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July 22 - 29, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

You can't win it if you don't get in it!! TAGIE nominations close in 2 weeks. It is free and easy to enter! Share the love - nominate yourself and a colleague - CLICK HERE!

 

Last week we announced our POP Marketing & PR Q3 Event: Activations, Awards & Plus-Ups - All You Need to Know! You'll hear directly from smart moderators (Tammy Smitham, John Baulch and Karri Bean) and savvy global industry leaders, and learn about some dynamic opportunities in the next 18 months. We will announce the exciting deets on Monday! 

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues! You can also comment on the posts in the News Feed! 

Mary

"I am a long-time reader and champion of the Bloom Report. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry  is unmatched and  I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool." 

- Jim Engle, President and Founder, Little Kids Inc. 

"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers

Yearning for a Career Change? Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

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If you’re thinking about making a career move, you’re not alone.  A record number of Americans (47 million) quit their jobs in 2021 and turnover remains historically high today.  “The Great Resignation” has upended the labor market.

 

But given the danger of the unknown, especially when we hear rumblings of a possible recession, does it still make sense to make a move?  My answer is yes.  YES!  YES!

 

My reason is simple.  The number of moves you make during your career is strongly correlated with both your career success and your earning potential.  This is because each new role you take provides an opportunity to acquire new experience and build new skills.  According to recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute analyzing the human capital of four million online professional profiles, between 40-58% of lifetime earnings are associated with work experience.  The more experiences you have, the more you earn.  Period.

 

“Work experience contributes almost half of the value of a person’s human capital.” – McKinsey Global Institute Executive Summary, Human Capital at Work

 

I believe in BOLD experimentation and this applies to career changes, too.  The McKinsey study agrees.  Their findings indicate that the biggest earnings boosts come from bold career moves that really stretch your skill set.    READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - Alex Yeager, COO of Amigo Games

Talks about the Importance of the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year)

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There are a variety of awards that toys and games can earn, and the purpose and value of those awards can very greatly. But, since 1978, one of the most prestigious – and valuable – awards that board games can win is the  Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year).

 

The Spiel des Jahres (SdJ) is a juried award, made up of game journalists and critics from a mix of European countries. The goal, from their website, is to reward “games that seem best suited to promote the cultural asset of board games in society.”

This jury currently awards not just one, but three awards:

 

  • The Spiel des Jahres, the “game of the year,” for an entry-level or family game,

  • The Kennerspiel des Jahres, the strategy game of the year, for a hobby-level game, and

  • The Kinderspiel des Jahres, the children’s game of the year.

Unlike many awards, winning one of the awards has an immediate financial impact on publishers. A Kennerspiel or Kinderspiel will see immediate orders in the tens of thousands; for the SdJ, it can venture into the hundreds of thousands. Winners may place SdJ logo onto their games, paying a licensing fee to the jury to financially support the jury’s activities and promotions.    

READ MORE...

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Book Reviewer - Julia DeKorte

Kid Number One

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In Kid Number One, author G. Wayne Miller provides a comprehensive, in-depth look into all things Hasbro: its founding, triumphs, challenges, competitors, products, and most extensively, the Hassenfelds. Beginning with the story of how Henry and Hillel immigrated to America and soon after founded Hassenfeld Bros in 1917, Miller covers the journey of Hasbro all the way through 2019, running through its list of CEOs following the original brothers: Merrill Hassenfeld, Stephen Hassenfeld, Alan Hassenfeld, Al Verrecchia, and David Goldner. Miller focuses most entirely on Alan: his early life, how his business ventures began, his abrupt ascent into CEO position, his reign as the head of Hasbro, and his philanthropic endeavors and political involvements before and after stepping down from leadership in Hasbro.

Miller is nothing if not thorough. With hundreds of quotes from different significant people, interviews, photos, and statistics, Kid Number One truly covers all the information necessary to gain a vast knowledge of all things Hasbro. Readers are brought along for fantastic inventions that brought Hasbro prosperity, the products that flopped within weeks that dug Hasbro into a financial hole, and the management decisions that ended up fixing things.

But aside from the factual information, Miller does an excellent job telling stories. Nearly brought to tears on numerous occasions while reading, Kind Number One is more than just informative. Readers are welcomed into the Hasbro family, learn all of the quirks of all the characters, and quite honestly befriend them, as much as one can befriend people they’ve never met.

Most specifically, readers meet Alan Hassenfeld. His likes and dislikes, his personality that translates into his business, his values that translate into Hasbro management, his socially conscious nature that’s supported by his philanthropic passions. Alan, an incredible businessman, family man, and philanthropist, is not someone readers will forget after closing the back cover. READ MORE...

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Don't forget to add your skills and expertise on your POP profile...

if you don't have a POP profile, you're probably missing great opportunities!

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From a ​M​ajor ​C​able ​N​etwork​ Talent Booker​: ​"​We are working on a toy related docuseries. The series is focused on the entrepreneurial endeavors of our characters through interviews. Some of the topics we're interested in covering are the history of video games, action figures, toy designers, dolls/plush toys, building sets, puzzles and tech boosted toys. If any of these topics speak to you, please add the topics to your expertise in your POP Profile. We have discovered great contacts we are using in the series through POP and looking for more!​"​

"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies

I recommend populating your skills and expertise as well as writing about subjects you love. People will discover you on POP - I was just asked to keynote for a big event! -Gert Garman 

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3 Truths and a Lie of the Week - Lisa Orman

To be part of the game, all you need is a POP profile with your Fun Facts completed and let us know! We'll do the rest! 

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Financial and Legal

 

IVEST Consumer Partners and Sam Zell’s Equity Group Investments (EGI) have made a strategic investment in Entertainment Earth. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Entertainment Earth’s senior management team will continue to lead the business and retain a significant ownership stake in the company as the new investment fuels growth. Entertainment Earth was founded in 1996 by brothers Aaron and Jason...

 

WowWee has released a statement on the recent lawsuit filed against them by the Roblox Corporation: “Yesterday evening, WowWee, a family-owned toymaker responsible for the award-winning Fingerlings line, was made aware that Roblox Corporation filed a lawsuit against our company. WowWee believes that Roblox’s allegations are completely meritless and looks forward to vigorously defending its position, product, and brand.

 

The recent debut of WowWee’s My Avastars doll brand is at the center of a new lawsuit filed in a San Francisco Court on behalf of Roblox Corp. and Jazwares LLC. In the 62-page filing that was first reported on by Reuters, attorneys representing Roblox and Jazwares allege that My Avastars is a violation of Roblox’s intellectual property (IP) rights. The legal action seeks “to halt WowWee’s blatant and admitted copying of ...

 

Spin Master acquired SolidRoots and plans to allow the independent game studio behind Mind the Gap to remain a family-run operation based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The SolidRoots team broke the news on social media and says that the acquisition offers “unprecedented firepower to continue to grow our games portfolio and to expand on current brands like Mind the Gap in meaningful and scalable ways.”

 

As the Justice Department bids to convince a federal judge that the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would damage the careers of some of the most popular authors, it is leaning in part on the testimony of a writer who has thrived like few others: Stephen King. The author of Carrie, The Shining and many other favorites, King has willingly — even eagerly — placed himself in ...

The NPD Group has merged with Information Resources, Inc. in a move it says will create a leading global technology, analytics and data provider.  With a unified name and brand for the combined company to be announced at a later date, the merger brings together colleagues across the globe to offer more than 7,000 clients a comprehensive, accurate view of consumer behaviour and total retail purchasing and...

Wonderbly Acquires The Book Of Everyone. With the personalized gifting market expected to grow significantly over the next few years, Wonderbly has bought a competitor and plans to expand its business. Personalized kids book publisher Wonderbly has just acquired its main competitor The Book of Everyone. Based in London and Barcelona, The Book of Everyone creates 50-page personalized books for...

Workers have voted to strike at the UK’s busiest gateway for containers in a dispute over pay. The union Unite said 92% of its members at the Port of Felixstowe voted in favour of strike action following an 81% turnout for the ballot. Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company has offered a pay increase of 5%.

***The above posted after tBR started sending***

 

TOYS ‘R’ US ANZ SECURES FUNDING TO SUPPORT UK LAUNCH. The company executed agreements for a $15 million senior term loan facility to support its entry into the UK and planned e-commerce launch this year. The debt funding deal is expected to close tomorrow. The loan will be used for the acquisition of inventory and to support operations and must be paid back within three years.

Target & Walmart reducing FOB orders in favour of domestic purchases? According to a report by Reuters, sky-high stock levels have prompted several leading US multi-category retailers to reappraise their buying strategies, placing a greater emphasis on domestic purchases rather than FOB orders. Last month, Target CEO Brian Cornell pledged in a blog post that the retailer would take “necessary actions” to...

