Universal launches division for partnerships & licensing

MUMBAI: Universal Pictures has formed Universal Partnerships and Licensing (UP&L), a new division which joins the studio’s retail focused Consumer Products Group with the division known as Universal Studios Partnerships (USP).

In a move aimed at integrating and enhancing the studio’s brand management and promotional partnership efforts, UP&L will now have combined oversight of all Universal’s consumer product licensing, film and home entertainment promotions and corporate alliances for the studio’s theatrical, home entertainment, theme parks and stage productions.

Stephanie Sperber, who currently heads USP, will run the new division and assume the title executive vice president Universal Partnerships and Licensing.

"Consumer Products, Partnerships and Licensing have complimentary functions so centralizing these operations makes good business sense. By putting our brand management efforts under one roof, we provide more effective servicing for our corporate partners and our studio. We’re thrilled Stephanie and her team have signed on to lead this new division," said Shmuger.

Under the new organization, senior vice president Amy Taylor will oversee UP&L’s North American promotions, worldwide licensing and retail development. Taylor has held senior leadership positions in both the promotions and consumer products groups. She and her team are currently spearheading sales for upcoming Universal Pictures feature films such as Land of the Lost and the classic franchise property Curious George. Her group is handling promotional activities for films developed around Hasbro products such as Stretch Armstrong and those being produced by Universal and Chris Meledandri’s family entertainment and animation production group Illumination Entertainment such as Despicable Me.

Universal Pictures senior vice president brand management and marketing services David O’Connor will also oversee marketing for UP&L reporting to both Sperber and Universal Pictures president of marketing and distribution Adam Fogelson. O’Connor will continue to be responsible for developing content ideas and integration with NBC and its related entities and Universal theme parks.

Universal Pictures vice president corporate partnerships Stephanie Testa will head UP&L’s corporate alliances practice, which oversees long-term partnerships for Universal’s film, home entertainment, theme park and stage production business units. She is responsible for the acquisition of new brand partners as well as managing relationships with the existing partners.

UP&L will be a division of Universal Studios, part of NBC Universal.

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