July 1 - 8, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
It's Bloomin’ Friday,
Lately it’s been nearly impossible for our Meme Team to deliver much levity, so this week’s meme is simply a Care Bear. Highland Park, IL is only a few minutes up the coast of Lake Michigan from POP HQ, and Monday’s tragedy directly affects many members of our readership and their families who were there when it happened. I’m heartbroken and speechless. I know we all care, and we can do more to show how much we care. Rick Woldenberg, Chairman/CEO at Learning Resources, Educational Insights and hand2mind posted the gofundme page for those who wish to contribute.
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues!
There are many reasons you need to include all your skills and expertise on your POP profile ... and, if you don't have a POP profile yet, what are you waiting for?
From a Major Cable Network Talent Booker: "We are working on a toy related docuseries. The series is focused on the entrepreneurial endeavors of our characters through interviews. Some of the topics we're interested in covering are the history of video games, action figures, toy designers, dolls/plush toys, building sets, puzzles and tech boosted toys. If any of these topics speak to you, please add the topics to your expertise in your POP Profile. We have discovered great contacts we are using in the series through POP and looking for more!"
"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies
"I am a long-time reader and champion of the Bloom Report. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry is unmatched and I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool."
- Jim Engle, President and Founder, Little Kids Inc.
"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.
Person of the Week - Genna Rosenberg – CEO of GennComm and Chief Ideator at GennComm
ImaGENNation, celebrating 10 Years in July 2022.
Hi, Genna! Thank you for sharing your anniversary with us! What has kept you motivated to stay in the toy industry?
I can’t believe I've been working in toys and licensing for over 25 years! I feel so lucky to have fallen into our industry just after college, and once I got a taste of how much fun it can be, I never looked back. I believe very strongly that toys play a powerful role in the lives of kids (and adults!). Whether it’s about unleashing creativity, harnessing focus, cultivating collaboration, learning to be OK playing alone, mastering skills for strategy, teamwork and problem solving; play heals, and play manifests itself in myriad ways to build on our whole selves. It gives us building blocks in every area of our lives. I love our industry and was proud to become an official Toy Association Genius of Play Ambassador, on a mission to share the Genius of Play wherever I can. I also feel passionate about the role the industry can play on social good and social impact and am working with intention in this area.
Hugs or Kisses?
I LOVE Hugs! My Uncle Lenny used to give the best Hugs; I can still imagine them today. And my dear friend and longtime colleague from GennComm Janis Van Tine also gives huge hugs that instantly make you feel as if her energy is passing into you. I try to give my kids big hugs to start their day on the right foot every morning before they leave for school. READ MORE...
Book Reviewer - Julia DeKorte
Toyland: The High Stakes Game of the Toy Industry
Toyland: The High Stakes Game of the Toy Industry, by Sydney Ladensohn Stern and Ted Schoenhaus, combines storytelling with an informative, in-depth exposition of everything to do with the toys and games industry. The storytelling nature encapsulates the two years of design that went into Tyco’s Dino-Riders: starting with the idea popping into Tyco Toys employee Jim Alley on the morning of December 26, 1985, all the way through the day Dino-Riders was first shown to the public: December 26, 1987, and the subsequent Toy Fair it was first shown at: February 8, 1988. Interspersed between the chapters that detail the design process and obstacles overcome by those on the Dino-Riders journey, Stern and Schoenhaus provide a comprehensive history of what they call Toyland: the world that is toys and games.
What is especially unique about Toyland is that it takes readers through the intricate design process: devising the idea and storyline, creating prototypes, presenting it to higher-ups and managers, production, marketing, and advertising, while also providing broader information about the toy industry as a whole. The big-picture perspective that gives readers information about many well-known toy companies and their products enhances the reader experience of rooting for Tyco’s Dino-Rider team, a sort of underdog in an industry that is controlled by the big names: Hasbro, Mattel, Coleco, and their affiliated toys: G.I. Joe, Barbie, Cabbage Patch Kids, etc.
3 Truths and a Lie of the Week - Gary Pyper
To be part of the game, all you need is a POP Profile with your Fun Facts completed and let us know! We'll do the rest!
Financial and Legal
Eaglemoss, known for its high-quality models, figures, collectibles, craft kits and more, and a licensee of some of the biggest properties around including Ghostbusters, Wizarding World, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Marvel, has reportedly entered administration. Greg Connell, managing director of InfolinkGazette, shared the news on LinkedIn, commenting: “Eaglemoss is one of the world’s biggest names in licensed ...
Hong Kong mulls quarantine-free travel plan. With Hong Kong’s new government having taken office two weeks ago, its health chief has been speaking publicly about how the region might relax the strict Covid-19 measures that have been in place since the start of the pandemic.
In June, business chambers expressed disappointment in former chief executive Carrie Lam’s refusal to ‘give in a single inch’...
Bandai Namco, the Japanese video game publisher behind titles including Pac-Man, Tekken and Elden Ring, has admitted that hackers accessed its systems and potentially made off with customer data. In a statement shared with TechCrunch, Bandai Namco said it detected “unauthorized access” to its systems by a third party on July 3, adding that it has since taken measures, such as blocking access to the affected...
The NY Times bought trivia game Wordle. Spotify is now getting in on the action and buying its music counterpart Heardle. The move sees the music streaming service and podcast producer move into interactive gaming for the first time. Heardle, which launched in March, is similar to Wordle but instead of trying to guess a word, contestants must try and guess a song within a few opening bars.
Peak shipping season is about to begin and the West Coast ports are still breaking records, according to the latest edition of the monthly Global Port Tracker issued by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. The news comes as labor talks continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.
Peachstate Hobby Distribution (PHD) increases global presence with the acquisition of Blackburn-based Bliss Distribution. PHD has announced the acquisition of Bliss Distribution Limited, a leading UK-based distributor of trading cards, toys, games, and collectibles to businesses across the UK, the European Union and the globe. PHD is a distributor of sports cards, entertainment cards, collectible card games, board games...
***The above posted after tBR started sending July 8th***
Amazon is under investigation in the UK over concerns that the company is giving an unfair advantage to certain sellers on its marketplace. The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which follows a similar probe launched by the European Commission in May, will centre on how Amazon decides which products are given preferential listing spots.
As many in the U.S. settled in for the long holiday weekend, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and more than 150 local, state, and national trade associations — including The Toy Association — co-signed a letter delivered to the White House. In the letter dated July 1, 2022, the coalition of trade associations urged President Biden and his administration — incl. Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Dept of Transportation...
Smyths has fought off fierce competition to take over PicWic Toys’ French operation, creating the largest toy retailer in Europe in the process. The PicWic brand was initially created in 1977 by Stéphane Mulliez, first cousin of Gérard Mulliez, the founder of Auchan. The chain took over the running of the French Toys R Us stores in 2019. The group, which was owned by Romain Mulliez and the American fund Cyrus Partners...
Google settles class action lawsuit with $90 million fund. Funds to be divided among US developers who earned $2 million or less in annual revenue through Google Play from 2016 - 2021. As part of a class-action lawsuit settlement, Google has agreed to pay $90 million to small US developers. As reported by Reuters, the original lawsuit was filed in a federal court in San Francisco, with developers arguing that ...
South Africa tightens video game restrictions and classification. South Africa has introduced new guidelines regarding gaming in the country, recommending that children under ten should only ever play when supervised by an adult. The new rules, drafted by the South African Film and Publication Board, add that there is no such thing as a game that's appropriate for all ages, Business Insider South Africa reported.
Activision Blizzard employees to walk out again on July 21. Activision Blizzard employees will be staging another walkout on July 21, both in response to the company's response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and what it is describing as "internal threats" that workers still face even after the company settled a high-profile lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
UK regulator investigating Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition. Competition and Markets Authority sets September 1 deadline to determine if deal might be anti-competitive. The Competition and Markets Authority is officially investigating Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the UK regulator confirmed today.
Dutch politicians call for stricter loot box regulations and potential ban. The Netherlands could further regulate loot boxes in video games after multiple political parties rallied behind a motion that might see the controversial mechanic outlawed. As noted by VGC and ResetEra, the motion would need to pass through the senate before loot boxes are subject to any new regulations, but the fact it already has the support...
Spain set to restrict the use of loot boxes in video games. The Spanish government has announced its intent to regulate the use of loot boxes in video games, with the intent to curtail "thoughtless, compulsive or even pathological" consumer behavior among players. The legislation being proposed by Consumer Minister Alberto Garzon will apparently be part of regulation targeting digital items that have financial value...
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***The above posted after tBR strated sending July 8th***
GameStop has terminated the employment of its Chief Financial Officer and is cutting staff in moves to increase profitability after a big increase in expenses, reduction in gross margin, and a much bigger loss in its fiscal Q1 ended June 30
Sainsbury’s said that sales fell 4.5%, excluding fuel, in the quarter to June 25th, with general merchandise sales plunging 11.2%. The company said trading was in line with expectations and its underlying pre-tax profit guidance remained unchanged at between £630m and £690m.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
Comic stores enjoyed massive, typically double-digit increases in sales across the board in 2021. The good news for the first five months of 2022? Things are still increasing, albeit at a slower pace.
Some Surprising Good News: Bookstores Are Booming and Becoming More Diverse. More than 300 bookstores have opened in the past couple of years — a revival that is meeting a demand for “real recommendations from real people.”
***The above posted after July 8th***
License Global Releases ‘Top Global Licensors Report 2022,’ Indicating Signs of Industry-Wide Recovery. Total revenue for licensed consumer products at retail reported by the 88 licensors featured accounts for $260.8 billion, with 40 of those brand licensors bringing in at least $1 billion individually.
Though the cost of living is escalating, the appetite for tech toys and gadgets remains just as high, as Sam Giltrow discovers.
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Will Hasbro’s 3D Printed Action Figures Kick-Off Mass Customization? Circa 2014, the world was being told by people like this author that 3D printing was ushering in an era of mass customization for consumers. That is, anyone would soon be able to purchase products tailored specifically to them… soon. While there were numerous attempts to realize this marketing vision, most didn’t really pan out.
Is India The Next China For Toy Manufacturing is quite obviously NO! – it is unlikely that we will ever see again a single toy manufacturing hub become as dominant as China became between the 1990s up until a few years ago. However, India is set to become a very important toy manufacturing hub due to some fundamental underlying strengths which we will go into…
The “Learnification” of Gaming. The “gamification of learning” is a common theme in education and edtech, but as we observe the emerging metaverse at Dubit, we’re thinking about the “learnification of gaming.” “Gamification of learning” leverages game design features and mechanics to deliver a curriculum in a playful way. By contrast, today teens and even tweens are creating games and experiences around the ideas...
Just keep your returns: Stores weigh paying you not to bring back unwanted items. The chaotic mix of record fuel prices and an unending supply chain crisis have retailers considering the unthinkable: Instead of returning your unwanted items, just keep them. In recent weeks, some of the biggest store chains, including Target, Walmart, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and others have reported...
***The above posted after July 8th***
John Baulch, Toy World (UK) - One step ahead of the competition …it’s the Friday Blog! There has been a lot of activity in the toy retail channel this week, with interesting developments both on and off the record – some encouraging news, some not so positive. Let’s dive in and see what has been occurring… First up, there was the huge news that Smyths Toys has acquired the French toy retail chain PicWic Toys.
The science behind Thor's hammer. According to comic book legend, the hammer of Thor, Mjölnir, can only be lifted by those who are deemed worthy enough to wield it. Now, with Thor: Love And Thunder due for release, this has inevitably led to questions. What makes someone ‘worthy’? How does the hammer stop the likes of the Hulk from lifting it? And if even the Hulk cannot lift it, how much must it weigh?
Retro-futurism for X11, a toy store by TOMO Design. For some time now we have been seeing beautiful Chinese stores whose interior design is inspired by retro-futurism. The new X11 Toy Collection Store, a well-known toy brand, located in Xi'an in central China and designed by the TOMO Design studio, has been conceived as an airship, carrying young customers to another dimension.
Hollywood Compassion Coalition (HCC) is thrilled to announce the launch of its Research Corner, a dedicated compilation of global studies that breaks down the effects media and entertainment have on society. HCC is a nonprofit organization and entertainment industry movement that inspires positive social change founded in compassion. The Research Corner is a collection of summaries that highlight ...
Steve Reece's Toy Industry Journal - I recently ran a poll on LinkedIn. The question wording was as follows: “Has high inflation reduced consumer demand for toys & games in 2022 so far”? The results of the survey are now in, & I can reveal that 47% of respondents answered ‘Yes definitely’, and 32% answered ‘Yes, a little’. So in total 79% of respondents agreed that inflation was having at least somewhat of an impact on...
A TikTok trend that has stylish, banana-toting teens showing up in droves to see Minions: The Rise of Gru has become something of a double-edged sword for the movie theatre business. Some theatres have embraced the phenomenon as good, innocent fun that helped the children's animated movie break U.S. box office records with its massive July Fourth opening weekend.
Kinder launches toys designed by Israeli art students. Two designs by Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design students Omar Yitzhakov and May Myerson, a dragon and a sloth, have already been manufactured and marketed worldwide. What began as a routine practice in one of Bezalel's industrial design courses quickly turned into cooperation with the international company, with the toys to be distributed in products worldwide.
Consumers urged to ‘shop small’ for Independents’ Day Weekend. Just prior to Independents’ Day, research suggests amount of indies on British high streets has grown for first time in five years. In partnership with Local Rewards, the organiser of Independents’ Day UK – a campaign that encourages shoppers to use the goods and services of independent businesses – is encouraging consumers to make an extra effort to ‘shop small’ this weekend from 2nd-3rd July.
John Baulch, Toy World UK - On a positive note…it’s the Friday Blog! Well, it finally caught me – I landed back home on Monday after a lovely and long overdue holiday only to test positive for Covid. Sadly, my delusions of super-immunity have been shattered – it seems my body will no longer be required for medical science experiments. More importantly, it meant that I wasn’t able to attend this week’s BTHA Industry Day...
Why games give some people motion sickness and what you can do about it. Around 30 seconds into playing Doom Eternal, I’m feeling dizzy, my eyes are getting heavy, and my stomach is in knots. I can’t savor the sight of any pink guts spilling across my screen or the clamoring heavy metal soundtrack because I already want to puke. But I knew this was coming. I, like many other poor, sensitive souls, get motion sick...
Why everyone’s suddenly obsessed with a two-year-old game about action figures. Over the past week, the gaming world has been obsessed with an indie shooter coming to Xbox, treating it with the fervor (and wildfire social media metrics) of a forthcoming AAA tentpole. But here’s the weird part: This game’s already out. It’s been playable on multiple platforms for years. You may have heard of Hypercharge: Unboxed...
History and Nostalgia
Do you ever wonder who first thought of Lego Minifigures? The earliest Lego minifigures were much more like the building bricks that Lego is famous for — they were made up of three non-articulating pieces in the shape of a person. They didn’t have facial expressions but were compatible with a few different hats.
Long before Frank Oz brought many Muppets to life, his father, an amateur Dutch puppeteer, made a Hitler marionette as an act of defiance. He buried it during the war. The puppet stands 20 inches tall, hand-painted and carved out of wood, its uniform tattered and torn. But for all it has endured over more than 80 years — buried in a backyard in Belgium at the outset of World War II, dug up after the war and taken...
Urban Spelunking: Vintage playground toys discovered at Neeskara School. The other day I stopped at Neeskara Elementary School, 1601 N. Hawley Rd., to peek at the Green and Healthy Schoolyard Redevelopment Project that's underway. Later, I learned that the work has turned up some cool old playground toys.
***The above posted after July 8th***
Do you ever wonder who first thought of Playing Cards? The origin of playing cards is highly debated: some scholars think they were developed in China in the 9th century, while others believe they were developed alongside tile games like dominos or mahjong. Still others think that playing cards originated as “play money” for early gambling games. However, the earliest confirmed record of playing cards appears in a ...
Barbie’s Keys to Fame Game from Mattel (1963). In the Barbie’s Keys to Fame Game from Mattel, players explored career aspirations. Two to 6 players collected points while vying to complete one or more of 8 possible Barbie career choices (including one selected as their dream career). The spin-and-move game featured a round game board with a center spinner, 8 pockets, and holders for 8 gold keys to fame.
Skedoodle from Hasbro. In 1979, Hasbro released Skedoodle, a drawing and design machine that combined features from Spirograph and Etch A Sketch. The toy’s design featured a curved, circular golden view screen and control stick, all housed in a break-resistant red plastic case. Junior artists ages 4 and up would move the control stick in any direction to draw freehand lines, curves, and rudimentary shapes.
The Toy Manufacturers of the U.S.A. The Toy Manufacturers of the U.S.A. was founded in 1916, resulting from a meeting of more than 45 American toy makers in New York City. Later renamed the Toy Industry Association, one of the its key organizers and its first president was A.C. Gilbert, founder of the A.C. Gilbert Company and inventor of the Erector set.
The Nacelle Co. continues the rapid expansion of its toy and consumer products division with products for kids and collectors alike. Following the recent debut of its kid-focused Garden Surprise collectibles line, the company dropped the curtain on its next brand: Big Bad Battle Caps. The new line includes a range of products designed to capture the spirit of bottle cap games, but with a fresh, modern look.
Bluey, the Emmy Award-winning sensation that has won over families worldwide, will make its Season Three debut on August 10th on Disney+ in the U.S. and around the world. Created and written by Joe Brumm and produced by the multiple Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and BBC Studios, the new season of the breakout hit series will be split into two parts.
Psyonix in collaboration with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and Aston Martin, is celebrating 60 yrs of James Bond with new and returning James Bond-themed content in Rocket League available beginning July 13, on all platforms! 007’s Aston Martin DBS is making its debut in Rocket League and will include 007’s Aston Martin DBS Engine Audio, 007’s Aston Martin DBS Wheels, a Reel Life Decal, and ...
Funko Games invites players to help their favorite Disney and Pixar characters save a world of adorable chaos in their new expandable game, Disney Kingdomania. Stylized after classic pixelated games and designed with Funko’s iconic collectability in mind, Disney Kingdomania is the first game to combine the thrill of blind bag toys with characters from multiple Disney and Pixar universes to create a rare mashup...
World of EPI (Entertainment, Publishing and Inspiration), a leading multicultural doll and toy manufacturer, has announced a new master licensing partnership with Rock The Bells, the global lifestyle platform elevating Hip-Hop culture from its roots to modern day. Founded in 2018 by LL Cool J, Rock The Bells focuses on content, experiences, and commerce that honor the timeless elements of Hip-Hop ...
Hasbro is partnering with the NY Times, which owns the popular online word puzzle, to create "Wordle: The Party Game." The new board game "delivers classic Wordle gameplay, but now in an all new way," the companies said in a press release. Hasbro approached the New York Times to make a party game after noticing how popular Wordle had become online, according to Hasbro Gaming's SVP and GM Adam Biehl.
Toronto’s Headspinner Productions has partnered with Australian musician Emma Watkins to develop and produce a new preschool series called Emma Memma: Sing. Dance. Sign. Watkins, who was a member of famed children’s group The Wiggles for more than a decade, will star in the series and serve as an executive producer under her newly established banner Apricot Sea.
Master thief Carmen Sandiego is still on the loose, but WildBrain has captured global linear distribution rights to the 2D-animated series produced by HarperCollins Productions for Netflix, and has already signed a major broadcast deal. Disney has bought the first four seasons (33 x 30 minutes) to air on its linear channels in Japan and France. Caroline Tyre, WildBrain’s VP of global sales and rights, says her team is...
Monster High fans have some scary cool news to howl about today. Nickelodeon and Mattel have dropped the voice cast for their upcoming original animated series Monster High. The 26-episode series follows the teenage kids of famous monsters, including Clawdeen Wolf, Draculaura, and Frankie Stein, as they attend high school and embrace their differences to discover who they are.
Nelvana is taking its first step into the web3 world, partnering with New York-based TIME Studios to co-produce two NFT-inspired animated series. Based on the work of Pablo Stanley, who is also designing a companion NFT collection, Robotos follows a group of friends who go on fantastical adventures in a world set in the distant future
Heathside Trading, with its Khadou brand, has secured a new deal with Rilakkuma for the release of toys and collectibles based on the Japanese Kawaii brand from San-X Japan. Rilakkuma launches a second season, ‘Rilakkuma’s Themepark Adventure’, on Netflix on 25th August 2022 and Heathside plans to capitalise on this by launching mini blind packs, mini plush backpack clips and keychains to the market this autumn.
Miko 3 is partnering up with Paramount Consumer Products to bring animated series such as Spongebob Squarepants, PAW Patrol, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to its kids’ robot Miko 3. “We’re excited to welcome beloved Paramount stories and characters to Miko’s ever-expanding kids content platform,” says Sneh Vaswani, Miko co-founder and CEO.
King Features Syndicate and Totem, a platform for fans and collectors worldwide to express their passions for collectibles in an authentic and accessible way, have announced the officially licensed Popeye digital collection. The deal was negotiated by MJA Licensing, King Features’ agent out of France.
YouTube has ordered a new cooking competition show for kids ages six to 12 called The Big Tiny Food Face-Off from Sony Pictures Television’s B17 Entertainment. The six x 20-minute series jumps on the trend of making and eating really small pieces of food, like tiny cinnamon rolls or sandwiches. In each episode, three tween/teen contestants compete to win and take home a trophy, with chef influencer...
The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific has inked an agreement with South Korean music company HYBE to distribute five new original programs on Disney+, including two exclusive series featuring iconic K-pop group BTS. The three projects that have been announced so far are concert film BTS Permission to Dance on Stage—LA, docuseries BTS Monuments...
Breaking Games, an award-winning game publisher and manufacturer, announced that it will publish the tabletop game for Luck, the animated film produced by Skydance Animation for Apple Original Films, in a deal brokered by IMG. While pre-orders are available via this link, the game officially launches later this month. Luck premieres globally August 5 on Apple TV+.
MATTEL, JANE GOODALL INSTITUTE PARTNER TO LAUNCH SUSTAINABLE BARBIE DOLL AND CAREER OF THE YEAR TEAM. Mattel is focused on making sustainability a top concern. As part of ‘“The Future of Pink is Green” Barbie brand campaign, the toy manufacturing company is launching a certified CarbonNeutral Inspiring Women doll and a 2022 Career of the Year Eco-Leadership Team.
Fresh Monkey Fiction has teamed up with designer and toy historian Jason Geyer aka ToyOtter Toys for the Longbox Heroes Collection. The new range of retro-inspired, 4.5-inch action figures introduces a host of characters from creator-owned comic books into the form factor made famous by the Mattel and Kenner superhero figures of the 1980s.
Universal Pictures Content Group has acquired all French distribution rights for Ukrainian CG-animated feature film Mavka: The Forest Song, produced by Film.UA Group’s Animagrad Studios. Universal will dub Mavka into French and release it to theaters when it’s delivered in Q4 2022. Film.UA has distribution deals set up for the family-friendly pic in more than 20 territories to date, with partners including Germany’s...
Cartoon Network, HBO Max and Lion Forge Animation have teamed up to adapt a Dark Horse/YouNeek Studios graphic novel series called Iyanu: Child of Wonder into a same-name kids TV show. The 2D-animated series will tell a superhero tale inspired by the history of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, following a teen girl who must discover the secrets behind her new powers and save her people from a curse...
Kerry Phelan of Genius Brands International is promoting new properties and pursuing new partnerships. GENIUS BRANDS INT'L exhibited at this year’s Licensing Expo in LV. There, Genius Brands debuted two new properties, “Shaq’s Garage” and the Stan Lee celebrity brand. Kerry Phelan, chief brand officer, Genius Brands Int'l, spoke to License Global about her licensing journey and the company’s future plans in licensing.
Canadian pubcaster TVOKids has launched several new originals and acquisitions to keep kids entertained over the summer on its linear net, YouTube, TVOkids.com and smart TV streaming services. Preschool series Curious Crafting (40 x three minutes) from Canada’s Riverbank Pictures (How Do You Feel?) premiered on July 1 and features a rotating cast of toddlers making crafts with common household items.
Toronto’s Wildling Pictures has secured the rights to produce an animated series based on a collection of Professor Goose Debunks Fairy Tales picture books written by Franklin the Turtle author Paulette Bourgeois. The Snoopy Show writer Jocelyn Geddie has been tapped to develop the concept with Wildling Pictures’ Matt Code (Mary Goes Round), and Natalie Urquhart (Rogue Bridal) and Julie Strifler (Easy Land)...
Netflix and HK-based Playmates Toys are bringing together the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with characters from live-action series Stranger Things in a new action figure line for kids ages eight and up. These Stranger Things Upside Down Remix two-pack toys feature one Turtles figure (dressed in ’80s gear) and one character from Netflix’s smash-hit show. In the first wave, launching exclusively in US Target stores...
***The above was posted after tBR started sending on July 8th***
Mighty Jaxx’s Stranger Things 4 collection will tie in with the adventures of the characters who traverse between the human world and the Upside Down, and the first figure of the collection, this season’s newest villain Vecna, launches globally tomorrow (9th July). The 8-inch vinyl art toy (5-inch detachable Vecna figure with 3-inch set base) is sculpted into Vecna’s humanoid stance, ready to prey on troubled town residents...
Brazilian cartoonist Mauricio de Sousa is bringing his characters back to TV in a new live-action series for HBO Max called Franklin and Milena in Search of Science. Cartoon Network is co-producing the show with Brazil-based prodcos Biônica Filmes and Mauricio de Sousa Produções, and it’s inspired by two science-loving characters from De Sousa’s long-running comic book series Monica’s Gang...
Chick-Fil-A is partnering with Diane Alber to include five bestselling titles from her Scribble book series for the 2022 Kids meal book promotion. Alber is a prolific picture book author and illustrator whose titles regularly top Amazon’s best-selling lists. Her slate of over 50 children’s books address social-emotional learning topics and are on track to sell three million units in 2022.
The LEGO Group has announced the latest addition to the LEGO Super Mario Adult product line: the biggest LEGO Bowser to date, built from an incredible 2,807 pieces. LEGO Super Mario The Mighty Bowser building kit is a highly detailed recreation of the King of the Koopas, complete with controllable movements and the ability to launch a fireball, reflective of Bowser’s huge and powerful features.
SDCC: ALL ELITE WRESTLING TAPS IN DIAMOND SELECT TOYS FOR NEW COLLECTIBLES. Despite offering collectibles for a wide variety of fandoms — from Marvel and Star Wars to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Green Hornet — Diamond Select Toys (DST) is still entering new territories. This time, the merch maker is jumping into the ring, partnering with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) for a new selection of collectibles...
Italian entertainment and licensing powerhouse, Rainbow, has signed a master toy licensing deal, in the UK and Eire, with Flair GP for Iginio Straffi’s reimagined animated TV series of the children’s classic, Pinocchio and Friends. The series, which launched on CBeebies at the end of May, has got off to a fantastic start and early indications show that its audience is growing week on week, with a growing fan base...
UK broadcaster Channel 5 is adding some new flavors to its Milkshake! preschool block, mixing new commissions and acquisitions in with a handful of series renewals. The first greenlight is for stop-motion animated comedy Tweedy & Fluff (40 x five minutes), whose yarn-made main characters met on the workshop floor of a tweed mill.
BBC Children’s has revealed that it has a new slate of programming in development for CBeebies, CBBC and BBC iPlayer. These greenlights follow the British pubcaster’s recent announcement of plans to shut down CBBC and other linear channels at some point over the next few yrs, intending to reach more viewers through the iPlayer service. So Awkward: Kids Camp from Channel X North is an 80-minute spinoff...
Bonkers Toys is delivering new influencer-based collectibles. The toy co. is teaming up with LankyBox, the most viewed YouTube gaming duo in the world, to launch the pair’s first retail toy line. The channel stars Justin Kroma and Adam McArthur, along with a cast of animated characters, including Boxy, Rocky, and Foxy. It receives more than 1.5 billion video views per month, along with a total of 25 billion lifetime views.
Sakar International and Mojang Studios inked a deal to bring Minecraft into the wheeled goods category this fall. The new collection includes scooters and skateboards inspired by the wildly popular video game. The full range draws from the familiar green and neutral hues that players know from the game while incorporating game lingo, scenery, and characters into the designs.
Global kids and family entertainment major Toonz Media Group is partnering with Leadbelly Productions to co-produce a brand-new animation property titled Creepy Candy. Developed by multi-award-winning creator and founding president of Leadbelly Productions, Alan Jude Summa, Creepy Candy is targeted at children ages 4-11. Season one of the 2D animation show will include 26 episodes of 3 minutes and...
Peppa Pig is back for another turn on the Toniebox with the launch of a George Tonie featuring 10 stories from the hit TV show. “Peppa Pig is a global phenomenon and has played such an integral role in children’s lives for the best part of 20 years so it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to host such iconic content on the Toniebox,” commented Pinky Laing, partnership and PR manager at Tonies.
J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot and UK studio NoneMore Productions are joining forces to produce a new animated short called The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse for the BBC. This adaptation of artist and writer Charlie Mackesy’s book of the same name will debut on BBC One and iPlayer in time for Christmas. The hand-drawn animated film, which targets families but isn’t holiday-themed...
Bluey to launch second series on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer. Popular pre-school animation Bluey is set to receive its UK free-to-air premiere on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer next month. After its first series proved a hit with UK fans, popular global animation Bluey is to release its second series on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer on 1st August. The first series has been streamed more than 97m times on BBC iPlayer since its launch on iPlayer...
Casdon and Joseph Joseph cook up success together. Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Phil Cassidy, MD at Casdon, as well as the Joseph brothers themselves – Antony and Richard – to find out more. At the start of 2022, role-play specialist Casdon announced a new licensing deal with the aspirational homewares brand Joseph Joseph. The new partnership has seen Casdon develop a range of beautiful new toys featuring...
Monopoly: The Dragon Prince is available now from The Op. Monopoly: The Dragon Prince puts players and fans of the original Netflix animated series on a path for the most virtue, and it's available now from The Op. Players can encounter and interact with characters of the fantasy series, including Ezran, Zym, Callum and Rayla. Fans will find these friends, other allies and adversaries as the 26 properties...
Cryptoys Announces Mattel’s Masters Of The Universe As First And Only Brand To Launch On Its New NFT Platform. Cryptoys, the revolutionary new NFT (non-fungible token) platform that combines toys, gaming and entertainment to create an expansive playable universe, today announced that the iconic Masters of the Universe will be the first brand to launch on its NFT platform this fall as part of its global...
Sega Europe Ltd, Rubies Masquerade Co. launch expanded Sonic the Hedgehog costume collection. Game developer, SEGA Europe Ltd and Halloween costume designer, Rubies Masquerade Co. have teamed up to launch a redesigned collection of Sonic the Hedgehog costumes for families in Europe. The collection will modernize and celebrate the iconic “Blue Blur” with the introduction of more costume...
Zynga, CSR Racing 2 introduce 'American Road Trip 2'. Zynga, a wholly-owned publishing label of Take-Two Interactive, has announced that its subsidiary NaturalMotion will host "American Road Trip 2" in" CSR Racing 2 (CSR2)," its hyper-real drag racing game. In the expanded new installment of the series, players will join a coast-to-coast U.S. tour celebrating American car culture and racing spirit, which ends in October.
Funko, Warner Bros. partner for Hanna-Barbera Digital Pop! Funko is partnering with Warner Bros. to launch Hanna-Barbera Digital Pop!, an upcoming collection of NFTs based on Hanna-Barbera’s characters including Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest and more. Funko Digital Pop! NFTs are digital collectibles featuring Funko's stylized figures.
People of Play
MTV Networks alum Gabrielle Howard has been appointed creative development manager at Fred Rogers Productions. Howard, who served as a development consultant for the Pittsburgh-based prodco, was recently hired on full-time. Reporting to CCO Ellen Doherty, she will manage the company’s production slate and work with creatives to shepherd projects through the development process.
Carlos Biern joins the DeAPlaneta Entertainment team as Content and Distribution Director of the Kids & Family div. Reporting directly to Diego Ibañez, Chief Brand Officer, Carlos Biern will accelerate the company’s trajectory, enlarge the DeAPlaneta Kids & Family portfolio of quality animated series with original productions, coproductions and acquisitions and position the brand on TV channels and OTT platforms globally.
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Bill Nichols and Peter Cmiel of Blip Toys to the show. On the show, the Blip Toys duo explains how some decisions they made early in their careers guided them to where they are today. The conversation veers toward the success of the Squinkies collectible line and the Zoom-O Disc Launcher.
A 16-year Nintendo of America veteran has unlocked a new level inside the corporate castle. Devon Pritchard was named as EVP of sales, marketing, and communications, after serving as the acting executive in that role since last November. “Devon’s years of leadership at Nintendo give her a deep understanding of our people, our products, and our fans,” says Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser. customers.”
A recent partnership between LA’s 3Pas Studios and Encantos has gone a big step further, with Encantos announcing today that its co-founder Steven Wolfe Pereira has been named chief business officer at 3Pas. The move will see Wolfe Pereira vacate the CEO role he’s held at Encantos since 2019. But he’ll remain in place as chairman of the kid-focused tech company, while co-founder Susie Jaramillo takes over as CEO.
***The above posted after July 8th***
Light Fund celebrates Channel swim success. Despite these challenges, both teams acheived their goal. Team High Hopes (Stephen Gould, Mark Kingston, Rhys Fleming, Anna Hewitt, Anne Bradford, Simon Gresswell and reserve Terry Lamb) touched French soil first in 14 hours and 56 minutes. Meanwhile, Team Optimist (Ian Down, Eion Wallace, Katie Price, Jason Goonery, Mark Bezodis, Kevin Langstaff and reserve Tasmyn Knight) finished its crossing in 15 hours 24 minutes. (Rachel Griffin - sounds like your type of fundraiser!)
Wattpad Webtoon Studios has appointed veteran network executive David Madden as head of global entertainment. Reporting to president Aron Levitz and based in LA, Madden will oversee development, production and sales for the studio’s content slate, which includes TV, features and animation. Wattpad Webtoon has been making a name for itself in the YA space lately with Netflix adapting one of the stories...
Kristen Finney has been named EVP of content curation at Disney’s International Content and Operations group, a new division that was established earlier this year to oversee the expansion of Disney+ and ensure its content meets local requirements and audience demands.
Finney will head up content strategy across EMEA, LatAm, APAC and India, with a focus on building out local programming and hiring a team...
WildBrain CPLG Adds Consumer Products Agency Rights for Peanuts Gang Across Asia Pacific... as part of a series of key hires to continue building leadership and expertise among the local teams, WildBrain CPLG has appointed industry veteran Ben Peace as VP, APAC, to spearhead strategy and growth in the region (excluding Greater China). Peace will be based out of WildBrain’s Singapore offices.
Yeti Farm Creative has restructured its management team, with partner Jay Surridge as Chief Creative Officer, responsible for shepherding in a new production and development slate, and tapping Stephanie Marcott (formerly of Method Studios, Framestore, DNEG) as international recruiter to manage talent acquisition. Known for its proprietary 2D Sweet Tweets series along with its production of 2D animation...
(PlayMonster) The Wisconsin-based toy and game maker behind Yeti in My Spaghetti, 5 Second Rule, Snap Ships, and Koosh appointed Amy Graczyk to the new role of chief people officer. In her new role, Graczyk, who joins the company from Vericity Inc., will oversee setting and implementing strategic HR direction in people, culture, organizational structure, diversity, and inclusion across PlayMonster’s global teams.
Nickelodeon Animation Names New VP Of Development. Nathan Schram has been promoted from director to VP at the studio, while Shannon Friedrichs-Higdon moves up to SVP of content and brand strategy for kids and family at parentco Paramount Global. On the content side of the media company’s business, Nathan Schram has been elevated from director to VP of development at Nickelodeon Animation...
LEARNING EXPRESS TOYS & GIFTS NAMES LAUREN DERSE CEO. Learning Express Toys & Gifts is in the midst of a leadership transition, but it’s keeping the business in the family. Learning Express founder Sharon DiMinico marked the 35th anniversary of the company — the leading franchisor of specialty toy stores in the U.S. — by passing the torch to her daughter, Lauren Derse, who takes on the role of CEO.
Nick Young has joined London’s Bright Little Labs as COO, exiting his role as head of IP and partnerships at WildBrain Spark to make the move. Bright Little Labs is an edutainment-focused company that creates books, animated projects, apps and games for kids ages three to 11, promoting STEM and lessons about the digital world. Warner Bros. Discovery is among its investors.
Walter Wick. Meet the photographer behind the 'I Spy' books that captured millions of readers' imaginations. Since 1992, the "I Spy" riddle-book series has captured the imagination of millions of readers. Part of what made these books so magical is that all of the images were created with real objects.
Bandai UK welcomes new commercial manager. Bandai UK has announced the appointment of Leanne Royce as commercial manager of its Collector and Hobby Channel. The new position has been created to support the exponential growth of the division, a category that currently continues to flourish within the toy industry. Bringing a wealth of experience from her 20 years in the industry, following roles at Tomy, Flair...
Nigel Kay joins Creative Kids as head of Sales, UK. Creative Kids UK continues its expansion with the appointment of Nigel Kay, who will oversee sales across all channels. Nigel Kay is a well-known figure within UK retail, having worked in the toy industry for over 10 years. He joins the company following his most recent role as sales director UK & Ireland at Bandai, having previously also held senior sales roles at Hasbro. .
Skillz hires Blackstone executive, Jason Roswig, as President and Chief Financial Officer. Skillz, a mobile games platform, has announced veteran finance executive Jason Roswig has been hired as the company’s president and chief financial officer. Roswig will join the company on Aug. 8, from Blackstone, where he served as managing director. He will replace the current Skillz chief financial officer, Ian Lee, who is stepping down...
Companies and Brands
Melissa & Doug is taking supply chain issues into its own hands. The Connecticut-based toymaker is opening a distribution facility to support its growth and continue the company’s effort to be more environmentally friendly. The 500,000 square-foot space, which is expected to expand even further to 750,000 square feet by 2026, is located near the New Jersey Turnpike in New Jersey.
Wild Republic is pleased to announce the grand opening of a brand new, immersive showroom in Las Vegas at the World Market Center. The new showroom was designed to emulate an art gallery versus a toy shop, connecting people, the planet, and animals through immersive experiences. The new Wild Republic Showroom will officially open its doors on July 23, 2022, in conjunction with the Last Vegas Market.
Jazwares, a leading global toy company, has unveiled Big Fat Yarn, unique craft kits featuring an innovative new way to knit. Jazwares has also debuted its exciting Fall 2022 lineup which is poised to have the hottest, must-have toys of this upcoming holiday season. Knitting and crafting have recently surged in popularity, and Big Fat Yarn unwraps the trend with do-it-yourself finger knitting kits. With no tools required...
