By Tony Lisanti
ndy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products, jetted routinely to Mexico, in early March, to address the company’s licensees and partners. Mooneyhas done this gig before, not only in Mexico, but also throughout the world. It was a rather typical corporate event, but what made this trip a little different and certainly more newsworthy, was the message that Mooney delivered to the licensing community audience that DCP is once again bullish about the future and there’s no better time in history to be associated with the company. This might seemtrivial at least on the surface because DCP is after all the world’s largest licensor and it has been growing consistently ever since Mooney took the helm in December 1999, actually almost tripling the division’s size over the past decade from $10 billion in annual worldwide retail sales of licensed products to $27.2 billion in 2009. But that 2009 sales number is about $3 billion less than whatthe company reported the previous year. The reality is that the past few years have been tough on just about every licensor, licensee and retailer worldwide. 34
www.licensemag.com March/April 2010
Therefore, Mooney’s optimism about the future is far more newsworthy not only for DCP and its hundreds of partners, but also for the brand licensing and retail industry worldwide. “I’m back on the $50billion bandwagon,” Mooney says in an exclusive interview with License! Global. “With the content on the horizon and the potential for accelerating growth for the Marvel brand, I am tremendously optimistic about the future.” Mooney recalls telling the Mexican licensing community two years ago—and licensing industry executives may recall Mooney’s proclamation at the Licensing International Expo in2007—that $50 billion in retail sales was the new milestone for DCP. Then the global economic crisis and recession hit
and the past few years have had many companies in a status quo mode, which is apparently slowly but surely about to change. Mooney’s optimism is partly rooted in the economic recovery worldwide, but also in the multitude of new strategic initiatives, which are broader andedgier these days than the traditional character-driven business of the 1990s. These ambitious initiatives and financial goals are what will define a new decade of growth for DCP and certainly the legacy of its chairman now entering his second decade of service. DCP’s growth plan will be accomplished through a diverse offering of new content, traditional franchises and international development thatincludes: An abundant new slate of studio content over the next few years—including Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Pirates of the Caribbean 4—that will help expand several core franchises and create new ones; Building brand franchises or play patterns without studio content such as Disney Fairies, which DCP has had success implementing; The repositioning and redesign of Disney retail stores, which returnedto the DCP division in 2008, and plans are for new prototypes to open in several markets later this year; International expansion, particularly in the BRIC territories, where DCP sees unlimited growth potential; The expansion of Disney digital publishing; And Marvel Entertainment, the world’s eighth largest licensor, reporting $4.9 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2009, accordingto License! Global’s Top 125 Licensors, which Walt Disney Co. acquired last August with the deal closing in December. The Marvel acquisition, perhaps the most significant reason for Mooney’s growth projections and optimism, catapults DCP into an entirely new segment of entertainment and consumer products. It’s this superhero phenomenon, which is dominant in the lucrative boys’ toys category,...