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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday! 

We LOVE kid inventors. Our Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) is in its 19th year. Almost a dozen kids have earned licensing deals ringing up about 20 million in retail sales. Kids have given TedX talks, interviewed industry execs such as Richard Dickson, joined our industry (Nick Metzler) and they've been featured on Conan O'Brien, Steve Harvey, Martha Stewart, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX stations and other media everywhere. Andrew Raupp, founder of, wrote about YIC in NEWSWEEK!  We've expanded to summer camps, ASTRA toy store camps, more schools and groups worldwide.


Hundreds of your colleagues have been mentors. Both kids and mentors can participate virtually or in person and everyone can participate in our newest initiative!  Tim Walsh and Ahren Hoffman created our MAY I help the Young Inventor Challenge®? Yes, you MAY!  We invite you to support and inspire the next generation this month. 


Tony Serebriany, The Op/USAopoly, shared, "I personally love being part of the YIC because any chance I can help to foster creativity, design, innovation, fun, play, growth and feedback to the talent of the next generation I take it very seriously. I had a teacher in elementary school that inspired me in the creative field of photography, and it directly influenced my college degree, and in turn my being part of this amazing toy & game industry."


​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News FeedPlease support our work by advertising and/or setting up a POP profile.


  • "I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

  • The BLOOM REPORT is fantastic and it allows me to stay on top of all the breaking news in the Toy industry! - Wai Or, Longshore Ltd.

  • “I seriously look forward to Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation

  • "TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY

  • "Always happy to receive your newsletter. It is my go-to source to stay on top of my beloved toy industry." -Jacob R. Miles III, Media, Ent. & Toy Industry Analyst

  • If you are tired of these quotes, send me yours! 

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Person of the week - Disney's Rob Michaelis

Once I Walked Through the Door, I Didn’t Want to Leave

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Hi Rob! Thank you for taking time to share with our readers what you do at Disney and a bit about your life. You have a very long title, can you tell us what you do in our industry?


I oversee Brand Commercialization for Hardlines in North America for Disney Consumer Products across all franchises including Disney, Marvel, Lucas, National Geographic, and 20th Century.


What is it about the Toy and Game Industry that you love?


I love helping bring joy and happiness to consumers of all ages.


It sounds trite, and sometimes we get lost in the day-to-day, such as inventory management, quality control, franchise management, etc., but ultimately, we’re making toys, which is both an honor and a responsibility.


From a professional standpoint, I love being part of a close-knit, collaborative industry.  Sure, it’s very competitive, but there are true friendships interspersed throughout every toy company, and I have made some great connections throughout my career.

What are you working on now that you’re most excited about?


The coolest thing about my job is that I work on so many different projects and properties that it’s never dull.  I’m incredibly excited about Disney Lorcana, our new strategic trading card game launched in collaboration with Ravensburger last August.  We recently released Wave 3, “Into the Inklands,” to continued success and are expanding globally to meet overwhelming demand.


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Person of Week - Wearing Many Hats with Industry Veteran Adam Hocherman

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Hey Adam, excited to catch-up with you.  I see you’re up to a few new things!


Hi Mary, great to connect.  Indeed, I’m thrilled to be working on a couple of interesting consulting projects while outfitting a new strategy games studio called Wayfarer Games.

Well that’s exciting.  So a return to your entrepreneurial side?  Remind us about those roots.


That’s right.  From 2003 to 2017, I built and ran two companies.  The first was a consumer electronics company turned toyco called American Innovative and the second was a domestic manufacturing company specializing in laser-cut wooden STEM kits, called Tinkineer.  I sold them in 2014 and 2017, respectively - both into the larger mass toy industry.


And when did you move into the corporate side of the toy industry?


Well those sales moved me into an executive management role where I spent seven years doing business development, corporate strategy/legal, product development and, notably, inventor relations.

We’ll come back to Wayfarer Games in a moment.  You’re working on two other projects?


Yes, it’s been great to be able to start something new and stay connected to the more mainstream industry at the same time.  I’m working with old friends and, in one instance, an old property I’m very fond of and for which I, personally, wrote the original license agreement (for PlayMonster) over five years ago.    READ MORE...

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POP's Julia DeKorte Book Review 

The Gift of Authenticity by Gil Druckman, Professional Toy/Game Inventor

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The Gift of Authenticity: Embrace Your Inner Truth, Unleash Your Potential is a book that will launch you onto a journey of self-discovery and truly change your life. Written by Gil Druckman, toy and game inventor, university professor, and spiritual mentor, the stories he shares of overcoming past trauma through embracing his inner truth are very though provoking and will certainly provide a new perspective on the way that you approach obstacles in your life.


The book is told as a story of Gil’s journey and can be used as a guide to transform your own life. He shares the incredible transformative experience of embracing his inner truth and deciding to live without masks, shame, doubt, or fear, allowing him to unlock his potential that was previously hidden. He describes how this shift in mindset led him down a new path of professional and personal success, becoming a more peaceful, appreciative, and caring person, rather than the skeptical and impassionate person he was before.


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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Cartoon of the Week: Thank you to Bob Fuhrer for sharing a cartoon Ken Lewis posted.

Lexophile Lovers:  "If you boil a funny bone, it becomes a laughing stock. Now that's humerus." Thank you, Jerry Cleary, for sharing with our readers! 

Memorable Quotes: “If adults could remember the joy of playing with toys, the world would be a much happier place." - Charles Lazarus, founder of Toys "R" Us

Toy Industry Word of Day:  Frankenstein.  If you can think of a toy/game industry word not in our POPDictionary, add it and we will connect it to you POP profile, feature it here in an upcoming week and on POP's homepage! 

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

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Financial and Legal


The Writers Guild of Canada and the Canadian Media Producers Association have reached an agreement in principle for a new IPA (Independent Production Agreement). Both orgs announced earlier this morning that they have settled on terms for a new three-year deal, bringing more than six months of negotiations over key labor issues such as fair compensation and protection from AI to a close.  


