April 22 - 29, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
The POP Team welcomes Julia DeKorte, who is taking on the enormous task of transferring our content from our three websites into our new POP Wiki. As massive as that is (well over a thousand articles, videos, interviews, etc.), she is also devouring and writing reviews of books about the toy industry… something I've only dreamed about doing myself. We share her first review here today. When people ask what books to read, we now will direct them to our own POP Wiki treasure trove. If you have favorite books or titles you think we should include, please send me a note.
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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers
An 89-year-old Visionary: Still Working, Still Playing
Today is the day my 89-year-old dad, Don, and his wife, Vera, are moving to assisted living. Cognitive decline is now the determining factor, even in the face of excellent physical health.
In the twilight of his life, Don Zwiers models staying active, remaining playful from cradle to grave, and keeping on working ‘til the end. He’s an inspiration!
Two of the most fundamental play patterns are Exploration & Discovery and Challenge & Mastery. Trained as an engineer at renown Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dad seamlessly combines these play patterns in his day-to-day life in a way that blurs the lines between work and play. He is “forever young” as a result.
Some of the ways he has stayed active working-playing throughout his 80’s:
Planting, tending, and harvesting a large garden
Building bird houses and bird feeders along with birdwatching
Rebuilding his deck single-handedly at 86.
Building a complex rain barrel system at age 87
Clearing and painting the garage just this week, on the eve of his big move
Most importantly: For the last 15 years, my dad has explored many perspectives about humankind’s challenges (both online and in books), connected the dots, and developed a multi-point plan for solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Read More. . .
Person of the Week - Julia DeKorte
Book Review - 70 Years of Innovation and Play
At 15 inches tall and 12 inches wide and sporting a bright blue, vibrant yellow, and lively red cover, 70 Years of Innovation and Play is just as beautiful on the outside as it is interesting on the inside. Compiled by Assouline Publishing House in 2015 for the 70-year anniversary of Mattel, the book features a foreword by Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Mattel at the time of publication, as well as an insightful introduction before the main event: large, vibrant photos of Mattel’s toys and games over the years.
The introduction tells the story of Mattel’s beginning in a California garage in 1945. The Handlers, Ruth, a stenographer, and Elliot, an art school dropout, partnered with Harold “Matt” Matson, who they eventually bought out in 1948, to found Mattel. With Elliot's passion for design and engineering and Ruth's entrepreneurial spirit, Mattel was destined for fame.
Mattel is known for many famous brands of toys and games that have been household staples for children all around the world, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, American Girl, Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, and Uno. The photos feature close-ups of these toys and games, beginning with original manufactures all the way to the toys we recognize today. Thanks to the large size of the book, the details featured in the close-ups are impeccable and captivating. Read More . . .
Financial and Legal
Continuing its acquisition tear, Embracer Group has reached an agreement to acquire assets of Square Enix Holdings, bringing intellectual properties including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain to the owner of Asmodee Group and Dark Horse, the company announced. The acquisition also includes development studios Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal for a total price of $300 million.
The global Gen-Z agency Fanbytes, which has helped a number of major toy brands go viral on social media, has announced that it has been acquired by Brainlabs, one of the largest digital marketing agencies in Europe, US, and APAC. Founded in 2012, Brainlabs has expanded to become a team of 800 people across the globe delivering work for brands including Formula 1, American Express and Mars.
A second activist investor has taken a stake in Hasbro, calling for changes at the toy maker, a week after rival Mattel was rumored to be considering going private. On Tuesday, Ancora Holdings sent a public letter to Hasbro, in which it supported a call for new members of the company’s board of directors, one of the demands of fellow activist Alta Fox Capital. Ancora, which owns approximately 1% of Hasbro, also urged the company to consider a full or partial sale of its television division Entertainment One.
Wordle brought ‘tens of millions’ of new users to the New York Times. The New York Times Company’s first-quarter financial results prove what we’ve all known all along: people really like Wordle. You know the story by now. Josh Wardle made a fun little word game for his partner, shared it with some friends (who happened to be some influential tech people, since Wardle has worked at places like Reddit and MSCHF)...
***The above was posted after April 28th***
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...
US economy contracts as Ukraine war hits trade. The US economy contracted in the first three months of the year partly due to trade disruption from the Ukraine war. Figures from the Commerce Department showed that gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 1.4%. Analysts said a surge in imports, as exports fell, made the economy look worse than it was. "
Twitter adds 30 million new users in run up to Musk sale. Twitter, which this week agreed to be bought by billionaire Elon Musk, has said its user numbers grew faster than expected over the past year. Advertising revenue has also been rising, but by less than was forecast. Some observers have questioned Mr. Musk's commercial judgment in buying Twitter, a platform that despite its high profile has not consistently...
Daily Facebook users up again after first-ever decline. Facebook stopped losing users as 2022 got under way, even as its owner reported its slowest revenue growth in a decade. The number of daily active Facebook users grew to 1.96 billion in the first three months of the year, parent company Meta reported on Wednesday. That marked a turnaround from last year, when the social network reported a decline in users ...
