the Bloom Report

Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Dec. 31st - Jan 7th, 2022.   Link to Last Week's News

News posted daily, most recent at top of section. Previous week drops off 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 . . . 

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Happy Bloomin' Friday!

I’m hopeful for 2022. That being said, toy fairs around the world are top of mind right now for everyone - to go or not to go… THAT is the question. Bronze Jacob Javitz isn’t the only one who wants us all to be together again soon. 

Here's a tip to those who aren't willing to wait in long lines to get a coffee fix, just carry chocolate covered coffee beans and you get both your sugar and caffeine fix. Thank you Michael Steer and Garry Donner for that tip many years ago!  

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers: The Power of New Beginnings

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“For a web begun, God sends the thread.”  -This old proverb was inspired by spiders who miraculously produce the silk they need for their web as they weave. 

 

As 2022 begins, what will you begin?  New beginnings are ripe with endless possibilities.  New beginnings give us the opportunity to reflect on the choices we have made in our lives and decide what we want to start or do more of and what we want to do less of (or stop altogether).

 

Numerous frameworks can support us in the natural process of renewal, and here are just a few:

  • What are your three most important values that reflect what’s important to you in how you “show up” in your life, and how do you want to actualize these values in the coming year? Mine top three values are Health/Vitality, Freedom, and Connectedness and I can organize my intentions into these broad categories.  What values infuse your life with purpose and how do you want to lean-in to them in the coming year?  READ MORE . . . 

tBR Person of the Week: David Norman - David Leaves Goliath

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David, I didn’t see this coming and I never thought you would leave Goliath.  What is going on?

My wife, Mary and I have been talking about our future.  She is a physician taking care of Seniors and has been working her tail off to keep them healthy and Covid free.  We are both about 55 years old.  We asked ourselves, do we want to keep doing what we have been doing for the next 10 years and then retire and have fun or do we want to do something else now.  We both decided we were up to have some fun now and look for future challenges down the line.

What are your roles at Goliath?

I basically have two hats.  In one role I am CMO of the global games business with our global product development teams and North American marketing team reporting to me.  My other role is running the North American business where I focus on key account management and developing the central elements of our marketing plans.  However, the last two years much of my time has swung to operations and logistics given the challenges of Covid. 

What are your favorite games that were developed by Goliath under our watch?

I’m going to have to go with the poop theme.  Shit Happens, and Doggie Doo

How does a founder/owner of a toy company just leave? READ MORE . . . 

Throwback to POP Week's Friday's POP DUO:

Nancy Zwiers, Chief Funosopher and Randy Duncan, Renowned Choreographer and Dancer

Watch on POP's hompage!

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tBR Person of the Week: James Howard -  First Time Filmmaker Writes About Managing all the Parts

Elliott Eddie, Mason Williams, Ken Johnson, Albert White. LaMont Morris, Charley Harrison,

The Gathering Pictured upper left to right: Elliott Eddie, Mason Williams, Ken Johnson, Albert White. Lower Left to right: LaMont Morris, Charley Harrison, James Howard, David Vonner, Lonnie Johnson

 

The stories of Black Inventors will inspire our youth and motivate them to raise their aspirations to become scientists, engineers, and inventors. This will improve American life for us all.”  George Smith, Founder, National Society of Black Engineers

The Gathering was an immense undertaking coming together in a year's worth of filming. Black Inventors got Game (BIGG) began as a story of four legendary black toy and game inventors and designers who have made groundbreaking contributions to the toy and game industry. Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker™ and Nerf Gun™, the late Charles Harrison, designer of the 1958 version of the ViewMaster™, Ken Johnson, inventor of the Phase 10™ card game, and Elliott Eddie, inventor of The Entrepreneur Game™. Along the way, I included two additional accomplished inventors, LaMont Morris, designer of the Real Meal Oven™, and David Vonner, Marvel™ Superhero action figures designer. The Gathering took place in Washington DC on December 14th. It is the realization of my vision where all the legendary Black inventors come together for the first time as in a similar likeness to an Avengers™ movie whereby all the superheroes assemble to save the planet. Except for this time, these black superheroes have gathered in the same space to discuss how best to open doors for future talented, aspiring minority youth in the 33-billion-dollar toy and game industries.   READ MORE  . . . 

tBR Columnist Rana Schenke Opines: Best Barbie Dolls of 2021 Recap

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As we close out 2021, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the best Barbie releases of the year and make some predictions for what we can expect or hope for from the 2022 releases! READ MORE . . . 

Financial & Legal News . . .

Take-Two Interactive is acquiring all outstanding shares of San Francisco-based game developer Zynga in a strategic merger that will create new opportunities in the lucrative mobile gaming space for Take-Two’s PC and console video game titles, which include Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and BioShock.

Nuremberg trade fair and marketing services provider Spielwarenmesse eG has become the new owner of the the Int'l Spieltage SPIEL, the biggest public fair for board games in the world. SPIEL will continue to be held at the Essen exhibition centre and organised from Bonn by Dominique Metzler, its director of many years’ standing, and her highly experienced team. Florian Hess, Member of the Executive Board of Spielwarenmesse eG, serves as an additional director.

(the above posted after January 7th)

The 'China shock' of trade in the 2000s reverberates in US politics and economics – and warns of the dangers for fossil fuel workers. In December 1978, the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping introduced economic reforms that dramatically altered China’s economy by strengthening trade and cultural ties with the West. Beginning in the 1990s, these reforms set China on a trajectory to become what it is today: a nation with...

Travel ban to Germany lifted for UK visitors.  The German authorities have announced that from 4th January, all countries previously on the virus variant areas list – including the UK -  will move to the high-risk list. The change means that from 4th January, travelers from these countries will be eligible to enter the territory of Germany, while being subject to the same restrictions as the majority of world travelers. 

The new trading card division of Fanatics has acquired the trading card business of Topps from Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners, the companies announced.  Topps’ candy and gift cards division will remain with the current owners and be renamed The Bazooka Companies, Inc. The acquisition comes after Fanatics announced in August that it had acquired exclusive licenses to ...

Enesco has completed its acquisition of Allen Designs, a growing creative and whimsical line of quality and functional products sold by retailers around the world. Leading the continued development and execution of her brand will be creator and designer Michelle Allen, who joins the Enesco Team.

Apple is first company to reach $3 trillion market cap. Apple has become the first company to reach a market cap of $3 trillion. The tech giant reached the milestone yesterday, as its stock grew to $182.88 per share. By the time trading stopped for the day, the shares had decreased slightly to close at $182.01 a piece -- a $2.99 trillion value. Apple already was the first company to reach a $1 trillion market cap in 2018...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Consumer media usage growth slowed in 2021 . . . . . . CGC TRADING CARDS HITS ONE MILLION CARDS GRADED In Less Than 18 Months . . . . . . . December 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Author, Manga, Superhero Graphic Novels . . . . . . DECEMBER 2021 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS - Reigning Cats and Dogs . . . . . . DECEMBER 2021 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS . . . . . . Toys and Games market to grow by USD 50.73bn, report predicts

(the above posted after January 7th)

2021 ends on a high as UK retailers experience rise in footfall on New Year’s Eve . . . . . . TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - DECEMBER 2021 . . . . . . . TOP 50 COMICS - DECEMBER 2021 . . . . . .  . 10 Best Manga of 2021 . . . . . . UK digital games market down 3.3% to £4.2bn in 2021

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Sainsbury’s results reveal steep drop in Argos sales, including toys . . . . . . Golden Bear reported a growth in sales of 9.5% to £25.1 million in the 15-month period ending 31 March 2021 . . . . .  The Very Group has reported revenue up 11.5% on a two-year basis in the seven weeks to December 24th . . . . . . Smyths bolsters European business with €175m injection . . . . . . ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Stands as Eighth-Highest Grossing Movie in History With $1.5 Billion Globally

(the above posted after January 7th)

B&M reports increased revenue as UK store expansion continues . . . . . . Twitch viewership grew 45% year-over-year for 2021

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Spin Master will report its fourth quarter and full year 2021 financial results after markets close on Mon, Feb 28, 2022. Max Rangel, Global President and Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The call-in numbers for participants are (647) 792-1240 or (800) 437-2398. A live webcast of the call will be accessible via Spin Master's website at http://www.spinmaster.com/events.php

Hasbro  today announced that it will webcast its fourth quarter and full year 2021 earnings conference call on Mon, Feb 7, 2022, at 8:30 am ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. Certain financial and statistical information included in the webcast, such as information required by Regulation G, will be available at the time of the webcast on Hasbro’s Investor Relations website  at https://investor.hasbro.com.

Analysts expect Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) to report sales of $1.66 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $1.68 billion and the lowest estimate coming in at $1.63 billion. Mattel posted sales of $1.63 billion during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 1.8%. The company is expected to report its next earnings report on Tuesday, February 8th.

Keywords Studios forecasts €505m in revenue for 2021. Keywords Studios released its forecast for 2021 and the company estimates that it will generates €505 million ($570 million). This represents an increase of 35% year-over-year compared to 2020. The games service provider partially attributed this growth to reduction in costs due to COVID-19, relating to remote work, property costs, travel and business development. Looking ahead the group forecasts that the fiscal year of 2022 will see €569 million ($642 million) generated in revenue.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

Viral: Elmo screamed at a pet rock in a 2004 video. It’s still relatable. Elmo’s Unhinged Rant About a Pet Rock Resonates With the Exasperated

A 2004 clip from “Sesame Street” surfaced on social media this week, drawing thousands of responses from viewers expressing that they could relate to Elmo’s sense of frustration.

CES 2022: These suckling robotic plushies are freaking me the hell out. And yet... From the people that brought you Qoobo, a pillow with an animatronic tail, Amagami Ham Ham is here to... um... nibble on your finger. There is something uniquely, heart-meltingly soothing about the act of a baby or small animal nibbling on your finger.

Game Studios Are Turning Play Into Work. Video games are being split into titles geared toward fun and those that beguile us into productivity with points, rewards, and even NFTs. ON NEW YEAR'S day, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda published an open letter. In it, he professed his love for blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), joining Ubisoft, Peter Molyneux, and Stalker 2 developer GSC Game World...

japanese LEGO enthusiast mitsuru nikaido reimagines animals of land and sea as mechanical characters made out of the famous danish building blocks. the intricate works present a wide range of species, including a walrus, snail, shoebill, cicada, and even a triceratops. the sculptures are almost exclusively composed of gray and white blocks, forming semi-articulate, robot-like creatures. 

After the Beanie Baby bubble burst. What happens when the frenzy ends and the world doesn’t value your valuables? “It’s just so sad to see somebody spend so much money on something that isn’t real.” That’s what Karen Boeker, counterfeit Beanie Baby expert, says motivates her work: separating the valuable Beanie Babies from the pretenders.

(the above posted after January 7th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - There’s no business like showbusiness …it’s the Friday Blog! Happy New Year to you all – I hope you had a fantastic Christmas break and have returned to work rejuvenated and ready for whatever 2022 is going to throw at us. The first week back has been dominated by announcements from toy fair organisers across the globe, all reaffirming that as things stand, their shows will be going ...

Barbie and Balmain Want to Make Toys the Next Big Fashion Frontier. The first high-fashion collaboration of the year is here, and it’s surprisingly good. First out of the gate: Balmain, the French high fashion house, and Barbie, the ultimate plastic doll. It may signal the official breaching of the next big fashion frontier: the world of toys. Though the marriage of Mattel iconography and material iconography is not exactly...

Opinion piece: Catherine Van Reeth, director general of TIE, on how toy companies can lead the conversation on inclusivity & diversity.   As we start 2022, it is good to reflect on how the toy industry is ever changing and evolving. Toys have always been a reflection of society and give children a way to mimic the adult world. For example, there have been toy versions of handset phones, followed by various versions up...

Ten-year-old Ryan Kaji and his family have turned videos of him playing with toys into a multimillion-dollar empire. Why do so many other kids want to watch? Over the protests of my fellow concerned parents, I want to admit something: I don’t care all that much about screen time, the great child-rearing panic of the 21st century. 

WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE COMICS BUSINESS IN 2022?  Happy New Year!  It’s the first column of 2022 and that means it’s time for industry forecasts!  After what appeared to be another good year for comics retail, publishing and licensing, what kinds of trends and disruptions can we expect for the year ahead?  Here are a few things I’ll be watching for.  More creative licensed projects.  One of the more interesting publishing...

If you were a kid in the 1980s, you probably, at some point, had a Cabbage Patch Kids doll. The soft-bodied baby-like dolls, each of which came with its own “adoption certificate,” were a worldwide phenomenon that reportedly generated about $2 billion in sales throughout the decade, while garnering endless media attention and controversy, and causing a series of violent customer outbursts and riots in numerous retail stores across N.A. in the fall and winter of 1983. If you turn over the doll and look on the left bum cheek, you’ll find Xavier Roberts’ signature. 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Mold-A-Rama Toys Marks 60 Years of Hot Plastic. When Automatic Retailers of America, Inc. introduced Mold-A-Rama to America in 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis had just fizzled. Let’s see YOU work that well when you’re 60! Since the 1960s, no additional Mold-A-Rama or Mold-A-Matic machines have been manufactured. Each is almost 60 years old, kept alive through patience, care, and mechanical cannibalism. 

(the above posted after January 7th)

Remco Science Kits (1961). In 1961, Remco released a line of budget-priced science kits designed to teach kids basic science concepts in a playful way. Each kit contained one experiment packaged in a canister that measured 6-¼-inches tall by 3-¾-inches across and was adorned with a black-and-white photo of a child performing the experiment. Remco produced eight different science kits, including: Mechanical Physics, ...

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

NY’s TIME Studios Kids and Family div. is teaming up with Corus-owned Nelvana to develop a new preschool show,  Leela’s Island. Planned as a 52 x 11-minute series, this 3D-animated comedy-adventure represents TIME Studios’ first preschool project since it branched out into kids entertainment in 2021. The division is currently in talks with broadcasters and has a fall 2023 premiere in mind...

PMI Wins the Gem with Brawl Stars Toy Line. PMI, a leading gaming-sector toy manufacturer and distributor, in an agreement with Supercell, makers of the highly popular Brawl Stars brand, and LINE FRIENDS, a global consumer products licensing partner for theBrawl Stars brand, will release a multi-territory, highly detailed Brawl Stars toy line that will include collectibles, action figures, plush, stampers and more.

WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences to launch most robust Batman film product collection in over a decadeIn celebration of the upcoming cinematic experience created by director Matt Reeves, WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences has revealed the largest collection of Batman film products in over a decade, with partners worldwide launching The Batman fashion, accessories, beauty products, toys ...

(the above posted after January 7th)

Hasbro Introduces a New Potato Head: The Yamdalorian.  Spuds are the way! The latest Star Wars-inspired Potato Head toy from Hasbro has arrived, and it might be the funniest thing we’ve seen in a long time. Say hello to “The Yamdalorian and the Tot,” a Potato Head set inspired by the titular character from the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and his adorable space-toddler sidekick, Grogu.

Disguise Announces Squid Game Costume and Accessory Launch in North America and APAC in 2022. Disguise, Inc. announces design and development of costumes and masks based on Netflix’s hit series Squid Game for 2022. Squid Game became a fast favorite on Netflix this year with over 142M views in just 4 weeks, becoming their most watched show to date.

Jakks Pacific extended its long-running Sonic the Hedgehog licensing partnership with SEGA of America to include the upcoming Netflix animated series, Sonic Prime. Under the new deal, Jakks will design, produce, and market a full range of action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush, and collectibles inspired by the show. Disguise — the costumes and seasonal division of Jakks Pacific — is on board as the official costume...

The world of Play-Doh is expanding thanks to a new pact between Hasbro and Creative Kids.  Creative Kids inked a multi-year, international licensing deal with Hasbro to create and produce a new range of Play-Doh branded products, including toys, air dry compounds, and modeling clay. The first wave of new products is set to launch this spring with more to follow. 

Rubber Road extends partnership with Warner Bros Consumer Products. Pop culture specialist Rubber Road has announced a continuing partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to produce merchandise inspired by some of the biggest, most iconic global entertainment franchises under its design arm, Numskull Designs. 

Sony expands ‘Cobra Kai’ merchandise programWith the fourth season of “Cobra Kai,” Sony Pictures Consumer Products has announced a significant expansion to the “Cobra Kai” consumer products program. Boasting apparel, accessories, toys, collectibles, home goods, novelty, costumes, jewelry, publishing and more, the line covers multiple licensing categories. 

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People . . . 

Exploding Kittens has a new president via an internal promotion to the newly created position - Carly McGinnis, who has held a series of management roles at the company, most recently Head of Production, Sales, and Logistics, has been appointed as the new President of the company.  Elan Lee remains the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Exploding Kittens recently took a strategic investment from Asmodee Group.

Sesame Workshop has named Sal Perez the newest Vice President, Executive Producer of Sesame Street Production. Perez brings rich experience to the Executive Producer role, having spent a cumulative 14 years producing international and domestic content for the nonprofit organization behind the beloved series. 

Wordle creator overwhelmed by global success of hit puzzle.  Josh Wardle developed game to play with his partner – and now more than 2m others have joined in. Wordle, a deceptively simple online word puzzle, has had a meteoric rise since its launch last autumn, from 90 daily players in November to 300,000 at the beginning of January, to 2 million last weekend.

The Toy Association promoted Adrienne Appell to executive vice president of marketing communications, effective January 1. In her new role, Appell is responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of the organization’s communications strategies, key messaging, and brand integrity programs.

Harold Chizick and Jennifer Chizick, the founders of Genius Brands Intl-owned marketing agency ChizComm, have left both companies.  In a release, Harold Chizick attributed their departure to organizational changes, as well as a lack of alignment over growth strategies.  Genius Brands will continue to own and operate the ChizComm brands, and the rest of the agency’s staff—including president Donna MacNeil...

MGA and Zapf part ways with Neil Bandtock. Marcel Deveny, VP Sales and Marketing EMEA, will cover the role in the interim period with the support of the UK management team. MGA Entertainment and Zapf Creation have today announced that Neil Bandtock has resigned to seek new opportunities, following 15 months as the managing director for UK & Ireland. 

(the above posted after January 7th)

HASBRO NAMES CHRIS COCKS AS CEO, ERIC NYMAN AS PRESIDENT AND COO. The company’s board of directors named Chris Cocks as Hasbro’s new CEO and member of the board effective Feb. 25. Cocks takes over for interim CEO Rich Stoddart who stepped in to lead the company following the death of longtime CEO Brian Goldner last fall. Stoddart will become chair of the board. Cocks joined Hasbro from Microsoft in 2016 and currently serves as president and chief operating officer of Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming division.

Jazwares has announced that Jeremy Padawer joins the c-suite as Chief Brand Officer. Padawer is a toy industry veteran with deep expertise in brand development across multiple toy categories including collectibles, as well as an experienced executive in e-commerce and animated content. Padawer has been instrumental in Jazwares’ growth since joining the company in 2019 when Jazwares acquired Wicked Cool Toys

Funko announced that Charles Denson, a current member of the Board, has been appointed Chairman of the Board. Mr. Denson replaces Ken Brotman of ACON Investments, who will continue to serve as a board member. “I feel very privileged to take on this role at such an exciting time for Funko,” said Mr.Denson. “The company is at the center of fan culture and innovation in consumer products...

Making It In the Toy Industry, a podcast hosted by The Toy Coach, Azhelle Wade, is celebrating the launch of its 3rd season. This is the only toy podcast designed to support and inspire inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporate toy people with advice and insider tips about concept development, marketing, sales, and manufacturing.

Talking strategy with MGM’s Robert Marick. Home to Bond, Rocky and The Pink Panther, MGM is a powerhouse of a studio. We asked Robert Marick, EVP Global Consumer Products & Experiences, to tell us about developing licensing strategies for some of the most iconic properties in entertainment, and how his stints at Disney, Mattel, Twentieth Century Fox and Discovery have shaped his approach to global brand mgt.

Industry veteran Andy Moberg has joined Fun In Motion Toys as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. The exciting news was announced by Kevin Daniels, Founding President of Fun In Motion Toys.  His distinguished industry career has included senior management positions at University Games, Play Visions and Toysmith. Throughout, he has played a major role in creating a wide variety of remote control, flying, ...

Games Workshop founder Sir Ian Livingstone receives knighthoodIan Livingstone, Games Workshop founder, will now be known as Sir Ian Livingstone as he was bestowed a Knighthood via the Queen's New Year Honour List 2022. Sir Ian Livingstone is a legend in the hobby gaming industry. He co-founded Games Workshop in 1975, alongside John Peake and Steve Jackson, and is responsible for bringing both Dungeons...

MGA Entertainment promotes Michelle Lilley to Marketing DirectorMGA Entertainment (MGAE) has announced the promotion of Michelle Lilley to Marketing Director UK and Ireland. Michelle will be in the position from January 2022, having previously held the role of Head of Marketing for Little Tikes. As MGA UK’s Marketing Director, Michelle will lead all UK brand marketing teams, which includes celebrated...

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Companies, Brands . . .  

SPIN MASTER HEADS TO GOTHAM CITY FOR ‘THE BATMAN’ PRODUCT LINE. Chalk it up to the nefarious antics of the Penguin and The Riddler, but images and details regarding Spin Master‘s new collection of toys based on director Matt Reeves’ The Batman have been leaking steadily since last October. Now, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the entrance to the Batcave has finally — officially...

The Insights Family, the kids and family market intelligence specialist, has launched its service into four new international markets. As of 1 January 2022, the company started interviewing kids (3-18s) and parents in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Argentina and South Africa. This will see the business expand its operations to provide its clients with real-time data 

David Mordecai, CEO of the company formally known as Tobar/H. Grossman, on the One For Fun rebrand.  Nearly four years after acquiring H. Grossman, Tobar unveiled a major rebrand, complete with a name change – One For Fun – and new logo, that has brought all its best-selling brands under one roof.

Genius Brands Intl has announced its subscription-based Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse, launching April 15, 2022, at $3.99/month. Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse will be anchored by technology from the acquisition of Ameba TV, a rapidly growing children’s video streaming service that brings a first-in-class technology platform.

Douglas Introduces New Friends Chive the Bee and Bert the Ladybug. Chive the Bee is 7” long and ready to take flight. Looking like a very smiley bumble bee, this little one is as cute as can bee! His fluffy furry body is the traditional black and yellow stripe. A pair of see-through blue wings sit upon his back. He is really bee-utiful with his sparkling black eyes and attention-seeking antennas.

Rubies drives industry change with 100% sustainable costumes  Following the successful launch of its adaptive range, Rubies is set to announce another game-changing product range with the addition of sustainable costumes. Acknowledging the need for industry changes to tackle the ongoing climate crisis, Rubies has made it its mission to lead the way with eco-friendly and sustainable products and packaging. 

The Lego Group expands Chinese factory to support long-term growth. The Lego Group is expanding its factory located in Jiaxing, China creating additional capacity to meet long-term growth in China and Asia. In recent yrs, the Lego Group has invested in building its business in China to bring the benefits of Lego play to more children and last month it celebrated the opening of its 300th Lego store in Haining ...

Ida B. Wells’ Legacy Immortalized with New Barbie Doll. Through its “Inspiring Women” series, a line that commemorate female change-makers, the brand has introduced young children to role models across a variety of fields such as medicine, music and social activism. Ida B. Wells was known for being a poignant journalist and activist whose work sculpted the most progressive movements of the 19th and 20thcenturies. 

(the above posted after January 7th)

What Do You Meme? Spreads Holiday Cheer by Donating $500,000 Worth of Party Games.  What Do You Meme? celebrated the spirit of giving this past holiday season by partnering with Volunteers of America-Greater New York and Good360 to distribute games to select families. The company is expected to reveal its first corporate social responsibility program in the weeks ahead.

LEGO Friends Celebrates 10th Anniversary with 8 New Building Sets.  As we ring in the new year, the LEGO Group is celebrating a big milestone: a whole decade of LEGO Friends building sets. To mark the 10th anniversary, the LEGO Group is releasing eight new LEGO Friends sets, including the Tree-Planting Vehicle, the Pet Clinic, and more.

MGA Entertainment’s 2020 line Rainbow High has expanded its pantheon of dolls! The Rainbow High Pacific Coast Dolls sport swimwear, beach accessories and textile patterns that are ideal for a coastal themed display. Pacific Coast dolls launch after the successful debut of the Rainbow High Netflix series in March 2021. The Pacific Coast line will include these characters:

Cloudco Entertainment has launched its new Care Bears: Unlock The Magic animated series on China’s CCTV14 public broadcasting network and French free-to-air television channel, Gulli. These content launches come in tandem with new toy deals in both territories that will support the new TV series as well as the Care Bears’ forthcoming 40th anniversary in 2022.

Far Out Toys has officially announced an open casting call for new talent to represent the Glo-Up Girls doll line in 2022. The announcement comes on the heels of a momentous year for the fashion doll line, which debuted in retail stores across the UK and on Target.com in the US in the Fall of 2021. The line is expanding in the US this year, starting with Target stores nationwide in February. 

Moose Toys and Hinkler, both based in Melbourne, and between them they are donating almost 10,000 toys and books to beneficiaries, including the Monash Children’s Hospital, Eat Up, Igniting Change, Katalyst Foundation, Mirabel Foundation, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Toy Drive.

Genius Brands International, Inc. in partnership with Spafax Inflight Entertainment, announced it has been selected by JetBlue to feature Kartoon Channel! content as part of its inflight entertainment experience.  The partnership is expected to launch in January 2022 and includes a sampling of Genius Brands’ hit content, including...

USA Today and Reviewed.com have picked the Joovy Kooper for the coveted Best Parenting Products list. California inventors created the lightweight stroller for easy maneuvering for on-the-go parents. Now the ingenious design is an Editor’s Choice for features like a compact fold and plenty of storage for all those diapers and wipes.

Bananagrams will release 'Gurms (Box)' and 'Word-A-Melon' into hobby trade. Bananagrams Inc. will release Gurms (Box) and Word-A-Melon, two family board games, into hobby trade soon. Gurms is a light-strategy tile placement game. Players pick a pawn and take turns placing tiles, one at a time, on a shared grid. Word-A-Melon is word search game.

Playtime PR expands network of global agencies to form The Play GroupPlaytime PR – the award-winning PR agency for playful brands in the UK – has expanded its global alliance of partner agencies, rebranding this collective as The Play Group. Teaming up with other expert agencies around the world, this new evolution of Playtime PR’s global network – which was first established in 2018 – sees even more agencies...

Goats run wild in next 'Munchkin' mini-expansion. Steve Jackson Games announced Munchkin Goats, a new mini-expansion for Munchkin card game, which will release in May 2022. The 30-card mini-expansion features all-new cards and jokes revolving around a staple barnyard animal, the goat. So

Asmodee will release 'Fish'n'Chips' into U.S. retail. Asmodee will release Fish'n'Chips, a dexterity game by Studio H, into U.S. retail on January 14, 2022. In Fish'n'Chips, players team up and assume the roles of sea birds looking to snap up fish on the beach. Players toss chips of different values onto a beach playmat, which is divided into three zones, to score points.  

Dive into Richard Garfield's 'Dungeons, Dice, & Danger'. Ravensburger NA will release Dungeons, Dice, & Danger, a roll-and-write game designed by Richard Garfield, into retail stores in March 2022. In Dungeons, Dice, & Danger, players need to make their way through a labyrinth, and find the most efficient paths to the treasure. 

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

Nintendo Switch sold over 5m units in Japan last year. Nintendo sold 5.3 million Switch units at Japanese retail in 2021. It outsold all other consoles combined, while PS5 sold ten times as many units as Xbox Series X|S. Nintendo's hybrid console sold five times as many units as all other consoles combined, with sales of PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo's own 3DS amounting 1.1 million units. 

Samsung unveils smart TV gaming hub. Manufacturer partners with Nvidia, Stadia and Utomik for new streaming platform. Samsung has announced plans to launch a new gaming platform for smart TVs later this year. The Samsung Gaming Hub will allow users to discover and stream video games on select 2022 television models without need for a console. 

Samsung announced a smaller 4K version of its curviest, best-looking gaming monitor. Samsung has announced a smaller version of its Odyssey Neo curved gaming monitor. The Odyssey Neo G8 is a 32-inch gaming monitor with the same 1000R curvature of the $2,500 49-inch Odyssey Neo G9. The R stands for radius and, compared to 1800R and 1500R curvature, which are both common in the monitor market...

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

UL warns of regulations and compliance for smart and connected toys. The smart and connected toys market is expected to reach $69,932m by 2026, according to Transparency Market Research. Expert testing house, UL, has set out three common regulatory and compliance requirements for manufacturers of smart and connected toys. Its report also shows the sector recorded a compound annual growth rate...

(the above posted after January 7th)

Tesla disables gaming while driving featureTesla has agreed to make changes to its Passenger Play feature that allowed games to be played on its touchscreen while the car is in motion. It follows an investigation launched by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency said it had been informed by Tesla that a software update would disable the feature while driving. Elon Musk's car firm had faced criticism that the feature was dangerous. The New York Times reported that Tesla had contacted the NHTSA directly.

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

SmartLab Toys Inspires Budding Scientists, Launches the Most Advanced Human Body Discovery Toy with Ultimate Squishy Human Body

Raising the bar for all other human body kits, this comprehensive kit features a 16-inch-tall human anatomy model with realistic removable squishy organs, articulated joints and an electronic sound module powered by SmartScan Technology. 

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

NY Toy Fair is canceled for the second year in a row. The Toy Association’s annual industry gathering was set to welcome toymakers, inventors, retail buyers, and others to the newly expanded Javits Center in Manhattan from Feb. 19-22, 2022. Now, those plans have changed as concerns regarding the rapid spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant sparked fear among potential attendees, leading some buyers and exhibitors to quietly pull out of the event.

Nuremberg trade fair and marketing services provider Spielwarenmesse eG has become the new owner of the the Int'l Spieltage SPIEL, the biggest public fair for board games in the world. SPIEL will continue to be held at the Essen exhibition centre and organised from Bonn by Dominique Metzler, its director of many years’ standing, and her highly experienced team. 

Playmobil withdraws from Q1 2022 trade shows  The Horst Brandstätter Group has made the decision for its PLAYMOBIL business unit not to be present on site at any trade fair in Q1 2022. This concerns the trade fairs in London and Poland. A spokesperson said: “Our primary goal is to ensure that all employees, their families and also all partners and visitors 

BTHA Golden Teddy presented to Tomy’s Alan Thompson.  A true veteran of the toy trade, Alan is retiring after 50 yrs in the industry. He joined Tomy as a sales agent in 1983 following a long career in the toy industry, including roles at both Mattel and Ravensburger. Kingsley Matthews, UK sales director at Tomy, commented: “Alan Thompson is a true man of character and integrity – he is dependable, honest and credible...

Brands & Retail UK Pitch Smarter Conference postponed to 24 February Ryan Beaird, Event Director of the first Brands & Retail UK conference (sponsored by Fabacus), has confirmed there is a revised date for the event. The conference will now take place on 24 February 2022 (9am till 6pm) at the British Library (venue unchanged). 

CATAN Studio announced the locations of their CATAN U.S. National and World Championships for 2022.  The 2022 U.S. National Championship is scheduled to return to its normal location in Columbus, OH at Origins Game Fair on June 8-12, 2022. However, they have not confirmed the schedule of events as of this time.

PLMA Announces a New Online Private Label Trade Show: PLMA Global, March 28-31. PLMA Global – a newly imagined, online private label trade show from the Private Label Manufacturers Association – combines the exhibitors and buyers from the organization’s industry-defining, in-person Chicago and Amsterdam events.

Toy Association Highlights for 2021 and 2022 Outlook – by Steve Pasierb. The Toy Association pushed back on threats to your companies through advocacy in major cities, state capitols, throughout Washington, DC, and in dozens of capitols around the world. Our blend of pro-business, pro-safety, pro-child activism stopped misguided new regulations or legislation that did not add to product safety, while our fight against trade barriers and unwise policies helped further protect the business of toys.

The BTHA abd TRA have announced that this year’s Toy Industry Awards winners will this year be revealed online on 25th January,  the first day of Toy Fair’s highly anticipated return to Olympia. This year’s announcement will be made via the trade press and BTHA/TRA membership news channels and will feature a unique video presentation of this year’s winners. 

(the above posted after January 7th)

Kidscreen Summit 2022, originally set to take place in Miami from February 14 to 17, has been postponed until July 18 to 21. The difficult decision to reschedule the event was made in response to the impact that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is having on the industry’s ability to travel internationally and meet in person at this time. All existing live event registrations and sponsorships will be transferred to the...

Toy Fair loses major retailers over Omicron fears — but still slated for Javits Center. Cue a crying Care Bear and a sad Peppa Pig: The Western Hemisphere’s biggest trade show for toys is the latest victim of the Omicron virus, with some of the biggest retail buyers – including Walmart, Target and Amazon – pulling out of the in-person event, On the Money has learned. They join Hasbro, Jazwares and MGA Entertainment among others in ditching plans to attend the fair...

International toy fair season: updates from Messe Frankfurt, Spielwarenmesse, Toy Fair London. The past 24 hours have seen a flurry of activity on the international trade show front as CES gets underway in Las Vegas. While the toy industry is buzzing about who’s in and who’s out for next month’s Toy Fair New York following a series of high-profile exits — including Jazwares, MGA Entertainment, and others...

The Toy Association expects to safely host Toy Fair New York at the Javits Center from February 19-22, 2022. All who enter Toy Fair will be required to wear masks. “Our steadfast requirement for proof of vaccination and mask wearing was seen as somewhat controversial last spring and today provides confidence that all health and safety standards are in place,” added Pasierb.

Toymaster confirms details of 2022 May Show. The popular annual event will return to the Double Tree by Hilton Majestic Hotel in Harrogate from 17th-19th May.  The Toymaster buying group has officially sent out the invite to its 2022 May Show, which makes its highly anticipated return this year after being forced to sit out 2021 due to Covid. Running from Tuesday 17th May to Thursday 19th May (with a set-up day on the 16th)...

The British Toy and Hobby Association has released a statement reassuring the trade that the annual Toy Fair will take place as planned from 25th-27th January. The official statement, sent out today, reads: “Over the past months and weeks, we have continuously been monitoring the government regulations and industry guidance in order to best prepare and work towards delivering a safe and successful Toy Fair 2022 for...

The Children’s Media Conference has announced that its Editorial Director Greg Childs has been awarded an OBE for Services to Int'l Trade and the Children’s Media Sector in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors List. The award has been presented to Greg in recognition of his considerable contribution to children’s media throughout his career, which started at the BBC where he worked for 27 yrs, primarily as a director...

Here are the winners from the 2021 Steam AwardsResident Evil Village has been named Game of The Year at the 2021 Steam Awards, beating fellow nominees Valheim, New World, Forza Horizon 5, and Cyberpunk 2077 to take home the top prize. Valve's annual pageant allows the Steam community to vote for their favorite game in a range of categories.

China Toy Expo and China Kids Fair, organized by China Toy & Juvenile Products Assn, originally scheduled for Feb.23-25, 2022 at Shanghai New Int'l Expo Center will be postponed to Oct 19-21, 2022 at the same venue. Though the COVID-19 situation has largely been controlled within China, the recent scattered new cases still pose great challenge and threat to large-scale tradeshow. (from email)

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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.

Gordon (Gordie) D. Otis -  Steve Springer of Max Margin Merchandising shares the following about Gordie with us:    Gordon was a toy buyer with "Twin Fair, a chain in Buffalo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Fair  He then worked for a Buffalo based catalog showroom chain called Century Housewares: http://blog.buffalostories.com/tag/brand-names/  I first met Gordon in Western NY (1979) when I became a toy buyer with a competitor, Naum's Catalog Showrooms (corporate office in Rochester NY).  This was a golden era for the catalog showroom class of trade.  In Western NY alone we had four:  Century Housewares, Brand Names, Present Company, and Naum Brothers.  Nationally others in this class of trade included Best Products, Service Merchandise and Ardans.  The entire industry started to disappear by end of the 80's, especially as whse clubs started to emerge. Gordon's next job was with Hills department Stores in Canton MA.  We were worked together as toy buyers in the crazy year of 1984.  Every category had a "hot" item.  Gordon bought Trivial Pursuit from Selchow & Righter.  I bought Cabbage Patch dolls from Coleco.  Masters of The Universe, GI Joe and Care Bears were also "Hot" and in short supply.  One funny story was in an attempt to get delivery from Selchow & Righter, Gordon went to their Long Island corporate office and stayed in the lobby for three days until they shipped his order.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selchow_and_Righter  Gordon then became an independent New England rep with a NYC agency, Ray Larson Associates.  After RL he started his own agency under the name "Playtime Ventures".  He called on New England accounts until about five years ago (2017).  Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Gordon will tell you he was "a great guy" and a joy to work with.  Many remember how he could light up a room with his unique laugh, which I describe as a chuckle.