Disney has selected 6 cos. for its annual accelerator, highlighting the co’s keen interest in AR, NFTs and AI characters. The program, which starts this week, will connect executives from the selected tech companies with Disney’s sr leadership team members, who will offer guidance and mentorship. Disney will also explore developing new technologies and storytelling methods with these companies to increase innovation...
Henson, A Kids Company About To Spark Discussion About Tough Issues. The Jim Henson Company has partnered with Oregon’s A Kids Company About to co-produce a new mixed-media series for six to 11s called A Kids Show About. Based on an 80-title book series, the TV show’s 22-minute episodes will feature live-action segments, animation and puppet vignettes.
When fans go to the movies, play a video game, or read a comic book, they often dream of playing the characters they love. Now, Hasbro is looking to bring that dream to market with the help of 3D printing. Hasbro and Somerville startup Formlabs have signed a partnership to use 3D printing technology to manufacture personalized action figures, a product line called the Hasbro Selfie Series.
Asmodee has unveiled a new game in its Ticket to Ride game series, aimed at younger players. Ticket to Ride: Ghost Train is an easy to learn and quick to play game for all the family, in which players collect Parade Float cards to claim routes on the map whilst trying to visit different locations in the hair-raising town. From the Mad Scientist’s Lab to the Gingerbread House and on to the Lonely Barn...
Squaregles, the magnetic construction toy that incorporates building, art, storytelling, racing and more into every magnetic connection is officially available for kids to explore and happily Get Lost in Play! With hours of engagement, learning and development in each playset, Squaregles are specifically designed to be inclusive and enable all children to incorporate other toys into play, while literally building irresistible...
Spin Flip, TCG Toys’ new 360-degree handheld puzzle, is part brain teaser, and part gizmo, fidget and art; spin it, flip it, solve it! A shifting amalgam of mechanics and gadgetry, this 2-sided “puzzle-vation” is set to fascinate and inspire adventurous puzzlers to solve it. Spin Flip arrives on shelves this Fall. “There is nothing quite like trying to solve a puzzle that fits in the palm of your hands,” said Michael Albert, CEO, TCG Toys.
MGA Entertainment has been named as a finalist in the Licensing Awards UK 2022. Sponsored by Licensing Source Book Europe, the awards have become an endorsement for excellence, with award categories covering all aspects of the UK licensing industry. MGA was named a Licensing Awards UK 2022 finalist in the following categories: · L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Range for George@Asda from Somerbond in the Best Licensed...
The LEGO Group has previously halted shipments to Russia but has now "indefinitely ceased commercial operations in Russia." The LEGO Group is the latest to stop sales in Russia. This halt comes after the company paused shipments to Russia in March. The world’s largest toy maker follows a slew of companies like Starbucks, Adidas, McDonalds, and many more.
Kangaru Brands announces a program of licensed scented stationery, activity kits, art supplies, and more for retailers and fans to enjoy in partnership with Cloudco Entertainment-owned, Care Bears property. The lines include a large variety of colorful and playful items that reflect the beloved brand’s nearly 40-year history.
The Pokémon Company International has announced the initial development of a new unscripted series involving the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) and the opening of a casting call for fans of all ages and interests in the best-selling TCG. Casting for the series will be focused on fans located in the Los Angeles, California area, and those interested in applying can visit the casting agency website.
Just Play announces the release of the all-new fashion doll line, Art Squad. The collection includes four 10-inch-tall Art Squad Dolls that each feature a unique fashion and art activity including painting, etching, beading, and stenciling. With the included arts & crafts supplies, DIY activities, and color-in clothing and accessories, Art Squad Dolls provides a canvas for kids to express their creativity and self-expression.
Hamleys has announced a its ‘Summer of Imagination’ campaign, with experiences and special guests in-store to keep kids (and grown-ups) busy all summer long. Hamleys stores across the country have welcomed pre-historic dinosaurs and space rangers as they become Team Dino and Team Space, further celebrating the blockbuster releases Jurassic World Dominion and Lightyear.
This autumn, University Games is set to launch 5-Letter Wordlet, a confounding new word strategy board game. 5-Letter Wordlet will see the hugely popular single-player online trend brought into the home and enjoyed competitively with family and friends on games nights. The new multi-player game offers all the fun and puzzling challenge of popular word guessing games with the additional benefits of face to face...
Following the tragic mass shooting in Highland Park, IL on July 4, a family of local toy cos. is pledging support. Vernon Hills, IL-based Learning Resources, hand2mind, and Educational Insights have donated $10,000 to the HP Community Foundation in support of its efforts to provide aid to those directly impacted by the tragedy. Additionally, the family of cos is donating a host of social-emotional learning...
Holotoyz, which makes stickers, books and decals that come to life through the magic of Augmented Reality (AR), has raised €1m in funding. The company’s co-founders, the husband-and-wife team Declan Fahy and Kate Scott, say the money will be used to create jobs and fuel its expansion into new global markets.
The Resurgence of American Girl Doll-Core. Millennials and Gen Z women who have grown out of their doll phase have found community in the meme pages taking over Instagram and Twitter. The dolls have become a rallying cry, both for the nostalgia of our childhoods and as a protest against the series of unfortunate historical events we’ve been living through.
Fisher-Price Joins Barbie, MEGA, and Matchbox in Mattel PlayBack, a Toy Takeback Program Designed to Recover and Reuse Materials in Mattel Toys. The new program is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys in future Mattel products, keep materials out of landfills, and supports the co.’s goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials in its products and packaging by 2030.
Spin Master has revealed its 2022 portfolio, featuring new intellectual property, expansions within popular evergreen brands and licensed characters and experiences. "At Spin Master, we're relentless in our pursuit to reimagine where imagination can take us," says Chris Beardall, president, toys and chief commercial officer, Spin Master. "Our deep understanding of play allows us to identify emerging trends...
Black-Owned Toy Start-Up (Purpose Toys) Unveiled New Naturalistas Pixie Puff Collection, The First Coily "4C-Textured" Natural Hair Fashion Doll Line on National CROWN Day. CROWN Day is holiday that celebrates the first signing of the CROWN Act into legislation in California, on July 3, 2019. The CROWN Act is legislation aimed to outlaw Natural-Hair discrimination in schools and the workplace.
Kids down under can now catch up on current affairs in a localized version of kid-first news show Nick News. Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand has launched the format, featuring a kid-friendly overview of global news stories including updates on sports, celebrities, TikTok trends and toys. Segments will be broadcast at regular intervals throughout the week on Nick feeds in both regions, as well as on Aussie...
***The above posted after tBR started running on July 8th***
Eco Planet Pals, a new plush range, has been launched by Hunter Price International as the company strives to deliver on its sustainability goals. All products are made from recycled plastic bottles, with the brand aiming to be a ‘gentle introduction to how we can be kinder to each other and the world around us’. Eco Planet Pals has a strong yet simple educational message about how products can be...
Marvel Developing ‘Wonder Man’ Series With Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Guest. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton has teamed up with Andrew Guest, a writer-producer on comedies such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Community, to tackle a live-action series featuring the longtime Marvel character. Guest will serve as head writer of the series, while Cretton will exec ...
Holman... is celebrating the success of a recent project that it worked on in partnership with world-renowned entertainment brand Hasbro. The company has created a unique Nerf experience in a Toys R Us location in London, Ontario, Canada. Hasbro wanted to create an exclusive in-store experience that would drive traffic and increase customer engagement with Nerf products at a flagship Toys R Us location...
What do a failed experiment and chalk have in common? They both helped to create TWEE, an artisanal chalk company based in Philadelphia. When her kids were younger, Owner and CEO Margaux DelCollo started TWEE — British slang for “too cute” — as a classroom project gone wrong. The failed experiment caused DelCollo to realize that artisanal chalk was like nothing she’d ever seen on the market before.
