the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is Oct. 9 - 16, 2020, Click Here for Last Week
Articles posted each day with newest articles at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights.
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
Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...
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JoAnn McLaughlin: Do your Homework: Know the Competition - tBR Person of the Week
TAGIE Awards Keynote
What exactly do you do in the industry?
I am the SVP of Product Development at Disney working on all brands from a hard lines standpoint as well as soft lines on the Marvel and Lucas brands. My teams work on both licensed and owned & operated product development for our Disney Parks, Disney Stores and Shop Disney destinations.
What is your claim to fame in the industry?
I have been with Marvel for the past 28 years so many of the relationships I have built and products that were invented came from my team and continue to be strong at retail; some being the Spider-Man silly string Web Shooter, Hulk Hands, Marvel Legends which all now reside with Hasbro, our master toy partner and are still thriving. My team also worked on the Lord of the Rings initial trilogy and won many awards for innovation on that action figure program for all those films. Boys Action is my long term expertise, but I have worked on all types of toys through the years. Read More...
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Marvel's Jesse Falcon - Don’t be afraid to fail! - tBR Person-of-the-Week
Introduces JoAnn McLaughlin at the TAGIEs!
What exactly do you do in the industry?
I oversee the PD side of all hardlines items worldwide for Marvel, so toys, collectibles, construction, consumer electronics, novelty & I look over the O&O business for Marvel that are sold through Disney.
What is your claim to fame in the industry?
Probably the work that came out of working with the TOY BIZ team. I developed the Marvel Legends line and developed products for all of the Marvel movies from back in 1994. Those include the original X-Mem/ Spider-Man/ F4/ Hulk / Daredevil / Blade trilogy, As well as the original Lord of the Rings Trilogy toys.
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
I started making my own toys when I was very young. And continued to do so through grade school – when I was into a character that didn’t have an action figure Id make one out of the materials I had at my disposal – other toys and D&D paints plumbers’ putty. I did that although school and when I had my interview with toy biz I brought all of those and the gentleman took one look and hired me on the spot.
Financial & Legal News . . .
SPIN MASTER TO ACQUIRE RUBIK’S BRAND, OWNER OF THE ICONIC RUBIK’S CUBE. The 40th anniversary of Rubik’s Cube will come to a close with the start of a new era for the iconic toy. Toronto-based Spin Master Corp. inked a deal to acquire London-based Rubik’s Brand Ltd., owner of the Rubik’s Cube and its related assets. The deal is expected to close on Jan. 4, 2021, marking the 22nd acquisition since Spin Master was...
Retailers call for “pandemic clauses” to cut rent payments. Retailers taking new leases are reportedly seeking “pandemic clauses” to ensure rent payments will be reduced if the store is forced to close as a result of a local lockdown. An increased number of retailers are seeking such clauses following the government’s newly imposed tier system in England, and other local restrictions across Scotland and Wales which are...
(the above posted after October 23rd)
Was Amazon Prime Day 2020 a disappointment? The 2-day shopping event may have been been the first since 2015 to not return. rowth. Reports indicate that Amazon Prime Day 2020 has been a decidedly more lacklustre affair than analysts had predicted, with website traffic data and muted language surrounding the event indicating the retailer’s disappointment.
TOMY Acquires Fat Brain Holdings. TOMY International, Inc., the subsidiary of TOMY Company, Ltd., responsible for North America, South America, Europe and Australia, and a leading global designer, producer and marketer of a broad range of innovative, high-quality toys, announced today it has completed the acquisition of Fat Brain Holdings LLC. Fat Brain, located in Elkhorn, Nebraska, is a privately-held...
EA facing Canadian class action lawsuit over loot boxes. Electronic Arts is facing more legal action over its use of loot boxes and other randomised monetisation mechanics. The latest is a class action lawsuit filed in Canada on September 30 by joint plaintiffs Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore.
Demand for China's toys up amid pandemic. China’s exports of toys and children's products increased by 9.6 percent between July and September this year despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. Liang Mei, president of China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, said though sales were down in the first and second quarters they had rebounded since July with rising overseas demand.
China welcomes Pakistan decision to lift ban on Tik Tok. China has welcomed the decision to lift ban on Tik Tok after receiving assurance that the company would block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immortality. “We have noted the relevant report. The Chinese government always maintains the companies operating overseas should strictly abide by international law and local rules,” ...
Email addresses may have been exposed in Barnes & Noble cyber attack. Book chain Barnes & Noble has suffered a cyber security attack, possibly exposing email addresses and other data on customers. The company sent an email to customers last Thursday, saying that it had learned on October 10 that there had been “unauthorized and unlawful access to certain Barnes & Noble corporate systems.”
U.S. court agrees to expedite government TikTok app store ban appeal. A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday agreed to fast-track a Justice Department appeal of a ruling blocking the government from banning new TikTok downloads from U.S. app stores.
Business spending data shows there could be possible upside surprise in retail sales. Consumers continued to shop a lot, driving online sales sharply higher, and spending dollars at home remodeling stores, general merchandise retailers and grocery stores. September retail sales are expected to be strong, rising 0.7% and edging above the level consumers spent a year ago, but business-to-business spending data...
BRC launches nationwide campaign to encourage early Christmas shopping. The British Retail Consortium has announced a new national campaign to encourage the general public to begin Christmas shopping earlier, as an attempt to help spread demand for the peak shopping season. ‘Shop early, start wrapping, enjoy Christmas’ is designed to mirror the government’s coronavirus guidelines used throughout 2020.
