focus for 2017 and the coming years, as it is the first predominantly feminine property in the Nickelodeon portfolio.

Finally, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to be a key property for the brand and closed 2016 as the 3rd action figure in the market. NVCP’s partnership with Giochi Preziosi is very strong and important launches are planned in additional product categories, in particular apparel where Benetton will launch a Sisley Young line in February 2017, followed by Original Marines who will launch a TMNT collection in interior showcases and exhibit space in March.

Maurizio Distefano
Maurizio Distefano is a well-known name in both Italian and international licensing, a name associated with experience and professionalism, not to mention a rich network of licensors, agents, TV broadcasters, toy distributors, licensees and creative agencies.

Since 2015/14 he has also been the president of the agency that takes his name, Maurizio Distefano the Evolution of Licensing, where he brings together his own experience, his networking skills and strong in-house resources to build the presence of international and local brands.

It has certainly proved effective in attracting clients. MD the Evolution of Licensing already boasts a strong portfolio that includes international hits such as, Tip the Mouse, Paddington, Kit-n-Kate, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Alvinnn!!! and The Chipmunks TV series, alongside local hits such as fashion and design brand Camomilla Milano.

Over and above these, two properties in particular have swept the local licensing market, aided by MD Licensing’s promotional skills. One is Angry Birds, whose continuing strength as a gaming brand has been boosted by last year’s film. MD Licensing handles licensing rights to Angry Birds for both the Italian and Swiss markets, working with a wide range of licenses across many product categories, including back to school, personal care, publishing, toys, clothing and food. Among licensees signed to date are Academy, Admiranda, Fabbri, Gilmar, Nestlé, Perletti, Ravensburger, Walcor, Granarolo and Warm Up Industry.

Another local phenomenon whose impressive penetration of the Italian market has been ably assisted by MD Licensing is Masha and the Bear. In fact the Russian animated hit is one of the most popular licensed properties in the Italian market, with more than 60 contracts signed to date, ranging from food brands such as Galbani in dairy produce and Balocco in biscuits, wafers and cakes to suppliers of beachware, bicycles, confectionery, markers, colouring sets, umbrellas, bed linen, clocks and watches.

This brand has really struck a chord in the Italian market, with spin-off series, a box office record-breaking movie, Masha and the Bear: Friends Forever, (grossing €4.34 million in just 19 days), a successful (and recently expanded) Masha and the Bear area at Italy’s enormously popular Leolandia theme park, and a long-running theatrical tour - Masha and the Bear Live Show - which has reached all of Italy’s major cities. The show has also built a strong online presence on PCs, tablets and mobile devices.

Mattel/Victorial Licensing & Marketing
Victoria Licensing & Marketing, who act as consultants for Mattel Consumer Products in Italy, will be at this year’s Bologna Licensing Trade Fair with a stand that has doubled in size where it will present the entire portfolio of Mattel brands, both in terms of consumer products and publishing. Mattel’s flagship brands for 2017 are Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher Price, Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder, with a particular focus on Barbie and Sam the Fireman.

Team Entertainment

Team Entertainment is evolving into a brand management company where beyond the licensing and merchandising activities of their kids properties (Calimero classic as well as the new worldwide TV series in CGI, Spike Team which will enjoy a new  series - the third - of 26 x 26 minutes), brands are becoming a new part of their strategy (V 19.69 Versace Abbigliamento Sportivo, Montenapoleone 1, Radio Days, Just Kiss, WRC). In addition, art is also a new area they are exploring and have aquired the global rights to Sigis Vinylism, a young but mature artist that they feel has an interesting  potential to evolve into consumer products. Further Team is looking into new areas and opportunities and has just finalized the acquisition of Musical.ly the new app and platform for boys and girls 8-22 with over 25 million subscribers.

They are also exploring opportunities and ideas into the high end luxury world and have created and deposited a brand 77Avenue, while testing youngsters on new ideas for a Web TV.

In terms of Spike Team, the company has been able to sign an American co-producer, Audioworks and a well known distributor, Multicom and they are launching the new series with a pop group High Diamond, a duo based in Canada through Universal Records who are preparing several songs specially for the series.


Smiley is enjoying a tremendous renaissance in the Italian market, with 68 licensees selling into Italy across 13 categories, representing a 50% increase in licensees since 2014 and a 71% growth in revenue during that same period.

Smiley is seen as a complete lifestyle fashion brand in the Italian market, enjoying amazing brand collaborations in the last 12 months with some of the biggest names in Italian fashion including; Fendi, Moschino, Moncler, Happiness, Joshua Sanders, Jimi Roos, Le Pandorine, Palm Angels and Giuseppe Zanotti, as well as exciting DTR’s and retail partnerships with Brekka, OVS and Prenatal, as well as licensing partnerships with Sabor and Sicem, that once again prove Smiley is an all-encompassing brand that is able to take the Smile from the catwalk to the boardwalk.

Planeta Junior

The Miraculous Ladybug TV phenomenon is stepping off the small screen and expanding across Europe thanks to a strong licensing program in all Planeta Junior territories.

The Italian market is getting ready with deals that include Clementoni, who will produce puzzles, Nice for make-up toys and Franco Cosimo Panini for Back-to-School. Gabbiano is on board for accessories and Walcor has signed up for Chocolate Easter Eggs.

Toei Animation

Animation and its licensing partners have confirmed several updates for Dragon Ball Super in Italy. With a successful December 2016 debut on Italia 1, Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball Super prepares to expand in Italy with premieres on BOING and Italia 2, alongside several new licensees onboard to join its merchandising program. 

Following up on Dragon Ball Super’s remarkable TV launch and incredible buzz on social network (4M+ views of Dragon Ball trailers on Italia 1’s Facebook page alone), two new licensees have confirmed their participation in Toei’s licensing initiative.

Giochi Preziosi will design back-to-school supplies and stationary, and participate in distributing Bandai toys in June. At the same time, Preziosi Food will develop Easter eggs, pandoro cakes, small chocolate eggs and salted snacks.

Toei’s Italian licensing agent, Starbright Licensing, will continue to represent Dragon Ball Super and is already closing a raft of additional deals in publishing, footwear, and apparel accessories to be announced shortly. For Bologna Licensing Fair, Starbright will hold a special Dragon Ball Super event on April 4.

(About the author: Editorial Director of Total Licensing)

(Source: Total Licensing)

The last news:China Licensing Expo...>>
The next news:From a football team...>>