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Getting live and direct

Not all licensing products suit all brands - for instance, The Apprentice toupees probably wouldn't fly off the shelves. So when FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide started to explore natural extensions for Grand Designs - the Talkback Thames program for Channel 4 that had already spawned profitable books and a magazine - they believed only certain categories would work for the property series: one was a live event for consumers.
April 1, 2006

Not all licensing products suit all brands – for instance, The Apprentice toupees probably wouldn’t fly off the shelves. So when FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide started to explore natural extensions for Grand Designs – the Talkback Thames program for Channel 4 that had already spawned profitable books and a magazine – they believed only certain categories would work for the property series: one was a live event for consumers.

And so was born Grand Designs Live, a three-day show catered to interiors junkies. After drawing over 43,000 visitors during the first event in London last year, FLW is presenting the show again this June along with publishing group Media 10. ‘It’s about giving people multiple points at which they can experience the Grand Designs brand,’ says Dom Wheeler, FLW’s VP of licensing for the UK.

The TV program’s viewers are a slightly female-skewed and upmarket group with a core audience between 25 and 44, and they are Grand Designs Live’s predominant target.

A poll of 1,200 visitors at last year’s event shows they are similar to the TV audience: 65% were female and upmarket. They were also mainly from the south of England, but based on where the magazine is sold, Wheeler knew there was an audience to be tapped further north. As a result, FLW recently announced another live event – this one will take place in Birmingham in October.

While the events help branch the series beyond the TV screen, there’s also – surprise – a commercial angle at play. ‘We’re doing the event because we want to make money out of it,’ says Wheeler, ‘so the bottom line is trying to generate lots of different revenue streams off that brand.’ Wheeler estimates Grand Designs Live will likely get to a profit position this year.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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