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the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is August 13 - 20, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 

Happy Friday! ​

Who doesn't want to find out whodunnit? Tim Walsh tells the "The Mystery Behind the Invention of Clue" in his latest WTFF video. 

You can't win if you don't enter! TAGIE Awards nominations are closing tonight! Give a shout out to: Inventors, Retailers, Suppliers, Designers, PR & Marketers, Game Changers, Licensors and more! ​CLICK HERE to nominate NOW!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.



tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers:  

Create the Space for Unstructured Play

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Our garage was built on a steep hill and had an unfinished “cellar” space below, with an open side accessible from the steep hillside. We called it “down the hill.” My sister and I were in elementary school and we put our heads together: Hmmm…what to do with an empty space below our garage down the hill?


This question, born of curiosity and answered with the endless imagination that all kids possess, was our jumping-off point for unstructured play that spanned years. After all, an empty space begs to be transformed. Of course, we dubbed it “The Clubhouse.”


The first incarnation of The Clubhouse was inspired by the straw that we found there. It was a stable for imaginary horses that we groomed and cared for. That was fun! Wait! Next it was a theater stage for a play about Rumpelstiltskin and we would spin the straw into gold.


Now the theater stage idea had legs! We started creating a long series individual plays and dressed up The Clubhouse according to the subject of the play. In an early sign of entrepreneurial moxie, we bought bags of candy and re-packaged them in smaller units for our neighborhood audience members, marking the candy up for a nice tidy profit. We used the money to paint the outside of The Clubhouse our favorite Crayola color: Sky Blue   Read More . . . 

tBR Person of the Week: Eric Poses of All Things Equal... and then Some! 

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What exactly do you do in the industry?

I own and operate All Things Equal, a Miami Beach-based board game company I started in 1997 when I drove around the country for 16 weeks selling my first game, Loaded Questions, out of the trunk of my car.

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

I might be best/infamously known for a 15’ banner I hung at my Toy Fair booth featuring yours truly in Burt Reynolds’s iconic naked centerfold pose with a Loaded Questions game strategically placed to keep me from being arrested.

What are you working on now?

I just launched my new Worst-Case Scenario Card Game and am working on a Loaded Questions Greatest Hits edition to celebrate the brand’s 25th Anniversary.

What words do live by?

“It’s just a game, man.” - The Dude, The Big Lebowski

Read More . . . 

tBR Person of the Week: Ryan Magnon

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What is your claim to fame in the industry?

I’m the president of Panda Mony Toy Brands, and we created the 2021 Toy of the Year nominated Alter Nation brand of action figures.

What are you working on now?

Right now we’re working on a Kickstarter for Alter Nation’s second wave of toys. 2020 was a rough year for a lot of people. For our company, we’d just hit the market when the shutdowns happened. It left us with a bunch of inventory we couldn’t do anything with because conventions and niche toy shops were closed. We opted for the Kickstarter to bring another wave of toys out for the fans that were asking where the new characters we promised were. After that, we’ll have some other brands we’ll be bringing working on and raising capital for.

What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?

I’m excited to see an end to continuous licensing of old brands. I think some of the mainstream movie and TV failures are a sign of things to come, and that kids and adults are going to demand more from the entertainment industry. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but this formula of reviving 30 year old brands isn’t going to work forever.  Read More . . . .

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Disney Store tie-up with Target to expand in time for Christmas  The US retailer has said that its Disney Store at Target concept will be rolled-out across a further 100+ locations. The news comes shortly after Disney announced in March that it planned to close at least 60 Disney retail stores in North America, about 20% of its worldwide total, as it revamped its digital shopping platforms to focus more on online sales. 

Tencent acquires CoComelon   The streamer now has five Moonbug shows in its lineup, broadening the prodco's reach significantly in China. The streamer acquired 180 episodes of the 3D-animated educational series in both English and Mandarin. CoComelon uses songs and nursery rhymes to teach kids basic concepts and activities such as getting ready for bed and why they should eat their vegetables.

Sainsbury’s could be next UK supermarket in line for private equity interest  According to reports, the US buyout firm Apollo is said to be taking an exploratory look at the Sainsbury’s business. Last week, the buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) gained the backing of the Morrisons board for its £7b offer to buy the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain. 

(the above posted after August 20th)

Speculation rife that Amazon is planning to open department stores in the US  The WSJ has suggested California and Ohio have been earmarked as potential initial locations for the department stores. Quoting people familiar with the plans, it suggests that the new retail spaces will be around 30,000 square ft in size- which is smaller than most US-based department stores, which traditionally occupy around 100,000 sq ft.

FYE, Everest Toys Owner Set to Purchase Toys 'R' Us, Babies 'R' Us Canada.  Putman Investments, a family-owned, Canadian company, has entered into a deal to purchase Toys "R" Us (TRU) and Babies "R" Us Canada from affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. In 2018, Fairfax took TRU Canada private as a standalone company following the collapse of TRU in the U.S. and abroad. 

Toys “R” Us to open shops inside 400 Macy’s locations in 2022. Macy's is giving Toys "R" Us new life, again. The department store says it is partnering with the toy store chain to sell toys online. Toys "R" Us shop-in-shops will also be opening at 400 department stores next year. This is the second attempt to revitalize the Toys "R" Us brand since it closed all of its U.S. stores in 2018. 

Walmart and Target optimistic about holiday, but with concerns. Judging by comments from Walmart and Target as they reported quarterly earnings, there’s optimism about the upcoming holiday season mixed with caution about potential supply chain and cost issues. And, of course, there’s the uncertainty about the course of the pandemic, and its effect on consumers. 

Comcast & ViacomCBS launching joint streamer in Europe  Rolling out in more than 20 markets in 2022, SkyShowtime will offer programming from NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, Peacock and Paramount+ all on one SVOD platform. The new SVOD is scheduled to roll out next year in Spain, Portugal, the Nordics, Netherlands, and Central and Eastern Europe. It will offer more than 10,000 hours of programming from around the world, including brand-new original shows and movies, library classics, and kids and family content.

Chinese government announces measures to combat shipping crisis  A broadcast on Chinese State television network CCTV suggests state-owned enterprises have been instructed to increase the number of ships and routes, as well as build new containers. Finally, there may be some welcome good news on the shipping front. 

Ubisoft Singapore probed by national watchdog after toxic workplace allegations. Ubisoft Singapore, the lead studio on Skull & Bones and co-developer of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, is being investigated by a national employment watchdog over allegations of misconduct at the studio. Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times reports that the country’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment...

California regulators to Riot Games: 'let your employees know they can speak to us'. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has filed a request asking a court to compel Riot Games to inform employees they are legally able to discuss their experiences with state regulators. 

Judge orders ROM site to permanently destroy its pirated Nintendo Games. Nintendo has won an injunction against the operator of ROM site RomUniverse, and now a judge is ordering the site operator to “permanently destroy” all of its pirated games. This order is the latest chapter in Nintendo’s lawsuit against RomUniverse that previously won it $2.1 million in damages back in June of 2021.



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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Back Open for Business: Independent Toy Retailers Reflect on 2020 . . . . . . (Europe) Full throttle for Formula One as its kids’ fan engagement outpaces football, says The Insights Family

(the above posted after the Bloom Report was sent August 20th)

UK Cinema box offices now at 50% of pre-pandemic levels . . . . . . New study says US kids recall YouTube ads twice as much versus broadcast TV . . . . . . U.S. RETAIL SALES SLOW AMID SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS, DELTA VARIANT SPREAD, NRF SAYS . . . . . . Top 10 E-Commerce Retailers and Their Digital Experience . . . . . . Speaking volumes - NPD UK update . . . . . . All wood things - a look at the wooden toy sector . . . . . . NPD details eCommerce toy sales in China . . . . . . Every day's a schoolday - a look at STEM and educational toys . . . . . . On the plush side - the soft toy category . . . . . . US consumer game spending up 10% to $4.6b for July | US Monthly Charts . . . . . . Chip shortage: Toyota to cut global production by 40% . . . . . The 2021 toy trend we didn’t see coming (but makes so much sense) - fidget spinners

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

The PAW Patrol movie brought in US$13 million at the US box office this weekend . . . . . . Black Widow has made US$125 million online, according to Disney . . . . . . . The US box office could miss out on hundreds of millions, thanks to several kids movies moving to on-demand

(the above posted after the Bloom Report was sent August 20th)

Disney reports third quarter financial results . . . . . . . Target sales increase as shoppers return to stores . . . . . . Sales by Amazon pass Walmart's . . . . . . Streaming buoys Disney to 45% revenue bump . . . . . Macy's shares rally amid strong 2Q, dividend, Toys 'R' Us Deal . . . . . . Netmarble Q2 sales down 16%, publisher optimistic ahead of new Marvel launch . . . . . . Roblox Corporation's revenue is up, but it's not quite profitable yet

Future Financial Reporting . . .


Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

HOW TOY AND ENTERTAINMENT COMPANIES CAN BENEFIT FROM CREATING NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS.  While the technology behind blockchain and cryptocurrency may seem daunting, the basic concept of an NFT is fairly simple to explain. The value of any collectible item comes from verifiable scarcity and, as we have started to live in an increasingly digital world, there hasn’t been a way to provide that for digital items...

When Geek Culture went Pop! | Kids Industries on how we’ve all adopted the geek market (without even realising) Aleksandra Szczerba, researcher at Kids Industries, explores the ubiquity of geek culture today, and the very real chance that if you’re reading this, you’ve long since become one. No longer constrained by the four walls of a dimly-lit basement or the stacks of a comic book store. 

Something magical happens behind the walls of Leith Toy Hospital. Incredible pictures show the detailed workings by specialists at a toy hospital - where around 100 precious teddies and dolls are restored a month. Started by Mari Jones, 30, in 2017, a team of eight staff specialise in plastics, ceramics, historical textiles - and there is even a doll hairstylist.

How much IP ownership is enough? A growing number of creators want more than the standard 5% and several new prodcos are promising a greater stake in order to attract talent and bring in more money. There are many different ways that a deal can be structured, but typically, if an independent creator pitches a concept to a production company or broadcaster, they’ll retain a 2% to 10% stake in the IP. 

(the above posted after the Bloom Report was sent August 20th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Opportunity knocks …it’s the Friday Blog!  You can tell you are in the depths of summer when ‘out of office auto-replies’ take over your inbox – this week, they have almost outnumbered ‘proper’ emails at times. Thankfully, the majority of toy retailers remain extremely busy, with the volume of people staying in the UK for their holidays this year giving a welcome boost to summer trade across...

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1990s. Were you a ‘90s kid? Then you’ll probably probably remember some of these iconic Barbie dolls from the decade. 10. Bead Blast Barbie. Released in 1997, the Bead Blast line featured a new hair gimmick: colorful beads that could be threaded onto Barbie’s hair with the use of a special tool.

How a Board Game About Birds Became a Surprise Blockbuster.  Elizabeth Hargrave’s Wingspan is transforming an $11 billion industry. And it’ll transform the way you think about games. In her newfound fandom, Hargrave was like thousands of adults who’ve rediscovered the joy of board games, especially as a new kind of game took over the market.

PLAYING WITH HASBRO’S ULTIMATE TOY, THE $750 SELF-TRANSFORMING OPTIMUS PRIME. Growing up, I thought my generation had the best toys: Nerf blasters, laser tag, Game Boy, Legos in their prime, genuinely powerful Super Soakers, and of course, transforming action figures of all kinds. But I never did get into Transformers proper, because the slow-to-convert toys felt tedious compared to the show. But...


Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Vintage Tin Toy and Robot Museum. The Vintage Tin Toy and Robot Museum is an online collection of vintage tin artifacts. The Vintage Tin Toy and Robot Museum preserves the history of tin toy characters including science fiction, superheroes, and fantasy. Manufacturers represented in the collection include Bullmark, Osaka Tin Toy, Billiken, Popy, Bandai, Toply, Tada, Schylling, and others. 

Junior Chef See-It-Bake Oven from Argo Industries Corp. (1971). The popularity of Kenner’s Easy-Bake Oven toy line inspired some competing toy ovens in the late 1960s and 1970s. In 1971, Argo Industries launched a line of Junior Chef “See-It” toys that included the See-It-Bake Oven. Powered by a single 100-watt incandescent light bulb, the See-It-Bake 

Put and Take from Schaper (1956). Released in 1956 by Schaper, the family-friendly Put and Take game allows players to spin and win. Based on a classic game of chance played as far back as the 1920s, Schaper’s rendition honours the game’s simple play pattern and objective. Players ante chips into a kitty and take turns spinning a multi-sided top. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Nelvana Tapped to Rep Care Bears Licensing in Canada. Nelvana’s role includes securing new licensing deals and working with existing licensees on merchandise, publishing, and promotions in Canada for Care Bears, which is owned by Cloudco Ent. “Nelvana’s previous experience working with the Care Bears brand makes them the perfect licensing partner to bring onboard to lead the merchandising efforts in Canada,” ...

Dino Ranch Signs Additional License Partners. Boat Rocker, licensing agent for preschool series Dino Ranch, recently secured new license partners for the property across kids and family product categories. The latest licensees include Baby Boom Consumer Products for bedding, High Point Design for hosiery, and Kurt S. Adler for holiday decor in the U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, Boat Rocker added two new partners ...

ZAG Hits Miraculous Milestone for Licensing, Retail Business.  The entertainment powerhouse behind Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir says that its flagship brand hit a new milestone this week as it surpassed $1 billion in global retail sales. Now, ZAG is following up the North American debut of new products from ZAG Labs and Playmates toys with a new raft of licensing deals for the U.S.

Arcade1Up Jr. Launches with PAW Patrol, Pac-Man Cabinets.  Following the release of its Infinity Game Table at Best Buy this week, Tastemakers’ Arcade1Up revealed a deal with Spin Master Entertainment for a 3-foot retro arcade cabinet inspired by the famous pups from Adventure Bay. Arcade1Up Jr. PAW Patrol and Pac-Man cabinets are geared toward younger gamers ages 4 and up. 

Super7 Debuts The Simpsons Ultimates! Collection.  D’oh! Get ready to travel to the suburban land of Springfield with Super7’s new The Simpsons Ultimates! Figures. This highly anticipated first wave of figures is inspired by fan-favorite The Simpsons episodes, including “Deep Space Homer,” “Itchy & Scratchy Land,” and “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show.”

Octonauts Spin-off Is Heading to Netflix with Toys to Follow.  The Octonauts are an eight-member team of courageous underwater explorers who dive into action whenever there is trouble under the sea. Now, the team is heading out of the water to help land animals in a new spin-off series from Silvergate Media: Octonauts: Above & Beyond.

Like Nastya Gets a Toy Line from Jazwares, NFTs from Gary Vee. The empire of 7-year-old YouTube sensation Anastasia Radzinskaya — aka Like Nastya — just got bigger. In a partnership brokered by IMG, Like Nastya will come to toy aisles this fall with a full range of toys designed by Jazwares. Additionally, Nastya has a full collection of NFTs created in partnership with Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerNFT.

Hasbro expands partnership with PlayMonster   The toymakers will release new products based on the preschool brand Playskool in early 2022. This isn’t the first time Hasbro and Playmonster have worked together. Last year, the companies partnered on a line of toys based on classic ball brand KOOSH, and they also inked a licensing deal for Spirograph in 2019.

Mattel Partners with Etermax for Trivia Crack The Board Game. Mattel, together with etermax, an international tech company and creator of Trivia Crack and Word Crack, have announced the launch of Trivia Crack The Board Game. The launch of the interactive and fast-paced family trivia game comes along with an Instagram filter to challenge friends anywhere for free. 

(the above posted after August 20th)

Disney to launch new global event World Princess Week with LEGO, Hasbro and JAKKS on board. Disney is readying for the launch of its first World Princess Week, a global event that will celebrate the courage and kindness of its Disney Princess heroes to inspire fans around the world to adopt the same attributes in their daily lives. The event – kicking off on August 23rd – will form part of the year long...

Rubies II and NECA launch pop culture arm to specialise in collectables and cosplay. Rubies II LLC and NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Assocation) have formed a new wholly-owned subsidiary to specialise in the creation of high-end collectables based on various pop culture franchises. Called Denuo Novo LLC, the new business will combine the innovation and creative capabilities of NECA with Rubies’ ...

My Squishy Little Dumplings music video released. WowWee and Nickelodeon Digital Studios have announced a partnership for original, digital-first content reimagining WowWee’s My Squishy Little Dumplings characters as an animated band. The characters from My Squishy Little Dumplings will come together as ‘The Squish’ – a digital, K-pop inspired band bringing a new genre of music called S-pop ...

Toikido strikes global master partnership with Boneloaf’s gaming IP Gang Beasts. Toikido has struck a new major, global master partnership in the gaming space, this time partnering with the British indie games publisher Boneloaf to launch a range of toys, apparel, stationery, and more for the popular, multi-player beat ’em up party game, Gang Beasts.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood welcomes new licensees for Fall and beyond. Ugga mugga! The popular characters from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will get a new consumer products push as the show heads into its sixth season on PBS Kids. Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story Brands inked a new round of licensing deals that will spawn new products from existing partners alongside fresh offerings …

Moose Toys expands its Bluey toy line to meet high demand from fans worldwide. Moose Toys is continuing to expand its Bluey toy line in order to meet the high demand for products and play-sets by parents and kids, reflective of the ‘cultural zeitgeist that the preschool series has captured’ the world over. Produced by the Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and BBC Studios...

The Smurfs are making a Smurf-tastic Nickelodeon debut in September. The Smurfs got their start in the ‘50s as comic characters, cementing their place in pop culture in the ‘80s with an animated series featuring the blue crew. They’ve since graduated to the big screen with several feature films, and now they’re heading to Nickelodeon in a new, CG-animated series: The Smurfs. Jazwares is also heading...

Jakks Pacific Launches Disney ily 4EVER Fashion Doll Line. Disney is bringing its most iconic characters into the modern age. Jakks Pacific launched the Disney ily 4EVER fashion doll line, featuring 18-inch dolls inspired by iconic Disney stories and characters. This is the first in a series of character releases and accessories packs, with additional characters such as Ariel, Belle, Tiana, and Snow White to follow in future waves.

Hasbro Takes on Xenomorphs with NERF x Aliens Blaster.  To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the movie Aliens, Hasbro Pulse revealed an epic new NERF blaster, modeled after the equipment used by the Colonial Marine Corps in the movie. Part of the premium NERF LMTD line, which recreates items from entertainment and video game franchises, this blaster features the look of the iconic M41-A Pulse Blaster ...

Jazwares and GM Partner for New Micro Machines Corvette Raceway Transforming Playset.  The Micro Machines Corvette Raceway Transforming Playset is inspired by the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8. It quickly and easily transitions from a Corvette into a fully-equipped raceway, complete with a competition track, drag strip, mechanic’s station, micro-sized 2019 Corvette C8R, and more.

HERSHEY CO. INKS SWEET LICENSING DEALS WITH KELLYTOY, ZURU, SPIN MASTER, MORE. Under the new agreements, famous candy brands, including Hershey’s, Reese’s, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, and Hershey’s Kisses will come to toy departments over the next year while some are already hitting the market.

Inside Wham-O’s plan to slide into success.  The toyco behind Slip N' Slide and Hula Hoop is expanding with new licensing deals and shows to create 360-degree properties. Get out the garden hose because Wham-O is ready to slip and slide onto shelves with a host of new consumer products. 

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People . . . 

Up Country, Inc. Appoints Cynthia Barlow CEO. She previously worked with Up Country for six years, via her public relations and social media agency, NOBL Communications. She then joined the company in-house as vice president of marketing communications. She was responsible for the creation and launch of a new website for Up Country, expansion of its social media presence, and development of its products and brand

Spin Master chief executive officer Max Rangel talks brand strategy in the newest episode of The Licensing Mixtape, out now. From entertainment brands like "Paw Patrol" and "Bakugan" to global toy partnerships with the likes of DC, Max Rangel, chief executive officer, global president, Spin Master shares his view on the key pillars of Spin Master’s future.

BBC Studios ups Suzy Raia to SVP   As SVP of consumer products and business development, she will head up licensing strategy for preschool brand Bluey in the US, Canada and LatAm. Based in New York, Raia started in her new role on August 23 and reports to chief commercial officer Tara Maitra.

Ashley Maidy joins Riot as head of global consumer products. Former managing partner of Maidy Management, Ashley Maidy joins Riot Games as head of global consumer products. Maidy previously served as vice president head of global licensing and partnerships for Activision from 2011 to 2020. In 2000, she held the position of president of licensing at Sony Pictures Entertainment before departing the position in 2010.

Wondery recruits former WB exec for kids expansion  Nicole Blake will head up franchise development at the podcast studio, with a mandate to launch new kids content and expand its reach beyond audio. Based in LA, Blake started in her newly created role on August 23 and is already heading up several new shows that are currently in the works, according to a company spokesperson.

(the above posted after August 20th)

PLAYMONSTER TAPS BILL SINACORE TO LEAD WALMART SALES GROWTH. The Wisconsin-based toymaker hired Bill Sinacore to serve as its new associate vice president of national accounts serving the retail giant. Sinacore, a 30-year industry vet with experience at Leapfrog and The LEGO Group, will oversee PlayMonster’s relationship with Walmart across digital and physical retail while working to expand the company’s...

Jakks costume div Disguise brings industry veterans on board in UK  The sr appts at Disguise will spearhead the development of an EMEA team across sales, design and marketing. Disguise has announced the organization of its senior leadership team in EMEA. Industry veterans Tony Lewis and Lynda Morris have joined the company, heading up expansion and recruitment efforts to build an EMEA team of costume experts...

Funko expands EMEA sales team with appointment of Karen Athill  Funko (EMEA) has appointed the former MGA Entertainment sales director as regional channel director of sales. In her new role, she will lead the regional Sales teams as Funko continues its European expansion. Speaking of her new position, Karen said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Funko family. Its huge range of license partnerships offers...

University Games and The Lagoon Group bolster sales and marketing divisions. The games, puzzles, and gift specialists, University Games and The Lagoon Group have made two key appointments, expanding both its sales and marketing departments as the firm eyes continued growth. The team has welcomed Victoria Reece (pictured left) to the position of marketing assistant as it looks to strategically …

RuneScape developer Jagex names former Codemasters exec as its new CFORuneScape developer Jagex has named former Codemasters exec Rashid Varachia as its new chief financial officer. Varachia joins Jagex less than two months after departing Dirt developer Codemasters following its acquisition by EA. The veteran finance executive spent nine years at Codemasters as CFO, helping the company... 

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Companies, Brands . . .  

ShopTalk Episode 14: Sloomoo Founders Karen Robinovitz & Sara Schiller. Founders of Sloomoo Slime Institute in NYC, Karen Robinovitz and Sara Schiller, join this episode of aNb Media’s ShopTalk to discuss how Sloomoo came to be, slime and mental health, types of slimes, and future plans for Sloomoo. PLUS, an EXCLUSIVE tour of Sloomoo Institute!

Melissa & Doug appoints DKB Toys & Distribution as UK distributor  The partnership will see DKB service over 2,000 UK customers for Melissa & Doug, which says demand for its product is going from strength to strength. Melissa & Doug will continue to service its key customers directly but DKB will pick up the extended customer base of over 2,000 UK customers from this summer onwards.

HUGE! Play Unveils Gamebud Talking Tom at Licensing Expo Virtual.  The digital doors to Licensing Expo Virtual are open and HUGE! Play just dropped the curtain on its new interactive toy. Based on Outfit7’s popular digital character, Gamebud Talking Tom is billed as “the world’s first audio-animatronic, smart game gear, which fuses gaming, interactive devices, and play into one packaged product.

Hasbro and Vrbo Partner to Offer a Stay at the NERF Lake House. Located in Grand Lake O’ Cherokees in Oklahoma, the lake house is outfitted with a fully-immersive NERF setting, including bucket ball, trampoline games, and NERF toys, blasters, and gear. The property sleeps 30, with 12 bathrooms, multiple living rooms, and wraparound decks with lake views.

Sunny Days Entertainment Debuts Honey Bee Acres Collection. Welcome to the sweetest town around! Sunny Days Entertainment launched Honey Bee Acres, a new toy line meant to inspire kids through storytelling, imagination, and creativity. This collection features miniature flocked animal characters, playsets, environments, and accessories.

Educational Insights’ Artie Max Is a Coding Robot That Draws.  A new coding robot draws inspiration from future programmers and makes sure the “A” remains in STEAM. Artie Max from Educational Insights is intended for kids ages 8 and up to learn advanced coding skills through STEAM learning.

YouTube Kids to Remove “Overly Commercial Content” and Paid Placements. A new challenge has opened in the ongoing battle for eyeballs on YouTube: a ban on “content with commercial elements” on the YouTube Kids app. Following a rollout of updated best practices for kids and family content and a new suite of safety and “digital wellbeing options for younger people” on YouTube and YouTube Kids...

The Toy Book Introduces “The Get List”.  Calling all toymakers: Do you have product in-stock in U.S. warehouses that’s ready to ship? If so, submit to The Get List — the Toy Book’s new free resource that connects retailers with manufacturers that have product available to “get” right now! The list will be updated with curated, in-stock items every Tuesday and Thursday. Get full details and submit your products here....

Moose Toys launches crafted soft doll range Dream Seekers to inspire girls to believe in themselves Moose Toys has unveiled a new line of crafted soft dolls designed to inspire girls to ‘believe in themselves and follow their dreams’ under the brand name Dream Seekers. As part of the launch campaign, the toy maker has partnered with Rebel Girls to create four mini episodes of its flagship podcast to inspire young

L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls to stage first ever UK live shows   The hugely popular dolls are going on a nationwide tour to support the upcoming L.O.L. Surprise! movie.  Tickets have just gone on sale for the L.O.L. Surprise! Live VIP Party, which kicks off in Sheffield in Nov. and features life-size versions of the dolls dancing and singing songs from the upcoming L.O.L. Surprise! movie. The tour is being staged in collaboration...

You can now browse the Disney Ultimate Princess Castle on Zillow. Hasbro and Zillow are teaming up to celebrate Disney’s “World Princess Week” by giving Disney fans and Zillow browsers the opportunity to take a look inside Hasbro’s Disney Princess Ultimate Celebration Castle. The listing includes fully furnished rooms and interior design. Browsers can check out the vintage appliances, big windows and the garden swing...

Bullseye’s Top Toys List is Back and Better than Ever, Plus Big Disney News.  The holidays will be here before you know it, and in true Target style, we’re dialing up the joy bigtime for the young and young-at-heart. Our fun-loving pup Bullseye is back with the 50 Top Toys of 2021 that’ll spark joy with toys and games for kids of all ages and fit a variety of budgets (gifts start at just $19.99). 

Spin Master’s Bakugan franchise will be the first to premiere a full-length series episode on the online platform Roblox. Bakugan is a global battling franchise consisting of an anime adventure series, toy line, card game, and video game. Spin Master announced the rollout of an extensive global consumer products program for the brand last year. 

LEGO continues Saudi Arabia expansion with new LEGO Store at Mall of Dhahran  The LEGO Group has opened its fifth official store in Saudi Arabia, having cut the ribbon on its new location within the Mall of Dhahran earlier this month, bringing LEGO fans a new 149sqm interactive retail space for families and kids. The new store welcomes visitors with a one-of-a-kind large-scale 3D mosaic of the map...

New Vuly Play Toy Inventor Program open for submissions   The Toy Inventor Program is open to entrants across the globe to submit a toy-related concept, idea, or design, not restricted to outdoor play. Offering toy inventors a platform to turn their ideas into a reality, Vuly Play has asked inventors to submit a detailed description of the invention listing; its purpose, how it works, what benefits it has, along with...

(the above posted after August 20th)

Japan toy company unveils AI doll to keep older people company. Takara Tomy has designed a doll with artificial intelligence to help tackle loneliness among older people isolated by the coronavirus pandemic. . .  inspiration for the doll came during the pandemic amid an increased demand for interactive products specifically designed for older people.

King Features gives its classic animated character Olive Oyl a modern rebrand with fearlessness at its centre  She’s one of the classic animation world’s most iconic females that has, for generations, been perceived as the archetypal damsel in distress and focus of Popeye and Bluto’s embittered love triangle, but for Olive Oyl, the course of history is about to be altered for good. 

Dog toy maker SnugArooz introduces a new pet toy collection, adding 3 new shapes to its line: Ally the Alpaca, Tye the Unicorn, and Willow the Hedgehog. Sporting a cotton candy tie-dye design, each toy is made from durable plush and includes an internal squeaker and crinkle inside. Products are made from recycled water bottles. “The colorful tie-dye line is following fashion trends,” said SnugArooz VP of sales Adam Katz. 

Disney orders Pupstruction & 3 TV movies   The House of Mouse has locked in Travis Braun for an extended overall deal, picking up his show in the process, and is prepping From the Desk of Zoe Washington and two Mickey Mouse films. Set to premiere on Disney Junior and Disney+ in 2023, animated adventure Pupstruction is about an all-dog construction company created and executive produced by Braun.

PlayMonster and 9 Story Brands recently released a special edition Colorforms 70th Anniversary Set — now available on Amazon — to celebrate 70 years of the brand. The set includes 500 colorful repositionable and interchangeable geometric stick-ons to promote mess-free and screen-free play. Colorforms first launched in the 1950s by art students Harry and Patricia Kislevitz, after they bought rolls of flexible vinyl...

PAW Patrol Joins Forces with Waze.  In celebration of the upcoming PAW Patrol: The Movie release in theaters on August 20, Spin Master is teaming up with the GPS navigation app Waze.  Once the experience on Waze is activated, parents and their young passengers will be guided by Ryder, Marshall, Skye, and Chase whose voices will navigate their drive and alert them to anything happening nearby or on their route.

Mattel introduces first female Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Tour driver as US event returns  Mattel is marking its return to the live event sector with a series of firsts for its Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live tour, including its first female driver and its first ever collaboration with the Big Foot brand, as the tour prepares to roll out across ten US locations this autumn. Kicking off this September 

LEGO Education introduces ‘complete learning system’ to encourage kids into STEAM  LEGO Education has detailed the launch of a new collection under its LEGO Education SPIKE banner, developed to encourage primary school children into STEAM learning, while supporting literacy, maths, and social-emotional development. Called LEGO Education SPIKE Essential, the new launch joins the already established LEGO Education…

Konami reports huge Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG success as new products continue to launch  Players are gravitating to Konami’s innovative Remote Duel programme, while the cards continue to sell out ahead of a product-packed second half of the year. Konami’s Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has had a remarkable summer, according to the company.

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME WITH FUNKO GAMES’ THE ROCKETEER: FATE OF THE FUTURE.  Two players face off in The Rocketeer: Fate of the Future, a new board game from Funko Games. In the game, players each have to pick a side: The mysterious Rocketeer trying to stop a sinister plot or Neville Sinclair, who’s trying to fuel a dark future of warfare. Each player’s goal is to fulfill their own agenda while evading the other...

Disney bolsters its adaptive roleplay and wheelchair cover sets with Star Wars and Marvel lines  Disney has added a new line up of adaptive roleplay kids’ costumes and wheelchair cover set to a range it launched last year, bolstering its inclusive play lines with the addition of costumes inspired by Marvel Studio’s Black Panther, Star Wars: The Mandalorian and a The Mandalorian Wheelchair cover set. 

Dantoy Take Back launches, giving Danish toys a new lease of life  The next chapter in the Dantoy Take Back project will follow in autumn, when a major collaboration with local kindergartens will launch. In collaboration with Randers Municipality, Danish toy company Dantoy has set up a container into which parents and kids can drop off their pre-loved Dantoy toys... they will then be recycled and made into new toys at the...

Little Tikes unveils Tobi 2 line-up  The new Tobi 2 products introduce children to tech in a safe and engaging way by bringing play to life through product innovation and smart features. Packed with a host of interactive features to engage and excite adventurous minds, the Tobi 2 Robot Smartwatch features a playful personality and a variety of brain, arcade and fitness games. 

Celebrating 1 Million Games Sold, Anomia Press Launches New Website.  Since 2009, Anomia press has sold over 1 million games and to date, millions of adults, teens, tweens and children have played the company's Anomia branded games over and over again, making incredible memories. To celebrate the 1 million milestone, Andrew Innes, Inventor and Anomia Press owner, is launching a very special website.

Cartoonito Pre-K Block Debuts Sept. 13 no HBO Max & Cartoon Network. Just in time for the school year, WarnerMedia Kids & Family will launch the Cartoonito preschool block Monday, September 13 on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. The new block offers a modern approach to preschool programming with its proprietary educational framework, Humancentric Learning. 

Toikido inks deal with Boneloaf and Gang Beasts  The partnership makes Gang Beasts the second major gaming IP for Toikido, following global success for the Among Us property. Darran Garnham, founder of Toikido said: “We are huge fans of the Boneloaf team and have been playing Gang Beasts together and with our families for ages, so to bring it into the Toikido stable is amazing news”.

Neo Magic partners with The Fantastic Factory  The partnership will see Neo Magic and The Fantastic Factory develop a range of new products that Vinny Sagoo says will deliver a 'multifaceted experience'. David Snow, co-founder of The Fantastic Factory, said: “We are always looking for new opportunities to explore within toys and games. We are big fans of magic, so after lots of research we decided to venture into this area...

Mattel reimagines ‘He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe’ for a new generation. It’s already been a big year for Mattel’s Masters of the Universe (MOTU) franchise and now, the epic tale of good vs. evil is being completely reimagined for a new generation of kids. Mattel and Netflix unleashed the first trailer for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, an all-new CGI-animated series that presents a completely  …

Chess sets and Transformers: The Movie ReAction figures, Hasbro is laying on a nostalgic treat for fans. Having never been one to shy away from its adult fanbase or one to tread lightly around the kidult market of collectors and geek culture community, Hasbro is serving up a platter full of nostalgic fodder for followers of its generation-spanning Transformer franchise this season. 

Reunite mystical spirits in 'Yokai'. Gamewright will release Yokai, a cooperative memory game, into stores in September. In Yokai, four groups of mystical spirits have been separated and players must bring them back together. Players take turns peeking at and moving like-colored cards closer to each other. 

Archona Studios will release 'Small Railroad Empires' into retail. Archona Studios will release Small Railroad Empires, a railroad-building game, into retail near the end of August. In Small Railroad Empires, players construct railroad tracks and transport goods from industries to cities to earn prestige. Each turn, players add two trains to a modular board, and build tracks by paying gold costs.

Snapwatch enters the North American market. The classic slap bracelets of the ’80s are back with a useful upgrade. UK-based SnapWatch LTD is bringing its flexible LED watches to the U.S. market with an assortment of styles for kids ages 5-12. SnapWatches quickly snap around kids’ wrists in one swift motion with no buckles. 

Asmodee will release 'Zombicide Chronicles - The Roleplaying Game'. Asmodee will release Zombicide Chronicles - The Roleplaying Game, a standalone roleplaying game by CMON and Guillotine Games, into retail on September 24. In Zombicide: Chronicles – The Roleplaying Game, players assume the roles of zombie apocalypse survivors as they learn to work together to stay alive.

New cooperative games from The Op. The Op has announced two new cooperative style games set to release this autumn:  Disney’s Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit and The Goonies:  Escape with One-Eyed Willy’s Rich Stuff – A Coded Chronicles Game. In Disney’s Kingdom Hearts Perilous Pursuit, players must take on the role of popular characters from the video game series including Sora, Goofy, Donald Duck ...

Z-Man offers more compact 'Citadels'. Z-Man Games has announced the Citadels Revised Edition, a more portable version of Bruno Faidutti’s classic card game. The Citadels Revised Edition includes everything found in the 2016 deluxe version of the game itself an expanded edition of the award-winning 2000 game.

Asmodee Entertainment teams with Event Merchandising to launch online gaming merch stores  Asmodee Entertainment has entered into a new licensing partnership with Event Merchandising Limited to launch a series of ‘one-stop-shops’ for fans of Fantasy Flight Games Studio’s Arkham Horror, Legend of the Five Rings, and Twilight Imperium across the world.

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Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

Google secretly had a giant gaming vision that includes bringing games to Mac. Apple’s Mac has long been an afterthought for the video game industry, and few think of Google as a games company — despite running Android, one of the biggest game platforms in the world. But Google had a plan to change those things in October 2020, according to an explicitly confidential 70-page...

Microsoft announces new wired Xbox stereo headset. Microsoft has unveiled a refreshed Xbox stereo headset, a $59.99 wired model that’s more affordable than its stellar $100 wireless headset that launched earlier in 2021. It’s launching on September 21st, and as is to be expected, it’s missing a few features. But much of its design is intact. 

Roblox responds to complaints over recreations of mass shootingsRoblox has reiterated the moderation and monitoring systems it has in place for inappropriate content after it was highlighted that users are recreating real-world mass shooting in-game. The situation was highlighted by Anti-Defamation League's director of strategy and operations, who posted on Twitter that he regularly found Roblox scenarios...

Vroom! A toy car battle royale game coming in 2022. Adam Bernath, the founder of iGaming Studio made the announcement on August 6 that Vroom! a toy car battle royale game, will be set to launch next year. Players will be able to drive around in little toy cars while racing other players. The game itself will be set in messy childhood-styled bedrooms as you wage war against other players to try to take the lead to win first place. 

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl look adorable in new trailer. At a Pokémon-focused livestream, Nintendo revealed a trailer showing off the absolutely adorable new look for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. The clip gave a good overview of the world itself, along with some of the enhanced elements, like what sounds like a nice orchestral mix for the score. 

Biomutant has topped 1 million sales, recouped development costs. Open-world action-RPG Biomutant sold over 1 million copies in just over a month after launching on May 25, 2021. Embracer Group, which is the parent company of developer Experiment 101, revealed the PC and console title was a "main revenue driver" during the quarter ended June 30, 2021, and explained that "so far the game has sold ...

Fortnite's new game mode curiously resembles Among Us. Epic Games has announced a new game mode for Fortnite that seems to resemble Innersloth’s hit indie game Among Us. The new mode, titled Fortnite Impostors, pits groups of 10 players in a survival scenario similar to the core concept of Among Us.

Death Trash recoups dev costs after under two weeks in early access. Cosmic post-apocalyptic RPG Death Trash has made back its development costs after less than two weeks in early access. The stylish adventure made its early access debut on August 5, 2021, and according to creator Stephan Hovelbrinks managed to recoup its development costs by August 14. 

Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft pressure groups continue to push for cultural reformsGroups of current and former employees from Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard are continuing to push for meaningful cultural reforms in the wake of misconduct allegations at both companies. Workers from Activision Blizzard have rallied behind the Twitter handle 'ABetterABK,' and have lent their support to Ubisoft staf...

World of Warships players are in open revolt over shady monetisation schemes. Free online wargame World of Warships has been on thin ice with its community for a while now, but recent events—including the botched return of a fan-favourite ship—have seen many of the community’s biggest names quit the game’s official community program. 

Roblox now owns online communications platform Guilded. Roblox has announced that it’s acquired Guilded, an online communications platform similar to Discord, with features tuned for organizing online game communities. However Discord has spent the last year moving away from being an exclusively video game-focused platform, leaving a market space for Guilded to fill.

Cyberpunk 2077 patch will ensure fans stop having sex with wrong charactersCyberpunk 2077’s next big patch, 1.3, still doesn’t have a release date—but we now have a little bit more insight into what it will include. These additions offer improved minimap directions and a perk reset option. The update will also fix the game’s infamous brothel scene where players kept accidentally picking the wrong person to sleep with. 

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Zen Magnets and Neoballs recalled due to risk of injury and death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, the government agency tasked with overseeing thousands of products, announced a mandatory recall today of about 10 million Zen Magnets and Neoballs magnets because of the risk they pose of injury and death if ingested. 

LEGO launches new online safety toolsThe LEGO Group is launching new tools to help families talk about digital safety and privacy, following a recent study in which five out of six parents said their kids don’t confide in them when something bad happens online. LEGO’s Build & Talk series is designed to help parents and caregivers have meaningful conversations with children ages seven to 11 about difficult topics like cyberbullying and scams. The most recent activity pack focuses on privacy and safe sharing.

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

Spin Master is partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national organization of local chapters focused on providing youth with equal access to opportunities and experiences, donating a total of $275,000 USD to the non-profit in 2021 to further enhance art programming for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Zebra Partners Growing Leadership in Video Games, Tech, Toys and more. Global PR firm Zebra Partners, known for its work in gaming, new technologies and toys and family entertainment, is expanding its leadership team with the appointment of gaming PR veteran Johner Riehl to Vice President of Gaming and Content, and long-time Zebra executive Michele Spring Fajeau to Vice President of Family and Technology.

The Little Prince Collections Premiere in Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Novel's Publication in France. North American licensing agent Licensing Works! and SOGEX, the global Licensor for all right in and relating to The Little Prince / Le Petit Prince , are pleased to premier new collections featuring The Little Prince from over a dozen new licensees joining the N.A. roster of over 40 partners committed...

(the above posted after August 20th)

Three New Licensed Lines from MasterPieces Available.   MasterPieces, Inc. today announced that three of its newest licensed product lines are now available in stores and online. Signing agreements with The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service for Smokey Bear property; outdoor lifestyle brand, Mossy Oak, and The U.S. Department of Defense for the U.S. Navy license, MasterPieces has several new puzzles now in stock. 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . . 

Toy Shop UK reveals the 2021 Independent Toy Awards Winners  STEAM-inspired play, sustainability, and pop culture licensing have emerged as key themes among the winners of this year’s Independent Toy Awards, revealed this week by the awards’ organiser, Toy Shop UK. The 14th annual iteration of the coveted awards, the ITA have been established in order to showcase what the nation’s independent toy retailer population

How the ICTI Ethical Toy Program provides supply chain stability in unstable times  Sarah Ng, the organisation’s communications manager, tells Toy World readers how the non-profit organisation's initiatives are helping members. The ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP)’s Remediation Program has been a great success. An impressive 100% of suppliers who completed the programme effectively rectified all non-compliances...

Hong Kong ‘Zero Covid’ strategy causes ongoing concern for international travellers  The Hong Kong government is currently holding firm in maintaining quarantine restrictions in a bid to stamp out Covid. This strategy has ongoing implications both for local businesses and international travellers from the toy community, who traditionally visit Hong Kong en masse at least twice a year – in October and January.

It’s Christmas in August with Funko’s Festival of Fun.  It may only be August, but we’re giving you an excuse to blast “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and start dreaming of sugarplums because Funko just kicked off its “Festival of Fun,” aka two days full of new, holiday-themed product reveals.

ABC Kids Expo, Distoy Postponed as New Wave of COVID-19 Disruptions Begins. The spread of the COVID-19 delta variant and a global uptick in new cases has prompted a fresh wave of postponements in the live event space as ABC Kids Expo and Distoy make plans to move into 2022.

ABC Kids Expo, one of the biggest gatherings for baby gear and juvenile products...

PlayMonster, LEGO, and Crayola among 2021 Licensing International Excellence Awards winners PlayMonster, LEGO, Crayola, and Hasbro have all been named among the winners of the 2021 Licensing International Excellence Awards at a ceremony held via a virtual gathering during this week’s Licensing Expo Virtual. Big name toy companies featured among the 22 award winners from 7 different countries, including China...

Spielwarenmesse lends its support to second bio!TOY Conference  Spielwarenmesse exhibitors are being offered a ticket discount for the two-day hybrid event, which centres on the sustainability of toys. The hybrid event, which takes place on 7th and 8th September, will highlight circular and bio-based plastics for sustainable toys and is organised by bioplastics Magazine and narocon Innovation Consulting.

Distoy cancelled for 2021  The 2021 show, which had originally been postponed to October, is the latest event to become a casualty of the ongoing problems facing international travel. Distoy organiser David Potter has confirmed to Toy World that the show will not go ahead as planned in October, explaining the rationale behind the decision . . . 

Hasbro’s two-day fan event Hasbro Pulse Con to make its return this October   Hasbro is promising fans across the US, Canada, and the UK the chance to celebrate its popular brands through brand panels, exclusive content, and over 50 new products reveals when its consumer facing online event, Hasbro Pulse Con makes its return this October. Celebrity appearances, exclusive Pulse Premium Member opportunities...

(the above posted after August 20th)

For the second yr in a row VidCon has been cancelled due to a rise in COVID-19 cases  VidCon announced that the 11th annual VidCon US event, which had been slated to take place Oct. 22-24, has been canceled.  VidCon has scheduled the next in-person event in the U.S. for June 22-25, 2022, at the Anaheim Convention Center. All 2021 VidCon US ticket holders will be automatically transferred to the 2022 event...

Licensing Expo Virtual prepares for launch. Next week, the digital doors to Licensing Expo Virtual will open, and now, the final lineup has been revealed. Global Licensing Group in partnership with Licensing International says that more than 3,200 meetings have already been scheduled for the free event that aims to connect the nearly $300 billion global licensing community. Intellectual property (IP) owners, manufacturers,...

“The desire for the buzz of an event is huge” | Spielwarenmesse counts down to its in-person return. Spielwarenmesse is feeling encouraged by responses to an industry-wide survey that found that over 75 per cent of respondents will be heading to the Nuremberg trade show when it makes its in-person return next year. T

IIM-Kashipur invites entries for toy design competition.  The competition covers several themes like environment, fitness and sport , artificial intelligence and machine learning, Indian heritage, culture, mythology, history, ethos, technology, and ethnicity catering to different age groups. The Ministry of Education and DIC, IIM Kashipur invites applications for a toy design competition — Toy Tales 2021. 

COVID Vax Required to Attend NYCC  C2E2 and Emerald City participants and attendees must show proof that either they have been fully vaccinated or that they have recently tested negative for COVID-19. The protocols for the four shows vary according to the regulations of the states in which they are held. All attendees at Florida Supercon will be required to wear a face covering, whether or not they are vaccinated.

The Toy Retailers Association confirms date of DreamToys 2021 grand unveiling  The 2021 DreamToys list of predicted top toys for Christmas will be unveiled in full on Wednesday, November 3rd, the Toy Retailers Association confirmed last week. Just as was adopted last year, in the face of the government restrictions and safety measures taken amid the pandemic, the TRA will continue with the format change...

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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.

Stuart Crawford  Toy World is sad to report that toy industry veteran Stuart passed away last week after a long illness. It is with great sadness that MV Sports and Leisure reports that the popular industry figure Stuart Crawford passed away on Thursday 19th August, aged 69, after a prolonged and debilitating illness. Stuart retired from MV in 2019 after 22 years with the company, having worked in the toy industry for over 40 years. After training at Nestle, Stuart’s first role in toys was in 1976 with Burbank Toys, then onto Acamas Toys in 1981, Pikit Toys in 1987, PMS in 1992 and MV in 1997. Stuart worked with all the major and independent retailers both past and present and was a champion of the independent retail trade in particular. He was perhaps best known for his role of national account controller at MV Sports. Speaking on behalf of MV, joint managing director Phil Ratcliffe said: “A larger than life character who wore his heart on his sleeve; nobody had a bad word to say about Stuart. Ever popular and widely respected, Stuart was always an honourable and trustworthy ambassador for the company.” “He was loyal to both the wider toy industry and MV, demonstrating  unwavering support to customers, agents, directors and staff,” added Phil. “Our thoughts are with his wife Marie and family. He will be very sadly missed; Stuart was such a lovely person and will be fondly remembered by everyone here.”

His contribution to the industry was recognised with a BTHA Golden Teddy Award in 2018.

Sudoku: Maki Kaji, puzzle enthusiast, dies aged 69. Maki Kaji, the Japanese man known as the "Godfather of Sudoku", has died at the age of 69. Kaji gave the number puzzle its name after publishing it in his magazine Nikoli in the 1980s. Since then the popular game - involving placing the numbers 1 to 9 in each row, column and square of a 9 by 9 grid - has spread around the globe. Tournaments take place across the world and it is estimated that millions play versions of the game each day.

Bill Burke The licensing stalwart was known for his creative spark and love of sharing his extensive knowledge with interns. Bill Burke, a long-time licensing executive who joined Licensing International this year as SVP Marketing and Communications, passed away suddenly at his home on 9th August aged 55. Prior to joining Licensing International, Bill was SVP Marketing for CBS Consumer Products, where he led Global Marketing (including Retail), International Licensing, and Licensing Operations for such iconic brands as Star Trek. Before that, he held senior positions with such companies as HIT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop and Foot Locker. “Bill was already a beloved and admired person within the industry when he joined the Licensing International team in February,” said Maura Regan, president of Licensing international. “In his brief period with us, and for those who hadn’t the pleasure of working with him previously, he quickly became a friend, creative spark and trusted sounding board for everyone on staff. It’s a measure of the man that he particularly enjoyed mentoring our interns, making sure that they got as much out of us as we got out of them. We will miss him personally and professionally.” He is survived by his wife Patty, daughter Erin and son Ryan.

Russell Dever, the vivacious and engaging founder of licensing agency, Those Licensing People, passed away on 11th August aged 62, having sadly taken his own life after a long battle with depression. Renowned for his passion in children’s entertainment and content, Russell’s affection for the genre led him to found the Leeds-based licensing agency in 2013. Over the last decade, his client portfolio has represented some of the world’s best-loved, classic children’s brands, which Russell rejuvenated with his boundless energy and enthusiasm for the industry he embraced. Clients he has represented include Sooty, The Magic Roundabout, Roobard & Custard, and The Little Prince. Russell’s personality shone at industry trade shows and events where he was a regular exhibitor and sponsor, with an unwavering support for the licensing community and those within it who became his friends, not just clients or contacts. Alongside his licensing business, Russell was also respected in the children’s broadcast industry, having created and produced a number of children’s TV series, including hit show Little Monsters. It was his success in children’s entertainment which led the creative entrepreneur to expand his career into the licensing industry, about which he became so passionate. At the time of his passing, Russell was working on several production projects to be showcased at upcoming trade shows. In 2017, his youngest daughter, Leah Dever, joined the business and will continue her father’s work with its existing clients.



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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 


Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Putman Investments Will Purchase Toys'R'Us Canada

  2. PAW Patrol Joins Forces with Waze 

  3. PlayMonster Hires AVP, National Accounts, Walmart

  4. Big G Creative Launches Two New Games

  5. PlayMonster Releases Colorforms 70th Anniversary Set

  6. Breaking Games Debuts New Titles at Retail this Month

  7. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Adds Eight Licensing Deals

  8. Disguise, Inc. Renews Sesame Street License

  9. Disguise, Inc. Builds EMEA Leadership Team

  10. My Squishy Little Dumplings Debut Slate of Original Content

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Opportunity knocks …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Toys R Us announces new tie up with Macy’s

  3. HMV owner Putman Investments to buy Toys R Us and Babies R Us Canada

  4. Chinese government announces measures to combat shipping crisis

  5. Funko expands EMEA sales team with appointment of Karen Athill

  6. Jakks costume division Disguise brings industry veterans on board in UK

  7. Konami reports huge Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG success as new products continue to roll out

  8. Toikido inks deal with Boneloaf and Gang Beasts

  9. New study says US kids recall YouTube ads twice as much versus broadcast TV

  10. Cinema box offices now at 50% of pre-pandemic levels

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

WizKids Reveals Their Next 'D&D' Gem Dragon
'D&D' 'Magic' Set's Sealed Value Softens; 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' Marches Forward
Rolling for Initiative -- 'Why We Buy,' and R.I.P. Steve Perrin
TCGplayer Top 25 Sealed TCG Products (With Price Shifts) - July 2021
'King of Tokyo' Goes 'Monster Box'
Product Line Info Emerges for 'Magic: The Gathering's' 'Innistrad: Crimson Vow'
Asmodee Will Release 'Zombicide Chronicles - The Roleplaying Game'
New Cooperative Games from The OP
Funko Games Announces New 'The Rocketeer' Board Game
Feed the 'Yummy Yummy Monster Tummy'

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)​​

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Happy City Released, Gathering of the Wicked Announced
Gamewright has released a new party game, Asmodee has announced a new party game, and AEG has a new game in the works filled with lots of dogs to love.

Video of the Week! 

Logistics, Supply Chains and Manufacturing – Where is it Going (literally) CHITAG POP Int'

After debuting on our POP Week Event Platform to over 13,700 viewers,  we have moved our panel discussions to YouTube and ar sharing them almost every week here on the Bloom Report! 

Logistics, Supply Chains and Manufacturing – Where is it Going?...Literally
Moderators: Steve Reece (President, Kids Brand Insight)

Panelists: Josh West (Head of Product Design and Sourcing, Thinkfun), Pete Ridgewell (Director/Owner at Spectrum Product Development limited, Amy Holden (Founder and Director, World Alive S.LWorld Apart)

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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:   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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