the Bloom Report

Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide

Below is July 10 - 17, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted each day with newest articles at top of each news section. 

The previous week drops off each Friday when we send you highlights via email. 

Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news!

Most everyone I speak, zoom, email, text, gchat, WhatsApp, Google hangout, linkedin message, tweet, fb, etc., have asked me if I have been working harder than ever before because they feel they have been. The answer, of course, is yes. We are all reinventing and adjusting in this pandemic which takes more work.  In addition, is it possible we are all craving and missing in-person meetings that we are over-compensating with every type of digital communication available and pushing ourselves to reach out to more people because we miss them? 

In case you missed the last issues...

After 22 years, the Bloom Report  has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy and continue this essential news source for the industry.  If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: philip.bloom100@verizon.net  We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome  advertisements so we can continue this service for free. Phil summarized this endeavor well when he said, "Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know...we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" 

Onward & Upward, 

 

Mary Couzin

Company of Week: PlayMonster, Big on Fun!

In 2016, PlayMonster went through a major rebrand that would launch the company to new heights. Over the next 4 years, the company expanded their brands and made some engaging games and toys like Relative Insanity, My Fairy Garden and Yeti in My Spaghetti. They even acquired successful companies like SET games, Interplay and Kahootz Toys. Clearly, PlayMonster has always had a wonderful culture of growth.

 

So, it was no surprise when PlayMonster released its newest opportunity to grow! In July 2020, the company blasted itself into the world of building toys and action play with the stellar Snap Ships!

Brand Manager Sakita Withers said, “Snap Ships is PlayMonster’s entry into the action-construction space at a large scale. This is the biggest launch in the company’s history.”

(Read More...)

Person of the Week: Person of the Week! Alex Tongue, Founder and CEO, Vango Toys

Today’s Millennials and Gen-Z’ers are driving higher interest in entrepreneurship, according to a recent article in Forbes, with over 50% of the working population now believing that there are actually good opportunities out there to start companies.

 

Alex Tongue is very much part of that trend.

 

As the 27-year-old Founder and CEO of the new Vango Toys, the freedom and reward of starting his own company led this Millennial to launch his business in 2019. His first product, The #UpsideDownChallenge Game, hits retail this month.  

 

The premise: players are asked to perform seemingly simple tasks, like write their name, connect dots or give a high five, but while wearing a special pair of goggles that literally flips your vision upside down.

 

Alex brought his game to the October Fall Toy Preview in 2019. Retailers paid close attention to the quirky and unusual game that seemingly everyone at the show wanted to play, culminating in the news that Target was ‘game’ for a 2020 launch and Vango Toys was off and running! (Read More...)

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

US Toy sales up 16% during first six months of 2020. NPD data shows soaring US toy sales during Q1 and 2, a result of the coronavirus lockdowns and good weather. The NPD Group has announced that US toy sales are up +16% for the first half of 2020, as lockdowns, home-schooling and hot weather fuelled demand for at-home entertainment and education.

“It was a breakthrough quarter for gaming” says Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s $1.3bn boost.  The figures are in for Microsoft’s pandemic Q4, ending June 30th, and gaming saw a huge boost as the lockdown continued to affect many major economies. Gaming revenue increased by 64 per cent year-on-year, a boost of $1.3bn. That growth came largely from Xbox content and services, thanks to what Microsoft described...

49% of games businesses report an increase in revenue during COVID-19 crisis. Ukie has today released their ‘Playing On’ report, which demonstrates the games industry’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, although it highlights some concerns about the mid to long term impacts of the crisis on the industry. One of the most encouraging findings of the report is that 45 per cent of games businesses have been...

Facebook’s top advertiser Disney cuts ad spending, WSJ says. Walt Disney Co., the No. 1 advertiser on Facebook Inc., has “dramatically slashed” spending on the platform, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. The move comes as a growing list of companies, including Coca-Cola Co. and Verizon Communications Inc., halted spending on the platform amid criticism of the social media...

Investors are bracing for the virus’s second wave. Here’s how we know. Over the past five trading days, the cruise stocks are down 14%, while Boeing has fallen more than 3%. What’s more, Walmart and Zoom Video Communications shares were up 1.4% and 3.5%, respectively, in Monday trading. That pair, two stocks that outperformed during the lockdowns earlier in the year, are up 2.7% and 5.4%, respectively over...

Video game sales surged 26% in June. Total spending on video games surged to $1.2 billion in the U.S. last month, a 26% surge when compared to last June. The increase across hardware, games, and accessories accounted for the biggest June month since 2019. Overall, the entire industry is up 19% year-to-date.

(the above posted after July 17th)

Amazon warns sellers of Brexit repercussions. Amazon has warned UK sellers who use its fulfilment service that they would have to adjust their practices as a result of the country’s decision to leave the EU. As the UK’s FBA operations will be separated from the rest of Europe, this is expected to have a major impact on many UK Amazon sellers, as they could potentially see a huge part of their online audience disappear

Walmart leads $1.2 billion investment in India’s Flipkart. Walmart is increasing its majority-stake in Flipkart by leading a new $1.2 billion financing round in the Indian e-commerce giant. The fresh equity round led by Walmart, which acquired majority stake in Flipkart for $16 billion two years ago, values Flipkart at $24.9 billion post-money.

Tilting Point acquires Plamee Studios and FTX Games assets. Tilting Point has acquired Plamee Studios along with the assets and games of publisher FTX Games from gambling technology company Playtech. The deal means Tilting Point will become the publisher of licensed titles like Narcos: Cartel Wars, The Walking Dead: Free Casino Slots, and Criminal Minds: The Mobile Game.

Sony Acquires $250M Minority Stake in Epic Games. Sony has made a $250 million investment in Epic Games, creator of “Fortnite.” The investment will allow the two to collaborate more closely for technology, entertainment and games. In the past, the two worked together to unveil Epic’s Unreal Engine 5, with a tech demo showcasing the new engine premiering on the PlayStation 5. 

Walmart could be the ‘next tech stock’ with Amazon competitor set to launch, says Morgan StanleyAmazon is instituting quantity limits for product shipments from third-party sellers that use its U.S. warehouses, the company announced. All product categories will have quantity restrictions in order to ensure sellers have enough space to store their goods.

Animoca Brands buys social gaming platform Gamee for $6.53 million. Mobile studio Animoca Brands has acquired social casual gaming platform Gamee for $6.53 million in shares.  Animoca believes Gamee's platform, which hosts 80 games and has over 13 million registered users, will boost its capacity to offer browser games independently on third-party platforms, including chat apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

Walmart's new challenge to Amazon Prime has deep, hidden roots. The imminent introduction of Walmart Inc.’s new subscription program took investors by surprise, sending the retailer’s shares up the most in almost four months. While details of the program, dubbed Walmart+, are still hazy, the service is rooted in three experiments the world’s biggest retailer has conducted in recent years …

Scholar's Choice closing all but three of its stores in restructuring. LONDON, ONTARIO. -- Retailer Scholar's Choice is closing all but three of its stores as part of a restructuring of its operations to focus on its e-commerce and catalogue business. The seller of educational toys, teaching materials and early childhood furniture and toys says it has filed for creditor protection

ASMODEE ACQUIRES LIBELLUD Publisher of 'Dixit,' 'Mysterium'  Asmodee Group has acquired family game publisher Libellud, the companies announced today.  Libellud is the publisher of Spiel Des Jahres winner Dixit (see "’Dixit’ Wins 2010 Spiel Des Jahres"), Mysterium, Seasons, Obscurio and others, 24 games and 15 extensions in all.  Asmodee has been distributing Libellud games in many territories...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Blankos Block Party is a party worth checking out . . . Over half of US kids are playing Roblox, and it’s about to host Fortnite-esque virtual parties too . . . Marketing to the generations – 90% of parents say their kids influence purchase decisions . . . British online shopping habits could be here to stay, says new survey . . . Walmart, Marks & Spencer brace for tumultuous 'back-to-school' season . . . Hollywood is in crisis. That spells trouble for movie-themed toys . . . Inflatable pools, water slides help fuel the fourth straight month of double-digit toy sales gains 

(the above posted after July 17th)

Seven countries with big (and small) population problems . . . Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born . . . Rising video games and console prices push up UK inflation as lockdown eases . . . Clothing and games push up UK shop prices . . .  The Insights People hires ten, expands into new markets and continues global takeover

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

When Should You Buy Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS)? . . . Mattel, Inc., (NASDAQ: MAT) :: Is it Time for a Financial Check . . . MAT Makes Bullish Cross Above Critical Moving Average . . . Analysts Estimate Hasbro (HAS) to Report a Decline in Earnings: What to Look Out for

(the above posted after July 17th)

Mattel (MAT) Expected to Beat Earnings Estimates: Should You Buy? . . . Why Netflix shares are down 10% . . . 2 Wonderfully Cheap TSX Stocks to Buy and Hold (Spin Master) . . . Mattel – Consensus Indicates Potential 3.8% Upside . . . Analysts Are Neutral on These Consumer Goods Stocks: Hasbro (HAS), Under Armour (UA) . . . Better Buy: Amazon vs. Hasbro

Financial Reporting . . . 

