Monty Python

Babson Professor Stephen Spinelli, Case Director

Aldo Sesia, Case Writer

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2000.

Abstract

The owner and founder of an established licensing agency, Jerry Houle, who was also a former Muppet, has always been a huge fan of the Monty Python group. The famous British troupe of five anti-establishment actors was on TV and in movie theatres on both sides of the Atlantic from 1969 through 1983. In 1999, Houle signs a licensing agreement with the group's representative after four years of negotiations. The licensing agency actively seeks partners or licensees to design, produce and retail Monty Python merchandise such as tee shirts, key chains and coffee cups. However, there is reluctance by most major merchandisers to buy heavily into the program, which surprises the entrepreneur who is convinced of the marketability of the Python name. As his company spends more and more time on this product with few results, the value of the license comes into question.

Location of the company: West Springfield, Massachusetts

Years spanned by the case: 1995 through 2000

Industry segments: Licensing, Entertainment

Stage of the company: Mature

Age of the entrepreneurs: Mid 40's

Key Words: Entrepreneurship, licensing, entertainment, merchandising

DVD

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Teaching Notes

A six-page case teaching package, written by Stephen Spinelli, is available for this case. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into a course.