Total Video Game Industry Spending Rises 10% in September. Consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories reached $4.3 billion in September 2020, a 10 percent increase when compared to a year ago. Mobile, hardware, and accessories were among the largest growth segments. Year-to-date spending totaled $33.7 billion, 21 percent higher than the same time period in 2019.
Growth in UK games industry fastest ever recorded. Growth in the UK games industry has been faster in 2019/2020 than it's ever been since trade association TIGA started doing annual reports in 2007/08. TIGA's latest report, released today, reported a 12.2% annualised growth rate in terms of creative staff in development studios, with the headcount growing from 14,353 to 16,836 from November 2018 to April 2020.
China-owned mobile studio Playtika is chasing an IPO in the U.S. China-owned social and mobile games company Playtika is looking to go public in the United States. Reuters is reporting that the company has confidentially submitted paperwork to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.
JAKKS Pacific reaches agreement with lenders for covenant relief until March 2022 and partial pre-payment of term loan. JAKKS Pacific, Inc. has reached an agreement with holders of its term loan Wells Fargo, holder of its revolving credit facility to receive a waiver on its EBITDA covenant until March 31, 2022. The term loan previously had a covenant requiring trailing 12-month EBITDA to be at least $34 million.
The UK’s geek culture retailer, Geek Retreat, has detailed its plans to open 100 new stores on high streets across the country over the space of the next two years, part of its own plans to ‘breathe new life into town centres.’ The move follows the rapid rise in the popularity of the pop culture scene among consumers today, one that has given rise to the success of the Marvel franchise or the likes of Netflix’s Stranger Things.
TikTok is driving massive toy sales as play dates become less frequent during pandemic. Social media influencers were the fourth-most cited reason for someone making a toy purchase. More than 100 million Americans are monthly active users of TikTok. With that many eyeballs, it’s no wonder that toy companies are partnering with content creators to showcase products on the app. A number of toy companies have...
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
(the above posted after October 23rd)
Unlock Marketing: The world of marketing post COVID – 19 . . . Adapting your brand to fit kids’ new routines . . . Imagine STEM without the “T” . . . On the heels of Amazon Prime Day’s success, more Black Friday-like deals are starting . . . Meet Gen C: How COVID-19 could define this generation . . . Canadian Toy Industry Continues to Experience Unprecedented Sales Increases as Consumers
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
Factors Setting the Tone for Hasbro's (HAS) Q3 Earnings . . . FY2020 EPS estimates for Spin Master Corp. . . . Hasbro (HAS) Expected to Beat Earnings Estimates: Can the Stock Move Higher? . . . Factors Setting the Tone for Mattel's (MAT) Q3 Earnings
Financial Reporting . . .
Hasbro's stock rallies toward 8-month high after profit and revenue beat expectations. Shares of Hasbro Inc. HAS, -10.23% rallied 1.7% toward an 8-month high in premarket trading Monday, after the toy maker reported third-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, and said deliveries are expected to improve in the fourth quarter. Net income was $220.9 million, or $1.61 a share, after net income of $212.9 million..
(the above posted after October 23rd)
Mattel Soars After Toy Demand Helps Earnings Smash Estimates - Mattel rose as much as 12% in extended trading after third-quarter results shattered expectations, lifted by consumers snapping up Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toys during the pandemic. Revenue rose 10% to $1.63 billion in the period, Mattel said on Thursday, topping analysts’ predictions of $1.46 billion. Adjusted profit was 95 cents a share, beating est...
Amazon.com Inc. stock falls Thursday, underperforms market. COMPANY CLOSE UPDATES Terrence Horan Shares of Amazon.com Inc. AMZN sank 0.27% to $3,176.40 Thursday, on what proved to be an all-around favorable trading session for the stock market, with the S&P 500 Index SPX rising 0.
Tencent takes "a major stake" in GTFO studio 10 Chambers. Tencent has invested in the Swedish game developer, 10 Chambers. Founded in Stockholm in 2015, 10 Chambers is principally known as the creator of GTFO, a cooperative first-person shooter currently in Early Access.…
Future Financial Reporting...
Hasbro earnings information. Hasbro has confirmed that its next quarterly earnings report will be published on Monday, October 26th, 2020. Hasbro will be holding an earnings conference call on Monday, October 26th. Interested parties can register for or listen to the call using this link.
Jakks Pacific earnings information. JAKKS Pacific has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Thursday, November 5th, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.
Spin Master earnings information. Spin Master has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.
Zynga earnings information. Zynga has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.
Electronic Arts earnings information. Electronic Arts has confirmed that its next quarterly earnings report will be published on Thursday, November 5th, 2020.
Target earnings information. Target has not formally confirmed its next earnings publication date, but the company's estimated earnings date is Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 based off prior year's report dates.
Stories & Comments . . .
TTPM Announces Favorite New Games List for 2020 Holiday Season. TTPM, the leading video product reviewer for toys, baby gear & pet gear, announces their list of Favorite New Games for 2020. Revealed via video, the list contains 20 games from the biggest toy companies to brands you may not have heard of yet. All offer laughs, excitement and a whole lot of fun this holiday season. “We’re thrilled to share a dedicated list of our
(the above posted after October 23rd)
People of Play (POP) Announces Entertainment Line Up for First-Ever ‘POP’s Got Talent’. People of Play, formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group, is once again shining the spotlight on the creativity of inventors with the premiere of POP’s Got Talent, a virtual show that will air immediately following the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIEs) on Friday, November 20th. The TAGIEs and POP’s Got Talent...
John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Show Down … it’s the Friday Blog! The worst-kept secret in the UK toy community is finally out: it has officially been confirmed that next year’s London Toy Fair has been cancelled. It has been widely known for weeks that the show wouldn’t be able to take place in 2021, but complex negotiations between the BTHA and Olympia had to be successfully concluded before the news could be made public.
