the Bloom Report: July 3rd - July 10, 2020
the Bloom Report
Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide
Below is July 3rd - July 10, 2020
Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news!
This week we welcome Nación Juguetes reporting on the weekly news highlights from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Spain in our Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide feature section each week. Muchas Gracias, Armando Carreteros, Editor de Nación Juguetes, for being one of our contributors and partners!
In case you missed the last few issues...
After 22 years, the Bloom Report has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy and continue this essential news source for the industry. If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: firstname.lastname@example.org We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome advertisements so we can continue this service for free. Phil summarized this endeavor well when he said, "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!"
Onward & Upward,
Company of Week: Schleich® USA Unveils Winner of its Power of Imagination Photo Contest From More than 5,000 Global Entries
Schleich® USA (pronounced Sh-like), the world’s leading manufacturer of animal figurines, today reveals the winner of its Power of Imagination Photo Contest. Fans were asked to submit original photos depicting stories inspired by imaginative playtime with Schleich figurines and playsets. After receiving over 5,000 stunning photo entries globally, 1500+ of which came from the US, over 1,000 votes went to Rosa, age 15 from Herriman Utah, who depicted a series of Schleich Horse Club characters looking out over a desert expanse along with their pet dog. “We were so excited to take this next step in our Power of Imagination campaign and ask kids to help remind grownups just how spectacular and vivid a child’s imagination can be,” said Annie Laurie Zomermaand, managing director, Schleich USA. “Seeing the imaginations of so many kids come to life using Schleich figurines was inspiring and even humbling. It’s amazing to see the joy and pride children have when bringing their ideas to life.” (Read More...)
Person of the Week: Leila Nosrati:
Pitching & the Pandemic: Think Like a Buyer, Pitch Like a Pro - COVID-19 Edition
“Just because you don’t have to wear pants when you pitch doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.” If someone gave you this advice last year, when you were preparing to pitch your new products, you might have wondered about their well-being. Well, you also might have wondered the same if they told you that this year you’d be figuring out how to pitch “virtually,” all while home-schooling your offspring and trying to survive a global pandemic. Yet, here we are. So now we need few updates to “Think Like a Buyer, Pitch Like a Pro.” Let’s not bury the lede -- your "Journalism 101" assignment remains the same, meaning your pitch should get to the point quickly and cover the story completely:
Headline & Subtitle - the name of your product (and a tagline or slogan, if you have one)
Who - is it for? Age range? If it’s a game, how many players and what environment (party, family, etc)?
What - is the unique hook or selling point of your product? What’s new about it?
Where - do you see it being merchandised? What category? Next to what other product in that category?
When - should it be played? And how long will it keep people occupied?
Why - should it exist? Does it satisfy an unmet need? Is it capitalizing on a trend? Why would people want it? Function? Material? Play pattern? Is it some zany new thing that has never been seen before? Or is it an improvement, added value, or does it offer a new perspective upon what already exists (which is ok, but be prepared to explain its significance). What are the “comps”? Or the inspiration?
How - how is it played? (Best if you can show people actually playing with the product/ prototype vs just describing it). How much is it designed to cost (each party, that is wholesale, retail, etc.)? (Read More...)
