April 15 - 22, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
Our first Marketing and PR Quarterly Event was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make it a success!
Keynotes Carly McGinnis and Dan Gingiss were fantastic! We will share the recorded panel discussions next week. Kudos to my co-chair Michelle Litzky, our planning committee, moderators and panelists on delivering an extraordinary program! We have already got great ideas for our next Quarterly Marketing & PR Event.
Save the Date! If you're attending DISTOY, we're planning a Pub Party Wednesday May 18th. Details next week!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. Have you checked out the new Bloom Report News Feed?
"I am a long-time reader and champion of the Bloom Report. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry is unmatched and I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool." - Jim Engle, President and Founder, Little Kids Inc.
Person of the Week - Julien Sharp
Focused on Entertaining on Board and off Board!
Hi Julien! Thank you for taking a few minutes to chat about what you do in our industry. Can you share what your roles and responsibilities are in our industry?
Currently I lead US Marketing for Spin Master’s Games & Puzzles product category– including the Rubik’s brand; Plush product category – including the Gund brand; and Outdoor product category – including the SwimWays brand. I have a team of seven, including Brand Managers who work on specific businesses within these groups, as well as a Shopper Marketing team. Overall, the US Marketing teams are responsible for managing the commercial success of products sold in the US.
What has been your biggest achievement?
My answer would have been very different a year ago, but in my current position (which I have held about 6 months), I have a team of seven. While in my previous career I had teams of up to 70 reporting into me (12+ direct reports), this is my first time to manage a team for a single function in the toy industry. Because I oversee 3 business units, the Brand Marketing Managers on my team specifically run a single area of business, so they really have to deep dive into their product lines to spot and fix issues and ensure marketing activations and plans are doing their jobs. My job is to be their support system so they can succeed in these tasks. Guiding the team, helping them learn and understand their products, and gain confidence as they make an impact on their books of business has truly been a career highlight for me. READ MORE . . .
Person of the Week - Reisa Schwartzman
Look at an Idea from as Many Angles as Possible
Hi Reisa! Thank you for taking time for our interview. I remember meeting you at our NYTF Connolly's Pub event many years ago and have loved getting to know you over the years (we will make challah together one day!). Your start in our industry is unique. How would you end this sentence: Everything would have been different if...
If I hadn’t invested in a game company. I rescued a company, Griddly Games, from bankruptcy and then started making our own games and STEAM kits. I would have never learned how much I love the toy industry! I got so passionate about it.
How do you jumpstart your creativity?
It’s important to always be open to ideas and be watching for trends or voids in the market. For me, I will get an inspiration and then look at the idea from at as many angles as possible to figure out what we can do with the idea.
The toy and game industry clearly has taught me…:
That great ideas are usually simple solutions in creative ways. READ MORE . . .
Person of the Week - Sherry Martin
Inch by Inch is a Cinch and Mile by Mile is a Trial, Let the Sky be my Limit
Hi Sherry! Thank you for doing this interivew with us. We've known one another a long time, but I learned a lot more about you! Let's start with sharing with our readers what your roles and responsibilities are in our industry?
As an African American inventor of educational games and products that cater to literacy, I feel that one of my roles to the industry is to expose my games and products to as many educational communities in the U S. There are a lot of underserved communities throughout the country and the lack of opportunities, funding, and certain exposure hinders the literacy growth of many young people. I am trying to make a difference with my products to help young students reach their potential.
What has been your biggest achievement?
I did a licensing deal with Arby© restaurant. Over 2,500,000 units of my game were distributed in their kid’s meal across the United States.
What was your biggest failure?
When I first got in the business and set up my first company, I needed business insurance. I failed to include a rider to protect me from certain lawsuits, it cost me lots of money. READ MORE . . .
Financial and Legal
Hasbro Activist Alta Fox Seeks to Replace Toymaker’s Chairman. Alta Fox, the activist fund in the midst of a proxy battle with Hasbro Inc., is rallying other investors to vote against the re-election of the toy company’s chairman and two other board members at its annual meeting on June 8, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg.
Mattel has held talks with private-equity firms about a potential sale, people familiar with the matter said, just a few months after the famed toy company declared its corporate turnaround complete. Mattel has held informal talks with firms including Apollo Global Management and L Catterton, the people said. The talks are at an early stage and may not result in a deal. If there is one, it would be sizable. Mattel had a market capitalization of about $8 billion as of the close of the market Tuesday.
Mattel, Incorporated has announced a new goal to reduce plastic packaging by 25% per product by 2030 in their new Citizenship Report. This new 2021 Citizenship Report provides a progress update on the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy and established goals of Mattel. “At Mattel, our aim is to contribute to a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable future,” said Ynon Kreiz, Chairman and CEO, Mattel.
Spain's government has agreed on a new code of conduct that will prevent toy manufacturers from using sexist stereotypes in their adverts. Companies will no longer be allowed to use blue or pink colours to imply that their products are intended for boys or girls. The "self-regulatory code" will aim to "avoid prejudice and gender roles and the sexualised representation of little girls", the country's consumer affairs...
Sellers on Amazon UK may be forced to raise prices for customers after being hit with a a 4.35% inflation and fuel levy. Retail Gazette reports that the surcharge will come into force on 12th May for marketplace sellers that use its ‘Fulfilment by Amazon’ (FBA) service and is being introduced to offset rocketing inflation and record fuel prices. The levy will also be introduced to FBA sellers in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
UK Government Outlines Major Broadcasting Reforms In A New White Paper. The proposed changes would bring streamers in line with the same standards imposed on linear broadcasters; see Channel 4 go private; and give pubcasters more freedom to license content. Streaming services in the UK would be regulated for the first time ever under the proposal.
Hasbro plans to invest more than 60 million dollars in entertainment centers in Latin America. During the IAAPA Latin American Summit (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) that took place this Monday in Iguazú, Brazil, Sandra Home, Sr. Manager Location Based Entertainment LATAM de Hasbro announced that Hasbro’s first family entertainment center will be created in Mexico.
Hasbro Inc., the largest U.S. toymaker, set June 8 as the date for shareholders to weigh in on a proxy battle with activist investor Alta Fox Capital Management. Hasbro announced the date of the meeting on Monday in a statement urging shareholders to vote against Alta Fox’s five director nominees. The company said Alta Fox doesn’t understand its business, especially the Wizards of the Coast unit...
Spanish Toys R Us files for bankruptcy. Toys R Us stores will remain open in Spain and Portugal while the company looks for investors to help keep the company afloat. Toy R Us Iberia currently operates 46 stores in Spain and 11 in Portugal, with a combined workforce of 891 workers across both operations.
Goliath, a family-owned global toy and game company, has today announced the acquisition of Colorific, a family-owned STEM, craft, activity, pre-school and educational toy business based in Melbourne, Australia. Established in 1990, Colorific has been a leader in innovative DIY products for over 30 years, having sold more than 50m products to over 40 countries. Colorific has won multiple product, supplier and business...
***The above posted after tBR started sending on April 22nd***
University Games acquires Forbidden Games and Raccoon Tycoon. University Games and Forbidden Games have announced the acquisition of Racoon Tycoon, Mosaic, and the rest of the intellectual property of Forbidden Games, the brainchild of Glenn Drover, game designer and president of Forbidden Games.
Snorble Nets US$10-Million Investment From GK Venture Partners. The startup will use this financing infusion to expand its team and continue developing its flagship product, an AI-driven robot designed to help kids establish better bedtime routines. Snorble, which soft-launched as a prototype on Indiegogo in 2021 in advance of a planned mass rollout later this year, is an interactive toy that helps kids establish regular...
The Pokemon Company International has entered an agreement to acquire Millennium Print Group, a longtime printer of Pokemon TCG cards. Millennium Print Group is a NC-based company that manufactures and prints trading cards and packaging. They have been printing Pokemon TCG products since 2015. Through this acquisition, The Pokemon Co Int'l looks to further develop their capabilities, infrastructure, and...
UK set for slowest growth in G7 as Ukraine war hits global economy. The war in Ukraine will "severely set back" the global economic recovery with the UK hit harder than most, the International Monetary Fund has said. The conflict is driving up prices for food and fuel which the international body expects to slow growth globally. It has cut its global forecast and also downgraded its outlook for the UK.
Investors claiming Activision misled them over misconduct probes have lawsuit dismissed. A group of Activision Blizzard investors who accused the publisher of misleading shareholders about federal and state investigations into sexual harassment allegations have been prevented from pursuing those claims under federal securities law.
China to ban the livestreaming of unapproved games. The National Radio and Television Administration rule to also apply to the broadcasting of overseas titles and competitions. This past Friday, China announced that the livestreaming unauthorized video games will be banned. As reported by Reuters, the rule was made by the National Radio and Television Administration, which said that all platforms must...
US blames North Korean hacker group for $625 million Axie Infinity theft. The US Treasury Department blames North Korean hacking group Lazarus for stealing $625 million in cryptocurrency from the Ronin network, the blockchain backing the Axie Infinity play-to-earn crypto game, according to a report from Vice.
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YouTube Ad Revenue Growth Slows, Falls Short of Wall Street Expectations. The video platform has focused more resources on Shorts, which executives say now averages more than 30 billion daily views.
***The above posted after April 22nd***
Hasbro reported that net revenues for the 1st quarter increased 4% to $1.16 billion with modest growth across all three of its reporting segments: Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming (9%), Consumer Products (3%), and Entertainment (4%).
Future Financial Reporting
Mattel, Inc. today announced that it plans to release its first quarter 2022 financial results on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at approximately 4:05 p.m. ET. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 pm ET at https://investors.mattel.com.
Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY), will report its first quarter 2022 financial results after market close on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 and introduce new segment reporting aligned with each of its creative centers: Toys; Entertainment and Digital Games.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after April 22nd***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
TTPM Announces Most Wanted Spring Toys List for 2022. The TTPM Most Wanted List will also be on display at the TTPM Spring Showcase held on April 28th, in New York City. Elite members of the media and top-tier influencers, along with kids of all ages, gather with exhibitors to kick off the spring season and experience the magic of the toy industry.
To celebrate the upcoming launch of Sesame Street Mecha Builders, Sesame Workshop and Warner Brothers Discovery are previewing the STEM-centric animated series on YouTube. The first eleven-minute story, “Sesame Street Mecha Builders: They Sent Us a Pie,” can be found on the Sesame Street YouTube channel now. The series officially debuts in May on Cartoonito, Warner Bros. Discovery’s preschool programming...
Ideas on mute? Study: Remote meetings dampen brainstorming. Video meetings dampen brainstorming because we are so hyper-focused on the face in that box that we don’t let our eyes and minds wander as much, a new study found. Staring isn’t good for creativity. While it’s rude to stare at someone in real life, it’s expected when on a video call, researchers said.
Disney TV’s Bold New Era: How Dana Walden Championed Shows Like ‘Only Murders’ and ‘The Dropout’. Dana Walden knew she was part of a historic Hollywood moment when she drove onto the Disney lot the following day for the first time as an employee. The executive, who is now chairman of entertainment for Walt Disney Television, knew she had an enormous job to integrate two studios — 20th Television and what...
Sanjay Luthra on: What’s next for the European Toy Industry? An opinion piece by Sanjay Luthra, MD EMEA at Mattel and chairman of Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), on recent challenges faced by the toy industry and what lies ahead. Guiding Toy Industries of Europe through one of the most turbulent times for the industry has been a real challenge for chairman, Sanjay Luthra, who writes: The past two years have been...
Star Ferry, ‘Emblem of Hong Kong,’ May Sail Into History After 142 Years. Launched in 1880, the ferry has witnessed both HK’s transformation into a global financial hub and its history of protests. But battered by a pandemic, the service is struggling to survive. HK has had many casualties over the last 3 yrs. Mass social unrest in 2019 scared off tourists and hit restaurateurs and hoteliers. Coronavirus restrictions wiped out thousands of mom-and-pop shops. But the prospect of losing the Star Ferry — a 142-year-old institution — has resonated differently.
How going green is no longer a trend anymore, even for the toy industry. James Zahn, senior editor at The Toy Insider, discusses efforts by toy makers to reduce plastic packaging and shift to more sustainable materials, while they also continue to face challenge in their supply chains and shipping delays.
***The above posted after tBR sent morning of April 22nd***
John Baulch, ToyWorld UK, Number crunching…it’s the Friday Blog! I hope you all had a splendid Easter. The pleasant weather was a nice bonus in our neck of the woods, and the town centre was certainly busy on Saturday – let’s hope it was a good trading weekend for toy retailers across the country. Hasbro released its Q1 results this week. The first quarter is not a major toy selling season, so you can’t read too much into...
THE BIGGEST THREATS FACING THE TOY INDUSTRY, PART 3: DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS. There is a major change in demographic trends under way when we look at the world today, and the changes are predicted to continue over the next few decades. While overall population is projected to continue to grow throughout the remainder of this century, the birth rate is expected to reduce significantly.
Celebrate Earth Day Every Day with 18 New Sustainable Toys and Games. The Toy Insider takes a look at some of 2022’s latest toys and games that are taking sustainability to a whole new level and teaching kids about “green” habits. On April 22, families around the world will celebrate Earth Day, the annual call for action in the fight for environmental protection.
You Like Gadgets? You’ll Love This Game Show! Gadget inventors yearn for new ways to get their products seen — What About a Show That’s a Cross Between “What’s My Line,” “I’ve Got a Secret?” and “Shark Tank”? Gadget inventors yearn for new ways to see their products flourish, so in this era of game-show popularity and creative expression, where’s the platform that’s a cross between “What’s My Line” and “I’ve Got a Secret?”
Games industry rallies behind Ukraine in face of Russian invasion. Update: Wargaming ceases business operations in Russia and Belarus, Riot donates $5.4 million in total. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and more have pulled sales to Russia. Proceeds from sales of multiple games will be donated to support humanitarian efforts. Companies donating to aid efforts include Bungie, 11 Bit Studios, GSC Game World, CD...
What Gen Z wants to see from brands as metaverse attachments grow. Gen Z consumers spend twice as much time socially interacting in the metaverse than they do in real life, according to new research conducted by Vice Media Group and Publicis Groupe's Razorfish agency. The study draws a link between playing video games and the metaverse, a broad buzzword encompassing blended digital and real-world experiences.
A cryptid trading card game is blowing up the resale market. In 2020, Mike Waddell spent most of his free weekends packing trading cards featuring Bigfoot, Mothman, and other strange cryptids into promo packs, then shipping them out to potential collectors, investors, and gaming companies. He hoped they might be interested in his new trading card game (TCG), called MetaZoo. He was right.
The MCU’s future lies with those it previously neglected: teen girls. On August 31, 2009, comics fans were rocked by the news that the House of Mouse was absorbing the House of Ideas. The $4 billion dollar deal between Disney and Marvel Entertainment was just as surprising to those who followed corporate moving and shaking — but news stories quickly formed a consensus narrative.
History and Nostalgia
The Bizarre History of Easy-Bake Ovens. Did you know that it was inspired by street vendors? It’s true! In the early 1960s, toy makers at Kenner, Inc. were inspired by New York City pretzel makers to create the Easy-Bake Oven. They realized parents might have safety concerns about a traditional heating element, however, so they replaced it with two 100-watt household lightbulbs instead.
Francis Turner collects toys produced by Louis Marx and Company. In this edition of Collector Spotlight, Francis explains how he came to open a museum dedicated to Marx toys and details the items in his collection that were personal to Louis Marx. How do you describe your collection? My collection consists of toys made by Louis Marx and Company. They were an American toy company in business from 1919 to 1980. Marx made tin toys, playsets, dollhouses, wind-up toys, action figures, and things like that.
***The above was posted after April 22nd***
The Bizarre History of Silly Putty. Do you ever wonder who first thought of Silly Putty? Due to the Japanese invasion of Asia during World War II, America’s supply of rubber was threatened. In response, chemists at General Electric began searching for a substitute. A chemist named James Wright stumbled upon a unique material – it was stretchy, withstood decay, and bounced 25% higher than rubber.
Nuttsy Tennis from TOMY (1974). Released in 1974 from TOMY, Nuttsy Tennis was a tabletop tennis game for 2 players. The Nuttsy Tennis court was 16-inches x 32-inches. A plastic yellow-and-white net separated it into two equal halves. Each player was equipped with a spring-activated miniature tennis racket, which they used to whack the ball back and forth.
Kandy Kitchen from Transogram (1966). Tiny marshmallows and gum drops were the house specialty at Transogram’s Kandy Kitchen. Released in 1966, the candy maker set paired children with Mr. Kandy Man, a mixing apparatus anthropomorphized with a head and two arms. In addition to Mr. Kandy Man, the set included a covered tray, a candy shaped tray with various shapes cut out of it, a spatula, mixing spoon...
Toonz Entertainment, the Ireland-based distribution division of India’s Toonz Media Group, has inked a non-exclusive deal with NBCUniversal streamer Peacock for several animation titles. The sale finalized in March and includes 13 series targeting kids ages three to nine. Five of the shows—Lucky Fred, Sandra, Uma & Devan, Dee Dee and Darwin & Newts—have already started streaming on the platform.
Diamond Select Toys Unveils New Figures for Fall. Diamond Select Toys is soliciting retail orders through the May Previews catalog for fall releases, including toys and collectibles inspired by Marvel, Star Wars, Cobra Kai, and The Green Hornet. These collectibles are all available for preorder on the Diamond Select or Gentle Giant websites, and you can keep scrolling for a closer look at the lineup.
Highlights Inks New Licensing Agreements Ahead of Licensing Expo. The famed kids’ publisher secured new licensing deals with a raft of consumer products licensees, including Playtek, Playstories, and Bendon Publishing. The new additions join Educational Insights, Buffalo Games, and others in extending the Highlights brand into the toy department.
Dan Dee International, a global leader in baby, pet, plush, and home décor products, and Graco, one of the world’s most recognised and trusted children’s products brands, have announced a new multi-year licensing agreement. Dan Dee has plans to help expand Graco with an extensive line of innovative play, activity, storage, and functional baby products for at-home and on-the-go, set to launch in NA in 2023.
Hasbro and Dragons’ Den star partner on My First Monopoly launch. Sara Davies MBE challenges kids to a game of My First Monopoly in new content that marks the launch of the first-ever edition dedicated to teaching kids about money. Sara Davies MBE has teamed up with the Monopoly brand to launch its latest edition, My First Monopoly, a fun, educational board game for young tycoons in the making.
Indie game developer Sonar Studios has licensed its portfolio of IPs featured on the Roblox gaming platform to LA-based marketing agency Striker Entertainment. Striker will rep all of Sonar’s Roblox titles for the 10 to 12 set, including Dragon Adventures and Creatures of Sonaria, in categories including toys and collectibles, lifestyle products, publishing and TV/film.
Top-selling fruit brands—Sunkist Growers, Naturipe Farms and T&G Global’s Envy Apples—launch new “Fruitastic” promotion for WildBrain’s new animated Strawberry Shortcake series Berry in the Big City, now available on YouTube and Netflix. According to a recent study, shoppers increased their basket spend by over 50 percent when strawberries and blood oranges were purchased on the same trip...
Two new deals have just been inked that will expand the international reach of 2D-animated series Kung Fu Wa! from Tencent Video and UYoung Media. UYoung has sold the show to Discovery Kids Latin America, while Narrative Entertainment’s free-t0-air children’s channel Pop TV has acquired rights in the UK from Federation Kids & Family (which handles distribution outside of China and LatAm).
Specializing in entertainment memorabilia, Paragon FX Group is proud to announce their recent partnership with Universal Studios where they will be manufacturing high-end prop replicas and merchandise from the 1993 film, Jurassic Park. John Hammond’s cane will be among the first of many iconic prop replicas to be offered by Paragon in what’s promised to be an exciting series of museum quality replicas.
Popeye the Sailor Man is partnering with UNDONE, the world’s leading custom watch brand and MADworld to release a specialized NFT collection across Asia. The Popeye Metaverse Madness tells the story of Popeye in different parallels, where the balance of time and space is broken and chaos occurs. The program will include more than 4,000 Popeye character variations dressed in an assortment of costumes...
Mattel and Warner Bros. Pictures have announced that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot will produce Hot Wheels, a live-action motion picture featuring the iconic toy racing car. “As the global leader in car culture, Hot Wheels has been igniting the challenger spirit in auto enthusiasts for generations,” says Robbie Brenner, Executive Producer, Mattel Films. “Fans of all ages are now in for the ride of their lives with the incredible...
Mush-Mush & The Mushables to launch on Tiny Pop. Tiny Pop has announced a deal with kids’ entertainment specialist Cake, to premiere the international Emmy-nominated Mush-Mush & the Mushables on UK Free TV exclusively from 21st May 2022. The pre-school show, produced by La Cabane and Thuristar in co-production with Cake, features the pocket-sized Guardians of the Forest, with each Mushable having a special gift.
Smiffys says it is excited to launch a collection featuring The Kellogg’s brand’s iconic logos and characters, many of which are instantly recognisable worldwide. The deal includes Pop Tarts, Coco Pops, Snap Crackle and Pop, the Kellogg’s Cockerel, Toucan Sam and the family favourite Tony the Tiger. “Kellogg’s portfolio includes a massive selection of vintage and contemporary characters and brand logos...
Lego launches Star Wars Luke Skywalker Landspeeder set. The Landspeeder set is the latest in the Lego Ultimate Collector Series and is a faithful recreation of Luke’s battered vehicle. The new 1,890-piece Lego Star wars Luke Skywalker Landspeeder set is modelled on the Landspeeder which was first seen in Star Wars: A New Hope. X-34 Landspeeders were typical civilian transports, designed to withstand ...
Gus, The Itsy Bitsy Knight Conquers New Territories. PGS Entertainment has finalized a raft of new deals for the upcoming second season of its champion bridge series, and toys from Mattel are charging into Europe this year before going global in 2023. Tiny Pop (UK), DeAKids (Italy), Canal Panda (Portugal), UYoung Culture & Media (China), Showmax (Africa), IFC Media (Slovakia) and TV New Zealand are among ...
Imagine Teams With Uglydolls Creators To Bring NFTs To TV. Imagine Kids & Family—the kids and family division of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment studio (A Beautiful Mind)—has joined the NFT fray. It’s teaming up with Sun-Min Kim and her author husband David Horvath—creators of the popular Uglydolls franchise and Nickelodeon’s upcoming preschool series Bossy Bear—to turn their collection...
***The above was posted after tBR sent***
WarnerMedia APAC has greenlit The Pandavas from Indian studio Hi-Tech Animation for its regional kids channel POGO. Debuting April 23, the two-season series (13 x 30 minutes each) is inspired by Indian mythology and stars five young princes who take part in heroic battles and adventures that strengthen their brotherly bonds.
Basic Fun! Lights up the Upside Down with Stranger Things Lite-Brite. The iconic ‘80s toy gets mashed up with Netflix’s Stranger Things in anticipation of the show’s upcoming season. Fans of the show can create art with light with this high-definition Stranger Things Special Edition Lite-Brite set. The toy even comes in totally tubular ‘80s packaging for fans to collect and display.
Scientific Games Corporation, doing business as Light & Wonder, (“Light & Wonder,” “L&W” or the “Company”) is inviting players on an unforgettable intergalactic adventure in its latest title Stargate Megaways. The first game to be released on OpenGaming under the new Light & Wonder name, this ambitious 6-reel slot is based on MGM’s legendary sci-fi fantasy film Stargate, boasting imagery and...
Kubota Tractor Corporation and Crayola announced a partnership to inspire the next generation of business owners, builders, farmers, do-it-yourselfers, and leaders by highlighting the unique and creative role that machines play in building and shaping communities. Kids across the country are encouraged to dream big through a myriad of national partnership activities, including experiencing an immersive....
JAKKS Pacifichas announced the new AirTitans Jurassic World Massive Attack T. Rex R/C coming to online retail in Spring, ahead of the theatrical release for Jurassic World Dominion in June 2022. Inspired by one of the fan favorite dinosaurs from the blockbuster Jurassic World franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Ent., this constant air inflatable R/C prehistoric beast is over 6 ft long and fully inflates in 20 sec.
ToyMonster, the Australia-based toy manufacturer bringing the hottest miniature collectibles to Jurassic World fans across the globe, announces the launch of the Jurassic World CAPTIVZ Dominion Edition. The new line of Jurassic World dinosaur collectible toys are available now, just ahead of the highly anticipated release of Jurassic World Dominion on June 10, 2022.
