the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is Feb. 5-12, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with most recent at top of each section.   The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 

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

Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...

Happy Friday!

Check out this week’s POP panel (end of this page): Hasbro’s Inventor Innovation Panel -

Where the Ideas Come From with panelists: Inventors: Reyn Guyer (NERF), Leslie Scott (JENGA), Richard Levy (FURBY), John Frascotti (President and Chief Operating Officer), Eric Nyman (Chief Consumer Officer, Hasbro), Brian Chapman (President Design & Development, Hasbro),

Tom Warner (Senior VP and General Manager, Nerf & Sports Action, Hasbro), Brian Jarvis (Senior Director of Design, Nerf & Sports Action, Hasbro), Kimberly Boyd (SVP and General Manager, Fashion Brands and Preschool Brands, Hasbro), Jeff Anderson (Senior VP and General Manager, Games, Hasbro), Tanya Thompson (Director, Concept Acquisition, Hasbro)

Exciting News! OUR PEOPLE OF PLAY ANNOUNCES “POP INTO SPRING WEEK,” A VIRTUAL NETWORKING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR THE TOY AND GAME INDUSTRY!!! CLICK HERE to BE THERE!  This is a big development for our industry, If you have any questions, feel free to email me or call me.

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!

Mary

Dear Tim, Hey! What Happened to My Toy Fair Season? tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments

OK, we all know exactly what happened. But I’m sure that, like me, you are experiencing some dislocation right about now. Aren’t I supposed to be tacking up samples in our Javits booth? Or catching a flight out of snowy Nuremberg at 4 am? Or trying to sleep through Night 12 of my Hong Kong jetlag?

 

At this point early in our year, we’d already have logged something like 25,000 miles slogging from show to show. Grumbling, aching, and loving every minute of it.

 

Toy people are tuned to some strange inner clock; the bell would have barely chimed 12 on New Year’s Eve…and we’d already be mentally packing our bags and scanning our schedules for the Walmart appointment.

 

So this year we get a pass. Setting up Zoom calls with buyers and inventors, perusing The Bloom Report (!) for the latest news, scanning the fansites for new product tidbits. All while in our wooly socks. Sigh. Read More...

tBR Company of the Week: Green Toys - More than Just an Eco-Friendly Toy Company

There’s much ado over going green these days, and to its credit, the Toy Industry has largely embraced the growing call for sustainability. In the 21st century, however, sustainability isn’t just about saving the planet. It’s an opportunity to reinvent business models with a focus on improving the world’s social, economic, and environmental challenges - and this is exactly what Green Toys set out to do nearly 14 years ago.

 

In 2007, the founders of Green Toys had a long-term vision to turn the toy industry upside down and inspire people to think differently about toys – not only to think about the ingredients of toys, but to think about the complete supply chain and how innovations in the way we manufacture – from the design to the packaging to the assembly line – affect our everyday lives.

Green Toys are 100% US-made, from manufacturing to assembly to distribution. As a result, we reduce greenhouse gases, energy and save on transportation. Through our tight local supply chain, we maintain stringent quality control and on-site factory presence, provide local jobs, and generate a whole lot of company pride.  Read More...

tBR Person of the Week! Lynn Potyen: Get Dized!

My name is Lynn Potyen and I am an active member of the tabletop retail community. I have owned my retail location for over 14 years, held a seat on the GAMA Retail Board for 6, been celebrated as Retailer of the Year in Sheboygan Wisconsin and Nominated alongside 5 amazing large corporations for Resilient Business of the Year in 2020.

In 2016 I had the pleasure at GAMA of running into 2 energized young men from Finland as they pitched their concept over and over at booths. The idea? An interactive tutorial that will teach you to play a game, while you are playing. So simple, clean, easy. I believed in them.

I was so excited about what I heard that week, that I have been working behind the scenes as a consultant with Dized, since then. I wholeheartedly believe in this product. So much so that I personally invested in this company. As a retailer I can see so much potential for growing our Industry if we can only agree on a platform that stops being a gatekeeper to play. I believe Dized has made that tool. Read more...

 

Financial & Legal News . . .

Holiday momentum, economic stimulus fuels January retail sales growth. According to the latest data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the U.S. Census Bureau, the momentum of a record holiday season carried over into January to boost retail sales. The U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly retail survey indicates that January sales spiked 7.4% over the same period last year. NRF calculations, which use a...

Saudi investment fund acquires shares in Activision Blizzard, Take-Two, and EA. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has acquired $3 billion worth of stock in U.S. game companies Activision Blizzard, EA, and Take-Two Interactive.  As reported by Aljazeera, the Riyadh-based organisation is chaired by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, who last November acquired a 33.3 percent stake in...