Financial & Legal News . . . Walmart leads $1.2 billion investment in India’s Flipkart. Walmart is increasing its majority-stake in Flipkart by leading a new $1.2 billion financing round in the Indian e-commerce giant. The fresh equity round led by Walmart, which acquired majority stake in Flipkart for $16 billion two years ago, values Flipkart at $24.9 billion post-money. Tilting Point acquires Plamee Studios and FTX Games assets. Tilting Point has acquired Plamee Studios along with the assets and games of publisher FTX Games from gambling technology company Playtech. The deal means Tilting Point will become the publisher of licensed titles like Narcos: Cartel Wars, The Walking Dead: Free Casino Slots, and Criminal Minds: The Mobile Game. Sony Acquires $250M Minority Stake in Epic Games. Sony has made a $250 million investment in Epic Games, creator of “Fortnite.” The investment will allow the two to collaborate more closely for technology, entertainment and games. In the past, the two worked together to unveil Epic’s Unreal Engine 5, with a tech demo showcasing the new engine premiering on the PlayStation 5. Walmart could be the ‘next tech stock’ with Amazon competitor set to launch, says Morgan Stanley. Amazon is instituting quantity limits for product shipments from third-party sellers that use its U.S. warehouses, the company announced. All product categories will have quantity restrictions in order to ensure sellers have enough space to store their goods. Animoca Brands buys social gaming platform Gamee for $6.53 million. Mobile studio Animoca Brands has acquired social casual gaming platform Gamee for $6.53 million in shares. Animoca believes Gamee's platform, which hosts 80 games and has over 13 million registered users, will boost its capacity to offer browser games independently on third-party platforms, including chat apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat. Walmart's new challenge to Amazon Prime has deep, hidden roots. The imminent introduction of Walmart Inc.’s new subscription program took investors by surprise, sending the retailer’s shares up the most in almost four months. While details of the program, dubbed Walmart+, are still hazy, the service is rooted in three experiments the world’s biggest retailer has conducted in recent years … Scholar's Choice closing all but three of its stores in restructuring. LONDON, ONTARIO. -- Retailer Scholar's Choice is closing all but three of its stores as part of a restructuring of its operations to focus on its e-commerce and catalogue business. The seller of educational toys, teaching materials and early childhood furniture and toys says it has filed for creditor protection ASMODEE ACQUIRES LIBELLUD Publisher of 'Dixit,' 'Mysterium' Asmodee Group has acquired family game publisher Libellud, the companies announced today. Libellud is the publisher of Spiel Des Jahres winner Dixit (see "’Dixit’ Wins 2010 Spiel Des Jahres"), Mysterium, Seasons, Obscurio and others, 24 games and 15 extensions in all. Asmodee has been distributing Libellud games in many territories...
Trends, Market Research Reports . . . Seven countries with big (and small) population problems . . . Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born . . . Rising video games and console prices push up UK inflation as lockdown eases . . . Clothing and games push up UK shop prices . . . The Insights People hires ten, expands into new markets and continues global takeover Financial & Brokerage News . . . 2 Wonderfully Cheap TSX Stocks to Buy and Hold (Spin Master) . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 3.8% Upside . . . Analysts Are Neutral on These Consumer Goods Stocks: Hasbro (HAS), Under Armour (UA) . . . Better Buy: Amazon vs. Hasbro Financial Reporting . . . Diamond companies received $5-$10m+ in PPP loans. A loan for Diamond Comic Distributors in the range of $5-$10 million was approved on April 10; while a loan for Diamond Select Toys & Collectibles in the range of $150,000-$350,000 was approved on May 1. A loan to sister company Rosebud Entertainmentfor $350,000 - $1 million, was approved on April 30. Pokémon GO surpasses $3.6 Billion in lifetime revenue, and is still on the rise despite global pandemic. As Pokémon GO celebrates its fourth anniversary, it has also surpassed $3.6 Billion in lifetime revenue, since its launch on July 6, 2016. 2019 was the game’s best year to date, generating $905 million globally. Animoca Brands raises $4.1 million ahead of proposed initial public offering. Mobile developer Animoca Brands has raised $4.1 million in funding to support a proposed initial public offering. Animoca has spent the past few years expanding its business with a number of weighty acquisitions, the most recent of which saw it nab Power Rangers: Legacy Wars developer nWay, and digital collectibles marketplace Quidd. Future Financial Reporting... Zynga to Discuss Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020 at approximately 1:05 p.m. PT At this time, Zynga will post management’s Q2 2020 Quarterly Earnings Letter, which includes Zynga’s second quarter 2020 results and outlook for the future … Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. Mattel, Inc. today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2020 financial results on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at approximately 4:05 p.m. Eastern time. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Hasbro, Inc. announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2020 earnings conference call on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. The webcast and the accompanying presentation slides will be available to investors and the media on Hasbro's Investor Relations home page at https://investor.hasbro.com.
Stories & Comments . . . There's a new initiative to create a game industry code of ethics. A group of game industry professionals and academics launched a new collaborative initiative aimed at collectively codifying and improving ethics in games.This new Ethical Games initiative was unveiled during a live panel discussion on game ethics at the Games for Change Virtual Festival. Can EA’s Positive Play Charter tackle toxicity in games? Toxic behaviour has become the industry’s catch-all term for undesirable interactions online, covering a huge range of offensive behaviour from simple cheating, to aggressive and abusive behaviour, to sexual harassment and racism. And it’s fallen to games platforms and publishers to fight what is often portrayed as a huge and ever-growing tide of abuses. Librarians turned Google Forms into the unlikely platform for virtual escape rooms. With no physical location to work with, librarian Sydney Krawiec started to devise an alternative: a digital escape room created in Google Forms. In the space of four hours, she made a Harry Potter themed game that sent participants through a series of challenges based on locations from the book series, and they had to find their way out by solving puzzles … 214m gamers in the US alone – ESA releases 2020 Essential Facts. The US trade body the ESA has released a bevy of stats to show the breadth of the [video] games industry in 2020. With the standout number being that 214m of the 328m population play games. A figure that equates to at least one gamer in three-quarters of all households. What Will Prime Day 2020 Look Like With Amazon’s Inventory Restrictions? This week Amazon announced inventory restrictions whereby third party sellers will generally be restricted to stocking approximately three months worth of inventory at Amazon fulfillment centers. The restrictions have incredibly awkward timing: the most-likely (and still officially unconfirmed) date for Prime Day is sometime in October … TeeTurtle Donates More Than $1.8 Million in Products to the Toy Bank. TeeTurtle isn’t playing when it comes to doing good. It donated more than $1.8 million in new toys, games, and apparel to The Toy Foundation’s Toy Bank. TeeTurtle’s donation includes strategy games such as Exiled Legends, Daring Contest: Family Edition, SCRAM, and Runes & Regulations … Toy Product Range Diversification – Risk Insurance For Tough Times. There are plenty of toy and game companies, as well as toy & game retailers out there having a really tough time right now. There are also some companies having a really good time in the circumstances. The question is what separates these companies out? How can some companies do well while some are really suffering? Sealed Copy of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Sells for $114,000 at Auction. A sealed copy of the Super Mario Bros. became the highest-selling video game ever at auction Friday with a winning bid of $114,000.The 1985 cartridge, still in its original plastic sealing, sold to an anonymous bidder at Heritage Auctions’ event. Could your old toys be worth a fortune? The Nineties must-haves that are worth thousands. Those who grew up in the nineties will be stunned to discover how much the toys of their childhood are now worth, according to experts. Big name brands including Super Soaker, Beanie Babies and Furbies have seen their value skyrocket in the decades since they first hit shelves, with some worth thousands of pounds. The Marvel Legends X-Men 20th anniversary collection is here. 20 years ago today, the first X-Men film hit theaters, kicking off a fresh decade for superhero dominance that had been missing since the Batman films of the mid-1990s. Even though the X-Men came courtesy of 20th Century Fox, the success of the franchise no doubt helped plant some seeds for the eventual growth of Marvel Studios. BLACK, MINORITY GAME MAKERS CALL FOR DIVERSITY IN THE GAME AISLE. A group of more than 40 Black and minority-owned game companies in alliance with the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Black Game Makers Association has penned an open letter to big-box retailers requesting real action to accompany recent industry commitments to diversity and inclusion. This board game-loving couple believes appealing to Black audiences is a winning strategy. “It would be very hard to overstate how white the market is. The tabletop game industry is just starting to see the possibility of this untapped market—Black people.” In January, the Omaha, NE, couple started a YouTube show that has more than 6,000 subscribers. They said board game companies are contacting them every day now. Thrift Treasure: Jenga Max Game. Our kids have been into games since they were both very young. We would always take them to the annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair where they would get to see new products ready to be put under a Christmas tree. They got to meet a lot of industry insiders, publishers and inventors. One year they even got the chance to have breakfast with Leslie Scott, the inventor of Jenga. How Netflix Learned to Stop Worrying and Love YouTube. When Netflix released a 27-minute video of Dave Chappelle earlier this month, the most surprising part of his performance was not what he said but where he said it. Chappelle’s meditation on racism, police brutality and celebrity was available for free on YouTube. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has long portrayed YouTube as his company’s biggest competitor. I BBC, Kate Middleton launch early-learning initiative. The pubcaster revealed Tiny Happy People to help preschoolers develop their literacy, and has also picked up Aussie series First Day for older kids. The BBC has launched a five-year initiative to support families and caregivers in developing the language and communication skills of preschoolers. Two unions in the UK and the US have formed to protect the rights of Instagram influencers — particularly people of colour — as brands increasingly rely on them for content. A group of British fashion Instagrammers have formed the first union for influencers in response to a reckoning of discriminatory practices that include wage disparity — an issue recently raised by anonymous Instagram account... Remembering the toy industry's past . . . Road Devils from Remco (1972). Released in 1972, Remco’s Road Devils were a line of futuristic-looking stunt-driving race cars equipped with high-speed “gyro-motors”. Each Road Devil was propelled by a hand-held Power Injector containing a Launching Ramp and a Cranking Gear used to lock the car in place. Johnny Astro from Topper Toys (1967). The Space Race and surrounding media hype of the 1960s created a vast market for toys that attempted to capture the magic of interstellar flight. Topper Toys released Johnny Astro in 1967, a battery-operated toy for future astronauts to launch and land a series of space vehicles without wires or direct connections.
Worldwide Licensing News . . . Moose Toys, Spirit Halloween to Dresses Up with Kindi Kids Costumes. Moose Toys has announced a new direct-to-retail license agreement with Spirit Halloween for its Kindi Kids property. In the agreement, brokered by The Licensing Shop, the retailer will launch four Kindi Kids costumes in Spirit Halloween locations across the U.S. and Canada, online at SpiritHalloween.com and on Amazon this fall. RAZOR UNVEILS LIMITED-EDITION SCOOTERS FEATURING POPULAR BRANDS. Razor scooters are getting a stylish upgrade with creative new designs featuring Sharpie, Sriracha, AriZona Iced Tea, and Takis snacks. This marks Razor’s first-ever limited-edition collaboration series, launching on July 19. Oddbods joins Fun to Learn magazine in new Redan Publishing partnership. The content creation, distribution, and licensing studio, One Animation has secured a deal with the pre-school magazine publishing house, Redan Publishing to bring Oddbods into its Fun to Learn magazine titles this month. Under the partnership, Oddbods will feature in the monthly magazine Fun to Learn Favourites from July 16th, followed by ... LEGO, Nintendo up their game with retro console. A functioning LEGO version of the '80s NES game console launches in August, and follows an earlier partnership on an interactive Mario toy. The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit lets consumers construct a functioning console with LEGO bricks, as well as assemble a small non-functional ’80s-style TV that an animatronic eight-bit version of Mario can... Hornby unveils new Hogwarts Express set. Hornby has released the ready to play, remote controlled Harry Potter Hogwarts Express set, which is available now. Fans of Harry Potter can easily control this battery powered, remote controlled Hogwarts Express set. Featuring authentic sound clips of Harry Potter characters, the 37-piece train set is sure to delight girls and boys of all ages, as well as train enthusiasts. Alpha Group is global master toy partner for new pre-school property Camp Furly. Keith Chapman, creator of Paw Patrol, has partnered with Studio Liddell and Alpha Group, on Camp Furly, a vibrant CGI animated pre-school TV series, which inspires children to venture outdoors and connect with the environment and nature. Raydar Media is managing all broadcast and consumer products rights... People . . . Following two years of exceptional growth, IMC Toys is pleased to announce the expansion of their US operations with the appointment of two key team members and relocation to a brand new office. The additions to the team, Preeti Sheth joins as a Finance Manager and Chrissa Van Duffelen as Customer Service Manager, will bolster the brand’s position as a leader in the collectible doll category. Reggie Fils-Aimé is now a strategic adviser for indie publisher Rogue Games. Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amié has adopted another retirement pastime: acting as a strategic adviser for indie publisher Rogue Games. That role will see Fils-Aimé leveraging his years of industry experience to offer guidance to Rogue Games’ board. New Canadian studio, Beans, established by former Ubisoft developers. Two former Ubisoft developers, Gabriela Salvatore and Dean Evans, have founded a new games studio in Canada. Announced during Devolver Digital’s Devolver Direct presentation, the new studio is based in Toronto. Play-Room AIS’ Miles Penhallow to retire this September. Miles Penhallow, the head of toys and children’s gift at Play-Room AIS, is taking early retirement at the end of September this year following a successful 12 year tenure with the UK buying group. Penhallow said he will be taking his leave of the business and the industry in order to manage a small property portfolio and pursue other personal interests. Christophe Derennes named head of Ubisoft Montreal after Yannis Mallat's resignation. Ubisoft has placed Christophe Derennes at the head of Ubisoft Montreal after its previous head, Ubisoft Canada CEO Yannis Mallat, resigned. Derennes, himself a longtime Ubisoft veteran, previously served as the executive vice president of production for Ubi Montreal and has been with the company for 23 years. Maia Baram Talks smarTrike on the 'Power Kid Podcast' Host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Maia Baram, public relations manager at smarTrike. On the show, Baram explains how her search for a better stroller led her to a career move to smarTrike. Albritton and Baram also discuss the meticulous effort behind each of smarTrike’s “grow-with-me” product lines and explore what parents are looking for. Former Zag EVP Ian Lambur joins Cloudco. Still based in LA, Lambur joins the prodco as its new EVP of content strategy and co-productions. Lambur will be responsible for all content planning, strategies and co-production relationships, as well as serving as head of Cloudco’s global content sales business. Pumpkin Projects’ Valeria Miglioli: “Too long we’ve been flooded with toys for a quick sale and no longevity”. Having spent 16 years heading up product development at Fiesta Crafts, Valeria Miglioli has made her return to the scene with a clear cut and defined message to present to the market; that this is an industry that should always strive to be better than what it was before. Cartamundi appointed its first global Chief Marketing Officer, Kraft Foods’ former director of chocolate brands in Benelux, Ann Viaene. The move has been made as Cartamundi continues to grow its global position as a leader in playing cards, card games, and children’s games. Viaene made the appointment public in a post via social media in the past week, where she stated that she was “super pleased... Madison Dempster: WMU product design student helps envision games of the future as Hasbro intern. "It's like being a kid again; it's the best," says Dempster, who landed an internship with Hasbro this summer. Working in the kids games division, which is responsible for classics such as Twister, Connect Four, Jenga and Battleship, she spends her days testing out new concepts. "We play board games over... Companies . . . Rubik’s Goes Digital for 40th. Rubik’s Brand celebrates milestone anniversary with digital launches. It is helping puzzle fans solve its popular Cube, offering downloadable and mobile-friendly solution guides on its website and social channels. Rubik's YouTube channel also features videos to suit all skill levels. Several Rubik's ambassadors, including Keaton Ellis from the U.S and Jack Cai of Australia, have been... Hasbro joins the Super Mario celebrations with new twists on Jenga and Monopoly. Hasbro has joined the list of toy companies celebrating 35 years of Nintendo’s best-loved plumber this year with the launch of two new Super Mario themed spins on its own classic games Jenga and Monopoly. The global toy company has joined the likes of LEGO to celebrate the anniversary of Nintendo’s flagship character. Zuru sets the table for the ultimate par-tea with Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise. ZURU, the award-winning toy company, places inclusivity and kindness at the heart of Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise. It’s a modern take on traditional tea party and doll play combined with the highly sought after surprise and collectibility factor. Funko Announces Breast Cancer Awareness DC Heroes Pops. Funko has unveiled a new line of Pop Vinyls that are in support of Breast Cancer Research. Four of your favorite DC Comics characters will be donning pink in these new repainted figures. Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Harley Quinn are back and are better and pinker than ever. Renegade Game Studios reveals new Vampire: the Masquerade card game. Renegade Game Studios revealed Vampire: The Masquerade Rivals Expandable Card Game, a card game designed by Matt Hyra, which will be headed to retail at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021 pending a successful Kickstarter campaign. Hasbro Transformers x TopGun Collab Launch. Feel the need, the need for speed! Hasbro, Inc. and Paramount Pictures today revealed the first-ever Transformers-Top Gun collaboration, starring the all new character Maverick. This new Transformers robot makes an ideal wingman, taking form as the iconic Northrop Grumman F-14 Tomcat jet from the original Top Gun film. Microsoft discontinues Xbox One X and Xbox One S digital edition ahead of Series X launch. Microsoft is officially halting production of its Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition consoles. “As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we’re taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.” Eco-focused toy line JUNKO takes first steps into US with Uncommon Goods. The independent UK toy brand, JUNKO, has secured an exclusive launch in the USA with the Uncommon Goods web store. The launch is the result of a meeting of minds between the brand creator and the web store at this year’s Spielwarenmesse. Bandai Toys announces cooking action game 'Tabe-O-Ja' for Switch. Tabe-O-Ja is a cooking action game in which you can enjoy strategic battles. As the special chef “Tabe-O-Ja,” you will cook various dishes including Japanese, western, Chinese, and more with Joy-Con cooking actions, and summon the “Tabe-Gami” that dwell within each tasty dish. With your summoned Tabe-Gami, you can form your own original team... Mattel celebrates Toy Story’s 25th anniversary with an Alien Pizza Planet Delivery Guy figure. Toy Story is turning 25 this November, and to celebrate this major milestone, Mattel is releasing a limited-edition Pixar Alien Remix Pizza Planet Delivery Guy figure next week, timed to the highly anticipated Comic-Con@Home. The remixed figure is a mash-up of everyone’s favorite space aliens and a Pizza Planet delivery guy from the Disney/Pixar media franchise. ACTION-PACKED GAMES FROM YULU HIT TARGET THIS MONTH. First up is Diamond Heist (pictured above), a cooperative game in which players must work together to retrieve the stolen diamond before time runs out and someone gets caught! An evil organization has stolen a precious diamond and has hidden it deep within their vault. It’s up to you and your fellow spies to rappel into the vault, eliminate the ... Etch A Sketch turns 60 this year. If you are like many parents these days, you are on a quest to find new ways to entertain the kids at home. This may be a good time to turn to a classic source of fun that requires no charging, batteries or Wi-Fi, making it screen time parents don’t have to limit. Here is a brief look at the history and major milestones of this iconic red-framed drawing toy... MATTEL CREATIONS TO LAUNCH NEW PLATFORM, SDCC EXCLUSIVES. The toymaker is ramping up plans to debut a full Mattel Creations platform that will offer limited-edition products direct-to-consumer, starting with what would’ve been Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) exclusives. Hasbro Celebrates 20 years of X-Men with new Marvel Legends figures. In honor of the film's 20th anniversary, new X-Men figures from Hasbro are available now. July 14 marks 20 years since the mutants debuted on the big screen when X-Men hit theaters in 2000. It’s impossible to understate the influence that this film had on movies and the superhero genre. How Xbox and PlayStation Plan to Duke It Out This Fall. Silicon Valley’s richest titans have tried to conquer the $150 billion video game industry—and so far failed. Last fall, Google introduced what it billed as a console-killing streaming service, Stadia. Apple Inc., meanwhile, has attempted to build a “Netflix for iPhone games” with its $5-per-month, all-you-can-play Arcade. Mattel, Universal to make a Wishbone movie. Academy Award winner Peter Farrelly will produce the toyco's ninth original film, based on the popular live-action series from the '90s. The new joint venture is the ninth project to be announced by Mattel’s movie division, and it follows deals with Warner Bros. and Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment to make Hot Wheels and Barbie pics, respectively. The Rubik’s brand has reported a ‘phenomenal growth’ in digital engagement from its community of Rubik’s Cube fans and followers of the brand extension, driven, it states, by