Mattel posts second-quarter sales declines in all toy categories, despite virus-fueled industry boost. Sales of Barbie rose 7% in the quarter, but the dolls category as a whole fell 5%. Other categories saw steeper, double-digit sales declines. Overall, the company’s sales were still better than feared. Shares of Mattel jumped more than 4% after the closing bell.

Nintendo has 3.8 million shares in Bandai Namco worth $186 million. Nintendo's latest 2020 annual report shows a number of substantial investments into partner companies, but it's biggest is Bandai Namco who has developed a number of Switch games. Nintendo currently owns over 3.8 million shares of Bandai Namco worth roughly $186 million.

Ubisoft results sees €75m pandemic boost, announces $60 next-gen games, and speaks on recent allegations. Ubisoft’s Q1 results saw it hit record net bookings of €410m, way in excess of the €335m that it was predicting. It’s clear that the lion’s share of this is the result of the pandemic lockdown, with the company noting record-high levels of engagement and number of players over a single quarter.

Warface creator My Games announces 46% per cent Q2 growth – Warface on Switch hits 2.5m users. My Games, best known for its Warface franchise, has announced impressive growth in revenue for Q2, up by 46 per cent year on year to $152m. The company stated that it reached 700m registered users globally in the 3 month period. 

Expect Nintendo’s IP push to continue (from annual report). Nintendo’s (somewhat dry) annual report is out and the key strategy seems to be more. That’s more Nintendo IP in more places than ever before. Having recently seen pictures of the upcoming Nintendo theme park, and the launch of a large Lego range, it’s intriguing to think what else Nintendo could be planning?

Idw Media Holdings sells division, retires debt.  IDW Media Holdings is selling one of its divisions and will retire debt in the process, the company announced.  The holding company has agreed to sell brochure distribution and marketing company CTM Media Group Inc. to IDW Chairman and largest shareholder Howard Jonas in exchange for $3.75 million of the $5.0 million IDW owes Jonas.

Diamond companies received $5-$10m+ in PPP loans. A loan for Diamond Comic Distributors in the range of $5-$10 million was approved on April 10; while a loan for Diamond Select Toys & Collectibles in the range of $150,000-$350,000 was approved on May 1.  A loan to sister company Rosebud Entertainment for $350,000 - $1 million, was approved on April 30.

Future Financial Reporting... 

Electronic Arts Q1 prediction estimates. Electronic arts (EA) is due to announce its 2020 Q1 results July 30. Here are the market estimates for what they might be.

Zynga to Discuss Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020 at approximately 1:05 p.m. PT   At this time, Zynga will post management’s Q2 2020 Quarterly Earnings Letter, which includes Zynga’s second quarter 2020 results and outlook for the future …

Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

Mattel, Inc. today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2020 financial results on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at approximately 4:05 p.m. Eastern time. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Hasbro, Inc. announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2020 earnings conference call on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. The webcast and the accompanying presentation slides will be available to investors and the media on Hasbro's Investor Relations home page at https://investor.hasbro.com

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

How toy Woolworths Daleks created a key Doctor Who sequence. Doctor Who is known for doing a lot with a little, with the smash-hit sci-fi series regularly offering world-beating special effects, prosthetics and set building despite working with a relatively small TV budget. Instead of full-size Daleks, they’d use small models – and instead of making the models themselves, they’d just buy toy Daleks already available in shops.

“It’s more important than ever for leaders to include more diverse employees at all levels” – Amiqus on making change where it matters. Building a culture of inclusion where everyone feels that their voice is heard and valued will make a difference to the future growth of a company and the retention of their talent. And when making decisions, it’s more important than ever for leaders to include more diverse...

2020 'SPIEL DES JAHRES' WINNERS ANNOUNCED! 'Game of the Year', 'Enthusiast Game of the Year', and 'Children's Game of the Year'. The coveted Spiel des Jahres or the Game of the Year went to Pictures published by PD-Verlag and Rio Grande Games, and designed by Daniela Stohr and Christian Stohr. The Kennerspiel des Jahres or Enthusiast Game of the Year went to the space-travelling game The Crew.  It was...

Amazon de-anonymizing third party sellers. The Wild West may get a little tamer. Amazon will begin displaying business name and address for all third part sellers in the U.S. on September 1, the company told its sellers earlier this month.  The change may help tame some of the more destructive elements of Amazon’s third part marketplace.

How can the industry stamp out abusive behavior within their businesses and communities? Like other industries where immense power and prestige accrues in the hands of relatively few individuals, the gaming industry has a problem with abuse in its ranks. Much of the video games industry is relationship and influence driven, and those in control can use their money, visibility, and influence to abuse.

New ‘Clone Wars’ toy could hint at a special cameo in the Obi-Wan Kenobi ‘Star Wars’ live-action series.  With the success of The Mandalorian and Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, television future path for Star Wars. This lead to the development of upcoming shows about Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Naturally many rumors came up about the Obi-Wan’s series. And a new toy release might hint...

Indie hobby stores celebrate ‘rare win’ in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 launch turnaround. Independent retailers and hobby stores are celebrating a ‘rare win’ over Games Workshop. The company spent an embattled week at the outrage of a community who believed themselves “to be overlooked” by the British miniatures brand and its latest big box Warhammer launch, in favor of the online discounters and...

Aurora World donates truckloads of plush to Kids Wish Network. Aurora World is continuing its support of Kids Wish Network. The maker of quality plush toys for kids and collectors is donating “truckloads of extraordinary plush toys” to Kids Wish programs that support kids with life-threatening conditions or those who are struggling with life-altering situations.

Microsoft removes 12 month Xbox Live subscriptions, may be preparing to drop the paywall entirely. Microsoft has removed the ability to purchase 12 month Xbox Live subscriptions, prompting speculation that it is preparing to drop the paywall for the service entirely.Both the single and three-month tiers remain, but the 12 month option has been removed from every territory in which the yearly subscription was available.

Amazon Prime Day in India starts on August 6. NEW DELHI:E-commerce giant Amazon on Tuesday announced that its annual shopping festival Prime Day will start in India on August 6 and will run for 48 hours, offering members two full days to make use of the exclusive deals.

Last year, the sales holiday was conducted in mid-July, but the pandemic this year has disrupted its schedule.

Secret Morse code tune sees game removed in China. A popular mobile game has been taken offline in mainland China for "rectification work". Netizens discovered its musical director had written a song containing Morse code with a hidden Hong Kong pro-democracy message. The piece, Telegraph 1344 7609 2575, was actually posted on his page in March, but after netizens discovered it contained in Morse code...

Despite gov't approval, Google rejects Attentat 1942 from Google Play Store in Germany. Attentat 1942 developer Charles Games says that Google has blocked the release of its historical game on the Google Play Store in Germany, Russia, Austria, and France over Attentat 1942's in-game use of Nazis.“How we're supposed to make an historically-accurate game about WW2 horrors without Nazis?”

Toy bomb injures 5 children in northwest Pakistan. A bomb resembling a toy injured at least five children on Tuesday in Pakistan's northwest tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said. The bomb exploded when the children were playing with it in South Waziristan district. 'Toy' bombs were airdropped in neighbouring Afghanistan by Soviet forces during the 1980s civil war in the country.

More Resignations, but No Sign Yet of a Change in Gaming Culture. Since dozens of women spoke up about harassment in gaming last month, prominent industry figures have resigned. But has anything really changed? The stream of reports of sexual harassment and assault in the gaming industry that began in June has continued unabated, as more women — and some men — have come forward with accusations...

(the above posted after July 17th)

Drive-In Esports Arenas Being Developed in Four U.S. Cities. Initially, the venues will be located in in Louisville, Ky, Gettysburg, Pa and El Paso and Laredo in Texas. Drive-in esports arenas may soon be the latest attraction. On the esports side, the idea is for consumers to watch tournaments and compete in events from the safety of their vehicles. 

There's a new initiative to create a game industry code of ethics. A group of game industry professionals and academics launched a new collaborative initiative aimed at collectively codifying and improving ethics in games.This new Ethical Games initiative was unveiled during a live panel discussion on game ethics at the Games for Change Virtual Festival.

Can EA’s Positive Play Charter tackle toxicity in games? Toxic behaviour has become the industry’s catch-all term for undesirable interactions online, covering a huge range of offensive behaviour from simple cheating, to aggressive and abusive behaviour, to sexual harassment and racism. And it’s fallen to games platforms and publishers to fight what is often portrayed as a huge and ever-growing tide of abuses.

Librarians turned Google Forms into the unlikely platform for virtual escape roomsWith no physical location to work with, librarian Sydney Krawiec started to devise an alternative: a digital escape room created in Google Forms. In the space of four hours, she made a Harry Potter themed game that sent participants through a series of challenges based on locations from the book series, and they had to find their way out by solving puzzles …

214m gamers in the US alone – ESA releases 2020 Essential FactsThe US trade body the ESA has released a bevy of stats to show the breadth of the [video] games industry in 2020. With the standout number being that 214m of the 328m population play games. A figure that equates to at least one gamer in three-quarters of all households.

What Will Prime Day 2020 Look Like With Amazon’s Inventory Restrictions? This week Amazon announced inventory restrictions whereby third party sellers will generally be restricted to stocking approximately three months worth of inventory at Amazon fulfillment centers. The restrictions have incredibly awkward timing: the most-likely (and still officially unconfirmed) date for Prime Day is sometime in October …

TeeTurtle Donates More Than $1.8 Million in Products to the Toy Bank. TeeTurtle isn’t playing when it comes to doing good. It donated more than $1.8 million in new toys, games, and apparel to The Toy Foundation’s Toy Bank. TeeTurtle’s donation includes strategy games such as Exiled Legends, Daring Contest: Family Edition, SCRAM, and Runes & Regulations …

Toy Product Range Diversification – Risk Insurance For Tough Times. There are plenty of toy and game companies, as well as toy & game retailers out there having a really tough time right now. There are also some companies having a really good time in the circumstances. The question is what separates these companies out? How can some companies do well while some are really suffering?

Sealed Copy of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Sells for $114,000 at Auction. A sealed copy of the Super Mario Bros. became the highest-selling video game ever at auction Friday with a winning bid of $114,000.The 1985 cartridge, still in its original plastic sealing, sold to an anonymous bidder at Heritage Auctions’ event.

Could your old toys be worth a fortune? The Nineties must-haves that are worth thousands. Those who grew up in the nineties will be stunned to discover how much the toys of their childhood are now worth, according to experts. Big name brands including Super Soaker, Beanie Babies and Furbies have seen their value skyrocket in the decades since they first hit shelves, with some worth thousands of pounds.

The Marvel Legends X-Men 20th anniversary collection is here. 20 years ago today, the first X-Men film hit theaters, kicking off a fresh decade for superhero dominance that had been missing since the Batman films of the mid-1990s. Even though the X-Men came courtesy of 20th Century Fox, the success of the franchise no doubt helped plant some seeds for the eventual growth of Marvel Studios.

BLACK, MINORITY GAME MAKERS CALL FOR DIVERSITY IN THE GAME AISLE. A group of more than 40 Black and minority-owned game companies in alliance with the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Black Game Makers Association has penned an open letter to big-box retailers requesting real action to accompany recent industry commitments to diversity and inclusion.

This board game-loving couple believes appealing to Black audiences is a winning strategy. “It would be very hard to overstate how white the market is. The tabletop game industry is just starting to see the possibility of this untapped market—Black people.” In January, the Omaha, NE, couple started a YouTube show that has more than 6,000 subscribers. They said board game companies are contacting them every day now.

Thrift Treasure: Jenga Max Game. Our kids have been into games since they were both very young. We would always take them to the annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair where they would get to see new products ready to be put under a Christmas tree. They got to meet a lot of industry insiders, publishers and inventors. One year they even got the chance to have breakfast with Leslie Scott, the inventor of Jenga.

How Netflix Learned to Stop Worrying and Love YouTube. When Netflix released a 27-minute video of Dave Chappelle earlier this month, the most surprising part of his performance was not what he said but where he said it. Chappelle’s meditation on racism, police brutality and celebrity was available for free on YouTube. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has long portrayed YouTube as his company’s biggest competitor. I

BBC, Kate Middleton launch early-learning initiative. The pubcaster revealed Tiny Happy People to help preschoolers develop their literacy, and has also picked up Aussie series First Day for older kids. The BBC has launched a five-year initiative to support families and caregivers in developing the language and communication skills of preschoolers.

Two unions in the UK and the US have formed to protect the rights of Instagram influencers — particularly people of colour — as brands increasingly rely on them for content. A group of British fashion Instagrammers have formed the first union for influencers in response to a reckoning of discriminatory practices that include wage disparity — an issue recently raised by anonymous Instagram account...

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Electric Puff Ball from Hasbro (1962). Released in 1962 by Hasbro, the Electric Puff Ball game blended marksmanship and air currents into a two-player game of skill. “A thrilling electrical game for the entire family.”

‘90s-toys-millennials-loved-to-play-with. 30 toys from the '90s that you or someone you know definitely had when you were a kid. This post will give you back the sweet and pure mems of playing with them.

1,700-year-old board game found in Norwegian burial mound. The grave turned out to be a cremation patch containing 3 ceramic pots, a bronze pin, burnt glass and 18 gaming pieces and an elongated dice. The dice is of a very rare type, exclusive for Roman Iron Age (AD 1 - 400).

Robert The Doll: the true story behind ‘Child’s Play’ and Chucky. The real events that helped inspire what would become the story for Child’s Play begin with the tale of Robert the Doll. While Chucky was just one of many mass-produced “Good Guy” dolls, Robert the Doll was a one-of-a-kind toy first owned and named by Florida painter Robert Eugene Otto in 1903.

1,200 year-old glass boardgame piece found on Lindisfarne[GT1] . A rare, glass gaming piece has been discovered during an archaeological dig on Lindisfarne. The tiny Northumbrian island’s wealthy early medieval monastery was infamously raided by Vikings in AD 793, heralding the start of the Viking Age in Britain.

(the above posted after July 17th)

Road Devils from Remco (1972). Released in 1972, Remco’s Road Devils were a line of futuristic-looking stunt-driving race cars equipped with high-speed “gyro-motors”. Each Road Devil was propelled by a hand-held Power Injector containing a Launching Ramp and a Cranking Gear used to lock the car in place.

Johnny Astro from Topper Toys (1967). The Space Race and surrounding media hype of the 1960s created a vast market for toys that attempted to capture the magic of interstellar flight. Topper Toys released Johnny Astro in 1967, a battery-operated toy for future astronauts to launch and land a series of space vehicles without wires or direct connections.

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_SEL_L

Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

Trinity & Beyond premieres toy line from Bonkers ToysTrinity & Beyond has been on a rocket ship of growth reaching over 2.6 billion lifetime views on YouTube and continuing to accelerate. The channel is a huge hit with kids ages 3-8 and is family-friendly “reality TV” for little girls. The Trinity & Beyond toy line from Bonkers Toys in partnership with Semaphore Licensing will premiere at Target, Walmart, Amazon, and...

Insight Editions expands successful Wizarding World film tie-in publishing program for Harry Potter fans in fall 2220. Insight Editions in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is pleased to announce new additions to its catalog of Wizarding World film–inspired titles. These include new novelty and collectible formats …

The Hachette Children’s Group lands publishing rights for the hit pre-school series Tinpo. 1888 has partnered with one of the UK’s leading children’s publishers, the Hachette Children’s Group, to adapt the CGI animated television series Tinpo into a wide range of book and activity formats. The agreement will see the launch of a new range of picture books, annuals, story books, activity books, and novelty books featuring the characters and stories from the popular children’s series.

Barbie launches health and beauty partnership with GlamGlow. The health and beauty specialist, GlamGlow has teamed up with Mattel to unveil a new, limited edition with the fashion doll icon, Barbie, and the toy brand’s own GlamGlow beauty collection. The new collection has been developed to celebrate self-confidence through self-care skin health, and features Barbie themed spins on popular lines in the GlamGlow range.

Discovery dives into ‘Shark Week’ with 2020 licensing program airing Aug. 9 – Aug. 16 with a lineup of original shark-themed programming. The accompanying consumer products program for the event series includes new and returning partners across apparel and accessories, toys and publishing categories.

Boy's Toys: Why did watchmaker IWC release a Hot Wheels racing car setThe new IWC Racing-themed Hot Wheels set features a miniature replica of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. But how did this collaboration between the Swiss watchmaker and Mattel toy car brand come about? The set features an astonishing 1:64 scale replica of IWC’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL race car, driven by F1 legend David Coulthard. 