Now that the Fourth of July is over, spooky season in officially back in session. Halloween is right around the corner (okay, so it’s three months away, but close enough), and Squishable is rolling out some creepy-cute plush friends as part of the happy, strange world of the Mysterious Doctor Plague. Bow down to the grumpy and majestic King Raven, ruler of the dark skies.
With its global brand refresh and ad campaign now underway, Schleich USA has partnered with iconic toy store FAO Schwarz to launch the Share Your Stories photo contest. What do polar bears dream of? Do giraffes grow in the rain? These are just some of the big questions that Schleich inspires as kids experience the limitless joy of storytelling through everyday play with its uniquely authentic characters and sets.
This summer, the sports and entertainment trading card company (recently acquired by Fanatics Collectibles) will hit the road on its second annual, cross-country pop-up truck tour. The Topps truck will cover more than 8,000 miles as it makes its way across the country wrapped in more than 11,000 baseball cards ahead of Topps’ International Trading Card Day (formerly known as Baseball Card Day) on Aug. 6.
GigaPets and Top Secret Toys Celebrates 25 Years of Play with Relaunch. GigaPets, the take-it-anywhere interactive pets that need your love and attention to raise them into a healthy, happy virtual pet, celebrates 25 years since they emerged as the number one simulated toy pet brand in the U.S. in the 90’s! To commemorate the momentous occasion, the inventors of GigaPets, Top Secret Toys, is relaunching the original...
The Monster High franchise is making a big leap from the toy department to the world of live-action entertainment, just in time for Halloween. Today, Mattel Television, Nickelodeon, and Paramount have unleashed the first full trailer for Monster High: The Movie. The much-anticipated musical is inspired by the Monster High doll brand that originally hit retail in 2010 and comes as part of a full-scale relaunch for the brand.
Barbiecore Is Everywhere This Summer. Ever since the first film stills of a bubbly Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie were unveiled – she plays the titular role in the film, hitting cinemas next summer – there’s been a sickeningly-sweet style shift. Enter: #Barbiecore. Barbie is the unlikely muse of 2022. The antithesis of goth girl summer’s emo attitude, Barbie style is all about looking pretty in pink.
Exploding Kittens has been presented with the People’s Choice Award for Best Variant at UK Games Expo 2022, following the launch of its newest standalone expansion to the original Exploding Kittens game, Zombie Kittens. The popular game from Exploding Kittens is to feature as a mobile game and TV series following a deal with Netflix.
Mighty Jaxx has announced details of an exhibition at the Silverstone racecourse, featuring its 2021 and 2022 F1 drivers collectible series. Fresh off its expansion into Europe in early 2022, this exhibit at the iconic Silverstone race track will also mark Mighty Jaxx’s first direct-to-consumer (D2C) touchpoint.
MGA Entertainment has announced that it will be expanding its best-selling Rainbow High range from today (1st July), with the addition of six new dolls. Now in its fourth series, the new Rainbow High collection will increase the brand’s focus on diversity, as two of the characters – Delilah Fields and Jewel Richie – become the first two dolls from the MGA Entertainment portfolio to launch with visible differences.
Asmodee will release '1001 Islands'. Asmodee will release 1001 Islands, a tile-drafting game by Ludonaute, which will hit stores on August 18, 2022. In this game, players take on the roles of children of Sinbad that are trying to find treasures by exploring 1001 islands. They score points by matching their dream tiles to their island tiles.
Pokémon Trading Card Game: Pokémon GO expansion available now. The Pokémon Company International has launched the Pokémon GO expansion for the best-selling Pokémon Trading Card Game. Now available at participating retailers around the world — including Pokémon Center in the US, Canada and the UK — this special collaboration is inspired by the massively popular Pokémon GO...
Become prince of a post-middle ages city in 'Virtu'. Asmodee will release Virtu, a new strategy board game by Super Meeple, into retail on August 19, 2022. In this game, players take on the role of a prince attempting to govern a city as it exits the Middle Ages. They must help their city maintain its standing by employing the art of governance effectively.
Pandasaurus announces a pair of titles. Pandasaurus Games has announced two new titles that will be released in September: Nacho Pile and Wildstyle. In Nacho Pile, players push their luck by pulling chips out of the bag, trying to score as many points as possible. But if they draw matching chips, they lose everything they’ve pulled out of the bag that turn. In Wildstyle, players race to tag parts of town to “claim” them.
Pop Mart continues international retail expansion with first U.S. location, flagship store in South Korea. Pop Mart is bringing its expanding line of “art toys” to more consumers around the world. Since launching in 2010, the Chinese company has grown to operate more than 250 retail locations across 23 countries that offer toys and collectibles designed “to light up passion and bring joy” to families everywhere.
Stonemaier Games teases 'Wingspan Asia'. Stonemair Games teased Wingspan Asia, an expansion for Wingspan, which will be launched onto preorder in Q4 2022. This release will be the third expansion for Elizabeth Hargrave's best-selling birding game. They released very few details on the game. The only other tidbits of information doled out by Stonemaier were that the expansion focuses on the birds of Asia...
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Meet the hacker colorizing the Game Boy games you forgot about. Grayscale aesthetics were a necessity on the original Game Boy, but hackers like Ivan "toruzz" Delgado are bringing a splash of color to retro games. There's no denying that the original Game Boy was a technological marvel in its day, but if you've ever actually held one in your hand, you know we've come a long way since 1989.
God of War Ragnarök to release this November. God of War Ragnarök, the long-awaited sequel to 2018's God of War, will launch on November 9, 2022, PlayStation has announced. The release date was revealed today via a blog post, alongside a new trailer. Sony Santa Monica's title is set to release both on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. Several editions, from standard to collector, were also unveiled and will be available...
Diablo Immortal's first month earnings near $50m. Blizzard's mobile version of Diablo is off to a solid start; despite complaints around its monetisation, the developer took almost $50 million in the first month. MobileGamer.biz reports that data from Appmagic, which tracks developer earnings not including the 30% commission for Apple and Google, shows Diablo Immortal had generated $48.9 million by day 30. .
Ubisoft to shut down multiplayer for older games, including Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the first game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise to feature multiplayer, will see its online services shut down on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in September, its publisher Ubisoft has announced. It’s part of a collection of over a dozen games that will see their online elements discontinued that month...
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak has topped 2 million shipments in under a week. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak has shipped 2 million units worldwide in under a week. The expansion launched on June 30, 2022, for Nintendo Switch and PC and tasks players with taking on three colossal monsters in a new overseas kingdom.
‘EA Sports F1 22’ launches worldwide. Codemasters and Electronic Arts have launched “EA Sports F1 22,” the official game of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship for PlayStation5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation4, Xbox One and PC via Origin and Steam. This year’s game includes new cars designed for closer and more exciting racing, substantial regulation changes with the inclusion of F1 Sprint, the introduction...
Highlighted Press Releases
TOY JUDGES APPLAUD MOONLITE FOR TRANSFORMING READ ME A STORY INTO BRINGING THE STORY TO LIFE. Spring Brings High Honors From The National Parenting Center & Mom’s Choice Awards To Moonlite’s Magical Library of Disney & Pixar Giftpacks. St. Louis, MO (July 5, 2022) – “If you are in the market for something new to introduce to your child’s bedtime routine,” reveals the rosy review by toy industry leader The National Parenting Center, “then be sure to grab a Moonlite Gift Pack or two!” Their Spring 2022 Seal of Approval was one of two toy industry honors for Moonlite ($45 Gift Packs at mymoonlite.com) this month.
Safety and Counterfeiting
What is the world’s most dangerous toy? Probably the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab Kit, which included three sources of radiation and four uranium ores that are also radioactive. The kit, which first went on sale in 1950, came with an instruction booklet, a pamphlet on how to prospect uranium, and various tools that enabled children to dive deep into the world of atomic chemistry. Voula Saridakis, a curator at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, explains the fascinating history of this rare toy.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
TTPM's 2023 Spring Showcase Taking Place on March 14th. Mark your calendars - TTPM’s Spring Showcase is March 14, 2023! Join top media and influencers to see the Most Wanted toys just in time for spring and summer!
