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April 8 - 15, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

Next Thursday, April 21st, is our first Marketing and PR Quarterly Event. We've got an extraordinary lineup of keynote speakers and panelists from agency, brand and media viewpoints! We will bring Marketing and PR Pros into the forefront, and discuss things such as trends, engagement and a long list of other topics as we build networks!

 

All Marketing and PR Pros are welcome! Register (free) HERE.

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. Have you checked out the new Bloom Report News Feed?

Mary

"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. 

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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers

The Wish List Conundrum

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Question:  Which is more difficult—getting on a kid’s wish list or staying on it long enough to get purchased?

Answer:   Ahh…the wish list conundrum. This is not an easy question to answer unless I respond “both.”

I don’t have the answer per se, but I do have perspective. Let’s start with some perspective on kids and their wish lists.  Typically, kids aren’t constrained on their wish list size. So,  let's assume a kid’s wish list surpasses her parents’ budget.  Because parents are motivated  to “delight” their kids, they are going to go as deep into the list as they can.  Kids start developing their holiday wish list in earnest in early to mid-October…and yet parents make the bulk of holiday purchases in the 3-4 weeks leading up to Christmas.  So, surviving on a wish list for 8-10 weeks is somewhat of a herculean task.

Beyond that inconvenient reality, I sympathize with marketers today given the imperative to support their fall launches in response to August “chase-cancel” retailer decisions.  Clearly, retailers seek to push as much of the risk onto the manufacturers as possible.  Maintaining retailer support to get re-orders after initial launch quantities forces marketers away from the proven axiom of “spend behind the business.”  Relatively few toy sales occur in August, so in essence, we’re stuck “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  Every dollar we spend in August is a dollar we can’t spend to drive demand when most consumer purchase decisions are made.  READ MORE . . .

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Person of the Week - Dianne Lauble

Follow Your Hunches... ALL Your Hunches

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Hi Dianne! Thank you for taking time to talk to us today. Do you have a mantra that you live by?

That all people have untapped potential.

 

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

I just wanted to make a living drawing. I got my first job with Steve Rehkemper illustrating toy concepts.  I had included a drawing of a Pinocchio marionette in my portfolio, and fortunately that was enough for Steve to take a chance on me. I am forever grateful.

What and/or who inspires you?

People that have overcome great odds or obstacles and changed the trajectory of their lives due to their own grit and “never give up” spirit. I keep George M. Moore Jr’s saying “A winner is a loser that tries one more time” on my desk.

 READ MORE . . . 

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Industry Commentary

Mark Foster, Managing Director, UK & NA for Playmobil

Kidult: Giving Adults a License to PLAY

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The toy space is no longer one bound by age as the so-called “kidult” trend continues its march into toy aisles everywhere.

 

PLAYMOBIL is one of several toy makers that has enjoyed substantial growth within this category over the last few years.  Starting with the launch of Ghostbusters in 2017, we followed with our award-winning Back to the Future DeLorean and a successful Scooby-Doo! line, complete with the Mystery Machine! 2021 saw the launch of the Volkswagen Beetle and the T1 Camping Bus (the latter gained us a TOTY for Vehicle of the Year, as did the DeLorean the previous year).  Last summer, there was an internet frenzy surrounding the Star Trek U.S.S.Enterprise, the A-Team Van and the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 - Goldfinger Edition vehicles. This year, we’re continuing with our just-announced release of the most iconic talking car in pop culture history --  K.I.T.T. from the 1980s Knight Rider and soon-to-be-announced additions to the Star Trek line.

The NPD Group confirmed the growing appeal of the kidult market, noting in a report these buyers are now an audience responsible for more than a quarter of toy sales in the UK alone. In 2020, kidult sales were 14% higher than in 2019, set against an overall increase of 6%.This adult and teen category now represents 27% of total toy sales, up by 16% since 2016.    READ MORE . . . 

Financial and Legal

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 cardsMillennium 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.

***The above posted after April 15th***

Hasbro announced it is acquiring D&D Beyond, the leading digital toolset and game companion for the Co.’s groundbreaking fantasy franchise, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, from Fandom. Fandom, the world’s largest fan platform, has owned and operated D&D Beyond since 2019 and has grown the direct-to-consumer business to be the leading RPG digital toolset on the mkt with close to 10 mil registered users. 

Fortnite creator Epic Games has invested in and signed a publishing agreement with Brazilian developer Aquiris.  The studio is best known for the Horizon Chase series and its Apple Arcade release Wonderbox, but Aquiris is also working on a new, currently unannounced game. Epic Games will publish it alongside an undisclosed number of other future titles, with Aquiris saying the investment will shape the next 15 yrs of the studio.

Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, has raised $2 billion in capital from Sony and the Lego family, in a significant deal that demonstrates big firms’ enthusiasm for the so-called “metaverse.” Epic announced that Sony will invest $1 billion in the company, with KIRKBI, the family-owned investment firm behind Lego, contributing the same amount. Epic would be valued at $31.5 billion after the purchase closes, subject to usual...

 

How a Plano toy inventor helped push U.S. Rep. Van Taylor out of office. Josh Malone funded a super PAC that spent over $400,000 working to defeat the Plano congressman, who got forced into a primary runoff and then admitted to an affair and ended his campaign. Malone’s claim to fame is Bunch O Balloons, a product that allows dozens of self-tying water balloons to be filled at once. His invention brought him tremendous...

The Chinese National Press and Public Administration is approving new game releases in China for the first time in nine months. This follows a long year of the Chinese government tightening regulations on its video game industry, branding the medium as "spiritual opium," and pushing for late-night curfews for younger players. According to Reuters, the first games to receive new approval include Baidu Games...

The exclusive Magic Castle in Hollywood, home to the Academy of Magical Arts and one of Los Angeles' most storied landmarks, is getting a new owner, with the founder of video-game maker Gearbox Entertainment announcing his purchase of the Franklin Avenue manor. An avid magician himself and longtime AMA member and Magic Castle attendee, Randy Pitchford said he is dedicated to the preservation of 1908...

 

Sony has invested another $1 billion into Fortnite developer Epic Games in order to deepen its relationship with the firm "in the metaverse field". This increases the funding provided by the PlayStation 5 mfr to a total of $1.45 billion, as Sony made 2 other payments of $250 million in July 2020 and then another $200 million in April 2021. This latest round of funding represents the co's biggest investment in Epic Games yet.

 

Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia closed their megamerger, adding a new behemoth to the entertainment industry. The two companies will combine television, movie and news operations that draw revenue of nearly $50 billion, forming one of the biggest media companies in the country. it means that rivals like Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Apple now have a new ferocious competitor for streaming dominance.

The Roachy Fund 2022 Scholarship Application Now Available – Deadline April 22, 2022. The Roachy Fund's mission is to help others follow their dream to “make art and play games.” The Fund will provide scholarships to college bound students who plan on pursuing a degree in art and/or game design.  The scholarship was established to honor Alan Roach, a loved and respected leader in the toy and game industry.  

California lawyer alleges Governor Newsom interfered with Activision Blizzard suit - Report. A lawyer has resigned from the California Dept of Fair Employment and Housing saying that CA Governor Gavin Newsom has been interfering with the agency's lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for the benefit of the publisher, according to a Bloomberg report. The lawyer, assistant chief counsel for the DFEH Melanie Proctor ….

Soaring petrol costs drive UK inflation to 30-year high. Prices are rising at their fastest rate for 30 years, driven by a sharp increase in petrol and diesel costs. The UK inflation rate rose to 7% in the year to March, the highest rate since 1992 and up from 6.2% in February. Prices are rising faster than wages and there is pressure on the government to do more to help those struggling.

 

Soaring petrol prices send US inflation to 40-year highThe US inflation rate hit a fresh 40-year high in the year to March after fuel prices soared during the first full month of the Ukraine war. Consumer prices surged by 8.5% - the largest annual gain since December 1981 - following a double-digit rise in energy prices. Last month, President Joe Biden banned all imports of oil and gas from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. 

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Financial Reporting

 

Netflix is bleeding subscribers for the first time in over a decade — and it's expecting to lose another 2 million subscribers in coming months

 

According to the Census Bureau, March retail sales spiked 6.9% over last year while NRF reported a 4% gain

 

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%).

***The above was posted after April 15th***

 

Hornby unveils positive fourth quarter sales numbers

 

‘Sonic 2’ Grabs $72 Million as Biggest Covid-Era Kids Movie

IDW Publishing sales were $7,531,000 for the quarter, up from $5,649,000 in the same quarter a year ago

CD Projekt full-year 2021 financials marred by slow Cyberpunk sales

Take-Two is selling $2.7 billion worth of senior notes to raise cash for Zynga deal

Future Financial Reporting

Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced that it will webcast its first quarter 2022 earnings conference call on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, following the release of Hasbro's financial results.

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

 

MANGA PICK HITS - JUNE 2022

 

***The above posted after April 15th***

 

TIKTOK’S GLOBAL AD REVENUE SET TO SURPASS TWITTER AND SNAPCHAT COMBINED, STUDY FINDS The app's ad revenue is on track to triple this year

 

For the first time, Facebook Gaming scored more quarterly watch time than YouTube Gaming.

The big spending chill: 5 ways Gen Z, Millennials differ

 

NPD’s Melissa Symonds looks at the areas of the UK toy market that are thriving as the industry continues to face challenges, finding some unexpected heroes.

 

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to a selection of leaders in the Games & Puzzles space to find out how they’re approaching the category this year and what new opportunities lie ahead.

The Insights Family report highlights changing family dynamics

MARCH 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS

 

MARCH 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS

 

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to leading suppliers in the Pocket Money & Collectibles sector to find out what’s driving trends in this space

 

Geek Showbiz Roundup - 'SONIC 2' OPENS BIGGER; 'ST: TNG' STARS IN 'PICARD' S3; 'LOCKE & KEY' S3 WILL BE LAST; TOP WARNER EXECS EXIT AS MERGER CLOSES; HBO MAX DEVELOPING 'SHERLOCK' UNIVERSE; KIRKMAN, PRODUCERS LOSE IN AMC LAWSUIT


For the third month in a row, manga sweeps the chart of the top 20 Adult graphic novels in the book channel, based on NPD BookScan data for March 2022

 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

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?”

 

***The above posted after April 15th***

 

John Baulch, ToyWorld, Hot Cross Fun…it’s the Friday Blog (on a Thursday)! As it’s Easter tomorrow, the Friday Blog is coming to you a day early this week. Let’s hope that the Easter holidays bring an upturn in trade – toy retailers and suppliers could certainly do with a bit of a boost after a challenging month, where petrol, food, gas and electricity prices have all risen steeply, making us all feel poorer every time we fill the car ...

 

How Easter Eggs Play A Role In Customer Experience. This week marks the celebration of three major religious holidays: Easter, Passover, and Ramadan. But only one of these holidays lends its name to hidden secrets within video games, movies, and software. I am talking, of course, about the mysterious Easter egg. Digital Easter eggs trace their roots back nearly 50 years, when ...

Former Cubs Manager Joe Maddon’s Advice for Baseball and Business.  Former Chicago Cubs manager (and current Los Angeles Angels manager) Joe Maddon became a beloved figure in the city of Chicago, and his frequent quips – dubbed “Maddonisms” – were often quoted on T-shirts and in the media.

Steve Reece - Opinion - THE BIGGEST THREATS FACING THE TOY INDUSTRY: PART 2 – POTENTIAL REJECTION OF PLASTIC BY CONSUMERS. The hard reality we need to consider here is that consumers will not tell us in advance that they are no longer going to buy plastic products. They won’t tell us at or soon after previews & toy fairs which products they want to buy in the same way as retailers do. 

"Why Is It Like That?" – Dr. Carly Kocurek on Games Research and Gaming's Techno Masculinity. Dr. Carly Kocurek and I (David Craddock) discussed the pervasive view of games as being made by and for men, the practices of documenting video game history, how her interest in research brought her to video games, and much more in this wide-ranging interview.

TikTok launches its own AR development platform, Effect House  Last August, TechCrunch noted TikTok was working to build its own augmented reality development platform called Effect House, which would allow creators to build AR effects for use in TikTok’s video app. Today, Effect House has officially gone live. The platform has been operating in a close beta since last fall, where it’s so far been adopted by...

Goodbye, minimalism: How Gen Z is reshaping retail product design.  Beauty brand Youthforia, a Gen Z favorite, packages its lip gloss and blush in neon tubes that click together like magnetic Legos. Founder and CEO Fiona Co Chan told us she wanted the products themselves to spark childhood memories. “[It] kind of brings you back to the first time you’ve ever bought makeup…I wanted it to kind of be reminiscent of a toy.”

 

For decades, women were leaders in computer science but then, in 1984, their representation in the field dropped dramatically -- in a way unseen in any other scientific or technical field.  What Caitlin Kenney and Steve Henn discover in this excellent segment on NPR's Planet Money offers valuable insight on how gender stereotypes, especially as they pertain to children's toys and marketing, can have far-reaching and unforeseen effects.

 

Tristan Brooks on kids’ viewing habitsPost-Christmas, kids’ commercial TV viewing is now at an all-time low. During the festive break, new devices such as tablets and smart TVs are gifted and streaming services introduced to entertain the family, which impacts on time they’d usually spend watching kids’ commercial TV channels. This decline in viewing is nothing new and happens after every Christmas, including during...

Retail Poised to Turn Corner, Challenges Remain. After two years of store closings, bankruptcies, and liquidations, retail chains appear poised to turn the corner. This comes as the number of U.S. store openings (5,048) outstripped closings (4,975) for the first time in several years, according to Coresight Research. 

 

Scalpers gouge LEGO fans desperate for freebie Skywalker Saga minifigure. Fans and critics of Lego video games seem to be enjoying Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the first Traveller's Tales Lego title to be released since 2019's The Lego Movie 2 Videogame. But fans of physical Legos are also on the hunt for limited supplies of the physical Deluxe Edition of the title, bidding up secondhand prices on the game...

 

Report: Almost half of Russian game industry workers are leaving the country. Russia's invasion of Ukraine might have dire consequences for the country's video game industry. Russian game development trade outlet App2Top has published a survey (translated and first spotted by Dmitriy Byshonkov) that indicates up to 42.3 percent of the Russian game industry has either left the country or is making plans to leave...

 

Geoffrey is back, and this time Toys ‘R’ Us means business. Are we back in the 1980s? Will Geoffrey prevail against the debtors and could this Toy Story finally have a happy ending? To answer these questions and more, let’s imagine an age where gaming hardly existed, toys were made to be played with not logged-in to and a large, friendly giraffe called Geoffrey ruled the shelves. Imagine no more, because...

 

Global toy industry supports Ukraine during Russian conflict [updated]. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is creating a new ripple effect of challenges for toymakers worldwide. Following the invasion, the Ukrainian Toy Industry Association (UTIA) sent out a call to action, urging toy and game manufacturers to immediately cease trading with Russian companies.

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History and Nostalgia

 

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.

 

***The above was posted after April 15th***

 

Pretzel-Jetzel from Transogram. Released in 1965 by Transogram, the Pretzel-Jetzel toy promised children they could bake their own “zenzational” pretzels using the heat of a light bulb. Children used hot water and butter from their own kitchens to mix with the powered pretzel mix. They then poured the dough into the squeeze bottle which was used to dispence a thin layer of the mixture onto metal ...

 

Dr. Kildare from Ideal. In 1962, Ideal released Dr. Kildare, a board game based on the popular TV show of the same name. Players ages 7-14 assumed the role of the fictional physician, completing rounds in the hospital and diagnosing patients. The gameboard’s design mimics a hospital complete with corridors, patient rooms, an operating room, laboratory, and X-Ray area. 

 

The Bizarre History of Scrabble.  During the Great Depression, architect Alfred M. Butts had time on his hands and play on his mind. He devised a game of 100 lettered tiles used to form words on a square grid that looked like a crossword puzzle. Each letter carried a numerical value, and players scored points by tallying up the values of the letters in the words they laid down. Butts was a better game creator than marketer. He called his game Lexiko, then Criss Cross Words; but the names did little for sales.

 

The Birthplace of Scrabble - Queens, New York. A uniquely lettered street sign marks the corner where the iconic word game was invented.  EIGHTY YEARS AFTER IT WAS first invented, the classic American board game Scrabble remains popular as ever (despite some competition from various digital copycats). The location of the beloved word game’s humble origin, in a church basement in Queens, is today commemorated...

Do you ever wonder who first thought of Bicycles? Bicycles are a beloved childhood toy, an environmentally friendly way to get around, and a great way to exercise. In many places, they are considered a true necessity. But where did the humble bicycle come from? The bicycle first gained mass popularity in the 1890s, when the “safety” bicycle that we are familiar with today replaced its perilous, giant-wheeled predecessor. 

 

The Surprising History of Fuzzy Dice. The common lore says that fuzzy dice spring from a pilots' superstition in WWII. Before taking off for a sortie, pilots would put a pair of dice on their instrument panel, with seven pips showing, for good luck. Another, perhaps grimmer variant on the story is that the dice on the panel were a reminder that every flight was a figurative "roll of the dice" as to whether the plane would return...

 

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Licensing 

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 ...

 

***The above posted after April 18th***

 

Amazon Kids+ has teamed up with pocket.watch to launch its first original mobile game, Super Spy Ryan. Available starting today on Amazon’s kid-focused subscription streaming service—which features TV shows, books and educational apps—the new multiplayer game sees the eponymous star of Ryan’s World taking a turn as an adventurous spy. To play, two kids are randomly paired as a team and have to work...