Ukraine war to cause biggest price shock in 50 years - World Bank. The war in Ukraine is set to cause the "largest commodity shock" since the 1970s, the World Bank has warned. In a new forecast, it said disruption caused by the conflict would contribute to huge price rises for goods ranging from natural gas to wheat and cotton. The increase in prices "is starting to have very large economic and humanitarian effects",
Report - 91% of App Store apps follow opt-in tracking rule. A year after the app tracking notice launched, users consent within a minute of launching a casual title. After Apple's 2021 launch of the App Tracking Transparency update, 91% of mobile games now provide consumers the policy prompt. The change notes that mobile apps now have to ask for permission from users to gather tracking data.
E-scooter sales in England to become more regulated. Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has told MPs on the Commons Transport Committee that a tightening of the current regulations could pave the way for allowing approved models to be licensed for use on public roads. He suggested that new legislation for England could be introduced in the Queen’s Speech on 10th May.
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***The above posted after April 28th***
Revenues up 6% to $3.74bn in Xbox's best non-holiday quarter to date. Content and services, including Xbox Game Pass, grew 4% to £3.02 billion, but fell short of expectations
Future Financial Reporting
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 28th***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Rick Derr – Letter from America. In this month’s column, he considers the relationship between suppliers and indie retailers and suggests how it can be improved to both parties’ benefit. “Although partnerships have come a long way since I started in the business 26 yrs ago, there is still room for improvement and opportunity,” writes Rick. “Come on suppliers! Why not treat us as your in-person sales force that can test new...
How You Communicate With Customers Matters. According to the Harvard Business Review, the #1 determining factor of loyalty is reducing customer effort. When we communicate with customers, we reduce their effort because they don’t have to seek out answers themselves. Lately I’ve noticed that many companies are getting lazy with their communications or, sometimes, avoiding communicating altogether.
Designer Thom Browne holds a 'Teddy Talk' in playful toy-themed show. The 500 audience members were sitting in neat rows, and they'ddefinitely gotten the memo on attire: All were perfectly dressed in a classic gray Thom Browne suit. They were very quiet, too, perhaps because they knew Browne’s show April 29 was a special occasion, held in New York rather than Paris where he usually stages shows, to coincide with Monday's Met Gala. But also probably because they were stuffed animals.
Seventh Graders Help Design Therapeutic Toys for Children. Creativity is the name of the game in Austin Perry's Design and Modeling class, an enrichment course that is part of Project Lead the Way. Recently, seventh graders at Briarcliff Middle School ended their third quarter with a toy expo, displaying therapeutic toys they have created specifically for children with cerebral palsy in mind.
***The above was posted after April 28th***
John Baulch, ToyWorld - There is always a ‘but’ …it’s the Friday Blog! It’s been another week dominated by figures – with some highly encouraging numbers, and some less so. Let’s dive straight in, starting with the good stuff. Mattel is the latest toy company to release its Q1 results, which chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz described as the company’s “highest first quarter results on record.”
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.
Shoot em up! How TV fell in love with video games. For a long time, it was an accepted truth that video games just didn’t work on screen. Remember the quasi-cyberpunk 1993 Super Mario movie, starring Dennis Hopper? It was so bad that basically everyone involved with it has disavowed it. And TV? Kids of the 90s will remember the incredibly annoying voice of Sonic the Hedgehog on Saturday morning TV...
The BBC will host the first ever Gaming Prom at the Royal Albert Hall later this year. The BBC will host a dedicated video game music concert as part of this year's Proms concert series. Proms is an eight-week summer season of orchestral classical music concerts, the majority of which are hosted in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The first ever Gaming Prom will feature music from titles such as Battlefield 2042,..
Kirby: How the pink Nintendo character became gaming's surprise hero. The outrage among parents and politicians caused by video games such as Mortal Kombat, Wolfenstein 3D and Night Trap made 1992 arguably one of the most controversial years in video game history. However, it was also the same year that birthed one of the gaming world's most family-friendly faces: Kirby.
History and Nostalgia
MASK Transforms Its Way Into Awesome 80s Toy Boom. LRM’s Retro-Specs. Welcome back to LRM’s Retro-Specs! There are a ton of toys out there. However biased I may be, the 80s toy boom is still untouchable. Sure, many may be trying to ride the coattails of another success story. Regardless, we get some of the best toys, cartoons, and comics to this day! Want a successful 80s toy? Make it transform. Transformers, GoBots, you name it. Another fun, transforming 80s classic comes to us in the form of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand. Better known as MASK!
The Bizarre History of Baseball Bats. In the 1860s, a wide variety of baseball bats were used in play. There were flat bats, round bats, short bats, and fat bats. Some weighed as much as 50 oz. and measured up to 42 in. long! (In contrast, today’s standards are 30 oz and 32–34 in. long.) Bats were also made from many different types of wood, but from the 1870s onward, ash was the most popular choice – until Barry Bonds picked up...
***The above was posted after April 29th***
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.