Online learning platform Discovery Education is partnering with Sesame Workshop to fill learning gaps created by the pandemic with the rollout of a new kids channel this fall. Its lineup will include videos, lesson plans, interactive games and activities that focus on building foundational academic skills in both math and literacy for preschool to grade two.
To inspire kids, parents and educators to learn more about the connections between food and science, kids media platform GoNoodle has partnered with America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) to launch a new dedicated channel on its mobile app. The ATK Kids channel, which rolled out today, features 10 initial videos that range from step-by-step recipes for easy snacks, to short lessons that answer questions such as...
Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! is expanding its digital distribution in the US with a significant upgrade on The Roku Channel. Kartoon was previously only offered as an app on Roku devices, but it will now be available on the platform’s FAST lineup as a channel. According to Genius Brands, Roku’s reach was sitting at 80 million people in US households as of Q4 2021.
Marvel Entertainment is teaming with radio network SiriusXM to launch a new scripted podcast called Marvel’s Squirrel Girl: The Unbeatable Radio Show! The six-episode series sees superhero Squirrel Girl start up a radio show at her college, which cuts into her time for fighting evil. A first ep is available now on all major podcast platforms (Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, etc.) in the US. But future instalments will drop ...
HBO Max backs ‘Minecraft’ movie with ‘Aquaman’ star Jason Momoa. It appears HBO Max is creeping up behind Netflix and Paramount+ with new gaming IP under its belt. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Jason Momoa is in final negotiations to star in the Warner Bros. live-action “Minecraft” movie. The popular video game Minecraft, loved by 11-year-olds and YouTube gamers, debuted in 2011 and allows players...
Psyonix and NASCAR announce 2022 NASCAR Fan Pass. Video game developer, Psyonix, has announced that NASCAR is returning to “Rocket League” with the 2022 NASCAR Fan Pass available April 20 on all platforms. The 2022 NASCAR Fan Pass will feature new NASCAR-themed content throughout the year. The first content drop available in the Item Shop in April features three Cars...
Hasbro Unveils Thor: Love and Thunder Marvel Legends Series action figure collection. Chalk up another entry into the rapidly expanding “worst-kept secrets” file as products inspired by Marvel Studios’ Thor Love and Thunder have been sneaking out at retail for weeks. Hasbro‘s Marvel Legends Series is a prime example as images of film-inspired action figures being found on the pegs at retailers across the U.S...
People of Play
John Plys Named CEO at Precious Moments. Precious Moments Family of Companies Inc. seeks to expand its growth and tapped John Plys, an experienced toy and gift industry executive as CEO. Plys has 15 years of experience leading toy, gift, and novelty companies and has a proven track record of delivering sales growth and profits, driving economic value to shareholders, and developing international and domestic ...
ITMA Members Elect the Toy Book’s Jackie Breyer and Maddie Michalik as Co-Presidents. The International Toy Magazine Association (ITMA) has voted Jackie Breyer, publisher of the Toy Book, and Maddie Michalik, editor-in-chief of the Toy Book, as co-presidents of the organization. The unanimous decision was made at ITMA’s annual meeting and is effective immediately.
Superights, the kids and family international distribution division of Superprod Group is honored to welcome Juliette Béchu as Sales Manager & Acquisitions. Based in Paris, Juliette will be in charge of the Asian territory as well as Australia and New Zealand. Her experience will also contribute to the Acquisitions strategy of the branch helping Deputy General Manager Nathalie Pinguet.
Disney Junior has promoted original programming manager Bryan O’Connell to director of development. He will now oversee multiple shows and original movies for the preschool channel, as well as working with Disney’s franchise team to expand properties into consumer products programs and live experiences. Based in LA, O’Connell reports to Kim Berglund, VP of development for Disney Junior.
Disney Branded TV Restructures Unscripted, Non-Fiction Content Teams. Claire McCabe and Meghan de Boer will head up the new Disney Branded Television Partnerships and Kids division, developing new projects for young audiences. Disney Branded Television has restructured its unscripted and non-fiction staff into three dedicated content teams—Disney Original Documentary, Disney Branded Television Unscripted...
Moose Toys has confirmed the appt of Steve Arkeveld as USA General Manager. Based in El Segundo, Steve will commence his new role on 2 May. He will be responsible for all facets of the US business including strategic planning and delivering commercial targets. “Moose is not only an undisputed leader in innovation but also has a very fun and unique ‘family values’-based culture which was incredibly attractive to me,” says Steve.
Lightyear cinematographer Jeremy Lasky reveals the inspirations behind Disney/Pixar's latest animated feature. Written and directed by Angus MacLane, the upcoming Toy Story spin-off serves as an origin story, exploring the adventures of the fictional astronaut who the Buzz Lightyear action figure was based on.
KEANU REEVES INTERVIEWS TEDDY BEARS IN VINTAGE FOOTAGE. We love Keanu Reeves. Who doesn’t? That’s why we’re always excited when vintage footage of the Canadian superstar bubbles to the surface. We had a blast when his audition tape for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure recently made the rounds. Now, there’s a new old clip setting the internet ablaze. And it involves a young Keanu Reeves interviewing… teddy bears.
HABA USA President Lea Culliton will retire in June after leading the company for two decades. During her time as the company’s president, Culliton led sales, marketing, and operations, and helped introduce, establish, and grow the HABA brand name in NA. Cynthia Waruszewski joins HABA as head of North American sales and marketing. She joins the company from Mattel, where she most recently served as director of ...
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During the company’s first quarter earnings presentation this week, Hasbro revealed the appointment of Shane Azzi and Matt Austin to key leadership roles. Azzi will be joining the team in the position of chief global supply chain officer. Austin— who previously held the position of President of Hasbro Europe and Asia — is being promoted to the position of chief commercial officer.
Stabilo welcomes Shahbaz Khan as market director UK & Ireland. The former Clementoni country manager will help propel the Stabilo business forward as it enters the next phase of development in the UK market. Stationery brand Stabilo has announced the appointment of former Clementoni country manager Shahbaz Khan as its new market director UK & Ireland.
Simon Arora to leave role as chief executive of B&M Bargains in a year’s time, after a 17 year tenure which transformed the retailer. In announcing his intention to depart the retailer, Simon Arora said he will step down in 12 months to allow time to find his replacement and enable a smooth transition. Simon said he intends to retire but will first offer his assistance to chairman Peter Bamford in the search for a new chief...
ShopTalk Episode 19: Adam Riemer Marketing CEO Adam Riemer. The Award-Winning Affiliate Manager, SEO Expert, and CEO of Adam Riemer Marketing Mr. Adam Riemer provides valuable information on the importance of E-Commerce in DTC marketing on this month’s episode of ShopTalk!
Jessica Brinder has left Genius Brands International to join digital publisher Wattpad WEBTOON Studios as director of international business development. Based in Toronto, she will primarily focus on scaling Wattpad’s international entertainment and publishing business through new distribution opportunities beyond North America.
Bravado, leading merchandise and brand management company for Universal Music Group, announced that veteran industry exec and Epic Rights co-founder, Jesper Poulsen has been named GM. Poulsen joins Bravado’s executive management team and will play an integral role in continuing to develop the company’s global merchandise strategy in the ever-changing landscape of the music and fashion industries.
Former Universal exec Bardo Ramirez has been appointed as VP of studio strategy and operations at Disney Branded Television. The hire marks a return to Disney for Ramirez, who worked there from 2004 to 2016 in a variety of roles including executive producer of the creative studio at Walt Disney Imagineering and director of production at Disneytoon Studios.
New hire set to enhance Sambro’s sustainability commitment. Lisa Longley will drive Sambro’s sustainability programme as the company strengthens its sustainability and ethical compliance. Lisa comes to Sambro with over 10 years’ experience in the manufacturing industry to oversee the implementation of a new sustainability programme and manage the ethical compliance of the company’s supply base.
Activision Blizzard elects Lulu Cheng Meservey to its board of directors. Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard announced the election of Lulu Cheng Meservey to its board of directors. In addition, the company said that Kerry Carr will be nominated for election to the board during its 2022 annual stockholder meeting. Along side this news, Hendrik J.