*** The above posted after tBR sent on May 3rd ***


WHP Global (“WHP”), parent company of Toys”R”Us, signed a long-term license agreement with leading global retailer WHSmith as the exclusive shop-in-shop partner for Toys”R”Us in the United Kingdom. Under the terms of the agreement, WHSmith will have the exclusive license for Toys”R”Us shop-in-shops in their High street stores, including opening 30 new shops this Summer.

French conglomerate Mediawan (Miraculous Ladybug) has entered into an agreement to buy Germany’s Leonine Studios as part of an all-stock transaction.  To break things down by numbers, this transaction is expected to increase the French company’s annual revenue to roughly US$1.1 billion, expand its catalogue to 30,000 hours of premium content, and widen its footprint to span 13 countries across Europe...


The American Booksellers Association has filed a motion to intervene in the case against Amazon filed by the FTC and 17 state attorneys last fall.  The goal of the association is to bolster the case filed by the FTC by including the concerns of independent booksellers. The Association notes that in 1994, when Amazon launched, there were 7,000 independent booksellers in the U.S., a number that has now dropped to 2,500. 



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Financial Reporting

Spin Master Q1 revenue spiked 16.5% to $316.2 million, up from $271.4 million in the same period last year. A bright sign for the overall health of the toy industry is that Spin Master says that revenue in its Toys segment spiked 21.5% in Q1 followed by a 16.5% gain in Entertainment. Digital Games fell 3.2%. Gross product sales in toys grew by 22.1% in Q1. Excluding Melissa & Doug, sales saw a modest 0.5% increase.

Funko Taps Ex-Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia Williams  as CEO; Reports Q1 Earnings. Net sales in Q1 fell approximately 14.38% to $215.7 million compared to $251.9 million during the same period last year. Gross profit and margin nearly doubled, with profit spiking to $86.3 million (gross margin of 40%) versus $49.6 million (19.7% gross margin) in Q1 of 2023.

Disney topped Wall Street forecasts for its fiscal 2nd qtr and inched closer to the long-awaited milestone of streaming profitability.  Revenue for the qtr ended March 30 increased to $22.1 billion from $21.8 billion in the yr-earlier period. Excluding items, diluted earnings per share for the quarter increased to $1.21 from 93 cents. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $20.53 billion and earnings per share of $1.02.


Warner Bros. Discovery released its Q1 earnings with a news announcement that it has partnered with key competitor Disney on a new US streaming bundle that will include Disney+ Hulu and Max. The company generated US$9.96 billion in revenue this quarter, which is a 7% drop from Q1 2023. But its net losses were also down by 10%, from US$1.07 billion to US$966 million.  

*** The above posted after May 3rd ***


JAKKS reported a decline in net sales to $90.1 million, marking a yr-over-yr decrease of $17.4 million or 16%. This drop was attributed to a dearth of new film releases compared to last year. Gross margin stood at 23.4%, down 580 basis points from Q1 2023, primarily due to increased inventory obsolescence expense and retailer markdowns. Sales of toys and consumer products dipped 15% while the co’s Disguise costumes... 


‘Fallout’ Nabs 65 Million Viewers in First Two Weeks of Availability, Amazon Claims


Worldwide sales by CMON Ltd. were roughly flat in 2023, at $45.1 million vs. $45.3 million in 2022, the company reported in its annual financial statements.  Profits were up 48%, from $510,101 in 2022 to $755,948 in 2023.


Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

‘Knuckles’ Paramount+ Series Sets Platform Record With Over 4 Million Hours Viewed

New survey says 92 mins is the ideal movie length for American audiences. Movies that hit the mark include “Beetlejuice” and “Toy Story 2”




*** The above posted after tBR started sending on May 3rd ***


Snap says total watch time on its TikTok competitor increased more than 125%

Beacon Media Group unveiled its latest annual landscape outlook, titled “Media Mix Matters 2024: Emphasizing Audience Consumption.”

LGBTQ representation dips on TV. While TV content for kids and teens continues to include more LGBTQ characters, GLAAD has outlined room for growth—especially after a year when many inclusive shows got axed or came to a natural conclusion.

REPORT: Online shopping draws in Gen Alpha. These digitally native kids are outpacing some of their older peers in e-commerce activity, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 US parents.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

Got an Idea for a Toy? Toymakers Want to Hear From You. Companies like Lego and Mattel have divisions that seek out design concepts directly from collectors and other highly dedicated fan bases. Near the end of 2022, Lucas Bolt, an environmental artist and Lego enthusiast in Amsterdam, was working on a design for a Lego set the company had crowdsourced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dungeons...


*** The above posted after tBR circulated on May 3rd ***


John Baulch, Toy World - Online, offline … it’s the Friday Blog! As retailers continue to wait for a magic bullet to kickstart sales, there are some interesting retail developments to keep your eye on. I mentioned the imminent changes at the Toys R Us UK operation in last week’s Blog, although there have been a couple of additional twists since I wrote that piece – the most intriguing of which revolves around the future of Toys R Us’ online presence in the UK.

Rick Derr’s Letter From America. In the May issue of Toy World, Rick Derr of Learning Express Toys in the US looks at toy sales trends and how indies should respond. “This year, January and February sales performed according to plan, but unfortunately March did not. Does this signify troubled waters ahead for the toy market, or is it just a return to baseline normalcy?” asks Rick.


Move over New York Times, now LinkedIn is adding brain-busting games. Watch out “Connections,” LinkedIn says it’s adding a variety of games aimed at making actual connections. The Microsoft-owned platform, best known for professional networking and sharing news, is taking a page from the New York Times and adding three, free “thinking-oriented” games as a way to tap into the explosive popularity of brain-busting...

Storytelling with MESH Helps. MESH Helps started with a question, “How can we strengthen the skills kids need for their mental, emotional, and social health and build resilience through play?”. ThinkFun inaugurated this initiative in partnership with resilience expert, Dr. Deborah Gilboa who prepared research and built the MESH White Paper.

