The Bugg Report recently caught up with Brigid Roberts from BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand (ANZ) to all-things relating to the current BBC Worldwide ANZ brand portfolio.
Brigid, can you tell us a little bit about your role, and the Licensing team at BBC Worldwide ANZ?
In my current role as Business Manager, Licensing and Sponsorship I am tasked with managing the licensing program across BBC Worldwide ANZ’s portfolio of brands in Australia and New Zealand. This includes brand partnerships such as the recent BBC Earth DVD collector promotion with News Corp, and off-air sponsorship for local Australian formats such as The Great Australian Bake Off. In this role, I work with our brilliant Licensing and Product Development teams based in London, U.S.A and Asia. Locally, I work alongside a fantastic bunch of commercial business managers in the wider Business Development team covering new formats, ecommerce and digital, home entertainment and live events.
You mention live events – do you have any coming up this year?
This is a really exciting year in the live events space for us. Our team are busy preparing for the Doctor Who Festival in late November which sees a host of talent from both in front of camera and behind the scenes arrive here in Sydney for a two-day festival at the Horden Pavillion. New Zealand Doctor Who fans will also have the opportunity to engage with the brand when Peter Capaldi heads to Auckland for a Q&A.
Sherlock fans won’t miss out either with Sherlock: From Script to Screen taking place in Melbourne following the festival. This will see Executive Producers and Co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and Series Producer Sue Vertue take fans on a journey behind the scenes of the show.
So, Doctor Who and Sherlock are popular brands in this market?
Yes in my previous role managing the retail business for BBC Worldwide ANZ, I continued to be astounded by the dedication of the Doctor Who fans and their passion for engaging in the brand. This year we have seen the phenomenal sales of the Doctor Who Pop! Vinyl in our market. We are also really excited by our partnership with LEGO and Warner Brothers with the pending launch of LEGO Dimension Doctor Who packs at the end of September as well as LEGO product ranges hitting the market in December. Sherlock Pop! Vinyl is also set to hit Australian stores shortly. There is a growing cult following for the brand and we have seen fantastic sales of our Sherlock Cluedo games. Sherlock product flew from our stands at Oz Comic Con and Supanova.
Do you have any other exciting product launches in run up to Christmas?
We have quickly become massive Hey Duggee fans in the Sydney office, so we’re very excited for the launch of the Hey Duggee toys and plush in the market from November. The new pre-school program has had fantastic ratings and positive results at retail in the UK and a host of secondary licensees are coming on board for 2016.
We are also really excited about the re- launch of one of my favourite childhood brands, Sooty! The new Sooty Show airs on Channel Nine and TVNZ this year and Sooty and Sweep plush puppets and toys are available in Australia from September.
And what are the plans for Top Gear?
This is a question that I have received in almost every licensing and retail meeting I have attended this year! It certainly demonstrates the popularity of and interest in the brand. With new host Chris Evans announced who presents the most popular breakfast radio show in the UK, the new incarnation of Top Gear is set to be really exciting. Watch this space for more news to be announced. We’re also really excited to see The Stig return to screens in the UK in a brand new entertainment format called The Getaway Car.
There have been some big changes in retail this year, such as the ABC phasing out its retail store presence. What effect do you think this will have on retail moving in to 2015?
With one buyer purchasing for all stores across all categories, ABC Shops has been a great place for BBC Worldwide ANZ to launch licensing programs. On a personal level, it’s sad to see the loss of such an iconic Australian bricks and mortar business. It is a shame, but there is strategy behind the decision and we continue to work closely with ABC as they move more towards online sales. BBC Worldwide ANZ are fortunate to have remained in a strong position at retail and have so many exciting new properties in the pipeline. One thing is for sure, there will always be demand for licensed product.
What are your key focuses for 2016 and beyond?
2016 poses so many interesting opportunities for us. As well as ensuring the successful launch of Hey Duggee, we are also excited about Go Jetters!, a new pre-school program. We recently announced our global toy licensee Fisher Price Mattel for Go Jetters! We also continue to grow representation of third party brands in Australia and New Zealand with brands that align with BBC Worldwide ANZ’s values – watch this space for partnership announcements.