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February 18 - 25, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

 

Toy Fair Season 2022 is over… but the conversation about it isn’t. It was announced that NYTF will be moving to September or October in 2023, and opinions and debates over this news have been shared across various social platforms. To make these conversations easier to find and follow, we invite you and all our colleagues to post your thoughts on our new Toy & Game Industry social feed which is right on the POP homepage.  

Our virtual Connolly’s Pub event this past Monday was ‘popping’! The Jenga room’s theme was Toy Fair Stories and there were some great tales told! Rich Mazel, Tom Rushton and Peggy Brown guided the conversations, and they continued for four hours! You could tell people didn’t want it to end! The UNO room started with the Marketing Community Kickoff led by Michele Litzky, Karri Bean and myself. Marketers, ink your calendars for April 21st for our next quarterly event. More info TBA soon. The Hatchimals room’s topic of conversation, NFTs, The Metaverse, and Roblox, was hosted by Robin Raskin, David Kleeman and Nick Metzler, and the discussion was immersive. I loved how people were popping in and out of the zoom rooms! Based on feedback, the whole event was a hit, and we will host another series in our POP rooms again soon – watch for details!

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

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Industry Commentary - Katharine Hadow 

Can Toy Inventors Help the USPTO?

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You have to be rich or highly-educated to apply for a patent.  Right?

 

Last week I spoke to Crystal Hammond, USPTO Assistant Outreach Coordinator, Damian Porcari, Director of the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Deepak Daicharya, USPTO Outreach Officer, about how to encourage people of modest means without PhDs, especially non-white ones, to believe in their ideas enough to apply for patents.  Here are some of the thoughts I came away with:

 

It’s a fact that most of the people—45%-- who achieve patents have advanced degrees such as PhDs or MDs.  Another 30% have master’s degrees.  Only 2.2% have high school degrees or haven’t completed high school.  Women inventors are only 12% of the patent market.  Does that mean that they don’t have ideas that deserve patents? 

 

Considering that women are 50.8% of the US population, and people who complete their educations at high school are 28%, that’s unlikely at best.

 

So what’s stopping them from pursuing patents, especially in the toy and game industry?

READ MORE

Financial and Legal

 

Poundland is set to roll-out an online business following the acquisition of Poundshop.com for an undisclosed sum.  The deal for the online discount retailer includes Poundshop.com’s intellectual property, its online platform, the picking and fulfilment operations in Wednesbury and its customer database.  Retail Gazette reports that the acquisition is another step in the transformation of the discount giant and ...

 

***the above posted after February 25th***

 

Physical stores beat online shopping in 2021. No jokeAmericans spent 18 percent more on food, cars, furniture, electronics and other retail products last year compared with 2020, the Commerce Department disclosed on Friday. Online retail sales increased by 14 percent. In other words, e-commerce lost ground last year to brick-and-mortar stores.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has reportedly signed a £26.8m deal to buy online retailer Studio. The retailer initially appointed administrator Teneo on Thursday to handle the process, following weeks of speculation about its fate. It is hoped that the acquisition will protect the 1500 jobs that were thought to be at risk. Frasers Group was Studio’s largest shareholder, holding a 28.9% stake.

 

Fred Rogers Productions has received grants from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and Heinz Family Foundation. The combined funding totals $350,000 to support onscreen programming and community outreach initiatives for its newest hit series, Alma’s Way and Donkey Hodie, which launched in 2021 on PBS KIDS.

 

Online retailer Studio formally appoints administrators.  1,400 jobs are now said to be at risk after Studio Retail finally admitted defeat once its attempts to secure a bank loan had failed. According to a report in The Times this morning, Studio has reportedly entered administration after its bank rejected its request for a loan.

NPD: 228.7m mobile game players were active in 2021 across the US and Canada. Today the NPD released a new report that says during 2021 there was a total 228.7 million active mobile game players from the US and Canada. In collaboration with Sensor Tower, the NPD's 2022 Mobile Gaming Report surveyed 5000 individuals from both countries aged two years old and up. T

 

The UK games industry is struggling with Brexit. The UK games development industry is suffering from a labour shortage. Partly driven by the pandemic and a surge in demand for games, this shortage -- and its attendant inflation in salaries -- has been exacerbated by the implementation of Brexit, which has added significant expense and time-investment to hiring talent from Britain's neighbors in the European Union. 

Amazon sues ‘fake review brokers’ who attempt to profit from generating misleading and fraudulent reviewsAmazon  has filed lawsuits against fake review brokers who orchestrate the posting of incentivized and misleading product reviews, in exchange for money or free products. The lawsuits aim to shut down two major fake review brokers, AppSally and Rebatest, who helped mislead shoppers by having their member...

 

California plans UK-style age appropriate design code. A new bill has been proposed in California that would see the US state adopt a new set of principles designed to ensure games and tech content is appropriate and safe for younger users. If passed, law would affect major tech and games companies, including Meta, Google, Activision Blizzard and Riot Games. 

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Financial Reporting

 

SPIN MASTER REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS FOR 2021

AMC Entertainment Posts Strongest Quarter In Two Years, CEO Bullish 2022 Box Office “Could Be Nearly Double 2021”

Bruder reports record 2021 sales and looks to the future

 

***the above posted after February 25th***

 

Mattel could toy with a dip before seeing renewed gains

 

Studio Profit Report: Disney Dives as Sony Soars, Paramount Rises

 

Ro’ Money Ro’ Problems: There’s Trouble in the Metaverse as Roblox Shares Tank Following Earnings Report

 

U.S. Retail Sales Experienced Growth in January -  the Census Bureau reporting a 13% spike versus January of last year and the NRF reporting an 8.5% gain

 

SCHLEICH USA HAS THE STRONGEST YEAR OF GROWTH TO DATE

Jakks Pacific Reports 20% Sales Spike for 2021

 

TABLETOP GAMES SET NEW RECORD ON KICKSTARTER IN 2021  For Seventh Consecutive Year

AppsFlyer: In-app gaming purchase revenue declined 35% globally in 2021. 

Square Enix raises forecasts thanks to increased MMO revenues

Macy’s Fourth Quarter 2021 and full year results exceed expectations.

Ubisoft holiday quarter drops on tough comparison.

Embracer Group net sales reached $544m during Q3

 

Future Financial Reporting

Discovery investors will be asked to approve the $43 billion deal to combine with WarnerMedia, which AT&T is spinning off, at a March 11 virtual meeting.

Wall Street eyes Walmart results for signs of tighter margins, slower growth. When Walmart on Thursday reports how it fared during the holiday quarter, investors also will want to see how higher labor, transportation and materials may affect the retailer’s margins, given its “Everyday Low Price” strategy. Refinitiv estimates total gross margins to be 23.90% in the fourth quarter, down from 25.26% in the prior quarter, while revenue is expected to fall 0.6% to $151.15 billion.

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

Toy Book Sr Editor Jackie Cucco explores the growth of the Roblox platform with insight from executives at WowWee, Jazwares, HEXBUG, Spin Master, and more.

 

According to the last six months of data in Kids Insights, more than 2 out of 3 U.S. kids ages 6-12 agree that it is important for the products they buy to improve their knowledge and skillset.

 

New research from Canadian non-profit org Black Screen Office reveals what kids ages 6-17 from underrepresented communities want to see in children's content.

 

TOP MANGA FRANCHISES - FALL 2021

FULL YEAR 2021 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 MANGA

 

U.S. MANGA SALES MORE THAN DOUBLED IN 2021  NPD Reports Sales Up 160% in Units

Rachel Griffin, co-founder of PlayWise Partners, talks about company interactions with its audience and the impact of hybrid trade shows 

David Niggli, chief merchandising officer at FAO Schwarz, talks about high performing toy categories and experiential retail

Lesley Nightingale, chief merchandising officer of Camp, discusses how the growing retailer is dealing with supply chain disruptions and digital shopping safety

 

***The above posted after February 26th***

 

Steve Totzke, chief commercial officer at Mattel, talks about its application of licensing and opportunities for consumer product growth 

Eric Nyman, president and COO at Hasbro, talks about outbound licensing and upcoming projects

 

Jeremy Padawer, chief brand officer at Jazwares, talks about the success of Squishmallows and the importance of social media marketing

Belinda Gruebner, chief marketing officer at Moose Toys, talks about licensing programs and celebrity partnerships

Skip Kodak, president at LEGO Systems, talks about an increase in sales, a focus on sustainability, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion

 

Nikhil Nayar, senior vice president of hardlines at Target, talks about keeping shelves stocked, same-day services, and 2022 predictions

 

Sharon DiMinico, founder and CEO at Learning Express, talks about supply chain disruptions, top toy trends, and Learning Express exclusives

Natasha Tous, senior director of product development at VTech, talks about upcoming products and innovation

 

Jay Foreman, CEO at Basic Fun!, talks about COVID-19 disruptions and supply chain shortages

 

Pam Lifford, president at WarnerMedia, talks about licensing opportunities with HBO Max, choosing licensees, and impactful trends

Anne Carrihill, category leader of toys and games at Amazon, talks about its supply chain for online orders

Sue Warfield, president, American Specialty Toy Retailing Assn (ASTRA), talks about challenges in the industry and ASTRA’s focus

Steve Ronchetto, VP and divisional merchandise manager of toys at Walmart U.S., discusses online distribution and improving customer experience 

Andrew Perlmutter, CEO at Funko, talks about sustainability and NFTs

Nick Muriella, associate vice president of toys at Toys “R” Us Canada, talks about keeping shelves stocked, holiday toy shipments, and toy predictions

Clark Nesselrodt, executive vice president of Brilliant PR & Marketing, talks about influencers and the top marketing strategies

Scott Goldberg, managing director and executive vice president of Carve Communications, talks about supply chain issues and marketing initiatives

Elizabeth Royall Darby, owner of Wonder Works Toys, talks about supply chain disruptions, holiday toy shipments, and shopping trends

 

Michael Pisors, head of marketing at IMC Toys, talks about challenges for toy manufacturers and strategies for IMC Toys

Michael Fisher, president at Grand Prix International, talks about the shipping crisis and potential solutions

Scott Flynn, vice president of sales and marketing of PlayMonster, talks about consumer generations and licensing relationships

Genna Rosenberg, CEO and chief ideator at GennComm, talks about supply chain shortages and toy shipments

Geoffrey Greenberg, co-president of Just Play talks about Just Play’s new U.K. subsidiary and the company’s corporate mission

Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and CEO at WHP Global and Toys “R” Us, talks about increasing Toys “R” Us stores and their partnership with Macy’s 

Nick Mowbray, CEO at ZURU, talks about toys trends and sustainability efforts 

Daniel Benkwitt, director of PR and corporate communications at The Pokémon Co, talks about the brand’s 25th anniversary

Dion Vlachos, EVP at Paramount Consumer Products (formerly ViacomCBS), talks about the Paramount+ streaming service and promoting a diverse workplace 

 Joe Lawandus, SVP and GM of global toys at Universal Brand Development, talks about the company’s licensing partners and toy retail 

Deborah Stallings Stumm, SVP of Bonker Toys, talks about social media and licensing in the Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry

Craig Drobis, senior vice president of marketing at Jakks Pacific, talks about brands like CoComelon and off-screen play experience

Jen Derevensky, co-president at Ren Beanie Public Relations, talks about influencer marketing and social media

Steve Pasierb, president and CEO at The Toy Association, talks about major challenges and focuses

 

Trends that will shape the future of brick and mortar retail.

Predicting toy industry and market trends for 2022 and beyond

The Toy Association’s top toy trends of 2022

Five-day weeks in the office are "over," says Riot COO.

Demographic Report: Hispanic Parents & Kids Media

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

Letter from America, Rick shares how he keeps track of new trends and products, despite missing Toy Fair in NY. “The increased sales volumes we have been experiencing have continued into the new year, busting Jan. records and showing Feb. strength too,” writes Rick. “The main drivers continue to be Squishmallows, the fidget sensory category and scented slimes, namely Dope Slimes produced here in the states. In addition, we are seeing strong Lego sales and great performance from both the Mattel and Hasbro ranges. But it’s not all the big brands; some emerging, newer products that are just hitting shelves are enjoying a fantastic start too. How long will the train stay at full speed?

 

GLOBAL TOY INDUSTRY SUPPORTS UKRAINE DURING RUSSIAN CONFLICT.  The Russian invasion of Ukraine is creating a new ripple effect of challenges for toymakers worldwide. This week, the Ukrainian Association of Toy Industry (UTIA) sent out a call to action, urging toy and game manufacturers to immediately cease trading with Russian companies. UTIA President Pavel Ovchynnikov asked global toy companies to join....

Ukrainian filmmakers and executives more used to attending festivals and film markets are now carrying weapons – and joining the battle to protect their country against the invading Russian army. Other producers are hiding with their families in makeshift bunkers as the Russian military draws nearer. Speaking to Screen, producer Volodymyr Yatsenko, chairperson of the Film Industry Association of Ukraine (FIAU) who until recently attended Eurimages meetings on behalf of his country, said he will be returning to Kyiv tomorrow to fight.

Talking Shop – Fair play.  Our indies reflect on the return to UK Toy Fair and tell us how the year has started off and what products they are excited about for 2022. Everyone was unanimous that it was great to be back at Olympia for Toy Fair in January. As Emma Dadswell of Toys N Tuck, Southend put it, “It was surreal but lovely to be back. Toy Fair was very well organised and I felt safe being there.”

Toys that Keep Dogs and Cats Busy Are More in Demand Than Ever.  Pets may just be looking to have fun, but owners are seeking toys that will keep their furry charges busy for more than a few minutes. Spencer Williams, CEO and owner of West Paw, a manufacturer in Bozeman, Mont., noted an increased interest in toys that solve issues such as chewing, boredom or eating too quickly.

 

Kids are watching war on social media: Here’s what parents should know (and do).  Social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok bring war closer to home for everyone, including young kids. "Mom, did Ukraine do anything to Russia to make them do this?" Lane, 10, asked his mother, Jennifer Cannon, earlier this week on their way to school.

 

UK Kids Content Industry Calls For Youth Fund Extension.  Hundreds of industry stakeholders have signed an open letter calling for the kids-content pilot project to be extended. More than 750 creatives and business executives from the kids content industry have signed an open letter to the UK government campaigning to keep the British Film Institute’s Youth Audience Content Fund (YACF) open.  The US$62-million fund...

Wordle Player Has Perfect Solution After Getting Puzzle Spoiled for Them.  A fan of the popular daily word game Wordle comes up with an interesting way to play after having the answer spoiled ahead of time. The result is a strange little art-piece made using the sharing functions that already come available and have helped to make Wordle such a popular game online in the first place.

 

WHY TOY PRODUCTION IS EBBING AWAY FROM CHINA.  China has been playing a massive role in producing the products we sell for more than four decades. Before manufacturing in China, most companies either produced their products in their home market or imported from various hubs around the world, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

How Kidcos Are Preparing For A Live Event Renaissance. IP owners are gearing up for a return to live and location-based brand extensions as the world begins to look at life beyond pandemic restrictions. According to California-based market research firm Grand View Research, the location-based entertainment market was valued at US$3.05 billion in 2020.

 

***the above posted after the Bloom Report sent Friday morning***

 

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - From New York to LA …it’s the Friday Blog!  It seems strange to be kicking off this week’s Blog talking about something that isn’t going to happen for another 18 months, but the news about the change of date for the New York Toy Fair is undoubtedly going to have significant ramifications for the global toy community.

 

The Supply Chain Crisis Reignites Reshoring Efforts. The Toy Book’s Deputy Editor James Zahn explores how weaknesses in the global supply chain and rapid inflation have sparked new efforts to produce toys and games in the U.S. and how some companies are turning challenges into opportunities.

It’s Tough to Build a Corporate Culture in a Remote-Work World. There are Zoom happy hours and digital water coolers, but employees feel disconnected, and work feels transactional. For all the triumphs of remote work, social connection remains a pain point. One survey of 700 remote workers, who had previously worked in offices, found that social connection was the thing people missed most about offices, outranking office banter, a dedicated workspace, and face-to-face meetings.

 

JUMP INTO THE ‘ROBLOX’ METAVERSE FOR A NEW ERA OF PLAY.  Parents are on a never-ending quest to entertain their kids‭, ‬so what if there was a place where kids could access more than 20‭ ‬million games for free‭? ‬Well‭, ‬that place exists‭, ‬and it’s called‭ ‬Roblox‭.‬ Roblox‭ ‬is a digital platform where millions of players gather together every day to create and share experiences in immersive‭, ‬3D worlds‭. 

Learn from the teams behind some of TikTok’s hottest toys“We have the octopus plush!” a hand-written sign taped to a Brooklyn corner store’s front door declared early last year, attempting to lure customers with the promise of a simple, yet charming — and in that moment, very hard-to-find — plush sea creature that collectors can flip inside out to reveal a different color and facial expression. 

 

In the toy department, representation mattersThese toy companies prioritize ensuring that kids see themselves in their toys. Orijin Bees offers baby dolls with a variety of skin tones and hair textures, along with plush and other educational and cultural toys designed to represent Black children. Healthy Roots Dolls offers Zoe, an 18-inch doll that is designed to teach kids to love their curly hair. 

 

Toys to movies: out of the box and onto the screenBarbie and Mario have a date at the movie theater — but it’s not quite a whirlwind romance. Both are set to star in their own films, heading to a cinema near you later this year. However, these iconic toy and video game stars aren’t the only ones getting face time in the entertainment industry. Toy and game properties from companies like IMC Toys, Hasbro, and MGA...

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History and Nostalgia

Mattel-O-Phone (1965). Long before Who Wants to Be a Millionaire aired, Mattel introduced its version of “phone-a-friend” with the release of the Mattel-O-Phone. Operating on two D-batteries, the play telephone used interchangeable 4-inch mini-records that contained pre-recorded, one-sided “conversations”. 

 

Great Moves from Hasbro. Released in 1978 by Hasbro, Great Moves was a word-guessing game that combined the artistic challenge of Pictionary (1985) with the unpredictability of Twister (1966). The result was a fast-paced party game with plenty of laughs. The object of the game was to have one’s teammate(s) guess the object being drawn. 

 

Who invented the skateboard and skateboarding? The skateboard - and skateboarding - are an American invention and innovation born in the garage and inspired by surfboards and surfing. The early form of the skateboard dates back to the early 1900s. It looked like a scooter and featured roller skate wheels attached to a two-by-four and a milk crate or wooden box nailed to it with handles sticking out for control. 

 

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Licensing 

Sesame Workshop has named Just Play, a globally recognized leader in preschool toys, as its multi-territory master toy licensee for North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Under this multi-year partnership, Just Play will manufacture and market an expansive array of products featuring beloved Sesame Street characters...

 

Jazwares has just announced a line-up of must-have officially licensed Pokemon toys that will be the perfect addition to your Pokédex…or collection. Pokémon fans of all ages will love the latest line of unique plush and figure sets. Cuddle up with the 24″ Cubone or 8″ Dratini Plush, or add some style with the 8″ Corduroy Plush. Build up different worlds with high-detail environment sets, or show off your Pokémon master....

 

Mondo TV has been appointed as licensing agent in Italy for the character brand and international phenomenon Gorjuss by brand owner Santoro Licensing. Santoro’s Gorjuss brand revolves around imagery featuring sweet stripey-socked girls with big hearts. With over 400 characters to choose from, Gorjuss fans know there is a Gorjuss girl...

Hearst Media Production Group and Toonz Media Group has announced a partnership to produce new animated productions. Hearst Media Production Group, a business unit of Hearst Television, is a producer and distributor of television programming with more than 30 series and hundreds of hours of content annually on leading broadcast station groups and networks – and in 97 countries – and on connected...

 

Wow! Stuff and Aardman announced a collaboration on a global consumer products initiative: MovieMates ... launching first with the blockbuster franchise Jurassic World, is a range of collectible, highly detailed and articulated action figures mounted on a non-removable ‘film rig’ that comes with a free MovieMates app. 

 

Fun in Motion Toys has signed a worldwide licensing agmt with Rhino Records to produce a collection of Shashibo mystical magnetic puzzle cubes featuring the iconic artwork of the Grateful Dead.  “To be associated with this iconic band is a dream come true!” said Kevin Daniels, President of Fun In Motion Toys. “Grateful Dead have always been about pushing the boundaries of creativity and that’s what Shashibo ...

Jakks Pacific, Disguise Unveil Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Toys, Costumes.  In celebration of the upcoming theatrical release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures, Sega of America teamed up with Jakks Pacific and Disguise for an extensive new range of action figures, vehicles, plush, and costumes inspired by the film.

Rubies brings the magic of Encanto to life with new costumes.  The Encanto costumes feature Mirabel and Isabella of the Madrigal family, and come in a range of children’s sizes featuring the character’s signature dresses.  Encanto, the newest Disney animated film to be released, is making waves both at the box office and on the singles charts.

Afro Unicorn Expands with New Licensing Partners, Upcoming Products.  The company is looking to build a full consumer products program, including toys and publishing, and has already inked deals with licensees across a broad range of categories.  Afro Unicorn will incorporate its values in new apparel and accessories featuring the characters Unique, Divine, and Magical. 

 

The Noble Collection, the leader & creator of finely crafted treasures and Toyllectibles, reveals vast product line of popular products from entertainment properties including The Wizarding World, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jurassic Park and E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in order to commemorate the 40th anniversary as well as additions to their BendyFigs line. Products will begin rolling out in Jan through the Holiday season.

 

Chinti & Parker Launches Care Bears Collection.  Bulldog Licensing’s latest partner to celebrate the Care Bears 40th anniversary by joining the consumer products program, is luxury knitwear label, Chinti & Parker. Chinti & Parker was established in 2009 with the aim to enliven and invigorate women’s wardrobes with knitwear that celebrates joyful color, timeless shapes and innovative textures.

 

Boss Fight Studio, creator of fan favorite action figures, has acquired the license to develop action figures based  on WildBrain’s  Classic Strawberry Shortcake character and her friends. The deal, brokered by FanGirl Consulting and Brand Management and WildBrain CPLG, is the latest addition to a diverse array of iconic brands for Boss Fight Studio.  Known for products that emphasize playability...

 

Cuphead is building upon its successful int'l presence with new and exciting products and partners tied to Netflix’s The Cuphead Show!, which debuted on Feb 18. Since launch, The Cuphead Show! has made the Top 10 Kids list in 90+ countries. Studio MDHR’s eight-time platinum-selling video game, Cuphead, has been a global sensation since its 2017 release and is continuing the momentum with new licensing...

Warren James, Dawko Introduce Hex x Five Nights at Freddy’s Plush Collection.  The debut plush collection includes Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken, and Foxy the Pirate, each with mix-and-match pieces that kids and collectors ages 6 and up can use to swap parts using internal magnetic connections.

 

New Children’s Lifestyle Brand Afro Unicorn Scores New Licensing Partners. With a mission to provide a platform to uplift, promote and remind children of color how unique, divine and magical they truly are, Afro Unicorn entrepreneur, innovator & founder April Showers has announced the expansion of her lifestyle brand for kids (ages 2 – 12), with new licensing partners signed and a retail launch planned this year.

 

Spin Master announced it renewed its global licensing agreement with Warner Bros Consumer Products and DC for the iconic Batman franchise and other DC Super Heroes. Spin Master first joined forces with WBCP in 2018 as the toy licensee for DC in the action figure, playset, roleplay and vehicle categories for the period of 2019-2022. The co has now extended the relationship for a 4-yr term, beginning in 2023...

 

New UK licensing deals for BBC Studios’ top dogs Bluey and Hey Duggee.  Deals include Bluey and Hey Duggee wheeled toys from MV Sports plus a Bluey arts and crafts range from Character Options.  New deals will see both properties expand in the UK and follow the recent announcement of agreements with Amscan, Character Options and Danilo for Bluey

 

Let it Rip! Mr Blockbuster Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a live-action movie with Paramount based on the popular toy franchise Beyblade.  Neil Widener and Gavin James are scripting the project, whose plot details are being kept under wraps. The spinning top toys, a competitor of Pokemon, were originally developed by Japanese firm Takara and have been licensed by different toy cos including Hasbro. 

Factory Entertainment announced the latest addition to its line of officially licensed high-end collectibles–a limited edition Sword Of Omens prop replica from the highly popular 1980’s cartoon series, ThunderCats.  The Factory Entertainment team have done it again! After spending countless hours studying the vintage toy line, episodes of the classic animation series and archival information....

***The aboved posted after the Bloom report was released on Feb. 25th***

 

How Mattel Is Breaking Toy Ties With Deepa & Anoop.  Signalling an openness to concepts without a toy pedigree, Deepa & Anoop is Mattel TV's first series not based on a proprietary play brand. Set to premiere globally in mid-2022, Deepa & Anoop follows along as a seven-year-old girl and her color-changing elephant friend tend to guests at her family’s bed and breakfast.

 

SEGA, Paramount, JAKKS Pacific & Disguise partner for New Sonic 2 Merch.  JAKKS Pacific and Disguise, Inc. have announced a new line of toys and costumes in Spring 2022 for the new film Sonic the Hedgehog 2.The new line of merchandise from JAKKS is set to include action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush toys and other collectibles just in time for the film’s international release. Disguise, the costume division of JAKKS...

 

Marvel Reveals ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Toys, Role-Play Items .  We have yet to see a trailer for Thor: Love and Thunder, but toys inspired by the upcoming entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been unveiled. New products include construction sets from LEGO and action figures and role-play items from Hasbro.

 

Playmates Toys and Paramount Consumer Products have revealed a first look of the action figures from the Paramount+ animated series Star Trek: Prodigy.  Star Trek: Prodigy follows a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first...

 

LEGO and Universal Brand Development have announced exciting new Jurassic World sets inspired by the upcoming theatrical release – Jurassic World Dominion – set to hit theatres in June 2022, from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment. Continuing to build out the portfolio for Jurassic World fans globally, the newest sets, featuring the largest assortment of dinosaurs than ever before in LEGO® brick form...

 

Mattel announced multiyear global licensing ageement with Paramount Consumer Products for Nickelodeon’s animated preschool pirate adventure series, Santiago of the Seas. Through this agreement, Mattel has the licensing rights to create a full line of toys based on the property, which will be produced under the Fisher-Price brand, including dolls, figures, play sets, vehicles, role play, plush, ride-ons...

‘G.I. Joe’ comes to ‘Brawlhalla’. The Hasbro franchise is now playable in the Ubisoft game. Ubisoft, in collaboration with Hasbro, has announced that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from “G.I. Joe” are now available to play in “Brawlhalla” as Epic Crossovers. Their arrival in “Brawlhalla” also kicks off an in-game event featuring a new showdown game mode map, Arashikage Dojo. 

Mr Men and Little Miss Tonies to launch this April. Leading children’s audio system tonies is launching three Mr. Men and Little Miss Tonies this April, adding to its ever-growing portfolio of stories for children to enjoy on their Tonieboxes. The popular series by author and illustrator Roger Hargreaves has been delighting children and adults alike since 1971, and now three of the troop’s most endearing characters...

uture. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise …

 

Fanattik Extends Licensing Deal with 'Yu-Gi-Oh!'  Fanattik has announced it has secured an extension to its long-standing licensing agreement with the "Yu-Gi-Oh!" brand. The license has been renewed for another three years and includes additional products and territories. "Some Anime brands may come and go, but 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' is an evergreen with a passionate fan base that appreciates the gifts and collectibles...

 

Tetris brand readies for 40th anniversary in 2024 with merchandising agent network update. The Tetris Company, Inc. today announced changes to its worldwide network of merchandise licensing agents for the world-famous Tetris® brand, including new agent signings and renewals. These changes come as the company heads towards the iconic video game brand’s 40th anniversary in 2024. 

 

'Parks And Recreation' parties with Funko. This spring, Funko Games will be launching the Parks and Recreation Party Game, based on the television show. In the Parks and Recreation Party Game, players choose projects to work on, then try to make deals and recruit help from the other players. Though cooperation is needed, the player who can get the most credit for the project will enjoy the best resorts. 

 

Funko Games launches new kids’ games. The new games, inspired by Dr. Suess and “CoComelon,” respectively, are set to launch later this year. Funko Games, creators of the Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You Game and Dr. Seuss Stack the Cat Game, travels back into the world of Dr. Seuss with two new board games inspired by the classic children’s books. Dr. Seuss Pattern Party and Thing One and Thing Two Where are You?...

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People of Play

 

Alan Hassenfeld Leads Toy Foundation Campaign for Ukrainian Children. TTF has partnered with toy industry veteran Alan Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation to spearhead an industry-wide relief effort. Hassenfeld has pledged to donate $1 million and is challenging others throughout the play industry to join him in making an impactful contribution.

NOTRE DAME INTERVIEWS MARY COUZIN - One of Mary’s fondest childhood memories involves family card games. When her mother, aunts, and uncles would gather around a table and play poker, she and her cousins would huddle under the table and wait. “Every so often the adults would drop pennies and nickels to us, which was followed by a small skirmish by us kids. We loved poker night,” she recalls.

Eight black innovators speak in Reading to mark Black History Month.  When Charles Harrison first applied to work as a designer at Sears in the 1950s, he was rejected. It wasn’t because he didn’t have the skill. His talent was obvious. He would go on to become Sears’ first Black design lead, hatching the concepts for more than 750 consumer products, including the iconic View-Master toy.

PlayMonster is proud to announce that Sakita Withers has won a 2022 Wonder Woman Award in the Rising Star, Marketing/PR category. Award winner Sakita Withers is a Brand Manager at PlayMonster, and has been with the company for two years. Sakita’s leadership has been instrumental in the successful launch of Snap Ships, Koosh, and BriteBrush brands, and now the much-anticipated relaunch of the beloved...

Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Spin Master Creative Director Stephanie Guo to the show. Guo oversees creative vision for key brands, including PAW Patrol, GUND, Mighty Express, Kinetic Sand, Orbeez, and Etch-A-Sketch. Guo’s internal creative and social teams create more than 1,000 pieces of content each year.

French animation studio Blue Spirit Primes Olivier Lelardoux As Next CEO. The former Cyber Group exec has joined as managing director, and will take the reins from founding CEO Eric Jacquot when he departs in 2023. Lelardoux previously worked at Cyber Group Studios for 17 years, most recently as a studio director and associate producer. He directed more than 700 episodes of animated series during his tenure...

 

Sarah Harding appointed senior buyer of toys to Toys R Us UK buying and marketing team  The Australian Toys R Us operation has also announced solid growth during the first half of the retailer’s financial year. Sarah has a wealth of toy experience, having commenced her toy career over 20 years ago at Woolworths and Entertainment UK, before moving to Hamleys. 

ICV2 INTERVIEW: TOKYOPOP FOUNDER AND CEO STU LEVY.  How the Manga Market Has Changed, What Fans Want, What's Coming Next.  As Tokyopop celebrates its 25th anniversary, we reached out to founder and CEO Stu Levy to get the long view of the manga market as well as the direction he’s taking Tokyopop in and what he plans for the future.  From where you sit, how does the manga market look today? What’s hot...

 

Choon’s Design Appoints Christopher Tidwell CEO Amid Its 10th Anniversary.  While beginning their 10th year of worldwide sales, Choon’s Design the ever-popular maker of Rainbow Loom has announced the appt of Christopher M. Tidwell as CEO.  Choon’s Design is experiencing a strong resurgence in its craft and jewelry-making kits and has tapped Tidwell to expand revenue and enhance global retailer partnerships.

 

***the above posted after February 25th***

 

When Wordles collide: ‘Wordle!’ developer donates $50,000 after old app goes viral by accident. Steven Cravotta is the lone creator of “Wordle!” — no, not that one. Six years ago, the self-taught developer built a word-based puzzle app for fun. Cravotta, who was 18 at the time, originally thought the project was a bust; its average daily download rate was in the single digits. Then last Dec. he checked the app’s stats and...

 

Cyber Group Studios, a producer and distributor of animated series for children and families worldwide, has named 3 industry veterans to lead its production, development, and R&D in response to the strong business growth now at an historical high with 10 series in production and 10 more in development this year. The newly named executives are Laurence Barret, appointed VP Studio Operations . . . 

 

Entertainment One (eOne) has announced the appt of Ruedilyn Cox as VP Global Franchise Strategy & Management for Kiya. Ruedilyn will be based in London and report to Esra Cafer, SVP, Global Brand Management, Family Brands at eOne. Last year, eOne greenlit Kiya, a new series for pre-schoolers set to launch in multiple markets globally in 2023. The series is about a young superhero and her two best friends, 

 

Nikki Samuels joins Hunter Price as commercial director.  The former licensing director and founder of Sambro joins Hunter Price as part of the company’s growth strategy across categories including toys and stationery. Hunter Price Directors, top left to right, Jeremy Winburn and Richard Belford and, bottom left to right, Josh Eden, Jonny Alexander and Nikki Samuels. Leading consumer products business, Hunter Price...

Osmo from BYJU’S, announces the appointment of Jonathan Naseath as Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. With extensive experience in finance and operations, Naseath, CPA, CFE and CISA, will further Osmo global growth, creating operational excellence across the company and scaling the company’s vision of making a broader impact to education.

 

Ravensburger has announced two new appointments for 2022... Boosting the Operations team will be Jonathan Heil who joins as facilities manager. Jon brings with him with him more than 10 yrs’ experience in of facilities, office and operation management and will report directly to head of Supply Chain and Operations, Colin Reeves. Della Holding has been appointed as consumer service advisor and will report directly to...

 

Toys R Us UK has announced several new appointments to its buying team, which Toy World understands is now almost complete (with one further appointment still to be confirmed). New recruits James Ford, Katie Ellis and Lukasz Jajinski will join existing team members Mike Coogan and Diane Lee in the new Toys R Us operation, which plans to re-introduce the brand to the UK toy market within the next few months.

 

Riot co-founder Marc Merrill is now president of games. Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill has taken on a new role as the studio's president of games, overseeing all of its current and future development projects. As announced by Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent, Merrill will look after titles such as League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics and Wild Rift. 

 

People on the move: GAMA hires Rachael Blaske as new marketing manager. The Game Manufacturers Association has hired Rachael Blaske to become their new Marketing Manager. Blaske has 17 years of experience working as a marketing and brand consultant. She entered the games industry as a professional in 2018, starting out as the CEO of Five24 Labs, LLC (which was later rebranded as Poketto), the publisher of Mint...

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Companies and Brands

MATTEL REINTRODUCES THE FISHER-PRICE PLAY LAB.  After more than six decades of creating toys and other products for young infants, toddlers, and kids, the first kid-led toy testing facility in the industry has been revamped. Located in East Aurora, New York, Mattel‘s Fisher-Price Play Lab is where kids and designers work together to create and evaluate more than 450 toys each year.

Razor’s iconic scooter is back. But this time, it’s for grown-ups—and it’s electric. The original Razor A Kick folding scooter arrived in 2000, and in many ways—just like the phone of nearly the same name—it epitomized Y2K design. Its colorful hand grips and shiny aluminum frame glinted in the sunlight, hearkening a joyous, technological future. It was a massive hit that was named Spring/Summer Toy of the Year...

RESPONDING TO UKRAINE CRISIS, TY WARNER DONATES 100% OF PROFITS FROM BEANIE BABIES.   Ty Warner CEO, of TY Inc., the largest manufacturer of soft toys in the world, pledged today that 100% of profits from sales of Beanie Babies during the month of March will be donated to Save the Children Fund to provide emergency aid to those in crisis zones.

UNIS Technology, a multinational developer and manufacturer of coin-operated games, announces launch of their new consumer brand called TekyGo!, a creation that integrates arcade gaming technology with exercise toys for kids.  TekyGo! is a gaming platform designed to encourage physical activity and developmental learning for children ages 2-7. 

The Good Toy Guide celebrates 10 years with host of trade and consumer giveaways.  The Good Toy Guide, founded by psychologist and play expert Dr Amanda Gummer, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with a host of consumer and trade promotional activities. The guide has provided an independent, expert accreditation service for children’s products since 2012, and has been a trusted resource for over 100,000 …

McDonalds teams with charities to give away over 500K books this World Book Day   Research shows one in eight families do not own a book and as the UK’s largest distributor of free books, this World Book Day (3 March) McDonald’s is working to correct that. The restaurant company is teaming up with footballers, football clubs, community hubs and charities to get as many books as possible into the …

Educational Insights Teams up with YouTube Educator Ms. Monica for Preschool Content.  The company kicked off its 60th anniversary on the 60th day of the year by announcing a partnership with Ms. Monica of the Circle Time with Ms. Monica show on YouTube. The yearlong partnership will feature exclusive content from Educational Insights shared to Ms. Monica’s audience.

New line of Dr Seuss books in development   Dr. Seuss Enterprises (DSE) and Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) will launch Seuss Studios, a line of books for early readers by new and emerging authors and illustrators who will create original stories inspired by Ted Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) unpublished sketches and illustrations. 

Shonda Rhimes, Pat McGrath honored with their own Barbies. In honor of International Women’s Day, the iconic doll brand has launched a campaign to increase access to female role models. As we celebrate the historic contributions of women around the world this month, Mattel is making its own tribute, announcing a new, multifaceted campaign “to inspire the next generation of leaders and dreamers.” 

Moose Toys Expands Magic Mixies Brand, Previews 2022 Lineup.  Following the success of the Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, which was recently named Creative Toy of the Year by The Toy Foundation during the 2022 Toy of the Year Awards, the brand will expand with Magic Mixies Mixlings to lead a robust new product line that Moose will debut this year.

Georgia Manolas Walker, VP of marketing at Playmates Toys, discusses the Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir series and new toys based on the show. Toy Book: What is it about Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir that makes it appeal to kids, teens, and adults? Georgia:  Jeremy Zag had a passionate vision to tell: a catch 22 love story that talks to everyone through gorgeous animation, relatable storytelling, and...

 

Brunico Communications Issues Statement In Support Of Ukraine.  Kidscreen’s parent co to temporarily suspend business relations with Russian cos. Brunico Communications has announced today that it is immediately suspending business relations with Russian-based companies, including advertising, sponsorship and attendance at our conferences and events, until its state-led campaign of aggression against Ukraine...

 

TONKA Celebrates 75 Years as an Icon of Vehicle Play.  Basic Fun!, a leading global producer of toy and consumer products and master toy licensee for TONKA, is launching a year-long celebration for the beloved brand’s 75th Anniversary. Superstar Shaquille O’Neal will kick-off the “Together, We Tonka” campaign with a photo contest, followed by a call-to-action to take a screen-free summer “Tonka Playcation.” 

 

Brown Toy Box Aims to Reach 100,000 Students Nationwide with STEAM Toys.  Founded by tech innovator and visionary entrepreneur Terri-Nichelle Bradley, Brown Toy Box is on a mission to inspire children from all backgrounds that they can be successful in STEAM careers. After participating in the ESEA conference this month, Brown Toy Box announced a new partnership with education nonprofit DonorsChoose.

 

PlayMonster has launched a Spirograph National Art Contest – where 6 winners will be selected to be featured at The Strong National Museum of Play on World Art Day!  As part of the promotion, families are also invited to get their creative juices flowing by visiting Michael’s stores across the US for a free Spirograph® event. On Saturday, March 26, 2022, from 1-3 PM CST, families will be able to try out various Spirograph®...

 

Disney, Sony and Warner Bros pause film releases in Russia over Ukraine invasion.  Disney and Sony call off all upcoming theatrical releases, including Pixar film Turning Red and Morbius, with Warner Bros also pulling The Batman. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” Disney said on Monday. “In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance.”

 

Concerned about the developments in Ukraine, The Horst Brandstätter Group has decided to stop supplying products of its two company brands PLAYMOBIL and LECHUZA to Russia with immediate effect.  For the year 2022, Horst Brandstätter Group had budgeted a turnover of around 10 million euros for both companies in Russia.  Alongside this, The Children’s Foundation founded by Horst Brandstätter has donated 150,000 euros for children in Ukraine.

DC Launches Batman Store on Amazon.  Ahead of tomorrow’s theatrical release of The Batman, DC and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have launched a dedicated Batman storefront at Amazon. The digital destination features products from several companies that kids can use to create a Batcave of their own.

 

The Barbie brand says it is launching ‘the cutest unboxing experience ever’ with the new Barbie Cutie Reveal range, an exciting new evolution of its popular Reveal segment.  With a total of 10 surprises in each package, the Barbie Cutie Reveal dolls offer unboxing fun with soft, plush animal friends and fashions as well as a host of surprises and transformations to discover. 

 

***the above posted after February 25th***

 

Max Rangel, Spin Master’s CEO and Global President, on the key factors driving the company’s success. For the January/February issue of ToyNews, out now, Editor Kiran Grewal sat down with Max Rangel, CEO and Global President of global children’s entertainment company Spin Master, to discuss the recent developments at the company, including Spin Master ventures. 

HASBRO CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO. Following a soft launch with the introduction of the Skystriker HasLab project through Hasbro Pulse last fall, Hasbro officially began celebrating the 40th anniversary of its G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero brand today.

In a nearly two-hour-long live stream event, the G.I. Joe team unveiled a host of new toys, licensing partnerships, and more. 

 

Moose Toys sets sights on major growth in 2022.  Following record-breaking holiday sales of Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, which was No.1 in Special Features Plush in December and the autumn season, and  the recipient of the Creative Toy of the Year award from the TA, Moose will introduce even more magic to the market with Magic Mixies Mixlings. Under its new Moose Games portfolio, the toymaker is also adding...

MGA Entertainment is excited to announce the expansion of its Na! Na! Na! Surprise collection. Since its launch in 2019, the fashion doll brand has seen huge success. Na! Na! Na! Surprise was the first ever fashion doll to launch with soft-articulated features and has since become a much-loved doll, for children aged 4+.

The Lego Vespa 125 scoots into stores.  The elegant 1,106-piece set pays tribute to the original Vespa with its pastel pale blue colour, one of the first colours this Italian icon was made in. Fans can further celebrate the heritage of the set by adding a classic 1960s Italian licence plate and the Vespa logo.

Eolo Toys debuts Glowies to enthusiastic reception.   The launch of the Glowies line introduces new and appealing pre-school toys that will help toddlers fall asleep easily. Eolo Toys believes it needed to offer unique, inspirational and reimagined toys in order to penetrate new, very crowded and well-established categories.

Prospero Hall & Funko Games Creators Share the Design Inspiration in a New “Making of” Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar Video. In this new “making of” Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar video, Prospero Hall creators discuss how they tapped into old issues of Scientific American, adventure magazines, and movie monster posters.  The result was a game that has a distinct 1950s pulp fiction vibe.

 

BBC Studios Grows Bluey Brand with a Focus on Family and Community.  The Toy Book spoke with Suzy Raia, SVP of licensing and business development in the Americas for BBC Studios, about the global success of Bluey, its toy program, and what’s next for the Blue Heeler. The BBC Studios preschool show, which follows Blue Heeler puppy Bluey and her everyday adventures, is a runaway hit for preschoolers in the U.S. 

 

THE AMERICAN BUBBLE CO. REIMAGINES A CHILDHOOD STAPLE WITH THE BUBBLE TREE BRAND.  When it comes to classic play, sometimes the most simple toys make the biggest impact. Bubbles are a prime example, which kids have been playing with for centuries. The Toy Book caught up with American Bubble Co. CEO Geoffrey Wasserman and President Susan Kort Wasserman to discuss how their new Bubble Tree brand...

LEGO Group to Expand and Upgrade Its Danish Headquarters.  The LEGO Group is planning to significantly expand and upgrade its global headquarters in Billund, Denmark as the company prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary. The company will invest in the construction of Kornmarken Campus, which will connect the existing LEGO factory with a new 50,000 sq ftbuilding to create a nearly 110,000 sq ftcampus.

 

Industry Vets Return to the Ring with PowerTown Wrestling Action Figure Brand.  Steve Rosenthal was part of the highly competitive wrestling action figures craze of the 1980s while serving as senior vice president at Remco Toys. Now, Rosenthal has forged a tag team partnership with retired professional wrestler Greg Gagne to launch a new brand: PowerTown: Where Wrestling Lives On.

 

Ravensburger Previews New Toys and Games for 2022. Ravensburger will release more than 210 products from its Ravensburger, BRIO, alea, Wonder Forge, and ThinkFun brands this year, including a new wave of licensed products featuring characters from popular movies, cartoons, and video games.

 

Bonkers Toys Partners with YouTube Duo LankyBox to Produce First Line of Toys.  Drawing inspiration from the show’s animated characters — Boxy, Foxy, and Rocky — the LankyBox collection will feature blindboxed squishies, plush toys, and mystery figures. YouTube gaming duo LankyBox, which consists of Justin Kroma and Adam McArthur, has amassed a notable following since the two first began creating content in...

 

PlayMonster Debuts New Products from Spirograph, Koosh, Classic Playskool Brands. In lieu of its usual announcements at Toy Fair New York, PlayMonster has unveiled several new additions to its growing lineup of toys and games. This week, the Wisconsin-based company introduced new Spirograph products, new additions to its Koosh assortment, and three new products from Hasbro’s Playskool brand.

 

The Nacelle Co. Launches Toy Stores of the World Passport Program.  The studio behind Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us and Amazon Prime’s A Toy Store Near You will support independent and vintage toy stores in a new effort inspired by the National Parks Passport Program. The new initiative encourages passport holders to visit participating toy stores to collect unique stamps during their travels.

 

PMI has announced the company’s commitment to a sustainable world. True to its name, PMI Kids’ World is focused on playing its part in creating a cleaner world environment for the following generations. From a small family business founded by Boaz Dekel, PMI has grown into a recognized name and respected toy manufacturer, holding global manufacturing rights from some of the biggest studios and brands...

 

Hasbro announced it has joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), committing to further reduce its environmental footprint in support of a lower carbon economy. This commitment marks the latest move in the company’s ongoing sustainability journey, which includes industry-leading initiatives such as converting its entire packaging line to plastic-free designs by the end of 2022, and the Hasbro Toy Recycling...

 

Three of Disneyland’s most popular shows will return to the park this spring. The Main Street Electrical Parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks spectacular will return April 22, while Fantasmic! will return to Disneyland on May 28. The electrical parade made its debut at the Anaheim theme park in 1972, with unique musical arrangements synchronized to each float. 

 

Kahoot! announced the launch of Kahoot! Multiplication by DragonBox. This new app is the crown jewel in the award-winning series of Kahoot! math apps created by DragonBox. Kahoot! Multiplication by DragonBox keeps young learners engaged with more than 20 mini-games, each developed by learning design experts with engaging animation, memorable characters through storytelling and captivating gameplay. 

 

Hasbro has announced plans for new tabletop games releasing this year, including twists on classic games Clue, Connect 4, and Monopoly and games featuring licensed IPs Bridgerton and Fall Guys. Combining the classic whodunit with escape room challenges, Clue Treachery at Tudor Mansion Escape & Solve Mystery Game has players trapped in the infamous mansion when Mr. Boddy is murdered.

 

Timeless Spirograph Brand Expands with Three New Products in 2022 via PlayMonster.  The classic Spirograph craft activity reaches a new generation of creators in 2022, with the help of PlayMonster and The Walt Disney Company. The latest innovations will introduce 3D play, sets and clips inspired by various The Walt Disney Company franchises, and trending Mandala designs to captivate children and adults of all ages.

 

Moose Toys won Creative Toy of the Year for its global sales sensation, Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, at The TA's 22nd annual TOTY virtual awards gala. Created to ignite imaginations by putting real magic into kids’ hands, Magic Mixies was the must-have toy of the holiday season, marking a record-breaking launch for Moose Toys and ranking No. 1 in Special Feature Plush for December and for Fall season...

 

The iconic Playskool® brand will reach a new generation of children in 2022, as PlayMonster partners with Hasbro to reimagine the beloved brand. For over 90 yrs, the Playskool name has been synonymous with quality toys and classic, learning fun. Today’s Playskool products continue this reputation, with new evergreen toys that will grow with families, and the launch of the first ever preschool brand that teaches Social...

 

Canadian home decor company Umbra has introduced decor-forward versions of the classic games chess, checkers and four-in-a-row. 

ROLZ Chess and Checkers Set - This portable chess and checkers set has a beechwood and vegan leather base that rolls up to keep the pieces together in one place. The resin checkers are reversible to reveal silk-screened chess characters.

 

Hasbro’s My Little Pony is ready to ride into a big content year, with a new series and two specials for Netflix and another series for YouTube all slated to debut in 2022. Netflix has ordered My Little Pony: Make Your Mark (pictured), an eight x 22-minute series about five magical ponies taking on new adventures. With CG animation courtesy of Atomic Cartoons, the show will debut in September. 

Hot Wheels celebrates launch of The Batman with new The Original Batmobile. In time for the new The Batman film premiering on March 4 and after the success of the Hot Wheels R/C The Batman Batmobile premium model, Hot Wheels has unveiled the new Hot Wheels R/C The BATMAN The Original Batmobile.The new 1:10 scale replica of the newly redesigned Batmobile features full-function remote control...

 

Blue Orange Games will release 'Disc Cover' and 'Tongues Out!' Blue Orange Games will release Disc Cover and Tongues Out! into retail stores in 2022. In Disc Cover, player pick the best album cover cards to match their playlists. The covers selected from the album cards should best match the title of the songs their playlists. Tongues Out! is a game about pugs who ate all the lollipops. 

 

The Op brings 'Disney Sorceror's Arena' to the tabletop. The Op announced Disney Sorceror's Arena: Epic Alliances, a new arena-style board game, which will release on June 23, 2022. This new board game is based on the popular mobile game, Disney's Sorceror's Arena, which is a competitive game where Disney and Pixar characters battle each other in a virtual arena. 

Privateer Press unveils 'Riot Quest' board game. Privateer Press unveiled Riot Quest: Arena Miniatures Game, a new arena-style skirmish board game, coming soon to Kickstarter. Riot Quest: Arena Miniatures Game is based on the Riot Quest miniatures game, which was nominated for an Origins Award recently. 

 

Disney releases 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. The Walt Disney Company released its 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which details its efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion through stories and storytellers who reflect the rich diversity of our world; support environmental sustainability by taking action to help protect our planet; and bring comfort, optimism and joy to communities...

 

LEGO report leaks two new games. A shakeup in the world of LEGO video games is apparently in the works with two new games on the way, according to recent reports. VGC said this week that LEGO has signed a deal with 2K, the publisher known for games like WWE 2K, NBA 2K, and the Borderlands games including the upcoming Tiny Tina's Wonderland.

 

Unleash the power of Pokemon Lucario Vstar with new boxed set. The Pokemon Company International will release Pokemon TCG: Lucario VSTAR Premium Collection into retail on April 8, 2022. This collection includes playable foil cards featuring Lucario V and Lucario VSTAR. It also comes with an oversize version of Lucario VSTAR for display.  

 

Hasbro announces new 'D&D' starter set in 2022 lineup trailer. Hasbro announced Dungeons & Dragons: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle, a new D&D starter set by Wizards of the Coast, coming in 2022. Hasbro revealed the new starter set as part of its Innovative Play and Entertainment Lineup trailer. There were very few details about the product outside of what can be seen of it in the trailer. 

 

Connect the galaxy with 'Wormholes'. Alderac Entertainment Group will release Wormholes, a new pick-up and delivery game, into retail in Q3 2022. In Wormholes, players assume the roles of captains of passenger spaceships with new wormhole fabricators on board. This devices allows them to build networks of wormholes to pick up and deliver passengers to different destinations in space. 

Konami to release historic Yu-Gi-Oh! Hidden Arsenal cards. It’s been over a decade since the Hidden Arsenal era began, and now Duelists can obtain historic cards from the first four Hidden Arsenal sets and learn the stories behind them in this Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game collection from Konami. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

U.S. senator tells Bobby Kotick to negotiate in "good faith" with Raven QA union. A U.S. senator has told Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to "negotiate in good faith" with Raven Software employees attempting to unionize. As reported by The Washington Post, Sen. Tammy Baldwin expressed concern at recent media reports that indicate Activision Blizzard has been employing union busting tactics to frustrate...

Activision Blizzard missed revenue targets due to "underperformance" of Call of Duty: Vanguard. Call of Duty: Vanguard has missed the mark since launching in September 2021, according to a recent SEC filing detailing Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of publisher Activision Blizzard. 

 

Bobby Kotick will net $15 million if fired "without cause" by Microsoft. Activision Blizzard CEO and alleged harasser Bobby Kotick could receive millions in bonuses and parachute payments as a result of the seismic Microsoft deal. Microsoft agreed to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion earlier this year, but the deal was struck as the Call of Duty publisher grappled with widespread misconduct allegations...

 

SEC widens investigation into Activision Blizzard misconduct handling. Federal investigators have widened a probe into how Activision Blizzard's leadership dealt with misconduct claims at the firm, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. WSJ reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed multiple company directors to find more information regarding the company's response...

 

Activision reportedly delaying 2023's Call of Duty entry. Activision reportedly won't be releasing its annual Call of Duty title in 2023. According to Bloomberg, who talked to people familiar with the situation, this is due "a recent entry" (that is not being named) not performing to expectations, leading Activision to rethink its approach for the series. This would be the first year since 2005 without a premium Call of Duty entry.

Twitch viewership totaled 2bn hours during January. Twitch reached a viewership of over 2 billion hours watched in January, according to StreamElements analytics partner Rainmaker.gg. Facebook Gaming on the other hand set a new record as it accumulated 617 million hours during the month. In terms of games watched on the Twitch platform in January, League of Legends was the most-watched title...

 

Apex Legends Mobile will be available in 10 countries next week. Apex Legends Mobile will soon be available in more countries. The game first debuted in a closed beta last year that was available in a few countries, but starting next week, the game will be available in a “limited regional launch” as a free download in 10 countries on iOS and Android. 

 

Sony announces PlayStation VR2 headset. Sony has unveiled the final design of its new PlayStation VR2 headset. The company showcased a first look at the device in a blog post, featuring a new headset and matching controllers. The new design is lighter than the first PSVR device, and features such as a lens adjustment dial, so players can alter the lens distance between their eyes and the headset.

The fundamental obstacle to Netflix's games strategy is one of its own making. This opinion piece examines whether Netflix’s expansion into games will encounter similar challenges to Spotify’s video strategy, by analyzing data from Omdia and its research partners about the performance of the streaming video giant’s interactive video titles and mobile games. 

 

8 pieces of comedically awful video game art. With digital taking over as the way to acquire games, future generations risk never finding out that video game box art used to be a thing. That's a shame because box art was really damn good sometimes, and some other times so bad it was just as worthy of notice. 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

This dangerous kids’ toy was recalled because it might poison your child. Prolonged exposure to high lead levels can have severe adverse reactions on all people, especially children. Lead poisoning can have immediate effects, causing various ailments. Or it can act slowly over time, causing equally significant problems. After a few candy recalls due to lead contamination, we have a different recall that involves the presence of the same metal. But this time, it’s a recall for a physical product that contains high levels of lead.

 

The fight against counterfeiting.   For the first time, online marketplaces AliExpress and WeChat were added to the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy. The two online companies joined four others based in China – Baidu Wangpan, DHGate, Pinduoduo, and Taobao – as well as nine physical markets in the region as sources for the manufacture, distribution, and sale of counterfeit goods. Overall, counterfeit and pirated goods from China, along with those transshipped from China …

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Highlighted Press Releases

 

NBA MATH HOOPS ARENA TOUR – A QUEST TO MAKE MATH FUN, ONE GAME AT A TIME.  Across the country, students are being given online study resources to facilitate learning outside of the classroom. Teachers have turned to tools like Google Classroom, Zoom, and podcasts to reach students in their home learning environments, and there have been a flurry of tools created to meet the needs of education beyond the classroom. Kids looking to boost their math skills have an assist from the NBA Math Hoops App. The free app is available for iOS and Android devices and leverages a simple yet engaging game design to help students in grades 3-8 master the basics of arithmetic using real NBA and WNBA player statistics.

 

***the above posted after February 25th***

 

ARE TOYS BECOMING MORE FUN?  New Research Shows Marked Increase in Toy Play Value Over the Last 10 Years.  A recent study indicates that the toy industry has dramatically improved the play value of its products over the last 10 yrs, highlights opportunities for improvement both overall and in specific toy categories, and probes parents’ experiences with holiday supply chain issues. Titled “US Toy Industry Play Value Report Card: After the Toys Come Home”, the survey was fielded by play expert and founder of Funosophy, Nancy Zwiers, and the Michael Cohen Group, a prominent New York-based research firm.  The Michael Cohen Group also conducted the original 2011 study of the same name. Respondents to both studies include a statistically valid, nationally representative sample of parents of children between the ages of 2 and 6 yrs old. 

KIDS CAN’T WAIT FOR MOONLITE’S BEDTIME RITUAL: A TRULY ILLUMINATING STORY THEN A TUCK & A KISS!  Snow White, Little Mermaid, Monsters, Inc.? Oh My! Three New Storybook Gift Packs In Stock Ready To Lull Little Ones To Sleep In An Unexpected Way – When mom or dad announces time for bed, kids actually leap to brush their teeth and snuggle under the covers. Why? They know a Moonlite illuminated story is about to begin! New for 2022 are three exciting Gift Packs – Disney Classics, Disney Modern Classics and Pixar – that project from your smartphone onto a wall or ceiling. Dim the lights, cuddle in bed and tell a tale with vivid projections, sound effects and background music.  Dumbo, Pinocchio and Bambi will mesmerize a new generation as three of the five storybooks included in the new Disney Classics Gift Pack.

