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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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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