Amazon to pay consumers for their shopping data. Amazon has launched a new program to gain information about users' purchasing activity beyond on its own website, a post from the eCommerce giant states, through monetary incentives. Named the Amazon Shopper Panel, it will pay users in exchange for the data and answering some short surveys.
Raising the bar: can toys — and intellectual property — die? Like a toy, IP is not a living thing. It cannot die, but it can expire, be canceled, be invalidated, or end in some other fashion. Some IP can — theoretically — exist indefinitely. Other forms of IP have limited duration. Those differences must be understood and considered when protecting your valuable IP.
ShopDisney.com and Disney Store unveil Top 15 Toys for 2020 holiday season. ShopDisney.com |Disney store revealed its 2020 Top 15 Holiday Toys list. This marks the third year the retailer is sharing a list of holiday must-haves for Disney fans, families, and gift-givers alike. As families spend more time at home and parents need to get creative, toys play a more important role than ever.
Eco-friendly plush finds spot alongside LEGO Mario in Selfridges’ top toy picks for Christmas 2020. Keel Toys’ sustainable range of eco-friendly plush animals has found itself rubbing shoulders with the familiar Top Toys for Christmas picks such as LEGO Mario, VTech’s Kidizoom and Spin Master’s Present Pets this year, as Selfridges puts its own spin the predicted top sellers for the 202 festive season.
Coronavirus latest: Panic buying grips Dublin as shops see massive queues before six week shutdown. Shops were mobbed today as panic buyers grabbed clothes, toys and other items before the country shuts down for six weeks on Wednesday night. Wind, rain and traffic jams did little to deter determined shoppers who battled the elements to get one final shopping spree in.
Aldi limits number of Christmas toys customers can purchase. Aldi has announced that it will be limiting customer purchases to one of certain Christmas toys that go on sale tomorrow, 22 October, 2020 Customers will only be able to purchase one unit of Aldi’s Large Wooden Toy Kitchen - Pink, Large Wooden Toy Kitchen - Grey, Premium Toy Kitchen, Toy Vanity Table, Stool and Access, Wooden Dolls House, Wooden...
Remembering the toy industry's past . . .
The Partridge Family Game from Milton Bradley (1971). Released in 1971 by Milton Bradley, The Partridge Family Game is based on the sitcom of the same name, which aired on ABC from 1970 to 1974. The game’s background offers a glimpse of what life on the road was like for one of TV’s favorite fictional pop bands.
McDonald's Happy Meals: 40 top toys Americans likely remember – and should return. 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of Happy Meal toys, using source material from McDonald’s and pop culture sites, that should make a comeback, primarily for reasons of nostalgia but also because there’s a kid in all of us and the toys are just plain fun.
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, otherwise known as the rapper Logic, bought a Gem Mint 10 Charizard #4 Pokemon card for $220,574 at Iconic Auctions. Charizard is quickly becoming the "Black Lotus of Pokemon Cards". The 1999 1st Edition Shadowless holographic Charizard #4 card graded as Gem Mint 10 by PSA is a holy grail for Pokemon TCG collectors, and recently, famed rapper Logic became the proud new owner of...
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Talkin’ Toys: Spin Master revs up Supercross deal. The Toy Book catches up with Vice President of Marketing and Global Business Unit Lead, Boys Adam Hyman about Spin Master’s expanded partnership with Feld Entertainment Inc. as master toy licensee for Supercross.
Funko's new Masters of the Universe Pops have the power. Masters of the Universe fans just got a fantastic wave of classic MotU Funko Pop figures to collect - and Funko really went all out with it. There are five standard Pop figures, a Pop Ride of Skeletor on Panthor, a 10-inch He-Man, and a whole bunch of exclusives.
Tomy, Electronic Arts partner for Plants Vs. Zombies Club Mocchi Mocchi plush. Retail Monster brokered a new deal between TOMY International and Electronic Arts (EA) for a new line of plush inspired by characters from the video game, Plants vs. Zombies. The new collection of super-soft, squeezable, huggable plush is being developed under TOMY’s Club Mocchi- Mocchi- brand.
Welbeck, Asmodee solve new licensed puzzle book deals. Welbeck Publishing Group and Asmodee Entertainment have announced that they are expanding their collaboration by adding the Days of Wonder’s “Ticket to Ride” and Space Cowboy’s “Unlock!” titles to Welbeck’s line of boardgame-inspired puzzle books.
LEGO introduces 123 Sesame Street building set through LEGO Ideas and Sesame Workshop partnership. The LEGO Group has lifted the lid and taken us all on a trip down Sesame Street, as it prepares to launch its LEGO Ideas 123 Sesame Street building set. Voted for by LEGO fans the world over, the set is the latest product from the LEGO Ideas collection. Created with all the elements of 123 Sesame Street, the new set is...
Steamforged Games and Bandai Namco to launch Pac-Man: The Card Game with John Adams Leisure. Steamforged Games has partnered with Bandai Namco Entertainment to launch the iconic 1980 arcade game Pac-Man to the tabletop gaming space with Pac-Man: The Card Game. The title will be distributed in the UK and Ireland by John Adams Leisure and will hit stores in November this year.
Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts game from Funko. Pop-Tarts aren’t just for breakfast anymore — now they’re also a pastry-themed card game from Funko! Neatly packaged in a foil-lined box that would look at home on a supermarket shelf, the game challenges 2 to 6 players to rack up points by “eating” Pop-Tarts. Players indulge in both toasted and frozen pop-tarts to increase their scores.