Chrisopher Byrne - The Disruption Report: Life Without Phones. An article this week in the Washington Post described how a Connecticut school’s banning of cellphones has improved student life. This may come as no surprise to those of us who grew up in an era where cellphones didn’t exist, but for the generation of kids and parents who have largely never been without their electronic companion, the article makes...

Why marketers should hold gaming in the same regard as other marketing channels. In just a few short decades, gaming has transformed from a niche hobby into a global multi-billion dollar industry that draws in billions of daily users, with in-game advertising enjoying high attention rates and diverse audiences. But gaming is still widely viewed as a ‘nice to have’, rather than an integral component. 

A 13-yr-old boy has discovered a “holy grail” Lego octopus which spilled into the sea from a shipping container in the 1990s. The octopus is one of nearly 5m Lego pieces that fell into the sea in 1997 when a storm hit a cargo ship 20 miles off Land’s End, Cornwall. While 352,000 pairs of flippers, 97,500 scuba tanks, and 92,400 swords went overboard, the octopuses are considered the most prized finds as only 4,200 were...




History and Nostalgia


The Evolution of the 2-XL Talking Robot: From Pseudo-Intelligence to AI. Recently, Mego2, a partnership between Mego and technology and artificial intelligence (AI) firm D1srupt1ve, began shipping the 2XL Cobot. Short for “companion robot,” it is the third generation of talking robots that first hit store shelves more than 45 years ago in 1978.

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Licensing and Entertainment 

Aiming to get more kids hooked on creative writing, Paramount Pictures has teamed up with SF-based nonprofit 826 National to publish three anthologies of short stories written by students inspired by the studio’s upcoming family movie IF. IF is a passion project driven by filmmaker, actor and writer John Krasinski (The Office) that centers around a pair of kids (voiced by Ryan Reynolds and Cailey Fleming) who...


New Jersey’s Horizon Group USA has just released the first products to come out of its new licensing deal with Lucasfilm for STEM-based activity kits based on the iconic sci-fi brand from a galaxy far, far away. Horizon’s Star Wars SLIMYGLOOP tactile slime jars delivered to North American retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble in time for May the 4th last week.

Olipop Released a Barbie-Inspired Soda, and It’s Reportedly Outselling Eggs. Barbie, that eternal icon who has held down over 250 jobs and owns at least two dozen houses, turns 65 this year. To commemorate this major milestone, the toymakers at Mattel have planned several limited-edition releases, like a line of dolls based on “Global Storytellers” including actor Viola Davis, singer Shania Twain, and film director Lila Avilés. 

Giving fans of its biggest franchises more content access points to engage with, Nickelodeon is launching four new preschool podcasts produced by Paramount Audio this month: three originals and one renewal. First up on May 13 is Dora’s Recipe for Adventure, a culinary adventure podcast that finds Dora and her monkey bestie Boots searching the rainforest for missing ingredients to make some of Dora’s...

DreamWorks Animation and LA’s Story Kitchen have inked a first-look agreement to collaboratively mine the high-in-demand content well of gaming IPs. Under the deal, Story Kitchen will hunt the marketplace for “exciting” and “iconic” video game properties with strong potential for screen adaptation as per Deadline—and DreamWorks will evaluate optioning their movie rights. 

In an effort to evolve with the changing viewing habits of its all-ages audience and boost discoverability, ABC Australia is overhauling its channel portfolio, introducing new nets ABC Family and ABC Entertains plus four digital streams for kids in June. With a focus on co-viewing content, ABC Family will replace general entertainment channel ABC TV Plus, creating a new destination for older kids and their parents. 

Indie game developer Mob Entertainment has inked a deal with children’s publisher Scholastic to expand its horror video game franchise Poppy Playtime into several different book formats. The multi-year agreement kicks off this week with the release of a Poppy Playtime Orientation Notebook at retailers across North America. 

NY’s Trustbridge Entertainment has acquired the rights to adapt American author Marc J. Gregson’s YA-skewing fantasy book series Sky’s End into a feature film franchise. Work on the project is already underway between Trustbridge and Antoine Fuqua’s Hill District Media studio (Bullet Train and Michael). Trustbridge president and former Boat Rocker Media EVP of kids and family Bob Higgins is attached ...

Tencent Video, one of China’s most popular streaming platforms with 117 million subscribers, is looking for partners to put its animated series in front of a global audience. The streamer has built up a significant portfolio of teen and YA animated content in recent years, consisting of both original titles and adaptations of web novels and video games. The shows, available on Tencent’s Cartoon Channel, have made it the...

BBC Studios Kids & Family is developing a new live-action series called Anisha Accidental Detective with British-Indian actor Archie Panjabi. Aimed at ages seven-plus, this 10-episode project tags along as its tween protagonist works to find her Uncle Tony, who disappears mere days before his big Bollywood-style wedding. 

British manufacturer Imagine8 has revealed a new range of licensed Bluey accessories that will be rolling out to retailers across the EMEA region later this year. Aimed at preschoolers, the collection naturally features the iconic blue heeler pup on hats, keychains, backpacks, jewelry, gloves and scarves. But Imagine8 is also manufacturing a matching line for Bluey’s younger sister Bingo in a move to broaden...

Due to high global demand for its content, Banijay Kids & Family has rolled out 12 new YouTube channels categorized by genre, as well as rebranding its whole YouTube channel portfolio as ZeeKay. Most of the new channels focus on themes including British cartoons, anime, action, music, arts, sport, animals and challenges, with curated content from popular Banijay shows such as Totally Spies!, Mr Bean: The...

Weigel Broadcasting is gearing up to launch MeTV Toons, a new US channel that curates retro animated content from several of the entertainment industry’s biggest studios and distributors. This 24-hour linear net will start airing on June 25, with a companion FAST channel available on select streaming services. Warner Bros. Discovery—one of the venture’s key content partners—has licensed out a package of...

*** The above posted after tBR sent on May 3rd ***


Netflix’s popular preschool series Gabby’s Dollhouse is being adapted for the big screen by Dreamworks Animation and Universal Pictures. Slated for a worldwide theatrical premiere on September 26, 2025, Gabby’s Dollhouse: The Movie will see Laila Lockhart Kraner (pictured) reprise her lead role in a new story executive produced by show creators Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey.

