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About TLL’s 2019 Compensation Report & TLL’s 2019 Salary Survey

Contact the editor at karina@plainlanguagemedia.com and sales at jen@plainlanguagemedia.com

You’re a licensing executive: Negotiate like one. TLL is currently updating the only industry-specific source of salary, bonus, and data. Reserve your 2019 edition of TLL’s 2019 Compensation Report today and get last year’s report emailed to you for just $47 more—email or call Jen at jen@plainlanguagemedia.com or 888-729-2315. The 2019 Report will be available June in time for Licensing Expo Las Vegas.

TLL’s 2019 Compensation Report is backed by TLL’s Salary Survey, administered annually since 2013. Each survey tracks trends data for the previous year. Additional demographic data is sourced from TLL’s Licensing Sourcebook Online. The number of respondents for each survey averages 120 licensing executives annually. For the 2019 Survey, just over 100 individuals responded with their own as well as direct reports’ information.

Respondents to TLL’s 2019 Survey are evenly distributed among licensors, licensing agents, and licensees—46%, 28%, and 20%, respectively. A minority of respondents work in a consultancy (4%) or other type of company (2%). Compared to previous years, licensors are somewhat over-represented from an average 35% share in the 2018 Survey (35% each licensors and licensees, 25% agents). Consultants and other service providers as a group may not be adequately represented in this Survey because most consultants do not draw a predetermined salary but are self-employed or work on a commission basis. A more accurate picture of who’s who in the industry: 50% of listees in TLL’s Licensing Sourcebook are licensees, 28% licensors, 12% agents, and 9% consultants.

Licensors and, where relevant, agents and consultants, were most heavily involved in corporate trademarks, entertainment/character, toys/games, and sports properties. Every property type that TLL tracks was well-represented.

Licensees, and, where relevant, agents and consultants, were most commonly involved in housewares, toys/games, accessories, food/beverages, and gifts/novelties. While every major product category was represented, responses were not significant for music/video manufacturers.

Talk Territory to Me

Over 70% of respondents to TLL’s 2019 Survey are from the U.S., 22% from Western Europe, and 5% from other territories worldwide including Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and English-speaking countries like Canada and Australia. Breaking down responses within Western Europe, 83% were from the U.K. and the rest were from countries such as Spain, Cyrus, and France.

Response data from other territories outside the U.S. and Europe was insufficient to generate salary trends for 2018 and 2017. Note that salary and bonus data for 2016 is for U.S. licensing executives only, as the number of international respondents was insufficient to generate other territory data for that year. Previous years’ data incorporates worldwide salary trends. For year 2015, 27% of licensing executives surveyed worked outside of the U.S—and of those, 62% were based in Europe. The 2016 and 2013 Survey results presented no significant difference in salary and bonus data when accounting for title, seniority, etc. so all data was presented together.

Salary, bonus, and raise figures from respondents based outside of the U.S. is, from time to time, reported in respondent’s home currency, such as the Euro, British pound, or Canadian dollar. Currency conversions for 2018 figures were made in March 2018, while those for 2017 figures were made as of April 2018.

What’s Your Role in All This?

Newly added to the 2018 Compensation Report were breakdowns by role-based titles: executive, mid-level, and lower-level. In part, this addition was made to erase variances in job title amongst differently-sized companies for questions where they were not particularly relevant. Titles are not used consistently in licensing. For example, a director in a very large company could be equivalent to a VP at a smaller one. But size isn’t the only differentiator. Unlike in other industries, titles don’t always correlate with responsibilities. The range of responses in compensation is one indicator—e.g., $12,000–275,000 for owners/partners and $10,000–150,000 for managers in 2017.

In the case of managers, the low end of that range would likely be a coordinator or assistant at some companies, yet a junior director at others. The extreme range seen with owners/partners is largely a function of respondent makeup—most run smaller shops, draw lower base salaries, and pay out large bonuses when business is good (e.g., several indicated that they gave themselves a bonus of $1 million or more in 2017). On the other hand, presidents (who, as seen below, appear to have more generous compensation) tended to hail from larger companies.

Executive titles include owner/partner, president, SVP, and VP; mid-level titles include head licensing, director, and manager; and lower-level titles include assistant and coordinator. Note that lower-level titles are not included in demographic breakdowns (gender, age, experience, etc.) due to insufficient response data. Typically, only salary and bonus data points are available for lower-level titles (see e.g., a director included her coordinator’s salary and bonus information in her response instead of asking the coordinator to fill out the Survey himself).

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