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the Bloom Report: August 14-21, 2020

the Bloom Report Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide August 14-21, 2020

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom Subscribe for Free Advertise with Us Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...


Happy Friday!

We received a note from Richard Highfield of Surprise Marketing in the UK a few days ago. He questioned some of the points made by Jacqueline Vong in her op-ed piece last week: East Meets West. Where are we going from here?. Since many of our readers make business decisions based on what they read in tBR, we are publishing Richard's note (with permission). It is important to show all views on this major topic and we welcome other views. Jacqueline will be responding next week.

Onward and Upward,

Mary




Richard Highfield of Surprise Marketing Ltd replies to Jacqueline Vong's Op-ed article East Meets West


Mary, I refer to last week’s article by Jacqueline Vong that may confuse or even dismay many international readers of The Bloom Report, though it does seem to have some credibility and states some obvious factors. While the talented Miss Vong does convey the both sides of the story in the ever-changing toy business we love, the international toy community is surely years way away from removing the long-standing Hong Kong Toy Fair to mainland China. I am sure the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council feel much the same way after putting on a wonderful show for so many years. To remind her, there are over 2,000 global exhibitors, not all local and more than 40,000 visitors. Read More...




(One of Tom's favorite clients paying close attention as usual. Meet Oliver the Rushton family Potbelly Pig! If you think Oliver is cute, click on the article to meet Maribel & Lucille, too! )



Tom Rushton: If You Think Adventure is Dangerous; Try Routine...- tBR Person of the Week!


My name is Tom Rushton, as you can probably see from the title of Mary's article in this edition of The Bloom Report. When Mary contacted me about this, I was pretty surprised...in a good way. I had seen other "Toy People" featured and it's always really cool when you click on The Bloom Report and are able to call out, "Hey I know him/her!"...recently that's included our friends, Lisa Orman, Dee Farrell, et al.

Our History...

My introduction to the Toy Industry was at a small trade show on the Navy Pier in Chicago, working for a German Company that crafted Galileo Thermometers. We were invited to the NLDA Show as we were selected to participate in their holiday catalog. I was setting up my booth when a woman walked around the "pipe and drape" and said "Can you help us put in our light bulbs?" As a six-footer (barely 6' 0") that wasn't an uncommon request, so I said sure. That company was Seattle-based game manufacturer, Front Porch Classics. I put in the light bulbs (probably against union regulations...but we were rebels) and then looked down at their displays and saw these amazing solid wood tabletop games...I was blown away! Couldn't believe that a company took the time to craft games from solid wood and die-cast metal with cloth playing boards, like their bestseller, Dread Pirate. The Old Century Baseball Game even came with an actual Baseball Score Book. That's all I needed to see...I was hooked. A few months later I knew I needed a change and reached out to them to see if they had any sales positions available. Read More...


Financial & Legal News . . .

Chicago Toy & Game Group rebrands as People of Play. The Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG) has rebranded under a new name: People of Play (POP). ChiTAG founder and occasional Toy Book contributor Mary Couzin will continue to lead POP in its efforts to “continue the mission of promoting innovation, creativity, and connectivity in the toy and game industry.”

Toys R Us, Amazon are linked online again, after e-commerce deal with Target ends. Ten months ago, the resurrected Toys R Us brand made news when it announced an e-commerce partnership with Target TGT +12.6%. Last month, Toys R Us and Target quietly ended that partnership. Now, toys featured on the Toys R Us website have a click-to-buy link to Amazon.

UK bank account data shows 71% rise in gaming spending during lockdown. We all know that UK spending on games has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with charts, publishers and developers all stating big gains. But the latest figures, from UK bank accounts, pin that boom at a whopping 71 per cent year on year. The figure is taken from the lockdown period, from mid-March to the start of July.

Ex-Riot devs launch multiplayer game studio Odyssey Interactive in Canada. A team of game makers who used to work at Riot Games have raised roughly $6 million in seed funding to open Odyssey Interactive, a new Canadian game studio that aims to build competitive multiplayer games.

Amazon, Walmart double down on third party sellers. The ecomm world is changing rapidly in the COVID era, as retail behemoths and independent retailers alike mobilize to capture the billions in retail business moving online, over $60 billion in new ecomm sales in Q2 alone. A lot of the new ecomm activity surrounds third-party sellers …

Sweden: Social game platform Hiber nets $2.25 million to accelerate development. Social game platform Hiber has netted $2.25 million in funding to accelerate development and make key hires. Hiber allows users to create, play, and share a variety of games, and can be accessed on almost any device with a web browser, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

Amazon pushes sellers to meet two-day delivery guarantees so more people can get Prime-eligible products. Amazon on Tuesday announced several changes to its Seller Fulfilled Prime program, which allows sellers to designate Prime-eligible inventory without paying for Amazon’s fulfillment services. Starting in February 2021, sellers will be required to support Saturday pick-up and delivery, as well as...