Mattel And Lucasfilm Launch New Star Wars Shorts And Plush.  Younger-skewing SW Galactic Pals content and toys are launching at StarWarsKids.com & Target, featuring fan-favorite characters teaching important life lessons. Mattel and Lucasfilm are collaborating to bring aged-down versions of characters from a galaxy far, far away to younger fans with the launch of their SW Galactic Pals animated shorts and plush... 

BBC Studios has sealed a worldwide partnership with Hasbro for co-branded classic games and Play-Doh inspired by Ludo Studio’s Emmy Award-winning animated sensation Bluey, which airs on Disney Junior, Disney Channel and Disney+. The new range will feature Bluey editions of the board games Monopoly Junior and Trouble as well as Play-Doh and will start rolling out in the U.S. and Canada in April, followed by...

Spin Master, master toy licensee for Ukrainian creative production company Glowberry’s BRAVE BUNNIES series, announced the launch of BRAVE BUNNIES toys in Italy and Germany. The toy line includes an assortment of playsets, figures, plush, games and puzzles. Aimed at preschoolers and based on an original idea by Olga Cherepanova, BRAVE BUNNIES is co-created with Spanish animation studio Ánima and is...

Zoo Guardians, a free, mobile zoo simulation game created by JumpStart Games in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, is celebrating 50 years of giant panda care, research and conservation at the Zoo. The game launched an exclusive Pandariffic celebration with in-game events and online downloadables on April 6.

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has announced it has acquired the North American rights to stream TV episodes based on one of the most renowned international anime properties of all time, Yu-Gi-Oh! from Konami Cross Media NY, Inc, (“KCM”), a member of the Konami Group. The deal grants AVOD streaming rights for the FilmRise Streaming Network...

As part of growth efforts, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Licensing Committee is expanding its licensee base. The groups’ growth has been accelerated further thanks to a partnership with Tonies. Through this partnership, the Black Lives Matter Licensing Committee will work closely with Tonies on the company’s product development strategy and creative development.

 

FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, has appointed IMG as global master licensee of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, taking place 25 August – 10 September 2023 in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines. This is the first time in the history of the competition that multiple countries will host the global tournament, which will feature 32 national teams.

 

Wow! Stuff has unveiled the first images of its new blockbuster Jurassic World toy that have so far been kept tightly guarded by the company. “It’s a groundbreaking, breathtaking dinosaur with realistic actions designed to make any onlooker think it’s real,” explained Wow! Stuff CEO Richard North. Timed to coincide with the upcoming theatrical release of Jurassic World Dominion in June, the dinosaur in question is the...

 

Mattel and Ubisoft are teaming up to launch UNO Valhalla DLC, a virtual UNO game taking place within the mythical Viking world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.  For the first time in UNO history, the board becomes part of the gameplay. Players can discard their cards wisely to travel across the board and collect precious cargo to unlock exclusive perks. 

Panini debuts first Warhammer sticker collection. Panini has announced the launch of Warhammer 40,000: Warriors of the Emperor Sticker Collection. The collection comprises 204 stickers and 50 Hero Cards, with a buildable box and a double-sided pull-out Space Marines Armoury poster which allows collectors to delve into the 41st Millennium where, driven by war and assaulted by the foul force...

Welcome to the Gamerverse. How Marvel is building a new lifestyle platform to bring its Super Hero universe to billions of gamers, fans and collectors worldwide. License Global speaks exclusively with Paul Gitter, senior vice president, Marvel Licensing, about Marvel's Gamerverse. Spanning four phases over 14 years and 27 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has left a long-standing impact on the world...

Atomic Mass Games unveils 'Star Wars Legion Shadow Collective Starter Set'. Atomic Mass Games unveiled Star Wars Legion Shadow Collective Starter Set, a new collection of miniatures, for release on June 17, 2022. This set introduces three sets of mercenaries to the game, which were also recently announced as individual packs. 

 

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People of Play

HASBRO APPOINTS TWO EXECS TO LEADERSHIP ROLES. Hasbro is making moves to strengthen its supply chain and partnership opportunities.

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. 

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.

 

***The above was posted after April 15th***

 

MATTEL PROMOTES LISA MCKNIGHT TO EVP, GLOBAL HEAD OF BARBIE AND DOLLS. Over the past six years, McKnight has led the Barbie brand to nearly double in size with a more than $750 million spike in gross billings. Additionally, McKnight is credited with playing a “crucial role” in Mattel winning back the licensing rights to the Disney Princess and Frozen franchises and securing licensing deals for Universal’s Spirit and...  

Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick is launching a new casting agency with some outsourced Nickelodeon business already on board and an eye for finding "unicorns" in unlikely places. After almost 15 years at Nickelodeon, former director of talent and casting Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick has launched her own casting company and wants to discover talent for the rest of the kids and family content industry.

 

Arnon Avitzur and Erika Rosenberg have joined early education app-maker Lingokids to help the Madrid-based company grow its US presence in the wake of securing US$40 million in funding for expansion.  Based in NY, Arnon Avitzur started last month in his new role as chief product officer, tasked with accelerating the company’s product development, and heading up its product management, user experience and...

 

Child’s play has turned into challenging but rewarding work for a pair of college buddies who have seen their dream job evolve into a thriving business. Electrical engineer Michael Gramelspacher, who moved to O’Fallon with his family in July 2021, and his business partner, Rory Sledge, set up shop earlier this year in a rehabbed commercial building at South Cherry and West Fifth streets. The pair design and develop...

 

Activision Blizzard has announced the appointment of Kristen Hines as its chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, starting Monday, April 25. Hines previously worked at Accenture, a consulting company where she helped a number of companies expand their DEI initiatives. She’ll be part of the senior leadership team, and will report to chief people officer Julie Hodges.

 

Jeff Taylor of Havas Entertainment is stepping down from the business in July, although he will continue his involvement with the BTHA and Toy Trust. Jeff started Azure Media back in 2002 with founding client Character Options, with whom he has worked with for over 30 years. Under his stewardship, the agency has gone from strength to strength to become one of the leading toys and games media specialists in the UK today.

