January 13 - 20, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
Toy Fair Season is here! Personally, I am suffering a severe case of FOMO because for the first time in 20 years (pandemic aside), I will not be in London or Nuremberg.
Instead of going to the European fairs, I just may be globetrotting on the inaugural POP World Tour starting during London's DISTOY in May and continuing on from there. We are planning Pub Get-Togethers in a number of cities on four continents before returning stateside to host more in June during ASTRA, in September coinciding with the LA Toy Events, and in early October in New York during Toy Fair…all culminating in Chicago in November with POP Week. Watch this space for more details! For an overview of some of our past worldwide Pub Get-Togethers, check out photos and more HERE!
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Azhelle Wade, the Toy Coach, Interviews Dave Campbell from Dolphin Hat Games at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair
How To Make A Card Game Go Viral and more!
Ever wondered what makes a card game go viral? In this video, I interview the creator of Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza, to answer that very question. Dave Campbell used to sell welding supplies, but one day he had the idea to create a game that his entire family would love. This idea and many miles behind the wheel inspired the creation of his first game which would become a viral sensation. During our 20-minute chat, discover what caused the initial spark of social media virality for Dave’s game. If you’ve ever had an idea for a toy or game, this is one toy biz story that you’ve got to listen to. Listening to the stories of successful toy and game entrepreneurs is a great way to find inspiration and motivation to start your very own toy journey. WATCH HERE!
Azhelle Wade, the Toy Coach, Interviews Hilary Poticha Kurinsky from Pockimals at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair
Mini plush Lovies can be your kids’ best friend or your worst nightmare if you lose them! That’s why this mom created Pockimals, little Lovies that can button onto your kids buttonholes for safe keeping. In this video, I interview the creator of Pockimals at Chicago Toy and Game Week, to learn about her toy story from concept to shelf. Hilary Poticha Kurinsky and Danielle Cupps are co-founders in Pockimals and are passionate about their mini plush toys! If you’ve ever had an idea for a toy or plush, this is one toy biz story that you’ve got to listen to. Listening to the story of Pockimals is a great way to find inspiration and motivation to start your very own toy journey. WATCH HERE!
Cartoon of the Week from...
Rick Stringer, VP Customer Solutions at Crayola
If you missed last week, Bob Fuhrer suggested we add this feature and started us off with a funny cube cartoon. See it here!
Longtime Bloom Report reader, Rick Stringer, loved the new feature and sent one of his own to share... no surprise he works for Crayola!
Have a cartoon or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Can't wait to see what you've got!
Financial and Legal
‘Angry Birds’ Owner Gets Takeover Bid From Playtika. Rovio says it isn’t engaged in deal talks and there was no assurance a deal would be reached. Shares in the owner of the “Angry Birds” mobile game franchise soared Friday after it said it had received a 751 million euro takeover proposal, equivalent to $813.5 million, from a rival developer, as a slowdown in the games industry spurs consolidation.
BBC insiders are saying it is inevitable that UK staff will stage their first major walkout in more than a decade as they protest over content cuts. Employees at the broadcaster are furious at proposals to scale back local television and radio programming across the country and believe it is only a matter of time before they will have a mandate for strike action. Should staff down tools, they will join a long list of workers...
***The above posted after January 20th***
Retail Trends Media reported that, following ongoing, long-term discussions, Smyths Toys will be opening stores in The Netherlands, with the first 2 locations slated for launch in time for the Easter 2023 holidays. The Dutch website says that 5 yrs ago, at the beginning of Jan. 2018, the retailer announced an ambition to open thirty stores in The Netherlands in the short term, to be followed by other countries on the European...
Argos employs around 600 people and has 34 stores across Ireland, which will all be closed this summer. As reported by Irish Mirror, Argos reportedly informed staff of the decision to close all Irish stores on Thursday morning. It is understood trading will cease by the end of June, but trading will continue as usual in Northern Ireland.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, said on Friday that it plans to cut 12,000 jobs, becoming the latest technology company to reduce its work force after a hiring spree during the pandemic and amid concerns about a broader economic slowdown. The job cuts are the company’s largest ever, amounting to about 6 percent of the company’s global work force. Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s chief executive, said...
Party City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the latest casualty in the U.S. retail industry as persistently high inflation takes a toll on consumer spending. Troubled retailers often seek bankruptcy protection following the holiday season to take advantage of the cash cushion provided by recent sales. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (BBBY.O) raised doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern earlier this...
Tencent fired over 100 workers, including some within its video game division, for offences including suspected bribery and embezzlement in 2022. As reported by Reuters, the Chinese tech company said those incidents span over 70 cases across businesses such as live-streaming, advertising, and video games.
Microsoft has confirmed it intends to make 10,000 layoffs by the end of Q3, FY23. The news comes with the Xbox maker pursuing a mammoth $68.7 bill acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft said the job cuts are signed to align its cost structure with its revenue targets and "where we see customer demand." Addressing employees in a communication shared on the Microsoft blog, CEO Satya Nadella said the layoffs...
European Parliament votes to regulate in-game loot boxes. Thanks to Parliament, the European Commission will be taking a more active stance against loot boxes in video games. GamesIndustry reports that the country's government largely voted in favor of regulating the controversial in-game mechanic. Various countries have tried to regulate loot boxes, if not remove them entirely, even as doing so is said to be...
EU to hit Microsoft with antitrust warning over Activision Blizzard deal. Reuters is reporting that Microsoft will likely be hit with an EU antitrust warning over its proposed $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. People familiar with the matter said the European Commission, which began investigating the merger last year over concerns it could "reduce competition" in the game industry, is preparing a statement...
African mobile game publisher Carry1st nets $27M in funding. Mobile game publisher Carry1st recently secured $27 million, which it'll use to develop and license new games. The funding follows the publisher's "significant" revenue growth in 2022. The $27 million primarily comes from venture fund Bitkraft, which has commonly funded recently-opened studios headed up by game industry veterans.
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U.S. TOY INDUSTRY SALES ESSENTIALLY FLAT IN 2022, NPD SAYS
U.S. RETAIL SALES SPIKED 7% IN 2022, NRF SAYS
‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Swims Past $2B Worldwide; Chinese New Year Kicks Off & ‘Puss 2’ Nears $300M Global – International Box Office
Netflix added 7.66 million paid subscribers during the fourth quarter, more than the 4.57 million Wall Street expected.
Very Group reported that retail sales grew 2.2% against the corresponding period in 2021, when the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic drove strong performance among UK online retailers. Compared with the corresponding period in 2019 (pre-pandemic), Very retail sales grew 19.6%.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
THE NPD GROUP UNVEILS 2022 TOY INDUSTRY PERFORMANCE AWARDS FOR THE AMERICAS - last year’s bestselling toys have been revealed
The Insights Family Launches the 2023 Industry Voice Survey to Hear Your Thoughts on the Future
Preschoolers are mastering basic mobile device capabilities at an earlier age, and they’re increasingly developing complex skills like video-recording chops.
Traditional toys topped UK’s £3.6bn toy market for 2022. Plush was the best performing category in the toy market, up 29%, while Action Figures, Building Sets and Vehicles also drove sales.
84 per cent of kids say YouTube is the main way they consume video content, with 40 per cent of kids spending up to two hours a day on YouTube.
Five trends to look forward to in India's toy and stationery industry in 2023
Netflix Content Spending Declined 5% in 2022 - the streamer paid out $16.84 billion on a cash basis for content
What Gen Z wants to be when they grow up
***The above posted after January 20th***
TV Use Plateaus in Dec. as Gaming Eats Into Broadcast, Cable. Peacock pops up in Nielsen's monthly platform rankings for the first time.
New Study from Magna and Roku Finds New Video Ad Formats in Streaming TV Are 2x More Favorable than Traditional TV Ads
China: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’ Secure Feb. Release Dates; First Marvel Movies In Market Since 2019
Total U.S. video game spending increases 2% in December; falls 5% for year.
