Character licensing and merchandising may be a recent trend in India, but the space is drawing greater interest than ever before. And the wave has caught the fancy of content owners with plans to exploit the popularity of such characters through games, magazines, apparel and a host of other media.
Marvel Entertainment, the character-based entertainment company that has licensing rights of superheroes like Spiderman, Hulk, Marvel Heroes, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man and Spidey and Friends and so on, has entered into a licensing agreement with Kids Media India, a part of the Dubai based Spacetoons Group, which also earlier this year brought merchandise and other properties around popular kids character Doraemon in India.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Rajiv Sangari, CEO of Kids Media India, said, “We are looking at a revenue of Rs 25 crore in gross sales from the association in a year. We would look at presenting the characters through merchandise in categories such as apparels, reading books, notebooks etc.”
Simon Philips, president of Marvel Entertainment International, estimates that the organised wholesale character merchandising business in India could be around $75 million.
The first big merchandising initiative around an Indian character began with Hanuman, the movie made by the Percept Picture Company. Now, all eyes are on Hanuman Returns, a sequel to Hanuman. Preet Bedi, CEO of Percept Picure Company, said the total value of merchandising deals based on Hanuman Returns is between Rs 12 crore and Rs 13 crore in the first year. “There are deals that we have struck with Camlin, Boomer and lots of other players,” Bedi added.