"Competition drives innovation"

Written by Arunima Mishra | Updated: Jun 29 2009, 05:27am hrs
Dulce Lim-Chen
Look out Mickey. Competition in India is hotting up as Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE) goes on an all out drive to take on rival Disney. We welcome competition as that makes the process innovative, says Dulce Lim-Chen, Vice-President, Asia Pacific, CNE, the consumer products division of Cartoon Network, when asked how to compete in the market. Based in Hong Kong, Lim-Chen was in Delhi recently to take forward CNEs India expansion plans merchandising and promotional licensing.

CNE came to India in 2001 but entered the consumer products space in 2005. CNE is present in 19 categories ranging from apparel and toys to home-furnishings in over 60 cities . As we have the biggest team in licensing and merchandising in India, we are looking forward to see double-digit growth of 25-35% in 2009-10 in merchandising and licensing, says Lim-Chen.

CNE translates CN and POGO contents into physical products to increase consumer awareness and revenue in toys, gaming, publishing, third party properties, live events, merchandise, retail and themed entertainment. Customer products that range from Rs 50 to Rs 2,500, from a pen to a high-end watch form the bulk of our business, says she. While CNE has significant markets in Australia, South-East Asia, India and Thailand, Lim-Chen stresses that India is one of the largest markets. Australia has a strong retail environment and thus it is our number one market. This year CNE will focus on publishing as well. To extend the air content into print form, 150 new books have been developed in New York. These books are based around properties such as Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexters Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, M A D (music and dance) and Galli Galli Sim Sim (adapted from Sesame Street). CNE will also unveil merchandise around Gwen (who is the smart cousin of the character Ben 10). The categories for Gwen merchandise to be launched by Q4 include apparel, bags, accessories and publishing. Also, it is currently in talks with distributors and plans to enter the home video market in the next two months. Moreover, console gaming will be taken to the magnitude of the toy business soon, she adds.

With a focus on the existing business, we are introducing new ones as well. Chen informs, Toy revenues went up by 60% and apparel revenues were up by 50% in 2008-09 in India. CNE has expanded its retail reach by 27%. Currently, the products are available in 4,000 retail counters including Aditya Birla Group. Lifestyle, Pantaloons, Reliance Trends, Shoppers Stop, Landmark, Crossword, Odyssey and more, adds Lim-Chen. Nearly 10 million Ben 10 DVDs were sold globally in 2008. Mothering our products on our programmes helps make it more popular, believes Lim-Chen.

Lim-Chen has travelled to India for almost ten times and is crazy for Indian food. She never misses the murg tikka and daal makhni whenever shes here. What sways her is the friendly and convincing attitude of the Indians.