the Bloom Report: June 12 - 19, 2020

the Bloom Report Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Below is June, 12 - 19, 2020

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


Subscribe for Free Submit Press Release Advertise with Us

Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news. ​ Today ​as ​we​ celebrate Juneteenth Day​,​ we encourage everyone to learn from history, listen to each other, and advocate for equality and justice. While there will be many struggles ahead of us, we must persist​ to build a better world for all. ​ 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: philip.bloom100@verizon.net 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, Mary Couzin

Company of the Week . . . Creativity, Inc.

Creativity, Inc is one of the most prolific design and development studios working in the toys and entertainment industry today. Since 1998, we have helped produce an estimated 7,000 products, from interactive toys to mobile apps, games, smart home devices, and voice-first app experiences. That’s roughly 200-300 projects each year! Creativity helps our partners engage and delight millions of children and families worldwide through our work. Many of these products have found phenomenal success in the toy industry, earning 130+ TOTY nominations, 37 TOTY category winners, and 5 best overall TOTY awards. Creativity has also helped our partners receive recognition outside the toy industry at venues like Best of CES and Best of SXSW Interactive, and our voice design work has earned us the status of Recommended Agency by Amazon and Google for their voice-first conversational AI platforms. . . . (Read more)

Advice from Tait and Lily, our Persons of the Week via Video... Note from Publisher.... We could all use a smile on our face about now. This video will deliver that smile and make your Friday a bit better! Tait & Lily, past winners of CHITAG's Young Inventor Challenge, inventors of Betcha Can't, which debuted on Target shelves earlier this year tell their story and offer advice. We interviewed them earlier this year. ​ I particularly love when Lily says she is 13 years old, has been an inventor her whole life and started inventing in the toy industry when she was 11 years old. Priceless! For more information about The Young Inventor Challenge, go HERE. ​

Financial & Legal News . . .

Indigo loses $171 million in Q4 after taking large impairment, tax charges. Indigo Books & Music is reporting a surge in losses caused by non-cash charges in the quarter to fiscal year March 28. The Toronto-based book, gift and specialty toy retailer lost $171 million. Indigo attributed the higher loss to impairment and deferred tax charges along with the decision to pay staff wages until the end of March even though...

Kohl’s says tie-up with Amazon ‘underscores’ importance of stores. Kohl’s says its Amazon partnership is teaching the retailer a lot about its own stores, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. “It has opened our eyes ... that there are other roles a Kohl’s store can play to the American consumer,” Kohl’s chief technology officer Paul Gaffney said.

Amazon’s next big vove? It should buy Macy’s. Reports of Amazon’s potential interest in a struggling retailer refuse to go away. The speculation is spurred by Amazon’s cash hoard—the e-commerce giant had roughly $27.2 billion of cash on hand as of March 31—and the fact that it bought Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion in 2017. Most recently, Amazon was linked to J.C. Penney...

Genius Brands International to retire all senior secured convertible debt. Genius Brands, a global brand management company that creates, licenses, and broadcasts, multimedia entertainment content for children, becomes debt free and has $55 million in cash on the balance sheet.

Retail sales fall back in early June. Redbook Johnson reports chain store sales are down 1.4% M/M in June so far and decreased 6.1% Y/Y for the week ending June 20. Month-to-date sales are down 8.0% Y/Y through June 20. Looking ahead, retail sales are expected to improve incrementally on a monthly basis, but trail last year's levels.

Russia Investigates Toy Protests Against Vote on Putin’s Term Limits. Criminal investigators in St. Petersburg have attempted to question an activist who used children's toys to protest against a vote on constitutional amendments that would allow Putin to extend his rule into 2036. Sonya Ulyasheva, a spokeswoman for the Vesna democratic movement, had posted photographs of the toy protests as on offshoot...

Lone Echo developer Ready at Dawn acquired by Facebook. The Order: 1886 and Lone Echo developer Ready at Dawn has been acquired by Facebook for an undisclosed sum, and now joins the company’s Oculus Studios brand. Acquisitions have played a growing part in Facebook’s recent VR plans, with the company noting in that Oculus blog post that it is “exploring many ways to accelerate VR, and...

Target announced that it’s raising wages for its workers. Its peers will likely have to follow suit, argues Credit Suisse. On Wednesday, Target (ticker: TGT) said that it would permanently boost its starting wage for U.S. workers to $15, while also giving one-time bonuses to some hourly workers for their efforts during the pandemic. This will coincide with other benefits, including free virtual doctor visits...