Tencent picks up minority stake in hyper casual game publisher Voodoo. Tencent has picked up a minority stake in Voodoo, the hyper casual game mobile publisher behind games like Helix Jump, Color Road, and many, many more. There’s no word on what percentage of Voodoo Tencent picked up in the deal, or even how much the massive Chinese company spent to acquire it.

Epic asks court to block Apple's 'retaliation' as Fortnite, Unreal Engine face consequences. Epic is asking a California court to protect it from what the company describes as retaliation from Apple over the escalating conflict between the two massive tech companies. It’s the latest development in a dispute that rapidly unfolded late last week and ultimately saw Epic Games filing a lawsuit against both Apple and Google …

Take-Two Interactive acquires mobile studio Playdots for $192 million. Take-Two Interactive has acquired mobile studio Playdots for $192 million. The deal comprises $90 million in cash and $102 million worth of newly issued Take-Two shares.

Japan suffers its biggest economic slump on record. The Japanese economy has shrunk at its fastest rate on record as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s third largest economy saw gross domestic product fall 7.8% in April-June from the previous quarter, or 27.8% on an annualised basis. Japan was already struggling with low economic growth before the crisis.

Debenhams puts liquidation firm on standby despite insisting it is “trading strongly. Debenhams has put a liquidation firm on standby to draw up contingency plans for the department store chain should it not find a solution to its current financial crisis. The company, which is now in administration, has hired Hilco Capital to undertake the task should an answer not be found.

PUBG Corp invests $10 million into 1Up Ventures to support indies. PUBG Corporation has sunk $10 million into venture fund 1Up Ventures to help "foster the next generation of game developers." The PlayerUnknown's Battleground developer said the cash will be used to help the fledgling investment fund support indie studios.

Retailers launch lobbying group to fight counterfeit goods on Amazon. More than a dozen trade groups are launching a new coalition aimed at forcing e-commerce companies such as Amazon.com Inc. to take stronger measures to fight stolen or counterfeit goods sold on their platforms. The industry associations, which represent Walmart Inc., Target Corp., and Best Buy Co. Inc. among other companies, are...

US court ruling means Amazon can be held liable for defective goods. The online retail platform Amazon, which grew its third-party sales 53% during the height of the pandemic, has been dealt a blow by a US court ruling that will now see it held responsible for defective, faulty or unsafe products – and the injuries caused by them.

July increase in retail sales continues recovery from coronavirus pandemic. Retail sales continued to recover in July from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, growing more slowly (1.2%) than the month before, but adding to the strong turnaround seen since the spring declines.

US jobless claims rise back above one million. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed back above one million last week, official figures show. The US Labor Department said claims rose to 1.1 million, ahead of economists' forecasts of 925,000.


Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Financial Reporting . . .

Walmart: Impressive Results, Strong Margins. Walmart has been a beneficiary of the COVID-19 crisis, to an extent in the share price and in its actual operations as well. The thesis is simple, and that is that Walmart is a global powerhouse, one of the few companies with enough size, pricing power and capabilities to fight off Amazon and the likes.

Walmart beats on profit, posts record online sales on pandemic boost. Walmart Inc posted its biggest-ever growth in online sales as shoppers cashed in stimulus checks and ordered everything from electronics and toys to groceries from the safety of their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its U.S. online sales rose 97% in the quarter …

Target Corporation reports second quarter earnings. Target Corporation today announced its second quarter 2020 results, which reflect the continuation of heightened sales volume and significant investments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company reported GAAP earnings per share from continuing operations of $3.35 in Q2, an increase of 84.4% from $1.82 in 2019. Q2 Adjusted EPS of $3.38 grew...

Wizard Brands (née Wizard Entertainment) builds virtual event business. Wizard Brands (which recently changed its name from Wizard Entertainment) quickly pivoted to online events when COVID hit, and while losses grew to $390,000 in the quarter (up from $359,000 in Q2 2019), the speed of the pivot was surprising, with over 60 virtual events produced in Q2.

