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How is business continuing for Copyrights now that working from home is the new normal? 

Sam Loveday from Licensing Source talks to Sophie Kopaczynski, CEO, about how the company has adapted.

How is the team's day now structured, with everyone working from home?

Everyone has been working from home since March 9. Luckily almost every member of the team already worked from home from time to time, so they're used to it. Also, we deal with people around the world so we are used to not seeing them face to face! It is business as usual for almost everyone, we have kept all meetings in our diaries and added new ones to make sure all teams are speaking together at least every two days, if not every day. And we're gathering once a week all together.

Could you provide a rough timeline of your day?

I start around 9am reading emails and press. At 10am I have a daily meeting with our parent company Vivendi Village to discuss any hot topics linked to the crisis, but also ongoing projects and new developments. Then I have different catch-ups with the teams, around 5-6 video conferences a day. We speak to each other all day long. And then different calls with our partners around the world a bit later in the day... still very busy!

How is the communication with licensees and retailers continuing? How important is it to continue keeping these lines of communication open during this time?

The team is staying really close to each of our partners. Information, communication and relationships are more important than ever. The more we exchange, the more we'll be able to prepare the 'back to normal' phase together.

Which projects are you able to move forward on right now?

First of all, with the marketing team we are trying to spread as much kindness as possible on digital. As you know, Paddington always says "if we're kind and polite the world will be right". Since more than six months, we have been working on an initiative to drive the power of kindness to make the biggest possible positive impact on society and our planet. It's both B2B (being more sustainable in our business to be kind to the planet) and B2C (how to inspire kindness to the largest community).

These days, we believe people need kindness more than ever, so we started with #PawswithPaddington. It's a RDV every Thursday to entertain kids and give a bit of fresh air to their parents. From March 26, we've asked kids to send a letter to a friend or relative, about their day and adventures they've had or things they learned. Paddington gave some Paddington paper to help them get started! More content will come every Thursdays, fun activities, readings with Harper Collins, etc.

We also carry on our action with UNICEF supporting them to raise money for children in need, through mostly the great Paddington's Postcards campaign. Subscriptions have increased massively since the beginning of the pandemic and we will be doing more to help them.

On the licensing side, we are busy with The Adventures of Paddington. The TV show launched on Nickelodeon early this year in the US and since March 1 in the UK. And we're really thrilled with the results! We're developing our range of Paddington TV products with our partners and our master toy Phat Mojo. It keeps the commercial and creative teams quite busy as we're preparing the end of this year, and mostly 2021.

We're also working on a new brand - Mush-Mush and the Mushables - to be prepared when we'll get back to normal to be able to sell this wonderful property that will be broadcast on several European channels in Fall 2020 and on Boomerang in the UK at the start of 2021.

What piece of advice would you give about how best to continue to feel like a team while WFH?

Use videoconferencing tools like Zoom or Teams much more than emails. It really keeps the dynamic and the contact. The circulation of information should be reinforced. Also, laughing together is really important. We're doing a background challenge this week, as you can change your background on Zoom, we'll celebrate the most fun one!

How are you keeping up morale?

I think of all these people working in the hospitals to save lives. It makes you humble and for them we have to keep up morale, because we're not even close to what they experience.

Best thing about WFH?

I would say food definitely, as I now have more time to cook!

What's the one thing you've discovered about each team member since WFH that you didn't know before?

I didn't discover it, but every day I am more impressed by the strength and engagement of my team. They are 100% committed, involved with the same appetite and passion. They care about our existing partners, they fight to get new ones, they care for other team members, they always bring new ideas. There is such a great energy and team spirit there.

What advice would you give to people in the business who are worried about the future?

Again, the current situation makes us very humble as there is so much uncertainty within it. So, I wouldn't give any advice, but I'll share the one I try to apply to myself: to keep the belief that after a crisis things will change, some will be for the best, so hang on to these.


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