Laverne & Shirley from Parker Brothers. Released in 1977 by Parker Brothers, the Laverne & Shirley board game was a race to accumulate the most dating hours in a single week. The game was an officially licensed product based on the popular sitcom of the same name. The TV series was a spin-off of Happy Days and enjoyed an 8-season run from 1976 to 1983.
Weebles from Hasbro/Romper Room . Released in 1971 by Hasbro/Romper Room, Weebles were a series of small, egg-shaped figures that quickly became one of the company’s most popular toy lines for more than 10 years. A Weeble was distinguished by its uncanny sense of balance, captured in the advertising jingle, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.”
Sorry, Millennials, only Boomers can identify these Sixties toys from their shapes alone. Toys may be more sophisticated and complex now than they were in the Sixties, but sometimes simpler is better. Why have to worry about batteries when you could make it work every time with a quick windup? It was also a time before strict safety requirements were put in place.
BBC Studios has signed Mexico’s Tycoon Enterprises as its South and Central American licensing agent for hit animated preschool series Bluey. As part of the deal, Tycoon has lined up regional distributors Imexporta (Chile), Caffaro (Argentina) and Boing Toys (Guatemala) to make a product range from Bluey’s global master toy partner Moose Toys available throughout Latin America beginning later this year.
Disney+ is prepping a feature film adaptation of bestselling novel Out of My Mind by children’s author Sharon Draper, and the live-action project will be a collab between Disney Branded TV, Participant, Big Beach and EveryWhere Studios. Out of My Mind tells the story of Melody Brooks, a sharp-witted girl with cerebral palsy. Despite not being given the same academic opportunities as her peers, she’s...
Surprise! Hasbro And Nintendo Release Monopoly Junior: Super Mario Edition. If you were a fan of Hasbro's Super Mario Monopoly when it was released back in 2020, but are looking for something that's a bit more accessible for younger audiences, you might want to check out Monopoly Junior: Super Mario Edition.
THQ Nordic and MGM have announced plans to bring the classic Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? franchise to Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, as well as PC later this year. The game is in development with THQ Nordic-owned studio Handy Games. Developed by Massive Miniteam, the game will be published by THQ Nordic subsidiary HandyGames.
Angry Birds is set to extend its toy line with the new Zzzopa Spinner Ball, thanks to a new deal struck between PMI Trading & Enterprise and brand owner Rovio Entertainment. The deal has been brokered by IMG. Having enjoyed huge success in the market to date, Rovio’s Angry Birds will become the first-ever licence to join PMI’s growing Zzzopa Spinner ball line.
Rocket Licensing Represents ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ Series. Rocket Licensing will be discussing the brand with licensees across a wide range of categories and plans to create a licensing program that includes apparel, dress-up, games, puzzles, publishing, stationery, and more. Additionally, a new style guide will be available for licensing partners featuring illustrations from the series.
The Muppets Are Ready to Mingle with 12 New LEGO Minifigures. Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here! LEGO is shining a spotlight on The Muppets with 12 new minifigures inspired by The Muppet Show. The assortment includes Animal, Beaker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Janice, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rowlf the Dog, Statler, the Swedish Chef, and Waldorf.
LA-based ZAG Entertainment has signed seven new licensing deals in Mexico for its flagship brand Miraculous—Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir. Partners joining the consumer products program include Yuyin (shoes), Fotorama (school supplies), Novelties Best Trading (stationery), Cool Things (accessories) Área Creativa (gifts) and Helados Willy (ice cream), and they will all launch new products regionally this fall.
Cartoon Saloon will oversee global licensing and merchandising for its upcoming Netflix movie My Father’s Dragon. Since launching in 2019, the studio’s brand development division has managed consumer products business for projects such as The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, Wolfwalkers and The Breadwinner. My Father’s Dragon is Cartoon Saloon’s fifth feature-length movie. Based on a book by Ruth Stiles...
YouTube has ordered the an animated talk show called Corpse Talk from Banijay Kids & Family-owned prodco Tiger Aspect Kids and Family. The 13-episode comedy highlights historical figures in a talk show format in which luminaries such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci and Cleopatra sit down with a host to share stories from their life. YouTuber Joe Sugg, whose channel ThatcherJoe has 7.5 mill...
Give the gift of play: Rubies and Disney team for Star Wars campaign. The Gift of Play is a new campaign hosted on a dedicated website [disneythegiftofplay.co.uk], which is entrenched in Disney’s nearly 100-year legacy of creative storytelling, to encourage adults and children to have more shared imaginative playtime together. The campaign, which will see a takeover of Rubies social channels and website...
Immersive touring attraction to bring The World of Barbie to life. Kilburn Live, a specialist in branded live entertainment, has revealed a partnership with Mattel, Inc. for a new upcoming immersive attraction: World Of Barbie. Created in partnership with the leading global toy company, Kilburn Live’s interactive exhibition will allow fans the unique opportunity to step directly into Barbie’s inspiring world, where they...