the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures taken across the globe. It’s during the brand’s 40th anniversary that it has ramped up its digital and social measures in a move to counter the momentary pause... Lego opens first retail store in Saudi Arabia. The store will have interactive stations for children and their families to play and engage. It has commissioned a large-scale 3D model of a traditional Saudi family that will be positioned in the store as well as a mosaic of Jeddah’s iconic Old Souk. The store will also have interactive stations for children and their families to play and engage, while it will showcase a variety... Australia’s Network 10 is launching free-to-air 10 Shake and expanding into kids programming to attract new audiences amid a rise in advertiser spending. Owned by ViacomCBS, the new channel will target viewers under age 40 when it launches in September, with a large portion of its programming dedicated to kids. 10 Shake will include 84 hours a week of children’s content (12 hours/day, 7 days/week, starting at 6 am). Mattel WONDER WOMAN 1984 dolls include better glimpse of Kristen Wiig as Cheetah. Hard to believe this is the first summer without any superhero blockbuster (or any big budget films that for that matter) to entertain theater audiences. After initially delaying the highly-anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 until August and then once again to October, only time will tell is Warner Bros. will be able to keep... @Hasbro @Marvel Announces #MarvelLegends #Sentinel #HASLAB Campaign. For some background, HasLab is a Hasbro Pulse crowdfunding platform that aims to put dream products into the hands of fans. With fan support, the goal is to make highly coveted products that fans have been clamoring for. Spin Master and Warner Bros partner to launch Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia video game to Nintendo Switch. The new video game is the latest extension of the Bakugan franchise that already spans its anime adventure TV series, innovative toy line, card game and more. The game will centre on an new original story and the franchise’s signature Bakugan brawls. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . GDC State of the Industry: WFH Edition survey reveals COVID-19's impact on devs. The Game Developers Conference released the results of a special State of the Industry: Work From Home Edition Survey which highlight and reveal how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted game developers across the industry. This special survey compiles responses from over 2,500 game makers … Wizards of the Coast announces further Magic: the Gathering production delay. Wizards of the Coast announced that they would push back the release date of Commander Collection: Green, a set of eight green-color themed cards for Magic: The Gathering, to December 4 due to production delays COVID-19 stifles WotC's supply chain again … Disney Analyst Cuts Stock on "Longer" Pandemic Hit, Sees Cinemas "Largely Closed" Until Mid-2021. After initially expecting social distancing measures would be "significantly lessened" by late 2020, Cowen's Doug Creutz has "now extended that timeline," which will affect the company's film and theme parks units. Coronavirus prompts Sony to boost PlayStation 5 production by 50%: Report. Sony has confirmed PlayStation 5 will ship this year in time for the holiday shopping season. The company has placed production orders for about nine million PlayStation 5 consoles, Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Amazon to reimpose limits on US sellers as coronavirus cases surge. The spike in coronavirus cases across the US has forced Amazon to reinstate limits for sellers amid fears of a second lockdown. Amazon has warned US sellers that it will be re-imposing restrictions on the quantity of goods they can sell via its Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) service. From August through to the end of the year, merchants who use Amazon’s... Masks to be made mandatory in shops after June sales uplift. The joint British Retail Consortium-KPMG monitor reported total UK sales up 3.4%, on the same month last year, as lockdown measures were eased, and warmer weather encouraged shoppers back to the high street. The sales uplift was against a 1.6% fall in June 2019 and was the sharpest monthly rise since May 2018. Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . Mattel Board Hid Baby Deaths Before Sleeper Recall. Mattel Inc.'s board and senior leadership were hit with a Delaware lawsuit claiming they spent years hiding deadly problems with the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper before finally recalling it over baby deaths they’d long known about. A Fisher-Price spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. to assist companies ...