'Fortnite' maker Epic Games is taking its war with Apple to the EU. Epic Games, the games studio behind "Fortnite," filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission on Wednesday. In a statement published on its website, Epic Games said its complaint alleges that "through a series of carefully designed anti-competitive restrictions, Apple has not just harmed but completely eliminated....

TikTok’s owner halts sale to Oracle, Walmart. The Chinese parent company of TikTok is reportedly putting an end to efforts to spin off its U.S. business with Oracle and Walmart as minority owners. According to the South China Morning Post, TikTok parent ByteDance is no longer interested in creating a separate U.S. operation which would be partially owned by a consortium including Oracle and Walmart.

WallStreetBets agitator Keith Gill faces class action lawsuit over Gamestop Reddit Rally. The GameStop share price surge last month was lauded by some as a revolution of "the little guy" in the face of Wall Street fat cats. But as with all revolutions, heads inevitably roll, and the GameStop Reddit Rally appears no different. US law firm Hagens Berman has filed a class action lawsuit against Keith Patrick Gill, MML 

EA completes $1.2bn Codemasters acquisition and hopes to "revolutionise" racing games. EA has completed its acquisition of UK racing specialist Codemasters for $1.2 billion.It means the FIFA and Battlefront publisher has added F1, Project CARS, GRID, Dirt, WRC, and more to its slate of racing IP, which already includes Need for Speed, Real Racing and Burnout. The deal was financed with cash in hand. 

Imaginarium to close majority of stores in Spain Famous for its iconic two doors of different sizes, Imaginarium has announced job losses for 82% of its workforce. According to reports, the Spanish-headquartered toy retailer Imaginarium plans to keep just two of its physical stores open in Spain, those in the El Ingenio Centre in Velez Malaga and Zaragoza, Aragonia.

Latest figures reveal mounting hassle for UK importers. According to Parcelhero, new figures from the ONS show 35% of UK importers are struggling at borders and Northern Ireland trade is collapsing. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) economy figures show that businesses are reporting spiralling Brexit challenges, with soaring problems at customs. Doubt has also been cast on the viability of the...

Nvidia acquisition of Arm under fire from Microsoft and Google. Major tech firms are protesting against Nvidia's $40 billion acquisition of UK semiconductor firm Arm. The deal was announced back in September and is currently under review by antitrust regulators in the US, UK, European Union and China. Bloomberg reports several companies -- including Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm -- are asking for these...

Asda X The Entertainer open collaborative toy shops in the UK. UK grocer Asda opened prototype toy departments at five of its stores this week as part of a “test and learn” partnership with The Entertainer. The partnership — first revealed in October — brings The Entertainer-branded toy departments to Asda stores. The new store-within-a-store concepts reimagine what a grocery store toy department can be with...

US regulations reportedly prevented GameStop from cashing in on share surge. GameStop could have paid off hundreds of millions of dollars in debt by capitalising on the short squeeze of its shares -- but US regulations restricted it from doing so. That's according to sources close to the matter speaking to Reuters, who said the retail chain examined the possibility of selling some of its stock during the rush.

Nintendo reportedly raises damages sought in Colopl lawsuit to $47m. Nintendo has reportedly increased the amount of damages it is requesting in its lawsuit against Japanese developer and publisher Colopl. The platform holder filed a lawsuit against Colopl in January 2018 over patent infringement, but with the case still ongoing, Nintendo has now factored in various fees that have built up over time. 

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Greener pastimes: ToyNews’ guide to the latest in sustainable toys . . . . . TCG market analysis: a new year, a new king of the TCG hill . . . . . TOY ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES TOP TOY TRENDS OF 2021 . . . . . Is the toy category’s pandemic sales boon coming to an end?

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Supercell posts solid profits, despite fifth straight year of revenue decline . . . . . Mattel says American Girl sales rise for the first time in four years . . . . . Moody's announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of Mattel, Inc.

Future Financial Reporting . . .

$676.64 million in sales expected for Mattel, Inc.this quarter. Equities research analysts forecast that Mattel, Inc. will report sales of $676.64 million 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 $718.10 million and the lowest estimate coming in at $640.00 million. Mattel reported sales of $594.10 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 13.9%.

$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.

Nintendo raises fiscal forecast as Switch closes in on 80 million lifetime sales. Nintendo has reported an upswing in net sales and profits off the back of bumper Switch hardware and software sales.  As highlighted in the company's fiscal report for the nine months ended December 31, 2020, net sales increased by 37.3 percent year-on-year to 1.4 trillion yen ($13.3 billion), while profits rose by 91.8 percent to 376.6 billion yen...

Spin Master Corp. to Report Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Financial Results on March 1, 2021. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET).

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Stories & Comments . . .