The long-awaited live-action “Masters of the Universe” movie is one step closer to becoming a reality, with Amazon MGM Studios and Mattel Films dating the project for worldwide theatrical release on June 5, 2026. Travis Knight (“Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Bumblebee”) is on board to direct the film adaptation of the popular franchise, with Chris Butler writing the screenplay, following initial drafts written by David ...

‘Mufasa: The Lion King’: First Trailer Released by Disney. Directed by Barry Jenkins, the music-filled movie serves as both an origin story and follow-up to Jon Favreau’s 2019 box office hit 'The Lion King.' Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Blue Ivy Carter are among the voice cast. Directed by Barry Jenkins, the music-filled film serves as both an origin story and follow-up to Jon Favreau’s 2019 photorealistic movie The Lion King. 

Hasbro Launches Spider-Man Blaster that Shoots Real Webs. This blaster shoots out webs and water! Designed for kids ages 5 and up, the Spider-Man Real Webs Ultimate Web Blaster is a great addition to any Spider-Man costume. When kids strap the web blaster onto their wrist, make the iconic thwip pose, and press the button in the center of their palm, the blaster shoots out realistic webs.

Partnering up with Samsung, Mattel is introducing three new channels to Samsung TV Plus. Mattel brands have gone well beyond the world of toys alone. Whether it’s Barbie: The Movie or animated series such as Thomas & Friends, Mattel has solidified itself as a presence in entertainment. Now, the company is teaming up with Samsung to bring the Barbie and Friends, Hot Wheels Action, and Mattel Jr. channels to...

Toy World caught up with Nigel Cook, VP Brand Commercialisation and Retail at Disney Consumer Products EMEA, to discuss recent launches for the Star Wars franchise. “Star Wars has brought epic adventures and relatable human storytelling to audiences for almost 50 years. Its timeless themes and compelling characters have enthralled fans across generations and leave us in no doubt about Star Wars’...

Mattel has announced the Matchbox Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology die-cast car. The new die-cast vehicle was created to celebrate the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and the recent reveal of its all-new electric model. Matchbox has unveiled that the realistic and highly detailed model which features recycled metal and a minimum of 81% ISCC-certified plastic, highlighting how Matchbox is evolving its product...

Robosen Robotics Innovation announced during a Hasbro Pulse Fan Stream, the World’s First Auto-Converting Decepticon leader – Megatron! Joining the growing line of Transformers robots created by Robosen and licensed by leading toy and game company Hasbro, the Flagship Megatron enters the battle against the Autobots with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Grimlock already available and on the market...

Iscream and The Kraft Heinz Co. have partnered for a range of food-themed plush products inspired by Kraft Heinz brands, including Kraft Mac and Cheese, Jet-Puffed, and Oscar Mayer. Three items from the collection recently launched at IT’SUGAR retail locations and online. 

The collaboration was brokered by Kraft Heinz licensing agency Brand Central.  

Squishmallows is once again taking its adorable IP into the consumables space. The Jazwares collectible plush brand inked a co-branding deal with See’s Candies, a California-based confectionery company, to bring a gift set to market in October. The set will include an 8-inch version of the Squishmallows character Emily the Bat, as well as a custom box of chocolates and candy, sold in a one-of-a-kind tote bag. 

Hallmark’s Rainbow Brite brand has been revitalized once more. As the nostalgic franchise celebrates its 40th anniversary, Hallmark has a full lineup of licensed goods on the way. We’ve previously covered The Loyal Subjects’ new line of dolls and toys, but there is more on the way in the toy world. Rainbow Brite will be partnering with Funko for Rainbow Brite and Friends Pop! figures as well as Super Impulse for toys. 

With just over a month until Inside Out 2 hits theaters, Just Play is unveiling its collection of toys featuring the new emotions in Riley’s head: Anxiety, Embarrassment, Envy, and Ennui. There are four kinds of plush in this collection: the Shaking with Anxiety Feature Plush, which kids can articulate into different fidgety positions, shakes and says phrases when kids twist her hair; the It’s Okay to Feel … Embarrassment...

Clever Noodle, an award-winning startup dedicated to creating engaging educational games, has announced the launch of its phonics-based game, Popped!, in collaboration with world-acclaimed artist Jeff Koons. The dynamic and immersive game is designed to make learning to read an enjoyable adventure, with Koons’ iconic Balloon Dog serving as the game’s visual centerpiece. 

New broadcasters scoop up Ellipse and Belvision’s Belfort & Lupin. Aimed at six to nines, this 26 x 22-minute comedy inspired by real French history is in production now. It’s set in 17th-century France at the Palace of Versailles, with a premise revolving around a royal dog and a wolf living in the garden. Each episode also contains a one-minute clip explaining the historical fact that influenced its story. 

Netflix is turning to the mystery gang for its next buzzy teen show. Scooby-Doo! The Live-Action Series is in the works for the streamer at LA’s Berlanti Productions (a WB Television banner). The project is still in development, so details are scarce. But Josh Appelbaum (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Scott Rosenberg (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) are attached to pen the script, and Variety has reported that the format...

France’s StudioCanal has launched a new business unit that will focus on book-to-screen adaptations, and one of its first projects is based on Dick Bruna’s classic Miffy preschool books.  Canal+ and StudioCanal Stories, which is still assembling its full team, are developing a brand-new CG-animated Miffy series (78 x seven minutes) for 2025. Sarah Reese Geffroy has been promoted to lead the new unit as SVP...

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People of Play

Cynthia Williams has been tapped to lead Funko as CEO and will serve on its Board of Directors. Interim CEO Michael Lunsford will remain in command until that date. Williams joins the company from Hasbro where she most recently served as President of Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Games. The seasoned exec also held roles at Microsoft and Amazon.


Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks joins 'Money Movers' to discuss Hasbro's recent strategic turnaround and what's clicking for the company. Toys will always be an important part of our business.

HOW LICENSING AND INNOVATION DRIVE SUCCESS IN TOYS: THE CREATEON STORY WITH STEVE ROSEN. In a special episode of Toy Business Unbox, host Jason Hsieh delves into the inspiring journey of CreateOn, a co. that stands at the forefront of this ever-evolving market. Steve Rosen, the president of CreateOn, shares his experiences and insights into the world of toys, highlighting the critical role of licensing, creativity...


Clinton Sparks Podcast:  Nolan Bushnell, the creator behind Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, shares his insights into innovation and entrepreneurship such as: Esports and NFTs are shaping the future of the gaming industry, Explore the intersection of esports and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Discover the potential impact of NFTs on the esports ecosystem, and more.

Warner Bros. Animation is undergoing a leadership shift, with EVP and GM Ed Adams (pictured) gearing up to retire in September after 15 years with the studio. When he does, most of Adams’ responsibilities will be absorbed into Matt Matzkin’s role as EVP of business operations and production at Warner Bros. Unscripted Television.


British prodco Blink Industries has recruited Courtney Arumugam as its new executive producer of animation and development. Based in London, Arumugam started last week and announced the news in a LinkedIn post. She’s coming off a two-year EP stint at LEGO Group, where she oversaw the creative development of short- and long-form content. 

‘The Prince of Play': North TX man created iconic toys that shaped childhoods of millions. “May the Fourth be with you,” get ready to hear that a lot this Saturday as the annual celebration for fans of all things Star Wars. To celebrate, Heritage Auctions is taking bids on an extremely rare prototype of a Star Wars action figure of the character Boba Fett which is expected to sell for more than $250,000. The man who created this toy...


*** The above posted after tBR started sending on May 3rd ***


Ann Kienzle's *play toy store in Chicago named one of the top 100 small businesses in the country by Yelp & NBC News tells the story! Way to go, Ann, you are rockin' Small Business Month! 

Toy Launch Podcast. HOW EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING SHAPES YOUNG MINDS: INSIGHTS FROM REISA SCHWARTZMAN. In the fast-paced world of toy design and education, there are innovators who are redefining the way children learn and play. One such trailblazer is Reisa Schwartzman, the founder of Griddly Kids, a brand that is dedicated to inspiring creativity and curiosity through STEM-based toys and games.


Mattel Television Studios welcomes three new hires as the co prepares for new scripted, unscripted, and documentary projects. This comes as the studio prepares to premiere 16 new series and specials this year, with an additional 14 currently in production. Amy Suh has been named Head of Creative, Live Action; Cory Bennett Lewis is the new Head of Production; and Sidney Clifton has been welcomed as Head of...

TOMY International announced that Jeff Jackson will be joining Fat Brain Toys as Executive Vice President effective immediately. Building upon their success, Jeff will be working alongside founders Mark and Karen Carson to further their vision for growing the Fat Brain brand. Jackson joins Fat Brain Toys as a seasoned executive in the toy industry. 

Mattel  has promoted PJ Lewis to SVP, Global Head of Action Figures and Fisher-Price Entertainment. It was announced by Mattel EVP and Chief Brand Officer, Lisa McKnight to whom Lewis reports. Lewis is taking on an expanded role as Executive Lead for Action Figures and Fisher-Price Entertainment, including management of Action Figures, Plush and Preschool Entertainment, inclusive of Barney and Imaginext.

Paramount Global has ousted CEO Bob Bakish, setting up Brian Robbins (CEO of Paramount Pictures), Chris McCarthy (CEO of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios) and George Cheeks (CEO of CBS) to run the company jointly going forward. The three executives now make up the newly formed Office of the CEO and will work together with the board to develop a strategic plan, said Robbins during the...

Licensing industry veteran Robert Marick, who left his head of consumer products position at MGM Studios in January, has launched a new LA-based consulting firm called Marick Management Group (M2G). Its core services span business planning, entertainment licensing, global brand management and marketing & sales, leveraging Marick’s extensive consumer products skills and network to provide clients with roadmaps for breaking into new product categories ranging from toys and apparel, to location-based entertainment and video games. 

Kristofer Updike is settling into a new role as SVP of creative at Hidden Pigeon Company, where he will oversee the development of Mo Willems’ kids books into TV series and feature film concepts. Updike most recently served as VP of development for Peacock Kids and NBC Content, and he has developed and produced more than 900 half hrs of animated and live-action content for kids and families over...

Skybound Ent. has continued its executive hiring binge with the addition of two more sr execs, to help with mergers & acquisitions and a new loyalty program. Gregg Sulak, most recently CFO of Wondery, has joined the company as CFO, where he will be responsible for the finance and accounting activities of the company. Will Kassoy, who spent time as a consultant, as President of charity fundraising platform Omaze, and...

ICV2 INTERVIEW: MARVEL PRESIDENT DAN BUCKLEY, PART 1. On the State of Comics, Marvel and Kids, Superheroes' Declining Share, Improving Publishing. ICv2:  We’d like to start out with the big‑picture questions.  We want to talk about the market, but let's start with the medium.  What's your evaluation of the state of the comics medium? Dan Buckley:  It's in flux, but I think it's in a healthy place.

ICV2 INTERVIEW: MARVEL PRESIDENT DAN BUCKLEY, PART 2. On Direct Market Distribution, Marvel's Publishing Plans, Including a New Program for Kids, More. Last year there was a change in your reporting structure (see “Perlmutter Out”).  Has that changed what's going on in Marvel publishing at all? Dan Buckley:  No.  To be clear, I've been in some way, shape, or form reporting in to Kevin [Feige] since 2019.

MARVEL PRESIDENT DAN BUCKLEY'S COMICSPRO KEYNOTE ADDRESS. Transcript of Speech at Pittsburgh Meeting. "Howdy folks. Thank you for having me. And a special thank you to Jenn Haines, it’s been a pleasure meeting you, and we really appreciate what you’re doing here for the industry. I’m here today to remind you how essential retailers are to us, to the community of comic fans, and to the future of our industry...