Target puts the squeeze on suppliers after inventories pile up. Target CEO Brian Cornell pledged in a June blog post that the retailer would take necessary actions to adapt to a post-pandemic landscape, paring a record $15.1 billion in unsold merchandise. Behind the scenes, Target's actions this summer include putting pressure on its vendors, asking them to pick up the tab for transporting goods and requiring some...

 

Following the recent bankruptcy filing for the Green Swan-operated Toys “R” Us Iberia, a new deal is in place under which the flag will continue to fly for Geoffrey the Giraffe throughout Spain and Portugal. WHP Global, the parent company of Toys “R” Us (TRU), struck a long-term deal with the Italian PRG Retail Group in which PRG acquires the assets of the former TRU Iberia license through its subsidiaries in the region.

 

Covid in China: Million in lockdown in Wuhan after four cases. Almost one million people in a suburb of Wuhan - China's central city where the coronavirus was first recorded - have been placed under lockdown. Jiangxia district residents have been ordered to stay inside their homes or compounds for three days after four asymptomatic Covid cases were detected. China follows a "zero Covid" strategy...

 

US economy shrinks again sparking recession fears. The US economy has shrunk for the second quarter in a row, a milestone that in many countries would be considered an economic recession. That is not the case in the US, which uses additional data to make that call. But the contraction, at an annual rate of 0.9% in the three months to July, has drawn widespread attention as worries about the economy grow. .

 

US makes huge interest rate rise to tame soaring prices. The US central bank has announced another unusually large interest rate hike as it battles to rein in soaring prices in the world's largest economy. The Federal Reserve said it would increase its key rate by 0.75 percentage points, targeting a range of 2.25% to 2.5%. The bank has been raising borrowing costs since March to try to cool the economy and ease price inflation. .

Gas prices jump as Russia cuts German supply. Gas prices jumped after Russia further cut gas supplies to Germany and other central European countries after threatening to earlier this week. European gas prices rose almost 2%, trading close to the record high set after Russia invaded Ukraine. Critics accuse the Russian government of using gas as a political weapon. Russia has been cutting flows ...

 

More than 1,000 women to receive share of Riot Games' $100m gender discrimination settlement. A California judge has approved Riot Games' $100 million settlement following the gender discrimination case brought before the League of Legends firm, meaning more than 1,000 women are expected to receive payouts following their mistreatment at the studio. 

EAGLEMOSS HERO COLLECTOR REPORTEDLY GOES BANKRUPT. Update: The Eaglemoss websites are now down and show a “404 Page Not Found Error” and the phones have been disconnected.

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Program Highlights

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Financial Reporting

 

Sports video games drove Q1 revenue gains for Electronic Arts

U.S. Video Game Industry Sales Slip 13% in Q2

 

Hobby game sales jumped one-third in 2021 - Sales for the category were $2.69 billion, up from $2.03 billion in 2020

Sales of collectible games were up in Spring (January-April) 2022, behind better supply on Pokemon TCG and strong releases across the board

 

***The above posted after July 29th***

 

Amazon posts second quarterly loss in a row, despite sales increasing

 

SPIN MASTER CRUSHES ESTIMATES WITH 34% TOY REVENUE SPIKE IN Q2

 

JAKKS PACIFIC SCORES A WIN WITH HIGHEST Q2 SALES, OPERATING INCOME IN COMPANY HISTORY

Microsoft Q4 gaming revenues decline, but Game Pass grows.

Despite uptick in revenue, Meta's Reality Labs posts $2.8 billion loss.

Prime Day promotions boosted retail revenue 14% but unit sales still fell, reports NPD

 

Record sales quarter for Wizards of the Coast

League of Legends: Wild Rift has amassed $500m in global revenue.

Alphabet misses on earnings and revenue for second quarter

NBCU Earnings Rise, But Peacock Loss Hits $467M and Paid Subs Stall at 13M

Capcom says net sales dip is the result of dwindling major releases

 

Walmart issues profit warning citing cost of living challenges

 

Snapchat owner hit as advertising slump hits sales

Assassin's Creed delay will dent Ubisoft's 2022 financials

 

 

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

Nearly 800,000 UK households ended subscriptions in April-June, with rise in energy prices seen as ‘catalyst’

 

Sam Giltrow puts the STEM and Educational toys category under the microscope to examine why it has become so successful.

 

TOP 50 COMICS - JULY 2022

 

***The above posted after July 29th***

 

Licensing International Releases Global Licensing Industry Study

 

The new C-suite: Retailers like Nordstrom and CVS are personalizing their org structures to meet industry shifts

 

The next TV trend could be loyalty rewards for fans

 

Trend watch: growth in the gaming industry

Global video games market predicted to hit $197bn in 2022

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

In the era of cord-cutting and the challenges it poses to marketers and advertisers struggling to reach children, AVODs with kids content are becoming an increasingly attractive option, according to a new report from market research firm TVRev. The big issue for advertisers looking to connect with kids is that when they spend on AVODs, they typically don’t know where their ads are airing because the platforms won’t tell them. 

 

***The above posted after July 27th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - Is it too early to talk about Christmas…it’s the Friday Blog! The UK heatwave turned out to be mercifully brief, but some good came out of it – I understand that toy sales in the first two weeks of July saw a considerable bounce, propelled by sales of outdoor toys. That said, it’s probably best to see that as a very welcome blip rather than evidence of a turnaround in consumer confidence.

 

Dark Tower’s Redemption. How a legendary board-game failure became a thoroughly modern hit. “If I’d given a talk 5 yrs ago about what not to do in a game,” says game designer and Restoration Games co-founder Rob Daviau, “Return to Dark Tower checks every box. High price point? Check. Complicated rules? Check. Fidgety components? Check. The most complicated turn is your first one? Check.” When Daviau & Justin Jacobson... 

 

Chess robot grabs and breaks finger of seven-year-old opponent. Last week, according to Russian media outlets, a chess-playing robot, apparently unsettled by the quick responses of a seven-year-old boy, unceremoniously grabbed and broke his finger during a match at the Moscow Open. 

The Merchant's Anvil -- a retailer's primer for GEN CON. The Merchant's Anvil is a monthly column by Paul Alexander Butler, owner of Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, Maryland and co-owner of Gaming Days (parent company of Free RPG Day), that focuses on helping retailers craft sales strategies and identify trends in the games market.  

 

Gaming time has no link with levels of wellbeing, study finds. A study of 39,000 video gamers has found "little to no evidence" time spent playing affects their wellbeing. The average player would have to play for 10 hours more than usual per day to notice any difference, it found. And the reasons for playing were far more likely to have an impact. 

 

Could the Great Lakes solve US shipping woes? Lake Erie - one of five connected bodies of freshwater that make up the Great Lakes system along the US-Canada border - might not seem like a solution to America's supply chain issues. But it might just be exactly that, writes Stephen Starr for the BBC. Connected to the Atlantic Ocean via a system of canals and locks, the Port of Cleveland is one of several Great Lakes shipping...

 

Sushi By Foreigners BC: Japanese gacha capsule toys just keep on getting weirder. Have you ever heard of these sushi before?!? The world of capsule toys never ceases to amaze, making the unthinkable a reality with collections that include photos of random strangers, origami folded by gyaru, and animals apologising for their bad behaviour at press conferences. Our reporter Mr Sato always likes to be on top of these...

 

Wakanda Forever LEGO sets seemingly reveal who takes over as Black Panther. After years of speculation, the first images from new LEGO sets seemingly confirm the identity of Wakanda Forever's new Black Panther. Images posted by The Brick Fan taken from LEGO's Building Instructions for its upcoming Wakanda Forever sets depict minifigs of several key characters from the film. 

 

Diversity and representation in toys - why the products we see matter. “I believe children’s toys should reflect the outside world and be as diverse as they can be. It’s important to have a doll that feels representative of the child who plays with it, to develop self-worth. A doll that represents different ethnicities and cultures nurtures awareness and acceptance,” explains Minako Suzuki Lowe, founder of Etsy Design Award...

 

Comic-Con: Neil Gaiman's epic comic Sandman finally reaches the screen. You could forgive Neil Gaiman for thinking that he was dreaming. Plans to bring his epic The Sandman comic series to the screen have come and gone for decades. Now, it's really happening. Really. Hollywood first started trying to adapt Gaiman's work back in the 1990s."They were trying to make a 3,000-page story happen in two hours of film time...

 

Why AI companies should develop child-friendly toys and how to incentivize them. AI-enabled smart toys come in an exponentially growing diversity and inhibit the most known social environments of children. The Market Research Future group, for instance, projects that the global market share of such toys will grow by 26% and reach 107.02 billion USD by 2030. 

