the Bloom Report

Toy Industry's #1 News Summary 

Below is June 6 - 12, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted as search engines list them, newest articles at the top of the listings

Greetings to all our readers around the world . . . 

 

Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news.  After 22 years, the Bloom Report has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy.  If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: philip.bloom100@verizon.net

 

We will continue the Bloom Report as an essential news source for you.  We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome  advertisements so we can continue this service for free. 

 

Mary Couzin

Company of the Week . . . 

Richard%20North%20and%20Wow%20Stuff%20Lo

Wow! Stuff is the uber awesome creative company that brought us Air Swimmers, Real FX, Mystery Flying Snitch , Invisibility Cloak and so much more! 

For the months of May and June, they are promoting ToyAid. Richard North, Co-Founder of both Wow! Stuff and ToyAid,  is writing something right now as you read this that will replace what I've written shortly! 

Op-ed from Dee Farrell, our Person of the Week...

Hello Toy Friends!  I hope you’re all staying well and strong. Everyone I connect with lately is talking about the huge effect COVID is having on our industry.  In the middle of this pandemic almost nothing is as it used to be.  The “usual” times and places we all use to get together have been canceled or put online.  Virtual is our new normal.  We’re shipping samples to buyer’s homes, spending hours in Zoom meetings, and rushing to get new web sites up.  And all the while, trying to keep our businesses open to tend to customers.  

 

In addition to all of that, many of us are also helping our teams and employees make all these changes right along with us.  While most of us in the toy industry pride ourselves on our ability to change and adapt really fast – this amount of change all at once is proving to be a real challenge.  

 

But in that challenge, there is also opportunity.  Many of the changes we’re making today are not just temporary.  They will carry us well past the outbreak of this virus. (Read on)

 

Note from the Publisher . . . 

We are disturbed and saddened over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. We believe that Black Lives Matter, and that all people should be treated equally, with respect and kindness. We will continue to listen, to educate ourselves about systems of oppression, and to make our community, our work, and our events do better for everybody. We envision and will endeavor to help create a world in which we can all play nicely together. ​

Financial & Legal News . . . 

Amazon Set to Face Antitrust Charges in European Union. The European Commission plans to bring charges that Amazon abused its dominance in e-commerce. Europe’s inquiry is further along, but the United States is also subjecting the company to scrutiny for squashing competition.

The ICTI Ethical Toy Program has released its 2018/19 annual review, which details the positive impact the programme has been making on the lives of factory workers in China, Vietnam and Indonesia over the past couple of years. With support from Buyer Members including Lego, the Ethical Toy Program’s Family-Friendly Spaces (FFS) scheme has grown from two participating factories in 2016 to 30 in 2019. 

Early indications that US retail is off to a positive start as UK shops ready for Monday’s reopening.  The encouraging data from a survey by Mastercard revealed that total US retail sales, excluding the automobile sector, dropped 5.6% in May from a year ago, an improvement on April when the figures showed a 14.1% decline.

University Games US has announced that it has acquired Lagoon Games from AsmodeeThis is the 14th acquisition for University Games and its third in the UK. Founded in 1988, Lagoon has been a key part of the UK book, game, gift and puzzle market. The business has 175 different lines and specialises in supplying gift shops, book stores and garden centres across the UK.  

Retail Sales Fell Only 5.6 Pct In May As Consumer Spending Improves. Consumer spending in the United States gradually increased last month as shoppers arose from lockdown. Mastercard figures indicated that retail sales in the U.S., outside of the auto industry, fell only 5.6 percent in May from a year prior compared to a 14.1 percent drop in April, the Financial Times reported.

Children’s Place Inc. plans to reduce its store network by a third. The children’s apparel retailer is accelerating its “fleet optimization” initiative and is now targeting to close an additional 300 stores by the end of 2021, with 200 closures planned for this year and another 100 planned for 2021. As of May 2, Children’s Place had 920 stores in the U.S. and Canada. 

Amazon, Facebook and Google turn to deep network of political allies to battle back antitrust probes. The tech giants have funded a bevy of political groups, including those producing positive polling, and engaged in other fingerprint-free tactics designed to deter regulators. The approach reflects the growing threats they now face from the Justice Department and the country’s top attorneys general . . .