Dark Horse Comics teams with Studio71 Games to launch The Umbrella Academy card game. For everyone who enjoys a bit of pop culture nerdery, Dark Horse Comics is looking to provide your latest fix with the launch of a new battling card game based on the hit comic series-turned Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy. The news arrives as season two of The Umbrella Academy readies to land on Netflix this July 31.

Spacetoon to develop consumer product programme for YouTube’s The Moshaya Family across MENA. Spacetoon, one of the MENA region’s largest family content providers, has signed a new partnership with The Moshaya Family – the top rated family friendly content creator in the Arab world – to roll out a consumer products and digital media programme that will encompass a new animated series. Through the agreement, Spacetoon will work to transform the hit YouTube channel into a lifestyle franchise across a variety of consumer products including toys.

Playmonster And My Singing Monsters Team Up With Carl’s Jr. And Hardee’s For Exclusive Star Pals Toys PlayMonster and My Singing Monsters are partnering with Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s for a special limited-time promotion this summer. The Big on Fun toy company will be collaborating to provide four exclusive My Singing Monsters toys to the fast-food restaurants’ beloved kids meal, known as the Star Pals™.

(the above posted after July 17th)

RAZOR UNVEILS LIMITED-EDITION SCOOTERS FEATURING POPULAR BRANDS. Razor scooters are getting a stylish upgrade with creative new designs featuring Sharpie, Sriracha, AriZona Iced Tea, and Takis snacks. This marks Razor’s first-ever limited-edition collaboration series, launching on July 19.

Hasbro & Strange Planet Launch New Card Game Sweet Existence. In recent years, Strange Planet has basically become a staple of the internet as the cute alien characters by Nathan W. Pyle put their own spin on life around Earth. Now you can get them in tabletop form. This is actually a strategic party card game in which the universally "relatable" beings offer their unique perspective on the world in a way...

Moose Toys, Spirit Halloween to Dresses Up with Kindi Kids Costumes. Moose Toys has announced a new direct-to-retail license agreement with Spirit Halloween for its Kindi Kids property. In the agreement, brokered by The Licensing Shop, the retailer will launch four Kindi Kids costumes in Spirit Halloween locations across the U.S. and Canada, online at SpiritHalloween.com and on Amazon this fall.

It’s World Emoji Day 2020 – Emoji Company CEO, Marco Huesges talks the continued success of the global brand. ut today isn’t just about celebrating the estimated six billion emoticons used everyday as the world finds a universal language in emojis and emoji stickers, but also a day to celebrate the global success of the official Emoji brand – an award-winning lifestyle brand that spans the global licensing scene from...

Oddbods joins Fun to Learn magazine in new Redan Publishing partnership. The content creation, distribution, and licensing studio, One Animation has secured a deal with the pre-school magazine publishing house, Redan Publishing to bring Oddbods into its Fun to Learn magazine titles this month. Under the partnership, Oddbods will feature in the monthly magazine Fun to Learn Favourites from July 16th, followed by ...

LEGO, Nintendo up their game with retro console. A functioning LEGO version of the '80s NES game console launches in August, and follows an earlier partnership on an interactive Mario toy. The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit lets consumers construct a functioning console with LEGO bricks, as well as assemble a small non-functional ’80s-style TV that an animatronic eight-bit version of Mario can... 

Hornby unveils new Hogwarts Express set. Hornby has released the ready to play, remote controlled Harry Potter Hogwarts Express set, which is available now. Fans of Harry Potter can easily control this battery powered, remote controlled Hogwarts Express set. Featuring authentic sound clips of Harry Potter characters, the 37-piece train set is sure to delight girls and boys of all ages, as well as train enthusiasts.

Alpha Group is global master toy partner for new pre-school property Camp Furly. Keith Chapman, creator of Paw Patrol, has partnered with Studio Liddell and Alpha Group, on Camp Furly, a vibrant CGI animated pre-school TV series, which inspires children to venture outdoors and connect with the environment and nature. Raydar Media is managing all broadcast and consumer products rights...

People . . . 

Tim Kilpin - I’m a very proud elf.  Every Christmas morning... Make magic for kids.  I’m a very proud elf.  Every Christmas morning that I’ve been in this business, after the presents have been opened, and too many cookies have been eaten, I sneak outside.  And I listen.  Kids all over the world will be playing with the toys we all created.  Magic is happening.  And time stands still.  

Naomi Brugnatelli - Don’t be Intimidated by Presenting to the “BIG GUYS”. I have the privilege of being the Sr. Inventor Relations brand representative for Mattel Games. I’m constantly on the hunt for new innovative game ideas. Some would say that I’m the gatekeeper between the inventor community and the Mattel Games team. I like to think that first and foremost, I am an inventor advocate.

Diana S. Ferguson Appointed to Mattel Board of Directors. Ferguson Will Serve on the Company’s Audit Committee and Assume the Role of Audit Committee Chair. Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced today that Diana S. Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer of Cleveland Avenue LLC, has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors effective July 21, 2020.

NEW PRESIDENT, PUBLISHER, EVP AT IDW PUBLISHING.  In the wake of the departure of IDW Publishing President, Publisher, and CCO Chris Ryall yesterday, IDW has promoted a number of executives to new positions.  Jerry Bennington is the company’s new President,  Jud Meyers is the company’s new Publisher, and Rebekah Cahalin is now General Manager and EVP of Operations for both IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment.

TOM HUDSON TALKS MARVIN’S MAGIC ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Tom Hudson, managing director of Marvin’s Magic. Launched in 1987 as a pioneer in the retail entertainment and product demonstration space. For more than three decades, Marvin’s Magic products have entertained budding magicians, pop stars...

Cloudco Entertainment welcomes Ian Lambur as EVP, Content Strategy & Co-Productions. Longtime industry veteran Ian Lambur has joined Cloudco Entertainment as Executive Vice-President of Content Strategy and Co-Productions.  Cloudco Entertainment is home of venerated brands such as The Care Bears™, Holly Hobbie™ and Madballs™.

Edx Education’s Heather Welch: “Educational toys are going to hit a stride like never before”.  ToyNews talks exclusively to Heather Welch, global brand lead for Edx Education, about the rising demand for educational toys the world over. Additionally, just how the company plans to respond to the call as we begin to emerge from the world’s lockdown measures.

Starling Games staffers form Quillsilver Studio. Two former Starling Games staffers and a third creative have formed Quillsilver Studio, a new development house offering publishing services for tabletop games.  The three founders are former Starlling Brand manager Brenna Noonan, former Starling Creative Director Dann May, and Greg May.

Collector Spotlight: Ben Meier. “I collect Transformers. I have about 4,800 sets – meaning gift sets and multi-packs that shipped in the same package – as well as individual figures, bringing the total to about 6,000 unique items. If it was released to the US retail market, I have it. My collection also includes exclusive Japanese and European releases and other types of transforming toy robots, such as Tonka GoBots . . .

David Snow - Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, Sugarpuffs, DJ Koco and More! I am the co owner of The Fantastic Factory with my partner Steve Evans, we design create and manufacture games and gifts. My role is co inventing, marketing, finance, sales, contract work, forward planning, tea making and firefighting. Steve does all the nice bits, but he does it very well.

Actor Keanu Reeves is turning his hand to comics with a new 12-issue series for BOOM! Studios: BRZRKR, which he will co-author with writer Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT, DeptH, Grass Kings).  The creative team will also include artist Alessandro Vitti, colorist Bill Crabtree, and letterer Clem Robins, and Rafael Grampá will draw the cover for the first issue.  Vitti and Mark Brooks will create variant covers.

(the above posted after July 17th)

Podcast: Raine Magazine. Unleash Your SuperNova. Take an Adventure with Inventor and Toy Designer Matt Nuccio. Learn the Truth to Bringing a Great Idea to Life. Storytelling at its best. Discover and learn from the gutsiest Entrepreneurs and Creatives from around the globe! Get tips, hacks and words of wisdom to help you unleash your super powers! Hosted by Nova Lorraine.

Following two years of exceptional growth, IMC Toys is pleased to announce the expansion of their US operations with the appointment of two key team members and relocation to a brand new office. The additions to the team, Preeti Sheth joins as a Finance Manager and Chrissa Van Duffelen as Customer Service Manager, will bolster the brand’s position as a leader in the collectible doll category.

Reggie Fils-Aimé is now a strategic adviser for indie publisher Rogue GamesFormer Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amié has adopted another retirement pastime: acting as a strategic adviser for indie publisher Rogue Games. That role will see Fils-Aimé leveraging his years of industry experience to offer guidance to Rogue Games’ board. 

New Canadian studio, Beans, established by former Ubisoft developersTwo former Ubisoft developers, Gabriela Salvatore and Dean Evans, have founded a new games studio in Canada. Announced during Devolver Digital’s Devolver Direct presentation, the new studio is based in Toronto.

Play-Room AIS’ Miles Penhallow to retire this September. Miles Penhallow, the head of toys and children’s gift at Play-Room AIS, is taking early retirement at the end of September this year following a successful 12 year tenure with the UK buying group. Penhallow said he will be taking his leave of the business and the industry in order to manage a small property portfolio and pursue other personal interests.

Christophe Derennes named head of Ubisoft Montreal after Yannis Mallat's resignation. Ubisoft has placed Christophe Derennes at the head of Ubisoft Montreal after its previous head, Ubisoft Canada CEO Yannis Mallat, resigned. Derennes, himself a longtime Ubisoft veteran, previously served as the executive vice president of production for Ubi Montreal and has been with the company for 23 years.

Maia Baram Talks smarTrike on the 'Power Kid Podcast' Host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Maia Baram, public relations manager at smarTrike. On the show, Baram explains how her search for a better stroller led her to a career move to smarTrike. Albritton and Baram also discuss the meticulous effort behind each of smarTrike’s “grow-with-me” product lines and explore what parents are looking for.

Former Zag EVP Ian Lambur joins Cloudco. Still based in LA, Lambur joins the prodco as its new EVP of content strategy and co-productions. Lambur will be responsible for all content planning, strategies and co-production relationships, as well as serving as head of Cloudco’s global content sales business.

Pumpkin Projects’ Valeria Miglioli: “Too long we’ve been flooded with toys for a quick sale and no longevity”. Having spent 16 years heading up product development at Fiesta Crafts, Valeria Miglioli has made her return to the scene with a clear cut and defined message to present to the market; that this is an industry that should always strive to be better than what it was before.

Cartamundi appointed its first global Chief Marketing Officer, Kraft Foods’ former director of chocolate brands in Benelux, Ann Viaene. The move has been made as Cartamundi continues to grow its global position as a leader in playing cards, card games, and children’s games. Viaene made the appointment public in a post via social media in the past week, where she stated that she was “super pleased...

Madison Dempster: WMU product design student helps envision games of the future as Hasbro intern.  "It's like being a kid again; it's the best," says Dempster, who landed an internship with Hasbro this summer. Working in the kids games division, which is responsible for classics such as Twister, Connect Four, Jenga and Battleship, she spends her days testing out new concepts. "We play board games over...

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Companies . . . 

Amazon Officially Pushes Back Prime Day For ‘Later This Year’. Amazon has confirmed that its annual Prime Day sales event will be postponed this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has placed additional strain on the retail giant and its partners. Amazon in a statement did not specify when Prime Day would occur but assured it would still be happening this year, adding “members all around the world will...

PLAYMONSTER’S MY SINGING MONSTERS HEAD TO HARDEE’S, CARL’S JR. Beginning July 22, characters from the mobile game enjoyed by more than 100 million players worldwide will be found in Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Star Pals Kids Meals. PlayMonster collaborated with CKE Restaurants on four exclusive My Singing Monsters toys, including Monster Dominoes, Stackers, a Monster Maze, and an Island Theater Set.

Nickelodeon builds new family center in China. Nickelodeon Playtime will feature play areas for SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as Nick-branded retail and café areas. Other companies that have built immersive play destinations for the kids TV brands recently include: Mattel and Hasbro.

Little People MOTU, LOTR sets from Fisher-Price. Fisher-Price continues its foray into pop-culture collectibles with two new Little People sets: Masters of the Universe and The Lord of the Rings. The figures are styled to look like popular characters from each media franchise. All are made entirely of plastic and measure just under 3-inches tall.

Genius Brands International Provides Business Updates. Following a slate of recent Company news regarding the launch of the Kartoon Channel!, the creation of Stan Lee Universe – anchored by a global deal with Archie Comics – and the appointment of Michael Uslan as Head of Development for Stan Lee Universe, Genius Brands announces more important business updates.

Tactic Games to grow UK indies and garden center business with Inside Out Toys. Tactic Games UK has partnered with Inside Out Toys in a distribution deal to grow the Tactic brand here in the UK and strengthen relationships with independent toy, gift, and garden centers. Effective August 1st, Inside Out Toys will focus on promoting a selection of Tactic’s made-in-Finland card, trivia and party games, as well as some of its popular outdoor and travel games.

Hasbro My Little Pony X Dungeons & Dragons crossover figures available for pre-order! The highly anticipated My Little Pony X Dungeons & Dragons crossover collection set is now available for pre-order at multiple retailers! Cutie Marks & Dragons features five exclusive 4.5-inch Pony figures with soft outfit accessories, each inspired by an iconic D&D character class. 

Ubisoft’s toxic culture problems allegedly span more than a decade of abuse. Ubisoft is again under fire for allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, and endemic problems of sexism and racism across the company. In a report published today, Bloomberg extensively details inappropriate behavior by top executives and managers, particularly around chief creative officer Serge Hascoët.

Zimpli Kids adds to it bath time play range with new Baff Bombz launch. Zimpli Kids has devised yet another way of coaxing children towards bath time with the launch of its new Baff Bombz range of bath bombs arriving on the scene in the form of the Rainbow and Rocket lines.he Baff Bombz come debossed with the Zimpli Kids logo, taking on the shape of a whTite cloud and rocket shaped bath bombs that...

Small toys could be big business for Youku, china’s answer to YouTube. China's answer to YouTube has taken the country's collectible toy trend to the next level, launching a live-streamed variety show where celebrities hype and sell them. Alibaba-backed Youku debuted "The Luckiest Guy" on Tuesday, with the company boasting that it sold 10,000 collectible toys in just one minute, and made 400,000 yuan ($57,187) in ...

Ultra Pro unveils 'Teferi Bundle' for 'Magic: the Gathering'. Ultra PRO has unveiled the Teferi Bundle, a Planeswalker-themed accessory set for Magic: The Gathering, for release into retail in October.  It Includes Teferi-Themed Playmat, Deck Box, Life Pad, and More. Now, Magic players can express their affection for this popular Planeswalker with Ultra PRO's latest bundle. The Teferi Bundle comes with ...

Hasbro Ghostbusters “Tully’s Terrible Night” Plasma Series Action Figure Revealed! Hasbro is calling on the Ghostbusters with the reveal of an all-new product in their line of Plasma Series figures – the Tully’s Terrible Night two-pack, which comes with a frightened Louis Tully from the first Ghostbusters film, and a Terror Dog!  Tully’s Terrible Night will be available on HasbroPulse.com in September – stay tuned for more news ...

Mercenary company rides into 'a Song Of Ice & Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game'.  CMON will release Bloody Mummer Zorse Riders, a new miniature set for A Song of Ice & Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game, coming to retailers on July 24. The Bloody Mummers are flamboyantly dressed horsemen that intentionally wear bright clothing to bring attention to themselves on the battlefield.

Kid Trax revs up fall releases. The ride-on toys bring big fun with a little something for any kid. The Real Rigs Recycling Truck will retail for $199 at Target, Amazon, and kidtraxtoys.com and is made for kids who are 18-36 months old. The six-volt recycling truck features more than 100 voice lines, sound effects, songs, and expressions. Kids can learn about the value of recycling through its nine accessories that can be sorted and...

GoldieBlox prepares for rapid growth with new exec team and focus on consumer products. The toy firm turned media and entertainment powerhouse, GoldieBlox has made a suite of new appointments to its leadership team as the company prepares for rapid growth in the coming years, including further moves into the consumer products sector, led by its new EVP of operations and partnerships, Tim Erickson.

Spin Master ‘encouraged by the revival of brick and mortars’ as it details post-lockdown plans. The global toy company has struck a note of optimism for the course of the rest of the year, having outlined its plans to support its retail partners with stock, promotional plans and TV support for its most popular lines. The company has been ‘encouraged’ by the revival of the high street and the brick and mortar retailer...

Spin Master Games announces that it is releasing a board game based on The Titanic movie in which players must evacuate the sinking ship.  Although Titanic came out 23 years ago now, Spin Master Games seems to think it's still marketable, and it's probably right about that. Titanic: The Game promises to invoke those old memories of watching Titanic through fun and engaging gameplay that fans can experience together.

League of Legends esports is getting a big rebrand in an attempt to become more global. There are 12 different professional League of Legends leagues spread across the world, which can make it hard for even the most diehard fans to keep track of everything. Developer Riot Games is rolling out a partial solution today: a complete rebrand with the aim of tying together the action from all over the globe.