The Rings of Power: Lord of the Rings TV show wows fans at Comic-Con. "We wanted to find a huge, Tolkienian mega epic!" That's how showrunner Patrick McKay described his mission for The Rings of Power - Amazon Prime's hotly anticipated Lord of the Rings TV spin-off, as he unveiled a new trailer and unseen footage at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. In his armory: a huge cast of comely elves, a rare...

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History and Nostalgia

 

77 Sunset Strip from Lowell Toy Mfg. Released in 1960 by Lowell Toy Mfg., the 77 Sunset Strip board game was based on the TV series of the same name. With box art that featured the show’s three stars, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, the roll-and-move game was as a more hip version of Clue. It also reflected the TV series’ swinging, martini-drinking, sports car-driving style. 

 

Chemistry Experiment Lab from Gilbert Toys. Magic tricks, secret writing, invisible ink, food testing, and making blueprints were some of the activities available in the Chemistry Experiment Lab from Gilbert Toys. Released in 1960, the set (no. 12039) was one of several offered by the company that were designed to teach basic chemistry skills. 

 

Antique toys give glimpse into past way of life. Antique toys can give us a glimpse into the time they were made. Even if they are not exact models, we can get ideas of the cars people drove, how they dressed and furnished their homes and what professions they had or pastimes they enjoyed. If antique toys teach us about the past, they taught the children who played with them about the future. 

 

The 10 best selling toys of all-time. For most children toys were the source of adventure, creativity and fun. Many long hours were spent playing with model cars, riding bikes or sailing plastic boats down a creek. Indeed, the art of play can be thought of as the birth of creativity. Spending hours playing with toys fostered a healthy dose of imagination in children, imagination w.hich would some day lead to discoveries....

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Licensing 

 

Sambro has signed a new deal with Sanrio for the development of a brand-new range of Hello Kitty toy lines. The company will launch its newest plush range in Q3 of 2022, after securing retail listings across the Benelux region. Licensed products have become a significant part of Sambro’s business. The company already enjoys long-standing, multi-layered and embedded licensor relationships with iconic global brands ...

 

Aardman’s brand-new family comedy series for 7-11 year olds will premiere on CITV this Sept, starring Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner), Alex Lawther (The End of the F***ing World, Black Mirror) and Lauren Patel (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie). Lloyd of the Flies is the first CGI series that Aardman has produced entirely from its creative hub at its headquarters in Bristol. 

 

Alma’s Way, the newest animated hit series from Fred Rogers Productions  has been greenlit for season 2 on PBS KIDS. The season 2 of Alma’s Way, created by Sonia Manzano (Maria on Sesame Street) and produced in association with Pipeline Studios (Elinor Wonders Why), is slated to premiere in fall 2023 and will consist of 25 half-hour episodes, including two 30-minute specials.

 

Cloudco Entertainment’s  Care Bears, and the Walmart-exclusive fashion doll brand, My Life As, have come together to create a slumber party themed-line of limited-edition fashion and baby dolls to celebrate the Care Bears’ 40th Anniversary. The Care Bears were first introduced through consumer products, greeting cards, and later, a series of animated television shows and feature films. 

 

The latest partnership from merch maker Fanattik will be right up your tabletop-gaming alley. The gift and collectibles manufacturer has inked a three-year deal with Asmodee Entertainment. Under this deal, Fanattik will create a variety of officially licensed products for many of Asmodee’s popular board game titles, including Legend of the Five Rings, Twilight Imperium, Arkham Horror, and Ticket to Ride

 

Cowabunga! It’s Diamond Comic Distributors’ 40th anniversary!  All year, the company has been partnering with merch makers to launch special-edition products to celebrate this milestone year. The latest? An exclusive Minimates box set from Diamond Select Toys. The box set features a retro design and includes everyone’s favorite pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling crime fighters — the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

EastPoint Sports Ltd inked a new licensing deal with ESPN for branded yard games. Timed to the Aug. 5 return of ESPN8: The Ocho (“the home of seldom-seen sports”), EastPoint Sports introduces the first wave of its ESPN collection. With Kan Jam and Cornhole set to be highlighted among the activities in the annual celebration of seldom-seen sports, EastPoint is offering products emblazoned with the logos of ESPN ...

 

JADA TOYS, UNIVERSAL EXTEND LICENSING PACT FOR VEHICLES, ACTION FIGURES. The Universal Monsters and vehicles from The Fast Saga will continue showing up in the toy department in new ways over the next few years. Primarily known for its work in the vehicles category, Jada Toys has extended its reach into dolls and action figures in recent years. 

 

PBS KIDS announced the premiere date for Work it Out Wombats!, a new animated series for kids ages 3-6 produced by GBH Kids and Pipeline Studios, starring a playful trio of marsupial siblings—Malik, Zadie and Zeke—who live with their grandmother, Super, in their treehouse apartment complex. Work it Out Wombats! will introduce computational thinking concepts that will help young viewers solve meaningful ...

 

U.S. Cloudco Ent. with co-production partners, Watchnext Media in France and Kavaleer Productions in Ireland, are pleased to announce the greenlight and production commencement of Season 3 of animated hit comedy series Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese. Season 3’s additional 52 x 11’ episodes have been commissioned by the French television network Gulli while simultaneously ...

 

TheSoul Publishing and BunMo have unveiled a line of toys from their multi-product deal. The products include 5-Minute Crafts and 123 GO! branded fidget, magnet and sensory toys which are available now on the BunMo Amazon store. Harnessing the global reach of their brands’ hundreds of millions of social subscribers, TheSoul will seamlessly incorporate BunMo’s first licensed product line into upcoming 5-Minute ...

Kenn Viselman, KIDS FIRST! & Mondo TV Launch Major Climate Education Initiative Inspired by MeteoHeroes.  The award-winning environmentally themed hit animated kids’ show MeteoHeroes premiered in North America on the 22nd of April with an Earth Day Special on PBS as result of a new partnership involving family entertainment maverick Kenn Viselman (Teletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine) and his itsy bitsy...

 

After being unveiled at this year’s London Toy Fair, Casdon is launching its range of Dyson hair toys at retailers this month. The toy manufacturer has worked with Dyson engineers to ensure the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and Dyson Corrale straightener feature all the hallmarks of the full-sized styling aids, but in a child-friendly format.

 

Creative Kids Group is partnering with MGA Entertainment’s Little Tikes brand to create a line of classic wooden toys. Together, the two brands will collaborate on the conceptualization, production, and market release of the line. The collection promises to feature more than 15 different wooden products, including but not limited to puzzles, music play sets, full-sized kitchens, vehicles, pretend play, and Montessori-style...

 

Brooklyn-based FCTRY is expanding its line of Real Life Action Figures with the addition of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. FCTRY turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for the project, for which backers have pledged more than $88,000 (as of this writing) to support versus a $30,000 goal. The family-owned company plans to donate $1 from every $20 figure sold to Save the Children to support relief...

 

***The above posted after June 29***

 

Kilburn Live is partnering with LA-based game developer Rovio Entertainment to develop a new interactive stage show based on its Angry Birds mobile game, which has been downloaded more than five billion times, according to a press release.  Angry Birds Live: The Slingshot Adventure will feature several characters from the Angry Birds CG-animated feature films, including Red, Silver and Leonard, who embark...

 

Food Network star Molly Yeh is launching her first-ever kitchenware collection exclusively at Macy’sGirl Meets Farm by Molly Yeh puts the fun in functional with a bright, whimsical and timeless collection of products curated by Molly to showcase her signature style. The line features cookware, bakeware, kitchen storage, food prep, textiles, cutlery and serve ware. In addition, it includes the line of “parent and me” kids’ ...

The toy-adjacent trading card business continues to grow as hobby shops, specialty retailers, and mass retailers across the country embrace the pack-cracking culture... following recent deals with VeeFriends & Paramount, Fanatics Collectibles’ zerocool is amping up its position in the non-sport trading cards space by inking multiyear partnership deals with Netflix, Legendary Entertainment & filmmaker Kevin Smith.

 

NECA's New E.T. 40th Anniversary Figure Is Lit — Literally. This E.T. action figure is heartwarming — and not just because of that endearing smile. NECA’s E.T. 40th Anniversary 7-inch Scale Action Figure- Deluxe Ultimate E.T. with LED Chest is one of several new offerings designed to celebrate the titular character from Spielberg’s classic film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

 

JAKKS PACIFIC CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS IN JULY WITH CLARK GRISWOLD, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, SUPER MARIO REVEALS... we’re just five months away from Christmas and that means retailers of all sizes are stocking up for the holidays. While the formal reveal is happening here, attendees to the Jakks Pacific and Disguise panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) got a super-early sneak preview this past weekend.

 

LEGO is revving its engines. The toy company is partnering up with General Motors’ Chevrolet division to release its latest vintage car set, the LEGO Chevrolet Camaro Z28. The set is a detailed recreation of the muscle car and includes a working steering wheel, a detailed engine, and doors that open and close. 

