15 October 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Batman is most common franchise character, WIPO reveals

Batman, Dracula and Spiderman are the top three most commonly used franchise characters in movies and video games, a new report has revealed.

The data was published by new World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) director Daren Tang as part of a new Creative Economy Notes series, which tracks the value of IP to creative industries.

The new WIPO report looked at the usage of comic and other fictional characters in US-based cinema and gaming, the world’s biggest media market, between 1980-2019.

Other characters to feature in the top ten included Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, and Medusa.

"Comic and other franchise characters like Batman have entertained generations of children and adults alike and are a great example of how IP systems help ensure these characters can adapt and remain popular even as technologies and platforms evolve," Tang said.

The former Intellectual Property Office of Singapore head assumed the post of WIPO director general at the start of this month, succeeding Francis Gurry.

Tang presented the data at a virtual event alongside Juergen Boos, president of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest trade fair for books in the world.

“The convergence of the media industries, and the impact of digitisation, means that the film and gaming sectors are evolving at an extraordinary rate right now. As a result, the potential revenue from associated licensing and sales is also enormous,” Boos said.

The event also marked the release of preliminary results of WIPO’s annual survey of the global publishing industry.

Of the 17 countries that returned data, global publishing revenue amounted to $64.1 billion in 2019. The US generated the largest share of this sum ($23.5 billion), followed by Japan ($16.1 billion) and South Korea ($6.2 billion).

Notably, the internet now constitutes a major trade channel for the publishing industry, accounting for 55.2% and 50.1% of sales in the UK and Sweden, respectively. In the US, 43.5% of the industry’s revenue was driven by online sales.

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