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Russia dominated chess for a half-century. The game’s organizing body has now banned tournaments in the country. For half of the 20th century, Soviet and Russian players dominated chess, winning all but one World Chess Championship, the game’s most prestigious tournament. During the Soviet era, grandmasters like Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov were treated as celebrities. Russia boasts some 239 grandmasters...

 

Toy World editor Rachael Simpson-Jones takes a look at UK's Toy Fair’s hugely successful return to the trade show calendar and finds out what made it such a hit.  Well – wasn’t it nice to be back at Toy Fair? This year’s overhaul to the usual floorplan, necessitated by comprehensive (and largely unnoticeable) redevelopment works to Olympia, appeared to be quickly accepted by all. 

 

Toy Association & Clamour to Unveil Top-Tier Influencer’s Toy Picks for Spring & Summer 2022.  Top-tier influencers with monthly followings of at least one million views and a social reach of more than 500,000 will be voting for their favorite toys and games this spring. Selected products will be named to the official “Best of Spring & Summer 2022 Influencer Choice List,” presented by The Toy Association and powered by Clamour...

 

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment is kicking off Women’s History Month by pulling back the curtain to reveal its 2022 Wonder Women Award winners. WiT celebrates its 30th anniversary this year while continuing the tradition of recognizing and honoring remarkable leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers for their outstanding contributions in the toy, licensing, and entertainment industries.

 

Planning for newly rebranded INDX Toys & Nursery Show continues.  The popular trade event is set to arrive at the Cranmore Park exhibition venue in Solihull on 6th and 7th April. When the Independent Toy & Gift Show returned to a live format in September 2021, the popular industry trade show announced plans to join the INDX group of trade shows and re-brand as INDX Toys & Nursery for 2022. 

 

***the above posted after February 25th***

 

ASTRA Exec Committee Meets to Discuss Implications of Toy Fair Changes, June CA Show is a Go.  With the announcement Feb. 22 that the Toy Association is changing New York Toy Fair from the traditional February to September 2023 and retiring its Dallas Show during the fall, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is querying its members about their needs to fill the void the Toy Fair change brings.

 

Western Toy & Hobby Representative Assn will kick off their next ToyFest since 2020 during the week of March 7thOn the evening of March 9th, toy industry colleagues will celebrate the lifetime achievements of these toy industry veterans, partners Marlene and Charles Gabris, Stephanie Sala, and Brian Turtle, all of whom will be inducted into the WTHRA Hall of Fame. Additionally, toy retailer, Thinker Toys in...

 

The TA is making plans to welcome the toy industry back to the Big Apple for a reimagined Toy Fair NY at the Javits Center in fall 2023. The Association and the Javits Center are currently in negotiations for its return with exact dates yet to be determined. It is likely that the show will take place in September. In addition, a fall toy preview event (name TBD) will take place this year in Dallas from Sept. 20-22.

 

The Brazilian International Toy Fair (ABRIN 2022), the largest event in the toy market in Latin America, is taking place March 13 - 16, at the Expo Center Norte in Sao Paulo. The Brazilian toy market experienced growth of 14% and generated revenue estimated at R$ 8.7 billion (around US$ 1.5 billion) in 2021, following the excellent results of 2020 (21% growth, the largest rise in recent years). 

 

The Toy Foundation unveiled the winners for the 22nd annual Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) during a virtual event. The awards ceremony included the induction of four industry trailblazers into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, as well as a spotlight on The Toy Foundation’s charitable initiatives. Squishmallows from Jazwares took home the coveted “Toy of the Year” award, the “People’s Choice” award and “Plush Toy of the Year.”

Ubisoft cancels Rainbow Six tournament in Abu Dhabi following protest. Ubisoft has decided to move its upcoming Rainbow Six esports tournament to "another region" following a protest against it being held in Abu Dhabi. As reported by PC Gamer, fans protested on social media and via a petition following the company's announcement that it would hold a Six Major in the United Arab Emirates' capital, due...

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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.

 

John Maxim -  Prolific toy and game inventor-engineer John Maxim died on February 6th at his home in Dallas, Texas, it was announced by his son, Michael. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

John began his career in the early 70s at Mattel in Preliminary Design. After several years at Mattel, he left to become an independent inventor. Among John’s many licensed inventions were Bumble Ball (Ertl), The Cutter (Crayola), Guzzlers (Ideal Toys), SpectraColor Image Pad (Irwin), Wibbly Wobbly Egg Race game (Vivid Imagination), Power Command Hot Wheels (Mattel) and countless other playthings. John was awarded dozens of patents.

Later in his career, he was a founding member of the Sunshine Santas, a tight knit group of independent inventors residing in south Florida.

John came to his ingenuity naturally. It was in his DNA. His family tree includes Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916), an American-British inventor best known as the creator of the first automatic machine gun, the Maxim gun. He was knighted in 1901. Hiram Percy Maxim (1869-1936), an MIT graduate, invented the first commercially successful sound suppressor for firearms (the silencer). He also developed mufflers for internal combustion engines. John’s son, Michael, an engineer, spent eight years at Space X before leaving to follow in his dad’s footsteps as an independent inventor.

In his final days, John enjoyed his lifelong passion for creating toys, communicating with colleagues around the country about projects in development. (written by Richard C. Levy)

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Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

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

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

  1. The Toy Association Reimagines Toy Fair New York as a Fall Event Beginning in 2023 (The Toy Book)

  2. PMI Kids’ World Embarks on Journey Toward Sustainability (The Toy Book)

  3. Hasbro Pursues Sustainability by Joining Science-Based Targets Initiative (The Toy Book)

  4. The Supply Chain Crisis Reignites Reshoring Efforts (The Toy Book)

  5. Talkin' Toys: The American Bubble Co. Reimagines a Childhood Staple with the Bubble Tree Brand (The Toy Book)

  6. Talkin’ Toys: BBC Studios Grows Bluey Brand with a Focus on Family and Community (The Toy Book)

  7. State of the Industry Q&A 2022: Walmart U.S. (The Toy Book)

  8. State of the Industry Q&A 2022: WHP Global, Toys ‘R’ Us (The Toy Book)

  9. LEGO Unleashes the Dinosaurs with 6 New Jurassic World Building Sets (The Toy Insider)

  10. Marvel Reveals ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Toys, Role-Play Items (The Pop Insider)

aNb Media (US) 

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Something is not adding up …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Toys R Us UK operation unveils new additions to its buying and marketing team

  3. Toy Association announces major date change for Toy Fair New York

  4. 2022 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award winners announced

  5. Nikki Samuels joins Hunter Price as commercial director

  6. Online retailer Studio formally appoints administrators

  7. AmongUs goes from strength to strength as game development ramps up

  8. Six new sets join Lego Jurassic World collection

  9. Rubies readies for World Book Day with Amelia Fang campaign

  10. Mattel names Ruth Henriquez head of Consumer Products for EMEA

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)

WizKids Reveals 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Aspect of Tiamat'
WizKids Will Release 'Dungeons & Dragons 1E: Monster Mini Series'
Hasbro Reveals Board Game Plans for 2022

Hasbro Announces New 'D&D' Starter Set in 2022 Lineup Trailer
2022 Free RPG Day Publishers, Dates Announced
The Gnoll Lord Returns to the Material Plane with 'D&D Icons of the Realms'
Tabletop Games Set New Record on Kickstarter in 2021
Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair' February Superdrop 2022
WizKids Unveils New Monster Minis for 'Critical Role'
Diamond Select Toys & Gentle Giant Ltd. - Fall 2022 Releases Announced

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

-     Moose Toys uses extensive expansion plan for Its Magic Mixies, Bluey and Octonauts lines 

-     Hasbro partners with Playmonster to update its iconic Playskool brand 

-     The winners of the TOTY 2022 awards (Toy of the Year) 

-     Loki and Falcon in Marvel Legends Retro Series 

-     Review: Distroller Backpack, Lunchbox and Pencil Case 

The Bugg Report (Australia)

 

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Clue Themed Escape Game, The Wizard of Oz Adventure Book Game
Hasbro has announced a new escape room game based on Clue, Ravensburger has announced their next Adventure Book game, and Pandasaurus is running a sale on their website.

Video of the Week 

Hidden Role: The Brains Behind your Favorite Games

Nicholas Cravotta and Rebecca Bleau are the creative minds behind over a hundred games and puzzles. From cooperative Escape Rooms to party games like Pickwits, these two tell us how to work together to create a really good game!

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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.

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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

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