Kowloon Nights launches $2 million game investment fund for Black creators. Global video game investment fund Kowloon Nights has launched a new $2 million fund dedicated to Black creators and studios working on PC and console projects. Any development studio that's majority-owned by black creators can apply to the initiative, which intends to deploy the $2 million without any limitations.

Epic Games and Match Group join Spotify in protesting Apple’s App Store fees. More companies are vocalizing their support for an antitrust case against Apple filed in the EU yesterday. Both Match Group, the owner of dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, as well as Epic Games, which created Fortnite, issued statements last night in support.

Kolkata, India: city importers holding back orders to China after Galwan clash. Following the death of Indian Army personnel in a fierce clash with the People's Liberation Army in Galwan valley of eastern Ladakh, Kolkata importers of a range of consumer products including toys from China are holding back on placing orders.

It’s Alibaba, not Walmart, that Amazon should really be worried about. The reality is that Walmart is so far behind Amazon in online sales, despite its recent gains during the pandemic, that it will never come close to catching up. But Alibaba is now focusing more and more of its attention on the American market

Walmart surpasses eBay in U.S. e-commerce for the first time, Amazon still tops. Walmart Inc. has surpassed eBay Inc. in share of U.S. e-commerce sales for the first time, according to May 2020 data provided by eMarketer, though Amazon.com Inc. remains number one by a large margin.

Has Prime Day been moved again? Toy World has learned that Amazon’s major two day shopping event has been pushed back yet again. The move will have major implications for the toy industry, and suppliers are now having to redress their marketing plans to reflect the timing of the event – and its proximity to Christmas. An anonymous source told Toy World that, while the October date may well prove fruitful for...

The Indian government may put curbs on imports of toys. New Delhi, India. The Ministry of Commerce has identified toys among several categories of non-essential imports, where restrictions could be considered. In recent months, the commerce department has...

US retail sales in record rebound. American shoppers returned in force in May, fuelling a record 17.7% monthly gain in retail spending after lockdowns triggered devastating declines in the previous months. The rebound only partially made up for the losses, leaving spending down about 6% year-on-year.

Apple faces two EU anti-competition probes. Apple faces two European Commission probes into whether it has broken competition rules. One investigation centres on iPad and iPhones being limited to installing apps from Apple's own App Store, among other restrictions imposed on third-party developers. The other involves Apple Pay, with one issue being that other services cannot use the iPhone's tap-and-go facility.

Apple claims 'half a trillion dollars' App Store economy. Apple has said that its App Store ecosystem "facilitated half a trillion dollars" of trade in 2019. The firm said more than 85% of that figure occurred via transactions from which it did not take a commission. The announcement comes at a time Apple and other US tech giants are facing increased anti-competition scrutiny.

The great decoupling? What’s next in US-China rift. Bilateral trade sank by 15% in 2019 after US President Donald Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese imports and China responded in kind. It had surged by an annual average 11% from 2001 to 2018, a stretch that included China’s admission to the WTO and transformation into a global manufacturing powerhouse shipping cheap electronics, toys ...

B.C. pot shop loses trademark battle with Toys ‘R’ Us. A Vancouver cannabis dispensary is going to need a new name and logo after losing a legal battle with retailer Toys "R" Us (Canada) Ltd. Toys “R” Us argued that Herbs “R” Us’s green logo with a cannabis leaf in the middle of the ‘r’ uses a similar font and arrangement of letters as the toy store.

U.K. economy shrinks 20% in a month to fall back to 2002 level. The British economy has seen nearly two decades worth of growth wiped out as a result of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic. The economy shrank by a colossal 20.4 per cent in April following a 5.8 per cent decline in March, meaning the U.K. economy is around 25 per cent smaller than it was in February. ​