Press Releases . . . Uncanny Brands Introduces Bleacher Creature Plush and Phenom Gallery Prints in Licensing Agreement with USA Basketball. Seven new Bleacher Creatures are available now: NBA Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The collectible plush figures are 10” tall and stand on their own, making them perfect for play or display. News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals . . . (ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more) Hong Kong tightens lockdown measures once again. From mid-June to early July, no locally-transmitted cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Hong Kong, leading to a relaxation of lockdown measures in the city. Unfortunately, it was not to last: a spike in local cases over the past two weeks, including two fatalities earlier this week, has led the authorities to reintroduce the tighter social-distancing measures... THE TOY INSIDER REVEALS EVENTS, ACTIVATIONS FOR SWEET SUITE @ HOME! The countdown is on for the Toy Insider‘s Sweet Suite @ Home, the ultimate virtual toy party where members of the media and digital influencers are invited to remotely discover the hottest new toys from more than 50 toy companies. BlogOn Toy Awards 2020 open for entries. The BlogOn Toy Awards has 16 categories this year including Wooden Toys, Outdoor Toys and Puzzles. Following a successful launch in 2017, the BlogOn Toys Awards will be back again in 2020 for the 4th annual awards. The awards this year will be sponsored by 34SP.com. Kidscreen Awards 2021 open for entries. A new Best Inclusivity Award has been added to celebrate content that positively represents BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled characters. Celebrating the year’s best work in children’s television and digital entertainment, the 12th-annual Kidscreen Awards is officially open for entries. Spielwarenmesse: Searching for new trends. New international team members join the TrendCommittee. Identifying game-changing developments. The toy industry is ever evolving and never stands still. Reason enough for the TrendCommittee to go in search of the latest trends every year. Commissioned by the Spielwarenmesse, the 13-strong expert committee follows emerging developments in the toy industry... Character Options has announced details of its exclusive 2020 influencer event, which will take place over three days from the 24th-26th July. The Character Kidz Big Weekend is the revised edition of last year’s highly successful London based event and will now take place virtually, promising a summer festival of videos, stories and TikTok coverage announcing all that’s new in the Character Options portfolio. Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week Adventure Media & Events (US)
Moose Toys Expands Heroes of Goo Jit Zu, Treasure X Lines (The Toy Book)
aNb Media's (US) 1. First-Ever ‘Toy Fair Everywhere’ Virtual Market Week to Kick Off July 13 2. The Toy Association Partners with Clamour to Unveil Influencers’ Top Toy Picks in September 3. Moose Toys Launches New Treasure X and Goo Jit Zu Marvel Toys 4. Dr. Seuss Enterprises Expands Licensing Program in Australia for Popular Properties 5. YuMe Toys Taps Canspan BMG to Spread the News 6. Far Out Toys and pocket.watch Launch Ryan’s World Road Trip Board Game 7. Genius Brands Partners with MaskClub.Com for Llama Llama Face Masks 8. Peppa Pig Gets Ready for Adventure in a New Partnership with Regatta Great Outdoors 9. Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues and You Takes Center Stage with Brand New Special 10. YouTube Sensation Joey Graceffa Partners with Studio71 to Launch Escape the Night Board Game Toyworld (UK)
ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) 1. Rolling for Initiative -- Thank You! 2. Fantasy Flight Games Brings Back 'The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game' for An Anniversary Edition 3. Money Raised for Games on Kickstarter Up Dramatically in First Half 2020 4. Bushiroad Reveals 'Cardfight!! Vanguard' 'Phantom Dragon Aeon' Products 5. Rather Dashing Games Licenses 'Downton Abbey' 6. Cozy Up to 'Calico' 7. Two New 'Blood Bowl' Squads Are Coming to the Gridiron 8. Czech Games Edition Reveals 'Lost Ruins of Arnak' 9. Rio Grande Games Announces 'Southern Rails' 10. The Klingon Empire Invades 'Star Trek Adventures RPG'! Spielwarenmesse Magazine-Monthly, not Weekly (Germany)
TOYS Magazine (Germany)
Toy & Hobby (Australia)
Tabletop Wire (US)
Video of the Week
Deirdre Cross from Funko Games Shares Inventing Tips with Young Inventors. Spring Challenge has closed, now accepting entries for Young Inventor Fall Challenge. We Love Kid Inventors!
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Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher