the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is July 2 - 9, 2021. Click Here for Last Week
Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights.
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom
Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . .
This Sunday is Happy Mini Golf Day... and it is Bob Fuhrer's birthday! Happy Birthday, Bob! Among other things, Bob invented Gator Golf. I'm taking this awesome coincidence to talk about our Happy Whatever Day initiative. Every day celebrates something and we decided to have fun and tie it to a product in our industry. Earlier this week was Forgiveness Day and of course we tied it to Hasbro's Sorry! Game. Today is National Motorcycle Day, so we're featuring the Fisher Price Harley Davidson Tough Trike. Coming up is National Mutt Day... so of course we are featuring Spin Master's Soggy Doggy. Every day we feature a different product on our POP platform! Interested in having your product featured? Join POP for Happy Whatever Day and much more. More innovative features coming soon!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.
tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Answers Questions about Interns, Awards and Toy Game NPD Data
Q: Can you please keep the questions coming? Thanks!
I recently received a wonderful download of dozens of questions from readers. Some are pretty straightforward, so I’ll take a shot at answering a few here today. Others require a deeper dive (and in some cases, maybe a doctoral thesis). So those will wait for another day.
Q: Are interns a valuable asset to a company or do you consider them a give-back?
I realize that not every company approaches internships the same way. At my old company, the approach was (and, I assume, still is) strategic, thoughtful, thorough, and well-supported across the organization. Their internship program was designed first and foremost to highlight new talent and help identify the next generation of toy industry leaders. I can think of several extremely promising people who continued their careers with us, and then moved on to even greater success elsewhere.
Other companies have tended to think of the interns as just extra hands – helping fill gaps for a desperately overworked staff. Of course, this approach works – just not for the interns. My recommendation would be to treat internships as a learning opportunity – for both the interns and the companies. Interns will gain incredibly valuable exposure to the industry, while the companies will be able to identify new talent. Win-win.
Q: Do awards help sales? Which ones? There are so many and almost all require a fee. Read More...
Designing a Game with Manufacturing in Mind: A conversation between a new inventor and a manufacturer! NonPub and GPI: tBR People and Company of the Week
Join the staff of GPI for a Nonepub hosted discussion about numerous topics to keep in mind when designing your next game. Get insight on:
Designing with retail in mind
Digging into game specs
Tooling – custom vs sourced items
Quoting for Kickstarter
The IG influence
Designing for print vs web
Financial & Legal News . . .
Shipping lines attempting to use ‘add-ons’ as bait to secure shipments. Ocean carriers are being accused of using high pressure sales tactics to encourage shippers to purchase extra products, such as customs clearance and insurance, to increase their prospects of shipment. According to a report in The Loadstar, it has seen a message sent to a UK-based shipper by Maersk subsidiary Hamburg Süd which states: “Rates will...
Former Tesco toy sourcing manager jailed in Hong Kong for accepting bribes. A former sourcing manager of Tesco, charged with bribery by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for accepting bribes totaling over $615,000 in illegal rebates and loans from a toy supplier for placing orders worth over $20m.
(the above posted after July 9th)
Starlings Entertainment and StoryFirst partner on a joint development fund to finance premium drama and family entertainment. The companies are looking for family entertainment projects for the first time, but have yet to reveal how much they are investing or what types of concepts they’re interested in. Starlings CEO Karine Martin (pictured left) and StoryFirst founder Peter Gerwe will oversee the venture...
Deal agreed to release Ever Given ship from Suez Canal Egypt will release the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March, after agreeing a compensation deal with the vessel's owners and insurers. The Ever Given has been impounded in the Great Bitter Lake, the canal’s midway point, since the incident in March this year.
Team17 acquires StoryToys In a US$49-million deal, the app developer behind LEGO Duplo World and Disney Coloring World will become a subsidiary of Team17. Founded in 2011, StoryToys has released several licensed apps for major kidcos, including LEGO Duplo World, Disney Coloring World and Mother Goose Club.
DICE LA rebrands as Ripple Effect Studios. DICE LA has emerged from the other side of its promised rebrand as Ripple Effect Studios. The EA-owned game development studio unveiled its new name and look today, noting in a blog post that, while DICE remains part of its DNA, the team was eager to carve out its own unique identity as Ripple Effect.
Nintendo denies use of forced Uyghur labor in affiliated factories. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has denied a recent report that alleged some of its partner factories in China were relying on forced labor from detained members of the Uyghur ethnic group. The original report came from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Tencent-driven DouYu and Huya merger blocked by Chinese antitrust regulator. An antitrust regulator in China is reportedly seeking to block the merger between streaming sites, DouYu and Huya. That's according to Reuters, as well as three sources familiar with the deal, which is being overseen by Tencent.Two of the three sources said that Tencent has failed to meet the State Administration of Marker Regulations...
Minecraft implements age restrictions in South Korea. Minecraft has become an adults-only title in South Korea, as reported by The Korea Herald. Mojang Studios' popular sandbox game is recommended for ages 12 and up by South Korea's Game Rating and Administration Committee, but the paper reports Microsoft recently informed South Korean users that they would need Xbox Live accounts…
Blackstone's stake in CGC another sign of the financialization of collectibles. Talk about your Friday afternoon news dump! As most of us were heading out for the holidays, word came on June 2 that notorious private equity firm Blackstone Tactical Opportunities had swooped down on Certified Collectibles Group, snatching up the parent company of comics grader CGC.
Retail trade union Usdaw slams government Covid relaxation plans as “too much too soon”. The retail trade union Usdaw has blasted the Prime Minister and UK government’s plans on lifting safety measures in stores as “too much too soon” following Boris Johnson’s latest address to the nation to move ahead with the release of Covid restrictions from July 19th.
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
(the above posted after July 9th)
TOP 50 COMICS - JUNE 2021 . . . . . Uncontainable: the great supply chain meltdown . . . . . Climate change is a major worry for EMEA kids . . . . . Construction toys - Look what I made . . . . . People are now spending more time on TikTok than YouTube, Facebook and even Netflix, according to a new report (Tubefilter) . . . . . Manga Sales in North America Hit All-Time High in 2020
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
(the above posted after July 9th)
Facebook says over 1.5 million people in the U.S. are playing its cloud games each month . . . . . Pokémon Go's lifetime revenue hits $5 billion . . . . . . BBC Studios took a US$41-million hit and blames the pandemic (TBI Vision)
Future Financial Reporting . . .
Hasbro, announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2021 earnings conference call on Monday, July 26, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. Certain financial and statistical information included in the webcast, such as information required by Regulation G, will be available at the time of the webcast on Hasbro’s Investor Relations website at https://investor.hasbro.com.
Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results on August 4, 2021. Max Rangel, Global President and Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 5, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The call-in numbers for participants are (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191.
Mattel today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2021 financial results on Tues, July 27, 2021 at approx 4:05 p.m. ET. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The conference call will be webcast on Mattel's Investor Relations website, https://investors.mattel.com/.
Stories & Comments . . .
A Toylike Gun Covered In Legos Sparks An Uproar. A Utah gun company has halted sales of a Lego-themed pistol kit, after facing fierce backlash from the public and a request from the Danish toymaker to remove the product. With the colorful "Block 19" pistol kit, owners would have been able to use Lego blocks to create their own sights and designs on top of a Glock 19 pistol's slide.
Future AI toys could be smarter than parents, but a lot less protective. The thought of a child’s toy listening in on a family 24/7 is unsettling. While smart toys can be useful, educational tools for kids, they also pose privacy risks which toy makers and privacy experts are still learning how to balance. Smart toys made with artificial intelligence, such as machine-learning capabilities, can collect different forms of data from kids.
11 Board Games Based on Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows. When you can't choose between game night, movie night, or a Netflix binge, you can split the difference with these board games based on some of the most popular blockbuster franchises and TV shows around. Whether you're looking for some casual trivia games or complex strategy titles you can play for hours, there's something for every level of dedication.
11 Memorable ‘90s Toy Commercial Jingles. The U.S. toy industry grew from $12 billion in 1990 to $19.6 billion by 2000—and a big part of that record-breaking success had to do with compelling commercials aimed at kids. A 1998 Consumer Reports study estimated that, on average, 30,000 toy-related television ads ran each year. So in between episodes of Rugrats and The Mickey Mouse Club, a flood of catchy jingles for...
MGA Entertainment appoints Julie Taylor as sales director. Julie is joining MGA from Golden Bear, where she held a similar role for nearly 15 years. Having previously held a similar role at Golden Bear for almost 15 years, Julie will join MGA in autumn, equipped with a wealth of success and experience in the industry.
First lady Jill Biden is partnering with "Sesame Street" and the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) to help military families discuss race with their children. In a joint statement, "Sesame Street" and the USAA shared their joint partnership by releasing a new collection of resources for military families on the discussion of race and diversity. These new resources will be a part of "Sesame Street’s" Coming Together initiative for racial literacy.
(the above was posted after July 9th)
John Baulch - If not now, when? …it’s the Friday Blog! Looking at what’s happening out in the big wide world, I sometimes wonder whether those of us who make an honest crust buying and selling toys (or writing about them) wish they had chosen a different career path? One thing’s for sure, the past year has certainly been fertile ground for grifters. Whether it was pub owners suddenly becoming overnight experts in...
A sustainable plastic strategy? After lots of talk about plant-based plastics, a new sustainability wave is seeing toycos like Mattel and LEGO launch products made from discarded bottles. For its part, Hasbro is committed to phasing out plastic from all of its product packaging. The toyco has pledged to do away with polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs by 2022.
Tech toys – pushing the right buttons. In this category feature, Rachael Simpson-Jones asks how tech enhances play and learning, and whether you can have too much of a good thing. Technology in toys can be varied in its complexity and presentation, from subtle lights and sounds to programmable motion and interactivity, but generally speaking, it’s there for one of two core purposes – entertainment or education.
The Booming Business of Trading Cards (Podcast). Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck joined the show to discuss the industry and how it has changed since its early days. The trading card business has turned into a very hot commodity. He also touched on digital trading cards and how the grading of cards can assesses their value. Don’t you wish you kept that Lebron James rookie card in better condition?
THE GREAT MANGA SHORTAGE OF 2021. How We Got Here and Where We’re Headed. Manga sales soared last year and it looks like 2021 will be even bigger (see “Manga Sales in North America Hit All-Time High in 2020”), but retailers and readers are running into a problem: Right now, there’s a manga shortage in N.A. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing problems in the supply chain, including shortages of ...
A Brief History of the Tamagotchi. Think about the life span of toys. The classics—Barbies, G.I. Joes, Hula Hoops, and Teddy Ruxpins—can keep kids engaged for hours at a time, but eventually the novelty wears off and the child will go in search of new play adventures. But what if someone invented a toy that demanded a kid’s attention all day, every day? What if they were so committed to this toy that they couldn’t bear to be...
An oral history of how ‘Star Wars’ became a merchandising powerhouse. The word “renaissance” would seem superfluous when it comes to the Star Wars franchise, yet as it turned out, that was exactly what was needed in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi. Interest in all things Star Wars seemed to rapidly cool off with the saga apparently wrapping up with the Ewoks and Droids animated series, the pair of live-action ...
Roblox, explained. Everything you wanted to know about one of the biggest apps on the planet. Roblox is one of the biggest apps in the world, and you’ve probably been hearing its name: the company recently went public, and its stock price climbed so high it was temporarily worth more than gaming giants EA and Take-Two combined. Roblox has come up as a contentious topic in the Epic Games v. Apple trial as well.
Pop It! fidget toys are in everyone’s hands. But why? If you have kids or TikTok, you know about Pop It! Yes, the brand name ends with an exclamation mark, so I hope you like zesty punctuation!!! The toy is an endless bit of bubble wrap in a molded tray. Once you pop one side, flip it and pop the other. Knockoffs galore come in shapes such as Unicorn, Rainbow and Dereliction of Daily Duties.
Has LEGO built an unforgettable retail experience for kids and adults? One of the most popular toy brands is betting on experiential retail coming back in a big way. Lego just opened a two-story flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The new location features Lego installations of famous NYC landmarks, a personalization studio that allows visitors to make customized Lego-brick portraits and a station for making...
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
Singer Sewing Machines from Gilbert Toys. A dealer advertisement from 1963 for the “Sewhandy” Singer Sewing Machines toy line from The A. C. Gilbert Company. The “Sewhandy” Electric (model #14325) was powered by a 115-volt electric motor. The metal machine came with a carry-case for storage and a sewing kit that included material, patterns, thread, appliques, and instructions for making a clothing bag. The “Sewhandy” (model #14323) had all the features of its more expensive counterpart but was manually operated.
Mad Marbles from Lakeside. Released in 1970 by Lakeside, the Mad Marbles action game requires “fast reflexes, good judgment, and a keen sense of humor.” The uniquely shaped, red-orange, molded plastic game board features a translucent rotating launcher at its center and four goals guarded by translucent plastic gates. Eight marbles (seven white, one red) are loaded into the launcher and each player selects a goal. Once the launcher is given a spin a flurry of marbles released onto the playing surface.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Moonbug Entertainment Names WowWee as Master Toy Licensee for ARPO Robot Babysitter. The Amazon Kids+ series ARPO Robot Babysitter doesn’t even premiere until this fall, but its cast of characters is already headed for the toy department. WowWee inked a deal with Moonbug Entertainment to serve as the master toy licensee for the series.
Playmates Toys to Live Long and Prosper with Star Trek License. The toy company has inked a deal with ViacomCBS for the licensing rights to create action figures, vehicles and ships, role-play items, and other toy categories for the Star Trek universe. The new toy line will be available next year following the premiere of Star Trek: Prodigy, a series geared toward a younger audience.
Sybo Games signs deal with Sakar International to expand Subway Surfers range. The agreement will see Sakar International grow its line of wheeled goods across Europe after a successful launch in the US and Canada last year. The global licensing deal, brokered by Retail Monster’s US and UK teams, follows the US team’s North American deal between Sakar and Sybo Games’ SubSurf consumer and lifestyle brand.
Funko and Smiffys among roster of partners for 40th anniversary of Danger Mouse. Funko and Smiffys have joined a line up of premium licensing partners to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Boat Rocker Studios’ iconic animated series, Danger Mouse, with a raft of new launches across the collectables, dress up, and gifting sectors. Licensing partners signed up to mark the milestone anniversary span both the UK and US,
THE PARTY GAME ‘THINGS…’ IS GETTING A SCHITT’S CREEK MAKEOVER. Okay, no, not an intense game of Celebrity overseen by David in a Rosebud Motel room, but honestly the next best thing. PlayMonster has partnered with ITV Studios for a Schitt’s Creek-inspired version of the popular party game THINGS… (previously known as The Game of Things). Players are given a topic in each round of the game, and everyone...
(the above posted after tBR sent on July 9th)
PlayMonster is teaming up with Disney to incorporate popular characters into several PlayMonster lines — including 5 Second Rule, Ring It On, and Colorforms. 5 Second Rule Disney Edition is a fast-paced game where players have to think quickly and shout out the answers to the questions — prompts including naming three Disney dogs within five seconds. With cards featuring topics that multiple generations can enjoy...
LEGO Ideas' New Seinfeld Set Is Better than Junior Mints. The LEGO Ideas Seinfeld Set features all the ‘90s sitcom goodness to celebrate the show’s 32nd anniversary. From a Festivus pole to a buildable stand-up stage, LEGO Ideas is really bringing “yada” some “yowza” with this comical set. Created by LEGO fan Brent Waller, the set features a 1,326-piece, bricked-up rendition of Jerry’s apartment.
Unbox Seasonal Pokémon with 3 New Holiday Calendars from Jazwares. Why should Christmas get all the fun of countdown calendars when there are plenty of other holidays worthy of unboxing toys? Jazwares will debut a Pokémon Halloween Calendar for this October with 13 days of Pokémon collectibles, including eight 2-inch Pokémon figures and five Halloween accessories.
SolidRoots will publish a line of licensed Berenstain Bears-themed games, expected to hit shelves in spring 2022, for ages 4 to 8+ years old.
Known for its offerings like trivia game Mind the Gap and escape room game series Trapped, SolidRoots is a license partner for The Berenstain Bears through December 2024. “Having grown up with the Berenstain Bears, I feel incredibly honored to partner with them and create games...
HarperCollins Children's Books announced today the exclusive rights to publish Dungeons & Dragons middle grade content in partnership with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. The Dungeons & Dragons publishing program will launch in Fall 2021 with the publication of the first ever middle grade novel, DUNGEON ACADEMY: NO HUMANS ALLOWED, written by NY Times bestselling author Madeleine Roux...
Kids’ bike brand United Wheels UK lands multi-territory deal with Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. The British bicycle brand, United Wheels UK Limited has detailed a new multi-territory licensing partnership with Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm movie properties as the company eyes further growth across the European markets and beyond. Its latest agreement will see the property rights extended across the UK, Ireland...
'Super Mario Labyrinth' heads to retail. Ravensburger NA will release Super Mario Labyrinth, a family board game, into retail in 2021. In Super Mario Labyrinth, Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong and many other Super Mario characters are hiding in a maze and players need to help them find the shortest route out. However, this will not be so easy because players shift the maze on their turn to change the characters' paths.
Infinifan, Inc. expands partnership with Funimation with licensing deals. Infinifan, Inc. is adding three more Funimation licenses to its anime catalog: Fruits Basket (2019), Tokyo Ghoul, and the classic series Trigun. The announcement was made over the July 4th weekend to coincide with what would have been Anime Expo weekend. All 3 new properties will have Mochibi product lines, as well as a new plush keychain line...
Moonbug appoints Brand Energy for licensing in France. Moonbug Entertainment has appointed Brand Energy to represent the licensing rights of its kids’ entertainment properties in France. “In France, 76 percent of kids ages 4-14 own their own personal screen,” says Alexandre Ardant, co-founder, Brand Energy. “Moonbug has developed a fantastic catalog of streaming age-specific content that is both very entertaining...
People . . .
Meet the Filipino artist behind the design of the Naomi Osaka Barbie doll. The lead artist behind all these was Filipino-American designer Carlyle Nuera, who works at Barbie Signature at Mattel. Prior to taking on Naomi Osaka, Nuera has done already done several projects within the company. In an Instagram post, he showed his appreciation for the young tennis icon. "What inspires me most about Naomi is how she....
An interview with Rubik's Cube creator Ernő Rubik. Ernő Rubik is a Hungarian inventor who, as his name suggests, is the brains behind the much loved Rubik's Cube. He created what was then known as the "Magic Cube" in 1974 for his students when he was a professor of design in Budapest. A head-scratching puzzle loved by people of all ages, this brightly coloured cube has inspired a whole community of Cubers...
In his first interview since taking over kids and family programming for Paramount+, Nickelodeon president and CEO Brian Robbins talks with THR about his strategy for streaming vs. linear, pushing further into features and YA programming (a LeBron James pic) and his former 'Head of the Class' co-star/network hitmaker Dan Schneider: "We are not contemplating working together right now."
An Interview with Hasbro Master Model Artist Tony Collela – Adventures in Collecting. On this episode, Dave and Erik are joined by Hasbro Master Model Artist Tony Collela! Hear what it's like to work on lines such as Marvel Legends, GI Joe Classified, Power Rangers Lightning Collection, Ghostbusters, and Fortnite, as well as about Tony's 16 years of industry experience!
Hasbro promotes Kim Boyd to Head of Global Brands and Consumer Innovation. Hasbro has promoted its senior vice president and general manager of global brands, Kim Boyd to the role of head of global brands and consumer innovation within its newly created Global Consumer Innovation Organisation. In her new role, Boyd will be responsible for driving Hasbro’s brands cohesively, consistently, and globally with…
(the above was posted after July 9th)
Guinness World Record Holder Launches YouTube Channel for Unusual Collections. Host, Marla Mogul, takes viewers on her journey to find passionate collectors with the Windup Project. The Windup Project was created by Guinness World Record holder, Marla Mogul, while pursuing her award for the largest number of wind-up toys in a private collection. Over the past 30 yrs Marla has collected more than 1300 wind-up toys...
Jennifer Caveza named Otis College Toy Design Program chair. Otis College appointed Jennifer Caveza as the new chair of its Toy Design Program. Caveza previously served as assistant chair of the toy program from 2001-2006. Most recently, she served as the senior vice president of toy licensing at ViacomCBS. She previously held executive roles at Nickelodeon, Mattel, and Jakks Pacific.
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Lev Nelson, co-founder of Sky Castle Toys. Over the past decade, Nelson held positions at OzWest and Zing prior to founding Levelhed Creative and co-founding Sather & Fun Toys. Now, Nelson has teamed up with Josh Loerzel for Sky Castle Toys, a new company with a goal to “disrupt complacent toy categories.”
The physician-designer will see you now. Michiko Maruyama is changing the field of medicine by creating art and designing toys. WHEN most people think about medicine, they do not think about art. But Michiko Maruyama does. She thinks about doodles, toys and children’s books – all in the context of the medical field. In fact, she would like to be referred to as a physician-designer. “There’s so much emphasis on physician...
The Strong National Museum of Play is offering the chance to meet former Chair and CEO of Mattel Inc. Jill Barad from 6 to 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 11—all from the comfort of your home via Zoom! In the next of episode of their “Cocktails with the Creators” series, you’ll will hear firsthand how Barad successfully took Barbie from under $200 million to $2 billion in sales, and further established the Barbie brand as an American icon. She purchased American Girl from Pleasant Company for Mattel and helped to open the first American Girl Store in Chicago...
Genius Brands appoints Kerry Phelan to role of EVP and GM of global franchise management. Genius Brand International has appointed the 30 yr consumer branding executive, Kerry Phelan to the newly created role of EVP and GM of global franchise management. In her new role, the former DreamWorks and Pixar executive will report to both Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO, and Harold Chizick, president of global...
Katie Gritt joins Just Play UK Just Play UK continues to build the team ahead of its official opening on 1st January 2022 with the appointment of Katie Gritt as head of Marketing - EMEA. Katie has spent the past five years at The Entertainer, managing retail marketing before leading The Entertainer’s social media, content and PR strategy.
Casdon welcomes new marketing manager The new senior hire will expand Casdon Toys' marketing team and be responsible for the company's new brand and marketing strategy. Simone Inskip, who joins the team in July, has spent the past three years working at MGA Entertainment and brings with her a wealth of experience across the toy and entertainment sector.
Magic Box Toys names Nicola Bergot its UK managing director. Magic Box Toys has taken its latest step along its mission to become a leading global toy manufacturer, having appointed Nicola Bergot as its new UK managing director. Having started her sales career at LEGO, Bergot brings with her more than 30 years of experience in the toy trade, having also held a series of senior roles at Flair, namely as sales director...
University Games appoints new national account manager to build on continued UK growth. The games and puzzles specialist, University Games has appointed a new national accounts manager in the form of Chris Maker as it positions itself for continues growth in the UK market. Maker brings with him over two decades of retail expertise as well as national account experience to the role, having worked with...
Companies, Brands . . .
Nickelodeon lines up trio of movies SpringHill and Genius Entertainment are producing Fantasy Football, while Nick and Awesomeness adapt Hush Hush and prep a Blue's Clues movie. To kick things off, Nick and Awesomeness Films are planning to start production on an original live-action feature film called Fantasy Football in early 2022.
Basic Fun’s Tiny TV Classics Are a Boxy Blast from the Past, in Collectible Form. The days of the CRT TV are lost upon the younger generations, but they’re making their way back into kids’ and adults’ collectible cases through Tiny TVs from Basic Fun! The 1.5-by-3 inch, Tiny TVs are real-working sets that feature famous scenes and quotes from iconic shows and movies.
Mattel makes its toys more diverse, launches new Naomi Osaka Barbie dolls. Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka now has her own line of Barbie dolls. The 23-year-old world No. 2 tennis player, who has used her position to call attention to issues of police violence and racial inequality, became a part of Mattel's push to make its iconic toy line more diverse with dolls based on different role models and professions.
Moose Toys introduces Scruff-a-Luv Cutie Cuts. The plush pets can be given a full salon make-over, including being shaved and trimmed with a kid-safe accessory that works and feels like real clippers. The new Scruff-a-Luvs Cutie Cuts is said to be a first-of-its-kind plush and gives kids the fun experience of pretending to be a real dog groomer.
Just Play - going solo. Independent US toy company Just Play has announced the creation of its 1st European subsidiary, which will open officially on 1st Jan 2022. Toy World met with David Allmark, executive advisor, and Anna Chapman, VP marketing EMEA at Just Play’s stunning new office in Henley on Thames, to find out why the timing is right for this step and how the European business strategy is set to extend the US success.
Safari Ltd. announced plans July 9 to open its first retail store, ToyTopia, in St. Johns County. The Nocatee Town Center store is planned to open in January, but that could be moved up in time for the holiday season. The store will encourage children to explore and interact with toys off the shelves. Nocatee residents Alexandre Pariente, CEO, and Christina Pariente lead Safari Programs, which operates Safari Ltd.
(the above posted after tBR sent on July 9th)
FLASHBACK: NEWLY DISCOVERED VIDEO GOES INSIDE HASBRO’S 1987 FRENCH TOY FAIR PRESENTATION. An unlisted video showcasing the Hasbro booth at a 1987 French Toy Fair was uploaded to YouTube on July 20, 2012. Until earlier this week, the video only had a handful of views before it started making the toy industry rounds. This video time capsule features demos of then-new products from Hasbro’s....
It’s Hollywood Barbie’s Moment (and She’s Bringing Her Friends). Margot Robbie as Barbie, Daniel Kaluuya reimagining Barney, plots based on Uno and View-Master: Mattel, in the throes of a financial comeback, has 13 films in the works. Under Mr. Kreiz, who has overseen a stunning financial turnaround at the company since becoming its fourth chief executive in four years in 2018, Mattel has moved to turn its toys into...
UK retailer Mamas & Papas eyes licensing and franchising among global growth plans. The British nursery and children’s wear retailer, Mamas & Papas is eyeing international growth, having signed a slate of new overseas partnerships across central and eastern Europe. The move, according to the firm, arrives amid a surge in international demand for British heritage brands like the Yorkshire-based Mamas & Papas …
VTech Debuts New Kidi Tech Collection with Smart Watches, Print Cameras, and More. Modern tech is going mini this year for VTech’s 2021 Kidi Tech collection. Following on-trend features — from messaging apps to instant print cameras — this collection aims to upgrade previous VTech models while introducing new products to its kid-friendly electronic ecosystem.
Mattel Unleashes Full Trailer for Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1. The full trailer follows last month’s teaser and gives audiences a better look at the plot of the new animated series from showrunner Kevin Smith (Clerks). Revelation premieres July 23 on Netflix with a five-part first season that is considered a direct continuation of the original series and toy line from the 1980s.
HEXBUG, Wind Sun Sky Forge Alliance for Junkbots Webseries, Roblox Expansion. The world of Junkbots is expanding to becoming a multiplatform effort spanning toys, a CGI web series, and a dedicated universe within Roblox. HEXBUG teamed up with Wind Sun Sky (WSS) to craft new content in support of the second season of Junkbots toys that will hit stores in the weeks ahead led by the all-new environment-based...
Moose Brings Hybrid Direct Distribution Model to Canada. Starting this fall, Moose Toys will distribute directly in Canada for a selection of brands including Bluey and Akedo - Ultimate Gaming Warriors. All lines will be available at major retailers throughout Canada. While it handles distribution for a selection of curated brands, Moose’s existing relationships with distribution partners Imports Dragon and Red Planet...
Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment has introduced Anchorman: The Game – Improper Teleprompter, a party game for ages 17+ Players can assume the roles of the characters from the movie — including Ron Burgundy, Veronica Corningstone, Brick Tamland, and more — as they compete by sabotaging other anchors’ news stories with magnetic words and phrases to make them laugh while reading the news.
BBC puts out call for animated concepts. Ignite will provide development funding for up to 20 concepts from new UK creators and indie prodcos, as well as BBC in-house production talent. The BBC is launching an initiative to find and develop new animated series within the UK, as well as provide support and opportunities for existing and emerging talent.
No holds barred at MGA. Toy World spoke to Neil Bandtock, managing director of MGA Entertainment’s UK & Ireland operation, as the company celebrates increasing its market share. MGA reports strong sales across all its brands. The company is currently focused not only on ensuring a healthy end to the spring/summer period, but also on delivering a healthy start to autumn/winter.
Sesame launches a new character. Elmo is getting a puppy, inspiring new licensed products and an animated special that will premiere on HBO Max in August. In the 30-minute special produced in partnership with A Productions (The Numtums), Elmo meets stray puppy Tango, learns how to take care of her, and goes on an adventure to find her a forever home. It will premiere August 5 on HBO Max, and then on PBS KIDS in 2022.
Look who’s 40! - doing things The Entertainer way. Toy World spoke to founder and executive chairman, Gary Grant, to find out how it all began, who helped it happen and where The Entertainer is headed next. Gary and his wife Catherine opened the first The Entertainer store on 5th May 1981, when Gary was the tender age of 22 and, by his own admission, knew absolutely nothing about the toy industry.
PlayMonster plans to become top ten UK games manufacturer with Playtime PR. PlayMonster has laid out its ambitions to ‘become one of the top ten games manufacturers in the UK’ through investment in its marketing approach and the appointment of Playtime PR. With a growing portfolio of games for all audiences, PlayMonster Games has enlisted the specialist toys and games agency to strengthen its marketing efforts…
Thames & Kosmos | “Tech and gadget toys continue to rise in popularity”. With demand for STEM and science kits still unabating, driven by parents keen to deliver their children an educational alternative to screen time and a lift in interest in all things to do with space exploration among young audiences, Thames & Kosmos is primed for continued growth here in the UK.
PlayShifu to boost Indian manufacturing and help fuel local ‘toyconomy’. The Indian early learning toy company, PlayShifu is boosting its local manufacturing capacity for in-house consumption as well as exports, the latest move from a firm eyeing a new stage of growth following the $17 million its raised in series B funding earlier this year .PlayShifu’s India manufacturing is already exporting to international markets which...
The Insights Family launches IP performance comparison tool the IP Index. The Insights Family has lifted the lid on its latest tool development with the launch of a new platform that allows brands, partners, and retailers to compare the performance of their IP with thousands of others, across various types of media. Called the IP Index, the tool has been launched to provide data to help identify new partners, spot ...
Got a box of LEGO bricks? This amazing app scans them and suggests new builds. If your kids have a box of jumbled Lego bricks in their bedroom, get it out - because an amazing new app will give them tons of new ideas of what to build with them. The Brickit app is the best use of the iPhone’s AR technology I’ve seen yet.
Leapfrog announces new educational toy line-up for fall. Back-to-school season is right around the corner and LeapFrog is ready for action with a new line-up of educational toys for all ages. Launching this fall, the new learning toys will introduce curriculum-based content and foundational skills to kids at an early age to help prepare them for school while engaging their imaginations.
UNO’s 50-year milestone brings anniversary sets, championship series & promotions. The pain of drawing two, four, or more cards should be familiar to many, as friends and family members try their very best to stop you from shouting ‘UNO’ and winning the game. It’s a tradition that has been around for 50 years, and Mattel has gone full out to commemorate that spirit of inclusiveness and competitive fun as UNO hits...
Hexbug, Wind Sun Sky forge alliance for Junkbots webseries, Roblox expansion. The world of Junkbots is expanding to becoming a multiplatform effort spanning toys, a CGI web series, and a dedicated universe within Roblox. HEXBUG teamed up with Wind Sun Sky (WSS) to craft new content in support of the second season of Junkbots toys that will hit stores in the weeks ahead led by the all-new environment-based …
Arcane Wonders brings English edition of 'Furnace' to U.S. retail. Arcane Wonders will release the English edition of Furnace, an engine-building game by Hobby World, to U.S. retail in Q3. In Furnace, players assume the roles of 19th century industrial capitalists building up their corporations. Their goal is to expand their industrial empire by purchasing companies, extracting their resources, and processing them.
Celebrate ceremoniously with 'Kokopelli'. Queen Games revealed Kokopelli, a card game by Stefan Feld, for release into retail on August 21. In Kokopelli, players try to start and complete ceremonies to gain special boons. Each player starts with a 36-card deck that contains three each of 12 different ceremony cards. They have spaces on their player board for four ceremonies, and players use cards to complete them...
'Machi Koro 2' invites players to build their favorite city again with Pandasaurus Games. In Machi Koro 2, players will have to contend with new zoning laws that give them a limited budget to begin their new adventures. Buildings are separated into three decks and randomized, with only five cards from each deck showing at a time. Over three initial building rounds, players will choose their first buildings and pay...
Blizzard and Z-Man combine forces for 'World Of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King'. Blizzard Entertainment and Z-Man Games have announced World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, a Pandemic system board game, which is coming in fall of 2021. This new board game is a Pandemic cooperative game based on the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft.
Holiday Cats vs. Pickles collectibles are on the way. The world of Cats vs. Pickles is about to expand again with some seasonal flair. This fall, Cepia LLC is unleashing a limited-edition line of collectible, 4-inch plush Holiday Cats vs. Pickles (CvP) Beans. The new series is primed to be one of this year’s hottest stocking stuffers and will be available to retailers in 12-pack open assortments and 18-piece cases of Mystery Bags.
Wizards of the Coast anticipates shortfalls In 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Adventures In Forgotten Realms' products. Wizards of the Coast revealed that they are anticipating some shortfalls in the availability of Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Set Boosters and Draft Boosters during the set's release window. This Standard booster set is scheduled for full release on July 23.
Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .
Tencent using facial recognition to crack down on kids playing games at night. Gaming monolith Tencent has launched facial recognition technology that will stop children in China logging into games after a certain time of day. The "midnight-patrol" feature -- as reported by the BBC -- will ban children from playing games between 10pm and 8am.
Ubisoft is reportedly shaking up Assassin’s Creed with new live-service game. Ubisoft has officially confirmed the existence of a new Assassin’s Creed game codenamed “Infinity,” after a report from Bloomberg detailed the new online service-based game. While Ubisoft’s announcement doesn’t shed much light on what form the new game will take, Bloomberg reports that it will be an evolving online game similar ...
Indonesia Minister calls for Fortnite ban over user-generated content. An Indonesian Minister has called for Fortnite to be banned in the country, due to a piece of user-generated content in the game. Sandiaga Uno, the Minister for Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy, announced plans to pursue the ban following the discovery of a user-created map that allegedly allows players to destroy a building that resembles....
Apex Legends devs forced into holiday work by Titanfall-linked hack. Respawn's battle royale (and big EA moneymaker) Apex Legends was the victim of an unusual hack over the holiday weekend, one that sent its developers scrambling during a time period they were meant to spend with friends and family. In an attack that prevented users from starting a round of Apex Legends (but didn’t compromise user information)...
Nintendo Switch OLED Model gets an upgraded screen. Nintendo has unveiled its long-rumored upgrade to the Switch, with a new model featuring a larger, better screen. The Switch OLED Model's main feature is its OLED screen - a technology which offers deeper blacks and better colours than most LCD screens like those on the original Switch. It will launch on 8 October, costing £50/$50 more than the current model.
Atari Gaming walks away from free-to-play games to refocus on console and PC. Atari Gaming is pivoting away from its free-to-play mobile game business to instead refocus on premium games for console and PC, and in turn create more titles for its recently-released Atari VCS console. Atari announced the shift this week, noting that it will continue to support any "successful games with a loyal user base" on mobile but that it ...
Nintendo unveils new Switch OLED model. Nintendo has revealed a brand new Switch console - the Switch (OLED model). The OLED model promises to add new features to the Switch, including a seven-inch OLED screen and an Ethernet port to improve online connectivity. It'll also feature enhanced audio, a wider, adjustable stand, and 64gb of internal storage. The Switch OLED model is slated for release on October 8th...
Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
Highlighted Press Releases . . .
KIDS SHOUT ‘NOT IT!’ AS THEY SPOT THE CARD THAT DOESN’T MATCH. AND THEY TRY TO BE REALLY FAST! Parents May Have Used The Expression “You’re It” But Today…Kids Shout ‘Not It!’ As They Spot The Card That Doesn’t Match. And They Try To Be Really Fast!! If shopping for Christmas in July is your thing, The Good Game Company has two words of advice: Not It! Families are raving about the collection of three themed games known as Not It! ($15.99). This compact card and dice game shows kids that being out of sync is a good thing! If you can do it fast — and not be last. Look for these perfectly priced pursuits (or tuck away for stocking stuffers) at Learning Express or neighborhood specialty toy shops: Not It! The Castle Land Edition, Not It! The Cryptic Hunters Edition and Not It! The Crazy Christmas Edition.
Griddly Games finds seasonal positioning for its products. Now kids can Just Add the perfect ingredients for new and different summertime fun with Griddly Games line-up of Just Add science activity + art kits. The activities in the Just Add branded line of kits include some perfect summer themes like using the sun for a solar oven, making refreshing sugary treats, and even recycling a garden of fruits and vegetables.
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards & Festivals . . .
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More)
Kidscreen Awards 2022 is open for entries. The Best Inclusivity category will now recognize behind-the-scenes representation, and a new Best Holiday or Special Episode Award has been added. Additionally, a brand-new Best Holiday or Special Episode category has been added for series segments that celebrate a holiday, seasonal or cultural theme.
Licensing International reveals its 2021 Rising Stars The six brand licensing professionals to receive the 2021 Rising Star Award from Licensing International this year have been named, marking the ninth annual celebration of the up and coming talent from across the global licensing community. “We are thrilled to recognize these talented young professionals who will be the future leaders of our global …
Face masks will be mandatory at Essen Spiel ’21 along with vaccination or negative Covid tests. Masks will be mandatory for visitors to this year’s Essen Spiel – Europe’s tabletop and board gaming gathering – as well as proven Covid-19 immunisation or negative Covid test results, even if the government relaxes all measures around social distancing.
Licensing Expo Virtual released the agenda for its 2021 event taking place August 24-26. To kick off on August 24, senior executives from Warner Bros. Consumer Products will deliver the live opening keynote address, entitled “Unlocking the Fan Power of Global Franchises.” It will be moderated by License Global magazine content director Amanda Cioletti and presented by WarnerMedia president of global brands...
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association unveiled its 2021 Best Toys for Kids award winners. The list includes 10 winning toys in 10 categories. “ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award program reflects the collective expertise of hundreds of toy retailers who know toys inside out,” said Sue Warfield, president of ASTRA. “The list of winners represents the best of the fun, top-quality, high play value products consumers can...
Publisher members of the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have overwhelmingly voted in favor of relinquishing their control of the organization, ceding it to a board with equal representation for publishers, wholesalers, retailers, creators, media & events, and production. The portion of the new bylaws containing the provisions for expanding the membership received 91% approval by the voting members.
Moose Toys takes Toy of the Year 2021 among slew of wins at Grand Prix du Jouet. The Australian toy company, Moose Toys has secured a total of four wins at the 2021 Grand Prix du Jouet, the highly coveted French play awards, included the Toy of the Year 2021 accolade, fighting off strong competition from the likes of Mattel, Goliath, and VTech. Among the multiple honours taken home by Moose Toys at this year’s event...
The Toy Foundation opens nominations for 2022 Toy of the Year Awards. It’s hailed as the “Oscars” of the toy industry, and in February, the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Award Ceremony will be roaring back into action alongside Toy Fair New York 2022. The Toy Foundation has opened up nominations for products in the toy, game, and license categories through Aug. 31.
TAGIEs Opens Nominations with Two New Categories! People of Play (POP) is adding two new categories to the TAGIEs — which is returning for its 14th year — to showcase the Most Innovative Licensed Product and industry Game Changers. Now entering its fourteenth year, the TAGIE Awards, presented by People of Play (POP), will once again honor top innovators, designers, and marketers in the toy and game industry. Each year, the TAGIEs bring together professionals, aspirants, and fans from over 150 countries comprise the play industry. POP is adding two categories to the awards this year — Most Innovative Licensed Product and Game Changers. The Game Changers award will recognize those who changed the game of play in 2020, a year that required the industry to adapt and shift.
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.
Willi Zapf The Zapf Creation team has shared the news that its former owner Willi Zapf passed away on 30th June at the age of 83. In 1958, Willi and Brigitte Zapf took over the management of the Max Zapf doll factory. Under the new name of Zapf Puppen-und Spielwarenfabrik, Willi and Brigitte Zapf launched Baby born in 1991. He sold the company in 1992, but continued to lead it through success, growth, and innovation, until his retirement in 1997. With passion and determination, he led the company to become one of the leading manufacturers of play and functional dolls, and Baby born grew into one of the best-selling products the doll sector has ever seen.” Andrew Laughton, who headed up Zapf UK for many years, told Toy World: “Willi was a true gentleman. I would not have even entered the toy industry without his support and belief. A good friend of my father, together they built the Max Zapf business in the UK until he sold it over 20 years ago. I’ll be forever grateful to Willi and the entire Zapf family for their friendship and the opportunity they gave my family. His son Stefan still works at Zapf, heading up IT, so the family connection to the brand still remains. It’s poignant that 2021 is the 30th anniversary of Baby born – the brand transformed the large doll business worldwide, and it was Willi who saw the concept and believed in it from the start.”
Ora Coster - We lost one of the greats this week - Ora Coster. She and her husband Theo were the brilliant leaders of Theora Design. They were celebrities in the inventing world and dear friends of mine. Pictured here are Ora and Theo with their sons Boaz and Gideon at the TAGIEs in 2012, receiving the award for Lifetime Achievement. Our hearts are heavy, but we are richer for knowing Ora and all the wonderful playthings she left behind. I am gathering stories, memories and tributes to Ora (and Theo) for a story. Please send me yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Hackard - Line Editor of the Munchkin game line for the past 12+ years, and freelance editor who edited several of Wil Wheaton’s books, among other projects, passed away on June 17 from brain cancer. He was 50 years old. Hackard also worked as a freelance editor, editing several of actor Wil Wheaton’s books, and had a previous four-year stint at Steve Jackson as an editor and Managing Editor. In his role as Munchkin line editor, Hackard developed many of the Munchkin line extensions, including licensed versions.
Michael Nunn - Michael was the third generation of the family to run the well-known Redgates store in Sheffield and chairman of White Rose Toys buying group. Toy World is sad to report that Michael Nunn has passed away peacefully, aged 93 . Michael was the third generation of the family to run the well-known Redgates store in Sheffield. Edwin Redgate opened the first store in Fargate in 1857, selling furs and sewing machines. From 1890 onwards ,Redgates sold fur pram covers and around this time, the first wheeled toys were introduced. The reputation of Redgates grew rapidly in the 1960s, when it became known in the trade as one of the best toy shops outside of London, often referred to as “the Hamleys of the North.” Michael worked in the business from 1948 to 1986, and was a key figure in the store’s move to its most-remembered location at Furnival Gate in the mid-1970s. In 1975, Redgates reached a milestone £1m turnover, which was a significant achievement at the time.
Having celebrated the company’s 125th birthday in 1982, Michael sold the business several years later to Zodiac Toys, which continued to run it for two years before it finally closed. During his career, Michael travelled frequently to Nuremberg, where he originally met doll manufacturer Hans Gotz and started the agency agreement which still lasts to this day. The business has been run for many years by Michael’s son Antony, who married Hans’ daughter Silke Gotz. Michael’s grandson Patrick also works in the toy business, carrying on the family tradition.
Michael was chairman of White Rose Toys, a buying group consisting of 19 retailers which eventually became one of the founding cornerstones of Toymaster. He was also an active member of the Fence Club.
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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . .
The July edition of Toy World
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aNb Media (US)
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)
- Blizzard and Z-Man Combine Forces for 'World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King'
- WizKids Reveals a New 'D&D' Premium Statue
- Demon Lord Juiblex Oozes into 'D&D Icons of the Realms'
- Wizards of the Coast Anticipates Shortfalls in 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Adventures in Forgotten Realms' Products
- Rolling for Initiative - An Argument for the Distributor Magazine, and Congrats Mike Webb
- GAMA Publishers Give Up Control of Organization
- Wizards of the Coast Unveils a New 'Magic: The Gathering' Gift Edition
- Gamegenic Teams Up with Days of Wonder
- Konami Recommends Reopening 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' Organized Play
- Funko Reveals Four 'Pop! Loki' Figures
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