Yoto, the audio platform for kids behind the critically acclaimed, award-winning screen-free Yoto Player and recently launched Yoto Mini, has collaborated with Penguin Audio to bring Peppa Pig titles to its ever-expanding audio library. In a first for the platform, children will soon be able to immerse themselves into the world of Peppa, with two short story collections – At Home with Peppa and Peppa Pig: Bedtime...
NY’s Surge Licensing has signed TOMY International as the master toy partner for kids book series A Little SPOT. Written and illustrated by Diane Alber, the book range currently features 50-plus titles that have sold more than a million copies on Amazon. They’re designed to teach children ages four to 11 how to manage and understand their emotions by using brightly colored characters to explain topics such as...
GoNoodle has teamed up with mental health organization On Our Sleeves to launch The Mooderators, a new social-emotional learning (SEL) series for kids that explores mental health themes. The six-part live-action video series aims to teach five- to nine-year-olds how to identify, process and express their feelings in healthy ways. Each episode will be between two and three-and-a-half minutes long.
Amazon’s Freevee AVOD platform (formerly IMDB TV) has greenlit coming-of-age dramedy Beyond Black Beauty and unscripted series Play-Doh Squished as part of its content slate for 2023. Based on the classic novel by Anna Sewell, Beyond Black Beauty follows aspiring Olympic equestrian Jolie Dumont as she struggles to adapt to a new lifestyle after moving to her mother’s childhood home in Baltimore.
Hot Wheels is partnering with Paralympic athlete Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham to release a speedy remote-controlled wheelchair toy that's ready to pull off all kinds of stunts. Announced and launched Tuesday, the Hot Wheels R/C Aaron Wheelz Wheelie Chair looks a bit like playing a live-action version of a Tony Hawk Pro Skater game. The toy -- which is the first from Hot Wheels to feature a wheelchair as its vehicle....
YuMe Introduces’Stranger Things’ Upside Down Capsule. YuMe, the award-winning global toy brand recognized for its innovative, market-led approach, has announced its partnership with one of the most popular series ever produced by Netflix, Stranger Things. In the run-up to the launch of season 4, YuMe is introducing The Stranger Things Upside Down Capsule, the retro 80’s unboxing experience fans have been craving!
Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball Hits Record High in Franchise Licensing Deals. Setting the stage for next month’s Licensing Expo 2022, anime pioneer and industry-leading studio Toei Animation Incorporated together with U.S. agent Crunchyroll has released the latest Dragon Ball franchise licensing report. This annual report provides a comprehensive look at the success of their collective Dragon Ball licensing...
Bluey brings first-ever live show to U.S. audiences. The much-loved Heeler family are coming to theatres across the United States with the Bluey live show, Bluey’s Big Play The Stage Show. The Emmy Award-winning animated preschool series, which airs on Disney Junior, Disney Channel, and Disney+, will be “taking the show on the road” to theatres all across the U.S., starting with its …
Star Stable gallops into toy licensing with Just Play. Swedish games company Star Stable Entertainment (SSE) has signed a global toy line deal with leading consumer products company Just Play for its hugely successful gaming brand Star Stable Online, via Finnish and Canada-based licensing and animation studio Ferly. The first toy line will hit the market in 2023. The deal will see the partners develop …
LEGO and the Rolling Stones band together for satisfying set. The LEGO Group is bringing a rock ’n’ roll image to life in brick form. The bright red lips and tongue known worldwide as the logo for the Rolling Stones is guaranteed to thrill adult fans looking to combine their passion for the band’s music and LEGO bricks. The logo, first seen on the Stones’ ...
MARVEL INTRODUCES ‘BLACK PANTHER LEGACY COLLECTION’ WITH HASBRO REISSUES. Following the success of the Infinity Saga line of toys and collectibles last year, Marvel Studios is looking ahead to the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by bringing T’Challa and other legendary characters from Black Panther back into toy departments this summer.
***The above posted after April 29th***
Posh Paws International is releasing a new collection of plush toys based on the DreamWorks Animations pre-school series, Gabby’s Dollhouse, this September. Created and executive produced by celebrated storytellers Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey, the duo behind Blue’s Clues!, Gabby’s Dollhouse is a mixed media pre-school series that unboxes a surprise before jumping into a fantastical animated world...
Launched earlier this year thanks to a partnership between Eolo Toys and Boti, Battle Cubes introduced some healthy competition to the pocket money sector. Kids can use the cool and collectible licensed Battle Cubes to challenge their opponents to a rock-paper-scissors-style fight. To play, each battler must first select their secret attack. Then the opponents launch their Battle Cubes, with the winning cube capturing...
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...
Fisher-Price announces partnership with FriendsWithYou. Fisher-Price has announced its partnership with FriendsWithYou, the artist duo known for their unique positive pop visions, to bring a new collection of children’s toys and baby products to life. The Fisher-Price Happy World line from FriendsWithYou collaboration was inspired by the aesthetic and characters from FriendsWithYou’s Happy World, which the artists...
Guru Studio releases True and the Rainbow Kingdom toy line. Guru Studio has announced a full line of toys inspired by the series, “True and the Rainbow Kingdom,” is now available in the U.S. and Canada on Amazon and at Toys ‘R’ Us Canada. Fans of the show can visit the brand’s dedicated Amazon Brand Store for the growing list of officially licensed products that includes toys, books, costumes, music, apparel and more.
Plastic Meatball creates line of retro ‘Time Bandits’ merchandise. Plastic Meatball, leaders in the retro-nostalgic collectible merchandise space, have worked with Handmade Films to develop a cross-category line of products based on Terry Gilliam’s 1981 cult classic, Time Bandits. Plastic Meatball’s deal encompasses a wide swath of consumer products categories, including toys, games, apparel, housewares, seasonal décor...
'Fortnite' and Wu-Tang Clan bring the Ruckus with game and merch collaboration. Launched April 23, “Fortnite” is now offering players a variety of Wu Wear items in the Item Shop, including new outfits, styles and weaponry including the Throwback BG Outfit – with Wu Wear Worldwide Back Bling and Neck Protector Pickaxe – and the B.R.I.T.E. Outfit, offering Wu-Tang Represent Back Bling, Triumphant Tagger Pickaxe.
Cool Cats and TOIKIDO Announce New Toy Line. Cool Cats, producers of the Cool Cats and Cool Pets NFT collections, and TOIKIDO, an entertainment and toy company, have announced a manufacturing and distribution deal for a wide range of Cool Cats merchandise to bring the characters of the Cooltopia ecosystem into the physical world. “Toys, plushies and premium merch have been a continual ask...
Toymonster unleashes Jurassic World Captivz Dominion edition toy collection. In honor of the upcoming film Jurassic World Dominion which hits theaters June 10, Toy Monster is launching a new line of collectible dinosaur toys. The Jurassic World CAPTIVZ Dominion Edition collection, intended for kids ages 3 and up, includes a Slime Egg, a Mega Egg, a Surprise Egg, Zoom Riders, and a Collector’s Case.
People of Play
Twenty-year Disney vet Francesca Romana Gianesin will oversee the kidco's licensing and merchandising business in EMEA and ANZ, as it prepares to expand the ancillary reach of its brands. Francesca Gianesin resizedMoonbug has hired former Disney VP Francesca Romana Gianesin to head up its licensing business in EMEA, Australia and New Zealand.
Former Nickelodeon and Viacom exec Lisa Silverman Meyers has been appointed SVP of International at WildBrain-owned Peanuts Worldwide. Tasked with expanding the brand internationally, she will oversee all business outside of North America, identifying growth opportunities in underdeveloped markets. Silverman Meyers officially started in April and is based in New York. She reports to Tim Erickson,...
NIHF – National Inventors Hall of Fame Inducts Lonnie Johnson, Super Soaker Creator, and More. Five innovation pioneers whose inventions range from cataract surgery to the modern automobile will be honored as part of the latest class of National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) Inductees, including the inventor of the Super Soaker, Lonnie Johnson.
The NY based crafts and activity co. Creative Kids has continued its expansion within the UK with the appointment of Grant Gie, who will head up operations in the country as managing director. He joins Creative Kids following his most recent role as international sales director at Melissa & Doug, having previously held senior roles at Sambro and Hasbro.
***The Above posted after April 28th***
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 ...
KidsKnowBest appoints new senior account manager. In his new role, Joe Purchase will be working across KidsKnowBest’s client teams to foster and maintain strong long-term client relationships. The data-led creative media agency KidsKnowBest continues to expand its talented commercial team, this time with the appointment of Joe Purchase as new senior account manager.
Fanattik appoints Luiz Ferreira as Sales Director. Fanattik, the award-winning UK based pop culture gift licensee, has appointed Luiz Ferreira to the position of Sales Director. Luiz started with Fanattik as a consultant three years ago before moving up to head of sales, and now as Sales Director he will be managing relationships with gift retailers throughout the UK, mainland Europe, MENA and Australasia.
Companies and Brands
Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of the Bazooka Companies, Incorporated, kicks off the Ring Pop brand’s 45th birthday with the launch of the #RingPop45Contest, calling on friends and families across the country to share their very own Ring Pop-inspired birthday treat on Instagram for a chance to win a $1000 cash gift card and a year’s supply of Ring Pops.
Following a new report for Nick Jr. by the National Literacy Trust, Nick Jr. and Blue’s Clues & You! will take part in Early Words Together programmes. A report compiled for Paramount as part of a wider partnership between the National Literacy Trust and Blues Clues & You! shows that parents of young children engaged in fewer home learning activities in 2021 than they did in 2019, despite spending more time with them at home during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Toys ‘R’ Us ANZ Presents at NWR Virtual Investor Conference. Following its relaunch of Toys “R” Us as a digital-first, direct-to-consumer retailer in Australia and New Zealand, Toys “R” Us ANZ Ltd. is currently setting up shop in the UK. This week, the company’s CEO and Managing Director, Dr. Louis Mittoni addressed investors and analysts at the NWR Virtual Investor Conference.
DECLASSIFYING THE FUTURE OF G.I. JOE: A ROUNDTABLE WITH HASBRO. It’s been 40 years since Hasbro launched G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, a revamped approach to its famous military brand. At the time, it was revolutionary in that the 12-inch line of action figures had entered the 3.75-inch scale that was all the rage due to the launch of the Kenner Star Wars collection just a few years prior. The new scale and multipronged...
Ravensburger has unveiled its plan to release Star Wars puzzles in the U.S. for the first time this year. The new line will include puzzles from the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the new hit series The Mandalorian. “We know that Star Wars is such a beloved franchise, and we are delighted to finally introduce these puzzles to the U.S.,” says Thomas Kaepeller, president of Ravensburger NA. “With so many designs...
UNICEF, The LEGO Group Promote Kids’ Digital Well-Being. UNICEF and The LEGO Group have joined forces to form the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children project. Funded by the LEGO Foundation, the project seeks to create practical tools for businesses and governments that will empower them to put kids’ well-being at the center of digital design, during a digital age when technology has become...
Crazy Aaron’s is throwing its support behind Mental Health Awareness Month. The company is donating special edition Thinking Putty Care Packages to therapists’ offices and mental health nonprofit organizations throughout its local community in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
“Supporting mental health is the human equivalent to supporting infrastructure like roads and bridges. Without it, human potential is limited...
‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Drops Intense New Trailer Featuring Darth Vader for Star Wars Day. The six-part series premieres on Disney+ May 27. The new look at the Disney+ series, dubbed the “official trailer” is 90 seconds long — and there is a lot to unpack. It is clear from the preview that the six-part Star Wars series will tell the story of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) on the run from Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) and The Empire while he tries to keep an eye on a young Luke Skywalker.
PBS KIDS, PRX and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are running a second edition of their podcast initiative in order to support five US pubcasters in developing new content for two- to eight-year-olds. The Ready to Learn Podcast Accelerator is giving Ball State PBS (Indiana), East Tennessee PBS, KERA (Dallas), KSPS PBS (Washington) and WNET (NY) up to US$12,000 each, and 16 weeks of virtual training...
JumpStart, the parent company of Neopets, will be proudly hosting a charity auction, debuting a 25-piece collection of Neopian art featuring characters from the beloved game. The auction will go live on GiveSmart on Monday, May 9, 2022 and will end on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The full collection from the Neopets private vault on auction includes fine art paintings with luxe frames, large standees, and high-quality...
Hamleys Regent Street has unveiled its newest retail space, dedicated to gaming. The purpose-built 3,000 ft space, located on the lower ground floor, offers 13 interactive zones to explore, and will house the latest consoles, bestselling games and accessories from brands including Xbox, Nintendo, Razer and more. The highly immersive area – the only dedicated multi-brand …
“Pictionary,” the first-run syndicated game show based on the Mattel game, is now cleared in 90% of the country, ensuring a Fall 2022 national launch. Stations from CBS Stations, Sinclair, Nexstar, Tegna and Gray are the most recent to sign on to broadcast the strip, which had previously been cleared by Fox Television Stations. “Game shows have been a consistent performer for stations, so they really embraced the..
Disney Junior has unveiled new original content, including four series and two shorts, that will be launching across the preschool channel and Disney+ through 2024. New co-productions Hey A.J., RoboGobo, Kindergarten: The Musical, and SuperKitties are joining the kidcaster’s programming lineup targeting the two-to-seven demo.
Netflix has shut down two animated kids shows in production: Dino Daycare, from creator Jeff King (Vampirina) and executive producer Chris Nee (Ada Twist, Scientist), as well as creator Jaydeep Hasrajani’s Boons & Curses. The move comes in the wake of the streamer’s recent Q1 report, which saw it post a 200,000 subscriber loss for the quarter and a forecast for more of the same in Q2.
A least one U.S. consumer-products manufacturer has no intention of giving up on China anytime soon. Kids2, the online identity of Atlanta-based Kids II, Inc., designs and manufactures toys for infants and toddlers under several high-profile brands, including Baby Einstein, Bright Starts and Ingenuity. Kids2 offers hundreds of different products and maintains affiliate operations in multiple countries
Meet Sox, the breakout star of Disney’s ‘Lightyear’ — and the next hot toy. A robot cat named Sox from the Pixar film “Lightyear” was a standout during a preview of the film during CinemaCon, leading many observers to believe it will be the next hot toy property. Disney screened the first 30 minutes of its new Pixar film “Lightyear” at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Wednesday, but the biggest buzz among attendees...
UK-based Aardman Animations and French AR/VR developer Atlas V are teaming up to co-produce Wallace and Gromit’s first virtual reality experience. Funded by Meta’s VR headset division Meta Quest (formerly Facebook’s Oculus Quest), The Grand Getaway is a single-player experience that will launch in 2023 exclusively via the Oculus store.
***The above was posted after April 28th***
Hasbro has launched an all-new campaign, Monopoly Throwback Token Vote, giving fans across the globe a chance to bring back one of six retired iconic tokens from their childhood – Thimble, Wheelbarrow, Iron, Boot, Horse & Rider or Money Bag. Underway now, readers worldwide can visit www.monopolytokenvote.com to choose one Throwback Token, first popularised in the 1990s, that they’d like to see in...