Chris Novak, Xbox's head of research and design, departs Microsoft after 20 years. Xbox's head of research and design, Chris Novak, has departed Microsoft after almost 20 years. Novak broke the news on Linkedin and explained he's leaving the company to spend some time doing a "life and design tour." After becoming head of Xbox research of design in 2016, Novak was tasked with guiding the user experience across...
People on the move: Luke Otfinowski joins Ultra PRO. Luke Otfinowski has been hired by Ultra PRO International as their Director of Sales for the entertainment division. Otfinowski is the former Director of U.S. Operations for Portal Games (see "Luke Otfinowski"). In the U.S. Director, he was responsible for expanding Portal into the North American market, and leading new initiatives.
Companies and Brands
Camp Opens Los Angeles Flagship Store. The experiential retailer that describes itself as “part toy store, part activity destination, and all good vibes” opened a flagship outpost at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles this week. This is the company’s ninth location and the first of several planned for the West Coast.
Hasbro Brings Back Sgt. Slaughter as G.I. Joe Classified Series Expands. Hasbro inked a multiyear partnership with WWE legend Robert Rudolph Remus to reprise his role as Sgt. Slaughter, a fixture in and ambassador for the G.I. Joe lineup of the 1980s. Under the new deal, Sgt. Slaughter will join the rapidly expanding line of 6-inch-scale Classified Series action figures.
Mattel and LA-based developer Gamefam have launched a new He-Man interactive experience on Roblox. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: You Have The Power! is an all-ages role-playing game that lets players duke it out with one another as characters from the 2021 CG-animated Netflix series. Roblox users can collect and upgrade avatars like Man-At-Arms and He-Man, using them to explore...
In a bid to bolster diversity in the kids content industry, Canada’s Youth Media Alliance (YMA) has partnered with broadcasters Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec, TFO and APTN on a new scholarship initiative. The Montreal-based nonprofit org is looking to help increase the number of Indigenous, French-speaking creatives behind the camera. The new fund aims to provide experience and networking opportunities...
Sanrio has debuted My Hello Kitty Cafe on Roblox. The immersive experience, created in partnership with game development studio Rock Panda, enables visitors full control over their very own cafe in the Hello Kitty universe. Community members have the chance to build from the ground up, manage, and expand their cafe with help from Hello Kitty and her friends.
Steamforged Games has announced that the company is moving to a new office in MediaCity, Salford. The tabletop games specialist says the move reflects Steamforged’s ambitions to take the company to an ‘even greater level of success’. Steamforged Games was launched by two tabletop enthusiasts, Mat Hart and Rich Loxam, with the release of acclaimed medieval football game, Guild Ball, in 2014. Since then, the...
Disney Refuses to Cut 12 Seconds of ‘Doctor Strange 2’ Dialogue About Lesbian Moms, Says Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s cinema classification board is disputing reports that the upcoming Marvel tentpole “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has been banned in the country due to a gay character played by Xochitl Gomez. The movie finds “The Baby-Sitters Club” actor making her debut as America Chavez...
KidKraft is excited to announce their latest sustainability effort with the launch of the Lil’ Green World collection exclusively at Walmart.com. Available for pre-order now, Lil’ Green World is a magical collection of nature-loving, eco-friendly playsets and characters made from 100% recycled and recyclable products. This is KidKraft’s first fully recyclable product segment and it will include four sets featuring...
PlayMonster Expands Latchkits Craft Line with the New Easy-to-Loop Yarnimals. Latchkits, PlayMonster’s popular DIY crafting brand, releases Latchkits Yarnimals, craft kits which teach kids how to make their own adorable 3D plush. Kids can proudly create their own Latchkits Koala, Panda, or Penguin, and discover hours of cuddly fun when they’re done creating. From the brand that brought families Latchkits...
As part of a Walmart-led environmental initiative, the 14’ plush version of I Care Bear (Ages 4+) is being introduced to the world to celebrate Earth Day, with a beanie version to follow in August 2022. I Care Bear is here to remind us how important it is to take care of the Earth. He encourages us to recycle, reduce waste, and walk or ride our bikes when we can. He’s always there to make sure his friends care for the...
The Lorax Celebrates Earth Day with Contest and Plantable Book! For years, The Lorax has instilled the importance of environmental conservationism to generations of readers. The timeless tale by Dr. Seuss quickly became a cultural phenomenon, with its eco-friendly “Go Green” message that encourages young readers to not only speak up for the protection of our trees, but to also use their voice to enact change.
The Breteau Foundation and ZAG Team Up for a Special ‘Miraculous’ Episode on Tackling Plastic Use. Int'l non-profit The Breteau Foundation–which provides quality education tools to disadvantaged children worldwide–has announced a partnership with award-winning global independent animation studios ZAG and ON kids & Family (Mediawan Group) to collaborate on a special episode of the global hit animated...
Greentop Gifts and Signables are the first two companies to participate in the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) Driven program, which accelerates diverse-led, early-stage consumer product businesses through a robust two-year group licensing and marketing curriculum. Driven is designed to facilitate opportunity and growth for diverse business entrepreneurs (or “Playmakers,” as the NFLPA recognizes them) by...
The Entertainer has announced the launch of The Entertainer Rocks, a competition which encourages families to head outdoors and have fun together this spring. Until Saturday 30th April, children across the UK have been tasked with finding their town’s special pebble, which features the retailer’s iconic brand character Jack, and simply returning the stone to their local store to receive their exciting prize.
American preschool performer and indie producer Danny LaBrecque launched his own Baltimore-based production company last week to help other indies get their kids shows off the ground. LaBrecque Studios will focus on breaking down common barriers that smaller kids content producers face, such as reaching broadcasters and distributors with pitches and creating higher-quality productions on small budgets...
Miko has announced a collaboration with A Parent Media Co (owner of Kidoodle.TV) to make Kidoodle.TV’s ever-growing kids’ content catalog available on Miko 3 robots. The content includes kid favourites such as “Booba,” “Big B Statz Roblox,” “SuperHeroKids,” “Talking Tom Shorts” and “T-Rex Ranch”, plus dozens of other shows available ad-free. The arrangement is a natural fit for the two innovative kids’ tech ...
The new Miraculous Tonie will bring superhero adventures to life on the Toniebox, relaying the exciting adventures of two high school students, Marinette and Adrien, as flashbacks tell the story of how they became their city-saving superhero personas, Ladybug and Cat Noir. With a little help from the Kwamis, magical jewels known as the Miraculous transform the pair into animal-themed superpowered beings to protect...
Nickelodeon is focusing on Ukranian kids trying to make a difference in a new episode of its Nick News series pegged for a linear TV launch on April 28. CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers (pictured) hosts the 30-minute segment, which tracks kids sheltering in Lviv and introduces a seven-year-old farmer in Georgia who is growing food to help her community.
Englewood-based Dolphin Hat Games recently released a high-energy tabletop game, called “Gimme That!” following a year of success from its flagship card game, “Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza,” which hit the number one spot for games sold on Amazon.com. In 2021, Dolphin Hat Games said it sold around 1.2 million copies of the popular game, which founder Dave Campbell said is entertaining for kids and...
Spin Master extends its Recycling Program to include all of its toy packaging in the U.S. Spin Master has announced the expansion of its Spin Master Recycling Program to include all Spin Master toy packaging in the United States. Originally launched in April 2021 with international recycling leader TerraCycle, the program allows for the company’s toys and games to be recycled. “Parents tell us that toys have a long-life cycle...
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Toronto-based edtech co. Prodigy Education has expanded into games that teach fundamental reading and writing skills to elementary students. Its latest title, Prodigy English, allows kids to scavenge and farm for resources they can use to build their own villages online. Each major action they perform in the game, from breaking rocks to chopping trees, consumes the player’s energy meter, which they can only...
Christmas in July: Hasbro moves up inventory purchases to make sure there are enough toys for the holidays. Hasbro Inc. isn’t taking any chances with the 2022 holiday season, moving up its inventory purchases to between May and July this year versus the typical August to December timing to make sure it has enough of the items shoppers want.
Live-Action Crossover Event Signals A Bigger ‘Nickelodeon World’. The co-heads of Nick and Awesomeness live action discuss why they believe cross-pollinating characters works so well for today's audiences, and why we're likely to see more of it in the future. Ahead of the kidsnet’s new When Worlds Collide crossover event, Shauna Phelan and Zack Olin, co-heads of live action at Nickelodeon and Awesomeness...
Cool Cats, producers of the widely known Cool Cats and Cool Pets NFT collections, and Toikido have announced a manufacturing and distribution deal for a wide range of merchandise – including toys such as plush – to bring the beloved characters of the Cooltopia ecosystem into the physical world. The new Cool Cats line will debut in time for NFT.NYC, the leading annual non-fungible token event, held from June...
Another Spin Master property is getting animated. Spin Master Entertainment (PAW Patrol: The Movie) and 9 Story Media Group’s Brown Bag Films – Toronto (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Blue’s Clues & You!) are ramping up production on Sago Mini Friends, a new, preschool animated series for Apple Originals that will stream on Apple TV+. The series is based on the Sago Mini World app from Spin Master’s digital arm.
Barbie is officially releasing a Queen Elizabeth II doll to celebrate both the queen's 96th birthday and her Platinum Jubilee, which marks 70 years on the throne. The Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll, part of Barbie's Tribute Collection series, debuted on Thursday, which is April 21, the queen's birthday.
Silvergate Media (Silvergate) is proud to confirm that a second season of Octonauts: Above & Beyond will make its global debut on Netflix on 2nd May 2022. The new episodes follow the debut of this Octonauts spin-off last September where the intrepid crew proved themselves as heroes on land as well as underwater. In the second season, the Octonauts will continue to explore dynamic landscapes, experience new climates...
Sesame Workshop released new bilingual videos and resources as part of their Coming Together initiative to help families have open and honest conversations with young children around diversity and celebrating their own unique identities. The new resources, which are free and available in English and Spanish, can be found at SesameStreetinCommunities.org.
OOLY Introduces Stackable Toy Collection. The blocks replicate different municipalities that would be found in a real town, including a firehouse, a train station, a hospital, an elementary school, and a police station. Kids ages 3 and up can stack and unstack these pieces to build the town of their dreams
Bestway USA Ramps up Direct to Consumer Efforts. Following a renewed focus on the specialty market in addition to its mass retail presence, Bestway USA has introduced a refreshed website where consumers can shop from home. The company behind the H2OGO brand invested in a state-of-the-art web platform for its new direct-to-consumer storefront
MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls Celebrate Earth Day with New Sustainable Packaging. The spherical packaging central to the L.O.L. Surprise! brand is swapping plastic for natural materials like bamboo, wood, and sugar cane. As part of the L.O.L. Surprise! Earth Love activation, the new spheres are entirely compostable while maintaining the same unboxing experience that kids expect and love.
Batter Up! Kenner’s Starting Lineup Is on Deck for a Relaunch. One of the most legendary lines of sports action figures is emerging from the dugout for a reboot. Hasbro, in partnership with Fanatics, is relaunching Starting Lineup, a Kenner legacy brand that initially ran from 1988 to 2001. The original brand featured action figures of players from Major League Baseball (MLB) and athletes from other popular sports.
For the first time, Netflix will launch a mobile game and TV series from the same franchise, building on the popular Exploding Kittens card game. Exploding Kittens - The Game, an exclusive version of the beloved mobile game, will launch on Netflix in May, followed by an adult animated comedy series coming in 2023, starring Tom Ellis, Abraham Lim, Lucy Liu, Ally Maki, Mark Proksch and Sasheer Zamata.
Kids Street, a US pay-TV channel for Latino market viewers ages three to seven, has acquired seven new preschool shows in the midst of significant distribution growth. Making linear-exclusive US premieres on the kidsnet are The Fox Badger Family, Chocolix, Yakari, Superprod’s Helen’s Little School and WildBrain titles Polly Pocket, Rainbow Ruby and Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City.
Already an official distributor for Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master, Jazwares and Moose Toys amongst others, A.B.Gee is now excited to offer the Funko range to its customers. A.B.Gee has announced its appointment as an official distribution partner of Funko in a deal which will include the extensive and iconic Pop! Vinyl range.
Wizards of the Coast plans to use its Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons play systems for more IPs, the company revealed during the Hasbro Q1 conference call Tuesday. This will expand the Universes Beyond program for Magic: The Gathering, but is a new development for Dungeons & Dragons.
It’s not easy being green, but game manufacturer Big Potato is making positive Earth-friendly changes through its “Green Tatos” corp initiative and turning game night greener with games like Snakesss and Herd Mentality. These eco-friendly game boxes are 50% smaller with plastic-free packaging: No more shrink-wrapped boxes & game cards or plastic inserts, Plastic stickers are replaced with cellulose and...
Woman-owned and mother-run lifestyle brand eeBoo has a new tool to help children feel safe and have fun while they learn, in the form of Conversation Cards. Over the last two years, toy aisles have continued to shift as a result of the evolving challenges young children face. These Conversation Cards allow children to connect, feel safe, and find a new normal.
PBS Kids Explores the Outdoors with New Specials and Episodes from Fan-Favorite Series!. Just in time for the warmer weather, PBS Kids is celebrating the natural world with a special “Explore the Outdoors”-themed lineup, from April 18 - May 13, featuring all-new specials and episodes from fan-favorite series to help “grow” kids’ curiosity and understanding about the environment and sustainability, while inspiring outdoor fun!
How Game Peridot Is Using AR Pets to Win Over Pokémon Go Fans. Niantic is ready to roll out its next AR adventure, and Pokémon GO fans familiar with Tamagotchi mechanics might find Peridot to their liking.. Best known for augmented reality mobile games, Niantic was founded in 2010 as an internal startup within Google, called Niantic Labs. The company's first major breakthrough was Ingress, an original property...
With their new joint-venture, the Beeb and London’s Globe Theater are looking to spark a love of classical live theater among the youngest TV viewers. Just as it has done for adult audiences for many years, the BBC will record live performances of the Bard at the theater he once owned a share in. This time, though, their target demo is kids who watch preschool channel CBeebies, which will kick things off by airing...
Multi-brand toy company TCG Toys is bringing back the hugely successful and bendable 90s heritage action figure line, Bend-Ems, to retail shelves this Fall. For the die-hard collector and new fans, Series 1 will feature top licenses and characters to collect, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir, and SpongeBob SquarePants, with more to come!
Spin Master is bringing its Toy Invention Program to Europe through London’s Kingston University. The program is set to begin in September and is a one year course that will be facilitated by the faculty at Kingston University’s School of Arts. Through the expansion of this program to London, Spin Master hopes to inspire a new generation of toy inventors.
Cry Babies Magic Tears launches on Netflix. Fans of Cry Babies Magic Tears now have even more options to follow their favourite characters’ adventures as IMC Toys has secured a global deal with the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, Netflix. Full episodes of the popular animated series will be available to stream in homes in 24 languages and over 190 countries where Netflix operates.
Asmodee offers cash prizes in partnership with retailer Game. Customers who purchase an Asmodee board game at a Game store or online need simply check the unique code from their receipt to see if they have won a cash prize. Leading distributor of table top games and accessories, Asmodee, has joined forces with GAME.co.uk for the prize experience.
HTI has donated toys, which have been sent to the Help Ukraine Centre in Chelm, Poland, as well as a significant amount of cash towards a children’s shelter. The team at HTI worked with LGL Worldwide Logistics and volunteers at Help Ukraine to arrange the shipment of toys. LGL freight company also provided its services free of charge. The truck of toys left HTI’s warehouses on 8th April and arrived in Poland...
Sustainability Spotlight: PlanToys. For more than 40 yrs, PlanToys has built sustainability into the foundation of its business as it works toward its mission: “Better Kids, Better World.” The company has never cut down a tree to make a toy instead buying and repurposing rubberwood from the latex industry that farmers would otherwise have burned. PlanToys also only uses organic pigments, water-based dyes...
Aconyte Books launches tabletop gaming book series Play to Win. Aconyte Books, the publishing wing of Asmodee Entertainment, has announced the first two books in a brand-new non-fiction series, Play to Win. This new range of non-fiction titles will focus on the world of games and gaming, to entertain, inform and intrigue gamers and an interested general audience alike. The first two titles will launch in autumn 2022.
MELISSA & DOUG COMMITS TO PLANTING 10 MILLION TREES. Ahead of Earth Day 2022, Melissa & Doug is taking yet another step toward its sustainability goals as part of Project Restore. The company says that it will plant 10 million trees by 2030 in an effort to make the world a “greener, healthier” place for kids. The initiative is being supported by One Tree Planted, a global reforestation program.
Hornby announces launch of royal train on HM The Queen’s birthday. Today, on HM The Queen’s 96th birthday, the Severn Valley Railway has announced it is partnering with Hornby to produce a limited edition collector’s model of the striking locomotive with a special royal connection. The limited edition of 1,500 models will feature SR West Country Class 34027 Taw Valley, the locomotive that will soon appear...
LEGO focuses on digital transformation through international digital team expansion. The LEGO Group is expanding its long-term digital goals and launching a digital office space in Copenhagen to help foster hundreds of digitally focused employees. This new office space features a myriad of collaborative spaces, a welcoming canteen, and — of course — a gamer room.
Pegasus Spiele travels to outer space for reimagined version of 'Mombasa'. The Moon and asteroid belt have been mined for resources for decades by the World Government and its contractors. With unrest collapsing that enterprise, the time is right for new investors to step in and take advantage of the opportunity to revive the mining network, claiming the wealth waiting among the stars.
Days of Wonder to release 'Ticket To Ride: Poland'. Days of Wonder will release Ticket to Ride: Poland, an expansion for perennial bestseller Ticket to Ride in North America in September, the company announced. The expansion has been available in Poland since 2019. In this expansion, players vie to gain a monopoly over the routes in Poland and to other counties.
Wizards of the Coast will raise prices on select 'Magic: The Gathering' products. Attributes price increase on rising costs. Wizards of the Coast will raise prices on select Magic: The Gathering products starting in September. WotC attributes this latest price increase to the cost of producing, manufacturing, and shipping Magic cards having risen significantly in the past year.
World of Warcraft brings back dragons in new expansion. World of Warcraft is bringing back the dragons. In a livestream, World of Warcraft developers announced Dragonflight, WoW’s ninth expansion in 18 years. Dragonflight will focus on the return of the Dragon Aspects, the magical guardians of Azeroth who disappeared after the events of the Cataclysm expansion 12 years ago.
Devir reveals 'Winter'. Devir Games revealed Winter, a new area control board game, for release into retail in October 2022. In Winter, players vie for control of the frozen lake. It is played out in two phases: freezing and unfreezing. During the freezing phase, players attempt to secure areas of the board with snowflake cards and in the unfreezing phase, they retrieve the cards and chips from the board.
Hachette will release 'Akropolis' into U.S. retail. Hachette Boardgames will release Akropolis, a new city-building board game by Gigamic, into U.S. retail in summer 2022. In Akropolis, players take on the roles of ancient Greek architects looking to increase their city's wealth and glory. The goal of the game is to build housing, markets, and other structures to help grow the city.
Get tipsy on the board with 'Drinkopoly'. Asmodee will release Drinkopoly, an adult board game, into U.S. retail in 2022. Drinkopoly is a social board game for adults that features wacky and light-hearted rules that are perfect for parties. It is a pure drinking game that keeps guests a little tipsy while they learn truths about each other.
Stonemaier Games unveils 'Viticulture World Cooperative Expansion'. Stonemaier Games unveiled Viticulture World Cooperative Expansion, the next expansion for the hit winemaking board game Viticulture, which will ship in June 2022. In Viticulture World Cooperative Expansion, players can extend their winemaking family from the popular core game.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga tops 3.2 million sales in two weeks. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has sold through 3.2 million units worldwide in two weeks. According to publisher Warner Bros. Games, the milestone represents a launch sales record for the series, with the title surpassing all previous LEGO console game launches.
Sonic Origins launches in June with remasters of four classic games. In the lead-up to Sonic’s 31st birthday (feel old yet?), Sega has finally revealed the details behind Sonic Origins, a remastered collection of Sonic The Hedgehog 1, 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD. Don’t expect straight ports of these Sega classics, though.
Data.ai: mobile anime games generated $17bn in global revenue during 2021. Today Data.ai has released a new report which says that mobile anime games amassed $17 billion in global consumer spending during 2021. According to the analytics firm's State of Anime Gaming 2022 report, the figure represents a 6% year-over-year increase when compared to 2020.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is coming to Xbox Game Pass. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Origins (the one set in Ancient Egypt) is headed to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s Megan Spurr said in a blog post on Tuesday. Spurr said the game will arrive sometime “in the next two months” and will be available to play on console, over cloud streaming, and on PC via the Ubisoft Connect app.
Sega rebooting Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio for "SuperGame" project. Sega could be about to reboot Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio as part of its SuperGame project, according to a report from Bloomberg. The Japanese publisher recently outlined plans to create a "SuperGame" comprising multiple titles that cross over and leverage a "comprehensive range of technologies."
Sonic the Hedgehog speeds into Roblox. Leading professional game developer and publisher Gamefam, in collaboration with SEGA of America, Inc., today announced the launch of Sonic Speed Simulator, an all-new game featuring SEGA’s entertainment icon, Sonic the Hedgehog. The game is now available on the Roblox platform and marks the first time that a world-renowned, AAA gaming character has been officially...
Ukraine asks Valve to resume Steam payments to Ukrainian developers. Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov is appealing directly to Valve CEO Gabe Newell to direct the company to resume Steam payments to Ukrainian developers, which have been frozen since mid-March in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Microsoft reportedly wants to bring ads to free-to-play Xbox games. Microsoft is reportedly working on a program that will let brands showcase advertisements within free-to-play Xbox games, according to a report from Insider. Sources familiar with the situation told Insider that the ads wouldn’t disrupt gameplay and may appear on a billboard in a racing game, for example.
Newzoo: Esports projected to generate $1.38bn in 2022. Newzoo released its 2022 Global Esports & Live Streaming Market Report, which projects that esports will generate $1.38 billion in global revenue during this year. The figure represents an increase of 22% year-over-year when compared to 2021.
Safety and Counterfeiting
FAO Schwarz wooden toys sold at Target recalled because of choking hazard. Two FAO Schwarz wooden toys have been recalled because they have small parts that can come loose and become a choking hazard for children. MerchSource recalled 26,400 FAO Schwarz Play Smart Robot Buddy and 19,800 Sensory Boards, according to an announcement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The toys were sold at FAO Schwarz and Target stores nationwide and online from November 2021 through February 2022.
Highlighted Press Releases
LIKE ICING ON THE CAKE, GREENTOP GIFTS ELEVATES WRAPPING PAPER TO BE AS MEANINGFUL AS THE GIFT! Beyonce’s BeyGood & NAACP Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund Touts These Beautiful Paper Wrappings Showcasing Our Diverse Society. Would you bring the birthday child a brown paper package tied up with string, as the song goes? Of course not. Pretty wrapping paper and gift bags set the stage for something truly special along with the love and attention given to a present. Greentop Gifts (www.greentopgifts.com) takes that concept to another extraordinary level with multicultural celebration décor. Baby Shower and Birthday wrappings now mirror the skin tone and hair textures of the recipient (!) generating an even brighter smile from everyone.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
From 15 to 17 September 2022, Kids India will be taking place in Mumbai – for the first time in the newly opened Jio World Convention Centre, India’s largest events and conference centre. Demand from the international toy industry is high, so registration is now open for exhibitors.
The British Toy & Hobby Association’s annual Toy Industry Day will this year feature as a speaker Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, Britain’s best-known and greatest Paralympic athlete, a BBC Sports Personality of the Year and holder of the OBE and DBE. Despite being born with spina bifida, Grey-Thompson has won 14 Paralympic medals and a slew of international sporting awards.
WiT Empowerment Day 2022 will be held Sept. 19 at the Dallas Market Center. WiT is teaming up with top toy companies, Walmart buyers, and industry mentors for a day packed with mentorship. Female creators, inventors, and entrepreneurs are invited to join the event and learn how to take their product, concept, or business to the next level.
Toymaster has launched its latest window campaign, highlighting the range of pre-school toys available through members’ stores all year round.The campaign, featuring destination brands Golden Bear Toys, Jazwares, Hasbro and Playmobil, went live at toy retailers across the UK and Ireland this week and will run until the end of May. It features classic pre-school brands such as Spidey & his Amazing Friends...
Licensing Expo — the world’s largest licensing trade show — is shaping up to be one of the most exciting, toy-centric trade shows in years. The event returns to the Las Vegas Strip from May 24-26, 2022 when the Global Licensing Group and Licensing International open the doors and reunite the licensing community at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center (MBCC) following a two-year, pandemic-fueled hiatus.
MGM Consumer Products announced that they will host the third annual virtual licensing summit on May 3rd, following-up on the success of the previous years’ event. Exciting plans, upcoming initiatives, and sneak peeks will be unveiled for iconic brands including Pink Panther, Wednesday, Creed III, Vikings: Valhalla and more. In addition, MGM plans to discuss how the studio’s licensing division is building out its popular...
Curated Meetings – the new way of doing business is opening up to international buyers and brands at this year’s Autumn Fair. Following its successful trial and launch within the UK at Spring and Autumn Fair, Curated Meetings is now opening its doors to buyers and brands from across Europe and the rest of the world, inviting them to take part at this year’s Autumn Fair at NEC Birmingham on 5th-6th September.
Rebranded INDX Toys & Nursery show hailed a success. The event, organised by the Associated Independent Stores buying group, attracted over 80 exhibitors from across the toy and nursery sectors. An upbeat crowd of members of the AIS buying group and other specialist toy retailers headed to Solihull’s Cranmore Park exhibition centre for the recent rebranded INDX Toys & Nursery show. .
***The above posted after April 22nd***
Speaker Lineup Announced for Quarterly Education Webinars For Toy Industry Marketing and PR Pros. People of Play (POP) is excited to share the extraordinary speakers for its inaugural quarterly educational webinar series targeting industry marketing and PR pros. The event is this Thursday April 21st from 1pmET -4pmET. Topics have been vetted from both agency and brand viewpoint. The session will end with networking in the virtual POP Pub. Here is the lineup . . .
A host of toyetic, location-based experiences (LBE) will be showcased at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas next month in addition to a “Toy Café” populated by top brands in the play space. Licensing Expo, produced in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, takes place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center May 24-26 LBE as a primary theme.
A new panel, focused on children’s programming, has been added to Cynopsis’ Big TV Conference, taking place in person Sept 29-30 in NYC. In addition to OTT, consumer engagement, shoppable TV and more, we’ll be looking at how streaming services and digital content companies can capitalize on red-hot kids’ shows. Thanks to the streaming wars, kids’ content is red hot – Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish has said shows like “PAW Patrol” are a “key attraction” for Paramount+, and children’s programming consistently ranks among the top 15 shows across platforms.
KIDZ BOP, the #1 music brand for kids, is back on the road this summer with a brand-new tour, KIDZ BOP LIVE 2022. In partnership with Live Nation, KIDZ BOP will bring its highly-anticipated pop concert for kids to 28 cities across the U.S., kicking off in Stamford, CT on July 19. Back by popular demand, the KIDZ BOP Kids will return to iconic venues like Hollywood Bowl, Jones Beach Theater, PNC Bank Arts Center, and ...
Plum Play wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Lincolnshire-based business Plum Play is one of 226 national organisations to be recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Now in its 56th year, the Queen’s Award celebrates outstanding businesses in four categories: Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity.
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 colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.
Don Rubin (April 6, 1945 - April 8, 2022) Donald Joel Rubin, one of the world's premier creators of games and puzzles, died of cancer at his home in Santa Rosa, California on April 8, 2022. Don was born April 6, 1945 in Malden, Mass. He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University's College of Communication.
His exceptional career evolved from teaching school in Maine, to serving as a creative consultant, scriptwriter, game designer, photographer, puzzler, research historian, contributing editor and writer. In the late 1980's his creation "The Real Puzzle" was first published in the Boston Phoenix, then The Real Paper, prior to its syndication in over 300 national and international newspapers and magazines through United Features Syndicate. The Real Puzzle generated so much fan mail that the U.S. Post Office gave Don his own zip code. Don became a mini expert in each field that was the focus of the weekly puzzle and attributed his creativity to a "poor diet and lack of sleep". He wrote many books including, "The Real Puzzle Book", "What's the Big Idea", "Those Incredible Puzzles", "Think Tank", "Brainstorms" and "More Brainstorms". His Parking Lot Puzzle has been called "one of the greatest puzzles of all time."
As print media gradually began to fade, Don refocused his creative genius on interactive games with original content working as a Senior Game Designer at Shockwave, Firemint, Ringzero Networks, and Electronic Arts. Don was a member of the Screen Writers Guild, with clients including Paramount Pictures, PBS NOVA, several Fortune 500 companies, and educational institutions. Don won numerous awards for editorial design, art direction, television and film design, photography, game design, advertising copywriting, and Web content development.
Although Don did not have children, he was an animal lover. At times he cared for many dogs, both his own and friends, bottle-fed a kangaroo, herded and fed cattle on an Australian working ranch, and back at home in Santa Rosa helped with the dogs, cats, chickens and bees.
Many friends sought out his keen intellect and insight into everything from current events, arts and cultural trends, to his astute reflections on everyday life. Don was a great fan of Samuel Beckett and could recite, "Waiting for Godot" in its entirety from memory, quoting recently, "I've talked with you about this and that, I explained the twilight, admittedly. But is it enough, that's what tortures me, is it enough
Wieland Herold (1950-2022) - (from his son Florian Herold) - Wieland Herold has passed away. Wieland was a lot of things.
He was a husband, father of four children, school leader. But he also had a significant role in the press world of board games. For many years he acted as part of the jury "Game of the Year", as part of the "Göttinger Author Meeting" and as the editor of the magazine "Game and Author".
In recent years, he had put his focus on family, but still wrote about games and book reviews for his blog almost daily. At the end of his life, he was still a premier lecturer and photographer.
He was a great supporter of the development and the rights of German playwright.
What is important, he was also a beloved friend, a four-time grandfather and was always there for the family.
In my brother's h2o publication, there will be a game that he has contributed a lot to soon. This was the first time he worked hard on a game himself. It comforts me because after his death there will be something of him that will always remind me of him.
At the end of his life, he was not alone.
I asked him if anything is still open? He said “No, that’s all said.”
His words remain. He was a master of words. If you want to know more about him, you can read it at: http://www.mit80.de/
His last post is from mid-December. As long as he could, he always wrote texts.
I miss him every second.
He was my father.
Undrea Leach. Streamer, voice actor and consultant Undrea Leach passed away in February. As reported by Game Developer, Leach entered the games industry via her work as a Twitch streamer, and later expanded into voice acting, appearing in indie titles such as Last Line of Retreat and Starcrossed. Leech also worked as a diversity consultant, and co-ran an initiative that helped industry professionals look for new jobs in games alongside writer Mitch Dyer. Peers and friends shared tributes to Leach via Twitter. Fellow streamer Brooklyn (bklynbridge) said "she was a light in countless lives and she is missed terribly," while Dyer commented: "This is devastating. Nothing but love to her friends and family." Leach's family is raising funds via GoFundMe to cover burial costs.
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The Toy Universe (Australia) — Edition 1 - New Magazine
Adventure Media & Events (US)
aNb Media (US)
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- The Pokemon Company International to Acquire U.S. Card Printer
- Wizards of the Coast Will Raise Prices on Select 'Magic: The Gathering' Products
- Rolling for Initiative -- Want to Make it Easier for Me to Sell Your Game (or Comic)?
- Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Magic: The Gathering - D&D Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate' Product Line Deets
- WizKids Previews 'Magic: The Gathering Unpainted Miniatures'
- Predict Players' Fortunes with 'The Dungeons & Dragons Tarot Deck'
- Create a Powerful Deck with a 'Pokemon TCG: Trainer's Toolkit 2022'
- Days of Wonder to Release 'Ticket to Ride: Poland'
Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)
The Toy Universe by The Bugg Report (Australia)
News Flash: Cartaventura Series Released, Ticket to Ride Poland Announced
KOSMOS has launched a new line of games, Days of Wonder has announced a new Ticket to Ride expansion, and Floodgate Games has released Décorum.
Video of the Week
Throwback to POP Week 2021: POP Duo:
Elan Lee, Co-Founder, Exploding Kittens and
Jeff Probst, Host and Exec Producer, Survivor
A great listen!
Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme
Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch
and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.
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Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.
Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher
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