Hasbro reveals new Star Wars, Marvel Legends figures. Hasbro is starting the week strong with tons of new figure and figure set reveals across its Hasbro Pulse brands. In addition to the GI Joe Special Missions: Cobra Island collection that is heading to Target, the company debuted new figures for its Star Wars The Black Series, Star Wars: The Vintage Collection, and Marvel Legends lines.  

Experiential production outfit Gamepath launches to the UK with immersive Monopoly deal. Gamepath, a new company dedicated to developing and staging experiential and live gameplay productions in partnership with leading global entertainment brands has launched into the UK. The new outfit will make its UK debut with the launch of an immersive Monopoly experience in collaboration with Hasbro.

Character Options merges fashion dolls and cosmetics with Shimmer N Sparkle InstaGlam. Character Options is readying for one of its major launches of the season with the arrival of the InstaGlam girls, a range of stylish make-up compacts wrapped up in their own collectable doll. The range has been established under the Shimmer N Sparkle fashion brand and witnesses the meeting of the worlds of fashion doll play and cosmetics.

Pokémon debuts new board game with Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy. The Pokémon Company International has announced the Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy, the first-ever board game adaptation of the Pokémon TCG, one of the most beloved and best-selling trading card games in the world. Providing everything a “Trainer” needs to master the basics of the Pokémon TCG …

Wonder Woman – WW84 – Minico from @IronStudios. Ready to launch its mystical bond of truth, Iron Studios presents, in its Toy Art line from Mini Co, its stylized Wonder Woman version of WW84, inspired by its newest cinematic version. Themyscira Amazon demigod Princess Diana, known in the world9 of men as Wonder Woman, returns to theaters in 2020 once again played by Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot …

Wizkids expands 'Fantasy Realms'. The fantasy hand-building card game Fantasy Realms will get an expansion when WizKids releases The Cursed Hoard in January. Launched in 2017, Fantasy Realms challenges players to create the most powerful hand by drawing and discarding cards depicting fantasy elements.

LEGO opens its first Saudi Arabian store. The brickmaker is launching a retail location and e-commerce site in the Middle Eastern hub, and has a new program to teach kids about online safety. The new outlet, located in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall, is part of the Danish brick maker’s strategic plan to plug into the local culture. 

Thames and Kosmos takes Kennerspiel des Jahres Award win for The Crew – The Quest for Planet Nine. Thames and Kosmos’ popular science-fiction tabletop card game, The Crew – The Quest for Planet Nine has taken home the coveted Kennerspiel des Jahres Award 2020. Both The Crew and Kosmos’ My City were nominated for the award last month. The Crew garnered rave reviews since its debut at Essen 2019.

Zuru’s global marketing director Renee Lee: “We are investing more in the UK market and globally than ever before”. For the international toy maker, Zuru, sales pick up came in the form of an outdoor category that nearly doubled its numbers sold in a variety of different markets. For families compelled to bring the entertainment into their gardens, sales were led by its popular Bunch O Balloons...

HASBRO INTRODUCES THE G.I. JOE RETRO COLLECTION. The relaunch of Hasbro‘s iconic G.I. Joe franchise continues. On the latest edition of Hasbro Pulse’s Fan First Friday, the company revealed a new addition to its rapidly expanding G.I. Joe Classified Series of 6-inch scale action figures: Snake Supreme Cobra Commander. The new version of the Cobra leader is the third variant of the character in the...

Robot Interacts With Pediatric Patients At UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. Robin the robot is helping to ease the loneliness and anxiety of patients during the pandemic. 

(the above posted after July 17th)

Rubik’s Goes Digital for 40thRubik’s Brand celebrates milestone anniversary with digital launches. It is helping puzzle fans solve its popular Cube, offering downloadable and mobile-friendly solution guides on its website and social channels. Rubik's YouTube channel also features videos to suit all skill levels. Several Rubik's ambassadors, including Keaton Ellis from the U.S and Jack Cai of Australia, have been...

Netflix sets up virtual pitch day for Canadian creators. The global streamer is looking for films that appeal to kids six to 16, animated TV shows and scripted family series.  An application window opened yesterday for pitch proposals, and submissions will be accepted until August 5.

Canadian producers and creative leads for selected projects will be invited to meet virtually with leaders from the Netflix content team...

Hasbro joins the Super Mario celebrations with new twists on Jenga and Monopoly. Hasbro has joined the list of toy companies celebrating 35 years of Nintendo’s best-loved plumber this year with the launch of two new Super Mario themed spins on its own classic games Jenga and Monopoly. The global toy company has joined the likes of LEGO to celebrate the anniversary of Nintendo’s flagship character.

Zuru sets the table for the ultimate par-tea with Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise. ZURU, the award-winning toy company, places inclusivity and kindness at the heart of Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise. It’s a modern take on traditional tea party and doll play combined with the highly sought after surprise and collectibility factor.

Funko Announces Breast Cancer Awareness DC Heroes Pops. Funko has unveiled a new line of Pop Vinyls that are in support of Breast Cancer Research.  Four of your favorite DC Comics characters will be donning pink in these new repainted figures. Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Harley Quinn are back and are better and pinker than ever.

Renegade Game Studios reveals new Vampire: the Masquerade card gameRenegade Game Studios revealed Vampire: The Masquerade Rivals Expandable Card Game, a card game designed by Matt Hyra, which will be headed to retail at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021 pending a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Hasbro Transformers x TopGun Collab Launch. Feel the need, the need for speed! Hasbro, Inc. and Paramount Pictures today revealed the first-ever Transformers-Top Gun collaboration, starring the all new character Maverick. This new Transformers robot makes an ideal wingman, taking form as the iconic Northrop Grumman F-14 Tomcat jet from the original Top Gun film.

Microsoft discontinues Xbox One X and Xbox One S digital edition ahead of Series X launch.

Microsoft is officially halting production of its Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition consoles. “As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we’re taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.”

Eco-focused toy line JUNKO takes first steps into US with Uncommon Goods. The independent UK toy brand, JUNKO, has secured an exclusive launch in the USA with the Uncommon Goods web store. The launch is the result of a meeting of minds between the brand creator and the web store at this year’s Spielwarenmesse.

Bandai Toys announces cooking action game 'Tabe-O-Ja' for Switch. Tabe-O-Ja is a cooking action game in which you can enjoy strategic battles. As the special chef “Tabe-O-Ja,” you will cook various dishes including Japanese, western, Chinese, and more with Joy-Con cooking actions, and summon the “Tabe-Gami” that dwell within each tasty dish. With your summoned Tabe-Gami, you can form your own original team...

Mattel celebrates Toy Story’s 25th anniversary with an Alien Pizza Planet Delivery Guy figure.

Toy Story is turning 25 this November, and to celebrate this major milestone, Mattel is releasing a limited-edition Pixar Alien Remix Pizza Planet Delivery Guy figure next week, timed to the highly anticipated Comic-Con@Home. The remixed figure is a mash-up of everyone’s favorite space aliens and a Pizza Planet delivery guy from the Disney/Pixar media franchise.

ACTION-PACKED GAMES FROM YULU HIT TARGET THIS MONTH. First up is Diamond Heist (pictured above), a cooperative game in which players must work together to retrieve the stolen diamond before time runs out and someone gets caught! An evil organization has stolen a precious diamond and has hidden it deep within their vault. It’s up to you and your fellow spies to rappel into the vault, eliminate the ...

Etch A Sketch turns 60 this year. If you are like many parents these days, you are on a quest to find new ways to entertain the kids at home. This may be a good time to turn to a classic source of fun that requires no charging, batteries or Wi-Fi, making it screen time parents don’t have to limit. Here is a brief look at the history and major milestones of this iconic red-framed drawing toy...

MATTEL CREATIONS TO LAUNCH NEW PLATFORM, SDCC EXCLUSIVES. The toymaker is ramping up plans to debut a full Mattel Creations platform that will offer limited-edition products direct-to-consumer, starting with what would’ve been Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) exclusives.

Hasbro Celebrates 20 years of X-Men with new Marvel Legends figures. In honor of the film's 20th anniversary, new X-Men figures from Hasbro are available now. July 14 marks 20 years since the mutants debuted on the big screen when X-Men hit theaters in 2000. It’s impossible to understate the influence that this film had on movies and the superhero genre. 

How Xbox and PlayStation Plan to Duke It Out This Fall.  Silicon Valley’s richest titans have tried to conquer the $150 billion video game ­industry—and so far failed. Last fall, Google introduced what it billed as a console-­killing streaming service, Stadia. Apple Inc., meanwhile, has attempted to build a “Netflix for iPhone games” with its $5-per-month, all-you-can-play Arcade.

Mattel, Universal to make a Wishbone movie. Academy Award winner Peter Farrelly will produce the toyco's ninth original film, based on the popular live-action series from the '90s. The new joint venture is the ninth project to be announced by Mattel’s movie division, and it follows deals with Warner Bros. and Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment to make Hot Wheels and Barbie pics, respectively.

The Rubik’s brand has reported a ‘phenomenal growth’ in digital engagement from its community of Rubik’s Cube fans and followers of the brand extension, driven, it states, by the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures taken across the globe.

It’s during the brand’s 40th anniversary that it has ramped up its digital and social measures in a move to counter the momentary pause...

Lego opens first retail store in Saudi Arabia. The store will have interactive stations for children and their families to play and engage.  It has commissioned a large-scale 3D model of a traditional Saudi family that will be positioned in the store as well as a mosaic of Jeddah’s iconic Old Souk. The store will also have interactive stations for children and their families to play and engage, while it will showcase a variety...

Australia’s Network 10 is launching free-to-air 10 Shake and expanding into kids programming to attract new audiences amid a rise in advertiser spending. Owned by ViacomCBS, the new channel will target viewers under age 40 when it launches in September, with a large portion of its programming dedicated to kids. 10 Shake will include 84 hours a week of children’s content (12 hours/day, 7 days/week, starting at 6 am).

Mattel WONDER WOMAN 1984 dolls include better glimpse of Kristen Wiig as Cheetah. Hard to believe this is the first summer without any superhero blockbuster (or any big budget films that for that matter) to entertain theater audiences. After initially delaying the highly-anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 until August and then once again to October, only time will tell is Warner Bros. will be able to keep...

@Hasbro @Marvel Announces #MarvelLegends #Sentinel #HASLAB Campaign. For some background, HasLab is a Hasbro Pulse crowdfunding platform that aims to put dream products into the hands of fans. With fan support, the goal is to make highly coveted products that fans have been clamoring for.

Spin Master and Warner Bros partner to launch Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia video game to Nintendo Switch. The new video game is the latest extension of the Bakugan franchise that already spans its anime adventure TV series, innovative toy line, card game and more. The game will centre on an new original story and the franchise’s signature Bakugan brawls.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . 

What will Halloween look like? “Everyone is speculating how Halloween will be celebrated this year in light of COVID, since Halloween is such a social holiday,” acknowledges  Disguise’sTara Hefter. With the holiday falling on a Saturday, there typically would be “a lift in sales especially with décor and adult costumes knowing that people are throwing parties on a weekend.” But that’s far from a given this year.

Mattel banks on keeping kids busy during the pandemic. Mattel pivoted during the pandemic, said Khaled Samirah, an analyst with Euromonitor, playing to the moment at hand with marketing that uses the phrase “play is never canceled.” The company filled its blog with do-it-yourself activities built around their brands that parents can use to educate their kids while they play.

49% of games businesses report an increase in revenue during COVID-19 crisis. 80 per cent of respondents said they have no plans to reduce head-counts in response to the crisis, and 63 per cent of businesses are reporting no risk of closure within the next 6 months. In fact, nearly a quarter of games businesses reported that they were continuing to recruit as the crisis unfolded.

Walmart will close stores on Thanksgiving to thank associates who 'stepped up' during coronavirus Walmart announced that it plans to keep all stores closed on Thanksgiving Day as a nod of appreciation for workers who "stepped up" during the coronavirus outbreak. The changes will affect Walmart and Sam's Club stores and mark a turn from the company's typical tradition of kickstarting Black Friday sales a day early.

GDC Summer State of the Industry: 33% of devs had a game delayed due to COVID-19. the Game Developers Conference released the results of a special State of the Industry: Work From Home Edition Survey examining how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted game developers worldwide. This special edition of the long-running survey compiles responses from over 2,500 game industry professionals, and the results...

Tonies donates its storytelling Tonieboxes to UK nurseries and preschools kept open during coronavirus lockdown. The children’s storytelling box, Tonies has gifted pre-schools and nurseries that were kept open during the UK’s lockdown a selection of Tonieboxes in a show of gratitude to the support they have offered to key worker parents over the past months. During the pandemic, Tonies donated 50 children’s...

(the above posted after July 11th)

Disney Plus has delayed all its 2020 Marvel shows due to COVID. Well, the delays are coming. While many studios figured that the COVID pandemic may be winding down by now and fall shows might be safe to resume filming, that has not panned out, and we are starting to see some high-profile delays.

GDC State of the Industry: WFH Edition survey reveals COVID-19's impact on devs. The Game Developers Conference released the results of a special State of the Industry: Work From Home Edition Survey which highlight and reveal how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted game developers across the industry. This special survey compiles responses from over 2,500 game makers …

Wizards of the Coast announces further Magic: the Gathering production delay. Wizards of the Coast announced that they would push back the release date of Commander Collection: Green, a set of eight green-color themed cards for Magic: The Gathering, to December 4 due to production delays  COVID-19 stifles WotC's supply chain again …

Disney Analyst Cuts Stock on "Longer" Pandemic Hit, Sees Cinemas "Largely Closed" Until Mid-2021. After initially expecting social distancing measures would be "significantly lessened" by late 2020, Cowen's Doug Creutz has "now extended that timeline," which will affect the company's film and theme parks units.

Coronavirus prompts Sony to boost PlayStation 5 production by 50%: Report. Sony has confirmed PlayStation 5 will ship this year in time for the holiday shopping season. The company has placed production orders for about nine million PlayStation 5 consoles, Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. 

Amazon to reimpose limits on US sellers as coronavirus cases surge. The spike in coronavirus cases across the US has forced Amazon to reinstate limits for sellers amid fears of a second lockdown.  Amazon has warned US sellers that it will be re-imposing restrictions on the quantity of goods they can sell via its Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) service. From August through to the end of the year, merchants who use Amazon’s...

Masks to be made mandatory in shops after June sales uplift. The joint British Retail Consortium-KPMG monitor reported total UK sales up 3.4%, on the same month last year, as lockdown measures were eased, and warmer weather encouraged shoppers back to the high street. The sales uplift was against a 1.6% fall in June 2019 and was the sharpest monthly rise since May 2018.

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

AMAZON DE-ANONYMIZING THIRD PARTY SELLERS The Wild West May Get a Little Tamer. Amazon will begin displaying business name and address for all third party sellers in the U.S. on September 1, the company told its sellers earlier this month.  The change may help tame some of the more destructive elements of Amazon’s third party marketplace. 

Manhattan Toy recalls ‘Manhattan Ball’ activity toys sold exclusively at Target.  The Manhattan Toy Company has recalled about 22,100 of its “Manhattan Ball” teething toys sold exclusively at Target due to a choking hazard. The toy’s plastic tubes can detach from the center ball and release the small silicone teethers threaded on the tubes, posing a threat.

Putty and slime with dangerous chemical recalled after being sold in Nuneaton shop. Parents are being urged to take dangerous slime and putty that was being sold in Nuneaton off their children. The products have been found to contain high levels of a dangerous chemical.

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service discovered high levels of Boron in two toy putty products on sale in the town.

The LEGO Group launches online safety and digital citizenship campaign. A new initiative from the LEGO Group will seek to help families have conversations about staying safe online and being a good ‘digital citizen’. Small Builds for Big Conversations is a new campaign from the LEGO Group that aims to help parents discuss the online world with their children …

(the above posted after July 17th)

Mattel Board Hid Baby Deaths Before Sleeper Recall. Mattel Inc.'s board and senior leadership were hit with a Delaware lawsuit claiming they spent years hiding deadly problems with the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper before finally recalling it over baby deaths they’d long known about. A Fisher-Price spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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Press Releases . . .

OjO MAKES A SPLASH ON KICKSTARTER WITH NEXT-BIG-THING: UNDERWATER MISSIONS GAME. Starfish, Squids & Sharks? Oh My! From The Kitchen Table, Kids Take A Dive Under The Sea Where Friendly Creatures Lurk and Hidden Treasures Await! Eight-year-olds will soon become wise to all things in marine biology thanks to a new board game from OjO, makers of edutaining STREAM games. Pre-orders for the Underwater Missions Game (available at a 25% discount) are now being taken on their Kickstarter campaign page! This offer ends at 6am EST this Saturday (July 25th) – you don’t want to miss it!

YouTube Mega Stars Trinity and Beyond Debut Signature Toy Line via Major US Retailers. Trinity and Beyond, part of the Semaphore Licensing Solutions' portfolio of new media stars, will premiere their new toy line online and in-stores with leading retailers including Target, Walmart and Amazon

(the above posted after July 17th)

Uncanny Brands Introduces Bleacher Creature Plush and Phenom Gallery Prints in Licensing Agreement with USA Basketball.  Seven new Bleacher Creatures are available now: NBA Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The collectible plush figures are 10” tall and stand on their own, making them perfect for play or display.