Trends, Market Research Reports . . . THE LATEST TRENDS FROM LICENSING WEEK VIRTUAL . . . How COVID-19 is changing familiesCompany Financial & Brokerage News . . . Here's Why You Should Hold on to Mattel (MAT) Stock for Now . . . Buy Alert: Hasbro Stock Could Be Headed Higher . . . Spotify stock soars on DC Comics, Kardashian podcast deals ... Jakks share price skyrockets after deal with EA announced . . . WHY MOMENTUM INVESTORS SHOULD WATCH HASBRO, INC. (HAS) . . . Walmart upgraded on revenue growth from new shoppers gained during coronavirus. . . . Is Spin Master a buy? . . . Hasbro – Consensus Indicates Potential 28.8% Upside . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 5.0% Upside ​ ​ Financial Reporting . . . IDW Publishing grew sales by $1 million in its fiscal Q2 ended April 30, but still generated a $600,000 operating loss in the period, the company announced in its Q2 earnings release Monday. The sales increase came despite the Diamond Comic Distributors shutdown in April; IDW said it pivoted to focus on backlist, digital sales, direct-to-consumer sales, foreign sales, and book channel. Five Below Still Sees Room to Almost Triple Its Store Base in the U.S. Investors suspected that Five Below (NASDAQ:FIVE) was going to report some brutal sales numbers in its fiscal first-quarter announcement. The period runs through early May and includes the widespread COVID-19 store closures that started on March 20. That's why it was no surprise when the youth-focused retailer revealed that revenue collapsed... Party City Holdco Inc (PRTY) Q1 2020 Earnings Call Transcript - June 12

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. Stories & Comments . . . LEGO partners with National Geographic for new ocean exploration kits, more. Today LEGO is expanding its lineup City kits in thanks to a partnership with National Geographic. Soon builders will be able to assemble a fleet of ships and other vehicles to surveil undersea life with a series of ocean exploration-themed creations. LEGO is also carrying the collaboration over to its Friend theme for a series of jungle rescue kits. Insomniac responds to allegations from former staff about culture of harassment. Insomniac has shared a statement in reply to a round of accusations made against multiple former and current members of the studio, saying in a tweet that it was aware of the complaints and took action based on that information. “We were aware of the allegations made in a former... Twitch addresses sexual abuse allegations with permanent ban pledge. Twitch will permanently ban streamers who are found to have sexually abused or harassed people.​ In an update posted on the Twitch blog, the company said it's investigating a number of allegations involving Twitch streamers, and that it will "begin issuing permanent suspensions in line with out findings immediately." Hasbro revs up new Transformers collectibles. Hasbro has blessed us with high-end figures in the Star Wars Black Series and now it’s time for a new franchise to get a colorful collection. The Transformers R.E.D. Series — Robot Enhanced Design — is starting with Optimus Prime and Megatron and will be available for preorder on June 26 from Walmart. Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition from USAopoly. Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition combines two pop culture juggernauts into one nerve-wracking crossover game. Produced by USAopoly, the game box includes 54 hardwood Jenga blocks, an approach track, dice, a cardboard cutout of Godzilla himself, and rules. Big G Creative Invites Families to Say ‘Bye, Felicia!’ It doesn’t have to be Friday to utter the iconic “get lost” phrase from the ’90s. Bye, Felicia! is a new party game from Big G Creative that incorporates the famous pop culture phrase into a fast-paced game of wild word associations for 3-8 players ages 12 and up. Designed by Peggy Brown, McFarlane Toys Unveils DC Multiverse Batman Figures McFarlane Toys has unveiled four of different versions of the Caped Crusader based on two of its comic book series, Dark Nights: Metal and The Batman Who Laughs. Dozens of women accuse video gaming titans of sexual misconduct. Four women leveled accusations of sexual misconduct against Chris Avellone, a critically acclaimed video game writer, leading one developer to end its cooperation with him and prompting him to part ways with another game in the works. A different woman accused Omeed Dariani, the CEO of Online Performers Group, a talent agency that ... 8 terrific sensory toys for kids with special needs. As the mom of a son with autism, ADHD, and epilepsy, I can’t even tell you how much money I wasted buying toys that my son had absolutely no interest in playing with. It wasn’t until I realized that my idea of play and his idea of play were drastically different, that I was able to start buying toys that truly made him happy. My Little Pony fans are ready to admit they have a Nazi problem. Even a niche subculture built around magical cartoon horses is reckoning with racism. That sounds just as strange no matter how many times you say it. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cartoon television show about friendship, compassion, and a group of magical horses with names such as Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy who live... Toy billionaire deletes post slamming Black Lives Matter group. Isaac Larian, the billionaire head of the company behind LOL Surprise! dolls, has deleted his Twitter account and a post on LinkedIn after calling a freelance artist a “disgrace to Black people” and saying the Black Lives Matter organization is discriminatory toward Jewish people. AAP offers guidance to combat digital advertising to children. It has never been more evident how dependent children and families are on technology than during COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures. Through digital media platforms and apps, children learn and socially connect, parents work and seek support, and everyone receives news and information … GigaPets Are Back & They’re Better Than Ever. In the 90s virtual pets were all the rage. We could never imagine how these types of toys would foreshadow our future in the digital age. Now GigaPets is making a comeback in a big way. This summer, GigaPets is proud to announce three new releases: GigaPetsAR, GigaPets Trolls and GigaPets Pixie. These new styles include all the features from their 90’s predecessors with... TOYS AREN’T JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE: ADULTS ARE REDISCOVERING THE JOY OF PLAY. The stereotype of 40-year-old men collecting toys — a phenomenon captured to perfection in a 2015 Saturday Night Live sketch in which collectors hoarded Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys with no intention of opening their packages to play with them — is slowly starting to fade. Instead, that image is being replaced... STEAM toys can prepare kids for future careers. STEAM learning continues to be an important educational category for kids. Teaching them the skills they’ll need for success in 21st-century careers has been the mantra (and the packaging label) for several years. Many of the jobs for which we are now preparing Generation Z won’t exist by the time they enter the job market … The June Issue of the Toy Book Is Here! We are excited to share our June issue with you, including: The hottest new products, roundtable discussion about the evolving specialty toy industry, how the toy industry as a whole is adapting to the new landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic, how specialty retailers are finding new ways to connect to consumers when they can’t meet in-store, also...

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . Backstory: Pac-Man — 40 Years of Chasing Ghosts and Gobbling Quarters. On May 22, 1980, engineers from Namco plugged in and powered up an arcade game with a mysterious yellow creature with an insatiable appetite for power pellets, fruit, and ghosts. Created by Toru Iwatani, Puck-Man was well-received by test audiences in Tokyo, and by mid-summer, the coin-op game was being played throughout Japan. Slapsie from Wham-O (1978). Wham-O’s Slapsie was a plastic toy that combined elements of a slinky and castanets, emitting a series of clickety sounds as it moved. The toy consisted of 36 multi-coloured paddles that could be pulled apart and put back together to “make different fun things.” Slapsie was invented by Stanford professor, Alan Adler, the mastermind behind the Aerobie flying ring and the AeroPress coffee brewer. The Dollhouse Museum – Warsaw, Poland. Located within the Palace of Culture and Science in central Warsaw, The Dollhouse Museum is a private collection of dollhouses gathered from around the world. Some of the items in the museum date back to the 19th century and include familiar structures such as churches, hospitals, schools, and homes. How the Cozy Coupe became the best-selling car of all-time. If you were a kid in the last 40 years, you probably have a Cozy Coupe memory. Growing up It seemed like they were everywhere. That's because they were. So how did this unassuming, foot-pedal-powered toy become one of the most popular toys of all time? Worldwide Licensing News . . . UK’s LittleConcepts names exclusive distributor for Candylab Toys range of toy cars. The UK distributor littleConcepts has detailed an ongoing and exclusive partnership with the Brooklyn-based toy company Candylab Toys to bring the firm’s range of around 60 stylised wooden toy cars to the UK and Ireland. The first stock is due to arrive in August this year … Cloudco Ent. partners with J&M Brands to manage Care Bears in Benelux region. Cloudco Entertainment signed an agency deal with J&M Brands to expand the Care Bears brand across Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, which are referred to together as Benelux. ViacomCBS Brings The Smurfs to Nickelodeon. LAFIG Belgium and IMPS, global licensors for The Smurfs, are partnering with Nickelodeon for an update of the property aimed at a new generation of kids and families around the world. Under the new deal, Nickelodeon licensed global rights to the franchise … JAKKS Pacific, announced a multi-year, global toy licensing deal with Electronic Arts Inc. to create an exclusive toy line based on the popular, free-to-play battle royale game, Apex Legends™. JAKKS has secured the worldwide rights to manufacture, market, and distribute action figures and accessories, plush, role-play, toy weapons and blasters, with a first wave of collectibles launching at retail this October. Aardman announces Chicken Run sequel will be coming to Netflix. The sequel to Chicken Run is expected to go into full production in 2021 and will be released globally by Netflix (excluding China). Chicken Run, which followed the antics of a group of chickens destined to become pie filling before being led to freedom by cockerel Rocky, remains the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time. People, Companies, Organizations . . . These 13-Year-Old Board Game Creators Can Teach All Entrepreneurs a Thing or Two. Lily Brown and Tait Hansen got an early crash course in how the business world works, and have some insights to share. (Comment from tBR Publisher: They are on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine this week! Am I biased? You Betcha! -Mary) Humble's 'Fight for Racial Justice' bundle has raised over $4.3M for charity. The 'Fight for Racial Justice' charity bundle launched by Humble earlier this month has ended with over $4,370,000 raised. The cash will be donated to organizations working towards racial equality, including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Race Forward, and The Bail Project. Ravensburger launches ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Jungle Cruise’ game. Ravensburger has released two new licensed titles with “Back to the Future: Dice Through Time,” and “Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game. The new “Back to the Future” title is inspired by the classic movie series and includes film moments in a new game format. “Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game,” is based on Disney’s river boat attraction. Kids2, Mary Meyer Stuffed Toys creates new Baby Einstein line. Kids2 and Mary Meyer Stuffed Toys have teamed to create a new line called Baby Einstein First Discoveries. New toys are inspired by four of Baby Einstein’s characters: Cal the Caterpillar, Neptune the Sea Turtle, Tinker the Tiger and Zen the Zebra. Wizkids unveils D&D Icons of the Realms, Icewind Dale, Rime of the Frostmaiden miniatures. WizKids unveiled a wave of D&D Icons of the Realms: Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden miniatures for release in September.D&D fans can collect 45 Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden figures in this upcoming set. The figures come blind-packed with randomly sorted monsters and characters. Tonic Games Group is the new parent company of UK dev Mediatonic. Tonic Games Group has been announced as the new parent company of developers Mediatonic and Fortitude, and publishing label The Irregular Corporation. As it stands, Tonic Games Group consists of 300 people based in five studios and two publishing offices around the world. It's also partnered with third-party studios in 13 locations acros... The Mad Titan invades Marvel: Crisis Protocol. Atomic Mass Games announced Thanos Character Pack, a new miniature set for Marvel: Crisis Protocol, for release in July. The Mad Titan is heading to Marvel: Crisis Protocol in search of the Infinity Gems. This character pack sets players up with all the materials necessary to battle against Thanos, the Mad Titan in their games of Marvel: Crisis Protocol. Mattel Taps Ex-Campbell Soup Executive as New Finance Chief. Anthony DiSilvestro is slated to join the company next week as an adviser and assume the CFO role next month. Mattel, maker of Barbie and other toy brands, named a new finance chief after restating past earnings last year because of an accounting error. Download the Summer 2020 Issue of Casual Game Insider. As a friend of ours, you can download a PDF of this issue for FREE for 2 weeks using this promotion link. Highlights: Silver Coin by Bezier Games offers new gameplay twists as the newest stand-alone game in the Silver series, save the world from a raging virus in 5 great titles from the Pandemic series, the "rock stars" of game design who forever changed the world... Publisher Services Inc. has reduced the roster of hobby game distributors to which it sells products from its client publishers. The new roster of distributors is ACD Distribution, Alliance Game Distributors, and Peachstate Hobby Distribution. Absent from the list are former PSI customers GTS Distribution and Southern Hobby Supply. PSI did not respond to our request for information... Cards Against Humanity statement. Starting on June 6, several of our former employees posted reports on social media about a toxic work environment in our Chicago office. Many of them centered on one of our eight co-founders, Max Temkin, who led that office. We immediately began an internal investigation … The Entertainer appoints Pablo Badia to lead European growth. Teal Group, the group behind UK toy retailer The Entertainer, has appointed Pablo Badia as country manager for Poly. Pablo has broad and extensive experience in leading senior teams at global brands such as Massimo Dutti, Camper, Carolina Herrera and Karen Millen as well as Children Worldwide Fashion (CWF), where ... Crayola highlights inclusion and diversity with new collection Colors of the World crayons represent skin tones worldwide. Victor Casale collaborates with Crayola to create Colors of the World, a 24-count box of specially formulated crayons representing skin tones worldwide ... Hasbro StarWars Fan first Monday product reveals Members of the Hasbro Star Wars brand and design team exclusively revealed several new Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 offerings, with the lineup including a third wave of Star Wars: The Black Series 40th Anniversary figures featuring characters such as Chewbacca, Boba Fett, and more, as well as a Star Wars: The Vintage Collection Carbon-Freezing Chamber Playset. Ultra Pro to release new version of Cosmic Cows. Ultra PRO will release a new version Cosmic Cows, a bovine alien abduction game by Playroom Games, into retail in August. Cosmic Cows is a classic Playroom game (see "Playroom Makes Over Bestselling Game") where players take on the role of aliens that are trying to use their tractor beam to extract cows from Earth to win the Annual Extraterrestrial Cow-Pulling... HASBRO KICKS THE G.I. JOE RELAUNCH INTO HIGH GEAR. For more than a year and a half, Hasbro has been hard at work on a plan to relaunch the iconic G.I. Joe brand. Now, ahead of next week’s official launch of the new G.I. Joe: Classified Series action figure line, Hasbro kicked off its first-ever YO JOE! June campaign by opening a brand-new official website, and, for the first time, official social channels for the brand. CHATTING WITH THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2020 The Toy Book spoke with specialty retailers and manufacturers about the latest trends, industry happenings, and how business strategies are evolving in the specialty toy market. Click below to read their perspectives on trends, the evolving industry, and new products for 2020. Facebook prepares to wage war over release of Gaming app on iOS There's a battle brewing between Apple and Facebook over on the iOS store. According to The New York Times, Apple has rejected Facebook's Facebook Gaming app for a fifth time since the social media network announced its existence in March. ViacomCBS names Yolanda Cochran of live-action for kids. The former Disney production VP Yolanda Cochran will oversee all aspects of production on Nickelodeon's films and series. Based in LA, Cochran reports to Megan Ring, ViacomCBS’s EVP of production. In the role she manages budgeting, scheduling, location scouting and staffing. She began at ViacomCBS in May. Nintendo is reportedly cooling its commitment to mobile games. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa is said to have told Japanese media last month that the company was “not necessarily looking to continue releasing many new applications for the mobile market.” According to Bloomberg, Nintendo is disappointed by the revenues it’s achieved so far from titles such as Mario Kart Tour and Fire Emblem Heroes. Tim Kilpin Named President of PlayMonster. When Tim Kilpin left Activision Blizzard last year, it was said that he planned on heading home to Wisconsin to “retire.” Well, retirement was short-lived as Kilpin is back in the game as president of Beloit-based PlayMonster LLC. Reporting to Chief PlayMonster Bob Wann, Kilpin will focus on expanding and accelerating PlayMonster’s business with an emphasis... Hannah Mungo, the UK and Ireland director of consumer products at NBCUniversal is moving to a new post at Sutikki. The post says: “One chapter ends and another begins! After nearly 4 years setting up the NBCUniversal Brand Development UK business, building the team and working on some amazing power brands it’s time for the next step in my career. ​ ​ Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . Lingering COVID-19 pandemic now causes Nintendo Switch Lite to sell out. First, the coronavirus pandemic caused Nintendo's popular Switch mobile game console to sell out at retailers everywhere. Now, the lingering impact of stay-at-home orders is resulting in the cheaper version of the console being out of stock as well. Toycos reinvent to cope with COVID-19. IP owners and toymakers like Exploding Kittens, Kellytoy and Zuru are pivoting their manufacturing and shipping processes to overcome delays caused by the pandemic. In February, after hearing rumblings of problems in China, California game maker Exploding Kittens took a closer look at its manufacturing efforts. Toy Trends During Coronavirus Quarantine: Hot Toys, Games & Puzzles Parents Are Turning to During the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to a new report, there's been a shift when it comes to playtime because of the pandemic to toys like Hotwheels, LEGOs, puzzles and '80s classics like Cabbage Patch dolls, Care Bears and the Rubik's Cube. How COVID-19 is changing family dynamics. The terrible human toll of COVID-19 notwithstanding, quarantine has been a very good thing for the kids’ media industry. Ratings are up, viewership is spiking, and co-viewing has never been stronger. Of course, this good news is offset by a decline in advertising revenues. Interview: Joel Silverman talks the success of ToyAid and the industry-wide fight against COVID-19. “When the world went into lockdown,” Joel Silverman, CEO of KidsKnowBest and co-founder of the successful ToyAid campaign, begins, “I started to worry about the industry we are in. I thought, what can we do to make a difference? Is there a way to shine a light on this great industry?” Amazon launches accelerator programme to provide UK small businesses and startups with digital tools to recover lost income during the coronavirus crisis. Launched in partnership with small business support network Enterprise Nation, the Amazon Small Business Accelerator will operate a free online training programme for 200,000 businesses. Mixed reaction from retail bodies to relaxation of two metre distancing rule. BRC welcomes the move, while Usdaw opposes the revised ‘one metre plus’ rule. Announcing the move in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that that the two metre rule “effectively makes life impossible for large parts of the economy. Where it is possible to keep two metres apart people should – but... Families playing the waiting game amid summer toy shortage Factors related to the coronavirus pandemic are causing shortages of pools, swing sets, bikes and other recreational equipment. Some families are opting to stay at home more due to the virus and canceling summer vacations. That means there's a big demand for pools, accessories and sandboxes for the backyard. COVID-19: the battle persists. The toy industry continues to adapt in survival mode as the coronavirus challenges the retail landscape. Six months ago, the idea that a pandemic could happen on U.S. soil was something that few, if any, were considering. The “coronavirus” was tossed around as a problem that would stay overseas. Toy fair season kicked off in Hong Kong amid fears of disruption thanks to regional protests, but... Minion toys from 'Despicable Me' ensure social distancing between movie fans in France. French movie fans ventured back into cinemas on Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown, helped by a new safety feature: Minions placed at intervals in the seats to ensure social distancing is observed. ​ ​ Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . Bossing It: “My work to tackle unsafe toys is the most rewarding” – BTHA’s Natasha Crookes. For the industry more generally, I worry about the unsafe toys we are finding on online platforms, how the reputable companies can compete with companies not making the right investment concerns me. It sounds a bit doom and gloom but my job is to monitor the issues for the industry. AAP offers guidance to combat digital advertising to children. Marketing to youths no longer is confined to TV commercials and product placement in movies. Young minds now have to decode and resist marketing messages from favorite social media influencers, design “nudges” that encourage purchases and sharing of personal information, and invisible data collection … TIE pushes for new laws for online marketplaces: toy safety concerns across EU. A new report by Toy Industries of Europe has made the striking discovery that 97 per cent of almost 200 toys bought from third-party sellers on four online marketplaces in Europe did not comply with the strict EU toy safety regulations. The report also found that 76 per cent of those tested had defects that made them dangerous for children.

Press Releases . . . HAVE YOU SPOTTED THEM? EIGHT FUNGISAURS IDENTIFIED BY CLEVER KIDS AROUND THE WORLD. HAVE YOU SPOTTED THEM? EIGHT FUNGISAURS IDENTIFIED BY CLEVER KIDS AROUND THE WORLD. Genetically Engineered Dinosaur-Mushroom Hybrids Are The Cutest Collectibles Including C-Rex… A T-Rex Mash Up With A Woolly Chanterelle. Los Angeles, CA. What do you get when you genetically cross a Velociraptor dinosaur with a Chicken of the Woods mushroom? Why even ask? Because kids everywhere have discovered Fungisaurs ($10). These imaginative collectible toys expect to be the next-big-thing with kids ages 4 and up. The whole family will dive into the topics of nature, science and biodiversity once they interact with Fungisaurs. SUMMERTIME AND THE LEARNING IS EASY WITH FIVE EDUTAINING ‘STEAM’ GAMES FROM OjO. Movie Director Math Or Which Way? Coding Games Boost Kids’ Comprehension While Combating The Dreaded Summer Brain Drain New York, New York (June 22, 2020) – What did you do this summer? That’s the question most kids will hear when they return to classes in the fall. Imagine a teacher’s surprise when Junior proclaims, “I built my spatial awareness, imagination and collaboration skills thanks to OjO!” The suggestion is not that far-fetched as global toymaker OjO rolls out five inviting games that really do boost, in a fun way, STEAM skills for children ages 4 and up! OjO’s motto is simple – create smart games for future innovators. Phone Pics Play Feature Role in Endless Games’ New Camera Roll Game. The new product is a traditional game that embraces technology use and the top trending VSCO girl demographic. For its new Camera Roll Game (MSRP $19.99 for 3 or more players ages 12+), Endless Games “app”-lies tween and teen screen time vanity into an interactive activity. Camera Roll is the game that has players engaged in quirky category challenges to quickly match a photo from their phone that best suits the title. Saying goodbye has never been so fun! A new party game from Big G Creative, Bye, Felicia! incorporates the pop culture phrase in a fun and fast-paced game of wild word associations. For ages 12 and up and available now at Target, the game requires players to mind meld with friends and family to guess what others are thinking. Bye, Felicia! challenges great minds to think alike or at least guess how they think! Players have 30 seconds to list as many answers as they can before time runs out. The topics are random and range from... Jazwares launches collectibles inspired by K-Pop superstars BLACKPINK. K-Pop sensation BLACKPINK is about to take center stage with an exciting new launch. In partnership with toy company Jazwares, the K-Pop superstars are launching their first-ever collectible toy line. Available at Target and Amazon, the BLACKPINK collection features three debut products. Exploding Kittens Launches First Word-Guessing Game - Poetry for Neanderthals. Exploding Kittens, the hit tabletop game creator, today announced the release of its latest card game, Poetry for Neanderthals, a word-guessing party game, where teams earn points by correctly figuring out words and phrases. The catch is that the "Neanderthal Poets" must only use single syllable words to describe the complex terms, or they get bopped with a 2-foot inflatable club. Simply put: you must speak good or get hit with stick. Spielwarenmesse eG asks trade and industry about the crisis. The Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg attracts around 65,000 buyers and retailers and 2,800 manufacturers every year. To gauge how they are dealing with the global Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, Spielwarenmesse eG, who organises the leading industry event, has conducted a representative survey among both visitors and exhibitors. 1,810 trade visitors from 42 countries and 548 companies from 48 countries took part in the survey which was carried out in spring. ​ News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals . . . (ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more) Minecraft, King's Quest, Plus join World Video Game Hall of Fame. Four games have been selected to join the likes of Microsoft Solitaire and Halo in the Strong Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame, marking the honorary video game exhibit’s fifth set of inductees. The 5 biggest announcements from the EA Play Live 2020 This year, Electronic Arts, like many of the giant video game publishers, switched from what would normally have been a massive E3 press conference in Los Angeles to a virtual-only event called EA Play Live. China moves vast trade fair online, but few buyers follow. The twice-a-year fair usually draws more than 180,000 foreign buyers and 25,000 Chinese vendors to the southern city of Guangzhou. With most foreign visitors barred from China, the event has transformed itself into an e-commerce platform with mini-shopping channels. Tough times, tough people: ASTRA members take on COVID-19. Weathering the rough times is nothing new for the retailers, manufacturers, and sales representatives who are members of ASTRA. Nimbleness is part of the ASTRA entrepreneurial DNA. Without lumbering, corporate hierarchies and with an ear to the ground in our local communities, we have always prided ourselves on our ability to make quick changes... ​

