WarnerMedia celebrates 25 years of Space Jam

Celebrating 25 years since Bugs Bunny and the Tune Squad defeated the Monstars in an epic basketball showdown, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences has announced a collection of 90s-inspired merchandise, an upcoming NFT drop, an all-new digital comic from DC, and more to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Space Jam.

The iconic film’s silver anniversary follows the global release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ animated/live action film Space Jam: A New Legacy earlier this year, which debuted at the top of the box office and scored the biggest opening for a family film earlier this year. Now streaming audiences can also view the original film at home with family and friends on HBO Max, where a new generation of fans can experience the frenetic, fun mashup adventure.

Space Jam was the iconic film moment of 1996, and its cultural impact is undeniable. Today, it continues to spark nostalgia and excitement for millennials who were kids when it debuted, and that fervour has been passed to a new generation with the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy,” says Josh Hackbarth, Vice President of Franchise Development, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences. “We are pleased to celebrate the movie’s many groundbreaking achievements in ticket sales, merchandising, music, theme and design. Its legacy continues to live on with kids and families still enjoying everything that is Space Jam.”

Debuting on 15 November 1996, the original Space Jam earned $230M at the box office at launch and became the No. 1 grossing basketball film of all time, influencing everything from fast food to fashion and redefining movie merchandising. Its soundtrack was a best-seller and went platinum six times.

The film was also one of the first to have a dedicated promotional website. Today, www.SpaceJam.com/1996 remains untouched, an homage to the early internet and a testament to the brand’s enduring appeal to audiences across numerous generations.

Inviting fans everywhere to join the jam and celebrate this iconic film, the “Space Jam” 25th anniversary offerings include:

  • NTWRK’s “Space Jam 96” fashion collection, launching on 15 November. The collection includes new  “Space Jam” rugs by Rugtomize, along with an exclusive “Space Jam” print designed by artist Aaron Kai.
  • Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes Shop is offering fans a variety of all-new “Space Jam” inspired apparel by unveiling the fourth drop in its popular ACME Intern collection, featuring original designs inspired by the film. Among the must-have items, fans can purchase a t-shirt with artwork of the original Space Jam website’s homepage.
  • House of Highlights, the No 1 digital media brand for Gen Z and part of the Bleacher Report brand portfolio, has unveiled a collaboration with DOC (Dustin O. Canalin) in honour of the Space Jam 25th Anniversary. House of Highlights’ brand new Space Jam collection showcases the Looney Tunes reimagining some of the most iconic moments in basketball history.
  • DJ Steve Aoki’s fashion and music label, Dim Mak, recently launched “Dim Mak x Space Jam 96,” a limited-edition streetwear capsule featuring 90s-inspired tees and hoodies in bright tie-dyes and featuring the Looney Tunes squad.
  • Comic book fans can also download a free Space Jam 25th anniversary comic book from DC, as highlighted by Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes Shop, on the Stellar Souvenirs page of the original Space Jam
  • Nifty’s“Starting 5” Challenge will let fans own a special piece of Space Jam Beginning on 15 November, Nifty’s will encourage fans to collect as many Tune Squad or Goon Squad NFT’s from Space Jam: A New Legacy as they can before 13 January, 2022. Collectors who hold five or more NFT’s on 14 January, 2022 will be eligible to receive a limited edition Monstar NFT. Each of the Monstars will have their own unique NFT, totalling five designs. For every five Tune Squad or Goon Squad NFT’s a user holds (each NFT must feature an individual player on either team), they will be eligible for a Monstar NFT.
  • Fans can also enjoy iconic 90s tunes when they purchase the recently reissued vinyl edition of the multi-platinum soundtrack “Space Jam (Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture)”, released by Rhino Entertainment..

Space Jam is currently available on Digital and 4K Ultra HD via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film also received a special 25th anniversary DVD and Blu Ray release earlier this year, and an exclusive Space Jam double feature box set is at retail nationwide.

After Tasty, BuzzFeed has its sights on Wellness, DIY, and Travel markets

In its first full calendar year of sales back in 2018, BuzzFeed’s licensing division totalled $135 million in licensed products. By the end of 2019, it had almost doubled that with $260 million. It’s according the media platform’s SVP of global brand licensing, Eric Karp that the company is now on track to surpass $400 million by the end of 2020.