Licensing special – LEGO and Adidas build multi-year partnership to ‘inspire creativity and foster play’. The LEGO Group has struck up a multi-year partnership with Adidas to co-create a range of new products aimed at inspiring creativity to foster a more playful, positive and inclusive world for adults and children from all backgrounds and sporting abilities.
Asmodee’s licensing game: “It’s about time this happened, the fans out there are starving for stuff”. “The world is going to look very different now that Asmodee – one of the biggest players in the board gaming sector – is very actively pushing into licensing,” Alexander Thieme, manager of licensed publishing and consumer products, Asmodee Entertainment, promises.
Spin Master, Crayola, VTech and Sambro among 21 UK partners for PAW Patrol: The Movie. Spin Master, Crayola, VTech, and Sambro have been named among the 21 UK partners to have signed new and renewed licensing partnerships for PAW Patrol ahead of the release of the PAW Patrol movie and its slated August 2021 release. ViacomCBS Concusmer Products UK has signed a raft of partners for a licensing programme …
Mattel Television, Wildbrain greenlight new seasons of ‘Fireman Sam,’ ‘Polly Pocket’. Mattel Television and WildBrain greenlit the 13th season of Fireman Sam, alongside the third season of Polly Pocket. Production on the new batch of animated episodes is underway at WildBrain’s studio in Vancouver. Fireman Sam will premiere next June with 26 all-new 10-minute episodes. Polly Pocket, based on the original micro-scale...
Tomy, Illumination, Universal Brand Development prep ‘Sing 2’ toy collection. It’s been a big week for TOMY International. Following the acquisition of Fat Brain Toys and a deal to produce toys based on 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong, the company inked a deal with Illumination and Universal Brand Development to produce toys based on Sing 2, which is set for a theatrical release on Dec. 22, 2021.
ZURU shrinks Nickelodeon, Rubik’s, Wham-O. Zuru has teamed with multiple brands to create miniature toys under their Toy Mini Brands line. Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants and JoJo Siwa are among the nine toy brands that will be miniaturized. In addition, brands such as Classic Rubik’s, Crayola and Wham-O will join the Toy Mini Brands portfolio.
Disguise costumes expands Halo, Minecraft deals with global rights. Disguise Inc renewed its partnership with Microsoft as the official costume partner for the software giant’s Minecraft and Halo brands. The Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific now holds global rights to create and distribute costumes and accessories for the popular gaming brands. The deal includes a three-year extension for Halo and an ...
Hammer House of Horror announces partners for merchandise program. Radar Licensing announces initial license partners for its Hammer House of Horror merchandise program featuring Hammer Films’ Dracula, Frankenstein’s Creature, The Mummy, and other memorable monsters. Hammer came to prominence as the world’s most popular horror brand in the late 1950s.
Back To The Future Day brings new toys from Playmobil, Mattel, Funko, Hasbro, more. Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment are celebrating the annual “Back to the Future Day” holiday with a massive lineup of new products that honor 35 years of the cinematic franchise. Launched alongside a host of fan-created content and the new 4K Ultra HD release of Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy, the new...
A closer look at The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. “We found ourselves talking about holiday specials,” james waugh, vice president, franchise content and strategy at lucasfilm, tells starwars.com, “and the heritage of sitting down and watching holiday specials every year, and how beloved and timeless those things are. When looking at what to do next with lego star wars, it kind of went from there.”
Batman Launch and Defend Batmobile Remote Control Vehicle from Spin Master. Launch Batman into action with the Launch and Defend Batmobile RC! This sleek 1:16 scale Batman remote control vehicle includes an exclusive 4-inch Batman action figure that you can launch right out of the cockpit!
Hasbro moving most outbound licensing to its local offices globally. Hasbro is shifting the focus of outbound licensing of its heritage brands as well as those it took on when it bought Entertainment One (eOne) last year to local offices, eliminating “most” agents, Marianne James, VP Consumer Products EMEA, said during a press briefing in conjunction with Festival of Licensing.
Licensing Special – Space mission: How Moonbug Entertainment’s rocketing success is disrupting the pre-school space. It may be highly competitive, it may even be getting a little bit crowded at times, but there’s one thing that the pre-school sector hasn’t become in recent years – particularly now, as audiences shift their viewing habits and the means in which they engage with it – and that is, a done deal.
ViacomCBS launches major UK merchandising programme for Blues Clues & You! Building upon the momentum of the successful debut of Blue’s Clues & You!, the reimagined Nick Jr. pre-school series, ViacomCBS Consumer Products (VCP) has confirmed a raft of partners for the hit show in the UK. The news supports the launch of a major licensing programme for the property …
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time Launches with New Licensing Program. Last week saw the big release for Crash BandicootTM 4: It’s About Time – a true sequel to the iconic, original Crash BandicootTM trilogy. Now, fans can WUMP to the next level and celebrate the Crash franchise’s big moment through a wide range of all-new licensing programs …
From pop to play: pop culture merch makers are breaking into kids’ toys. After successfully breaking into the collectibles space — a product category focused on fan conventions, licensing deals, and limited-edition action figures — some pop culture-focused companies are expanding their offerings beyond collectibles made for teens and adults and into the toy aisle.
People . . .
Sesame Workshop promotes new CEO & president. As Jeffrey Dunn sets his retirement plan, Steve Youngwood and Sherrie Westin are primed to take the reins. Sesame Workshop president and CEO Jeffrey Dunn is set to retire in January, though he’ll stay on as executive chairman until July 2021 as part of his transition. To fill the impending leadership gap, Dunn’s responsibilities have been split in two, with Steve Youngwood...
Nina Hahn to lead new ViacomCBS kids division Under the Nick International vet, VIS Kids expects to develop more than 30 new kids shows over the next three years. VIS Kids will aim to broaden its global kids content pipeline to include short and long-form content that will be produced and sold to third parties, as well as to ViacomCBS brands and platforms.
(the above posted after October 23rd)
TALKING GAMES WITH PEGGY BROWN ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’ - Brown has written books, taught classes, and worked with the world’s best toy, game, and entertainment companies creating products that have been sold around the world. She was named Game Innovator of the Year at the 2009 TAGIE Awards, and this year she’s nominated again for her work on three recent titles: My First Rush Hour (ThinkFun); and Bye...
Devolver brings in head of licensing to put Fall Guys 'on the licensing map'. Devolver Digital has named former Dunlop Sports licensing manager Fee Heyer as its new head of licensing. The publisher explained Heyer will specifically lead its licensing efforts on Fall Guys, and will use their "deep bench of experience in consumer products and brand extensions" to further bolster the Fall Guys brand.
Obituary: Ian Cuthbert. Ian spent many years in the toy industry, where he occupied key roles on both the retail and supply side of the industry. Born and bred in Lancashire, Ian spent much of his career in the North West, including stints at HTI and Sambro. He was widely recognized as being an astute judge of toy product – a toy man through and through.
Riot Games hires first ever chief marketing officer. Jason Bunge joined Riot Games as its first ever chief marketing officer, the League of Legends developer announced today. Bunge joined from Electronic Arts, where he spent the last five years, most recently as senior vice president of global brand management and marketing.
Sequin Art appoints Gemma Asplen and John Sutton to director roles in move to drive growth. The toy and crafts manufacturer, Sequin Art has appointed Gemma Asplen and John Sutton as its two new directors. Asplen has been promoted from the position of general manager, while Sutton was previously its head of sales. The pair will now lead the team to drive its growth over the coming years.
Blizzard vets form Frost Giant Studios. A pair of former Blizzard developers today announced Frost Giant Studios, their new company focused on making real-time strategy games for a broader audience than the genre has historically enjoyed. Frost Giant is co-founded by Tim Morten and Tim Campbell.
Funko appoints Malcolm Ottley as VP of Sales. Funko EMEA has announced the appointment of former Hasbro senior director, Malcolm Ottley, as vice president of sales. After 10 years at Hasbro, most notably as sales director, leading and coaching large sales teams across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Malcolm will play a major strategic role heading up the sales department at Funko EMEA.
Ravensburger bolsters sales team with former Cartamundi UK exec Giuseppe Insogna. Ravensburger has bolstered its sales team with the appointment of Giuseppe Insogna who takes up the role of national account manager with the games and puzzles specialist. The former MGA Entertainment, Wow! Stuff, and Cartamundi UK executive brings with him ten years’ worth experience in the field, and takes up his role ...
Jeff Garb joins Diverse Marketing as Northeast Regional Sales Manager. Diverse Marketing is expanding its reach by adding seasoned sales vet Jeff Garb as its northeast regional sales manager. For more than 30 years, Garb led his own company, Jeff Garb & Associates, gaining acclaim for servicing the toy and gift industries throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic States.
Companies . . .
Barbie Sales Take Off as Parents Try to Cut Down on Screen Time. Mattel reports largest increase in demand for flagship doll in at least two decades; Hot Wheels, Baby Yoda also fuel growth. Add Barbie to the list of the pandemic’s biggest winners. Mattel Inc.’s flagship doll posted a 29% sales increase in the third quarter, leading the toy company to 10% revenue growth in the period. It was the largest quarterly increase posted...
Mattel turns Pennywise and The Grady Twins into Monster High-style dolls. Just in time for Halloween, Mattel has teamed up with Warner Bros. Consumer Products for limited-edition Skullector Dolls based on Pennywise from the 2019 supernatural movie IT Chapter Two, and the Grady Twins from the 1980 horror classic The Shining. Reimagined through the scary-cool filter of Mattel’s fashion doll brand Monster High...
Ryan Reynolds Reportedly Eyed For Hasbro's MASK Movie. Hasbro are determined to launch a cinematic universe based on their extensive range of toy lines, even if the experiment has brought decidedly mixed results so far. Michael Bay’s Transformers films may have raked in billions of dollars at the box office, but reviews were never exactly kind & takings dropped by over $500 million between Age of Extinction and The Last...
Hasbro's eOne Takes Charge for 'Power Rangers' Reinvention. he Power Rangers are on the cusp of yet another reinvention for both film and television. Hasbro‘s entertainment studio, Entertainment One (eOne) hired producer/director Jonathan Entwistle (Netflix’s I Am Not Okay With This) to lead the development of new Power Rangers projects across both formats. “This is an unbelievable opportunity to deliver new Power...
Luki Labs to reveal new STEM toys at the Toy Insider’s Holiday Of Play. Luki Lab, the direct-to-consumer division of Strottman International, is launching new toys at the Toy Insider‘s Holiday of Play @ Home. Gujo Adventure and Pinxies are STEM-authenticated creative building brands that are designed to inspire “epic adventures and imaginative exploration.” Additionally, the company will debut its new game, Clawsome!
Educational Insights launches Circuit Explorer with Emily Calandrelli. Educational Insights is launching a new toy into the stratosphere and the star of Netflix’s Emily’s Wonder Lab, Emily Calandrelli, will help. Attendees of the Toy Insider‘s Holiday of Play will be able to learn about the new line direct from Calandrelli!
More heroes join 'Pathfinder Battles Deep Cuts'. Five new character packs are planned for WizKid’s Pathfinder Battles Deep Cuts line of unpainted miniatures, including two Halflings, an Elf, and two Humans, all scheduled for release in March. Each pack comes with a pair of miniatures representing a “low level” and “high level” version of the same character.
Craft Buddy expands European toy retailer network. Following the recent announcement regarding the company’s distribution outlet expansion in the UK, Craft Buddy can confirm a new retail partnership with two of Germany’s biggest toy retailers – Müller Handels & Co.KG and Rofu Kinderland Spielwarenhandels.
Scuttle Bugs and Scramble Bugs from Mookie Toys launch in the U.S. Hot off the heels of an unprecedented summer in the UK, the best-selling and award-winning ride-on toys Scramblebug and Scuttlebug have landed in the United States. Originally launched in 2014, Scuttle Bugs and Scramble Bugs have been evergreen products for Mookie Toys, the largest supplier of outdoor toys in the UK.
America’s no. 1 card game goes green with Uno Nothin’ But Paper. Mattel Games‘ UNO Nothin’ But Paper is a cellophane-free, 100% recyclable version of the classic matching game. All decks and packaging are crafted from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials and use soy-based ink to produce the vibrant colors that UNO decks are known for.
Wild beasts roam into 'Wizkids Deep Cuts'. WizKids will release three new packs of wild animals as part of its WizKids Deep Cuts unpainted miniatures line in March: the Saber-Toothed Tiger, Dolphins, and Hyenas. The Deep Cuts line features highly-detailed unpainted miniatures suitable for table-top gaming. The models have deeper-than-average sculpted details to simplify painting.
Wizards of the Coast Extends 'Magic: The Gathering' in-store play suspension till January. Wizards of the Coast updated the status of its in-store organized play in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has extended its in-store play suspension of Magic: The Gathering events till January. WotC had recently announced a continued suspension of in-store play through November 11, but now, it looks like they have their eye...
WOWWEE, PINKFONG PLOT BABY SHARK ‘FINFEST’ INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER EVENT. On Saturday, Oct. 24, WowWee and Pinkfong are bringing popular influencers together to celebrate the launch of the Pinkfong Baby Shark Dancing DJ. WowWee’s latest Baby Shark toy is featured as a Hot 20 pick in the Toy Insider’s 15th annual Holiday Gift Guide and features seven songs and three dance games that encourage kids to get moving...
My Little Pony and Transformers mash-up revealed by Hasbro. The Equestria universe continues to get bigger as a new My Little Pony crossover figure has arrived. After the iconic Transformers crash land of the humble world of Equestrian, the Matrix of Friendship turns the Optimus Prime into someone more adorable with My Little Prime. The My Little Pony and Transformers figure unites two fandoms into one …
Hamleys set to cut over 25% of London staff. Hamleys has announced plans to cut more than a quarter of its employees at its London location, as it struggles to cope with the impact of Covid-19. The toy retailer has confirmed that 60 of the 208 staff working at the Regent Street store, as well as Hamleys’ nearby head office, have accepted redundancy as part of a programme to cut back on expenditure.
This touchscreen digital board game table is rage flip resistant and has tons of Hasbro games. In just a few years’ time Arcade1Up has managed to make a name for itself with a collection of DIY, Ikea-like arcade cabinets perfect for retro gaming collectors with limited space. The company is now targeting board game fans too with its new Infinity Game Table that lets players crowd around a giant touchscreen to...
ZURU unleashes Oosh Hairy Slime for Halloween and beyond. Just in time for Halloween, ZURU is unleashing a fresh batch of slime that’s squishy, fuzzy, and mega-stretchy while packed with all kinds of creepy critters. Designed for kids ages 4 and up, ZURU’s patent-pending OOSH Hairy Slime appears in the Toy Insider’s 15th annual Holiday Gift Guide as a hot holiday pick for kids ages 5-7.
Pop culture retailer Geek Retreat to open 100 new stores across the UK amid rise of the gaming scene. The UK’s geek culture retailer, Geek Retreat, has detailed its plans to open 100 new stores on high streets across the country over the space of the next two years, part of its own plans to ‘breathe new life into town centers.’ The move follows the rapid rise in the popularity of the pop culture scene among consumers today.
L.O.L. Surprise Movie Maker lets you create videos on mobile devices. L.O.L. Surprise is one of the biggest toy brands in the world, with a slew of dolls and accessories to collect. While the brand’s new L.O.L. Remix toys are themed after music, a new L.O.L. Surprise mobile application focuses on a different kind of entertainment: making movies.
Exploding Kittens announces 'A Game of Cat & Mouth'. Exploding Kittens announced A Game of Cat & Mouth, a magnetic pinball-adjacent game, for release on February 21. A Game of Cat & Mouth is a magnet-powered pinball-adjacent game where players hurl colorful balls through a cat's mouth.
Games Workshop unveils two new 'Warhammer 40,000' Spae Marines kits. Games Workshop unveiled Hammerfall Bunker and Primaris Techmarine, two new Space Marines kits for Warhammer 40,000, for release on October 24. Hammerfall Bunkers are classic fortifications featuring heavy artillery to allow Space Marines to unleash brutal firepower where most needed.
Hachette Boardgames will release 'Candy Lab' into the U.S. retail market. Hachette Boardgames will release Candy Lab, a candy-packing game by Funnyfox, into the U.S. retails market in October. In Candy Lab, players vie for the title of Master Confectioner as they pack prize candies into candy bar combinations.
Legend Story Studios adds 'Flesh and Blood' TCG distribution partners for Canada and Europe. Legend Story Studios (LSS) announced that it has added new distributors to make Flesh and Blood TCG available across Canada and Europe on November 6. LSS has had a busy 2020, taking their Flesh and Blood TCG from New Zealand to the global stage.
New Disney holiday doll series debuts starring Ariel. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Happy Kwanza! The upcoming holiday season is fast approaching, and plenty of Disney fans are already starting to celebrate in their own ways. 2020 has been a rollercoaster, so we’re welcoming any holiday traditions or decorations that make you feel good!
Bushiroad will release 'Weiss Schwarz' 'Magia Record' set. Bushiroad will release Magia Record Booster Packs and Trial Deck+ for Weiss Schwarz on February 26, 2021. Magia Record is a popular smartphone game spin-off of the 2011 anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Booster Packs from this set feature 100 types of cards which include 22 types of parallels.
Creators of tabletop party game Things… launch new mobile app. Quinn & Sherry, Inc. and PlayMonster LLC, creators of Things…, the hilarious, award winning party game, announce the launch of the Things…mobile app. With virtual play at its peak, the app will now allow friends and family to play Things… wherever and whenever they want, taking game night to the next level!
Caterpillar builds huge Pac-Man maze to celebrate game's 40th anniversary Caterpillar constructed a larger-than-life Pac-Man board and released a video that shows Caterpillar vehicles negotiating the 151-corner Pac-Man game board, the Journal Star of Peoria reported, Caterpillar employees needed more than a week to construct the maze, moving 5,000 tons of dirt, the newspaper reported. The maze measures 162 feet...
Timeless Toys Chicago Names Top Holiday Toys for 2020. Timeless Toys, an independent toy store in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, has released their list of the top toys for the 2020 holiday season, which includes both new products as well as twists on classic favorites. This year’s top toys feature games and interactive toys that encourage education as well as movement that families want for the holidays this year that are...
Mattel's Hot Wheels Legends Tour Schedules a Joint Virtual Stop for the US, UK This weekend, Hot Wheels fans and automotive enthusiasts in the UK can get in on the Hot Wheels Legends Tour for the first time ever. On Saturday, Oct. 24, a special U.S./UK joint virtual stop will take place as Mattel continues its search for the next real-life vehicle to be immortalized as a 1:64-scale die-cast vehicle created under the mantra of “built...
Video Games, Gaming Hardware, and Game Development News . . .
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.’s PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle chomps its way onto Stadia. BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. today announced PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle, arriving exclusively on Stadia. Square off against 63 other players and become the last PAC-MAN standing as everyone chomps and winds their way through the largest multiplayer PAC-MAN game ever developed.
Ubisoft Connect announced as a 'refreshed' replacement for Uplay and Ubisoft Club. It seems that 2020 is the year of platform rebrands. Following in the footsteps of EA’s rebranding of Origin, Assassin’s Creed publisher Ubisoft has announced that Uplay and the reward program Ubisoft Club are being dissolved into an entirely new tool: Ubisoft Connect.
Roblox player spending passes $2 billion on mobile. Player spending has passed $2 billion in Roblox on mobile, according to new estimates from Sensor Tower. Despite the App Store version of Roblox launching almost eight years ago, with the Android version following in 2014, half of all player spending was in the last 12 months.
Fortnite on PC is now over 60GB smaller, thanks to Epic optimization. Fortnite on PC has shrunk considerably, down from over 90GB to just under 30GB, thanks to recent optimizations from developer Epic. The news, detailed yesterday in a Fortnite update note posted to the game’s service Twitter account, means the battle royale hit will now take up far less space on your computer’s drive
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Among Us game watched by 400,000. A live stream of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez playing the popular game Among Us has become one of the most-watched videos on Twitch. More than 400,000 viewers made it the third-highest peak on record for the the game-streaming platform. She appealed to gamers to join her online “to get out the vote” ahead of the US election.
One-third of US gamers surveyed plan to buy a next-gen console this year. In a note to investors, Baird senior research analyst Colin Sebastian said the survey of nearly 1,000 US consumers showed stronger-than-anticipated demand for the new systems, with 18% of respondents planning to pick up a PS5 this year, 13% wanting to get an Xbox Series X, and 5% intending to buy an Xbox Series S.
HyperX’s $149.99 Cloud II Wireless is among the most comfortable headsets I’ve worn. The HyperX new Cloud II Wireless headset is made for people who want simple controls, barely-there comfort, and solid sound quality. This model is just a wire-free version of the company’s $100 flagship Cloud II gaming headset. It uses a 2.4GHz wireless receiver that works with PCs, the PS4 — and likely the PS5, when that is released...
Super Impulse expands miniature electronic arcade lineup. Super Impulse expands their electronic arcade lineup this fall with new releases and innovative technology. Created with both the nostalgic adult and the 21st century gamer in mind, Super Impulse has a roster of miniature arcades with play appeal for the masses.
Google launches free Stadia game demos to entice people into cloud gaming. Google is launching a series of Stadia game demos that are truly free to play. Starting today, existing or new Stadia users will be able to play demos of Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, with more coming later this week. These will be available for seven days and won’t require a Stadia Pro subscription or even a form of payment to play them.
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
Jakks Pacific recalls 'Skate & Skoot' scooters due to fall hazard, will provide replacement handlebar. Jakks Pacific recalled its MorfBoard Skate & Scoot Combo scooters with “Y” handlebars due to a risk that the “Y” handlebar joint on the scooter can break, posing a fall hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the recall affects about 162,300 scooters, which were sold nationwide from February...
York Jersey: Be Reassured When Your Toys Are Insured - Just as important as toys are to building blocks of childhood, so too is product liability insurance (PLI), to toy makers. Though far less fun, PLI proivides financial stability to toy manufacturers so they can keep creating new and innovative toys for our youngest generation. All major USA retailers (including Walmart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Costco), require...
Press Releases . . .
SOFT & SWEET LES DÉGLINGOS AND TEDDYKOMPANIET SHINE WITH TWO OPPENHEIM PLATINUMS AND A GOLD. Toddler Toys Muchachos The Llama, Speculus The Tiger & Cat Baby Comforter Imported By TriAction Toys Dazzle Hard-To-Impress Oppenheim Toy Portfolio – When it comes to picking the best of the best, especially a child’s toy, it’s natural to be picky. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio has searched the globe for this year’s finest playthings. Newcomer and European importer TriAction Toys wowed the 2020 judges not once but three times with its loveable, huggable array of soft toys for infants and toddlers. Oppenheim showered them with its highest honors – two rare Platinum and one Gold Seal...
(the above posted after October 23rd)
Dynacraft Introduces Clifford The Big Red Dog and Snoopy to Plush Ride-On Lineup. Universal Branding & Media has brought two of the most famous dogs to the Dynacraft wheeled goods line up for Holiday 2020. Clifford The Big Red Dog is a childhood favorite for over 55 years and Dynacraft is proud to showcase him within their successful plush ride on format. Dynacraft is proud to team up with Scholastic to bring Clifford...
Pinfinity Taps The Brand Liaison for Augmented Reality Collectables. he Brand Liaison will help Pinfinity continue to attract leading licensed properties and bring best in class licensors which will strengthen their position as the new face of the collectible pin world. Pinfinity has announce a partnership with The Brand Liaison that will make the agency its licensing agent. The Brand Liaison is exhibiting at Festival of Licensing, a...
Centa IP has been officially named as the licensing agent for pocket.watch's Love, Diana franchise for Australia and New Zealand. The licensing firm has been named as the agent for the property in the ANZ region following the success of the Ryan's World franchise. Centa has hit the ground running on the project, with 11 Australian licensing partners already signed on to produce an array of consumer products. Centa IP...
Endless Games gets "deal" for the home version of the current hit ABC-TV Game Show, Card Sharks, hosted by funnyman Joel McHale. The officially licensed Card Sharks Game (MSRP $24.99 for 3 or more players ages 14+) brings all of the fun of the show into your home for friends and family to play together. To play Card Sharks, players have to first, try to answer a tough polling guess-timate question, and the...
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals . . .
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more)
SPIELWARENMESSE SUMMER EDITION DATES SET FOR JULY 2021. Following the postponement of the annual international toy fair due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Spielwarenmesse 2021 Summer Edition will take place July 20-24 at the Exhibition Centre in Nuremberg, Germany. The move marks the first time in history that the show has moved from its traditional spot on the cusp of January and February.
Potential change of date for Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2022. Toy World understands that the organizer of the Nuremberg Toy Fair is seriously considering changing the date configuration for the 2022 event. While the Spielwarenmesse will occupy its traditional week in the calendar, the show could replace its current Wednesday – Sunday format, shifting the show a day forward so that it would run from Tuesday 1st February...
(the above posted after October 23rd)
London Toy Fair 2021, originally scheduled to take place from 19th-21st January, has been cancelled. A statement from the BTHA, sent exclusively to Toy World, reads as follows: “We have been working closely with Olympia London and we have together taken the decision that despite all best efforts and endeavours by both parties, regrettably the Toy Fair 2021 is unable to take place. This conclusion is due to gov...
BTHA 2020 Toy Retailer of the Year Awards to celebrate altruism and innovation in the year of Covid-19. Innovation and altruism will be at the heart of the 2020 Toy Retailer of the Year Awards this time around, as the BTHA outlines the theme of Special Recognition in areas above and beyond normal service. The change up to the Awards has been made in light of the events of the year, and the efforts that retailers have gone...
Costume giants Rubie’s opens digital doors of Nuremberg virtual showroom and tours. Giants of the costumes and dress up market, Rubie’s isn’t letting the postponed calendar of trade shows stop it from putting on a show early next year, as it prepares to open the digital doors of its 365 dedicated Nuremberg showroom with exclusive virtual tours and live appointments.
GAMA plans to expand role of non-manufacturer members. The GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association) board of directors updated members on its work on a revised set of bylaws at its October meeting, indicating that it was moving toward expanding the involvement of the trade. Organized as an association of game producers, over the years GAMA has grown to include many retailer and wholesaler members...
All change for BTHA Toy Retailer of the Year Awards 2020. In what has been an unprecedented year, the BTHA recognises that retailers have faced huge challenges and have gone above and beyond to keep business going through a tough climate. In light of this remarkable year, Special Recognition is the theme for the 2020 Toy Retailer of the Year Awards and recognition will be given to retailers that have done extraordinary...
Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .
Adventure Media & Events (US)
aNb Media's (US)
ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US)
3. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Sue Wizards of the Coast Over Cancelled 'Dragonlance' Books
4. Rolling For Initiative -- The Prisoner's Dilemma, Pricing and the Race to the Bottom
5. Wizards of the Coast Extends Suspension of 'Magic: The Gathering' In-Store Play
6. WizKids Unveils A Wave of Single-Count 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' Monster Packs
7. Famed Rapper Logic Buys Gem Mint 10 Charizard 'Pokemon' TCG Card at Auction for $220,574
8. Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair: Extra Life 2020'
9. GAMA Plans to Expand Role of Non-Manufacturer Members
10. ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream - Games Track
TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month
Toy & Hobby (Australia)
Video of the Week
Sneak peak of the Spin Master Founder Keynote from our International Innovation Summit!
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Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
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