After Reopening, Walt Disney World Will Need Less Social Distancing, More Air Travel To Improve Profitability. UBS analyst John Hodulik said an earlier-than-anticipated openings of parks has boosted his revenue estimates but that he’s keeping operating income flat due to limitations on attendance required by social distancing.

U.S. RETAIL IMPORTS REMAIN LOW, BUT NOT AS LOW AS PREVIOUSLY FORECAST. “The numbers we’re seeing are still below last year, but are better than what we expected a month ago,” says NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold “It may still be too soon to say, but we’ll take that as a sign that the situation could be slowly starting to improve. 

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Program Highlights

  • A++ rated insurer, $20 Billion in assets

  • Exceeds Wal-Mart and other leading retailers insurance requirements

  • Variable rate based on sales projections

  • Foreign & Domestic Liability coverage

  • Blanket additional insured vendors

  • Employee benefits liability

  • All certificates and claims handled in house

  • Quick quotation turnaround

  • Product recall expense $250,000 limit

 

Additional Coverage

  • Umbrella up to $50,000,000

  • Ocean Cargo & Property

  • Commercial Auto

  • Lead coverage

  • Intellectual properties (copyrights, trademarks, & patents)

  • Credit Insurance

  • US Customs Bond Insurance

  • Health Insurance

Market Research Reports . . . 

Demand for kids shows with diverse characters in the United States was up 58.3% in May 2020 versus May 2019, . . . NEW DATA FROM CHINA REFLECTS PATH TO RETAIL RECOVERY, CONSUMERS PLAN TO SPEND 59% of respondents said that they plan to spend about the same on toys. 16% said they expect to spend more while 24% .

 

Company Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Five Below (FIVE) Catches Eye: Stock Jumps 9.4% . . . GAMESTOP DIGITAL SALES SPIKE 519% DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC . . . Top 3 "Buy the Dip" Video Game Stocks . . . The Worst Mistake Hasbro Investors Can Make Right Now . . . Mattel Inc. [MAT] moved down -3.41: Why It’s Important . . . Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) Downgraded by Consumer Edge to Equal Weight . . . 3 Dividend Stocks to Buy on Sale: Hasbro, Disney . . . GAMESTOP SALES DOWN 34% . . . Mattel Has The Means To Reinvent Itself . . . Mattel the top toy pick at JPMorgan . . . Genius Brands CEO Says Short Reports Full Of 'Misleading Statements' . . . why Hasbro Inc. [HAS] is a Good Choice for Investors After New Price Target of $87.31 

Financial Reporting . . . 

Spin Master (TOY.TO)- Toronto Jun 8, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) --  Edited Transcript of TOY.TO earnings conference call or presentation 7-May-20 1:30pm GMT

Target Bumps Up Dividend, Extending Its Run of Raising Payouts to 49 YearsThe discount retailer, a member of the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats that have paid out higher dividends annually for at least 25 years, on Thursday declared a 3% quarterly dividend increase to 68 cents a share from 66 cents. That would make 2020 the 49th consecutive year in which the company has increased its annual dividend.

Shares of Crown Crafts (NASDAQ:CRWS) decreased 5% after the company reported Q4 results. Earnings per share rose 14.29% year over year to $0.16, which beat the estimate of $0.13. Revenue of $20,307,000 decreased by 6.49% from the same period last year, which missed the estimate of $20,400,000.

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Hasbro to Present at Upcoming Investor Conferences. Brian Goldner, chairman and chief executive officer, and Deborah Thomas, chief financial officer, will participate in the 42nd Nasdaq Investor Conference at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 15, 2020 and at the Jefferies Virtual Consumer Conference at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on June 23, 2020.

Party City Holdco Inc. (PRTY) - June 12~Announced that its first quarter 2020 financial results will be released prior to market open. The Company will host a conference call on that day to discuss the detailed financial results. Investors and analysts interested in participating in the call are invited to dial 866-270-1533 (international callers please dial 412-317-0797)...

