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Royalty Profile for Entertainment/Character-based Licensed Merchandise


Sector value, U.S. & Canada, 2017: $13.22 billion

Proportion of retail sales of licensed merchandise, U.S. & Canada, 2017: 12.1%

Average royalty, U.S. & Canada, 2018: 10.24%

Royalty range, U.S. & Canada, 2018: 5%–21%

Average royalty, U.S. & Canada, (10 years) 2009–2018: 9.71%


The average royalty for the entertainment/character sector has historically been at the high end of the spectrum for all properties and began climbing back up in 2014 after four years in the 9.3% to 9.4% range.

Entertainment/character royalties are generally at the higher end of the spectrum because hot properties and proven franchises such as Disney/Marvel and Warner Bros. can generate royalties of as much as 20%.

However, short of a handful of properties, the “reality” is closer to the overall licensing-business average, falling in the 8%–12% range.

Longer-term “evergreen” properties beyond the powerhouses cited above tend toward slightly lower royalty rates. That said, Disney and its Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm divisions account for over half of all entertainment/character-based licensing in the U.S. and Canada, thereby single-handedly raising the sector average.

In some cases, royalty rates depend on the retail tier at which the goods are to be sold, with lower percentages for mass merchandisers, higher for specialty and/or department store distribution where margin requirements are less onerous.

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