 

Former eOne creative exec Jillianne Reinseth has joined Corus-owned Nelvana as a supervising creative producer. She joins Vanessa Esteves in overseeing the creative direction of multiple series in production, as well as leading one or two concepts in development. Working in the same role as Reinseth, Esteves is also the co-creator, showrunner and executive producer of Nelvana’s latest 2D-animated show Super Wish.

 

Greg Cote Show Podcast Promo: Play Ball With Tim Kurkjian and Inventor of Strat-O-Matic Baseball. We are joined by the legend himself, Strat-O-Matic baseball game inventor Hal Richman! I am especially thrilled to finally meet the man who created the board game that meant so much to millions growing up, including myself, in my little corner bedroom at 1440.

Former Jagex boss Rod Cousens appointed co-CEO at Huuuge Games. Former Jagex CEO Rod Cousens has been appointed co-CEO of publisher Huuuge Games. Cousens was already a member of the Huuuge board of directors, but will now help fellow co-CEO and Huuuge founder Anton Gauffin as the company seeks to bolster its publishing portfolio and develop new titles in-house.

 

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Companies and Brands

 

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...

 

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...

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.

***The above posted after April 15th***

 

JAKKS Pacific, Incorporated, leading toy and consumer products manufacturer, announced a partnership with European-based toy innovation company Wow! Stuff to distribute Jurassic World toys timed to the upcoming theatrical release of Jurassic World Dominion in June 2022, including a new brand, RealFX.

 

Wild Republic is launching Monsterkins, a new eco-friendly plush line, just in time for Earth Day.  Monsterkins are fully sustainable — not just carbon neutral — and come with a fun backstory. They are Earth’s creation to help eat plastic water bottles (the same material they’re made from) from land and sea. It may take almost 500 years for plastic bottles to decompose, but Monsterkins can digest them in only two hours. 

 

PlayMonster Reveals the Six Winners of its Spirograph National Art Contest. Last month, PlayMonster called for artists ages 4 and up to submit original Spirograph designs to its Spirograph National Art Contest. Using the simple magic of pens, gears, and paper, artists around the world tapped into their imaginations to produce colorful and unique pieces. Today, the contest comes to an exciting close as six talented artists...

 

Crayola is adding a dash of creativity to Wendy’s Kids’ Meals this month.  Participating Wendy’s restaurants will offer Crayola Color Adventure Kits with the purchase of a Kids’ Meal through May 30 or while supplies last. The promotion features a collection of six premium toys that come packed in crayon-shaped holders. Each Color Adventure Kit comes with three Crayola crayons in different shades, and includes activities on...

Hello Einstein Studios has announced a major expansion of its production and development slates, as well as several new entertainment partnerships. Hello Einstein Studios has a foothold in the children’s entertainment industry through its Baby Einstein series and a portfolio of high-profile media relationships. 

WildBrain CPLG, a world-leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agency, has rebranded its rapidly growing Lifestyle division under the new name “ASPIRE”, with an expanded mandate to accelerate growth of the agency’s Corporate & Lifestyle brands portfolio. The dedicated ASPIRE group and new brand, flying under the WildBrain CPLG banner, reflect the agency’s commitment to growing meaningful ...

 

MGA Entertainment's Shadow High Stirs Up a Rivalry with Rainbow High.  The edgy new doll line is stepping out of the shadows to stir up a high school rivalry in grayscale, embracing the other half of the rainbow. The much buzzed-about new line began hitting retail this week. The Shadow High students stay in line with the creative and inclusive values of their colorful Rainbow High counterparts, but with their own...

 

LEGO is targeting grown-ups with money to spend and a sense of nostalgia, looking for a creative outlet. And, so far, it’s working. LEGO—and the toy industry at large—have had an extraordinary two years, helped in no small part by adults stuck at home, buying toys for their own enjoyment and collection. The Danish company reported revenue growth of 46% and operating profit growth of 104%in the first half of 2021.

 

Mood Bears expands with new books and music. The plush brand which helps kids identify, deal with and understand a wide range of emotions continues to grow in popularity and has now added Mood Bears books. Following successful appearances at London Toy Fair and Spring Fair, and ahead of its first ever appearance at the Toymaster May Show, Mood Bears has announced its latest news as the co. continues to expand...

 

Marking Nat'l Scrabble Day and Mental Health Awareness Week, the brand will partner with community cafe The Canvas to encourage people to connect over a game of words. Today, on National Scrabble Day, the Scrabble brand has unveiled a new initiative to foster community and combat loneliness after new research has found that almost half of Brits would like to feel more connected to their communities and 36%,,,

 

Asmodee, a leading publisher of board games around the world, has announced the US launch of Unbox Now, a selection of its best-selling and most accessible board games. Games under the Unbox Now label have collectively won over 140 awards internationally, making them some of the most celebrated brands across the board game sector. Unbox Now will roll out globally across both physical and digital...

Paramount+ Latin America’s kids content lineup is expanding with the recent acquisition of preschool adventure series Tainá and the Amazon’s Guardians from French distributor Dandelooo.  After winning 23 national and international awards and airing in more than 40 countries, this Brazilian rainforest adventure toon makes its way to Paramount’s streaming service. 

 

BBC Children’s has greenlit a third season of CBeebies animated series Pablo, which has a new look and narrative focus to resonate with all kid viewers, not just those on the autism spectrum. The  52 x 11-minute season finds its titular star Pablo—now eight years old—heading off to school. (He was five at the end of season two.) Pablo’s older age will be reflected in the series’ animation style, which has moved away...

 

Everyone hop to their feet, The Schleich Hippity Hops world premiere music video is here, just in time for spring and Easter! With inspiration from contest winner, Darby, age 13 in Bexley, Ohio, the Hippity Hops are ready for you to rock out with them on their first hit single, Stories Still Unwritten.  Made up of four bunnies with wildly colored ears, The Schleich Hippity Hops love setting stories to music. In February,

 

Paramount Global and RECUR have announced that Star Trek will be the first NFT digital collection to drop from their multi-yr partnership to bring Paramount’s beloved entertainment brands and characters to the metaverse. Fans will be able to access Star Trek digital collectibles starting April 9th through Paramount.xyz, the online portal to access Paramount’s iconic IP and cherished franchises in the form of NFTs.