Top Stories from Trade Magazines WorldwideaNb Media's (US) Top Ten Stories of the Week . . . 1. TikTok Stars We Wear Cute Team Up with Canal Toys for Studio_Creator Launch 2. American Specialty Toy Retailing Association Announces 2020 Best Toys for Kids 3. Toysmith Announces New Alliance with Anne McGilvray & Company 4. ASTRA Camp, a Two-Week Virtual Experience Offering for the Specialty Toy Industry, Opens Registration 5. Hip-Hop Artist Alaya ‘That Girl Lay Lay’ High Signs Overall Deal with Nickelodeon 6. Licensing International Introduces 2020 Rising Stars of Licensing 7. Crunchyroll Announces New Slate of Summer Licensing Partnerships 8. WildBrain CPLG scores new deals for emoji® in EMEA 9. Outright Games Presses Start and Partners with CanspanBMG 10. Megalopolis Toys to Introduce Madballs and Barnyard Commandos Retro Action Figure Line Toyworld (UK) Most Read Stories of the Week

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) Top Ten Stories of the Week 1. Galactus Returns to Devour 'Marvel HeroClix'! 2. Games Workshop Unveils New 'Warhammer 40,000' Box Set 3. GAMA Cancels Origins Game Fair 2020 4. Wizards of the Coast Removes Racist 'Magic: The Gathering' Cards 5. Rolling For Initiative -- Another Week of Turmoil to Discuss 6. Wizards of the Coast Announces More 'Magic: The Gathering' Shipping Delays 7. Konami Reveals New Premium Gold Rare Set for 'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' 8. Roll Jumbo Critical Hits With 'Dungeons & Dragons: Plush d20 Dice' 9. Brotherwise Launches 'Overlord' 10. Transdimensional Zerkalo Bloc Invades 'Monsterpocalypse' Spielwarenmesse Magazine's (Germany) Top Five Articles

Toys-Kids.de (Germany)

Toy & Hobby (Australia) Top Articles for the Past Two Weeks (catching up) See the top stories for this week ending 19 June:

The top stories for week ending 12 June:

Tabletop Wire

Video of the Week . . .


Ken Johnson, Inventor of Phase 10, Advises Young Inventors to Use Your Imagination in New Ways. Young Inventor Spring Challenge Closes June 30th. Details Here!


* * * * * ​ 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


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon