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 $53bn in 2018, according to trade source License Global. That's down from past highs, but still more than double the #2 licensor Meredith and almost eight times its main entertainment rival Warner Bros. The addition of Fox's character portfolio - The Simpsons, Ice Age, Alien and other properties - would lift the total by another $1.5bn or so. 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 remains one of the company's two biggest brands, along with Winnie the Pooh. Each is worth around $5bn a year at retail. The Disney Princesses brand acts as an umbrella for characters including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Belle and more recently Frozen. Other key assets include The Muppets (acquired 2004), Pixar's Cars portfolio, and of course the huge Marvel and Star Wars franchises. Among the best-known Disney products are branded toys, produced under license by Mattel and Hasbro. 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 350 outlerts 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. Total revenues for Disney Consumer Products were $4.7bn for the year to Sept 2018, with operating income of $1.6bn. In 2019, the Disney Consumer Products division was merged with Disney Parks & Resorts as Parks, Experiences & Products, under the management of divisional chairman Bob Chapek.
Capsule checked 30th July 2019
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