Licensing Spotlight: White Space Entertainment
By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media
It’s not easy to get people to place their bets on unknown properties, but White Space Entertainment CEO and founder Stephanie Sperber has done that with UglyDolls. Prior to founding her company, she helped Universal Pictures develop the “Minions” characters into a multibillion-dollar retail program.
Now, with the “UglyDolls” movie set to be released this May 3, the brand is poised to be a major event in consumer products. “We took a big bet on focusing on one IP and our success in setting this up looks more like a sequel than a new IP first film,” she says.
The property, Sperber says, has a large number of licensees and unprecedented buy-in from retailers. “[There is] support at massive levels from people who are typically pretty conservative about the bets they make in licensing,” she says.
But that just shows the appeal of the characters, Sperber says. “There is something unique about the property that just resonates,” she says. “There’s an interesting world with lots and lots of rich themes and deep characters.”
White Space plans to stay character focused and is currently working with Dr. Seuss Enterprises. “We’re their agency for digital gaming,” she says, noting that the characters created by the famed author have not fully made the transition to the digital world yet.
In 2017 and 2018, White Space and Seuss Enterprises partnered with Jam City to bring the Grinch character into the “Panda Pop” and “Cookie Jam” games. But the partnership is not ending there. “We’re close to announcing a significant deal for Seuss,” Sperber reports. “It’s a great client.”
The company also will stay focused on UglyDolls, as well. “What is interesting is people have seen what we’re able to do with UglyDolls,” she says. “We’re getting a lot of incoming calls and people saying, ‘Can you launch my IP?’”
While UglyDolls and Seuss Enterprises are keeping her company busy, it will stay centered on its primary goal. “The future of White Space will be to continue to focus on those IP gems that aren’t already established and build them into big business,” she declares.
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