Disney Consumer Products is the division responsible for producing spin-off merchandise related to the parent group's various brands, and licenses the group's characters and other intellectual property to other manufacturers, retailers and software and print publishers worldwide. It is the world's biggest brand licensor, with gross retail revenues estimated at over $54bn in 2020, according to trade source License Global. That's almost double the #2 licensor Meredith and five times its main entertainment rival Warner Bros. In fact, Disney effectively invented the idea of licensed merchandise. In 1933, it signed the world's first ever licensing agreement when it allowed the predecessor of Timex Corporation to manufacture the original Mickey Mouse wristwatch. Mickey Mouse is still one of the company's biggest brands, along with Winnie the Pooh, but these have been overtaken by newer brands, led by Star Wars and the Marvel Universe. Disney Frozen is now considered a separate entity from the wider Disney Princesses portfolio, which acts as an umbrella for characters including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, and Beauty & The Beast's Belle. Star Wars and Marvel are the #1 and #2 brands globally for licensed toys (according to NPD Group). Frozen is among the Top 10, with Mickey & Friends at #15 and Disney Princesses at #17. Other key assets include The Muppets (acquired 2004) and Pixar's Cars portfolio, and the business got an additional lift from the addition of Fox's character portfolio: The Simpsons, Ice Age, National Geographic, Alien and other properties. Among the best-known Disney products are branded toys, produced under license by Mattel, Hasbro and LEGO. Indeed, Star Wars has been the world's biggest toy franchise every year since 2015, and the second-biggest in the US. Branded clothing is produced through a number of agreements worldwide including with Kmart and JC Penney in the US, Wal-Mart in Canada, Carrefour in Europe, among others. Sub-division Disney Retail runs the global Disney Stores chain, with around 310 outlets in North America, Europe, Japan and China. Consumer Products also manages book and magazine publishing operations, and houses what remains of the group's own interactive media operations. In 2019, Disney Consumer Products was merged with Disney Parks & Resorts as Parks, Experiences & Products. That business is now led by Josh D'Amaro. For the year to Sep 2019, Disney reported revenues of $4.5bn from merchandise retail & licensing. That figure fell to $4.2bn in ye 2020 as a result of Covid closures.
Capsule checked 25th June 2021
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