§ ICv2 checks in on some of the reports announced at the Licensing show:

In a separate report published in April, License Global Magazine ranked the top licensing companies by global sales of products based on their properties in its Top 100 Licensors list. Disney was #1, with its Hannah Montana and High School Musical brands generating lots of sales.

Warner Bros., parent of DC Comics, Looney Tunes, and many other powerful brand groups, was #3.

And Marvel Entertainment was #5.

Other movie, TV, or character companies in the top 20 were Nickelodeaon/Viacom at #6, Sanrio (Hello Kitty) at #8, MGA (Bratz) at #14, HIT Entertainment at #15, Mattel Brands at #16, Sony Pictures Consumer Products at #18, 20th Century Fox at #19, and Lucas Licensing at #20.

§ Brandweek has a larger overview of the licensing biz in light of the general economic gloom:

Politicians stumping for high office aren’t the only ones talking about the sluggish economy, through-the-roof gas prices and the mortgage meltdown. It’s top-of-mind with property owners and their licensing partners as the annual Licensing International Expo (better known as the Licensing Show) opens this week in New York before its cross-country move to Las Vegas next summer.

The toy business, thought to be somewhat recession-proof, has been hit by higher costs for essential materials, manufacturing and shipping, along with recalls that continue to take a bite out of marketers’ revenues. Consumer spending is down, especially for discretionary items, and retailers are more cautious than ever about taking risks on licensed goods, often preferring their own private label products. (As a result, the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn. is reporting that manufacturers in North America paid $5.98 billion for rights and royalties in 2007, which was down slightly from the previous year.)

[We’ll have a fuller report from the show with pictures later on.]

§ While not really comics-related, we’ve been following the story of the International Fight League for some while. Now it looks like the IFL , which was co-founded by Wizard’s Gareb Shamus and featured prominently at recent Wizard shows, has cancelled its August show, and may be headed for bankruptcy :

While the IFL has drawn tepid interest from fans, official acknowledgment by the company that it potentially faces bankruptcy if it can’t stop the financial bleeding is worth noting. Despite a presence on TV, a handful of talented fighters and a retooling of the brand under former Showtime executive Jay Larkin, the IFL just hasn’t connected with a large enough fan base, and its stock has taken a beating as a result.

Shamus exited the company last year.


  1. Funny, they still have a bios page for him on the IFL website, despite his having left the company in November.

    I had heard that some at Wizard blame their recent downturn on their boss paying way more care and attention to the IFL to nearly the exclusion of the magazine.

  2. By the by, gang — I’d heard from a hobo at the 42nd Street A stop the other day that The Christ was returning and we should all get ready for Him.

    I’m not attesting to the veracity of the statement, but I thought I’d just pass that along by way of posting it in a public forum.

    Just a little FYI.

  3. In more fight news, looks like Mr and Mrs Beat won’t be seeing any MMA shows close to home anytime soon.

    The expected overturning of New York’s ban on MMA apparently had a sudden reversal of fortune this week. Apparently, this WAS going to be UFC head honcho Dana White’s big news this week.

  4. I think I ran into a similar hobo on a subway going to Grand Central —
    pounding the Book, he hollars, “How do we get to heaven?”

    A weary commuter voice in the crowd, answered, “Change at Jamaica…”

  5. Rich Johnston relayed something similar in his column previously (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=15724):

    One Wizard employee when asked if they’d read LITG this week said they all had, but that I’d only scratched the surface. Ever the way, it’s the nature of gossip and rumour columns to just get crumbs from the table. So let’s sweep the floor a little.

    So, apart from the $200,000 shortfall, what else may have led to Wizard’s recent employee departure?

    I’m told that the move coincided with Gareb Shamus’ attempts to inject more capital into his mixed martial arts fighting league (IFL). Of course he has since resigned.

    But, you know, it’s just like hearing a hobo grumble about something. Sigh.

  6. So your source is Rich Johnston’s source?

    And the gist of that item is a little different than the idea that Wizard is withering and dying on the vine for want of Gareb’s TLC.

    At any rate, between Ben, Kiel, and myself, you now have three more sources to name than you and Rich named put together.

  7. Oh, the blog that Heidi linked back to about Gareb’s exit from the IFL pointed out how many Wizard resources were spent promoting the IFL, too:

    Not sure where this fits in with all the recent reshuffles at Wizard. Various Wizard entities, including the conventions, had spent many resources promoting the IFL.

    But, you know, the hobo jokes have taken on a life of their own, so, by all means, keep them coming. ;)

  8. Sean, I’m sorry if my choice of words with “care and attention” made you think I was referring to holding hands and taking long walks along the beach. You want me to name who I talked to that used to work at Wizard that said they felt Wizard suffered due to the focus put on propping up the IFL? Not gonna happen. But I’m more than willing to point to other reports that would suggest that it’s at least slightly more substantial than the mumblings of a pan handler.

    But if the three of you are publicly saying that you feel the resources directed towards IFL didn’t have any negative impact on Wizard whatsoever, that’s good enough for me to believe that the opinions that others shared with me were less reality than personal, biased perception.

  9. Ben, when he took this:

    Rich Johnston relayed something similar in his column previously

    and said:

    So your source is Rich Johnston’s source?

    it sure winds up looking like he was fishing for such info.

    It’s clear that I wasn’t stating that Rich’s column was my source. You know Sean better than I, so if you think that he had trouble comprehending what I wrote and genuinely misunderstood it to mean I was saying Rich was my source, I’ll have to defer to your judgment.

  10. Kevin–“Resources” is one thing, “Gareb’s care and attention” is another. And no, I didn’t interpret “Gareb’s care and attention” as holding hands and taking long walks on the beach–I interpreted it as hands-on guidance for the editorial direction of the magazines, the implication being that the mags were suffering for lack thereof. To the extent that I can speak for Ben and Kiel, none of us were saying anything about any other kind of resources; we were all on the editorial end and wouldn’t know about that sort of thing. Maybe it’s all a word-choice mix-up as you said.

  11. Kevin, it was pretty obvious that Sean was trying to figure out if you’d gotten your “inside info” from personally speaking with an ex-staffer, or just reading Lying in the Gutters like everybody else.

    And since you responded to criticism about where you’d heard this info by quoting LITG, that was pretty reasonable.

  12. This is a great thread. It’s funny to watch someone try to get out of the hole their digging purely on the power of snarky-smugness. :)

  13. Leave my BFF alone. ALL of his sources are reliable. I should know, like, y’know? He defends us and NEVER betrays our trust. Kevin rox, yo. Ex-Wizard staffers obviously have an axe to grind with such a respectible man. I mean, who else would review an issue of a summer crossover on a video blog in the nude? THAT’S class, duh!

  14. Huxford is making friends again I see.

    But such a serious “journalist” doesn’t need friends. He has “sources” instead.

  15. Laura, I didn’t respond to criticism of who my sources were. I responded to snark brushing off my comment as unfounded hearsay that one would have been silly to pay attention to by pointing out that I wasn’t the only one who had heard it. Of course, that snark only came about because I wasn’t more clear in what I was saying.

    Sean, I do believe it was just a simple word mix-up. My use of care and attention wasn’t meant to imply that he had to manage his team better, but that he wasn’t paying enough attention to realize how his diverting resources towards the IFL was hurting or didn’t care.

    If it came off as implying that anyone needed Gareb to show them how to do their job better, I can better understand the reaction the statement elicited from the gang. I’ve never heard anything but praise regarding all of you, so I certainly wouldn’t have had any reason to suggest any of you needed guidance. I apologize for any frustration I caused by not expressing myself better.

  16. This is a recurring thing for Kevin Huxford. He says some inflammatory things. People call him on it. He snarks back. Enough people call him on it. Then he responds that he misunderstood someone, didn’t thoroughly read past materials, or that he didn’t adequately express himself. And then the cycle repeats again. Why should anyone take anything he says seriously?