How to License Your Brand: An Interview with Steve Scebelo, SVP of Merchandising and Licensing at Gemstar - TV Guide International Inc.
INBOX: Why do you feel publishers should invest in a licensing director, instead of delegating the responsibility to existing editorial staff?
SCEBELO: Licensing is an area that takes expertise and specific knowledge about marketing, manufacturing, retail climate, trends, financial forecasting, etc. Licensing is not a project, it’s a department. Hiring a licensing director helps ensure avoidance of any projects that would result in net-negative revenue. Licensing is a great example of brand activation and experimental marketing that generates revenue.
INBOX: What opportunities does TV Guide take advantage of in terms of licensing, what are some of your current projects?
SCEBELO: The great relationship with our audience across all platforms. We are creating books and other fun, relevant products that are for people who have a passion for TV and their favorite shows. We are working with the various TV Guide platforms to integrate and market the licensed products, in print, on air and online. New projects we are working on include: extensions of original TV Guide Channel programming content “Trapped in TV Guide” onto DVD. The integration of newly acquired content -- Jump the Shark Web site -- into existing licensed products. Also, exciting new book releases this fall from Sasquatch Books and Running Press. Finally, new interactive games featuring a variety of content assets.
INBOX: Do you feel more magazine publishers will look to explore opportunities in licensing in 2007? And why?
SCEBELO: It makes sense for all brands with loyal audiences and rich content. It strengthens presence in existing retailer channels, while opening new distribution in retailers and nontraditional channels. Done correctly, a licensing program will generate incremental revenue and brand impressions, while reinforcing the image and personality of the brand.