Five Below, Inc. (FIVE) - June 16~Trend-right, high-quality extreme-value retailer for tweens, teens and beyond, announced that it will hold its Annual Shareholder Meeting as a virtual meeting as a result of continuing concerns surrounding COVID-19. The meeting will still be held on June 16 as previously announced. 

Stories & Comments . . .

John Baulch's Friday Blog. It’s almost as if ABC’s Martin Fry had a time machine when he wrote the opening line to The Look of Love, which begat this week’s Blog title. I am sure that most of our worlds are full of very strange arrangements right now: the 30 second commute from the bathroom to the home office, the zoom calls that may or may not feature a goat (seriously, it’s a thing . . .

WIZARDS OF THE COAST REMOVES RACIST 'MAGIC: THE GATHERING' CARDS  For decades now, Magic fans have been pointing out that the art on the Invoke Prejudice card, which was printed in Legends in 1994, looked like it depicted a group of Klansmen with executioner's axes. WotC finally acknowledged this perception yesterday by banning the card in all formats and removing its artwork from the database as well as . . . 

Catan at 25: Checking in on a Once-Revolutionary Board Game. How 'Settlers of Catan' introduced the world to a different kind of family game. (Editor's proud note: I was the first person in North America to interview Klaus Teuber, it was around 2000, before CHITAG was even a thought. I was designing games as my side-hustle and Alan Moon introduced me to Klaus. I'll never forget! ~Mary)

Why Do People Love Games? The Game Maker for The New York Times (Yes! There is a Game Maker) explains. As the Game Maker for The New York Times, I grapple with this question every day. The reductively easy answer is simple: They’re fun! But why are they fun? Do they have to be fun? As we dig deeper and deeper . . .

Reebok and Pixar Have Created Mismatched ‘Toy Story’ Sneakers in Woody and Buzz Designs The sneakers, called the Instapump Fury OG Woody And Buzz, don’t match in design. The right shoe is an ode to Woody, as it incorporates the yellow and red plaid, cow-print vest, brown hat, and star badge details that the sheriff always wears. With the left shoe going to Buzz, it’s white, green, and purple with button details like the ones on his space ranger uniform.

It’s Only a Game! Or So They Say. Board games can provide loads of fun, but taking them too seriously can lead to tears and long-running relationship ruining feuds. In 2016, the British branch of the game manufacturer Hasbro set up a hotline to help mediate family disputes sparked ...

TARGET PLANS TO COMMIT $10 MILLION, ONGOING RESOURCES FOR REBUILDING EFFORTS AND ADVANCING SOCIAL JUSTICEWe are a community in pain. That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities — it extends across America. The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell.

What I've Learned From a Lifetime of Playing Videogames. If there’s one stereotype I would love to see go away it would be the “games are children’s toys” that grew from the ’80s. I’m the only member of my family to really go all-in on playing videogames and never grew out of them. I play everything from light games designed to relax to, all the way to brutal titles where you are going to have to work for every win.

Two Banbury students shortlisted for BAFTA's Young Game Designer awards. Tackling the issue of mental health through a computer game has led to BAFTA recognition for two 14 year old  Banbury students, Alex Castle and Daniel Purvis. Alex and Daniel’s game is titled 'My Escape' and revolves around the issues of mental health and adolescence.

Toy World spoke with senior executives from  toy companies Mattel, MGA, Green Bear, TOMY and Zuru addressing sustainability challenges head-on, to find out how materials, packaging and play itself can pave the way to a greener future. The article also examines how, as well as looking at the materials the toy itself is made from, companies are overhauling packaging to reduce the footprint of some products,

Remembering the toy industry's past . . .

Tim Walsh: Who Invented Mr Potato Head? | WTFF (Where's the Fun From)

Tim Walsh: Who Invented Good Luck Trolls? | WTFF? (Where's the Fun From)

Tim Walsh: Who invented the Teddy Bear? | WTFF? (Where's the Fun From)

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Morning Star Games is releasing a new adaptation of award-winning You’re Pulling My Leg! game from creator Allen Wolf on June 30. “I created a new version of this game because our world has changed dramatically, and people need a way to connect and build relationships whether they’re able to get together in person or online,” Wolf said.

The Op has signed a licensing agreement with Asmodee to launch a new version of Spot It! with a pop culture twist.