 

Robosen Robotics and Hasbro Debut Auto-Converting Trailer and Roller Set for Optimus Prime Following last year’s launch of the Flagship Transformers Optimus Prime Auto-Converting Programmable Advanced Robot, Robosen Robotics in collaboration with Hasbro, announced the Transformers Optimus Prime Auto-Converting Trailer with Roller – Collector’s Edition for the Flagship Optimus Prime, the most advanced...

 

Waboba is donating $5 from all of its popular Blue or Yellow Moon Ball purchases made on waboba.com or Amazon.com for the month of April, with all proceeds devoted to supporting the World Central Kitchen providing nourishing meals for people who had to flee Ukraine. For further information about the program, visit https://wck.org.

 

In support of National Pet Day, Funko,announced a partnership with the ASPCA  as part of its philanthropic initiative, Pops! With Purpose. The partnership brings fan-favorite movie pets to Pop! form to raise vital funds for the ASPCA, the longest-standing animal welfare organization in NA. Fans can contribute to the charitable cause by taking home Pops! With Purpose figures of iconic movie pets like the lovable...

 

YouTube Launches $100,000-Prize Global Competition Show to Find Next Big Gaming Creator, Hosted by OMGitsAliA.  YouTube will award $100,000 to the grand-prize winner of a new global talent show to find the next breakout gaming creator, hosted by U.K. YouTube gaming creator Ali-A.  

 

Disney+ Dominates At Kids’ Choice Awards. Marvel flies high after an eventful year, while breakout star Olivia Rodrigo scores dual wins in TV and music. Superheroes, Billie Eilish, and Olivia Rodrigo walked away with top honors from Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards 2022 as the show set a new record with 1,000 “slimings” and explored the metaverse with celebrity avatars.

Spin Master Entertainment Brings Home The Golden Screen Award for PAW Patrol: The Movie - Presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. The first feature film for Spin Master Ent., in association with Nickelodeon Movies and distributed by Elevation Pictures in Canada (Paramount Pictures in rest of world), PAW Patrol: The Movie grossed over $7.5 million in Canadian box office sales and $152 million ...

Dungeons & Dragons Strategy Game to Add Characters from the Classic 1980s D&D Cartoon. Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms' 100th Champion is a big surprise for D&D fans. Developer Codename Entertainment is gearing up to release the game's 100th Champion, and to celebrate, they're bringing the Dungeon Master from the 1983 D&D cartoon into the fold.

 

The continuing issues in the global supply chain are a win for a small business in Ohio. On the Mantle dba W. Britain Toys is expanding its operations in Chillicothe, Ohio with an investment of more than $226,000 to add manufacturing capabilities to its headquarters. W. Britain Toys is one of the most famous names in the world of collectible toy soldiers and while its legacy is rooted in the UK, it’s been an American-owned...

 

Build-A-Bear Workshop is the subject of a new documentary from Taylor Morden, director of The Last Blockbuster. The experiential retail pioneer known for its furry friends is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and cameras are rolling at the company’s St. Louis headquarters. “Going into this project I have so many questions,” Morden says. “What is it about Build-A-Bear that resonates with so many people? ...

LEGO’S Botanical Collection is blooming with new plant building sets. It can be difficult to take care of plants, but you won’t have to even water these ones! The LEGO Botanical Collection — which launched at the start of last year — transforms beautiful flowers and plants into complex LEGO sets for adult builders. 

 

New Barbie Space Discovery line inspires kids to reach for the stars. There are few people with a more impressive resume than Barbie — from cheerleader to waitress and even President of the United States, the fashion doll’s 63 years of experience are nothing short of impressive. Now, Barbie is taking her talents out of this world and embarking on her first ever mission to space with the new Barbie Space Discovery Doll.

This Turning Red Panda plush teaches kids to bear their emotions. Just Play’s Disney and Pixar Turning Red Many Moons of Red Panda Mei Animated Feature Plush brings home all the panda-monium of Disney and Pixar’s newest movie, Turning Red. Made for kids three and up, Panda Mei is sure to be your new best friend. 

 

Bandai will release 'Dragon Ball Super Card Game: Ultimate Deck 2022'. Bandai will release Ultimate Deck 2022, for Dragon Ball Super Card Game, into retail in May 2022. This is a premium deck that features all silver foil cards. The deck includes a total of 51 cards that form a powerful deck ready for tournament participation. It also comes with a single Realm of the Gods booster pack in the box...

Renegade Game Studios announces 'Birdwatcher'. Renegade Game Studios announced Birdwatcher, a new wildlife photography card game, for release in 2022. In Birdwatcher, players assume the roles of rival wildlife photographers looking to capture images of elusive birds. Players will attempt to lure birds into their tree from the jungle so they can snap pictures of them and publish their findings. 

 

Luma Imports will release 'Fairy Lights'. Luma Imports will release Fairy Lights, a new card game by Sit Down! games, into U.S. retail in Q3 2022. Fairy Lights is a press your luck card game where players try to complete sets of identical bulbs to score points. Players score more points for making the most beautiful garland of lights, but they may have to take some risks by drawing extra cards to get there.

 

Robosen Robotics in collaboration with Hasbro Debuts Auto-Converting Trailer and Roller Set for Optimus Prime. Robosen Robotics, a leading innovator in the field of robotics, in collaboration with Hasbro, announced the TRANSFORMERS Optimus Prime Auto-Converting Trailer with Roller – Collector’s Edition for the Flagship Optimus Prime,  the most advanced and programmable TRANSFORMERS robot...

Mythic Games unleashes 'Super Fantasy Brawl'. Mythic Games unleashed Super Fantasy Brawl, a new competitive miniatures board game, which will release into U.S. retail in 2022. Currently, this item is on preorder. In Super Fantasy Brawl, players choose a team consisting of three champions and battle it out in an arena. Their champions come with action cards that can combine to create a synergistic action deck. 

 

Help 'Save Patient Zero', a new deduction game by Helvetiq. Asmodee will release Save Patient Zero, a new deduction game by Helvetiq, which will release into U.S. retail on May 13, 2022. In Save Patient Zero, a new disease is ravaging humanity and Patient Zero has been identified. Players have been tasked with creating an antidote for the disease by selecting which lab tools to use. 

 

Pegasus Spiele and Deep Print Games team up for 'Skymines'. Pegasus Spiele will release Skymines, a new board game by Deep Print Games, into U.S. retail in Q3 2022. Skymines, designed by Alexander Pfister and Viktor Kobilke, is a Euro game where players assume the roles of investors funding space-mining operations. They will try to earn CrypCoin by investing mined resources into companies...

 

Lucky Duck Games will release 'Flamecraft'. Lucky Duck Games will release Flamecraft, a new fantasy board game, into retail in Q4 2022. In Flamecraft, players assume the roles of Flamekeepers, characters that can converse with artisan dragons. The goal of the game is for one of the players to become a Master of Flamecraft by garnering the best reputation in the town.

Sinco Toys appoints Intertoy to handle growing international business. Sinco Toys has announced a strategic relationship with Intertoy to represent its brands and IP across EMEA and other major regions. International sales have been a major growth area for the Sinco Group. With Intertoy’s strong international presence and experience behind it, the company says the new partnership will help to continue this expansion.

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Omdia Analysis: Console sales will remain "crucial" to cloud gaming growth. Over the past decade, many have touted cloud gaming as the ultimate ‘console killer’ – however, it’s becoming increasingly clear that not only isn’t this the case, but consoles are actually giving cloud gaming a helping hand towards mainstream adoption. 

 

Niantic shares details on its newest Augmented Reality game ‘Peridot’. Niantic, developer of Pokémon GO and provider of augmented reality (AR) technologies, has this week shared details about its newest game in development, which will be entering a soft launch testing phase in select markets soon, according to the company. 

 

Nintendo Switch was Europe's No.1 console in March | European Monthly Charts. Across Europe, video game sales jumped in March, driven by continued strong sales for Elden Ring, plus a number of big releases. Stock shortages continue to hold back Xbox and PlayStation, but it was a strong month for Nintendo Switch, with sales up year-on-year. 

 

Gamefan, Sega launch New Sonic The Hedgehog game on ‘Roblox’. Sonic the Hedgehog is getting the Roblox treatment in an all new game, Sonic Speed Simulator. Produced by Gamefan in collaboration with SEGA of America Inc., the new game marks the first time that a AAA gaming character will be officially featured on Roblox.

 

The best wired or wireless gaming headsets to buy. If you’re shopping for a gaming headset in 2022, you have a lot of options. While there are some great ones out there, it’s easy to pay too much, to accidentally purchase a headset that doesn’t work with your desired console or platform, or to get one that’s uncomfortable after a few hours of use. Knowing a thing or two about headphones might aid in your search...

 

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the UK's biggest LEGO launch ever | UK Boxed Charts. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has got off to a strong start at UK physical retail. Even without digital, it is the biggest LEGO game launch of all time, beating the previous best -- 2008's LEGO Indiana Jones -- by 8.4%. In terms of boxed sales, The Skywalker Saga is the second fastest selling game of the year behind Pokémon...

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

MerchSource recalls FAO Schwarz branded Toy Wood Play Smart Robot Buddy(s) and Wood Sensory Boards due to choking hazard. Name of Product:FAO Schwarz Toy Wood Play Smart Robot Buddy(s) and FAO Schwarz Toy Wood Sensory Boards. Hazard: Due to a manufacturing issue, small parts from the products can come loose, posing a choking hazard to young children. Remedy: Refund. Recall Date: April 14, 2022. 

 

Testing finds toxic chemicals in 50% of dollar store goods. Products sold at dollar stores may be inexpensive, but a new report from the Campaign for Healthier Solutions also found high rates of toxic chemicals in the budget brands, raising questions of environmental justice. The consumer advocacy group purchased 226 products from Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Five Below and 99 Cents Only Stores...

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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.

 

***The above posted after April 15th***

 

WIPEOUT™ DRY ERASE PROTECTIVE GEAR FINALLY MAKES SAFETY FUN FOR KIDS! Combines Protection and Dry Erase Coloring Fun To Customize Bike/Skate/Scooter Helmets & Pads. Is that a Hand-asaurus on your bike helmet? Youngsters ages 5 and up will be eager to draw a dinosaur by tracing their hand or a limitless array of cool designs with Wipeout™ by Triple Eight™ (iwipeout.com) dry erase protective gear. Draw on, wipe off, draw again! From bikes to scooters or rollerblades to skateboards, one thing all kids need is protection from falls. Wipeout gear is so much fun that parents never need to nag their kids to wear it!

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

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 ...

***The above was posted after April 15th***

A collective of the most renowned and best-in-class suppliers of home and gift merchandise in Canada are working together to open permanent showrooms at the International Centre in what will collectively be known as SHOW T.O. It will soon be home to the first eight agencies and distributors opening permanent showrooms, with more than 40,000 sq ft dedicated to servicing Canadian retailers, design ...

 

Combined Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, Licensing China Trade Show Sets New Dates for August.  This past February, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd rescheduled the combined Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China trade show to May 5-7. After recent spikes in COVID-19 cases, the event has once again been rescheduled to Aug. 5-7.

 

ANNA KNIGHT, SVP of licensing, Global Licensing Group talks to Roz Nowicki, head of global consumer products franchise marketing for Mattel, AK: We’re excited to have Mattel exhibit at Licensing Expo again. What drew the company back this year? RN: Mattel is a longtime exhibitor at Licensing Expo, and we are looking forward to being back and in person this year. We are excited that this year’s Expo highlights Location...

 

BLRA masterclass on Children’s Licensing announced.  The first masterclass: ‘A deep dive into children’s licensing’ will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Toy World’s John Baulch. The Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy (BLRA) has confirmed its first masterclass for Thursday 12th May at Brand Licensing Europe’s offices in central London.

 

WWE has announced it will stage its first major stadium event in the UK for 30 years at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff Wales. Details about the event name, ticket sales and further event updates will be available soon but the announcement is sure to delight WWE fans in the UK. “Principality Stadium is the perfect place for a major event, hosting our amazing fans from Wales, throughout all of Europe, and around...

 

The Toy Foundation’s next Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards will take place this fall as The Toy Association welcomes the industry to the 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market at the Dallas Market Center, Sept. 20-22. The move to fall serves as a reset for the “Oscars” of the toy industry ahead of next year’s big move which sees a reimagined Toy Fair experience taking place in Sept. 2023.

The Toy Foundation welcomes four new members to its Board of Trustees to help further its philanthropic mission to serve and support children locally and around the world. The Board is comprised of 20 accomplished industry professionals and continues to be led by Chair Andrew Weiner.“We welcome Jamie Cygielman, Bryony Bouyer, Manny Grace, and Aaron Muderick to The Toy Foundation’s Board of Trustees,” ...

 

The British Toy & Hobby Association, the organiser of London Toy Fair, announced that exhibitor applications for Toy Fair 2023 are now open. Toy Fair is to return to Olympia London from 24th-26th January 2023, across the Grand and National Halls. Toy Fair brings together toys and games manufacturers, distributors and retailers under one roof across three busy days and welcomes companies of all sizes...

Iran's biggest toy show attracts families on Ramadan nights. Iranian-made toys are on display in Tehran during the seventh national festival of toys and games. The toy industry in Iran has been booming over the past decade. Thanks to measures taken by authorities, Iran has moved from a hot market for Chinese and European toys to a hub for local producers. Organizers say 100 domestic manufacturers are here to showcase...

Tencent leads data.ai's 2022 Top Publisher Awards for the mobile market. Today analytics firm data.ai (formerly App Annie) released its 2022 Top Publisher Awards for the mobile market and named Tencent as number one for the year of 2021. The award recognizes 52 of the highest performing mobile publishing companies worldwide. 

Unpacking named Game of the Year at BAFTA Games Awards 2022. Witch Beam's zen puzzler Unpacking completed an impressive double swoop at last night's BAFTA Games Awards ceremony, taking home the BAFTA for Narrative and EE Game of the Year, the latter of which is the only award voted for by the public. Returnal nabbed four BAFTAs for Audio Achievement, Best Game, Music, and Performer in a Leading Role ...

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

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

 

Gilbert Gottfried, Aladdin Voice Actor and Comedian, Dead at 67 'After a Long Illness'. April 12, 2022. Known for his work in comedy films and as Iago in Disney's 1992 classic Aladdin, Gottfried was instantly recognizable for his over-the-top, exaggerated voice. A standup comic with a podcast called Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast! — the last new episode of which aired on April 4 — Gottfried was also known for his work on the popular PBS Kids show Cyberchase. His notable films include Look Who's Talking Too, Problem Child and Beverly Hills Cop II. He was also the focus of the 2017 documentary film Gilbert, about his prolific life and career. Gottfried reprised his Aladdin voice role of Iago — the villain Jafar's morally torn, wisecracking parrot sidekick — in the sequels The Return of Jafar (1994) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996), as well as in various other Disney specials and series.

Charles Marx, passed on April 4, 2022. Charles was the son of David Marx and newphew of Louis Marx. Louis and David co-founded the Louis Marx and Company.  From a friend and collegue of Charles, Jerry Cleary, "Charles was a great guy and a terrific Toy Person in his own right. Charles always carried himself with dignity and class and never used his name or celebrity back in the day to bully or take advantage of colleagues or customers. A family man, he was charismatic, kind and respectful of all who worked with him. Charles had a great eye for product and built a terrific segment of business for the company back in the day when retailers like Sears and Montgomery Ward had a significant market share in toys with their catalog operations. The customers loved Charles who had a great knack for supporting and balancing the needs of customer and company. I don't think Charles ever got the credit he deserved for his contributions to our industry. He was a true role model in how to conduct yourself as a businessperson and as an individual. I think I was the last salesperson hired by the old Louis Marx company and I have many fond memories of working with Charles for many years.  I lost touch with Charles over the past several years and just wanted to express my thoughts on  this wonderful person. May he rest in peace!!"

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Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

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

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Hot Cross Fun…it’s the Friday Blog (on a Thursday)!

  2. Exhibitor applications for Toy Fair 2023 are now open

  3. WWE to stage first major UK stadium event in the UK for 30 years

  4. Wow! Stuff unveils Jurassic World RealFX Baby Blue dinosaur

  5. New MGA brand Shadow High lights up the Dolls aisle

  6. Obituary: Jake Sivner

  7. Asmodee debuts Unbox Now

  8. Hasbro and BBC partner on Bluey Play-Doh and games

  9. Hornby unveils positive fourth quarter sales numbers

  10. Exclusive: Tristan Brooks on kids’ viewing habits

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)

Asmodee Launches the Unbox Now Board Game Label
Atomic Mass Games Unveils 'Star Wars Legion Shadow Collective Starter Set'
Hasbro to Purchase D&D Beyond from Fandom
Rolling for Initiative -- A Swell of 'Magic' and RIP Scott Bennie
Games Push IDW Publishing to Profitability in Q1
Atomic Mass Games Reveals 'Star Wars X-Wing 2E: Rogue-Class Starfighter'
Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Streets of New Capenna' Booster Pack Breakdown
Legend Story Studios Announces FaB 2.0 Product Policy
Stonemaier Games Sales Up 38% in Second Covid Year
Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Magic: The Gathering' Game Day Promos

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

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Hit or Miss Released, Unlock! Kids Announced
Gamewright has released a new party game, a children’s version of Unlock! is coming soon, and the nominees for the 2021 Dice Tower Awards have been announced.

Video of the Week 

Josh Wardle (inventor of Wordl) on April Fools' day in Silicon Valley and some of the lessons learned creating The Button and Place at Reddit.

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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

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