is an authorized product based on a media property a company is releasing, such as a movie
, computer game
, video game
, television program
, board game
, web site
, role-playing game
or literary property
. Tie-ins are used primarily to generate additional income from that property and promote its visibility.
Although considered a violation of copyright or trademark law, non-commercial fan fictions are considered tie-ins because they promote visibility of the original work, but may not have received permission of the publishing companies or the author.
Kinds of tie-in products
Common tie-in products include:
- a movie tie-in – novelizations of movies, television shows, or computer games
- original novels or story-collections featuring original stories inspired by the original property
- re-branding of an existing book with artwork or photographs from a movie, television show, or other media release (such as movies made on and re-branding the books of The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia)
- making-of books or television specials
- a movie tie-in computer or video game
- a soundtrack, either featuring the film score, songs featured in the film, or occasionally songs "inspired by the film" or image songs based on the characters.
- collectible merchandise, such as action figure toys or board games
- fast food promotions based on movies, toys or games
- merchandise of all types exploiting logos, characters, images, catch-phrases from the property. Such merchandise often has absolutely no connection to the property other than the use of logos or other trademarks to enhance sales (examples being apparel, particularly caps and T-shirts)
Revenue and structure
Tie-ins are considered an important part of the revenue-stream for any major media release, and planning, and licensing for such works often begins at the very earliest stages of creating such a property. Tie-ins provide both an important way of generating additional income from a property, and a way of satisfying the desires of fans who enthusiastically support a popular media property.
The lineage of tie-in works can be quite convoluted. For example, a novelization might be done of a computer game, which was based on a television show, based on a movie, based on a comic book which was the original media property. In several cases, a novelization has been released based on a movie which was in turn adapted from an original novel. In such cases, it is not uncommon to see the novelization and a movie release of the original novel side-by-side on the same shelf.