Games theory: Glut of toys sparks massive discounts, pain for industry
DECEMBER 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS
ICv2 columnist Scott Thorne makes his games industry predictions for 2023.
US ad investments in children’s content and programming increased by nearly 50% in 2022, according to a new study by MediaRadar. Ad spend promoting children’s products and services, including toys and games, entertainment, personal care, and more, have grown to over $1.6 billion through 2022. Seventy percent of the spend went to digital channels, including streaming; 29% went to traditional TV; and 1% went to print. “This is a growth category,” said Todd Krizelman, CEO, MediaRadar. “Even as other verticals have seen a pullback in spend, investments in children’s content and from children’s brands have grown substantially year-over-year – particularly in digital.”
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Universal Products & Experiences has hired former Disney exec Rafael Macias to expand the experiential reach of its brands and characters globally. In his newly created role as EVP and global commercial officer of consumer products, Macias’ remit will include identifying new business models for brands such as Jurassic World and Minions and overseeing the development of the company’s consumer products...
Why Disney Built Its Own Ad Server for Disney+ and Hulu — and What the YODA Does. Disney’s prowess as an entertainment powerhouse is undisputed. Aaron LaBerge, chief technology officer of the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution div, argues that the company also has also built an industry-leading competency in ad tech. Over the last several years, LaBerge’s team has created its own advertising-delivery stack...
Pollock’s Toy Museum, the oldest toy museum in the UK, has announced its closure. In order to reopen, “major capital funding” is needed.
Found in London‘s Fitzrovia district, Pollock’s Toy Museum is home to a collection of toy theatres, dolls, games and “elderly teddy bears”. These are now temporarily in storage. Per a statement on the museum’s website, it is looking for another home and has closed “due to a change in...
***The above posted after January 20th***
John Baulch, Toy World, I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…. it’s the Friday Blog! I really am excited – although to be fair, I always am just before Toy Fair. My show diary is full (literally) from 9.00 on opening morning until close of play every day. I have even started putting 10-minute meetings into the schedule this week in an attempt to get the most out of the event. The fact I have not built in any time for eating or...
Paramount's Chris Rose and Viacom18’s Anu Sikka discuss how their new series The Twisted Timeline of Sammy & Raj was designed with representation and relatability in mind. Nickelodeon International and India’s Viacom18 are honing the fine art of cross-cultural appeal in kids TV with their new series, The Twisted Timeline of Sammy & Raj.
John Baulch - What next for trade show season? Toy Fair season 2023 is set to look very different from the traditional January/ February period. For starters, the long established trip to Hong Kong in the opening days of the New Year is off again this year for the vast majority of European and American visitors. The Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair was expected to be a largely domestic event this time round, with a...
How games can make behavioural science better. Wordle, Minecraft and Scrabble are played online by millions. Gamifying experiments can make behavioural research more inclusive, rigorous and reproducible — if it’s done right. When US cognitive scientist Joshua Hartshorne was investigating how people around the world learn English, he needed to get tens of thousands of people to take a language test.
How licensing can make toys more accessible for children. With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on the rise among children globally, License Global looks at how brands adapt to be more inclusive and cater to the needs of neurodiverse children. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is described as a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have problems with social...
History and Nostalgia
A. C. Gilbert, the Greatest Generation’s Greatest Toymaker. A gifted athlete and pole-vaulting gold medalist at the 1908 London Olympics, Gilbert was also a talented illusionist who financed his Yale medical school education performing as a magician. Choosing magic over medicine, the 24-year-old Gilbert and a partner formed the Mysto Manufacturing Company in New Haven in 1909 to sell tricks to would-be prestidigitators.
***The above was posted after January 20th***
TSR Hobbies, Inc. (1980). From 1975-1983, TSR Hobbies, Inc. published fantasy role-playing games. The company is best known for the ongoing development of Dungeons & Dragons, although many of its non-D&D offerings remain fan favorites. TSR’s 1980 Gateway to Adventure catalogue showcases the company’s entire product line.
Hang on Harvey! from Ideal. Released in 1969 by Ideal, Hang on Harvey! challenged players to be the first to safely navigate Harvey to the bottom of the game board.The simplicity of the strategy game, quick playing time, and modifications to increase the challenge made Hang on Harvey! a great option for people of all ages. Two opponents sat across from one another with the transparent, vertical game board between them. Each had four pegs and one Harvey character to work with.
Music Boxes from Fisher-Price. Released in the 1970s from Fisher-Price, the Music Box line of toys entertained children at home and on the go with familiar songs such as Brahms Lullaby, The Candy Man, and others. In this video, Dave from the Lucky Penny Shop YouTube channel showcases the Music Box Mobile, Music Box Radio, and Music Box Pocket Radio models.
Attention in the produce aisle! Mr. Potato Head and his old friends. Recently, Hasbro and Mighty Jaxx made an aspiring young artist’s dream come true when they teamed up to turn her Mr. Potato Head design into a limited-edition collectible. Proceeds from sales of the creative twist on this iconic toy are being given to a charitable organization.
Milestone Auctions’ vintage toy spectacular. Milestone Auctions rang in 2023 on January 7 with its New Year’s Vintage Toy Spectacular sale, offering antique and vintage toys of all kinds, consigned from a “lifelong collection.” The sale offered American, European and Japanese examples, many with their original packaging and sold all of its 900-plus lots.
These 5 toys and games have been popular for millenia. The Greek philosopher Aristotle once wrote that “the activity of play is a relaxation of the soul, and serves as recreation because of its pleasantness.” For the ancient Greeks, games were at once a source of fun, but also an instrument of learning. Take the lowly rattle for instance, a toy deployed to occupy children from the smallest ages even today.
Licensing and Entertainment
Funko Games has announced the latest assortment of its fandom-inspired Pop! Puzzles featuring beloved pop-culture favorites including SpongeBob SquarePants, Ted Lasso, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic Park. Since the debut of Pop! Puzzles Avatar: The Last Airbender, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Elf, Funko Games has contributed to the growing popularity of jigsaw puzzles.
PAW Patrol is an impressively popular brand with all kinds of toys, shows, and even new spinoffs of the original series. The upcoming PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is the second big-screen appearance for the franchise. The movie is being made in collaboration between Spin Master Ent, Nickelodeon Movies, and Paramount Pictures, and features a newly released voice cast of both celebrity guests and returning voices.
Jakks Reveals Plans for Super Mario Bros. Movie Toys. Mario toys are nothing new, as the Nintendo property has been a success since its inception. But the video game icon is now making it to the big screen and with the release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie quickly approaching this April, new toy releases are on the way. JAKKS Pacific will be capitalizing on this with a toy line for the new movie.
Canada’s Cartoon Conrad Productions and Toronto’s Big Mouth Productions are co-producing and developing the popular YouTube brand Baby Big Mouth into a 2D-animated series for 4-6-yr-olds. Big Mouth Productions, creator/owner of the Baby Big Mouth IP, launched in 2013 as a YouTube channel that now boasts 10.4 million subscribers worldwide and features a mix of roughly 200 sing-along and educational videos.
ToyTopic is launching its Paw Patrol plush range for autumn/winter 2023 with Christmas themed pups. A selection of Easter, Halloween and Valentines themed plush will follow in 2024, all available in small, medium, large and pocket money sizes. Paul Cook, sales director at ToyTopic UK, commented: “We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Paramount to launch our Paw Patrol plush product at London Toy Fair.
CoComelon, the world’s most popular kids entertainment brand, is poised to support even more little ones in their foundational years as the franchise continues to expand. Moonbug Entertainment, a subsidiary of Candle Media, has announced significant momentum across the entire franchise, including an additional beloved character getting their own show in 2023 – Nina! The launch of Nina builds on the successful...