Margaret Goldie. Toy World is sad to report the passing of popular independent retailer Margaret Goldie. When she retired back in 2007, Margaret summed up her career by saying: “You can’t wish to be in a better trade than the toy trade.” Margaret opened her first shop in Holbrooks, Coventry in 1972 and opened further shops in the Westmead Centre, Allesley Park, and the first floor of Intershop, in Bull Yard. Margaret subsequently opened a shop in the Lower Precinct in 1982, closing her first two shops at the same time. The Lower Precinct and Intershop branches closed in 1989 and 2000, respectively, and she moved to City Arcade.  On her retirement, Margaret told the Coventry Telegraph: “My most treasured toy is a six-foot Rupert Bear given to me to celebrate 25 years in the toy trade.” She also said that said her job was very rewarding for the happiness it has brought Coventry children over the years: “It’s lovely, you just imagine Christmas Day when they’re opening their toys.” Well-known Midlands agent John Nicholas told Toy World: “Margaret was an excellent buyer of toys, backing her judgement with some large orders. Her window displays won her many prizes, including an Austin Mini for her Care Bears window. In 2002, she was sponsored by John Hales of Golden Bear to be awarded a Golden Teddy for her contribution to the toy industry, which she was thrilled to bits with.” John added: “During the 1990s, she used to invite reps and agents along with a few retailer friends to her flat near Earls Court during the Toy Fair. You were always proud to be asked. A super lady who loved life, may she rest in peace.”

Mark Taylor - A legendary figure in the creation of Mattel’s Masters of the Universe (MOTU) franchise has died. Designer Mark Taylor was credited with shaping much of the MOTU aesthetic and the design for countless characters that contributed to the massive success of the MOTU brand in the 1980s. While formal credits for the development of He-Man and Skeletor have often been disputed over the years, Taylor’s work, along with that of another Mattel designer — Roger Sweet — eventually became the toys that are familiar to millions.  Some key design elements that shaped He-Man and other residents of Eternia were pulled from Taylor’s Torak: Hero of Pre-History, a barbarian-esque character that was in and out of development for many years pre-dating the launch of the MOTU brand in 1982.  Taylor’s work at Mattel began in the 1970s as a member of the Visual Design Group working on packaging for Barbie. Following his work on the MOTU franchise, Taylor went on to become a key figure in the development of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) line at Playmates Toys in 1987. Taylor’s work has been explored in numerous documentaries, including Power of Grayskull and The Toys That Made Us.  His Christmas Eve passing was confirmed by his wife, Rebecca Salari Taylor via Facebook.  Mark Taylor was 80 years old.

Jeff Hunter, Owner and CEO of Hunter Products Pty Ltd., popular Australian toy stalwart Jeff Hunter sadly passed away just before Christmas. 

Jeff was a hugely popular, larger-than-life character who was always seen at global toy industry shows and social events in Hong Kong, London, Nuremberg and many other places around the globe. Jeff’s daughter, Madeleine Hunter, product manager at Hunter Products, posted the following notice on LinkedIn: “As many of you know, we lost our Dad, the greatest salesman, Jeff Hunter on Thursday at 12.30am. He was surrounded by the six of us, as he would have wanted. Dad could sell ice to the eskimos and he got the biggest buzz when he got the order. He was a big kid and he just loved toys. Dad, we will ‘never never never give up’ and we will ‘sell, sell, sell’ and get that massive hit we always talked about – I promise you that. Rest in Peace Dad, your bubbly energy and enthusiasm will live on inside us all every day.”

MGA’s Isaac Larian referred to Jeff as “a legend in our industry”, while Richard North added the following tribute to Jeff: “For those who don’t know Jeff, he would light up any room he entered and leave it brighter than when he walked in. For those who did know Jeff, they will know he was always laughing and his stories were legendary and often carried words of wisdom. I know he would be proud to know that I’ve forgotten most of them simply because by the morning of any night out with Jeff and Jimbo, my head would hurt and my memory had gone. God bless you Jeff and your fantastic kids, who take the business forward in your amazing spirit and honour.”

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide - Added Friday Morning Chicago Time, so You May Need to Check Back for Complete Lists . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US) 

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK) 

  1. BTHA confirms Toy Fair 2022 will go ahead

  2. Travel ban to Germany lifted for UK visitors

  3. Obituary: Jeff Hunter

  4. MGA Entertainment names Michelle Lilley as new marketing director

  5. Mattel launches #TaptoRebox to recover and reuse old toys

  6. B&M reports increased revenue as UK store expansion continues

  7. The Toy Association assures trade Toy Fair New York remains a “go”

  8. Fanatics to acquire Topps trading cards

  9. Toymaster confirms details of 2022 May Show

  10. Playtime PR takes on entire comms remit for Epoch

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

 Wizards of the Coast President to Run Hasbro

Rolling for Initiative -- Change Has Come and Will Keep Coming
Games Workshop Founder Sir Ian Livingstone Receives Knighthood
Dive into Richard Garfield's 'Dungeons, Dice, & Danger'
Mantic Games Announces the end of 'The Walking Dead Miniatures Game'
Original 'Pathfinder' Adventures Return to Print for Paizo's 20th Anniversary
'Magic: The Gathering' Reaches for the Stars
'Tiny Epic Dungeons' is Headed to Retail
Jasco Announces 'My Hero Academia CCG' Championship Series
Mantic Teases 'The Umbrella Academy: The Board Game'

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

The Bugg Report (Australia)

 

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Star Wars Love Letter, Fish N'Chips Pre-Order
Z-Man Games has announced a Star Wars themed Love Letter game, Asmodee has a new dexterity game for pre-order, and Asmodee is also set to be acquired.

 

Video of the Week . . . 

When the odds are stacked against you, keep it simple.

 Leslie Scott, inventor of Jenga and over 40 other games.

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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

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