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April 2001 • Volume 6, Issue 4
Executive Vice President Shelley Middlebrook (email@example.com)
B Y M I K E C O N N E L L
the grand scheme of the kids entertainment industry, surely missing one market event isn’t Editor VP and Editorial Director a big deal. Or is it? Maybe not so much a big deal as an indication of where the business Mary Maddever is going. Lego significantly reduced its role at Toy Fair 2000. Mattel followed in February, with (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hasbro indicating a similar position for next year. Some suggest an American mainstay, an indusTel: (416) 408-2300 try institution, is falling. As some of the bigger players in the production industry start to simFax: (416) 408-0870 ilarly scale back at other market events, I started to wonder whether these were isolated, West Coast Bureau Chief economically-specific scenarios, or if there was something more to it… Jerry Beck (email@example.com) Warner Bros. recently announced that it wouldn’t be attending MIP-TV. ComTel: (323) 966-4500 ing off of a massive merger, the company targeted MIP-TV as the first Managing Editor opportunity to cut costs and provide some breathing room. When business is Jocelyn Longworth (firstname.lastname@example.org) soft, people do tend to scale down. Special Reports Editor But maybe, I would argue, the downtime is exactly when you should be Amanda Burgess (email@example.com) spending. It’s that old “you’ve got to spend money to make money” adage. The smaller companies are singing that tune, ramping up to make a big splash at MIPCopy Chief TV, while the bigger players, for all their size, become that much harder to find. Mike Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) “Never take your face away from a buyer,” says Kenn Viselman, chairman of The itsy Senior Writer bitsy Entertainment Company. Like Licensing 2000 International (where the company Simon Ashdown (email@example.com) reported a 40% stronger presence than the year before), itsy is mounting a big MIP-TV Staff Writer push. Still, Viselman can understand why a market like MIP isn’t as crucial to a comCynthia Aristizabal (firstname.lastname@example.org) pany like Warner as it is to him. “The big companies meet with the buyers anyway,” Senior Art Director and Studio Manager he reasons, “and there’s a certain arrogance in the bigger guys; they don’t want to be Gordon Alexander (email@example.com) perceived as competing with the smaller guys.” Still, looking to Mattel’s private showing at its home base in Tucson, Arizona, an Senior Graphic Designer Lindsey Wise (firstname.lastname@example.org) exclusivity is established. The problem, perhaps, in pulling out of a major market event is you can’t see your product on the shelf with everyone else’s, you can’t gauge indusWriters and Contributors try response. Steve Clarke London “Competition is good,” says John Morris, sales director for HIT Entertainment. “MIP’s Andrea Haman Toronto Robby London Los Angeles a great meeting place. You get a good feeling for the market, and there’s fast turnaround on whether people like your product or not. So long as our clients keep going to MIP, ADVERTISING SALES so will we.” Associate Publisher There’s also an argument of obligation. If you’re in the kids business, insists Joel Marcelle Bonanno (email@example.com) Andryc, executive VP of programming and development for Fox Kids Network and Sales Manager Fox Family Channel, then MIP-TV is a must-attend event. “It’s locked into my schedDonna MacNeil (firstname.lastname@example.org) ule,” says Andryc, since as a buyer, he needs to see what is out there on a global level. Account Managers Focus is an issue, and one reason I’m sure MIP isn’t as crucial to WB (although Mike Croft (email@example.com) there’s no indication that the company won’t return next year). With feature films and Shane Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) the scope of its programming in mind, the company probably relies on up-front deals (416) 408-2300, 1-800-KID-4512 and people knocking on its doors at home. For those reasons, people like Pat Ryan, DIC’s executive VP of international sales, Advertising sales in California: don’t know why WB had such a big presence in the first place. For her part, Ryan says Brunico Marketing Inc. Tel (sales): (323) 966-4100 DIC is really gearing up for MIP-TV this year, flexing its once-again-independent muscles. or (888) KIDSMAG Leading to some clarity: Like Toy Fair, it seems that whatever the reasons for companies Fax: (323) 852-0223 pulling out, the result is that the events are becoming a showcase for the more independent, West Coast Account Manager perhaps smaller and more focused producer. When WB did go to MIP-TV, or when any Claire Macdonald large company is in attendance, they tend to monopolize buyers’ time. By pulling out, sug(email@example.com) gests itsy’s Viselman, the smaller prodcos can flourish and start stealing the show. Toronto Head Office Word to the wise: W. K. Kellogg was one of the few major North American packaged goods 366 Adelaide St. West, Suite 500 manufacturers to continue advertising during the Great Depression, gaining incredible traction Toronto, Ontario Canada M5V 1R9 with consumers, great cut-through and good PR. Some see the majors pulling back from markets as inevitable, as their business become more internationally entrenched and integrated. Some Los Angeles Office Brunico Marketing Inc. see it as penny-wise, pound-foolish.
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