E!, Food Network Sign Deals for Branded Merchandise

Nets expand marketing deals beyond the typical celebrity endorsement.

NEW YORK - Merchandise featuring the names of TV networks, such as E! Entertainment and Food Network, instead of their big stars is one of the emerging licensing business trends for media companies.

E!, part of the new NBCUniversal, has teamed up with four marketers to sell product referencing its series of Live From the Red Carpet awards show and movie premiere specials, according to the paper.
The products will say "E! Live From the Red Carpet" in addition to mentioning the partner brands, such as Stila cosmetics, Adrianna Papell apparel, which will sell evening dresses, the Freshology meal plan and Xen-Tan self-tanner and bronzer.

Meanwhile, the Food Network, part of Scripps Networks Interactive, is about to announce a similar deal with Wente Vineyards for a line of California wines. It already has licensing deals with Hearst for Food Network Magazine, Kohl’s for kitchenware products and Delaware North for menu items at food stands at stadiums.

Products tied to E! sibling channel Style are also in the works.

Marketers typically pay media companies fees or royalties for licensing their brand names.

Suzanne Kolb, president for marketing, news and online at the E! and Style channels, said the four deals are just “the beginning of a much larger strategy of how licensed merchandise fits into our overall brand.”

“E! is a pop culture brand, and it needs to stay relevant,” she said. “We want to complete the experience for our fans and keep delivering on it in any platform we can.”

She emphasized that licensing partners must be chosen carefully. “It’s not the logo of a show you like on a T-shirt," but rather product that personifies “the lifestyle aspects of our network brands, programs, franchises,” she said.

Adam Berkman, COO at Adrianna Papell, said his firm's E! product wants to convey the hope of “creating a red carpet moment for the E! viewer.”