How Lego Licensed the Universe, and Ended Up Ruling Us All

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A few months ago I was contacted by staff from Wired to provide information on licensed LEGO themes: number of sets, prices and so on. The result is this infographic that shows how much it would cost to buy one of each set against a backdrop showing how LEGO's profits have soared since they started making them.

Read the article on Wired.com.

23 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I had no idea that LEGO harry Potter was so popular.

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By in United Kingdom,

That's not its popularity that's represented by the height of the tower: it's the number of sets.

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By in France,

The graphic says the height of the tower is the number of sets, not the cost to buy all the sets.

Compare the heights of LOTR and Hobbit - then the costs.

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By in United Kingdom,

The licensed theme for "Cars" is missing.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ My bad, I've corrected my comment :-)

^ And Avatar the last Airbender, and Galidor.

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By in Germany,

And Marvel Super Heroes, DC Super Heroes, Prince of Persia, Speed Racer and the Ferrari Sets are also missing.

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By in France,

The article on Wired ends with "Data source: Brickset.com". Is the data on Cost of Licensing Deals available somewhere on the site? Is it a guess? Is there public data available regarding licensing deals?

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By in United Kingdom,

That's certainly interesting seeing it all (mostly!) in one place, though I don't see that killer ingredient that would make you go "Wow!" Maybe it needs something like the cost to buy totals vs all historical non-licensed sets, or some comparison with a rival brand or some other toy.

And +1 to the second comment on the article - what's with the s on Lego? Even if that is a proper plural form, it's hardly the bricks that did this, is it? ;)

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By in Taiwan,

I thought they posted this image to show how guys dominated the film universe, and ended up ruling all ladies.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not convinced that data warrants that conclusion. Firstly the Star wars and Harry Potter licensing started way before revenue improved. Secondly it would be more informative if we could see revenue from licensed vs non-licensed sets. That would help show if the licensing is really what's driven the overall revenue increase.

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By in United States,

Ah, if LEGO were only a publicly traded company. Then we could have our cake and profit from it too.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think you should refuse to have anything more to do with them until they learn not to put an 's' on the end of 'LEGO'.

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By in United Kingdom,

Wow. When you look at the licensing costs compared to the increase in sales, it's a no brainer! No wonder we're seeing so many more licensed sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

Is the cost of owning the whole line based on the issue prices? Otherwise I'd like very much to know where I could buy the whole Batman I line for $540. It would be really interesting to see the comparison of the issue prices with how much it would cost to buy the whole line of each theme based on today's market rate. Investors might be interested in such data.

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By in United States,

I'm OK with the items shown, though most of these are very recent (2-3 years).
I expected the 'Harry Potter' sets to be way up there, AND I expected the 'Star Wars' sets to be at the top, no matter if the count was number of sets, or cost of sets.

I assume that the graph is only the licensed sets? Missing the 'Friends', 'Cars', autos, planes, trains, City, Big buildings (like corner movie house). Duplo and other sets.
The new Simpsons set is probably off of the bottom of the scale.

MOST important is that this is the first graphic representation of the Lego universe. It is really cool to look at, and provides the information in one place. THANK YOU!

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By in United States,

Is that seriously the whole article or is there more in the print version of the magazine? The graphic is great but the article seems lame. There's like no written content at all.

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By in France,

Answering my own question, the cost of licensing deals is publicly available in the LEGO Annual Report. It was "DKK 1,506 million" in 2012, which amounts to EUR 200 million.

It represents 6% of the revenue (DKK 23,405 million) and 27% of profits (DKK 5,613 million) for 2012.

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By in United States,

This is surprising indeed, I think that I might limit my Lego buys at the end of the year.

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By in United States,

Cheers to @Huw for Brickset.com being the premiere source for data like this. That's a nice feather in your cap.

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By in United States,

If you really study that graph, it is absolutely amazing. Well played, Lego. Well played.

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By in United States,

Very nice statistics, as usual, Huw. I love some good numbers. However, I completely agree with ytjedi, the graphic is great, but the article is quite empty.

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By in United States,

@Huw, I think it is for the best we forget Galidor existed..

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