Highly collectible in a craze that swept through playgrounds in the 1990s, Pogs have returned in the form of Pog NFTs, so they can be collected and traded online. With the Pog NFTs, players will be able to collect, trade and play against Pogman and other Poggers to complete their set and earn Pogart throughout a decentralised ecosystem – The World Pogger Federation.
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...
LEGO Group plans to triple its digital team as it looks beyond the brick. The LEGO Group has opened a new office in Copenhagen for up to 400 employees who will be focused on developing the toy brand’s long-term digital ambitions. The new Copenhagen office joins three other digitally focused LEGO workspaces in Billund, Denmark, London and Shanghai, all of which will serve a global digital team that will nearly triple...
Zoom into summer with Wilton Bradley’s Xootz range. Wheeled toys have long been a specialism of the Wilton Bradley team, and with summer fast approaching, the company is currently creating a real buzz around the latest additions to its multi-award-winning Xootz ride-on toy range. This officially licensed twin-seat BMW is a scale replica of the sporty Z4 Roadster – and it makes a real statement.
Sambro launches Care Bear baby range in Primark and Home Bargains. Sambro, the UK’s leading global supplier of licensed and own-brand children’s toys and entertainment, has developed a range of Care Bear baby plush toys to help celebrate the Care Bears’ 40th anniversary this year. The new range is in Primark stores now, and will be available at Home Bargains from the end of this month.
Blue Orange Games will release 'Museum Suspects' into U.S. retail. Blue Orange Games will release Museum Suspects, a new sleuthing family game, into retail in 2022. In this game, one of the museum's artifacts has been stolen and players must sort through suspects to figure out who committed the crime. There is a single thief hiding amongst 16 suspects still in the building.
Gale Force Nine reveals 'Starfinder: Pirates Of Skydock'. Gale Force Nine revealed Starfinder: Pirates of Skydock, a new heist board game, for release in August 2022. In Starfinder: Pirates of Skydock, players compete with one another to pull of the greatest heist of all time and steal a top-of-the-line space vessel. The goal of the game is for a player to gain enough support to declare themselves the new captain...
Mantic Games will release 'Firefight 2e: Two-Player Starter Set'. Mantic Games will release the Firefight 2E: Two-Player Starter Set, a miniatures boxed set, into U.S. retail in 2022. Firefight is making its return with a second edition, after being out of action few years, with a new entry level starter set that has over 70 miniatures. This starter set also comes with rule and force lists books, a quick start guide, dice, and tokens.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Call of Duty's latest anti-cheat measure "cloaking" leaves cheaters helpless. A new anti-cheat measure called "cloaking" has been added to Call of Duty Vanguard to prevent rule-breakers from seeing opposing players in the game world. Team Ricochet -- the anti-cheat devs tasked with keeping players on the straight and narrow -- confirmed that anybody detected to be cheating might find themselves unable to see...
Microsoft to host Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase in June. Microsoft will host its Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase in June despite the demise of E3.The event will take place on June 12 at 1pm ET and according to Microsoft will feature "amazing titles coming from Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda, and our partners around the world."
Mattel launches He-Man and the Masters of the Universe interactive experience on Roblox. Mattel invites Masters of the Universe (MOTU) fans and Roblox players to the world of Eternia, where players can compete in PvP battles as their favorite characters from the animated Netflix series He-Man Masters of the Universe. The game, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe: You Have The Power!,
Ubisoft axes online support for 91 games. In the past year, Ubisoft has ceased online support for a list of games that has grown to 91 titles. This means that any multiplayer components associated with these games will no longer be accessible, along with any achievements or unlockables attached to the online aspect of the game. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the support for these games wasn’t cut off all at once...
Netflix Games roster will include almost 50 titles by the end of 2022. Netflix intends to grow its Netflix Games roster to almost 50 mobile titles by the end of 2022. According to a report from The Washington Post, which spoke with sources familiar with the streaming company's plans, Netflix plans to continue exploring the world of games via mobile platforms and is targeting "great gains" in the future.
THQ Nordic and MGM Bring ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?’ to Gaming Platforms. THQ Nordic and MGM have announced plans to bring the “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” franchise to Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC later this year. The game is in development with THQ Nordic-owned studio,
Sega is pulling the vast majority of classic Sonic games from digital stores. Sega is going to “delist the digital versions of” Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD starting on May 20th, according to a press release posted to multiple sites (via The Gamer). The announcement is extremely light on details. (You could read it faster than a speedrunner could do Green Hill Zone 1), but it does mention...
Knotwords mashes Wordle with crossword puzzles. For years, designer Zach Gage has been enamored with the works of famed Japanese game publisher Nikoli. The company is best known for popularizing sudoku, and is renowned for its minimalist takes on puzzles like nonograms (which Nintendo fans might recognize as Picross).