Companies and Brands


Following stops in LA (Nov.) and Chicago (May), the Bluey x CAMP retail experience is heading to Boston this summer for the third leg of its US tour. Originally designed by NY-based retailer CAMP and BBC Studios last year, the experience features a 5,000-sq-foot recreation of Bluey’s home for kids and families to explore. It’s due to launch on July 19 in CAMP’s flagship Burlington Mall store, where it will run until the end of Oct. 


*** The above posted after May 3rd ***


Hasbro has added a new playset to its Play-Doh catalog. Kids can make Play-Doh pizza and ice cream, then deliver their creations to family members on the scooter. The playset includes 10 different Play-Doh containers with colors like white, red, green, and brown, as well as built-in molds on the scooter, so kids can create more than 50 pretend toppings and dessert treats.

The iconic SpongeBob SquarePants made his TV debut 25 years ago. Finish this tune: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? If you answered correctly with "SpongeBob SquarePants!" you've likely heard of the square, sponge cartoon who made his TV debut 25 yrs ago on May 1,1999. But before the "absorbent" and "porous" SpongeBob took over television and movie theater screens, he was actually Bob the Sponge in an...

TOMY International is offering a limited-edition Club Mocchi- Mocchi- Giant Kirby plush, available to pre-order on their newly launched website, TOMY+. Featured in the popular Suya Suya, peacefully sleeping style, the Giant Kirby plush will include the signature, unique Club Mocchi- Mocchi- squishy texture that is super soft to the touch, as well as highly detailed embroidered elements. 

Far Out Toys launched a new line of dolls exclusively at Walmart that aims to return fashion to the forefront of fashion dolls. The L.U.V. collection (which stands for their Limitless potential, Unique perspectives, and Vibrant energy) is a quartet of best friends, each with a distinct style and diverse physical attributes. “What’s really unique about our dolls is that they have four unique bodies, four unique head sculpts … 

Zigazoo, a social media network for kids, is launching Social Media Wellness Month to encourage healthier relationships with the internet.  The new campaign is designed to educate kids, parents, and lawmakers on how to improve social media to be a healthier experience, including emphasizing safety and privacy. Several resources will be available throughout the month, including content created by Zigazoo’s...

John Adams has announced its second big launch of the season, as the company reveals the details of the marketing drive for the hotly anticipated Zhu Zhu Aquarium collection. Zhu Zhu Pets first took the world by storm 15 years ago, and now the brand is back with land swimming and interactive plush fish. Created by Cepia, this new wave of pets benefits from global marketing support from all territories...

IMC Toys is expanding its presence in the doll space with a new collection of fashion dolls. The VIP Hair Makeover dolls — Quinn and Megan — feature 11 inches of multicolored hair that kids can style and transform with the pull of a string. Each doll comes with seven accessories, including their fashionable outfits, a hair brush, and accessories to go in the hair. 

Micro Scooters is celebrating its 20th year in the UK. The first Mini and Maxi scooters hit London’s streets in 2004 – in the same year Kelly Holmes won double gold at the Athens Olympics and the last episode of Friends was aired. Fast forward two decades, and now more than 1m families regularly use Micro Scooters for the school run, as part of the journey to work or weekend adventures. 

New Toy Company Spotlight: Poco a Poco. Poco a poco is the hard-won realisation of a small, tight-knit team’s idea branched off from Sanyu Raito, led by wife and husband Shiho and Takashi. With over 70 years of manufacturing experience at our core, our mission is to pioneer a new era of products that not only enhance but also secure the well-being of future generations.

Driving a new plush sub-category, Zuru has launched the brand-new Hug-A-Lumps weighted plush. Combining the comfort of a weighted blanket with the emotional connection forged by a soft toy, the Hug-A-Lumps plushies are designed to ease anxieties, help to calm and focus and promote relaxation.

The product inventors at ABetter Design Company proudly announce the launch of its progressive new product Cornhole Shootout, a fusion of basketball and cornhole. The all-new indoor-outdoor game, Cornhole Shootout ($99.99 for 2-4 players ages 6+) is a combination of two fun activity games in one. Set up is like traditional cornhole, but this time, players take aim and can choose to shoot into elevated hoops...

Peg Perego showed 8-year-old Jackson Laux around the Fort Wayne factory where John Deere ride-on toys are made. Jackson is a farm enthusiast who posts to the TikTok page Just a Jackson Thing, which has more than 350,000 followers. The local company invited Jackson to the factory after hearing about Jackson’s interest in farming and the John Deere brand of farming implements.

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development


 Japanese video-game maker Nintendo said Tuesday that it will make an announcement about a successor to its Switch home console sometime before March 2025. In reporting its financial results, Nintendo gave no details about the announcement, including about whether it would launch that successor product during this fiscal year, or just announce its plans for it.


Marvel Studios has teamed up with San Francisco’s ILM Immersive for an upcoming mixed-reality project called What If…? – An Immersive Story. Billed as the “first-ever interactive Disney+ Original story,” this hour-long experience will eventually be available as an exclusive app on the Apple Vision Pro—a new AR/VR headset that hit the market back in Feb 2024—although no release date has been ...

Walmart is expanding its relationship with Roblox to offer the platform’s 70 million daily users the ability to purchase real-world items within games. A new e-commerce feature launched last week as a pilot update to the retailer’s Walmart Discovered Roblox experience. When US-based players over the age of 13 enter the game, it now features a shop area where they can purchase three curated products. 


*** The above posted after tBR sent on May 4th ***


Hasbro and Nex have redesigned classic games from the Hasbro catalog for Nex Playground console gamers. The first release, Hungry Hungry Hippos: Move n’ Munch, uses AI motion tracking technology, developed by Nex, so players need to use their entire bodies and jump, squat, and wave their arms to help Hippos snack on some food.

Spin Master’s Toca Boca studio is entering the multiplayer domain with Toca Boca Days digital game, being released this year beginning this summer. This strategic expansion caters to the evolving needs of kids and tweens by providing an emotionally rewarding and safe multiplayer environment. Over the past decade, Toca Boca studio has been at the forefront of innovative gaming, emphasizing play, self-expression and...