Kohl’s Corporation reports financial results. Strengthened financial position during the quarter, ending with $2.4 billion in cash. Disciplined management of expenses and inventory resulted in positive operating cash flow. Second quarter net sales decrease (22.9%) …

Future Financial Reporting...

3 Reasons Target's and Walmart's growth will slow in the second half. The two retailers saw robust growth in their stores and even bigger growth for online sales, showing strength compared to Amazon. While the two big-box stores have thrived amid the coronavirus pandemic, there are reasons they'll likely see a pullback in growth over the next six months …


Stories & Comments . . .

Games to the rescue! A look at gaming trends in a challenging year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people everywhere have been playing games. In just a few months, the change in societal dynamic has impacted both sales and overall trends across the industry. According to data from The NPD Group, the resurgence in games has translated into a sales increase of around 250% since families began spending time ...

John Baulch from Toyworld - Any chance of some precedented times…it’s the Friday Blog! On the face of it, it’s been a relatively quiet news week in the toy world. In actual fact, there is plenty going on ‘behind the scenes’ – I am sitting on three major news stories at present. I won’t lie, that is one of the more frustrating situations for a media owner: I want to tell the world what is going on, but unfortunately my hands are...

Games Every Family Should Have For Game Night. My kids have barely mastered the concept of the game tag, but one day, I'm going to have a closet stocked with board games ready for a Friday night tradition with pizza and milkshakes. They might need to start with Candy Land, but eventually they're going to be beating me at Scrabble! And, as a total bonus, most of these games teach your kid something useful, too.

With titles like Battletoads and Grounded, Xbox Game Pass is inching closer to becoming like Netflix. Game Pass, Microsoft’s subscription service, is much like Netflix and other video streaming services in that, for a monthly fee, you have access to a broad range of experiences. If you follow Microsoft’s marketing, you’ll know that Game Pass is a place for the company’s big first-party …

How to host a game night. What to Serve, Who to Invite, How to Play—Strategies for the Perfect Game Night. From party games to legacy games, setting up to hosting a crowd, tabletop game expert Erik Arneson gives you the strategies you need to host an epic game night.

Demand for Indian toys increased due to Corona and Chinese conflict. Children are studying and playing at home due to Corona. This has had a positive impact on the toy business. Demand for Chinese toys has come down due to the ongoing conflict between China and India. Indian toy manufacturers are also benefiting from this.

1/3 of Malaysian parents only spend less than 4 hours a week playing with their kids. For children, playtime is learning time. Babies, toddlers, young children and kids of all ages use play to learn new things, like shapes, colours, sounds, and numbers. In fact, many child educators call for more play as kids learn best that way.

The Japanese game became symbolic of how an entire generation lost the art of playing outdoors. Our virtual lives have taken on a new significance amid seemingly endless quarantines and requests for social distancing.. Covid-19 certainly accelerated the digitization of socialization, but it didn’t create it …

A guide to Thailand's video game market. Thailand is the fourth-largest video game market within Southeast Asia and the 19th largest in the world. If you’re not seriously thinking about getting your video games into Thailand, or expanding your revenues there if you’re already in it, you absolutely must reconsider.

Facebook accuses the ‘Apple tax’ of stifling its plan to help struggling small businesses. Facebook is launching a new events feature that will let page owners and event organizers create paid online events to try to fill the gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the social media giant announced on Friday. But there’s one catch …

Raising the bar: what you don’t know could cost you your brand. The last thing a toy company wants to hear when you are about to launch a new product or service is that someone else may own rights to the brand that fits its product or service to a “T.” You may think that never happens, but it often does.

America’s Terrible Internet Is Making Quarantine Worse. Why millions of students still can’t get online. Because California suffered a surge in coronavirus cases this summer, students in Live Oak, a town about 50 miles north of Sacramento, will be learning virtually for the foreseeable future. Both Anderson and his students seemed nervous about how it would go. At 8:03, only eight of the 24 students had logged on...

Box Office Slowly Sputters Back to Life After Coronavirus Closures. After prolonged closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, movie theaters in the United States and other parts of the world are slowly starting to turn the lights back on, welcome patrons and hear their cash registers ring again.

Fmr. Toys ‘R’ Us CEO on why retailers may be in for a bad Christmas. July retail sales number rose 1.2% in spite of COVID-19. Jerry Storch, Former Toys ‘R’ Us CEO, joins The Final Round panel to discuss where the sector stands and what's next for retailers.