The game, which was also known as Dobble, first debuted in 2010 with an illustrated deck of 55 circular cards, each featuring eight different symbols (hmmm … will some of our favorite characters be making an appearance in those symbols?). Any two cards in the deck always have one symbol in common. The goal is to be . . .

Australian Phenomenon Hit "Bluey" Launches Toys in the U.S. BBC Studios and Moose Toys announce today the eagerly-awaited range of toys inspired by Australia's Emmy® Award-winning Bluey, a popular series on Disney Junior and Disney+, are set to launch in the U.S. this month. The new collection from Australian-based toy company Moose Toys, a leader in innovation, includes a range of plush, figures, playsets, and games designed to spark imagination-fueled fun and invite preschoolers to create their own Bluey-themed adventures at home.

Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story Brands Add Partners to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Licensing ProgramBest Ride-On Cars, Children’s Apparel Network, Cottage Door Press, Fisher-Price, Hybrid, M&M Sales, Peejamas, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, and Steel City Apparel will all help expand the “neighborhood” for the popular property with a broad range of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood apparel, publishing, and toys, set to arrive at retail this year. 

TeamTo and Edizioni Play Press Enter Activity Book Publishing Deal for Mighty Mike in ItalyLeading Kids entertainment company TeamTO has signed a first licensing deal in Italy with publishing company EDIZIONI PLAY PRESS s.r.l. for its animated slapstick hit series, MIGHTY MIKE (78 x 7). The agreement will see a series of sticker, coloring, magic coloring and activity books distributed in kiosks nationwide starting in June 2020.

YouTube Stars Trinity and Beyond Secure Licensing Opportunity with Fashion Angels Enterprises. With over 2.4 billion lifetime views and 5 million subscribers, Trinity and Beyond’s channel showcases relatable activities and entertainment which will soon include on-trend products from their collaboration with Fashion Angels Enterprises. Anticipated products will include arts and crafts kits such as bracelet making sets, backpacks, stickers and stationary.

MGM and Pantone Color Institute Unveil Brand New Shade of Pink Inspired by Pink Panther Character. Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), a leading entertainment company focused on the production of premium film and television content across platforms, and Pantone, the global authority on color, today unveiled the first ever Pink Panther Pink color, a vibrant and playful unique pink shade inspired by MGM’s iconic character. 

Licensing-related revenue grew 4.5% in 2019. New data from Licensing International puts global revenue for licensed merchandise at US$292.8 billion last year. The entertainment/character segment led the increase, accounting for 43.8% of 2019′s revenue. Corporate brands (20.5%), fashion (11.5%) and sports (10%) rounded out the top-four sectors in terms of revenue. For product categories, apparel (15.1%) and toys (12.2%) led revenue in 2019.

People, Companies, Organizations . . .

Chief Play Monster Bob Wann on PLAYMONSTER: RESILIENCE AND OPPORTUNITY DURING UNCERTAINTY. I have never faced as extreme a business challenge as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting the health and safety of our staff and families, re-engineering multiple warehouse safety protocols and productivity guidelines, navigating supply issues and unprecedented retail closures, as well as . . .

Jeff Cornelison is back at Kids2, where he previously served for nearly 20 years. Cornelison rejoins the Georgia-based company as senior vice president/general manager joint ventures. In the strategic partnerships division, Cornelison will focus on the company’s partnership with Hape Toys.

Sony just revealed the PlayStation 5, coming later this yearSony showed two versions of the console, including one standard “PlayStation 5” and another “PlayStation 5 Digital Edition” that doesn’t have a disc reader. This suggests it will only have a hard drive for storing games, and it may cost less than the other version. Sony didn’t talk about pricing or a release date for the console, other than saying it will come later this year. 

Brick Fanatics’ Top 20 LEGO Sets List. Track the hottest, most in-demand and currently available LEGO sets with Brick Fanatics’ Top 20 LEGO Sets List With so many LEGO sets released each month, it’s hard to keep track of – let alone budget for – everything that the LEGO Group puts out. That’s where Brick Fanatics’ Top 20 LEGO Sets List comes in.