10:10 Games in collaboration with Funko and Universal Products & Experiences, alongside physical distribution partner Skybound Games, have revealed a brand new look at Funko Fusion and release details for the upcoming co-op action extravaganza built around some of the biggest brands and characters in pop and Funko Pop! culture. Ahead of Funko Fusion’s global release on 13th September, 2024...


Highlighted Press Releases

ACADEMICS & PARENTS ARE OVER THE MOON FOR THE BEDTIME GADGET THAT’S EDUTAINMENT AT ITS BEST. Multisensory Moonlite Named Academics’ Choice Awards™ 2024 Smart Media Winner In Recognition Of Mind-Building Excellence. Beaverton, OR (May 2, 2024) – Have you heard that a tuck in bed with an enchanting story by Moonlite ( now has the power to “stimulate the mind and provide potential for the student to fully develop higher order thinking skills.” So says the Academics’ Choice Awards™ led by leading thinkers and graduates from Princeton, Harvard and other top-ranking universities!


THERE’S A NEW BUZZWORD FOR CONSTRUCTION TOYS WITH A LITTLE TWIST: CONFLUXION. Discover The Newest Toy Category At Astra Featuring TECTI®, HyperTiles® & Nockles™ At Fun In Motion Toys Booths 804 & 809. Ft. Lauderdale, FL (May 1, 2024) – Clean up in Aisle 800 takes on a whole new meaning at this year’s Astra Marketplace. Retailers searching for something truly special to fill their 4th quarter shelves will be dazzled (again) as they fill up their order books with Fun In Motion Toys ( Look for them on both sides of the aisle at Booths 804 and 809 and get your hands on the brand new Nockles, the acclaimed TECTI, the beautiful, newly packaged HyperTiles and...

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Safety and Counterfeiting


The Toy Association shares essential tips for safe play this spring & summer season. Whether families are hanging out together at home or heading off on vacation, the spring and summer months are sure to be filled with plenty of outdoor playtime. The Toy Association is sharing top tips for outdoor play with parents and caregivers to ensure kids are playing safely. 


Sega Toys recalls cat robots in Japan: burning smell complaints also lead to sales suspension. Sega Toys' latest "KIMIT Ragdoll" line of pet cat robot toys has been recalled less than two months after its February 29th, 2024 release date, per an official Kimit press release. Japan Today reported on the existence of the released KIMIT Ragdoll White and Brown models on March 1st of this year, and pointed out...

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals


Ahead of the inaugural International Day of Play on June 11, The Toy Association is sharing resources biweekly from its Genius of Play initiative for play professionals to share with their networks. These resources are free to use and help to promote the importance of play in child development and offer guidance on fostering play-based learning experiences.

GAMA has moved the dates of GAMA Expo two weeks to avoid conflict with Toy Fair’s dates, which were overlapping several days of the GAMA show, the organization announced.  The 2024 dates for GAMA Expo are moving from March 3-6, 2025 two weeks earlier to February 23-27, with Toy Fair running March 1-4.  This will allow exhibitors and attendees to do both shows, with a (short) gap in between.


Toy World spoke with Toymaster about its enhanced focus on retailer-supplier relationships, the opportunities ahead for indies and what its new office space offers members and suppliers. The Toymaster head office, located in Northampton, has been revamped. Previously, the 17-strong Toymaster team was located on the ground floor, now the team has been moved upstairs, and downstairs has been transformed...

*** The above posted after tBR started sending on May 3rd ***


The Toy Foundation (TTF) has awarded Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital a $25,000 grant as part of its Children’s Hospital Play Grants Program. The hospital is a Hollywood, Florida level one trauma center offering a variety of healthcare services. The grant will support the hospital’s “Shaping the Lives of Little Ones” initiative, a program aiming to mitigate the adverse effects of prolonged hospitalization on infants.


Momentum is building for The Toy Association’s LA Fall Preview, with nearly 70 percent of available showroom space already sold. Taking place at 2250 East Imperial highway in El Segundo, in the heart of the LA “toy district,” the marketplace will welcome Hasbro, LEGO Systems, Inc, Crazy Aaron’s, Elenco, Horizon Group USA, and more as the toy industry gathers for preview activity in the fall, including a...


Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) is calling on all toy suppliers with a vision for change to enter the fifth edition of the European Play for Change Awards. The awards celebrate purpose-driven toy companies who promote positive societal change through their toys and initiatives. The awards welcome applications in three categories: Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability and Life Skills.

Licensing International announced the 2024 Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame and Rising Star Awards honor executives’ legacies, bodies of work, and unique contributions to the global brand licensing community. This year’s inductees are Joseph Kaminkow, Chief Innovation Officer, Pixie Dust at Aristocrat; Maca Rotter, President & CEO at La Panadería Licensing & Marketing; and Stu Seltzer, President at The Seltzer...


Hosted by Cally Beaton, the Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2024 was attended by some 400 retailers, licensees and brand owners who shared in the joy as the worthy winners made their way to the stage to collect their trophies. Before the awards, revered fashion designer Jeff Banks – who described himself as a ‘humble tailor’ – captivated the audience with the story of how he turned his brand into a household...

The Halloween & Costume Association (HCA) is hosting its inaugural Spooky Awards, a costume and decor contest recognizing exceptional designs across the industry. Each entry will be judged by a panel of industry representatives using the criteria of Innovation, Marketability, Trendsetting Potential, Appeal, and Usefulness. The awards include a Costumes category with the following subcategories...

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) hosted both lifestyle and licensing events in April, gathering global trend-setting creative products and services, and helping the industry seize business opportunities. Following the successful conclusion of Home InStyle and Fashion InStyle, the Hong Kong International Licensing Show (HKILS) and Asian Licensing Conference (ALC) were also held at the HKCEC...

Disney will be headed back to the Annecy International Animation Film Festival this year where they will “unveil a handpicked selection of new releases that promise to bring fresh, captivating adventures to all the family”. This includes a screening of “Inside Out 2,” a sneak peek of “Moana 2,” a 30th anniversary screening of “The Lion King” and a celebration of 40 years of Disney Television Animation, which includes...