 

New York-based IMG will now serve as Lionsgate’s exclusive global agency for consumer products. The two companies have set up a multi-year partnership that will see IMG develop licensing programs for Lionsgate’s TV shows and movies in multiple categories. Popular teen/YA film franchises The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games are covered under the deal, including their upcoming iterations.

 

Disney+ has picked up CG-animated preschool series Bing from London-based Acamar Films for its Italian content offering. The 104 x seven-minute series is scheduled to join the SVOD’s lineup starting on  August 24. It stars a young rabbit who begins to grow up and experience typical toddler things, like feeling sick and getting a first pet. The show is based on a range of preschool books written by Ted Dewan...

 

Kilburn Live has announced the opening of the new immersive attraction The Search For Snoopy: A Peanuts Adventure. Created alongside Peanuts Worldwide, the Adventure will take fans of Charles Schulz’s world-renowned comic strip on a one-of-a-kind adventure inside the Peanuts world at Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center.

 

In a multi-year agreement, IMG will work with Lionsgate to develop and expand strategic, multi-category consumer product programs for its blockbuster feature film franchises, including upcoming iterations of John Wick, The Hunger Games, Dirty Dancing, Expendables, and more. They will also focus on Lionsgate’s rich catalogue of television properties including Mad Men, Power, Orange is the New Black..

 

Mattel entered into a partnership deal with the legendary Tony Hawk to launch a new brand: Hot Wheels Skate. The new line is a reinvention of the fingerboard category using Hot Wheels design flair and with a goal of being inclusive to those of all experience levels. Walmart is the exclusive retail partner for the August launch, which will include Hot Wheels Skate Fingerboard and Shoe Assortments in single packs, ...

 

Falcon’s Beyond and BRON Studios Announce Partnership to Co-Develop & Produce Projects. Falcon’s Beyond, a leading fully integrated global entertainment development company specializing in intellectual property (IP) creation and expansion, has announced a strategic partnership with BRON Studios, a leading global media, technology, and award-winning production company, to co-develop and co-produce  ...

 

Jada Toys Expands Roster with New Capcom Action Figures and Convention Exclusives.  Jada Toys, leading manufacturer of premium collectibles, announces the expansion of its action figures product offerings with a new line of characters from some of the most loved entertainment properties at Capcom. 

 

Ravensburger is debuting a new puzzle collection in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products that will feature seven new puzzle lines based on beloved Warner Bros. franchises. The line will include popular films and animation classics such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, Looney Tunes, and Tom & Jerry.

Romero Britto, artist and founder of the Happy Art Movement has teamed up with Hasbro for the release of four new Monopoly limited-edition artworks on canvas. The series highlights Mr. Monopoly in Britto’s patterns and colors, creating a journey through art for fans. Britto is the only authorized artist to create fine art for the Monopoly brand in addition to a special Miami Edition of the Monopoly board game.

 

Tonies and The Roald Dahl Story Company are partnering for the first time to bring three iconic stories to life in a new way. Kicking off the partnership is The Witches, narrated by actress and comedian Lolly Adefope. Kids can find out what happens when a small boy and his Norwegian grandmother take on the Grand High Witch in an attempt to thwart her wicked plans for children everywhere. 

 

Lisa Marks Associates is pleased to announce an unprecedented collab. between the beloved MoonPie brand and Finaflex. The 2 brands are teaming up to introduce Power Pie, a new protein snack inspired by the iconic MoonPie. Power Pie is a milk chocolate-covered, non-GMO, super-stacked protein snack built with all-natural ingredients that sandwich two soft & chewy cookies together with a creamy marshmallow...

 

The Point.1888 has been appointed by Pedigree to represent British fashion icon Sindy in the UK. The team will initially look to organise impressive celebrations to mark Sindy’s ‘60 Iconic Years’, a milestone taking place in September 2023. The heritage doll brand is aiming to be centre stage on top fashion runways as Pedigree looks to introduce contemporary and retro assets into the brand’s licensing programme. 

 

Spin Master inked a deal to develop a full range of toys inspired by the upcoming animated series, Firebuds. Created by Emmy Award-winner Craig Gerber (Sophia the First, Elena of Avalor), Firebuds is a music-filled series that follows the kids of first responders and their talking vehicle sidekicks as they learn what it means to be a real hero.

 

Sony Pictures Networks Targets India’s ‘New-Age Kid’ With Upcoming Shows. The company reveals four projects in the works at its production division, with plans for book adaptations and girl-skewing stories, says business head Leena Lele Dutta. After dipping its toe into content production with 2D-animated series Sudha Murty’s Stories of Wit and Magic, which launched on Netflix earlier this year, Sony...

 

Hayati Girl Dolls to Have a Brand-New Look with Hello Kitty partnership. The shelves of GCC markets are getting ready for a new product in the upcoming days as ToyPro, a product development house in MENA, has teamed up with Sanrio, a global lifestyle brand, to develop a special product line from Hayati Girl dolls, featuring Hello Kitty. 

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People of Play

CandyRific has announced the appointment of two new directors, Matt Cameron and Kim Trask, to join its management team for the candy and novelty products company. Matt Cameron joins as the national accounts sales director. Matt comes to CandyRific with over 20 years of experience in selling, buying, and managing CPG and confection products.

 

Former Cartoon Network exec Tulin Ulkutay Eris has been named head of business for BBC Children’s and Education, a role that will see her focus on “increasing the value to audiences and return on investments,” according to a release. Her remit will also include oversight of production management and operations teams. Eris officially starts in September and replaces Sophy Jacob. She will report to BBC Children’s...

 

Funko has hired Michael Hyde to oversee its business in Asia as SVP and managing director of Funko Far East. Based in China, Hyde will focus on supply chain management, logistics, quality assurance, direct shipping and sourcing. He reports directly to Funko CEO Andrew Perlmutter and is expected to work with the product and sales teams in Asia to expand the company’s footprint throughout the region.

 

A new chief financial officer has been appointed at Sambro, the board has announced. Ben Armstrong joins the company with over 20 yrs’ experience in finance, alongside a proven track record of success in implementing strategic developments within the FMCG and retail industries.

With a background in private equity and other investor backed businesses, Ben has extensive international experience, with strong technical and...

 

Paramount Global announced that Pam Kaufman has been appointed as president and CEO of international markets, global consumer products and experiences for Paramount, effective immediately. The creation of this position signifies Paramount’s ongoing strategy to globalize its operations. Going forward, Kaufman will report to Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Paramount.  

 

***The above posted after tBR started sending***

 

Smart-toys to Celebrate 50th Anniversary in 2023 as Michael J Freeman Reflects on Journey. The 50th anniversary of the first toy robot is fast approaching. Inspired by his mother’s declaration that “kids love robots,” Michael J Freeman set out to create the prototype for the first ‘smart conversational toy’ in 1973. “A smart-toy has the ability to alter dialogue, make decisions, and change the mode and difficulty level of...

 

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Chrissy Fagerholt of EAP Toys & Games to the show. EAP produces a range of games — including You Who?, Friend or Faux, and The Lunch Room Game — that pair a hint of strategy and humor into a play pattern that requires a little luck.

Be Super Creative Founder and Creative Director Delanie West has been named Director at Large by the Graphic Artists Guild, an organization uniting graphic designers, interactive designers, illustrators, animators, and photographers. The appointment follows a unanimous vote by the Guild’s national board of directors.

 

ASTRA welcomes back their new, and returning staff member, Katie Cooley (Marso). Katie will be working part-time as Education Coordinator at ASTRA, getting their education programming back on track! Katie graduated from Lake Forest College in Illinois with a degree in both Sociology and Communications. After of college, Katie started working for ASTRA as the Membership and Programs Coordinator.

Just Play announced the appt of Sujata Luther as the co.’s President. Sujata Luther has spent time consulting for Just Play and will assume a full-time role to support the growth and expansion of Just Play. In her new position, Luther will oversee the co.’s day-to-day operations. Just Play’s founders and current Co-Presidents, Geoffrey Greenberg and Charlie Emby, will transition to Co-CEOs, focusing on long-term strategic planning...

 

Douglas Bensimon and Edward Mejia have been elevated to VP of current series at Disney TV Animation, the animation studio within Disney Branded TV. The duo most recently served as executive directors of Disney TV Animation, which Bensimon and Mejia were appointed to in 2021 and 2020, respectively. They will both continue reporting to SVP of current series Khaki Jones.

 

GAMA board president Kylie Primus steps down. Snowbright's Grace Collins Assumes Role of Interim President. The Game Manufacturers Association announced that their board President Kylie Primus announced that he would step down during the July 18, 2022 meeting. Prymus joined the GAMA Retail Division board in 2020, after John Stephens resigned, and was elected President after the GAMA board...

Rainbow Designs strengthens sales team with new NAM. Rainbow Designs is investing in its successful sales team with the appointment of Jo Adger to the position of national accounts manager. Jo joins the Rainbow Designs Team bringing with her a wealth of industry and specialist toy knowledge plus over a decade of sales experience.

New marketing manager joins Epoch. Epoch Making Toys has announced the appointment of new marketing manager, Matt Shaw. Matt officially took up his new position at the company on 20th July and brings with him a wealth of experience following 15 years in the industry, including roles at The Walt Disney Company, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., VTech Electronics and most recently Paramount, where...

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Companies and Brands

 

PlayMonster UK has announced that the iconic Spirograph brand is now part of the company’s renowned arts & crafts portfolio. Developed in 1965, Spirograph stimulates children’s creativity by giving them the power to create endless spiral designs using gears, precision rings, wheels and coloured markers. 

 

John Baulch talks to Mattel VP and country manager UK & Ireland Michael Hick and Kelly Philp, who leads Marketing for the UKJohn met up with Michael and Kelly last month, shortly before Mattel unveiled its Q2 results. The Mattel team was still celebrating a stellar set of Q1 results, described as “the highest on record for net sales and other key metrics.” EMEA was the fastest growing region globally, with a 29% ...

 

Playmobil launches its first sustainable product range, Wiltopia. The Wiltopia range is made from recycled and bio-based plastic, with the initial wave featuring 12 baby animals and 15 medium-sized and large adult animals. Wiltopia aims to demonstrate to children how important animals and the environment are for the continued survival of Earth.

 

Spin Master Corporation has announced its Bakugan franchise will introduce more first of a kind experiences on Roblox, the global online platform that brings millions of people together through shared experiences. Starting August 5 at 12:00 p.m. PST and 3:00 p.m. EST, Bakugan Battle Planet, the original anime-adventure series that captured kids’ imaginations, will be available for fans to watch on-demand on Roblox.

 

KIDZ BOP, the #1 music brand for kids, announced today that Sam’s Club and King’s Hawaiian are the official sponsors of the KIDZ BOP LIVE 2022 Tour. The pop concert for kids (and their parents!) kicked off July 19, and will play 29 shows across the U.S. this summer, performing at iconic amphitheaters including Jones Beach Theater, The Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, with additional stops in Atlanta, Dallas, ...

 

Wind Sun Sky Entertainment (WSS) is transforming the living room into the great outdoors with Camp Bonkers, the wildly fun virtual summer camp experience. In June 2020 and 2021, elementary-school aged campers held their marshmallow smores tight as they laughed, crafted, and embraced the power of their imagination, all from the comforts of their home. Now, Camp Bonkers is back with new ...

 

ZAG is celebrating its hit flagship brand, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, across Latin America with a pan-regional “Miraculous Day” promotion on August 8th. The announcement was made today by Julian Zag, EVP Global Operations and Head of Consumer Products, ZAG.

 

Toikido is establishing a new brand in North America. The toy and entertainment company known for its Among Us toy line, announced a partnership with Retail Monster to bring its newest brand, Piñata Smashlings, to the U.S. and Canada. “The bright fun world of Piñata Smashlings is set for a multiplatform release in 2023,” says Darran Garnham, founder and CEO at Toikido. “We have launches planned in toys...

 

Have you ever seen a 70-year-old potato? Hasbro’s classic Potato Head brand is turning 70 this year, so there’s no better time to respect your eld-taters than with the launch of a special Grandtaters set. Meet Potato Head Yamma and Yampa, the newest — or should we say oldest — additions to the Potato Head family. 

 

Ticketmaster and TikTok are partnering to launch an in-app feature that lets users discover events through the popular short-form video app. With this new partnership, TikTok users will be able to buy tickets for events directly through TikTok. Creators can now search for relevant Ticketmaster events and add destination links to their videos. Ticketmaster says the new feature will only be available to select ...

 

HBO Max Shifting Away From Live-Action Kids Content.  The streamer canceled a kids series from Eva Longoria that ran for one season, and is backing off the content genre for the "immediate future." The comedy, which ran for one season, features a 12-year-old Dominican girl who must adapt to life in a new country when her family moves to Miami. The company has also scrapped two big-budget films for younger viewers...

 

Spin Master Makes Fast Company's Fourth Annual List of the Best Workplaces for Innovators In the Consumer Products and Services Category.  Developed in collaboration with Accenture, the 2022 Best Workplaces for Innovators ranks winners from a variety of industries, including computer science, biotech, consumer packaged goods, non-profit, education, financial services, cybersecurity, engineering...

 

Panini says the new offering for the 2022/23 season is bigger, better and more exciting than ever before with fresh facts and content, giving collectors new ways to play and collect. Premier League Adrenalyn XL 2023 hits shelves on 4th August and the market-leading football trading card game has been udpated to include extra sets and rare cards, raising the bar to bring collectors more must-have cards than ever...

 

Toynamics UK & Ireland, part of Hape Holdings, is enjoying strong growth and has unveiled a new sustainable range set to add to its successRachael Simpson-Jones paid a visit to managing director David Allan and EU Brand & Campaign manager Emma Damerell at Toynamics’ Leicestershire office to find out more about the company’s latest developments.

 

Adding to its list of awards, including three-time TOTY finalist in 2019, 2020 and 2021, Fun In Motion Toys’ Shashibo has now been honored with STEAM accreditation by Dr. Gummer’s Good Play Guide, in partnership with The Toy Association. “This is especially gratifying,” stated Kevin Daniels, President of Fun In Motion Toys, “because we’ve received countless kudos from consumers and educators over the years...

 

PBS KIDS and Fred Rogers Productions has announced that Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will kick off its 10th anniversary year on September 3 with a marathon of “Top Ten Tiger Tales” on PBS KIDS. The special programming event was voted on by fans and will lead into the highly ...

 

Hello Einstein Studios announced that the Baby Einstein app, complete with six children’s educational video series, is now available 24/7 on VIZIO (NYSE: VZIO). Now, VIZIO users have round-the-clock access to Baby Einstein Classics series, Manners Manor, Cal’s Sound Yard, Patch’s Number Forest and The Sandbox. The shows encourage children to explore the world around them, learn of new cultures, experience...

 

Dorel Juvenile has launched Connected Suite, a collection of five smart essential products under the Safety 1st brand to help parents manage the nursery atmosphere through the Safety 1st Connected App. The Safety 1st Connected App is the only app that empowers parents to create the optimal environment, set the mood, and monitor and comfort their child—anytime, from anywhere. 

 

Kristen Bell is joining the PAW Patrol gang and welcoming in the next wave of “PAWrents”, as seen on her Instagram. For new parents, each age and stage comes with its own challenges and seeking the advice of seasoned professionals (a.k.a. other parents who have already been there) is a lifeline. Enter Kristen Bell, the hilarious, no-nonsense, tell it like it is mom-friend we all want to have. “Are your kids obsessed with PAW Patrol? 

 

Printed copies of A.B.Gee’s 2022 Christmas Catalogue are available, while business-card-sized QR codes can be handed out for online browsing.  A.B.Gee’s 2022 Christmas Catalogue. Packed with over 300 toys, games and puzzles, shoppers can flip through the pages to find all their favourite toys, characters and brands from Mattel, Hasbro, Character, Spin Master, Playmobil, Funko and many more.

Barnes & Noble is adding games to its monthly discovery program. The retailer selected Czech Games Edition’s Codenames as its inaugural pick for its new Game of the Month initiative. As Game of the Month, Codenames will be showcased prominently at Barnes & Noble stores and online at bn.com.

Disney Among Studios to Sign Open Letter Supporting Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. The Walt Disney Company's presence on the letter, organized by the Human Rights Campaign and addressed to U.S. senators, follows a tumultuous March for the company, which initially remained silent amid the passage of an anti-LGBTQ+ censorship bill through Florida's state Congress.

 

***The above posted after July 29th***

 

After 18 months of cooperation in distribution, Carrera Revell and Rollplay have jointly decided to end their distribution partnership of Rollplay’s high-quality manual and electric children’s vehicles as of 31st December, 2022. The move is said to be due to rising costs over the last few months, which has affected high-quality and large-volume products especially, and the corresponding rising purchasing costs for...

 

In six years, Chefclub has established itself as a leading food entertainment brand and content creator for families, generating a whopping 2.5 billion monthly views, and 100 million subscribers. With half of its followers in the US and UK – Chefclub is thrilled to exhibit at Brand Licensing Europe for the first time!

 

Tangle Puts a Spin on Classic Toys with New Fidget Toys and a Nightball Volleyball Tangle is offering a new take on a classic toy that brings sea creatures to kids’ hands, expanding the Tangle fidget toy with an under-the-sea theme. Tangle is also launching a new, water-resistant volleyball that features LED lighting.

