Toying with Dreams: The Dream Theatre story

Dream TheatreTo dream is good. To dream of a business dominated by the grey market can turn into a nightmare! But here’s a man, Jiggy George who is toying to change the rules of the game with his Dream Theatre Pvt Ltd, an entertainment company that uses the power of licensing to build their own in-house brands and represent iconic brands in the kids and youth domain.

“I always had a great passion to be an entrepreneur. Having set up the licensing business for both Viacom and Turner (Cartoon Network, Pogo) I believed that there was a great opportunity to be the first professionally run licensing agency that also owns its own brands,” says Jiggy having garnered multifunctional experience in corporate sector in the last 15 years.

“The ‘Theatre of my Dreams’ became ‘our collective Dreams’ with the core team joining on board,” adds Jiggy who quit Cartoon Network as executive director, South Asia in July 2009 to live his dream.

In January 2010, he roped in peers from the industry – Jibi George as COO (formerly, Associate Director- heading the licensing business at Turner), Bhavik joined as Head of Revenue (formerly, Associate Director licensing Viacom), Susmita Singhdeo who is the pioneer of the promotional licensing business in India, joined as Head of Marketing/Communication and Ameya Sule, who headed retail development at Turner, joined as Head of Distribution. Based out of Mumbai, the five forms the core team of Dream Theatre and have jointly invested around Rs 40 lakh in the venture. They all hold equity in Dream Theatre. They have six more people working with them.

The team’s past track record and experience helped get Dream Theatre its first few clients that included Warner Bros, Discovery and Chorion. On representation, Dream Theatre worked as agents and have licensing rights for Discovery channel and their brands (Animal planet, Miami Ink, LA Ink), WWE wrestling, Angry birds, Warner Bros (food, personal products, promotions), Chorion (Noddy, Mister Men), Hit Entertainment (Bob the builder, Thomas the tank engine, Barney) among others.

Apart from consulting and representing clients on syndication, licensing and merchandising, Dream Theatre also owns its own brands. Dream Theatre has an in-house infant brand Beebop available in toys and utilities for 0-4 year olds. The products can be bought from across 900 outlets pan India.

Informs Jiggy, “We gain royalties on sales from our own brands. On the licensing agency model, we represent top brands and tie up licensees that pay royalties on sales of their products. We make a commission on the royalties received.” It has 8 licensors and 50 odd licensees.

Industry experts estimate the licensing business in India to be nearly Rs 500 million and this sector has its set of challenges.  On a macro level, Jiggy feels with Beebop (in-house brand) they are in the right business as the pre-school market is booming and Dream Theatre is set to ride this wave. However, with licensing, the growth is greatly limited by growth of organized retail, he concerns adding, “I believe India has two of the three tick marks for a fantastic licensing business- first, a superb entertainment economy and second, a captive base of consumers. It requires retail to kick in faster!”

Dream TheatreDream Theatre has a few more prominent licensing representations in the contractual stage. “We hope to navigate every form of licensing- entertainment, sports and celebrities. We will also focus on building width to our Beebop products and depth via distribution and launch more brands in the future. It’s early days to have lofty market share goals! There are companies setting up as we speak,” says Jiggy.

However, the challenge on a micro level is of funding for expansion. Says Jiggy, “We have been fortunate to attract businesses and a fantastic team. We are limited by monies to scale operations. We are running the numbers to figure some funding.”

We continue to believe in our people and the brands that believe in us. After all, Jiggy Georgy and his team haven’t just built this business with immense passion but have named the company with a lot of love. Shares Jiggy, "Apart from being a representation of the team’s dreams and aspirations, Dream Theatre also aims at echoing the emotions of most kids who pick up our products which are consumed outside of their favorite TV shows and films. Dream Theatre also mirrors our love for the American progressive music band Dream Theatre and love for the football team Manchester United (their home stadium is also known as ‘The Theatre of Dreams’."

Dream Theatre’s play:

1.To introduce Angry Birds’ board game and other merchandise like T-Shirts, toys and accessories in India.

2.Will launch apparel, stationery, bags/ luggage and back-to-school products of ‘Thomas & Friends’ and ’Bob the Builder’ in India,PakistanandSri Lanka.

3.To build food & beverage, personal care, promotional licensing in India for Warner Bros’ iconic characters Batman. Superman, Tom and Jerry, Harry Potter, Scooby Doo Justice League and Looney Tunes.


Aminah Sheikh

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