Chris James from Casual Game Revolution - News Flash: Tiny Epic Galaxies Blast Off, Telestrations Upside Drawn, Gamelyn Games has released a sequel to Tiny Epic Galaxies, The Op has released Telestrations: Upside Drawn, and Big Potato Games has two new party games out.

Remembering the toy industry's past . . .

BACKSTORY: SLINKY — 75 YEARS OF AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. Another toy, Slinky, was born out of a mishap in 1943 when mechanical engineer Richard T. James was experimenting with tension coils in an effort to stabilize naval instruments. James dropped a coil and watched...

Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle Toy Re-released, Using the Original Molds from 1973. Amazingly, those items are being made with the original molds that were first used to product the stunt cycle in 1973. The molds belong to American Classic Toy, owned by Jay Horowitz.

Magic Sand from Wham-O (1981). Long before Kinetic Sand arrived in 2014, Wham-O used chemistry to create Magic Sand—a toy substance that defied nature. Released in 1981, Magic Sand was the sand that refused to get wet.

How these top sad 1980s toys defined your personality. Jam shorts! Arcades! The fall of the Berlin Wall! The Challenger explosion! Famine! Disease! Chernobyl! Only 1980s kids will recognise these amazing toys that defined a generation and laid the groundwork for GenX’s ...



Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Moose Toys’ Collins Key toy line hits retail. Following a colorful preview at Toy Fair New York in February, Moose Toys‘ new collaboration with YouTubers Collins and Devan Key is hitting retail. The Collins Key YouTube channel boasts more than 21.5 million subscribers and averages more than 25 million views per video …

Hasbro Introduces Peaceful Bob Ross Monopoly Edition. "We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” The latest edition celebrates the late American painter, art instructor and television host best known for his show The Joy of Painting. Despite the PBS instructional television program ending back in 1994, Ross has remained a pop culture figure achieving posthumous Internet fame in the 21st century.

UN partners with games developers with ‘Playing for the Planet Alliance’. MAG Interactive, Sybo, Space Ape, WildWorks, Playdemic, Fingersoft, Rovio, Pixelberry Creative, Future Games of London and GameDuell, have all committed to integrating “green activations” into their best-performing titles. With each activation being themed and matched to the game in question.

Radio Flyer, Tesla launch ride-on for toddlers. Radio Flyer and Tesla have teamed up to create a new ride-on for toddlers ages 18 months-4 years old: the My First Model Y. Priced at $99, the ride-on is designed to look like Tesla’s full-size Model Y vehicle and features a honking horn, working steering, an ergonomic seat, and black induction wheels. It has a weight capacity of 43 pounds.

WowWee, LEGO, and Sesame Workshop among winners of 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards. After careful consideration, a panel of judges comprised of 152 executives from around the world evaluated more than 600 entries from companies in 22 countries to determine the nominees for the 2020 Licensing International Excellence Awards. The toy and kids’ entertainment industries were...

Conservation-focused toy brand Safari Ltd named new partner for Dino Dana. The family and kids’ production and distribution company, Sinking Ship Entertainment has secured a new toy deal for its Emmy award-winning series Dino Dana with the educational toy company Safari Ltd. The firm specializes in authentic, hand-painted figures.

Invictus Gaming, Secretlab take a seat together. China-based esports organization Invictus Gaming is collaborating with Singapore-based gaming chairmaker Secretlab. The collaboration is part of Secretlab’s expansion into China, according to Daily Esports. Through the collaboration, Secretlab plans to launch Invictus Gaming Edition chairs as a China exclusive.

Cloudco, Moonbug collaborate for Care Bears. Cloudco Entertainment and Moonbug Entertainment are plotting new adventures for the Care Bears. Under a newly inked agreement, Moonbug will take the reins in leading content creation, distribution, and management of the Care Bears YouTube channel.

Doctor Who card battler announced – BBC partners with Reality Gaming Group on blockchain-based title. The timelords at the BBC have signed a deal to create a blockchain-driven, digital collectible card game. UK company Reality Gaming Group, which is also responsible for AR mobile combat title Reality Clash, will develop and publish the game, titled Doctor Who: Worlds Apart.

Hasbro, GameMill team up for ‘G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout’. This fall, the legendary battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra returns to video game consoles for the first time since 2009’s movie-based G.I. Joe Retaliation. On Oct. 13, Hasbro and GameMill Entertainment will release G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout, a third-person shooter for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.

