The Licensing Academy's complementary seminar programme has been designed to "educate, inform, inspire and encourage" interaction between retailers and industry experts.

The 10 sessions organised for this year's show include two workshops and together they tackle a range of issues, from royalties and licence-pricing strategies to spotting trends in internet-launched brands and characters.

Subjects such as 'Brand building through brand licensing' and 'Style guides and packaging for the 21st century' will appeal to retailers as will the retail panel, which is a new feature this year.

"The panel will focus on how to get shelf space at retail," says event director Jessica Blue. "It will give licensees a valuable insight into what retailers' priorities and concerns are.

"From a retailer's point of view it will give the opportunity to communicate with licensees and tell them what they look for in licensed products and how their decision-making process works."

Argos, Clinton Cards and Next are among the confirmed retailers sitting on the panel, while the seminars will be led by a diverse panel of industry experts from PricewaterhouseCoopers, brand licensing agencies such as MODA International Marketing, Kids Industries and Beanstalk Europe, and legal experts including representatives from Halliwells LLP and Briffa.

Alongside the Licensing Academy is the Art, Design and Image Licensing zone. This area is dedicated to one of the fastest-growing areas in the licensing industry and, according to Blue, exhibitor numbers are 60% up on last year.

"This area has been renamed in 2007 due to the addition of Image Licenses in the line-up," she says.

"The Art, Design and Imaging Zone will also have its own identity and unique branding to highlight its increasing importance in the licensing industry."

Blue notes that this is a particularly interesting area for representatives from the retail industry because it offers a good platform for retailers to find their own branding solutions as well as an opportunity to buy and explore the latest licences in the marketplace.

"Design agencies and companies such as Christies Images, Medici and Bridgeman Art Library will be exhibiting alongside lesser-known designers who will all be using the opportunity to have their work seen by a wide audience," she says. n