The Toy Association and Adventure Media & Events announced today a partnership to deliver a one-of-a-kind “play date” in March 2023 that will give media, investors, and the influencer community direct access to the toy companies, brands, and products that will be hot throughout the year, including spring and summer launches and a first look at the hottest toys for the coming holiday season.
Celebrating the year’s finest work in children’s television and digital entertainment, the 14th annual Kidscreen Awards is officially accepting entries. New this year is a Best Podcast category, which is open to both scripted and unscripted series. Podcast entries will be evaluated by a select group of industry execs based on quality of writing, directing, sound production, music and voice talent.
Lego Group teams up with UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 Fan Festival. At the London festival kids can create their own fantastical football teams and have their photo taken with a replica of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 trophy. As part of its national sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament, the Lego Group is bringing Fantastical Football to the London Fan Festival in Trafalgar Square...
Toys R Us Japan has won the prestigious Marketing Initiative of the Year award at the 2022 Retail Asia Awards for its Dream Toy Creator Contest, which was held in Japan last year. “We are honored to be presented with this award,” said Toshihisa Tachihara, of Toys R Us Japan. “The Dream Toys Creator Contest was the first-of-its-kind toy design competition for students held during the Covid-19 pandemic...
Where Bobbleheads Are Born. The Licensing Expo returned in person this year, where characters big and small searched for a match made in consumer heaven. From May 24-26, upward of 10,000 people were in Sin City in search of new partnerships (Las Vegas is, after all, the perfect place to quickly solidify a union), and more creative ways to convince consumers to buy whatever the attendees were selling.
The team at Spielwarenmesse eG swapped its desks and screens for toolboxes and paintbrushes. The international trade fair organizer participated in Corporate Volunteering Day once again in Nuremberg, Germany on July 5. The program invites companies based in Nuremberg to engage in a variety of projects, designed to benefit institutions that may not have the resources to implement these projects themselves.
***The above posted after tBR starting running on July 8th***
Licensing International has announced that two executives, Carla Silva and Rebecca Tatlock, joined its Foundation Board, effective July 1st, 2022. “We are so happy to welcome Carla and Rebecca to our Foundation Board. Their diverse experiences and invaluable knowledge will support the Licensing Intl Foundation’s charitable initiatives and the brand licensing community at large,” said Maura Regan, president of...
Learning Express Toys Appoints New CEO at Annual Convention Commemorating 35 Yrs of Play. The Learning Express Toys & Gifts Franchise hosted its annual Convention and Vendor Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, FL earlier this week, giving store owners a first look at upcoming products from nationwide vendors. This Convention marked the 35th anniversary of the franchise and founder Sharon DiMinico’s transition from CEO...
This year, the Toy Association named “Toys for Social & Environmental Good” as a top trend, encompassing products that teach kids how to build a happier and healthier tomorrow through play. These items include hands-on toys and games that explore recycling, renewable energy sources, pollution, endangered species, and more.
The Children’s Media Conference, now in its 19th year, will see its creative keynote delivered by award-winning performance poet, playwright and children’s author Joseph Coelho, who has been crowned the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2022 – 2024. CMC runs in-person and online this week from 5-7 July and is themed ‘What Next 2.2’. Held on Wednesday 6 July at 6.30pm in the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield....
Mike Derse is director of Business Development at Learning Express Toys and reports on his recent visit to the Toymaster May Show in Harrogate. Based in Massachusetts, Mike co-founded the Learning Express group, where he heads up franchise and new business development, strategic planning, financial reporting, real estate and franchise compliance. Mike knew he was among like minded people one evening at...
Gen Con releases 2022 Trade Day Event Schedule. Gen Con LLC. released their 2022 Trade Day Event Schedule for Gen Con Indy 2022, which happens on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. This year's Trade Day features multiple events by top tier companies as well as other informational events. These panels are primarily focused on eduction for retailers, educators, librarians, and other games industry professionals.
The ESA partners with ReedPop to make E3 2023 a reality. The ESA has confirmed it plans to relaunch E3 in June 2023 with help from PAX organiser ReedPop. The once-unmissable showcase, which was scrapped this year and replaced with a deluge of virtual events centred around Summer Game Fest, will return to the L.A. Convention Centre in the second week of June next year.
Hot Wheels Unleashed wins best game at Italian Video Game Awards. Last night, the 10th annual Italian Video Game Awards took place, showcasing some of the best talent hailing from the country. Developer Milestone took home the Best Italian Game award for racing title Hot Wheels Unleashed, released last September.
Blizzard will bring back BlizzCon in 2023. Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra says the company is ‘committed’ to bringing the event back next year. It’s been a few years since Blizzard has hosted an in-person version of BlizzCon, its fan convention, but it sounds like that’s going to change in 2023. The company, known for huge franchises like World of Warcraft and Diablo, is “committed to bringing back BlizzCon in 2023,” Blizzard...
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.
Penny Sawyer LIEBERMAN, born April 18th, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY, died peacefully in her sleep after a long battle with pancreatic cancer on July 9th, 2022 in New York, NY. Penny is survived by her husband, Jay; her children, Juliet and Matthew Lublin, Erik and Alexis Ekstein, Andrea Lieberman and her husband Vincent Passeri; along with her beloved grandchildren, Jordan, Tyler, Garrett, Evan, Owen, Paloma, Leonardo; and her beloved dog, Bebe. Penny was a toy inventor extraordinaire, responsible for creating Puffy Stickers and The Pillow People, a line of soft pillow dolls developed to help children deal with their fear of the dark. Penny's Linkedin Profile is here.
Public broadcaster NHK reported that Takahashi’s body was found in the sea, about 300 meters off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Province. It reported that he was wearing snorkeling equipment at the time. The body was identified as Takahashi’s on Thursday after the Japan Coast Guard connected it to a white rental car that had been abandoned some 12 kilometers away. The Coast Guard said that Takahashi had traveled to Okinawa alone. His body bore no noticeable sign of injury and an investigation into the cause of his death has now begun. Takahashi’s agency Studio Dice turned the artist’s web page black. READ MORE...
James Light. Hell Let Loose producer James Light has passed away due to complications resulting from cardiac surgery. He was 28.
The Hell Let Loose dev team shared the news on Reddit and said Light is "one of the key reasons" the project has achieved success.
Light began his career in video games in 2018, joining Hell Let Loose publisher Team17's QA department to work on the multiplayer shooter.
He quickly rose through the ranks to eventually become a producer on the project, and is described by his colleagues as someone who possessed an "incredible work ethic, humility, and enduring kindness."
"Despite being extremely effective, he was always the first to champion the efforts of others and bring praise to the team as a whole," wrote Team17 community manager Greg Medlin.
"His achievements -- though quiet -- saw him develop into the role of production assistant, and then several months ago receive his final promotion to the position of producer -- formalizing his role in overseeing the entire PC development side of Hell Let Loose.
"He had more knowledge of the game than perhaps anyone else -- certainly more than me -- having reported and studied thousands of bugs -- knowing every intricacy and nuance across every aspect of the game."
The team said Light made an "indelible impression on the game," before adding that he also "made that same impression on us."
Bob Simpson - Bob was chief executive of Palitoy from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s and was credited with bringing top brands Action Man, Tiny Tears and Star Wars to the company.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Bob Simpson, who was the chief executive at Palitoy during a golden era for the company. Although he was very much a ‘behind the scenes’ director, leaving Harry Trowell and his sales team take a lot of the limelight, he did a great job working with the American owners and helped to bring numerous top brands to the company, including Action Man, Tiny Tears and Star Wars.
The funeral service will be held at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Kirby Muxloe, just outside Leicester on Monday 11th July at 12.30pm. Any former colleagues wishing to attend the service and the wake at the Royal Oak should contact Bobwhitworth@btopenworld.com.
We are grateful to former Palitoy chief designer Bob Brechin for providing the following obituary: READ MORE...
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