Just Play launches licensed face masks. Just Play is helping kids get back-to-school ready with a line of licensed face masks. The designs include Barbie, Hot Wheels, Ryan’s World, PAW Patrol, Blue’s Clues & You!, Harry Potter, Batman, Trolls, Minions, Jurassic World, Hello Kitty, and more …

People . . .

Crayola appoints new executive of communications and diversity, equity and inclusion manager. Crayola has made its latest move to broaden its diversity and inclusion efforts within the company with the appointment of a new executive communications and diversity, equity and inclusion manager. The firm’s longstanding executive, Karen Kelly has been appointed to the position …

ASTRA HONORS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDEE JEFF PINSKER. Jeff knows games, or at least he knows enough about them to have helped create products that have collectively sold more than 41 million units at retail. Currently the CEO of Amigo Games North America, Pinsker is the 2020 recipient of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton speaks Brian McDonald, VP of sales and marketing at The Simplay3 Co. An expert in building profitable strategies for young and transitioning companies, McDonald previously served as vice president at Hedstrom, prior to which he spent 20 years at The Step2 Co., most recently as vice president, business development.

Hamleys CEO set to step down after just seven months. David Smith was appointed in January this year. The chief executive of Hamleys is set to leave his role at the end of August, a mere seven months after Reliance Brands, the retailer’s Indian owner, appointed him. Reports indicate that no reason for his sudden departure has been given, and that neither David Smith – a former executive at Debenhams and The Body Shop...

How a NASA scientist accidentally invented the Super Soaker. Dr. Lonnie Johnson might be one of the most brilliant inventors of our time. The scientist and engineer is responsible for over 100 patents, including a thermoelectric energy convertor and a thin film lithium battery. But his most famous invention? One of the best toys of the 20th century, the Super Soaker. And it came to existence all thanks to...

Ubisoft fires former Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director following an investigation. Ashraf Ismail, the former creative director for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, has been fired by Ubisoft, Bloomberg reports. Ismail stepped down from his role and took a leave of absence in June after a fan accused Ismail of lying about his marital status in order to pursue a romantic relationship with her.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney says Apple fight is about ‘basic freedoms of all consumers and developers’. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has issued a series of public comments on his personal Twitter account regarding the legal fight the Fortnite creator initiated with Apple. he says Epic is fighting for “the basic freedoms of all consumers and developers.”


Companies . . .

Play-Doh gets into licensed construction. Hasbro is taking its classic compound into the construction category for the first time, with a new range that lets kids build iconic sets. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Squarepants, of course. Only now, that pineapple is made of Play-Doh.

Vivid details Q4 marketing plans for games range. Vivid has shifted its focus from traditional kids’ TV advertising to include parent-targeted campaigns for autumn/winter. Vivid is thinking outside the box this autumn/winter for the company’s marketing plans across its games portfolio, with new arrangements in place.

Step into a dark, dystopian world with 'Cloudage'. Capstone Games revealed CloudAge, a new deck-building game designed by Alexander Pfister, for release into retail in November. CloudAge takes place in a world where players fly above dried-up landscapes and battle a secret society called the Cloud militia to survive in a resource-scarce world.

McLaren introduces its newest children’s ride-on, the McLaren Senna. McLaren is offering kids the chance to burn some rubber with the launch of its latest McClaren ride-on, the third in the British manufacturer’s range of children’s models, following the McLaren P1TM and McLaren 720S.The new launch is modelled on McLaren’s track vehicle bearing the name of the late Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna.

Mattel Television launches ‘Barbie Princess Adventure’ on Netflix. Following the success of Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures on Netflix, Barbie Roberts is starring in a new animated musical from Mattel Television that is set to debut on the streaming platform beginning Sept. 1. Barbie Princess Adventure is a modern fairytale that follows Barbie and her friends on a class trip to the country of Floravia to meet Princess Amelia...

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is official, will be ‘inspired by actual events’. Call of Duty: Warzone may have somewhat overshadowed the rest of the Call of Duty franchise, with the battle royale racking up 75 million downloads as of this month — but of course Activision also wants to develop a new flagship Call of Duty campaign …

Be Amazing! debuts Snow Pets, a new line of blind box collectibles. Be Amazing! Toys, a leader in developing STEM-based kits that offer hands-on fun for kids, announces the debut of Snow Pets®, a new line of blind box collectibles revealed by a frosty reaction that sparks a mini-avalanche of overflowing snow. Snow Pets’ initial series of eight characters, along with eight “Rare” icy pets, will be available September 1.

