Disney tops list of biggest licensors

Warner Bros., Marvel, Nickelodeon also land in top five

NEW YORK -- Entertainment companies and properties again dominated the top of the list of the 100 biggest licensing companies for 2008.

Disney Consumer Products retained the No. 1 spot and Warner Bros. Consumer Products stayed in third, while Marvel Entertainment and Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products each gained a spot to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, according to License! Global magazine.

Disney reached $30 billion in retail sales of licensed products in 2008, up from $26 billion in 2007 and $24 billion the year before, the publication said.

Disney continued to benefit from the "High School Musical," "Hannah Montana" and Jonas Brothers franchises in the tween space, Princess and Fairies products for young girls and other brands.

Warner Bros. and Marvel added superhero powers to the ranking. The former has stayed steady at $6 billion from 2006-08, and Marvel has grown from $4.8 billion in 2006 to $5.5 billion in 2007 and $5.7 billion last year, according to the data. Nick/Viacom repeated its$5.5 billion licensed-sales haul in 2008.

The second spot on the annual list is in the hands of Iconix, the company behind such brands as Joe Boxer, Candie's and Rocawear. It jumped from retail sales of $6 billion in 2007 to $6.5 billion last year.

Many of the companies in the top 100 will showcase their goods in June at the Licensing International Expo, which moves to Las Vegas this year. Among other things, Disney is expected to show off licensing wares tied to the summer 2010 release of "Toy Story 3" there.

More than two-thirds of the licensing hot list comprises brands in the sports, auto, apparel and art industries.