Mumbai-based AI Licensing India has added a new business unit to its portfolio called Xperium, with an aim to create elevated customer experiences.
For the past four decades, Animation International (AI) holds the exclusive licensing and merchandising rights for Doraemon in Asia and the Middle East. The Indian licensing industry saw the first Doraemon Licensee Expo hosted at The Lalit, Mumbai on August 3. With an array of products ranging from chocolates to watches, plush toys, to feeding bottles, Doraemon is a popular toon companion for kids.
In addition to Doraemon, AI Licensing India, which started its operations in the country in 2005, also holds the license for brands like Shin Chan, Garfield, Archie Comics, Hallmark Design collection, Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin.
Currently, AI Licensing India has four business verticals, of which licensing drives the maximum business revenue, amounting to almost 60%.
“Exports has emerged as a big area of operations in the past year and a half since we entered it. We also have a creative studio where we design a lot of products in-house, not just for our own IPs but for other IPs too, which has turned out to be another independent business model for us,” said Nitin Kalra, director, AI Licensing India
Recently, Mad Over Donuts launched ‘Mad Over Donuts’ limited-edition Doraemon Joy Box’ from October 1.
AI is the first company to get into event licensing in India in an organized manner. “In 2010, we became the first agency in the country to suggest to malls that our characters can help them generate more footfalls, which in turn can help them generate more business. This philosophy was well accepted and since then, we are have never done any event for free, setting an industry precedent,” Nitin was quoted as saying.
Xperium takes this concept a step further as an experiential licensing vertical, by linking AI Licensing India’s other business verticals. It constantly works with partners who create products based on brand licenses that are issued to it for a time frame of two to three years. These companies pay royalties on the products created, for instance, merchandise like apparel, mugs, bags, etc.
Additionally, AI Licensing India also works with FMCG companies like ITC, Dabur, Kellogg’s and McDonalds India for short-term tactical promotional campaigns, where it ideates on the marketing strategy based on the chosen licensed brand or character.
Xperium creates concepts and engagement programs for its customers, starting with the 50th-anniversary celebration titled ‘Date with Doraemon’ in 2020. The 50-city campaign will be rolled out in 2019, offering different companies selective engagement activities and brand activation opportunities. The first event will be in April 2019, where brands can engage with selective 100 to 150 people for a couple of hours.
Doraemon was first aired on Disney in 2005 and is currently the number one cartoon character in India for kids in the age group of 4 to 14-years. In the last couple of years, Disney has released over 23 Doraemon movies on their channel each of which has been a blockbuster. Doraemon partnered with Amazon Prime and was first aired on Prime in 2016 and continues to be a popular show.
AI is into content licensing, merchandising and syndication of famous international characters and brands.