It’s fair to say, that BuzzFeed has so far made quite the success story out of its move into the licensing arena; but really, things are only just starting to get underway. It’s off the back of the media company’s latest move with Haven Global to take its Tasty culinary brand into the international space that the company details its overarching growth plans to Licensing.biz.

Its plans don’t end with the food and beverage sector. BuzzFeed has its sights firmly on the emerging Wellness market, as well as the already popular DIY space, too.

“Our aim is to build a category-leading global licensed consumer products for our culinary brand Tasty, expand and scale our wellness vertical Goodful, and initiate similar programs with our DIY vertical Nifty and our travel vertical Bring Me,” Karp tells us.

We sit down with BuzzFeed’s global brand licensing SVP to learn more about these plans.

So, BuzzFeed – a game changing name and platform in the media space – what is it you guys are looking to achieve in the licensing sector?

Our licensing division started in August of 2017. The full calendar year of 2018 we sold $135M worth of licensed products, in 2019 we sold $260M, and we are on track to surpass $400M in 2020.

Our aim is to build a category-leading global licensed consumer products for our culinary brand Tasty, expand and scale our wellness vertical Goodful, and initiate similar programs with our DIY vertical Nifty and our travel vertical Bring Me.

How do you begin to position yourself in the licensing and consumer products space – What does BuzzFeed bring to the table here?

Two things. Firstly, our positioning: we are a lifestyle brands publisher 3.0 – our content is distributed across the web, primarily the social webs. Lifestyle brands publishers 1.0 (eg Conde Nast, Hearst) use print magazines as their platform, and broadcast/cable TV could be considered 2.0.

That we distribute our content to communities online gives us the ability to communicate with them dynamically and persistently, and to inform them about our product offerings. This is a huge point of differentiation and a major strength.

Looking at Tasty in particular, what do you think this brand brings to the food and beverage licensing sector? How will you position yourselves within this sector?

We don’t enter a major category or a product subcategory without first getting hard validation from our data science team that Tasty can win in that space, ie, that our audience uses those products and has a high intent to purchase.

We then speak openly with retail buyers and divisional leads about the white spaces and pain points in their modulars and how Tasty (and our manufacturing partners) can be of service to their needs. We will not slap the Tasty name on just any food product; we are designing our program to solve the needs of the retailers and ultimately the shopper.

Why is now the right time to be bringing the Tasty brand into licensing? Likewise the BuzzFeed name itself? How has the evolution of media and content consumption allowed you guys to make this move?

Tasty has the largest engaged audience of any culinary brand worldwide. Having already sold 1M cookbooks and 5 million kitchenware units, we’ve already proven that the timing is right to expand into consumer products.

With the BuzzFeed master brand our aspirations are much more tactical: publishing, gifts, etc, but no cohesive programme with a major retail statement – currently.

What audience, products categories, and of course retailers are you looking at tapping into with your licensing programme?

It’s of critical importance to identify key product categories and retail destination before setting sail.

For a culinary brand like Tasty, the focus is on publishing, housewares and food and beverage. We will consider other categories but not allow ourselves to be distracted. Retail destination is really no surprise – we are looking primarily at the supermarket/hypermarket/grocery channels.

Retail is in a state of evolution right now, how are you guys positioning yourselves within this changing landscape? How can licensing maintain its place within the current retail scene?

Retail is evolving and as many stores falter and fail, others are changing their games and becoming more dynamic, more engaged in e-commerce, and more active in creating the experiential. When regional chains started to supplant mom-and-pops, retail didn’t die, it simply evolved and those who evolved along flourished.

When big box retailers started to supplant the regional chains, the same evolution occurred with those who then flourished. The big names in e-commerce are having a similar effect on current retail and the survivors/winners will be those who adapt.

BuzzFeed intends to be of service to all retailers who intend to evolve!

What’s next for both BuzzFeed and Tasty?

We have three more lifestyle brands beyond Tasty that we are developing for their respective markets: Goodful (mindfulness and wellness) transitioning from department store to major e-commerce platform, Nifty (DIY and home improvement), and Bring Me (travel and experience) coming to market soon.