The Woobles, the first learn-to-crochet company to leverage emerging ed-tech tools to successfully teach the art of crocheting to complete beginners, just released its first licensed kits- starring Miffy! Thanks to The Woobles, fans can now crochet their very own Miffy, along with ear-resistable themed accessories. Known for its adorable amigurumi plushies, a collaboration with the marvelous Miffy was a...
Paris-based Superights has acquired worldwide distribution rights (excluding China and Luxembourg) to a new CG-animated series called Deep in the Bowl from Zeilt Productions. Targeting kids ages eight to 12, the 52 x five-minute show revolves around a group of pet fish who ponder existential questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” from their glass abode.
Just Play announced a worldwide master toy licensing agreement with Hasbro for its FurReal brand. Just Play’s FurReal pets product line will launch globally in 2024 with a whole new collection of interactive pets. With authentic animatronic features that mimic the mannerisms and behaviours of both real animals and mythical creatures, the FurReal brand has led the interactive pets’ category for over 18 yrs...
Scentco Inc, a renowned U.S. toy designer and distributor, and producers of the fast growing Bedtime Defenderz plush toy line, has inked a deal with Armada Content to produce 12 episodes of new animated entertainment content to be released in the Fall of 2023 on YouTube. The new animated content will tell the stories behind the origin of the Bedtime Defenderz and their nemesis Torrag, Master of Shadows.
Mattel is putting gas in the tank of its Warner Bros-Bad Robot movie Hot Wheels with writers Dalton Leeb and Nicholas Jacobson-Larson boarding to pen the live-action adaptation of the 54-year old racecar toys. Robbie Brenner, EP for Mattel Films, will lead the project alongside VP Kevin McKeon, VP and creative executive Andrew Scannell. Hannah Minghella and Jon Cohen are overseeing for Bad Robot. Peter Dodd,...
Hasbro and Funko Games have inked a new, multi-year licensing partnership to produce a 25th-anniversary edition of Cranium and new board games designed by Funko Games. Cranium first came out in 1998 with activities — including art, trivia, language, and performance — before being bought by Hasbro in 2008. The Cranium 25th Anniversary Edition features 18 old and new activities, hundreds of new cards,...
Barcelona’s DeAPlaneta has acquired Madrid-based BRB Internacional’s entire film and series catalogue, which includes 1,000 classic animated series and feature films in multiple languages. In addition to controlling the rights to existing titles such as Around the World with Willy Fog, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds, The World of David, the Gnome and RG Animation Studios’ CG-animated series Bernard Bear...
Canada’s Waterside Studios is developing a new teen series for Netflix based on the Geek Girl book series by British author Holly Smale. The publishing range follows a socially awkward neurodivergent 15-year-old girl, who must learn to juggle high school and high fashion after she lands a major modeling gig. Waterside’s 10 x 30-minute series will launch on Netflix everywhere except Canada, where it will air on...
Roy & Charcle LLC and PhatMojo have announced their partnership for the massive hit video game experience, Rainbow Friends. Under the worldwide agreement, PhatMojo will launch the Rainbow Friends master toy range this spring. Additionally, they will support the franchise via consumer products licensing and retail development.
Characters from the Wizarding World will join the Schleich lineup beginning in September with a launch wave that includes six of the series’ main characters alongside their animal companions. Schleich says that the line is “primarily targeted toward kids ages 6-12,” but there is no doubt that the growing kidult segment will also find something to enjoy.
The new UK & Eire partnership will see John Adams Leisure develop, manufacture and distribute the first ever official The1% Club board game. The 1% Club debuted on TV in the UK in 2021, hosted by British actor and comedian Lee Mack and produced by Magnum Media for ITV. The entertaining game show is the ultimate leveller as it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember facts and figures; the questions...
Random House builds an IP around teen star Zaila Avant-garde. The publisher is working on a book series and other franchise plans for the 16-year-old spelling bee champ and record-holding b-ball prodigy. Random House is planning to turn her life story and impressive achievements into a publishing franchise, starting with It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome at Life and Words of Wonder from Z to A.
***The above posted after January 20th***
Gabby’s Dollhouse magazine to launch this month. Signature Publishing’s Gabby’s Dollhouse magazine is based on DreamWorks Animation’s popular series, from which Spin Master has also developed a hit toy range. Following the huge success of the two special issues of Adventures With… Gabby’s Dollhouse last summer, Signature Publishing is partnering with Universal Products & Experiences to launch the new standalone...
On the heels of a record-breaking year where Disney Junior ranked as 2022’s #1 TV Network among Kids 2-5 overall and retained its standing as the #1 Preschool Network for the last 10 years (every year since its launch), Disney Branded Television has ordered second seasons of its newest animated series Firebuds and SuperKitties, as well as an early season two renewal for upcoming series Pupstruction.
Pop, the UK’s largest commercial children’s channel, is to become the exclusive free TV broadcast home of Polly Pocket from Saturday 4th February 2023. The Polly Pocket series tells the story of an adventurous 11-year-old girl, and follows Polly and her best friends as she embraces her pocket-sized powers and finds the upside of shrinking is fun and adventure.
Sambro has entered 2023 with a raft of new contracts in the licensed toy space as it drives its ambitious growth plans for the UK and EMEA regions over the next 12 months and beyond. Already working closely with a number of top licensors, the company recently secured new and extended agreements with Cosatto, Disney, Hasbro for 2023 and renewed its Paramount contract for 2023-2025.
Orchard Toys has confirmed an Indian licensing agreement as it expands its international distributor network and explores expanding its network of distributors, with new partners for Benelux, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GAS). Offering distribution through its Indian infrastructure, Gameworks LLP is looking to deliver the success Orchard Toys has seen in the UK, Italy and USA.
IMC Toys is set to strengthen the licensing roll out for its hugely successful Cry Babies Magic Tears brand. Alongside a fresh new Tropical brand theme launching in the spring, and brand-new animated episodes scheduled for release shortly, 2023 will see a whole host of new UK licensees coming on board. Poetic Brands will be launching a full range of Cry Babies Magic Tears kids’ apparel, which will include day wear...
Ravensburger announced that the first set from the collectible trading card game (TCG) Disney Lorcana will be released in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg from August 2023. Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter will feature a line-up of products and accessories featuring all-new, original illustrations of beloved Disney...
As pet ownership levels in the United States continue to reach new heights, MetLife Pet Insurance announced it will partner with one of the world’s most legendary pets, Snoopy, to build greater awareness of the critical importance of pet health insurance. While there are over 90 million families with pets in the U.S. today, less than 3% of those pets are insured.
Tomy will launch the new Pop Up Super Mario Game at the end of March, with it expected to be one of the most successful pop-up games yet. Super Mario, part of the Nintendo brand, is a key player in the licensed toy market, and since its creation in Japan in 1975, the game has proved to be a firm favourite among families, having recently celebrated its 46th anniversary.
Posh Paws International and Whitehouse Leisure have signed a three-year partnership deal with the emoji brand to produce a range of Emotional, Multicultural, Official, Joyful and Iconic plush gifts for 2023 across EMEA. The emoji brand and its related icons are a globally recognised language that is seen and used daily to communicate how people feel, and Posh Paws will bring the most popular and widely used emoji brand...
Viewers in the Spanish-speaking Americas will be able to dig into more than 1,000 episodes of animated content, thanks to several big package sales just closed by CAKE. The London-based distributor’s head of sales, Bianca Rodriguez, brokered a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery that includes two seasons of 2D-animated fictional reality series Total Drama Island (26 x 22 minutes); two seasons of British coming-of-age...
Disney Branded TV has inked a new overall deal with writer/animator Dan Povenmire that will include a revival of Phineas and Ferb, which he co-created with Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Under the agreement, Povenmire will produce two brand-new seasons of Phineas and Ferb, for 40 episodes in total. This popular series originally aired from 2008 to 2015 on Disney Channel and Disney XD.
Genius Brands International is getting into the music business. The kids’ entertainment company, known for its content such as Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten on Kartoon Channel and Llama Llama on Netflix, has opened the doors to a new division, Genius Music. Genius Music concentrates on the development and monetization of music publishing rights for new streaming platforms and existing broadcast outlets.
Kids2 and Moonbug Entertainment are launching a new animated kids’ show. Baby Einstein Ocean Explorers is a STEAM-based show with 5-minute episodes that explore the ocean with Baby Einstein characters like Cal, Neptune, Opus, Tinker, and Dean. “Each episode was created to spark curiosity while supporting key development milestones,” says Rochelle Wainer SVP of Global Insights and Analytics at Kids2.
Barcelona-based distributor GoldBee has closed three new broadcast deals for preschool series The Game Catchers, including a key one in the UK. CBeebies has acquired all linear and streaming rights to the 2D/CG-animated series produced by Canada’s Sphere Animation and Studio Bozzetto in Italy, and it will be dubbed with British voice actors for a more local feel before it launches this spring on linear TV and iPlayer.
PBS KIDS is looking to encourage an interest in problem-solving and earth science among elementary school students with two new 2D-animated series. The pubcaster has greenlit Lyla in the Loop (pictured below) from Pennsylvania-based Mighty Picnic (Peg + Cat) and Canada’s Pipeline Studios (Alma’s Way). This 40 x 30-minute series centers around a seven-year-old girl who looks for creative solutions to daily problems...
Nelvana is aiming to capture The Most Magnificent Thing…again. Canada’s Corus Ent. has greenlit a CG-animated series based on author Ashley Spires’ book and a same-name 2019 short film for its Treehouse preschool channel. Millie Magnificent features the book’s namesake protagonist taking on kid-sized challenges in the neighborhood with her friends and pet dog using STEAM-based skills and creative problem...
When Heathside Trading was established 17 years ago, it was as a clearance line company, but the business is now becoming better known for its Khadou brand, which covers a broad range of price points and properties including Minecraft, Sonic, DC and Only Fools and Horses. Max tells Toy World how the collectibles division came about after acting as a distributor for other companies, plus a desire to...
Zuru‘s globally popular collectible toy line 5 Surprise Mini Brands is enjoying continued success in the United Kingdom & Ireland. Mini Brands was 2022’s No.6 item in the total market YTD, with Mini Brands Disney coming in at No.12 in October, as per NPD. In addition, Mini Brands has amassed over 5b views on TikTok. This success helped Zuru become the No.7 supplier in the UK YTD.
Jazwares, the global master toy partner for CoComelon, will be taking over direct distribution of the licensed toy line in the UK & Ireland as of January 2023. Holly Oldham, managing director, UK and Nordics, Jazwares, commented: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the CoComelon brand, with brand engagement at an all-time high. We would like to thank the team at Bandai for all the work it has done to date.
CandyRific is bringing a new Nickelodeon candy novelty to market. The SpongeBob SquarePants candy fans are topped with Spongebob driving a boat with the boat’s motor acting as the fan. The included candy is stored in the fan’s handle for easy access. The fans will be available for retailer orders starting next month and will ship in time for the summer.
Paramount+ has ordered a new YA movie called Zoey 102 (working title) from Nickelodeon that will revive the kidcaster’s Zoey 101 series that originally launched in 2005. Based on characters from this four-season live-action series, the feature film will reunite Pacific Coast Academy alumni for a wedding. Production has already started in North Carolina, and the pic will premiere this year exclusively on Paramount+.
Boat Rocker, has announced a range of new deals for its rapidly growing pre-school series Dino Ranch franchise to further broaden its global footprint. The new licensees have been secured by best-in-class licensing agents including Super RTL, Plus License and Haven, expanding the number of categories and products available across EMEA & ANZ for the brand.
Knight Models picks up 'Game of Thrones' And 'House of the Dragon' licenses. Knight Models has picked up the Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon licenses to make new tabletop miniatures games in 2023, the company announced. These licenses are a result of a collaboration with HBO, and few details were released about the game or games being created with these IPs.
‘emoji Kart Racer’ is coming to Playstation. “emoji Kart Racer,” the first official emoji brand video game from The emoji Company and game maker, Joindots GmbH, is available for PS4 and PS5. The game will also launch on Xbox consoles and Nintendo Switch next month. Players can pick their driver from a broad range of officially licensed emoji brand icons or use the detailed generator to create their own unique...
ZAG unveils inaugural toy line. “Miraculous” toys across 10 categories to be unveiled. ZAG has announced the launch of its first toy line from the new ZAG Play Toy division that will be unveiled at the Spielwarenmesse-Nuremberg Toy Fair. The first toys, across ten categories, all feature the company’s flagship brand, “Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir,” to be followed with products for “Ghostforce” and...
People of Play
As part of a strategic global expansion to deliver premium, fan-first products and retail experiences worldwide, Universal Products & Experiences has announced the appointment of Rafael ‘Rafa’ Macias to the newly created position, EVP, global commercial officer, Consumer Products. Reporting to Vince Klaseus, President, Universal Products & Experiences, Rafael will lead UP&E’s global commercial strategies...
Gaye Dean is joining ZAG as the company’s Vice President for North America Retail Development. “With the outstanding success of its flagship brand, Miraculous, the ZAG name has become synonymous with providing empowering, engaging, and high-quality content and products to fans across the globe,” Dean says. “I am naturally delighted to join ZAG’s team, working closely with Lisa K. Foster to ensure that...
‘ON THE ROAD’ WITH MIKE RIZKALLA, CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF SNORBLE. We caught up with Mike Rizkalla, cofounder and CEO of Snorble (Skillman), a tech company focused on child development, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. Snorble was one of a handful of featured companies to have a suite to themselves several floors above the Venetian Resort’s two levels of conference...
Wow! Stuff is delighted to announce the promotion of Dawn Lavalette to managing director. Formerly Head of Toys at Tesco, Dawn joined Wow! Stuff as commercial director in 2019, responsible for leading the company’s sales strategy and teams globally. Four years on, Dawn will take the helm as MD with her new position coinciding with the company’s launch of new products at Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg.
Beacon Media, the paid media division of the agency, has revealed a pair of executive appointments that are designed to further foster the company’s expanded digital capabilities in media strategy, planning, and activation while broadening its programmatic buying capabilities.
“Over the past three years, Beacon Media has transformed itself into a digital media powerhouse by hiring top talent, investing in technology...
***The above posted after January 20th***
Nolan Bushnell, the inventor of bar games: the photo with his masterpieces. We have always been accustomed to seeing bar game inventor Nolan Bushnell pictured with one of his video game creations, but never pictured with three of his jewels all at once. We're talking about Computer Space, the first coin-operated video game made by Nutthing thanks to Bushnell's idea. The inventor told us that he formed, with plasticine...
Toys, entertainment, and pop culture collide in Funko‘s Pop! Talk. The third season of the YouTube series Pop! Talk from FunTV will feature an all-star lineup of entertainment and sports icons. Against the backdrop of a hidden speakeasy at the Funko store in Hollywood, CA, celebrities reveal their perspectives on pop culture in one-on-one interviews. Pop! Talk gives viewers an inside look at the personal interests and fandoms...
Bulldog Licensing, one of the licensing industry’s leading agencies, has welcomed Alex Salisbury to its team as Senior Licensing Manager, covering categories such as Publishing and Toys for all brands. Alex Salisbury joins Bulldog fresh from a three-month trip travelling around Southeast Asia. Before her well-earned break, she had been at Paramount since 2017, where she held roles as Retail Licensing Manager...
Cartoon Network Studio’s VP of original series development Nicole Rivera has departed the studio after almost five years with the company. Most recently, Rivera oversaw series such as Matthew Cherry’s musical comedy Battu, Jessica’s Big Little World and Invincible Fight Girl. She announced her departure on LinkedIn yesterday (wednesday) and indicated that she’s on the hunt for a next gig.
Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. revealed that Sharon Price John, Build-A-Bear Workshop President and CEO, is launching her first book with Forbes Books. Stories & Heart: Unlock the Power of Personal Stories to Create a Life You Love follows John’s unlikely combination of small-town southern roots and big-city Ivy League education.
Nocopi Technologies, Incorporated (OTC Pink: “NNUP”), a developer of specialty reactive inks, announced that Jackie Goldman has been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors to replace Philip B. White, who resigned from the Board of Directors on January 11, 2023. Ms. Goldman currently serves as the CEO and President of Puzzles Plus, Inc., which she founded over 33 years ago.
Studio 100 Media, a studio known for children’s entertainment offerings such as Maya the Bee and Vic the Viking, is welcoming a new Business Development Manager and Fashion Lead, Alexandros Visentin. ”With Alexandros, we are gaining a young, innovative, and well-connected colleague who has learned licensing from scratch,” says Joachim Knödler, Head of Licensing Distribution, Studio 100 Media.
Wisconsin-based PlayMonster is making more moves in the C-suite. The international toy and game company revealed that Tim Kilpin will transition into the newly created role of Executive Chairman and member of the Board of Directors. Steve Adolph, who joined the company as President last September, has been promoted to CEO, effective immediately.
Tokyopop has promoted Marc Visnick to COO and Publisher, responsible for managing all North American operations and reporting directly to Founder and CEO Stu Levy. Tokyopop credits Visnick with doubling year over year revenues, expanding its retail footprint through new partnerships and channels, increasing its market share, and implementing a new, scalable production process.
Creative Fold is happy to announce that Edoardo Kulp has joined the company as its Director of Business Development and co-owner. Edoardo has consulted with Creative Fold for over a year and, together with his duties in Business Development, will continue to be a part of Creative Fold’s product development team, helping create amazing results for Creative Fold clients.
The Insights Family appoints former BBC executive Rachel Bardill as SVP of marketing & partnerships. The Insights Family – the global leader in kids, teens, parents, and family market intelligence – has announced the appointment of former BBC Executive Rachel Bardill to lead their marketing and partnerships team as part of its future growth strategy.
Zapf Creation appoints Ellie Moore as sales director. Zapf Creation has announced the appointment of Ellie Moore as its new sales director. With almost 20 years’ experience within the industry, Zapf Creation welcomes Ellie to the team from MV Sports and Leisure. Ellie also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her time at Tomy, Crayola and Vivid.
Eolo welcomes Stewart Middleton to UK sales team. Eolo Toys has earmarked the UK territory as a key market in its 2023 growth plans, and believes establishing the business in the UK by incorporating a new sales agent will help to further this growth. Stewart is well-known within the UK toy industry with more than 20 years of expertise, having previously worked at IMC toys, Jumbo, Mookie and Ty. Stewart’s knowledge...
Sambro expands senior leadership team. Two internal promotions and a new appointment announced. Clare Rix has been promoted to brand and licensing director, with direct responsibilities for growing Sambro’s licensor relationships, which includes key accounts such as Hasbro, Disney, Paramount and Mattel. Ed Whieldon has also been promoted to buying and sourcing director.
Companies and Brands
The Rubik’s Cube just got a new look: a greener, eco-friendly one, that is! It’s the same iconic puzzle readers know and love, created with sustainability in mind. Rubik’s Re-Cube is the first 100% recycled Rubik’s 3×3 Cube, made from 100% recycled ABS plastic and packaged in 100% recycled cardboard. It is FSC certified, meeting the top criteria for sustainability standards. The Rubik’s Re-Cube is an example of...
Sesame Workshop Debuts New Resources to Support the Emotional Well-being of Military and Caregiving Families. Sesame Street for Military Families is launching new digital resources in English and Spanish, highlighting simple strategies for self-care and emotional well-being in military families. These new resources have been made possible by the generous support of Amazon Web Services, which shares Sesame...
By the power of Grayskull, Mattel is doing even more Masters of the Universe (MOTU) collabs! After partnering with PUMA and artist Virgil Abloh last fall, Mattel is releasing new Eternia-themed collectibles and apparel with Be@rbricks and streetwear brand Mishka NYC. Be@rbricks are a popular line of art toy figures that feature a human-shaped body and a bear head. There are two new MOTU Be@rbricks on the way...
In a move that the co. says will strengthen its long-term growth in the U.S. and throughout the Americas region, LEGO will vacate its current office in Enfield, CT in favor of a new space in Boston. The LEGO Group first set up shop in Enfield back in 1975. The original site had an office, factory, and warehouse, but the current location is only offices. The move to Boston will occur in phases beginning in mid-2025.
72 Shots Of The Funko Booth at London Toy Fair – And Escape Rooms Are Coming. I took a seat at Funko's booth at London's Toy Fair yesterday as part of Press Day and took a tour around the company, best known for its cartoon-stylised vinyl figures, but has been expanding with its Loungefly accessories range, as doubling down on its Funko Games range, making them doubly appropriate for Toy Fair.
Moose Toys continues to dominate the special feature plush category with its Toy of the Year award-winning Little Live Pets Mama
Surprise, last year’s hit Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron and Magic Mixies Magical Crystal Ball. Year-to-date, Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron and Little Live Pets Mama Surprise were also the two best-selling items in Special Feature Plush according to NPD. In 2023, the company is making...
University Games expands Murder Mystery Party Games portfolio Richard Wells, MD of University Games UK and The Lagoon Group, sees great potential in this sector of the games and puzzles industry and commented: “Murder Mystery games have always been a staple in the University Games’ portfolio with the likes of the ever-popular Champagne Murders and Death By Chocolate. However, the last few years...
MegaChess, the world’s largest supplier of Giant Chess Sets, is pleased to announce the creation of the Perfect Chess Set. This tournament-style set was designed as a learning and training tool to help chess players at all levels develop their skills and master the game of chess. To help achieve its goal of creating the perfect tournament chess set with training, MegaChess collaborated with Chess Vibes Academy’s...
Barbie has officially announced the launch of the Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll, recognizing the first Black and Native American female pilot with a doll made in her likeness, in advance of her birthday, January 26th, and in celebration of Black History Month. To ensure Bessie’s legacy is truly represented, Barbie teamed up with Gigi Coleman, Bessie’s great-niece and President of The Bessie Coleman...
Australian company Moose Toys has released a commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Sustainability is a big topic in every field, the toys and games industry being no exception. As environmentalism becomes more important to consumers, it becomes more critical for companies to declare their commitment to the cause. Moose Toys has set both short and long-term goals...
The Wrong Trousers. Multi-award-winning independent animation studio Aardman has announced plans for the 30th anniversary celebrations of Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers. Released in 1993, The Wrong Trousers was the first film starring the beloved duo to win an Oscar and introduced fan favourite Feathers McGraw, a villainous penguin with ambitions to put Wallace’s inventions to criminal use.
David Middleton is celebrating the hugely successful opening of his 3rd store, Freak Treat. The 900 sq ft store, located opposite Midco Toymaster in the Octagon Shopping Centre, specialises in the older toy and merchandise consumer – including kidults – with everything from t-shirts based on rock and metal bands, horror movies, cult franchises and more, Funko Pop! vinyl collectibles, anime and manga, action figures...
Under The Influence was invented during lockdown, pitched at Distoy and will now be launched by VR Distribution at Toy Fair. A 21 year old who got bored during lockdown decided to harness her entrepreneurial spirit and invent the ultimate party (and drinking) game. With nowhere to go with her friends, Talya Kishon – daughter of toy & game stalwart Danny Kishon – created the game to play with them.
***The above posted after January 20th***
AWARD-WINNING EDUCATIONAL TOY COMPANIES – LEARNING RESOURCES, EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS, AND HAND2MIND – BRING LEARNING TO LIFE WITH $1.7M IN PHILANTHROPIC AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT IN 2022. As a mission-driven organization, the family of companies is proud to have supported numerous causes and charity organizations throughout the year
In a global exclusive, Funko Europe will launch the international first look at Bitty Pop!, the brand-new, micro-sized collectible, at London Toy Fair, taking the famous Pop! form factor to another level. On display for the first time at the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade and media show, the small but mighty introduction of Bitty Pop! will give visitors an up-close look at the 7/8” figurines, which will be...
WowWee and Character Options partner on Mintid Dog-E. In the wake of WowWee‘s highly successful launch earlier this month at CES in Las Vegas, which resulted in coverage generating over 4b potential impressions worldwide and great anticipation from the tech trade, the company has announced a strategic partnership with Character Options to bring its new robot dog, Mintid Dog-E, to the United Kingdom.
Just Play has taken over two showcase windows at Hamleys Regent Street store featuring Disney’s Mickey & Minnie and Sesame Street Elmo. The Disney window features larger than life versions of character play sets for both Mickey and Minnie. Child size versions are available to buy on the first floor of Hamleys, in the pre-school section. There’s also a giant stylised version of Mickey from the Just Play Disney Doorables...
Indian toy brand Namasthe World inks distribution pact with Rowan’s, Hamley’s. Under the partnership, Namasthe World's products will be available across Hamley’s stores and other sub-brands of Rowan’s both physically and digitally.
Metallic Dice Games, founded in 2014 and recently sold to toy industry veteran Neal Hoffman has “rolled” into the new year with a new name. The company announced its decision to rebrand the company as FanRoll and has launched its new website, FanRollDice.com. Shark Tank Alum, Neal Hoffman led a group of investors to purchase Metallic Dice Games, a leading tabletop dice company, this past summer.
The Pokémon Company International revealed more details about the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG): Scarlet & Violet expansion, launching worldwide beginning on March 31, 2023. The new expansion will adopt an updated take on Pokémon ex, a gameplay mechanic featuring Pokémon with high HP as well as powerful attacks and Abilities.
Mattel163, the global games developer and publisher has revealed figures behind the company’s continued growth, led by the success of Mattel’s globally-loved IPs produced exclusively for mobile. The highly-successful studio, founded and led by CEO Amy Huang, generated high double-digit growth in revenue year-on-year. Across Uno! Mobile, Phase 10 Mobile and Skip-Bo Mobile, Mattel163’s global player base has...
Vivid/Goliath is partnering with All3Media International and Identity Games to distribute the official Traitors Board Game in the UK & Ireland from September. Originally created by Dutch producer IDTV, the new psychological reality format has been an international ratings and critical hit, licensed in multiple territories including the UK, US, France, Spain and Australia.
MGA Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with Aquifer, an instant animation technology startup, to launch L.O.L. Surprise! Shoutouts, personalized, animated video shorts from fan-favorite characters for anyone to experience. To celebrate the launch, the site will offer special Valentine’s Day video shoutouts shorts for a limited time to customize for friends, schoolmates, and family.
Highly valuable airtime, online and printed media spots have been kindly donated from the UK’s leading media outlets and the toy trade press. The result is a colossal £170,000 of media space to bid for. The auction is a classic win-win scenario for all; companies can bag themselves a media bargain whilst all funds raised go to help the Toy Trust’s chosen children’s charities throughout the year.
World Alive, the owners of Aqua Dragons just surpassed a significant milestone with its social media efforts with views across all its channels surpassing half a billion. That does not include Brainstorm’s own efforts specifically targeting the UK and ROI. Much of the content broadcast worldwide for Aqua Dragons is in English, and World Alive has worked with over 300 influencers since the company...
Known for its quality building blocks, dough and licensed role-play toys, Bildo will work with Flair GP to bring its varied licensed range to market in the UK & Ireland. In 2023, Bildo will be globally launching an innovative product in the Construction Toys category under the Play-Doh brand. Combining the much-loved dough compound with hybrid building blocks, the new Play-Doh Blocks line will offer a creative and sensory...
LEGO Ideas has unveiled a new place to stay warm this winter. The LEGO Ideas A-Frame cabin set is inspired by the architectural design of real A-frame log cabins. Designed by Andrea Lattanzio, an Italian LEGO fan designer, the set has two stories: an upper-level bedroom and a lower-level living room and kitchen.
The Singing Machine Company, Inc., the worldwide leader in consumer karaoke products, shared its vision for the future of fully-integrated, in-car karaoke entertainment last week at CES 2023, and as the Times UK noted, “Long family journeys will never be the same…” One of the world’s largest consumer karaoke companies, Singing Machine, attracted the attention of top automotive brands...
Since Vivid Goliath partnered with Lansay for a relaunch of Sky Dancers in July 2022, sales of the re-versioned dolls from the ’90s: Fuchsia Fantasy, Miss Mint, Sapphire Sparkle, Coral Cutie and Purple-Licious, have been sky high. Coming off the back of a sell out success in autumn/winter 2022, Vivid Goliath is excited to be launching the new duo Sky Dancer and Pet series later this year.
Cepia and Mookie Toys are pleased to announce a new joint venture arrangement to market Cepia’s growing range of products in the UK, including VS World and POP Art Soft, as well as many exciting new lines to come. The two cos. have already co-operated on sales to certain key accounts in 2022, so the move represents an extension of that co-operation, including accounts previously handled through Two in 1 Direct.
Wow! Stuff is set to use Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg 2023 for its official launch of Nano Pods: a unique and patent-pending collectible. “Nano Pods are launching as the connectable collectible,” said Wow! Stuff’s head of R&D, Kenny McAndrew. “Using our ‘connectable collectible’ concept, we have nano-sized kids’ favourite superheroes and iconic character brands. Each hexagonal pod contains a miniature character...
UK's Wilko has announced in a letter to suppliers that it is to stop stocking toys in its stores but has offered some reassurance that it will offer seasonal/outdoor toys at the relevant time of the year. The news follows an announcement in October that the company had called in advisers as it explored cost-cutting and restructuring options in an effort to improve its balance sheet.
PetSmart Debuts Exclusive Fisher-Price Puppy Toy Line. The iconic brand's new dog toy offerings can only be found at PetSmart. The collection of toys for puppies was designed to provide “mental stimulation and physical activity throughout dogs’ developmental stages.” The collection includes Fisher-Price’s famous toys like the Rock-a-Stack and Xylophone in pet form, but also includes other noise-making plush items like...
Dungeons & Dragons open game license update delayed following fan backlash. Dungeons & Dragons fans were ready to roll for initiative against Hasbro after the company attempted to rewrite its two-decade-old open game license in order to boost revenue. On Friday, though, the Rhode Island-based toy maker postponed its update of its licensing terms in order to address mounting concern from the D&D community...
Just Play UK details everything readers need to know about the raft of new licensed toys coming to market in 2023 for the powerhouse pre-school brand Sesame Street. For generations, the classic, beloved franchise Sesame Street has been a firm favourite with pre-schoolers across the globe. The team at Just Play is therefore extremely excited to partner with Sesame Workshop on the development of an extensive...
Lucky Duck Games has inked a distribution agreement with Asmodee USA to provide exclusive distribution to mass market and e-commerce outlets (including Amazon, mass merchant ecomm sites, and sister company Miniature Market), and non-exclusive distribution to independent hobby game, toy, and gift stores. As an initial manifestation of the new agreement, Lucky Duck’s Chronicles of Crime will appear at Target...
The Nacelle Co. greenlights ‘Robo Force’ animated series. The Nacelle Co. is building a franchise. Following the debut of its first wave of Robo Force action figures last month at independent specialty toy stores across the U.S., the company greenlit a Robo Force TV series. First reported by Deadline, Robo Force received a straight-to-series order.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Lynnvander Studios will release 'Minotaur' into retail. Lynnvander Studios will release Minotaur, an 8-bit side scroll-inspired cooperative game, into retail on February 2, 2023. In this retro-style game, players have entered the labyrinth to retrieve magic medallions and are met with a series of challenges to overcome. They have been sealed into a maze that changes with every step they make.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak has topped 5 million sales. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak has topped 5 million sales on PC and Nintendo Switch since launching in June 2022. The DLC expands the world of Monster Hunter Rise, which is the sixth mainline installment in the long-running series, by adding a new overseas kingdom and asking players to take down three colossal monsters.
Modern Warfare II and God of War Ragnarok were 2022's most-downloaded PlayStation games. For NA, Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II was 2022's most-downloaded PlayStation game. In Sony's breakdown of the most-downloaded titles across its PlayStation systems, the shooter managed to secure the top spot for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. But in Europe, it was beaten out by FIFA 23...
Ubisoft's Anno 1800 reaches 2.5 million players. Now that it's the most successful game in Ubisoft's 25-year-old city builder series, Anno 1800 is the first entry in the series to be ported to consoles. Ubisoft revealed its city-builder strategy game Anno 1800 has reached 2.5 million players. The game originally released in 2019 and was referred to as the fastest-selling game in the franchise's 25-year history.
Gamers say goodbye to Google's Stadia as platform shuts. Google will shut down its Stadia cloud-gaming service in the UK on Thursday, as it issues refunds to gamers. Stadia was touted as a "Netflix for games" when it launched, in November 2019, allowing players to stream games online without a PC or console. The service will be inaccessible after 08:00 on 19 January in the UK, with gamers telling BBC News...
Highlighted Press Releases
LITTLE KIDS, INC. IS CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF NO-SPILL® BUBBLES, AND SO MUCH MORE IN 2023! From Wild New Ways To Collect And Play, To A First-Ever Technique For Egg Decorating, Little Kids Is Changing The Game With 8 New Toy Launches. Seekonk, MA (January 19, 2023) – It’s not just about bubbles at Little Kids anymore! Following up their innovative new foamy fun line of Fom Mania products from last year is a fun-dippin’, fist-pumpin’, ball-bouncin’, bubble-blastin’ line-up of new products across Little Kids’ Dippin’ Designs™, Junk Ball®, Ballz’n™, Föm Mania® and Fubbles® product lines!
WANT TO RAISE A GLOBAL CITIZEN? MULTILINGUAL KID’S PODCAST SERVICE IS THE PERFECT/PERFECTO/PARFAIT START!. France’s #1 children’s subscription podcast service, DISO (pronounced dee-ZOH) is now available to children worldwide in three languages: DISO in English, DISO en français and DISO en español for $3.99/month or $37.99/year on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Teaching our children to communicate and interact with people across diverse cultures and in other countries — including learning a second language as early as possible – is the first path to raising a global citizen. English, Spanish and French are among the top five most spoken languages worldwide. And research has shown that 50% of our ability to learn is developed by age four and another 30% by age eight.
From World Of EPI, Winner Of TOTY’s 2022 Doll Of The Year, Comes Newest 2023 Collections Of Multicultural Dolls For Boys and Girls To See Themselves Reflected In Their Toys. San Diego, CA (January 13, 2023) – There are some fresh faces in the toy aisle this Spring and they may look a little different. Children will be saying hello to Ian, Amari and Miles, the trio of 12” dolls that make up the Fresh Squad Platinum Collection available exclusively at Freshdolls.com. These authentic looking dolls with one-of-a-kind face sculpts, custom-blended skin tones and natural hair styles like afros and fades will get instant smiles from children and parents who see their own beauty reflected in these dolls.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Zara, Amazon and Wayfair recall clothing, toys and sofas amid choking and fire risks. A toy sold on Amazon has also been recalled amid concerns it poses a choking risk. The Onsinic Pea Plush toy which is listed as a Pea Stuffed Kawaii Pea Shaped Pillow Toy poses a "high" risk of choking. In the OPSS recall notice it says: "The product presents a risk of choking as parts of the product can detach at low force, producing....
Privacy advocates continue to warn that modern toys are a privacy mess. A decade or so ago there was a wave of warnings by privacy advocates about how modern toys had become major surveillance devices. Makers of voice recognition toys in particular had a nasty habit, researchers warned, of collecting everything your child says, poorly “anonymizing” the data (a meaningless term), then failing to secure that...
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
MGA Entertainment (MGA) has triumphed at the UK Toy Industry Awards, taking home Doll of the Year Award for its Rainbow High Spring 2022 collection. This marks the fifth consecutive win in the UK Toy Industry Awards for MGA – and the first Doll of the Year win for Rainbow High. Since launching in 2020, Rainbow High – a fashion doll and entertainment brand – has continued to go from strength-to-strength.
This year’s London Toy Fair Best Stand Awards were presented on the opening day to a show newcomer and a company exhibiting for just its second year. Best Stand awards have been given to two companies at this year’s Toy Fair, with the British Toy & Hobby Association‘s director general, Roland Earl, awarding the presentations
The BTHA is pleased to announce that two Golden Teddy Awards have been presented to two exceptional individuals, both of whom have contributed considerably to the industry over many years. Golden Teddy Awards were presented to Michele Norton (Norton PR) and Julie Pittilla (Pittilla PR) at a special reception during London Toy Fair.
The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) has announced its 25 Hero Toys for 2023, which have been selected by a panel of industry experts and are based on informed predictions for this year’s trends. The winners were unveiled at 9.50am on 24th January at this year’s Toy Fair, with broadcaster and presenter Anna Williamson on hand to congratulate the winners. The selected toys are aimed at a range of ages...
Squishmallows, Mattel and Smyths have triumphed at the 58th annual Toy Industry Awards, with the full list of winners announced on the eve of London Toy Fair. Squishmallows, Mattel and Smyths have scooped the big wins at this year’s Toy Industry Awards, taking home Toy of the Year (7.5" Squishmallow), Supplier of the Year and Toy Retailer of the Year respectively. Two BTHA Special Recognition Awards were also...
Opportunities ahead with Toymaster. Yogi Parmar, managing director and Paul Reader, marketing director, discuss the last 12 months and how Toymaster continues to support its members. Many toy retailers faced a tough 2022 but the UK’s indies held firm, once again demonstrating the adaptability, nimbleness and optimism that have seen the channel safely through some of the most challenging years businesses have faced in...
***the above posted after January 20th***
The UK independent toy buying group Toymaster has announced that its hugely popular annual show is now officially sold out. In a statement, the group said: “All the stands for the May Show have been filled and we thank our suppliers for their continued support. We have 100 suppliers exhibiting, offering all attending independent retailers a wide range of options to select the best ranges and products for their stores...
The NY NOW Winter 2023 Market returns to the Jacob Javits Center in NYC on February 5-8, 2023 – With an exciting visual rebranding, a reorganized show floor, modern activations from top-tier brands, an elevated food + beverage experience, and tech-powered activations, this Winter Market will be the gift + home event that NYC knows and loves, but bigger, better, and more grounded in what the future...
Netflix is heading to the 50th annual Annie Awards with a whopping 50 nominations for its animated films and TV series. The streamer’s content was shortlisted in categories including Best Feature, Best FX (Feature), Best Music (Feature) and Best Production Design (Feature). And its films Pinocchio (nine nominations), The Sea Beast (six) and Wendell & Wild (three) did especially well.
TokFEST takes place at the NEC on 25th and 26th March and promises a festival of opportunities for TikTok content creators and influencers. Character Options is to further increase its TikTok marketing in 2023 thanks to a major sponsorship deal with this year’s TokFEST show. Taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 25th and 26th March, TokFEST 2023 will be packed with live activities, talk panels, Q&As, live...
Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group is launching a new event for UK retailers – Licensing for Retail – in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International. The inaugural Licensing for Retail conference – Planning for the Future – will take place at Convene, London, on 19th April 2023. A limited number of free tickets are available to vetted retailers.
Toy World took a quick look at how things are shaping up in the final few weeks, and spoke to Christian Ulrich, spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG, about the international trade fair. Around 2,000 exhibitors from across the toy and games market will descend upon to the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre in early February, while the last day of January, the 31st, sees the PressPreview take place...
Warner Bros. Discovery Consumer Products UK & Ireland finally welcomed its licensee partners to The Ned yesterday to celebrate the successes of 2022, as well as offer a peek into what lies ahead this year. A short presentation gave attendees a glimpse into some of the exciting content which will be launching in 2023, Warner Bros’ centennial year. The company will be celebrating its 100 year milestone...
The latest trade fairs organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) recorded encouraging traffic and exhibitor participation, with buyers placing orders at the events. The organisers said the recent reopening of the Hong Kong-Mainland China border and resumption of international travel helped drive the response from buyers and exhibitors.
London Toy Fair is back for its 69th iteration in January, when it will once again draw crowds of visitors keen to discover the latest toys, games and hobby products from leading toy suppliers, innovative new ideas from young start-ups and developments in the pipeline for the coming months and years. If the content of this year’s huge Toy Fair Preview is anything to go by, everyone is very much looking forward to...
The Spielwarenmesse Toy Business Forum is welcoming 15 countries to present products within its International Pavilions, with Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and France joining for the first time this year. The 2023 Spielwarenmesse is coming right up, running from Feb. 1-5. The International Pavilions have been a feature of the toy fair for a while, and this year is no exception.
‘Dungeons and Dragons’ to kick off SXSW Film and TV. The SXSW Festival had a banner yr in 2022, with an opening-night film that still figures prominently in awards shows as the best: “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” So it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether the festival can repeat its stellar opening. The festival has announced its opening-night film of 2023 to be “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”
Elden Ring and Phil Spencer win at 2023's New York Game Awards. New York held its own video game awards show, and the list of winners is nothing short of eclectic. Run by the non-profit New York Video Game Critics Circle, the organization also notably provides scholarships and community outreach to New York school students.
The Play Date is the toy industry’s top spot to exhibit 2023 products to exclusive media guests. The Play Date is coming to New York City, and this is your prime chance to get New for ’23 products seen by an exclusive group of top media guests! Adventure Media & Events, publisher of the industry-leading media outlets The Toy Book and The Toy Insider, has joined forces with The Toy Association, the trade association...
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) has announced its nominees for the 26th D.I.C.E. Awards, with Santa Monica Studios’ God of War: Ragnarok leading the pack with 12 nominations. The annual video game award recognizes the best games of the year as chosen by the members of the AIAS, and the winners are chosen at an annual awards show hosted in Las Vegas.
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.
For those we lost in 2022, may they rest in peace and play.
Lloyd Morrisett - “Sesame Street” co-creator Lloyd Morrisett has died at age 93, Sesame Workshop announced Monday.
“Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with ‘Sesame Street’ only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact,” Sesame Workshop tweeted. “Sesame Street” was created by Morrisett, a psychologist who was vice president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and television producer Joan Ganz Cooney. They brought on Jim Henson and his Muppets to help bring the show to life. The first episode ran on November 10, 1969.
Morrisett was a co-founder of Children’s Television Workshop, now called Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street,” and served as its chairman of the board of trustees for more than 30 years before becoming a Lifetime Honorary Trustee, according to the Workshop.
Marilyn Maher - Longtime CFO of game and toy distributor ACD Distribution Marilyn Maher passed away in Henderson, Nevada on January 2 after a brief illness. She was 71. The Maher family had gathered to celebrate the holidays in Nevada where she and her husband planned to retire. Maher became Chief Financial Officer of ACD after the purchase of the company in 2007 by her son Robert Maher, Jr. (who is CEO, see "Interview with ACD’s New Owner"), and had served in the role since then. She and her husband, Robert Sr., have been splitting time between Middleton, Wisconsin (where ACD is headquartered) and their home in Oak Brook, Illinois since the acquisition. Earlier in her career Maher also served as Executive Director of the YWCA in Freeport, Illinois.
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Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories
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Toy Trade Monthly Issues
Adventure Media & Events (US)
The Play Date Is the Toy Industry’s Top Spot to Exhibit 2023 Products to Exclusive Media Guests (The Toy Book)
Funko Bitty Pops! to Debut at London Toy Fair (The Toy Book)
Spielwarenmesse 2023 Welcomes Ukraine to International Pavilions (The Toy Book)
ZAG Play Toy Division to Debut Inaugural Line at Spielwarenmesse (The Toy Book)
Hasbro Unveils Power Rangers 30th Anniversary Collection (The Pop Insider)
U.S. Retail Sales Spiked 7% in 2022, NRF Says (The Toy Book)
Kids2, Moonbug Team Up for New Baby Einstein Show, Toy Line (The Toy Book)
Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John Debuts Her First Book (The Toy Book)
aNb Media (US)
PlayMonster Appoints Steve Adolph as Chief Executive Officer
Genius Brands Launches New Business Enterprise, Genius Music
NY NOW & Bulletin Announce 2023 Winter Market: The NY NOW of the Future, with New PLAY USA Toy Destination
Disney Announces Season 2 Firebuds, SuperKitties, and Pupstruction
Popeye and Lefties Team Up for Affordable and Inclusive Apparel Collection
Godzilla Fashions Hit the Runway at Milan Fashion Week for Dhruv Kapoor Autumn/Winter 2023 Collection
Kids2, Hello Einstein Studios, and Moonbug Premiere STEAM-focused Baby Einstein Ocean Adventure Series
Learning Resources, Educational Insights, and hand2mind Offer $1.7M in Philanthropic and Community Support in 2022
Level Up with A Power-Up Band as Super Nintendo World Prepares to Open at Universal Studios Hollywood Feb 17
Big Potato and Buffalo Games agree new international distribution deal
Ravensburger’s first Disney Lorcana set to arrive at retail in August
Vivid Goliath to bring The Traitors Board Game to UK & Ireland
Licensing.biz Powered by Toyworld
IMC strengthens licensing roll out of Cry Babies Magic Tears
The Year of the Rabbit celebrated with new Peter Rabbit partnerships
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- Wizards of the Coast Backs Down on OGL (in Part)
- Critical Role Issues Ambiguous Response to 'D&D' OGL 1.1 Controversy
- Paizo Leads Game Company Revolt Against OGL Changes
- Ravensburger Reveals its First Deets on 'Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter' Product Line
- Lucky Duck Games Signs Distribution Deal with Asmodee USA
- Funagain Logistics to Close Up Shop
- Rolling for Initiative -- My Predictions for 2023
- Wizards of the Coast Outlines New OGL Revision Process
- Harness the Power of Moff Gideon and Dark Troopers in 'Star Wars: Legion'
- Knight Models Picks Up 'Game of Thrones' and 'House of the Dragon' Licenses
Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)
ZAG Play Toy Division will present its first toys lines at the Spielwarenmesse
Mattel Creations presents the figure Masters of the Universe Origins – Frog Monger
The Bugg Report (Australia)
Submissions for the 2023 Licensed Property of the Year Awards close Friday January 27, 2023
emoji Kart® Racer, The First Official emoji® Video Game, Races Onto PS4 and PS5
Video of the Week
From Electric Novelty to National Pastime: 123 Years of Lionel Trains | Tim Walsh's Where's the Fun from?
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