Beating the Odds at Innovation. How many bad ideas does it take to arrive at a good one? Quite a lot. A lot more than most people think. Stories on how creativity and innovation happen tend to take on a near-mythical tone. From the way they are told, you would think that ideas simply fall from the sky into the heads of exceptional individuals. The process in which breakthrough ideas come to life is, in reality, a lot...

The Toy Coach: Seven Secrets to a Successful Online Toy Pitch. The past year has been a series of unpredictable changes to the “norm”, creating new obstacles to once enjoyable stages of toy development, and turning even the most seasoned travelers to homebodies. But with the way we do business turned on its head grew the opportunity for the digitally savvy of us to arise. And one of the biggest areas to evolve? Product

Design Edge: What is an Invention? Have you ever seen a product at market and had that moment of thinking “damn, I thought of that years ago and did nothing with it”? It’s a common story that I would suspect every inventor tells. Through my involvement in the United Inventors Association, People of Play (formerly the Chicago Toy and Game Group), and the Toy Association’s Creative Factor, I have been fortunate to...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .

Clancy the Great from Ideal (1963). Clancy the Great is of the more peculiar entries in the annals of Ideal Toy Company’s product lines. Released in 1963, the roller-skating monkey was designed by Marvin Glass & Associates of Chicago. Standing a shade under two-feet tall, Clancy was made entirely of plastic and vinyl and came decked out with a stylish yellow chapeau with a red feather accent. 

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Mattel and Universal have partnered with Target for a new, Jurassic World-themed shopping page on target.com. Launching today, the retail hub is called “Beyond the Gates,” and it will feature new collectible figures from Mattel. This collab is utilizing fan content, too, with a companion web series — also called “Beyond the Gates” — from Jurassic Outpost, a leading fan site for all things Jurassic World. In the third...

Sesame Workshop and WarnerMedia partner on new pre-school series about toy blocks. Sesame Workshop and WarnerMedia have joined forces to start production on a new, animated pre-school comedy series called Bea’s Block. The show is scheduled for a 2022 release on HBO Max. Bea’s Block will draw on the ubiquity of toy blocks to bring the vibrant, multicultural neighbourhood of Blocktown to life in a series centered...

Disguise, Inc. expands portfolio with UniversalDisguise, Inc., the costume division of leading toy and consumer products manufacturer, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. announced an expanded offering in North American to design, market, manufacture and distribute Halloween costumes, costume accessories, inflatables, adaptive costumes and trunk-or-treat kits for Universal Brand Development properties commencing in 2021. 

‘Clue’ animated series in the works at Fox. An animated series based on the classic board game “Clue” is in development at Fox, Variety has learned. Fox Entertainment has partnered with Hasbro’s content studio eOne and Bento Box Entertainment on the series, with the three companies co-producing and Bento Box providing the animation. No writers or producers are currently attached to the project. .

PlayMonster Face Paintoos Launch Disney & Marvel Kits. PlayMonster is focusing on expanding its product lines and categories, and with that, Face Paintoos now feature popular characters from Disney Frozen 2, Marvel Avengers, Marvel Spider-Man and Disney Princess. Along with popular themes, licensed packs are wowing parents and kids across the country.

JAKKS Pacific announced global toy rights with SEGA of America for Paramount Pictures’ feature film, Sonic the Hedgehog 2. JAKKS will design, manufacture, market, and sell Sonic the Hedgehog 2 branded toy product lines based on the upcoming feature film, set for release in 2022. The agreement between JAKKS and SEGA will include rights to produce action figures, playsets, vehicles, plush toys and other collectibles. 

Netflix saddles up with My Little Pony. Hasbro's upcoming CG-animated film will premiere on the streaming giant later this year, rather than theatrically. Netflix has picked up global rights (excluding China) to Hasbro’s new My Little Pony movie from Entertainment One. The CG-animated feature will premiere on the streaming giant in September, in lieu of a theatrical release.

Celebrate Pokémon's 25th anniversary with 25 toys and plushes from Jazwares. It's been a long and crazy ride for the Pokémon series since it originally arrived on the scene, on the 27th of February it will be its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, we have rounded up 25 products that “trainers” everywhere will not want to miss, including a special 25th anniversary plush Pikachu available for pre-order now. 

Super Impulse doubles up with Wacky Packages Minis Series TwoSuper Impulse is expanding its successful line of miniatures with Wacky Packages Minis Series 2. The collectibles continue to spoof favorite household brands with new toys and stickers in fun blind boxes. The release of series one last year was a sensational hit with collectors and kids. Target sold out of the products in a matter of weeks. 

Ghostbusters figures for all ages are hitting stores from HasbroHasbro got the Ghostbusters license not too long ago now, and you can forgive them for not having a ton on the shelves so far. There was supposed to be a film out and plenty of toys to support it, but then the pandemic hit, and that all went out the window. A few things have hit shelves, however, and they have been pretty stellar.

BBC Studios expands licensing program for Bluey. BBC Studios, the distributor and licensing agent for the international hit preschool show Bluey, is expanding the brand’s consumer products offerings with five new licensing partners that will bring even more series-inspired fun to children across the country. A sensation with U.S. audiences since its fall 2019 premiere, Bluey, available on Disney Channel, Disney Junior ...

Disney content and licensing hit hard by Covid-19 but consumer products offer glimmer of hope. Content sales and licensing revenues at the Walt Disney Company have suffered big losses at the hands of the pandemic with dramatic decreases of 56 per cent and an operating income decrease of 78 per cent driven primarily by the closure of theatres, parks and experiences over the course of last year. 

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People . . . 

My Q&A with Jenga Creator Leslie Scott. One of my favorite places in the entire world is Leslie Scott’s English countryside kitchen. I could chat with Leslie in her kitchen for hours and days on end and have been fortunate to do so on many occasions. The same holds true for Freddie, only it is an Airbnb kitchen we’ve shared in Nuremberg during Spielwarenmesse. And, they’ve both been in my kitchen many times. Kitchens are where the best conversations take place, whether it is while cooking, baking, sharing a meal or enjoying a cup of tea (or stronger). Kitchens warm the body and the soul… especially the kitchens where Leslie and Freddie can be found! I think you can imagine Leslie telling the following stories over a cup of tea.

University Games promotes Mark Jones and Gemma Lewington following year of ‘unprecedented growth’. The games and puzzles specialist, University Games has promoted two members of its senior management team as the firm positions itself for a successful 2021. The director level moves have seen Mark Jones – who joined the business in 2018 – promoted to the role of sales director, and Gemma Lewington...

Atlanta inventor and entrepreneur Lonnie Johnson partners on $100M project by Georgia State University. Lonnie Johnson, the former NASA engineer who invented the Super Soaker children's toy, is partnering on a planned $100 million development to ... Developer says project would shine a spotlight on the historic Sweet Auburn district after years of being overlooked by investors.

ELANA WOLDENBERG ANNOUNCED AS SENIOR DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FOR HAND2MIND. In addition to leading the editorial department, Woldenberg’s responsibilities include developing new products and initiatives to continue to expand the company’s range of toys, manipulatives, and other resources for subjects like math, literacy, and STEM. Since joining the company in May 2018, Woldenberg has worked...

Rubies UK strengthens team with key appointments In tandem with the announcement that Joel Weinshanker will manage Rubies global operation, the UK operation undergoes enhancements. As Joel Weinshanker looks to harness the power of Rubies employees around the world to maintain the company’s position as a leader and innovator in the design, manufacture, and distribution of costumes globally, Mike O’Connell...

Reiner Knizia Fact-Checks His Wikipedia PageIn this episode of Rule Breaker Investing, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner is joined by a very special guest. There are many faces that could appear on the Mount Rushmore of Foolish board game designers, but one place is reserved for Reiner Knizia, not only for his brilliant games, but also his business acumen, his enthusiasm for life, and his dedication to his purpose of...

Ninety-nine-year-old toy inventor Eddy Goldfarb has created over 800 toys, and he’s not planning to stop. Karina Bafradzhian talked to Goldfarb about his decades-long career and why making toys is truly a noble profession.

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Companies . . .

Lego Vidiyo sees first product drop and signing of new artist L.L.A.M.A. A playful and innovative music video maker experience supported by a series of BeatBoxes, Bandmates, BeatBits and augmented reality, Lego Vidiyo has been designed to celebrate and expand children’s creativity through play and music. Teased last month, Lego Vidiyo sees physical and digital play come together as special effect ‘BeatBits’ and music...

Bandai will release new 'Digimon Card Game' expansion packs into U.S. retail. Bandai will release Great Legend [BT-04], a new Digimon Card Game expansion set, into U.S. retail on May 28. This set adds 115 card types to the Digimon Card Game. The rarity breakdown will include 44 Common types, 30 Uncommon types, 26 Rare types, 12 Super Rare types, and 3 Secret Rare types. 

Hasbro scraps Cara Dune figures in wake of The Mandalorian’s Gina Carano firing. Hasbro has canned its plans to produce any more action figures of The Mandalorian character Cara Dune, after the actress Gina Carano was fired by Disney last week over a series of controversial social media posts. Reports that the toy maker was no longer approved to produce the character’s action figure have spread rapidly across the...

The Pokemon Company issues statement on product availability. The Pokemon Company International has released a statement addressing the short supply of Pokemon TCG products in the marketplace. As Pokemon TCG players and collectors continue their feeding frenzy of sealed product (see "TCG Market Analysis: A New Year, A New King of the TCG Hill"), the high demand plus global shipping constraints has caused...

Blend the rules with Jazwares' latest glam toy launch, GlamCrush. Jazwares is introducing GlamCrush, the latest glam collectible line that delivers an interactive unboxing experience full of fun and 'fabu-luxe' surprises. Designed to inspire creativity, kids can now become makeup artists for their own Crush-It Girls. Available now online and in stores at Target , and rolling out to Amazon and Walmart later this spring,...

Hasbro’s Eone cuts staff, reveals plans for ‘My Little Pony’ movie, ‘Clue’ TV series, more. days after posting its Q4 & full-year earnings earlier this month, Hasbro implemented cuts in its Entertainment One (eOne) division in a realignment that will result in somewhere between 50-60 jobs lost. In a memo obtained by Deadline last week, eOne’s President of Film & TV Steve Bertram explained the decision to...

Fantasy Flight Games unveils three new squadron packs for 'Star Wars: X-Wing'. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled three new squadron packs for Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures game for release on March 26. The Phoenix Cell Squadron Pack adds a A/SF-01 B-Wing miniature and two RZ-1 A-Wing miniatures in bold new paint schemes to games of Star Wars: X-Wing. These ships are piloted by early heroes of the Rebellion such...

Rescue dog plush maker Pibborafi eyes UK sales as pandemic fuels triple digit growth. A toy company that manufactures, sells, and donates plush toys for children designed after real-life rescued dogs has seen triple digit growth in the market, fuelled by the nation’s love of pets and increased pet ownership over the course of the pandemic. A US-based toy manufacturer that has just opened up business to the UK . . .

Pegasus Spiele reveals 'Space Dragons'. Pegasus Spiele revealed Space Dragons, a card dice game by Richi Haarhoff, for release in June. In Space Dragons, players assemble a crew deck to go on a galactic voyage to face dragons in space. The game happens over the course of seven rounds where players try to maintain a balance between capturing high-point dragons and the cost of the damage to their ship incurred...

Visit a land made of treats in 'Sweetlandia'. Ultra PRO will release Sweetlandia, a new board game by Stone Blade Entertainment, into retail in March. In Sweetlandia, players take on the roles of urban planners for a city made of treats. They can use bidding cards to get building areas from Gumdrop Garden, Rocky Road, Marshmallow Mountain, Lemonade Lake, Candy Cornfields, and others. 

Beatles Freight Wagons from Hornby. Model train enthusiasts can add to their collection with the release of four new Beatles-licensed freight wagons from Hornby. The UK-based producer of train sets, railcars, model buildings, and accessories is one of the oldest licensees of Beatles merchandise. The company began licensing Beatles collectibles in the mid-1960s with its Corgi Yellow Submarine diecast model. 

Roll dice and devour cultists in 'Sticky Cthulhu'. Iello USA revealed Sticky Cthulhu, a dexterity board game, for release in Q2. This game is a new version of Sticky Chameleons, except instead of using sticky tongues to snap up insect tiles, players are using Cthulhu's tentacles to devour cultists.  Players roll the dice, and try to catch Cultist tiles in order to drive the other players to the brink of insanity.  

Wizards of the Coast announces four 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Challenger Decks 2021'. Wizards of the Coast announced four Magic: The Gathering Challenger Decks 2021 for release on March 26. Challenger Decks are yearly products that feature competitive pre-contructed decks for the current Standard format. This year's batch of decks are based on competitive MTG Arena decks, as in-person play has been suspended...

Games Workshop unveils 'Chaos Battletome: Hedonites of Slaanesh' and three miniature sets for 'Warhammer Age of Sigmar'. Games Workshop unveiled Chaos Battletome: Hedonites of Slaanesh and three Warhammer Age of Sigmar miniatures sets, Blissbarb Archers, Slickblade Seekers, and Blissbarb Seekers, for release on February 20.The Chaos Battletome: Hedonites of Slaanesh serves as a guide to the servants...

Capstone Games launches Family Brand division with two new titles for emerging audiences. The popular US board game publisher, Capstone Games has outlined its move into the family gaming arena as it ‘accomodates a wider audience’ with the launch of Juicy Fruits and Rorschach. The two new titles will be launched under Capstone’s new Family Brand, a division that has been established in direct response...

MGA Entertainment (MGAE) just launched preorders for its latest brand extension: L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance! The new collection introduces brand new characters, fashions, and dance moves for kids to unbox, collect, learn, and remix. L.O.L. Surprise! OMG Dance Dance Dance dolls are the big sisters to the classic L.O.L. Surprise! dolls. The fresh lineup includes Major Lady, B-Gurl, Miss Royale, and Virtuelle. 