Entertainment One has appointed former HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo as President, Global Television.

Following its acquisition by Hasbro last year, eOne serves as the entertainment arm of the company and is charged with creating content from Hasbro’s library of over 1,500 properties including popular brands such as Dungeons & Dragons, Power Rangers and Transformers. 

Gary Grant, founder and chief executive of The Entertainer, has been announced as one of retail’s most influential leaders of 2020 in the Retail 100, an annual ranking published by RWRC, home of Retail Week and World Retail Congress. This year, the Retail 100 has placed special emphasis on leaders who have stepped up in the face of the pandemic and made tough but necessary decisions in response.

Hasbro's Transformers BotBots toys. Wheater you love them or hate them, these tiny little marvels of robot goodness were designed in-house at Hasbro. Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing Ben Montano posed a simple question: "how do we create everyday objects that have more than meets the eye feel and what would it look like?"

Toy manufacturer Funskool India on Tuesday announced the elevation of R Jeswant as its Chief Executive Officer  Jeswant was holding the responsibility of senior vice- president (sales and marketing) prior to taking over the new role, the company said. Jeswant succeeds John Baby, who was responsible for boosting exports by setting up the company's third manufacturing unit at Ranipet in Tamil Nadu.

Kidscreen launching 3-month initiative to connect post-secondary animation and children’s media students with experienced mentors. This Next Wave Mentoring Program aims to help graduating students bridge the gap between school and a career in the kids entertainment industry. 

69th REA Nominees Revealed. 21 retailers will be recognized for their excellence during the prestigious Retailer Excellence Awards, hosted by by Gifts & Decorative Accessories, in seven retail categories, including social media outreach, socially responsible efforts, visual displays and more. Winners will be announced at the first-ever virtual REA award ceremony, Thursday, Aug. 6. 

DC CUTTING OFF DIAMOND In a dramatic move that transforms the landscape for comic stores, DC Comics has announced that its comics and graphic novels will no longer be distributed to independent retailers by Diamond Comic Distributors.  The change will take effect with any titles that have not already hit Final Order Cut-Off with Diamond.

Janet Hsu named CEO of Horizon Group USA The former Mattel and Saban Brands exec will focus on expanding into new categories and opportunities at the New Jersey-based company, which focuses on activity kits and DIY products. She will start creating opportunities across new categories beginning on July 6, taking over the role from owner Roshan Wijerama.

Genius Brands International named Margaret Loesch as its executive chairman of the newly launched Kartoon Channel, which debuts on June 15.The legendary TV executive who launched multiple hit series, including the Power Rangers franchise, has a new role.  Joining Loesch is David Neuman, former president of Walt Disney Television, as chief creative officer. Neuman will work alongside Loesch and Kartoon Channel General Manager Caroline Tyre.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . 

Toy Industries Europe on how toy retailers will survive the pandemic.   Sanjay Luthra, chairman of Toy Industries Europe and MD EMEA Mattel, spoke to experts across Europe, including Ryan Blane, Florenci Verbon, Frédérique Tutt, Alpana Virani, Gary Grant, Philippe Gueydon and Toy World’s very own John Baulch, about how the toy industry might emerge from the pandemic in time for the traditional Christmas peak.

Film and television production may be able to resume in California on June 12, but major studios are still weeks — if not months — away from rolling cameras. Before shooting can start or resume on movies and TV shows, the various labor unions that represent everyone from the grips to the actors to the directors, have to sign off on safety procedures for how sets should operate in the age of coronavirus.  

Sony has begun work on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 amid widespread production delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nick Kondo, Sony Imageworks lead animator, said Monday that he kicked off work on the project, which is due to be released in 2022. "First day on the job!" Kondo tweeted.

Q is for quarantine. Sesame Workshop is partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank to launch preschool content in Latin America and the Caribbean to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sesame Workshop will make 100 hours of content—including new original animations, songs, four seasons of Sésamo (pictured), as well as new episodes of Elmo’s World and Cookie’s Crumby Pictures . . .

Exclusive: Times like these – touching base with suppliersToy World spoke to manufacturers to find out how they have been coping during the lockdown, and how they’ve been supporting retailers. Here’s a snapshot of what suppliers told us in the June issue of Toy World . . .

Latest data shows UK toy sales remain resilient during lockdown. While many non-essential categories have struggled to match traditional sales during lockdown, the UK toy market has proved remarkably resilient. According to NPD, the value of UK toy sales rose by 17% in the two months from the beginning of lockdown compared with the same period last year. While parents and children in the UK have been buying fewer toys, they have been spending more on those they have bought during lockdown.

Legoland Windsor is preparing to welcome guests back from 4th July, as nationwide lockdown restrictions continue to easeWith warm weather ahead and pent up demand for days out from families who have endured 10 weeks of lockdown, the park, which is owned by Merlin Entertainments, has announced a slew of measures to ensure social distancing is adhered to and visitors are kept safe. 

Learning in lockdown: How US and UK kids differDavid Kleeman looks at kids' engagement with educational content while at home, and how they made sense of the onslaught of news. When an inflection point like the COVID-19 lockdown comes along, researchers look at how people respond to disruption. Does it reinforce existing habits, inspire experimentation, or prompt reversion to past, comforting favorites?

Hong Kong’s Health Secretary, Sophia Chan, announced extended restrictions on visitors by a further three months. Hong Kong initially introduced a travel ban on visitors from 24th March, which has already been extended and was due to expire this month. This measure has now been extended to late Sept. Arrivals to Hong Kong have to undergo testing upon landing, before going straight into quarantine for 14 days. 

Connected TV Usage Remains High as Covid-19 Restrictions Ease While Linear Drops. The Covid-19 pandemic meant that most people around the country remained housebound—and, in many cases, were watching television—for most of March, April and May. Now, even with restrictions easing, rising temperatures and local businesses reopening driving people outside once again, connected TV usage remains well above pre-Covid-19 levels, according to new data from Nielsen.

Toy Safety Related Articles . . .

Orthopaedic surgeons warn against trampoline use while staying active this summer. The first days of summer mean warmer temperatures and plenty of sunlight for outdoor play.  With media reporting an increase in sales of outdoor toys such as trampolines and inflatable toys because of COVID-19, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is reminding parents to encourage families to think before they bounce.

Developer of Apps Popular with Children Agrees to Settle FTC Allegations It Illegally Collected Kids’ Data without Parental Consent

A developer of apps that are popular with children has agreed to pay $150,000 and to delete personal information it illegally collected from children under 13 to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations. 

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Press Releases . . . 

Bandai America Launches Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden​. Everyone's favorite virtual pet continues to evolve! Bandai America is set to grow the Tamagotchi franchise in the North American market with the release of the Tamagotchi On Wonder Garden. Fans can be first in line for the new release with pre-sales starting online on June 11 at Target, Amazon, WalMart, GameStop, Best Buy and Entertainment Earth with availability at mass, online and specialty retailers nationwide starting July 26.

Zynga and Snap Games Announce Multi-Game Partnership-Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), a global leader in interactive entertainment, today announced plans to create more multiplayer titles exclusively for Snap Inc’s (NYSE: SNAP) gaming platform, Snap Games. The first new game under this collaboration, Bumped Out, was revealed at today’s Snap Partner Summit and is available starting today exclusively on Snap Games. 

Wizard Entertainment, Inc. Announces Streamed Interactive Programming With ‘Wizard World Virtual Experiences. Wizard Entertainment, Inc. (OTCBB:WIZD) has emerged as the industry leader in producing and distributing streamed online programming on its own proprietary and exclusive channel allowing fans to engage with their favorite celebrities. As the first mover in this market Wizard Entertainment has established itself as the leader in producing innovative high-quality interactive streamed content.

Commonwealth Toy & Novelty is awarded the North American master plush license for the iconic Fun with Spot™ brand. The new lines will launch beginning Fall 2020. The deal was brokered by Licensing Works!® on behalf of The Eric and Gillian Hill Family Trust/Salspot Ltd., managed worldwide by Penguin Ventures out of the U.K. Capitalizing on the 40th Anniversary of the first publication of the original Where’s Spot? lift-the-flap storybook, created by Eric Hill in 1980, the range will include plush of all sizes and materials; feature plush; wooden toys and puzzles. 

