For The Toy Book‘s 2024 Licensing & Entertainment Issue, we caught up with six executives to talk toys, trends, and strategy ahead of this year’s recently wrapped Licensing Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Now, we’re sharing extended editions of each Q&A here at ToyBook.com as part of our ongoing State of the Industry series.

In this installment, Anthony Marks, Managing Director of Fanattik, discusses licensing and entertainment brands.

Source: Fanattik

The Toy Book: How has Fanattik’s licensing strategy evolved in the past year?

Anthony Marks: We decided to take things to the next level with our existing licensing partners rather than take on additional partners. At the back end of 2023, our Hasbro, Paramount, and Universal Studios licenses were all up for renewal, and we renewed them but added additional IP to each agreement. For example, with Universal we already licensed Jurassic Park, Jaws, Back to the Future, etc., but we’ve added franchises like Fast & Furious and Shrek. Since the relationships are already there with these partners, their approvals teams understand the unique nature of our products. It’s a lot easier than starting from scratch with a new team.

TB: What are some of the key properties that you’re looking forward to working with in the months ahead?

AM: 2024 is all about anniversaries: Godzilla (70), Dungeons & Dragons (5), Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (40), SpongeBob (25), and Five Nights at Freddy’s (10). We are a licensee for all of them, so getting these anniversary ranges produced and out to the retailers is what I am looking forward to most this year.

TB: When you hear “Brands at Play,” what do you think are some of the biggest opportunities for traditional consumer products brands to make the jump into toys and collectibles?

AM: Toys are a no-brainer, roleplay has always been a big sector so I can see home/kitchen brands continuing with this but when it comes to the world of collectibles where we live, I am not so sure, it could be a bridge too far. The exception I suppose would be a brand such as Kellogg’s, with a lot of heritage they could lean into. There are already a lot of adult collectors out there for the retro packaging, so that would be nice to see.

TB: Since your focus is on retailers vs. new licensing deals, what is your approach at Licensing Expo?

AM: My Creative Director and I focus on the side meetings we have planned outside of the hall as we have just as many meetings in hotel bars and the food court as we do on actual stands. Being based in the UK we attend Brand Licensing Europe in London but the Las Vegas show is great for cementing relationships with U.S. retailers.

A version of this feature was originally published in The Toy Book’s 2024 Licensing & Entertainment Issue. Click here to read the full issue! Want to receive The Toy Book in print? Click here for subscription options!

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.

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