 

MGA Entertainment launched the L.O.L. Surprise Tweens Fashion Dolls last year as a new size in the L.O.L. Surprise brand that falls in between the smaller collectible dolls and the O.M.G. Fashion Dolls, both in size and relation. The Tweens are the big sisters to existing L.O.L. Surprise dolls, and younger sisters to the O.M.G. Dolls. 

 

Dude Perfect is Back to Show Off Exciting New Ways to Koosh with the PlayMonster Koosh Flix Stix. “Easy to pick up, hard to put down” once again drives the incredible success and popularity of PlayMonster’s Koosh with the new launch of its highly-anticipated Koosh Flix Stix. Hot off the heels of an incredible year in 2021, Koosh has been flying off shelves as well as around rooms and backyards everywhere.

 

The Pokémon Company International has announced an upcoming Halloween campaign inviting Trainers to incorporate Pokémon in their spooky celebrations with themed activations and merchandise across the franchise. To kick off the program, The Pokémon Company International revealed the new Pokémon Trading Card Game: Trick or Trade BOOster Bundle, providing parents and kids with a fun and innovative...

 

Douglas Adds More Dinosaurs and Unicorns to its Plush Pantheon. Calling all paleontologists and fans of fantastical times, Douglas has unearthed three new dinosaurs and discovered four new magical unicorns! Designed for ages 3 and up, Douglas’ newest Dinosaurs and Unicorns are expected on store shelves now. Douglas’ products are sold at specialty gift and toy stores in the USA and Canada.

 

Crayola has extended its long-standing US partnership with Retail Monster into the UK. Retail Monster will support Crayola at retail as its drives its consumer products programme across the UK, and will work closely with the brand to support its growing licensee partnerships in the UK to deliver innovative and impactful retail campaigns.

 

Hunter Products is setting its sights on North America.  Canspan BMG has been selected as the North American agency for Australian toy company Hunter Products. The two will partner to launch a variety of toy releases into the North American toy market, including Hunter Products’ newly released Big, Big Baby. 

 

With millions of Brits set to hit the roads for the summer holidays, Spin Master has partnered with Welcome Break for a special roadside treat. Just in time for the big getaway, travellers will be able to relax and have fun with a range of games at motorway pit stops. Spin Master games will be set up in various food courts in Welcome Break motorway service areas across the UK for families to enjoy as they break...

 

Roblox beefs up its developer tools as it looks to a future beyond games. By hiding the underlying complexity from less experienced developers and building a flexible new system for more technical users, Roblox is looking to move beyond games into other experiences like virtual concerts, commerce and more creative approaches.

 

Marvel Studios flooded the zone at Comic-Con today, announcing titles, casting or release dates on more than a dozen new movies that will form the Multiverse Saga, some of which had only been rumored up until now. To help sort it all out, here is a quick, no-nonsense list of the films Marvel Studios has coming out in the next three years for Phases 5 and 6 of the MCU — and beyond.

 

Last year, Funko officially became a $1 billion toy, collectible, and lifestyle company, but its entertainment aspirations have been looming large. Now, the company inked a deal with 10:10 Games to create a series of AAA video games, beginning with an action platformer set for release next year. Funko revealed its plans yesterday during its Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC).

 

Vivid Goliath’s influencer campaign hits 2 million viewsThe partnership was brokered by talent management agency, Viral Talent, which identified SV2 as the perfect match for the Wahu brand, known for its high-quality outdoor products. The Wahu range, the leading outdoor brand in Australia is fronted by the hugely popular Phlat Ball, one of the UK’s biggest selling outdoor toys

 

SDCC: HASBRO CLARIFIES PLASTIC-FREE PACKAGING PLANS FOR SELECT ACTION FIGURE LINES. Following the Toy Book’s first-ever trends panel at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Long Beach, California last month, one big question served up during the post-panel audience Q&A had to do with plastic-free packaging. Specifically, how Hasbro would handle the transition to windowless boxes for its 6-inch action figures...

 

The World of Barbie is hitting the road — literally. The ticketed, 30,000-square-foot interactive attraction from Mattel and Kilburn Live was first announced back in May and features life-sized installations and photo ops for families to enjoy. For the global debut, World of Barbie set up shop in a stand-alone space at Square One in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The exhibit opened today.

 

Cloudco Entertainment — owner of Care Bears — is celebrating 40 years of sharing and caring with a special 40th anniversary Care Bear, Care-a-lot Bear! She possesses the most magic and belly badge powers of all the bears, and knows that caring for others is the best way to spread kindness and love. 

 

SpongeBob SquarePants Universe Getting a Crossover Event. Kamp Koral and The Patrick Star Show are crossing over. SpongeBob SquarePants is about to get his very own Multiverse of Madness. Announced at San Diego Comic-Con, the hit Nickelodeon show will collide with its spin-offs, Kamp Koral and The Patrick Star Show for a one-off special – “The Tidal Zone”.

 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that Facebook’s redesign will launch a new tab, called Feeds, in a move that mimics TikTok’s algorithm of chosen videos. The app’s redesign will split up users’ “home” sections into two parts: “Feeds,” which will showcase posts from friends, Pages groups in chronological order and the newly-coined “Home,” which will highlight recommended content based on the ...

 

NorthStar announces rebranding and a new direction. After almost 20 years of publishing board games, we’re changing our look and sharpening our focus. We’re adapting and ensuring we’re better placed to continue making the games we’re passionate about and that you’ll be playing for years to come. We will now release games under the name NorthStar Game Studio reflecting our focus on finely crafted game design. 

Indie Boards & Cards will release 'Avalon Big Box'. Indie Boards & Cards will release Avalon Big Box, a new edition of the classic social deduction game, into retail on August 18, 2022. Avalon Big Box is a new edition of The Resistance: Avalon, which was a breakout game in 2010 (see "Four Games You May Have Missed"). The new edition comes with additional content to increase the number of gameplay options...

 

Lego’s new Minifigure Factory lets you create a $12 minifig of yourself. Lego is testing a new online Minifigure maker, the Minifigure Factory, that lets you create a Lego person of your very own. In the tool, you’ll be able to select different heads, headwear, torsos, legs, and accessories for your custom Minifig. For the torso, you can go really deep on customization by applying decals and custom text. 

 

Steve Jackson Games shells out new 'Munchkin' Cards. Steve Jackson Games will release Munchkin Turtle Carnage, a new mini-expansion for the classic card game, which will hit stores on August 18, 2022. Munchkin: Turtle Carnage features new monster cards to add to games, including Napping Turtle, Rigor Turtle, and See Turtle. It also has character-enhancing cards such as the Testudo Shield and Read a Hard Back. 

 

Amigo will release Richard Garfield's 'Dice Hunters of Therion'. AMIGO will release Dice Hunters of Therion, a new dice game by Richard Garfield, into retail in Q4 2022. In Dice Hunters of Therion, players take on the roles of dice heroes to chase down villains that threaten the kingdom. Players pick one of four Hero Tableaus, and roll dice for swords to be able to outbid other players for Warrants of the Villains. 

 

DC Comics Super Powers Vehicles arriving from McFarlane Toys. We have hit a point in the collecting world where most classic and retro franchises are starting to come back. Hell, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe are bigger than ever and that is because these figures are updated and better than before. Some other lines like ReAction, 5Points, and the 3.75" Retro Legends lines focus on that classic collectibles market. 

Asmodee and Unexpected Games announce '3000 Scoundrels'. Asmodee and Unexpected Games announced 3000 Scoundrels, a new Wild West engine-building game, for release into retail in fall 2022. In this game, players try to build the best scoundrel in an attempt to out-bluff each other to victory. 

 

Horrible Guild reveals 'The Great Split'. Horrible Guild revealed The Great Split, a new card drafting game, for release into retail in 2022. This new card game was designed by Hjalmar Hach and Lorenzo Silva who were behind such games as the Railroad Ink series and The King's Dilemma. In The Great Split, players take on the roles of luxury hoarders at a gala trying to swap and buy precious items. 

 

Mousey scavenger hunts in 'Hickory Dickory'. Plaid Hat Games has announced Hickory Dickory, a game about mice on a scavenger hunt while riding the hands of a clock, which will release in Q4. In Hickory Dickory, each player controls a team of mice who are riding around on the minute hand of a cuckoo clock, trying to collect item tiles that match the symbols on their score cards so they can impress Lord Cuckoo.  

 

AEG unveils 'Smash Up: 10th Anniversary Set'. Alderac Entertainment Group unveiled Smash Up: 10th Anniversary Set, a new edition of the core card game, for release into retail on October 28, 2022. Paul Peterson's classic card game, Smash Up, is now a decade old, and this new core set celebrates its ongoing presence on the tabletop.

 

Escape a childhood nightmare in 'Boogeyman: The Board Game'. Escape Studios will release Boogeyman: The Board Game, survival horror board game, into retail in October 2022. In Boogeyman: The Board Game, players take on the roles of children battling against their worst nightmare, The Boogeyman. 

 

Czech Games Edition announces 'Deal With The Devil'. Czech Games Edition announced Deal with the Devil, a new Euro style fantasy game, for release at Essen Spiel 2022. In Deal with the Devil, players compete to construct buildings in a medieval city. The players need to make deals to get resources, except for one player, who is secretly the devil looking for pieces of the other players' souls instead. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Netflix Games expands with two new mobile exclusives. Netflix wants Netflix Games to offer access to around 50 titles by the end of 2022. The growing Netflix Games catalog is getting even bigger with the addition of two new mobile exclusives. The streaming co. will add Before Your Eyes and Mahjong Solitaire to its Netflix Games catalog tomorrow, marking the first time either title has appeared on mobile platforms. 

 

Meta Quest 2 price going up $100. Company says VR headsets will start at $400 next month so it can "continue to invest for the long term...". Meta is taking the unusual step oIt also noted that the costs to manufacture and ship devices has risen.f raising prices on its latest VR headset. The company today announced that beginning next month, the Meta Quest 2 will carry a suggested retail price of ...

 

Funko Ventures to developing an AAA video game. During San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Funko, the manufacturer of limited pop culture collectibles, best known for its licensed vinyl figurines and bobbleheads, announced that it has decided to enter the video games space and create a new action-platformer AAA game.The game is being developed in collaboration with a new studio, 10:10 Games, which was founded in...

Diablo Immortal has topped 20 million installs. Diablo Immortal has passed 20 million installs in under two months, according to developer Blizzard. That's notable news given the free-to-play title's controversial use of loot boxes, which has prevented it from launching in some European regions -- blocking some players from accessing the game. 

 

Diablo Immortal is in trouble in China due to Winnie the Pooh. Diablo Immortal, the free-to-play Diablo game for mobile and PC, was delayed in China last month because of a social media post that could be interpreted as criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Bloomberg. The post, which came from the official Diablo Immortal Weibo account, reportedly alluded to Winnie the Pooh, who has been banned...

 

Chinese market declines for first time in 14 years. China has seen the first decline in gaming revenues in over a decade, according to new data shared by the Game Publishing Committee of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association. Combined revenue for the country's gaming market fell by 1.8%, with the total number of active game users falling from 666.5 million in December 2021 to 665.6 million...

Highlighted Press Releases

 

CREATEON® KNOWS YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO PLAY AS ITS MAGNA-TILES® STRUCTURES® ENTICE BEATLES & GRATEFUL DEAD FANS

Toy Association Touts Buying Power Of The Kidult As Toymaker Bridges Generation Gap With Grateful Dead And Yellow Submarine Themed Building Sets. A decade ago the toy industry was claiming that kids are getting older, younger meaning digital amusements were grabbing their attention while they mastered basic reading and writing. How times have changed! The recent pandemic heightened the growing trend of the kidult, a beyond-childhood consumer of toys and nostalgia that comforts and entertains the big kids in the house. So, it wasn’t surprising...

 

***The above posted after July 29th***

 

OUTDOORS OR IN, TANGLE® PETS AQUATIC COLLECTION BECKONS KIDS THIS SUMMER ALONG WITH NIGHTBALL® VOLLEYBALL.
Is It Any Wonder Learning Express Named Tangle, the Global Tactile Sensation For Generations, Among Its Top Two Sales Increase Winners?
South San Francisco, CA (July 21, 2022) — When your brand keeps pace, year after year in sales, that’s good news. But when your annual sales increase more than all of the competition on the toy shelves, that’s remarkable! Learning Express just awarded Tangle®, Inc. its prestigious Second Place 2022 Sales Increase Award. (For those curious, they were bested only by Kellytoy, makers of Squishmallows!)

 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

UNDER FIRE: POLICE DEPARTMENTS TAKE AIM AT GROWING GEL BLASTER, BEAD BLASTER TOY CATEGORY. Last week, Hasbro made headlines after the company unveiled its NERF Pro GelFire Mythic blaster, its entry into a growing category of toy blasters that release projectile rounds made of super absorbent polymer (essentially, gel).

Monti Kids recalls Toy Box with Bins due to choking hazard (Recall Alert). This recall involves the Box with Bins included in the Monti Kids’ Level 5 of the Monti Kids Program subscription box. The box is made of wood and has three bins colored blue, red, and yellow. The toy measures approximately 13 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches and this recall includes toys with lot numbers 0D41 and 1A41. The lot number, along with the following text, can be found on the bottom of the toy: “Montessori designs, Ethically Made in Vietnam, and ASTM CPSIA Safety Certified.”

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Autumn Fair, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 4th – 7th Sept, has announced it is partnering with Products of Change (POC) to deliver a series of one-on-one and group educational sessions and workshops for attendees as part of the next stage of its Power of One campaign to empower and energise retailers and consumers to change the future of retail, one step at a time.

 

The first-ever Entertainment X Tracks Forum is taking place in Beverly Hills, CA, Nov 2-3 at the office of United Talent Agency. Developed by Steven Ekstract, the founder and former publisher of License Global, Entertainment X Tracks is a digital entertainment licensing forum for retailers, licensing companies and licensees seeking new digital entertainment properties. Programming for the event will be held over...

 

Learning Express Miami conference. Following a visit to Toymaster’s annual May show from Mike Derse, director of Business Development at the American toy store franchise Learning Express, Paul and Dave were invited to attend Learning Express’ June 2022 conference. Here, Paul reports back on his time at the event and what he has learned from the experience.

 

***The aboved posted after July 29th***

 

Hasbro Fans Expo 2022 Hong Kong - EarthSpark Premier, A Hero Is Born 2-Pack, More! Following the 2021 event, Fans in China will be enjoying another Hasbro Fans Expo this year. Just reveled on the official Hasbro HK socials is news of the event taking place in Hong Kong July 29th to August 2nd, 2022. These events held previously included numerous product displays and some exclusives for purchase.

 

Brand Licensing Europe Returns This Fall with New Online Platform.  Europe’s leading licensing and brand extension event returns in September for an in-person event in London with virtual days following the live event. In preparation for the event, BLE launched the brand directory and online planner to help attendees keep track of which brands will be in attendance and to promote networking opportunities 

 

A new PR agency has been announced as the BTHA confirms strong re-bookings for Toy Fair 2023 from both returnees and new exhibitors. Retail PR has been named the show’s new PR agency for Toy Fair 2023. Retail PR has great experience in trade exhibition PR, including The Big Christmas Press Show, as well as valuable knowledge of the industry in both the retail and toy sectors. 

 

TTPM and The Toy Authority Present The People's Play Awards: America's Wishlist.  Introducing an award program for the people, by the people! Finalists are chosen by top industry experts, including retailers, media and industry analysts. Consumers and influencers vote to decide the winners, making these the “toys most wanted” by toy fans of all ages for Holiday 2022. The best part? It's FREE to enter!

 

Spielwarenmesse is opening a few of its doors to consumers. The next Spielwarenmesse is set for Feb. 1 to Feb. 5 2023 and will set the direction of the toy industry for the upcoming year. The event creates a comprehensive overview of the industry and represents a variety of different sectors in the toy industry, including Model Railways and Model Construction.

 

UK Autumn Fair returns to the NEC Birmingham from 4th – 7th Sept., shining a spotlight on sustainability and focusing on brands which are committed to making positive changes via its Sustainability Trail which runs across all Home, Gift, Fashion, and Design & Source sectors.

The Kids, Toys and Play sector of the show will include companies such as Ty, One for Fun, University Games, Keel Toys, Spinning Poodle Games...

 

 

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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.

Paul Coker Jr., character and production designer on the timeless Rankin/Bass holiday specials and long-time Mad magazine artist, died at his home in New Mexico on July 23, 2022 after a brief illness. He was 93.

Coker was raised in Lawrence, Kansas, and studied art at the University of Kansas before taking a job as a greeting card designer for Hallmark in the 1950s. His relationship with the company spanned decades as he continued to provide artwork for cards while working on other projects.

During his career Coker worked for Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Pageant, Look, McCall’s, and was an editorial cartoonist for the New York Enquirer. He also contributed to Playboy, but spent most of his career illustrating for Mad magazine, which he joined in 1961. There he became one of The Usual Gang of Idiots, a group of artists who defined the look, feel, and humor of the magazine for years.

During his time at Mad he created several popular recurring features, the most recognizable being the “Horrifying Clichés” series. Over the next four decades he illustrated more than 375 articles for the publication.