Far Out Toys Announces Launch of Far Out Studios. Far Out Studios will support the company’s current and new brands by creating original content relevant to today’s kids and tailored for the formats they are watching – from TV and YouTube, to TikTok and other social media platforms. Last week, Far Out Studios also launched a new vodcast on Far Out Toys’ Instagram channel called the Far Out Funcast, which...

Cartoon Network announces 300 hours of originals. With a fresh and inclusive brand identity front and center, the kidcaster has unveiled its new preschool block blueprint, which calls for 50 new titles and live-action content. This new content commitment comes on the heels of Cartoon Network announcing its intention to broaden beyond boys ages six to 11 to also serve families, preschoolers and girls

Rubies announces Joel Weinshanker to lead global business Rubie’s is pleased to announce that co-owner and managing partner Joel Weinshanker will have direct oversight over the entire worldwide Rubie’s business (Rubie’s One World). Relying on his many years of experience as founder of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), a leader in the licensed consumer products industry,

Hasbro UK has partnered with the home delivery app, Uber Eats, to launch a free toy store in time for the half term holidays, as UK parents continue to hunt for new ways to keep their kids entertained during lockdown. The new collaborative effort arrives as 70 per cent of UK parents admit to feeling overwhelmed as they juggle work and home-schooling, while 56 per cent say they are concerned at the thought of...

Renegade Game Studios will release 'Subastral'Renegade Game Studios will release Subastral, a set collection card game by Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback, into retail in June. Subastral is a new strategic card game, from designers Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback with stunning art provided by Beth Sobel, where players take on the role of researchers looking into the planet's biomes. 

'The Game: Face to Face'. Pandasaurus Games will release The Game: Face to Face, from designers Steffen Benndorf and Reinhard Staupe, to retail on April 28. The Game: Face to Face is a new two-player version of the Spiel des Jahres-nominated The Game, originally released in 2015. In The Game: Face to Face, two players take turns laying down cards in ascending and descending order.  

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

Nintendo announces a new Mario Golf for the Switch coming June 25thNintendo is bringing back its Mario Golf series for the Switch with a new entry, Mario Golf: Super Rush, arriving June 25th. The game is the sixth entry in the series and the first since World Tour released for the Nintendo 3DS handheld back in 2014. It’s also the first home console Mario Golf since 2003, Nintendo confirmed.

Knockout City is a new dodgeball game from the makers of Mario Kart LiveVelan Studios, the studio behind the mixed-reality racer Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, has revealed its next title: Knockout City, a team-based online dodgeball game. And it’s launching soon, as the game will be released on May 21st on Origin, Steam, the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, with enhancements for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. 

PC gaming hardware and accessories spending grew 62% in the US in 2020. Consumer spending in the US for PC gaming hardware and accessories reached $4.5 billion in 2020. That's a 62% increase compared to 2019, and more than double the total sales of 2017, NPD said in its latest report. Digital PC games content also grew 19% in 2020, reaching $7.5 billion in revenue. PC gaming accessories overall grew 81% year...

Tighter IDFA privacy rules on iOS spell short-term trouble for in-app ads. Apple's long-promised changes regarding how advertisers can track iOS users are now right around the corner. Starting in "early spring 2021," its ID For Advertisers (IDFA) will switch to an opt-in system and in doing so reduce advertisers' ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS. With that change now nearly upon us, analysts at Omdia project a 17...

US game spending up 42% in January, says NPD. Americans spent more on games to start 2021 than in any previous January, according to the industry tracking NPD Group. NPD today reported that US consumers combined to spend $4.71 billion on games last month, up 42% year-over-year. Hardware had the largest relative gains, up 144% year-over-year to $319 million thanks to the launch of new consoles and the...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Toy recall 2021: 13,000 children's science kits found exceeding federal lead levels. Anker Play Products' 10-in-1 Incredible Inventions Science Kits contain several items, including balloons, a light bulb, stickers and a rectangle magnet bar that's painted red and blue. According to the recall notice at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, the magnet included in the kit actually contains lead levels that ...

Rare metals found in toys and food packaging, is it due to plastic recycling? Some rare metals--commonly used in smartphone manufacturing and other electrical equipment--are being found increasingly in everyday plastics like children's toys and food packages, says a study. Researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Plymouth tested a wide range of new and used plastic products...

Press Releases . . . 

Spin Master, a leading global children's entertainment company, leveraging its unique understanding of play, reimagines fun with an innovative portfolio of toys, games and activities for 2021. With award-winning franchises, highly sought after licenses and trailblazing new intellectual property, Spin Master's 2021 line up taps into the hottest toy trends and pushes the boundaries of creativity.

A TISKET, A TASKET, TOSS IN THIS $7.25 TREAT WHEN ON THE HUNT FOR A CANDY-FREE EASTER BASKET. Yo Ring’s Teen Toy Inventor Puts His Finger On The Perfect Calorie-Free Goodie To Get Kids Movin’, No Matter Their Athletic Prowess. Kaysville, Utah (February 17, 2021) – Just a reminder mom and dad — Easter 2021 falls on Sunday, April 4. Like every other holiday celebrated during a pandemic, this one will be a little different. The Easter egg hunt might take place in the living room. Wrapping up a basket starring a chocolate bunny or sugary marshmallow peeps may not be the wisest move given how kids are constantly cooped up indoors. 

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .

People of Play plans virtual ‘Pop Into Spring Week’ networking event. People of Play (POP) — formerly ChiTAG — is launching a virtual networking event next month. POP Into Spring Week seeks to celebrate and empower toy and game industry innovation through a week of digital networking, workshops, masterclasses, and entertainment. Taking place March 1-5, each day will be packed with content and events, including on-demand panels with industry experts that will also be available in live Zoom rooms for Q&A sessions throughout the week.

Focus on Indian and educational toys at National Toy Fair 2021. The Government of India is conducting country’s first Toy Fair that will be hosted virtually over a period of four days between February 27 and March 2, 2021. The exhibitors include Indian businesses that are engaged in creating a learning & playing environment for kids like PlayShifu as well as NCERT, SCERTs, CBSE schools & teachers along with....

Toy Association pivots in response to pandemic with Toy Fair Everywhere. As the Toy Fair Everywhere digital marketplace opens for business, President and CEO of the US Toy Association, Steve Pasierb, issued the following statement: “From Toy Fair Everywhere to retailer previews – the Toy Association delivers value in the absence of live events. The US Toy Association board and staff quickly pivoted multiple times in 2020, 

Mezco Toyz schedules “Mezco Toyz Fair” virtual preview eventWithout an in-person Toy Fair New York (TFNY) to preview its slate of upcoming licensed figures, Mezco Toys is the latest pop culture collectibles manufacturer, following others such as Funko and Super7, to schedule a virtual preview event. As announced yesterday via Instagram and the Mezco newsletter, Mezco Toyz Fair will take place later this month,...

Anime Central 2021 cancelled. Organizers of Anime Central, a pop culture convention which is held yearly in Rosemont, Illinois announced the cancellation of Anime Central 2021 which was slated to occur on May 15-17. Anime Central was cancelled again this year due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois vaccine distribution is slowly working its way through their statewide population, but not quickly enough...

Brand & Licensing Innovation Summits to launch this year The Summits are intended to guide the licensing community through changing retail, content and consumer landscapes. The Global Licensing Group, the company behind BLE and the Vegas Licensing Expo, is to launch Brand & Licensing Innovation Summits in Europe and North America. According to a statement, the events are intended to “celebrate the power of ...

THE TOY ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2021 TOTY WINNERS. After carefully examining 557 nominees submitted by 205 companies, a panel of 18 industry experts determined this year’s 117 finalists across 16 categories. One winner in each category, along with the consumer-chosen People’s Choice Award and the overall Toy of the Year Award were awarded tonight.

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.

David Gold - Dave was with Ideal, Mattel, Spellbound Dolls and Just Play Toys. 

Darrell BurgeToy World is sad to report the passing of Hornby's Darrell Burge, well known for working extensively on the Airfix brand, who died suddenly on February 10th.  CEO of Hornby, Lyndon Davies, described the news as ‘very sad and very sudden’. He commented: “Darrell had Airfix running through his veins, working at Humbrol in Hull before he joined Hornby in Margate in 2006. Working with both the Airfix and the Humbrol brands, he was highly respected throughout the industry. He was full of fun and energy, many would have met with him at shows and events across the country. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Jane, his children Emily, Martin and Gavin and his granddaughter, Oriana.”

Darrell enjoyed a long and successful career at Hornby. As product manager at Airfix, he oversaw the revitalisation of Airfix products and the brand over the last decade and was a popular member of the Hornby team. His former colleagues have been quick to share their fond memories of working alongside Darrell over the years.

Geoff Hall of Geoff's Toys Toy World is sad to report that independent toy shop owner Geoff Hall passed away on 6th February at the age of 89 after a short illness.  Geoff made the move from running a newsagent to opening toyshops in the early 1970s, with the launch of the first branch of Geoff’s Toys in Coalville, Leicester, followed by two further shops in partnership with his wife and children. Having joined Toymaster in the 1990s to get better trading terms, Geoff became a longstanding and keen member of the group. He was still a member when the business ceased trading in 2018, after a successful 50 years. Geoff’s son Nick told Toy World that Geoff loved buying toys and was well respected by visiting reps and agents, although his formidable determination to get the best deal was something they came to be cautious about when calling.

Robert A. Altman, the co-founder of video game company ZeniMax Media, which published top franchises including The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, has died. His cause of death was not immediately clear. Altman co-founded the Maryland-based ZeniMax Media in 1986, ultimately becoming one of the video game industry's biggest publishers. In 2009, ZeniMax acquired id Software, famously known for creating classic games such as Doom and Wolfenstein. Last September, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax in a deal worth $7.5 billion. Altman was married to "Wonder Woman" star Lynda Carter. They had two children together, James Altman, 33, and Jessica Altman, 27.

Loretta Whitfield, co-creator of Black Baby Whitney doll, As a District of Columbia Public Schools and Howard University graduate, Loretta Whitfield, who died on Dec. 27 at the age of 79, knew the value of representation.  Whitfield and her husband Melvin Whitfield established Lomel Enterprises- a combination of the beginning of their first names- as a means of offering toys to Black children that looked like them, and with research and hard work the baby Whitney doll was born.  “Loretta [and] Melvin thought that there was a need to fill a gap that left children of color without positive images.  They spent seven years researching and developing Baby Whitney, a Black doll. The Whitfields even hired an African art historian to design the doll’s face, which is based on a fertility doll in West Africa,”  according to an obituary submitted to the AFRO.

The Baby Whitney doll was groundbreaking and featured as a toy to look out for in several publications, including the LA Times, Ebony and a 1987 New York Times article on the Black doll debate.

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Toy Trade Monthly Issues...

Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Hasbro Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Financial Results

  2. Mattel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2020 Financial Results

  3. Crazy Aaron's Launches Clean With Color Line

  4. Schleich Announces Double Digit Growth in 2020

  5. People of Play Announces 'POP Into Spring' Week

  6. BBC Studios Expands Licensing Program for Bluey

  7. Madonna Promotes I'm A Girly Fashion Doll Line

  8. Alma's Way Signs Brand Central as Licensing Agency

  9. Kidscreen Awards 2021 Winners Announced

  10. The Boys, Outlander, and Cobra Kai Secure New Licensees 

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Blazing a trail …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Exclusive first look as The Entertainer at Asda trial starts

  3. Mattel reports strong sales increase for Q4 and 2020

  4. Exclusive: Mattel’s double digit EMEA growth the result of ‘foundational work’

  5. Hasbro posts strong fourth quarter results

  6. Asmodee acquires Board Game Arena as global digital platform for its games

  7. Little Tikes builds on success of Tobi range

  8. Exclusive: Dantoy offers the full eco package

  9. Playmobil virtual toy fair opens next week

  10. Hornby unveils Playtrains range

BUGG Report (Australia)

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)
  1.  Gale Force Nine, Wizards of the Coast Settle

  2.  Games Workshop Previews Two New Space Marine Board Games for 'Warhammer 40,000'
  3.  WizKids Unveils 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Battle Mats'
  4.  2020 Was Record Year for 'Magic,' 'D&D'
  5.  Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Secret Lair: Black is Magic'
  6.  Wizards of the Coast Threatens to Remove Stores from the WPN for Not Switching to Wizards EventLink
  7.  Goodman Reopens 'The Temple of Elemental Evil'
  8.  Games Workshop Teases a New 'Warhammer 40,000' Boxed Set and Codex
  9.  Rolling for Initiative -- Problems with 'Pokemon' Preorders and Three Ways Publishers Can Improve Box Design
10.  Ravensburger NA Announces Another 'Disney Villainous' Board Game and a 'Pusheen' Card Game

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Kohaku and Royal Visit Released, Asmodee Acquires Board Game Arena
25th Century Games has released a new board game, Royal Visit by IELLO is in stores this week and can be pre-ordered online, and Asmodee has acquired Board Game Arena.

Video of the Week! 

The POP Week panels were aired on two separate platforms, there are slight changes to the version first aired on our website with over 13,700 viewers and on this

separate YouTube version we uploaded to share here...

Hasbro’s Inventor Innovation Panel - Where the Ideas Come From! 

Panelists: Inventors: Reyn Guyer (NERF), Leslie Scott (JENGA), Richard Levy (FURBY)

John Frascotti (President and Chief Operating Officer), Eric Nyman (Chief Consumer Officer, Hasbro)

Brian Chapman (President Design & Development, Hasbro), Tom Warner (Senior VP and General Manager, Nerf & Sports Action, Hasbro), Brian Jarvis (Senior Director of Design, Nerf & Sports Action, Hasbro), Kimberly Boyd (SVP and General Manager, Fashion Brands and Preschool Brands, Hasbro), 

Jeff Anderson (Senior VP and General Manager, Games, Hasbro), Tanya Thompson (Director, Concept Acquisition, Hasbro)

Hasbro Innovation Panel Title Frame 3.jp

 

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