Uncanny Brands, the leader in pop culture licensed small appliances, takes on another Marvel icon with the Captain America Popcorn Maker. This healthy, hot air popper transforms Cap’s shield into the lid of the machine. The lid is removable and doubles as a colorful serving bowl. An inner plastic cup measures the perfect serving of corn and warms butter. This perfect companion for watching all of your favorite Marvel Captain America and Avengers movies is available now, exclusively on amazon.com.

 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals  . . .

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more)

NY NOW And Shoppe Object Postpone New York Market Week.  NY NOW, the modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, has decided, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis to postpone the 2020 Summer Market which had been scheduled for August 8-12, 2020. The NY NOW Fall Edition will showcase at the Javits Center on October 18 – 20, 2020 and Shoppe Object will stage at Pier 36 October 20 – 22.

Virtual events are here. Is the industry ready? As markets and conferences go digital, execs from MIFA, CMC and MIPTV, as well as producers and broadcasters, weigh in on the ups and downs of the shift. While some in the kids industry see value in online events—and the consensus is that there will be an increasing trend towards incorporating more digital touchpoints into future markets—for many, nothing will replace the real deal of live conferences.

The Game Manufacturers Association has canceled Origins Online, the online event created on the dates of live event Origins Game Fair when it was postponed until Fall (see "GAMA Postpones Origins Game Fair").  The move comes after a day in which dozens of programming, gaming, and company participants dropped out, citing the organization’s lack of support for Black Lives Matter . . .

Licensing International announced the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards will take place virtually 13th Aug 2–3:30pm EDT. Typically held in conjunction with Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, this year’s ceremony has been shifted to an online-only virtual event given the ongoing coronavirus situation. This year’s awards feature 175 nominees across 23 categories, including the new Best Agency Award. Nominees were selected from more than 600 submissions from 20 countries and judged by a global panel of 150 experts from all areas of the industry. 

You're invited to join the ASTRA community for the virtual ASTRA Camp™ experience! Save the dates of August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 for a two-week summer event that is so much s'more than a virtual show. Get ready for product discovery, camper social events (including the can't-miss Lip Sync Battle) and education sessions. All events will be hosted virtually and you'll come away with the tools and support you need to navigate the wilderness of Q4 ahead! Keep an eye out for more information to come on the ASTRA Camp™ experience, including camper registration, a full schedule of camp activities, official merch and more. Adventure awaits!

aNb Media's Top Ten Stories of the Week . . .

Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story Brands Add Partners to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Licensing Program

WildBrain CPLG Works Out Deal with Richard Simmons

YouTube Stars Trinity and Beyond Secure Licensing Opportunity with Fashion Angels Enterprises
Bluey Launches Collection by Moose Toys in the U.S.

Licensing International Excellence Awards 2020 to Take Place in August

Bluey Season 2 Premieres on July 10 in the U.S.

Kidscreen Launches Next Wave Mentoring Program

Guru Studio Appoints Licensing Street to Represent Pikwik Pack

Horizon Group USA Hires Janet Hsu as New CEO

Wildbrain CPLG Presses Play on Deal for Vlad and Niki

Toyworld (UK) Most Read Stories of the Week

When your world is full of strange arrangements…. it’s the Friday Blog!

Latest data shows UK toy sales remain resilient during lockdown

Toy community mulls Hong Kong October trip as complications multiply

Fenwick & Bentalls resign membership of Toymaster  

Gary Grant of The Entertainer named among 100 most influential people in retail today

Toy Industries Europe on how toy retailers will survive the pandemic

B&M announces improved sales and profits for fiscal year

Hope for high streets as town centres report encouraging footfall figures

Exclusive: Times like these – touching base with suppliers

Online sales remain high as shops prepare for Monday reopening

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's Top Ten Stories of the Week

Video of the Week

Nick Metzler (Spin Master): 

"Kids, You are a Professional Inventor and You have the Cute Factor!"

Know Creative Kids?  Young Inventor Spring Challenge Closes June 30th! 

 

For articles from past weeks, please click “Past Report Section”. (link tba)

 

Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group

Managing Editor: Mary Couzin

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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