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Viacom18 Consumer Products ramps up sports & lifestyle portfolio

The company has acquired the master licensing rights in India for the iconic FC Barcelona and Italian fashion brand Winx Club

Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | December 3, 2014

Winx-Club-merchandise

Viacom18 Consumer Products has announced two new partnership deals, one with FC Barcelona Merchandising and the other with Rainbow International to strengthen its sports and lifestyle portfolios, at the first ever Viacom18 Consumer Products Annual Trade Fair . As part of these partnerships, the company has acquired the master licensing rights in India for the iconic FC Barcelona and Italian fashion brand Winx Club.

This comes as a treat for Barca fans in the country who can now buy everything from FC Barcelona apparel to sports gear. The entire product portfolio consists of over 200 SKUs to start with, and will be available at all leading online retail websites and retail stores across India. Winx Club, a blend of traditional and contemporary, aims to be the most popular fashion brand in India for young girls. The merchandise will include toys and a contemporary apparel line which will be available across the biggest offline and online retails stores by early next year.

Saugato Bhowmik Saugato Bhowmik

Commenting on the partnership, Saugato Bhowmik, Senior Vice-president, Consumer Products, Viacom18 Media, said “We are operating in exciting times today as we are extending our footprint from merchandising for network-owned brands to acquiring master license rights for iconic brands across the world. Being an extremely progressive segment with high growth potential, sports merchandising has been a key focus category for us. These partnerships are key milestones in our endeavour to fortify our position as a house of global brands.”

Speaking about the role of consumer products in the kids’ section, he added, “The insight which we use here is that kids get easily transported into this ‘toon’ world after seeing it on TV. Then they want to see it on everything around them, be it on their shoes, bottles, bags or clothes. Here arises the need to create this tangible access of their favourite characters to develop an eco-system outside television.”

Viacom18 Consumer Products is a significant player in the ever-growing branded retail products segment through its diverse portfolio. Each brand has its own strategy and enjoys its unique popularity. ‘Dora- the Explorer’ is used as the key driver to bring kids to the Nick portfolio, targeting mainly the young girls. US brands like ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, on the other hand, target both kids and youth. Home-grown property ‘Motu Patlu’ (apparel, back-to-school products) is mainly targeted at the boys. ‘Shaun the sheep’ is a niche brand and also enjoys a niche and restricted following from both kids and youth.

‘Jungle Book’ has always connected well with the tier I and tier II areas. ‘Peanuts’ will have a unique collaboration through sports and movies in India in a quirky, fun, humourous way, quite similar to that in US. ‘Ninja Hatori’ (toys) and ‘Power Rangers’ (apparel, toys, footwear), are some of the other brands that are leveraged.

The Viacom18 Consumer Products vertical has clear strategic growth pillars which include long-term licensing relationship with trusted players like Hamleys and Simba Toys. Also, tie-ups with e-commerce players like Myntra, Flipkart and Jabong. This division also aims to leverage digital, television and on-ground to create the right buzz on some of these brands, because the company believes in first investing in their own brands before licensing them.  Bhowmik stated, “We clearly want to be the house of iconic brands in the country and anybody looking to come to India should be able to easily come to us, because not only do we have good licensing capabilities, but also strong media network. Our television reach is almost 150 million every month and our digital contact is almost 80 million.”

Going forward, Viacom18 Consumer Products’ plan is not only to ramp up growth but also increase the reach of products. “From 500 SKUs a year back to 2,000 SKUs in the next two months - that is the level of work which is going on in this office. There will be 130+ Nickelodeon branded environment in large format retailers like Hamleys and Shopper Stop. There will also be pure Nickelodeon corners in the store to ease navigation. Talking about the distribution, there will be 10,000+ retails footprints and many more in the e-commerce platforms. We wish to achieve all of this, with very high quality, visually exciting and engaging products,” Bhowmik stated.

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