In the late-1960s, Coker began contributing to the production and character design of Rankin/Bass specials and was responsible for many of the images that Americans now most closely associate with the Christmas season. He has credits on holiday films including Frosty the Snowman, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, among many others. READ MORE...

Richard Tait, 1964-2022: ‘Cranium’ inventor and serial entrepreneur was ‘the ultimate dreamer’. Tait passed away on Monday at his Bainbridge Island, Wash., home from “continued pulmonary complications due to COVID-19,” according to a Facebook post by his family, shared with GeekWire. News of his death was also shared in a note to staff from Valor Equity Partners Co-President Jonathan Shulkin. Tait had been a partner at Valor Siren Ventures since March 2019.

“It is with great sadness that Valor Equity Partners announces the death of our colleague and friend Richard Tait,” Shulkin wrote. “Our Valor community, as well as the many people that worked with Richard over the years, mourn his passing. He will be greatly missed.”

Tait’s son, Finn Tait, also posted TikTok videos and Instagram photos in which they remembered their father.

“He was a great dad,” Finn said in one video. “It was like having Willy Wonka for a father. I love him very much and I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Tait started at Microsoft in July 1988 and is credited with launching a series of new businesses at the tech giant. He helped pioneer client server computing in the company’s operating system division, ran the CD-ROM business with products like Encarta, and started a number of consumer-oriented online services including Carpoint, Sidewalk and others, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Tait was even the first boss of current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, whom he helped recruit from Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s.

“Cranium” board game. (Hasbro Image)

But it was Tait’s decision to leave Microsoft in 1998 that would largely define his legacy, as he and fellow Microsoft executive Whit Alexander co-founded “Cranium.”

It became one of the fastest-selling games in history and spawned a number of “Cranium”-branded follow-ups and related products. Gaming giant Hasbro bought “Cranium” for $77.5 million in 2008.

“We set out to create a brand that would give everyone the chance to shine,” Tait said at the time of the sale. “We’ve accomplished that and so much more, making history with great products that have won five Toy Industry Association Game of the Year awards.” READ MORE...

Ken Andrew. Toy World is sad to report the passing of Ken Andrew, owner of Hal Whittaker’s toy shop in Knutsford and known locally as Mr Toy Shop. Ken passed away at the age of 96, on July 21st. He first bought his premises, a former photography shop, in 1969, and soon established a succesful local toy business, known as Hal Whittaker. The store became popular with the local community thanks to innovations – at the time – such as the introduction of a range of fireworks and the launch of a Christmas Club. Ken’s daughter, Julie, explained that this was a development which was warmly embraced by the toy shop’s customers. “It was quite innovative,” she said. “Families welcomed being able to put money away each week to spend on kids at Christmas.

Julie added that ther father was passionate about doing the very best of everything in his toy shop. Ken used to travel to toy fairs in London, Harrogate and Brighton to source stock for his store, and his family said he became expert at spotting ‘the next big thing’. “We were popular at school as we always had the latest craze in toys – as an experiment,” added Julie. Ken’s love of amateur dramatics meant he often put on puppet shows for kids, which were very popular.

Ken’s son Stuart took over the family business in the early 80s, but confided that it was hard for his dad to let go. “He still wanted to be in the shop all day every day,” said Stuart. “He knew all the customers personally.” Stuart says he learned a lot from his father. “I try to make sure everything he used to do still stands. His old fashioned core values were instilled in all of us. He truly believed that very child should have the memory of a toy shop rather than the faceless world of going online.”

Stuart added: “In an increasingly difficult market place I still try to keep the shop true to its roots with a traditional feel coupled with the values and service he instilled into me – RIP Dad, your legacy continues.”

In Knutsford, Ken Andrew has been hailed as a ‘true ambassador of the town’ by customers recalling their treasured childhood memories. His family told the Knutsford Guardian it has been overwhelmed by fond memories shared by the local community. Julie said: “Everyone describes him as a warm, kind and generous man with a fabulous sense of humour.”

Customers remember buying their first toys from Ken Andrew in his beloved toy shop, purchasing classic brands like Tri-ang, Hornby train sets and Lego, and some recalled buying their first teddy from his wooden counter.

Ken’s funeral will take place on Monday, August 1st, at 10.30am at Birches Crematorium,Northwich.

Toy World would like to add its condolences to Ken’s wife, Marjorie, to Julie, Stuart, grandchildren Olivia and Josh, and everyone who knew him.

 

Robert Alan Koeneke, creator of The Dungeons of Moria, has passed away. Developer only released one game, but his work went on to inspire other titles such as Diablo. Rober Alan Koeneke, the developer behind rougelike title the Dungeons of Moria, has passed away aged 64.

As reported by PC Gamer, Koeneke's death was announced via his obituary at dignitymemorial.com.

He released Moria, which was inspired by the Lord of the Rings, in 1983 while attending the University of Oklahoma.

The game went on to be updated over the years and he eventually made it an open source project for the public.

"I am very happy to learn my creation keeps on going...I plan to download it and Angband and play them... " Koeneke said in a 1996 statement.

"Maybe something has been added that will surprise me! That would be nice I never got to play Moria and be surprised."

Moria was the only title that Koeneke developed but it went on to inspire other titles such as Diablo.

The series' co-creator David Brevik credits Moria along with Rogue, Nethack, and Angband as his biggest influences.

 

Tony Mines, a founding father of modern Lego animation, has died at the age of 44 after a months-long battle with melanoma cancer.

Mines passed away peacefully on Saturday July 9, one day after his 44th birthday, in Florence Nightingale Hospice in Aylesbury, U.K., his sister Gill Mines told Cartoon Brew.

“Although we knew his cancer was incurable, it’s still heartbreaking for us all to lose him so young,” said Gill.

Mines was born on July 8, 1978, in Leighton Buzzard. Although Gill pointed out that he was technically from “the posh side” of Linslade. Mines was a Barnfield College graduate who later studied animation at Newport University, South Wales.

He was diagnosed with melanoma cancer on January 1, 2022, which was later confirmed incurable in February. His body didn’t respond well to treatment, and he received the terminal diagnosis in April. Mines spent his final months living with his sister and brother-in-law, who cared for him to the end.

“Tony was a creative genius from a very young age, a mesmerizing imagination, and had the most wicked sense of humor and infectious laugh,” Gill said of her big brother. “He was also kind, loving, and thoughtful. Tony was very pragmatic about his cancer diagnosis and spent his last few months with friends and family, whilst doing the thing he loved most, drawing and animating.”

Spite Your Face Productions, the company name of British animators and filmmakers Tony Mines and Tim Drage, was a pioneer in the Lego filmmaking movement of the early 21st century. Films such as ONE: A Space Odyssey and All of the Dead quickly quickly went “viral” before the term even existed. Stop-motion films featuring Lego and other brick toys had been around for decades, but the work done by Mines and his collaborators was groundbreaking and foundational for the Lego films, both official and fan-made, that can be found all across the internet today.

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Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

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  2. Workers at Felixstowe container port vote to strike

  3. Pokémon Center Pop-Up Store returns to London

  4. Target & Walmart reducing FOB orders in favour of domestic purchases?

  5. Toy Fair announces Retail PR as new agency

  6. Amazon posts second quarterly loss in a row, despite sales increasing

  7. Spielwarenmesse to open Model Railway Hall to the public next year

  8. Vivid Goliath’s influencer campaign hits 2 million views

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Record Sales Quarter for Wizards of the Coast
Lost 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Legends' Cards To Be Found in 'Dominaria United' Collector Boosters
WizKids Reveals Two 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Tomb of Annihilation' Miniatures Boxed Sets
AMIGO Will Release Richard Garfield's 'Dice Hunters of Therion'
Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'Jumpstart 2022' Product Deets
WizKids Unleashes Another New Wave of 'Magic: The Gathering' Miniatures Packs
Privateer Press Announces Next Edition of 'Warmachine' Miniatures Game

'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Joining 'Weiss Schwarz'

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The winner of this year’s Spiel des Jahres award has been announced, Pencil First Games has a new game available for pre-order, and Pandasaurus has a summer sale running.

To celebrate our Casual Game Revolution 10th anniversary, our Summer 2022 issue is available to download for FREE for a limited time. This is a great opportunity to share your love of board gaming with a friend! Please use our special promo link

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Toy & Game Marketing and PR PRO Quarterly Events:  Q2 Keynote: Dan Gingiss, The Experience Maker

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Keynote: For 20+ years, Dan Gingiss led marketing teams in nearly every marketing channel — from direct mail to email to social media. He also served in multiple customer service and customer experience leadership roles. Dan combines his professional experience at brands like Discover, McDonald’s and Humana with tons of real-life examples from B2C and B2B companies of all sizes to recommend actionable, profitable CX solutions.

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