‘Super Mario Bros.’ pushes release to April 2023. Illumination and Universal are pushing back the theatrical release of Super Mario Bros. from Dec. 21, 2022, to April 7, 2023, the companies announced late Monday. The computer-animated film stars Chris Pratt as Mario. The star-packed voice cast also includes Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Charlie Day (Luigi), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad),
Sony aims for June 13th US launch for revamped PlayStation Plus. Sony is aiming to launch its revamped PlayStation Plus tiers in the Americas on June 13th, the company announced Friday. Sony is targeting a launch date first in markets in Asia (with the exception of Japan) on May 23rd, followed by a Japan launch on June 1st, an Americas launch on June 13th, and a Europe launch on June 22nd.
Frogwares indefinitely delays Xbox One version of Sherlock Holmes due to Russian invasion. Ukrainian studio Frogwares has indefinitely postponed the Xbox One version of Sherlock Holmes Chapter One due to the ongoing Russian invasion. In an update shared on Twitter, the Kyiv-based studio explained the war has heavily impacted its production capabilities, meaning it no longer has the resources or staff ...
Safety and Counterfeiting
Planned changes to toys and cosmetics regulations. UK Government is intending to update the technical annexes to the Cosmetic Products Regulation 2009 and Schedule 2 to the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011. Amend Appendix C to Schedule 2 of the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2009 to introduce specific (lower) limits for aniline and formaldehyde for toys intended for use by children under 36 months old or other toy...
Safety Gate: Motor vehicles and toys top the list of dangerous non-food products this year. The European Commission published its annual report on the Safety Gate, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products. The report covers alerts notified during 2021 and the actions taken by national authorities in response.
Recall Alert: Monti Kids Wooden Push Toys a danger to children. Thousands of Monti Kids Wooden Push Toys are being recalled because they could be dangerous for your children. According to the product safety commission, the toy consists of a wooden handle attached to a rolling cylinder, which contains wooden balls.
Highlighted Press Releases
The Singing Machine Company – the worldwide leader in consumer karaoke products – announces the official product release of its new Sing-along Crew plush characters. This newest hit kid’s product line is a unique approach to plush toys with sing-along capabilities designed for on-the-go fun. Each character is full of fun personality designed to encourage children to discover a love with music and singing.
MasterPieces inspires young generations of explorers to play, create and discover the fun of outer space with its newest licensed product line for NASA branded puzzles, games and DIY wood build-and-paint sets. Now available is a collection of NASA puzzles, games and craft kits that is certified by NASA for accuracy and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) value. David Rolls, President and Founder of MasterPieces, Inc., said, “NASA will continue to be a world leader in the exploration of space throughout the next decade, and MasterPieces can now bring that future to our customers.”
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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
Pam Kaufman joined by Gary V for Licensing Expo keynote. Serial entrepreneur and world renowned NFT expert, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Pam Kaufman, president of Paramount, will explore the opportunities in the crossover between licensing and digital collectibles. Slated for May 24th, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, this highly anticipated panel brings together the most respected visionaries in the industry...
Licensing Expo Reveals 2022 Speaker Lineup. Representatives from License Global, Paramount, LEGO, Hot Topic, WildBrain, FanGirl Consulting & Brand Management, GennComm ImaGENNation, Seltzer Licensing Group, Ferdinand IP Law Group, Formula E, Beanstalk, PhatMojo, Watermelon Creative, JS Product Design, Smiley, Licensing International, and Products of Change are among this year’s speakers
MeteoHeroes Premieres on PBS on Earth Day and Inspires New Environmental Awards. Mondo TV Studios, one of the largest European producers and distributors of animated content, together with family entertainment maverick Kenn Viselman and Meteo Expert has announced big news for its mega-hit MeteoHeroes: a TV debut in North America on PBS, and new awards inspired by the environmentally focused animated...
Coinciding with National Mental Health Month, Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) has announced the launch of WiT Wellness, a year-round initiative designed to raise awareness and mobilize conversations around mental health and well-being, and inspire individuals and companies to incorporate mental wellness into their daily lives.
Kidscreen Summit: full steam ahead for July live event. With just 11 weeks to go until this year’s Kidscreen Summit takes place live in Miami, the organisers report that all planning and preparation is on track. New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Award medalist Kwame Alexander will kick the week off with a keynote address on Monday, July 18, sharing the inspirational story of his
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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. .
Here are nine titles that made the 2022 Tribeca Games selections. The Tribeca Games selections have been revealed ahead of Tribeca 2022, which aims to celebrate the convergence of games, entertainment, and culture. Nine titles will be spotlighted at the festival this year, including A Plague Tale: Requium, American Arcadia, As Dusk Falls, Cuphead - The Delicious Last Course, Immortality, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals...
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.
Robert Krakoff (October 4, 1940 - April 26, 2022) - Razer co-founder and gaming mouse pioneer. Before Razer the company, there was Razerguy.
In 1999, Krakoff was behind the first-ever gaming mouse: the Razer Boomslang. Not only was it the foundation of Razer’s now-massive lineup of gaming mice, it arguably jumpstarted the entire gaming peripheral industry.
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.
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