Bluey and Moon Girl are on this year’s Peabody shortlist. The prestigious television awards program is into its 84th edition, with a handful of well-known kids and teen-adjacent titles in the running for wins. Peabody revealed its 2024 nominees in two parts this week, with yesterday’s batch covering the Arts, Children’s and Interactive & Immersive categories.

Hobby game publishers, including Renegade Games Studios, Hachette Boardgames USA, and Capstone Games took the bulk of the slots in the five top Mensa Select Games for 2024, the organization announced.  The Mensa Select seal is awarded to games that are original in concept, challenging, well-designed, a good value for the price, and easy to comprehend and play.

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE


Rob Auerbach - Tribute from Robert Fuhrer:  "It is with heavy hearts we write you that Rob Auerbach, Owner and CEO of CandyRific, passed away the morning of May 7, 2024.  An industry icon, Rob was a toy and novelty candy creator for more than 40 years with many historic items reaching the market. He founded CandyRific in 2000 with partners, Michael and Paul Roberts, steering it to be the global industry leader it is today.  A leader of licensing and branding in the candy industry, Rob’s passion was bringing great licenses and brands to products, making them amazing and enjoyable for everyone.
Rob founded Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets in 1977.  Those who knew him knew of his love for thoroughbred racing and he attended the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4.  Above all things, Rob loved his family.  He was the most positive person you could ever meet. Rob was a gifted storyteller with a great sense of humor, and he made everyone feel happier just being around him.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Pumpkin, daughters, Summer and Star, and all who loved him. He will be missed by all of us atCandyRific and Hilco Sweets, and we are grateful to have called him a friend. 


Walter Frederick Morrison, the inventor of the plastic flying discs that eventually became known as the Frisbee, died at his Utah home on Tuesday. He was 90 and is survived by three children. For decades, Morrison's creation has been an integral part of American life. Sure, there have been other flying toys, like the Aerobie or the Flip N Flyer, but even these seem less like competitors and more like slightly-modified versions of the original toy, sort of like weird second cousins. Frisbees, whose sales have passed 200 million units, are as American as baseball, apple pie, or fireworks on the Fourth of July.


Richard Keats, founder of Kaywood Industries, died on April 7 at the age of 97, leaving behind a legacy of toy innovation. Keats was a U.S. Navy Veteran as well as a graduate of Brown University. Following his degree, Keats joined his father’s company — Buddy L Toys — in 1948. After his father’s retirement in 1976, Keats took over and ran the company until it was sold to SLM in 1990. This wasn’t the end of Keats’ toy industry career. With experience from his time at Buddy L, he founded Kaywood Industries and continued to design and invent new toys. The company went on to license products to industry leaders including Fisher-Price, Mattel, Hasbro, and Spin Master.  Products that saw success with Kaywood Industries include Brush Your Teeth Barney, Playtime Big Bird, Flatsy, MakeUp Mindy, and more. Keats attended Toy Fair and the Dallas Fall Toy Preview trade shows yearly until 2019, demonstrating his deep investment in the world of toys. The toy industry has lost a talented and passionate inventor and designer. Keats passed away peacefully, and celebrated his 97th birthday on April 1. 


Jack McAllister - December 13, 1926 – April 19, 2024. He proudly served his country as a Navy Veteran during World War Two. Jack was truly a jack of all trades. He worked for Coast to Coast Hardware in Robbinsdale for many years. He was a toy designer for Sifo Toys as well as for Centuri Rocket Company. He designed cereal box premiums for General Mills. Jack worked as an engraver at Jostens and was employed by North States Industries as a designer and machinist. He also worked at Priemier Plastics as a designer and mold fabricator and was a machinist at NW Swissmatics. Jack was the proud creator of the games of BUNKERBALL and Racehorse Checkers. He also made a seed a starter kit which he named Roly Rooter. He made beautiful "Lucky Birds" out of wood and porcelain which he sold at the community market.

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Some Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.


Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 


Toyworld (UK)

  1. Things can only get better… it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. The May issue of Toy World is out now

  3. Toy World’s first ever Toymaster May Show supplement is out now

  4. 30 new WHSmith Toys R Us concessions slated by end of August

  5. Exclusive: Rick Derr’s Letter From America

  6. Toys R Us seeks partner for eCommerce site

  7. Online toy retailer Booghe to open flagship Birmingham store

  8. John Adams reveals new Zhu Zhu Aquarium collection

  9. Zuru launches Hug-A-Lumps comforting companions

  10. Fifth edition of Play for Change Awards open for submissions Powered by Toyworld

  1. The May issue of Licensing World is out now

  2. Exclusive: Disney celebrates mighty Star Wars licence

  3. Exclusive: The Science Museum brand profile

  4. Paramount celebrates Yellowstone success with immersive experience

  5. Care Bears and Piñata Smashlings announce Roblox collaboration

  6. Hasbro releases two brand-new versions of Monopoly

  7. Airfix partners with AVI-8 on watch range

  8. Sambro announces new SpongeBob SquarePants range

  9. Robert Marick launches M²G: Marick Management Group

  10. HKTDC reports successful licensing show

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

Limited Edition 'D&D' 50th Anniversary Miniatures
Rolling for Initiative – Embracer Group Shuffles and No More 'D&D' Deep Discounts on Amazon
Largest TCG Tournament Ever
WizKids to Release New 'Critical Role Unpainted Miniatures' Range
WizKids' 'Tales of the Arthurian Knights'
WizKids to Release Roadwardens and Cutpurses
New Wave of 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' Character Packs
CMON Sales Flat in 2023
Ultimate Guard Gets 'Magic: The Gathering' License
Hobby Game Publishers Win Mensa Select Seals for 2024

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

Global Toy News

The Bugg Report (Australia)

The Toy Universe (Australia)


Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Line-It Released, Mensa Select Games
Gigamic has released a new card game, this year’s Mensa Select games have been announced, and a sequel to Tales of the Arabian Nights is available for pre-order.

Video of the Week 

Paul Andersen turned his classroom into a video game! A Hidden Role Podcast!



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