Enter the world of Irish myth and legend in 'Mournequest'. Asmodee USA announced MourneQuest, a board game by Backspindle Games Ltd. based on a series of teenage novels by Garry McElherron, for release on September 25. In this game, players can embark on a journey into the Mourne Mountains to save the Kingdom of Mourne.

Mattel unveils hockey-themed Tim Hortons Barbie. Doll comes clad in red jersey, with skates, stick and helmet. Play hockey or play Barbies? Why choose when you can do both? Mattel unveiled the hockey-themed Tim Hortons Barbie, which comes clad in a red hockey sweater, helmet, skates and a hockey stick. (I so love this! My daughter plays ice hockey! -Mary)

Educational Insights contributes Playfoam to Chelsea’s Charity art kits. Educational Insights is stepping up to add some fun to art kits distributed by Chelsea’s Charity. Fueled by concerns from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chelsea’s Charity, an organization created by 10-year-old Chelsea Phaire last year’ spread its wings beyond the East Coast in an effort to aid kids in up to 22 states.

NECA's latest Ninja Turtles toys pay tribute to 1990 movie. It's been 30 years since the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie hit theaters--and 30 years since the Ninja Turtles became a band. Now, as fans celebrate the anniversary of that first film, NECA is honoring it with two new action figure releases.

DC'S FUTURE ISN'T WHAT IT USED TO BE - BUT AT LEAST IT STILL HAS ONE (FOR NOW). Last week, DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee told The Hollywood Reporter that the recent wholesale layoffs and restructuring did not signal that DC was about to get out of the comics publishing business anytime soon. Setting aside the circumstances that make the question of whether your company is going to...

Netflix celebrates Black voices with new kids series. Rolling out on the SVOD and its kids YouTube channel, celebs like Tiffany Haddish and Lupita Nyong'o will read books about race on the new show from Jesse Collins Entertainment. Premiering September 1, the 12 x five-minute show is hosted by Marley Dias, founder of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. The series will cover topics about identity, respect, justice...

Loot Crate to launch 60th anniversary Sanrio crate as the subscription box specialist details raft of partnerships. The pop culture subscription box service, Loot Crate, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the world-famous Sanrio with the launch of a special October Anniversary themed Sanrio Crate. The limited edition crate will feature new and exclusive Hello Kitty and Friends collectables and gear.

Hasbro HK launched its first virtual Bring kids to work day in August as the city faces a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bring kids to work day website, which can be accessed remotely between 3-31 August, enables employees and their families to explore Hasbro’s Hong Kong office through virtual reality and experience more than 50 activities designed by the HR team.

Disney’s first bisexual character confirmed by ‘Owl House’ creator. The show, which premiered in January of this year, follows 14-year-old Luz Noceda who travels to another world and embarks on a journey to become a witch. Along the way she has been shown to be attracted to both male and female characters. Series creator Dana Terrace recently took to Twitter to confirm fan theories that Noceda is bisexual and...

Selfridges launched its new sustainability initiative, Project Earth, a commitment from the retailer to change the way we shop by 2025. It builds on the steps that Selfridges has taken over the last decade to put sustainability at the centre of its business. Through Project Earth, the department store aims to help customers change the way they shop in three ways: by addressing the materials used in products, launching...

YuMe expands distribution for Harry Potter Magical Capsules. Following a debut last month during Walmart’s virtual Collector Con, distribution for YuMe‘s latest Wizarding World collectible range is expanding. Harry Potter Magical Capsules are hitting physical and digital shelves at Hot Topic, Walgreens, Indigo Books and Music, Walmart, and Amazon.

Fortnite vs Apple vs Google: a brief and very incomplete timeline. If you weren’t watching tech news, you missed an entire afternoon’s worth of cramming handfuls of popcorn in your mouth as you stared wide-eyed at the screen wondering what madness was coming next. Epic baited both Apple and Google into banning Fortnite from their respective app stores …

EA Access and Origin Access will combine under new EA Play banner. Rebranding streaming services is very in these days across a number of entertainment industries, and EA is jumping on the trend by rebranding its EA Access and Origin Access services simply as EA Play. There are no financial changes for customers, nor does the rebranding require any additional effort for people to play games under their current...

Epic Games is now also suing Google over 'anti-competitive' Android policies. Following its lawsuit against Apple and Google's own removal of Fortnite, Epic has filed a similar lawsuit against Google, though there are some key differences between the two cases due to how each platform owner handles their mobile ecosystems.

Games Workshop announces two more warbands for 'Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave'. Games Workshop announced two more warbands for Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave, Morgok's Krushas and Morgwaeth's Blade-Coven, for release on August 22. Each of these sets are playable in Warhammer Age of Sigmar via a downloadable warscroll, and will retail for $35.00.

Wizkids unleashes 'Magic: The Gathering Unpainted Miniatures'. WizKids announced Magic: The Gathering Unpainted Miniatures, a new Deep Cuts miniatures line for use with D&D Magic: The Gathering-themed rulebooks, for release in November. WizKids also announced that they would release D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Mythic Odysseys of Theros in August.

Ultra pro unveils 'Mewtwo' accessories for Pokemon TCG. Ultra PRO unveiled MewTwo accessories, for use with Pokemon Trading Card Game, that will be released into trade in November 2020. Ultra PRO also recently announced Dungeon's & Dragons: Icewind Dale Heavy Metal Dice for release in November 2020.

TV soap, Emmerdale, star Charley Webb launches new sustainable toy brand Nordi Babi. The Emmerdale star and entrepreneur, Charley Webb has launched a new toy brand for babies and pre-schoolers, inspired by the Scandinavian look and style. Called Nordi Babi, the toy line was launched via the soap star’s Instagram page, with the first run already a sell-out success.

Hasbro Reveals Newest Power Rangers Wave Including Zeo Red Ranger and Another Goldar. Hasbro gave Pulse members a first look at the wildly anticipated, and speculated, Wave 6 of the Power Rangers Lightning Collection. After prototypes leaked earlier in the week, they were confirmed during the Fanfirst Friday presentation …

‘Fortnite’ Season 4 rumored to be Marvel-themed with Thor, Wolverine. Marvel and DC have been doing battle with different Fortnite crossovers for a few years now. But Marvel may be assembling an entire Infinity Gauntlet worth of crossovers next.


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

Tips to stay creative in the time of COVID. COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives, and it is no different for the toy industry. On one hand, toys are now more important than ever, with all the extra time families are spending together; yet at the same time, it’s harder to produce the highly polished content and commercials to which the industry is accustomed …

The new game plan for Olympic-inspired products. When the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo were postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, toymakers around the world had to rethink their game plans for summer product launches. Some toycos like Mattel have chosen to move forward with consumer products programs as planned, while others like Hasbro have pushed back launches by a year …

Licensing’s COVID conundrum: movie-based toys and their films are completely out of sync. The ripple effect of unseen variables and a world that has been hard to predict continue to shape the evolution of doing business during the COVID-19 era. One major point of impact comes at the intersection of the toy industry and the licensing business, particularly where Hollywood is concerned …

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Amazon can be liable for faulty and unsafe products, says new US court ruling. A recent court ruling in the US could be about to make it harder for the online marketplace giant, Amazon, to avoid responsibility for unsafe goods sold on its platform. It’s a line that Amazon has long held much to the frustration of the toy and games industry …

Hidden feature on popular LOL Suprise! dolls leaves parents outraged. An outraged Queensland, Australia, mum has issued a warning to other parents after discovering what she says are inappropriate hidden features on a popular children’s toy. Kate Worsfold took to Facebook with a scathing assessment of her daughter’s LOL Surprise! Dolls …

Hasbro recalls a pair of super soakers because of their dangerous stickers. When the Super Soaker was first released back in 1990, it sparked a huge controversy when miscreants reportedly started filling the large tanks with chemical irritants and shooting unsuspecting victims. Thirty years later, the Super Soaker is back in the news again for being dangerous, but this time it’s a result of decorative labels …

UL launches BIS recognized toy testing services for domestic and foreign manufacturers in india. UL, a global safety science company, today announced the launch of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) recognized testing services for domestic and foreign toy manufacturers in the country as per the Indian Standards (IS). UL recently added the new testing capabilities at its facility in Gurugram, India.



Press Releases . . .

SING, DANCE & JAM IN CLASS WITH ‘SCHOOL PASS’ PROGRAMMING LIVE-STREAMED TO PRESCHOOLS. Good News For Early Childhood Educators: Jammin With You Won’t Let Coronavirus Stop The Music! Wellesley, MA (August 25, 2020) – School Pass is bringing music back into day cares and preschools that thought they couldn’t have it. School Pass has your answer for the day the music died. Thanks to School Pass, children are clapping along as the virtual music teacher strums her guitar. Eyes are wide, smiles are big and little bodies are moving to the beat—it’s just that they’re at home. Even classrooms who are meeting in person are able to offer upbeat live music without the professional musician in...

Hasbro’s Iconic PLAY-DOH Brand Launches Cans of Kindness Campaign in Partnership With Save the Children & Actress Eva Longoria. To mark this back to school season and honor educators, the iconic PLAY-DOH brand from global play and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc (NASDAQ: HAS) is launching Cans of Kindness, a global initiative to recognize and reward teachers that uplift, inspire and encourage children...

JALIC BLADES TO PRODUCE REPLICA OF UHTRED’S ICONIC SWORD FROM THE LAST KINGDOM. With its fullered blade and distinctive amber pommel, the trusty weapon carried by Uhtred Ragnarsson, the hero of The Last Kingdom series on Netflix, has quickly become one of pop culture’s most recognizable swords. Now, thanks to a collaboration by Spotlight Licensing on behalf of Carnival Films, Jalic Blades will soon...

Moose Toys Unwraps Three New Must-Have Toys Ahead of the 2020 Holiday Season: Squeakee the Balloon Dog, Gotta Go Flamingo and FailFix. Launching the happy in holidays with the first-ever robotic balloon dog popping with personality, a hilarious pooping flamingo that's gotta go and messy hair don't care!

uKloo and MAJic Gotta GUND Deal. New Plush Pods, fun spring-clip, two-in-one plush pals, are now available from GUND, it was announced today by uKloo Kids, Inc. and MAJic Creative Inc.. Plush Pods (MSRP $15 each, for ages 3+) are adorable two-in-one plush toys. Just pinch the clip in the back of the 9.5" plush animal and it'll open wide for a surprise inside. Plush Pods bring make believe to life with open and...

The game, a series of Olympic-inspired physical and mental challenges, replicates the style of a traditional decathlon and the humor of “The Office” television show. Office Decathlon offers 120 challenges separated into three categories: team building, icebreakers and “just for fun”...

Industry Veteran Jeff Freeman Joins PlayMonster Leadership as Vice President Global Operations. a veteran senior-level business management and operations executive whose career includes twenty years in leadership positions at American Girl/Mattel, will join the team in the newly created role, reporting to CEO Bob Wann and based in the company's corporate headquarters in Beloit, WI. In his role, Freeman...

Nintendo released a new Indie World video showcasing a wide variety of indie games coming to the Nintendo Switch system this year and next. Highlights of the video include rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades, card-trick adventure game Card Shark and Raji: An Ancient Epic, an action-adventure game inspired by Hindu and Balinese mythology that launches for Nintendo Switch later today.

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

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

GAMA hires Jen Kuhn as new Communications Manager. The Game Manufacturers Association announced that they have hired Jen Kuhn as their new Communications Manager. Kuhn comes with a decade of experience working in the communications field …

World of Toys will return to Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2021 with new safety measures, Spielwarenmesse confirms. The 2021 HK Toys & Games Fair will once again play host to the popular international fair programme, World of Toys, created by Spielwarenmesse to make overseas trade fairs more accessible to companies. The international pavilion will be held at the Hong Kong show taking place in January next year.

Halloween ComicFest 2020 to feature an expanded line of exclusive collectibles. Halloween ComicFest, the comic book industry’s premiere Halloween event, will take place at comic book shops across the United States on October 31. On the heels of a successful Free Comic Book Summer 2020, Halloween ComicFest will shift this year to focus exclusively on merchandise and collectibles.

UK Virtual Toy Soldier Fair 2020. COVID-19 has forced the organizers of the Midlands Toy Soldier Fair to pivot to an online-only format. UK Virtual Toy Soldier Fair 2020 will take place online Sunday, September 27th, from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM GMT. Between now and then, an expanding roster of virtual seller “tables” will be posted on the event’s website.


Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

Toyworld (UK)

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US)

TOYS Magazine (Germany)

Toy & Hobby (Australia)

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)


Steve Starobinsky, CMO Diverse Marketing, Founder Diverse Insights, KID@HEART♥️

Interviews Rick Derr of Learning Express

On today’s episode we have toy store owner and social media success story, Rick Derr of @Learning Express Lake Zurich. Rick leveraged insights and his network to pivot during the pandemic to get into new categories of business and flat out make it happen. He is the the most influential retailers in the specialty toy business - collecting over 50k followers, he is incredible transparent with data points, advice, and success stories. He is the toy man of Lake Zurich, Illinois, and one heck of a merchant

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

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

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher






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