TICKETY-BOO! BRITAIN’S LE TOY VAN DEBUTS U.S. WEBSITE FOR SHOPPING AND SHIPPING STATESIDE. Dotty Tea Kettle, Red Bertie’s Tractor And The Iconic London Bus A Few Pleasures & Treasurers To Be Discovered At LeToyVan.com.  Moms and dads no longer must calculate British pounds versus U.S. dollars when browsing through Le Van Toy’s beautifully crafted inventory. The award-winning toymaker based in London expands into the U.S. market with a stateside website! Dotty Tea Kettle ($19.99) and Tea Set & Tray ($39.95) are just a click away at LeToyVan.com or Amazon. The short time span of childhood should be enjoyed to the fullest, believes Le Toy Van. Their vast array of European toys with an added French flair spark imagination without the use of technology. Timeless and well- made are the hallmarks of this toymaker...

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals  . . .

(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and more) 

THE TOY INSIDER’S SWEET SUITE @ HOME DRAWS HUNDREDS OF ATTENDEES. More than 600 members of the press and influencers logged into the daytime portion of the Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite @ Home virtual event, including The TODAY Show, The Ellen Show, NBC News, CBS News, ABC News Radio, BuzzFeed, Yahoo Finance, Associated Press, Blooomberg, Parents magazine, Good Housekeeping, and so many more. 

MadeForMums has launched its search for the top Christmas toys for 2020. The UK product review platform MadeForMums has opened entries for its search for the top Christmas toys for 2020. Winners of the awards be receive the MadeForMums Toy Xmas Toy 2020 accolade.

SDCC: Comic-Con@Home presents ‘Transforming Together Time: Family Gaming and the Future of Play’. Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) is going virtual with the debut of Comic-Con@Home. A full programming schedule is bringing the usual panel presentations to audiences around the world. The toy and game industries will be represented on 23rd July morning during a panel titled “Transforming Together Time: Family Gaming and the Future of Play.” (Note from Publisher: I'll be part of the State of the Industry panel, hope you tune in! -Mary)

Brand Licensing Europe transitions to all-virtual event. Running from 6th-29th October 2020, the Festival of Licensing will be the most inclusive global licensing event to date. After much deliberation and consultation with customers, attendees and industry partners, it has been announced that Brand Licensing Europe 2020 will transition to an all-virtual event. In place of the traditional trade show, 

Breaking news: Changes to the Toymaster board announced. Ciaran Fitzpatrick, who is stepping down as chairman, has announced his successor, alongside other changes to the Toymaster board. Chris Blatcher has been announced as Toymaster’s new chairman. Changes to the board of Toymaster, the independent buying group, have been announced this morning.

Fence Club cancels all remaining 2020 functions. The popular December Christmas Ball is among the Fence Club events cancelled, although it is hoped that the Toy Fair Party can go ahead. The Fence Club committee has continued to meet virtually through Zoom throughout the period of lockdown, culminating in an extraordinary committee meeting, which was held last week. 

Licensing International heralds its German event, Day of Licensing a virtual success. Licensing International has heralded its Day of Licensing – its premier German licensing event usually held in Cologne – as a virtual success, having transposed the conference to an online only event last week. Over 600 registered visitors attended the virtual show – a change of pace from its usual gathering in Cologne due to...

Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1st October. As part of his most recent update to the public on 17th July, the prime minister said the decision would ‘depend on data’ and that local authorities would have powers to close events if they considered there to be a high risk to the public. 

(the above posted after July 17th)

ASTRA REVEALS 2020 EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS. The COVID-19 pandemic put an end to plans for this year’s Market Place & Academy, but the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is continuing its yearly tradition of honoring the best in the specialty toy industry. The winners of the 2020 ASTRA Excellence Awards have been revealed, and while the in-person celebration is canceled, a virtual celebration...

Hong Kong tightens lockdown measures once again. From mid-June to early July, no locally-transmitted cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Hong Kong, leading to a relaxation of lockdown measures in the city. Unfortunately, it was not to last: a spike in local cases over the past two weeks, including two fatalities earlier this week, has led the authorities to reintroduce the tighter social-distancing measures...

THE TOY INSIDER REVEALS EVENTS, ACTIVATIONS FOR SWEET SUITE @ HOME! The countdown is on for the Toy Insider‘s Sweet Suite @ Home, the ultimate virtual toy party where members of the media and digital influencers are invited to remotely discover the hottest new toys from more than 50 toy companies.

BlogOn Toy Awards 2020 open for entries. The BlogOn Toy Awards has 16 categories this year including Wooden Toys, Outdoor Toys and Puzzles. Following a successful launch in 2017, the BlogOn Toys Awards will be back again in 2020 for the 4th annual awards. The awards this year will be sponsored by 34SP.com.

Kidscreen Awards 2021 open for entries. A new Best Inclusivity Award has been added to celebrate content that positively represents BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled characters. Celebrating the year’s best work in children’s television and digital entertainment, the 12th-annual Kidscreen Awards is officially open for entries.

Spielwarenmesse: Searching for new trends. New international team members join the TrendCommittee. Identifying game-changing developments. The toy industry is ever evolving and never stands still. Reason enough for the TrendCommittee to go in search of the latest trends every year. Commissioned by the Spielwarenmesse, the 13-strong expert committee follows emerging developments in the toy industry...

Character Options has announced details of its exclusive 2020 influencer event, which will take place over three days from the 24th-26th July. The Character Kidz Big Weekend is the revised edition of last year’s highly successful London based event and will now take place virtually, promising a summer festival of videos, stories and TikTok coverage announcing all that’s new in the Character Options portfolio.

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week . . .

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media's (US)

  1.  Hasbro Marvel Announces First-Ever Marvel HasLab Project

  2. ZURU Sets the Table for the Ultimate Par-tea with Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise

  3. The Future is Bright for IMC Toys: Team and Office Expansion

  4. YULU’s New Games and Toys Hit Retail Shelves to Heat Up Summer Fun

  5. Moose Toys and Spirit Halloween Debut Kindi Kids Costumes this Fall

  6. Teeturtle Donates More than $1.8 Million in Games to the Toy Foundation

  7. Disney Publishing Worldwide Debuts Summer Reading List on shopDisney.com

  8. Hasbro Marvel Legends X-Men 20th Anniversary Figures Available for Pre-Order

  9. Spin Master, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and WayForward Announce Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

  10. Steve Couture and Ken Faier Launch Epic Storyworlds

Toyworld (UK) 

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) 

​ 1.  Wizards of the Coast Temporarily Suspends 'Magic: The Gathering' In-Store Play in U.S. and Latin America
  2.  WizKids Announces Another Wave of 'D&D Icons of the Realms Premium Painted Figures'
  3.  Privateer Press Unleashes New 'Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika' Miniatures
  4.  Rolling for Initiative -- A Letter from the Tabletop Tycoon and Changes to WOTC Premium Store Status
  5.  The Corruption of 'Tammany Hall' Returns!
  6.  Asmodee Acquires Libellud
  7.  Troll and Toad Sends Free Product to Game Stores
  8.  Pegasus' 'The Dwarves' Get a 'Big Box'
  9.  Kang the Conqueror Takes on 'Marvel Champions'
10.  Games Workshop Reveals 'Warhammer 40,000 Core Rule Book 9E'

Spielwarenmesse Magazine-Monthly, not Weekly  (Germany) 

TOYS Magazine (Germany) 

  • Top articles for this week to be posted Monday, July 20th

Toy & Hobby (Australia) 

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

Tabletop Wire (US)

  • Portland’s ‘Guardian Games’ Expands with Acquisition of ‘Rainy Day Games’

  • Jim Henson Company, Toy Vault Renew Licensing Partnership

  • Asmodee Acquire Long-time Partner Libellud

  • Tyeera Casares and Danny Quach Join Ravensburger North America

  • Tabletop Wire Podcast 12: Dan Yarrington – Tabletop Tycoon

  • Ann Viaene Joins Cartamundi as First Chief Marketing Officer

  • Amazon Does Away With Seller Anonymity in US Marketplace

  • 9th Level Games Launch Hosted Online Play Service

  • Certified Guaranty Company Launches Trading Card Division

  • CMON Retains Mazars Singapore to Conduct Independent Investigation Over Reporting Delays

  • Tabletop Wire Podcast 11: Chris Whitpan – Renegade Game Studio

Video of the Week

Wendy and Henry Harris from Random Games advise that games have to be fun! Spring Challenge has closed, now accepting entries for

Young Inventor Fall Challenge. We Love Kid Inventors

 

Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher