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July 29 - August 5, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

Everyone knows people and companies that deserve recognition for excellence - nominate them or yourself for a TAGIE - it is free and easy! The deadline to nominate is closing in less than two weeks! CLICK HERE NOW!

 

RSVP (free) for the POP Marketing & PR Q3 Event: Activations, Awards & Plus-Ups - All You Need to Know! I'd like to share our first panel with you about the U.S. Toy & Game Awards. You will hear from the people behind our Industry's awards:  Gisela Abrams, Adrienne Appell,  Bob Glaser,  Jenna Stirling and Mary Couzin (me!) with Karri Bean moderating. ​

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​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.

Not only do I read the Bloom Report every week, I make everyone important in the running of our company across the globe read it as well. -Dennis Callaghan, Tree Toys and Roo Games

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Person of the Week - Alan Dorfman, Super Impulse

Talks about Meeting Customer Expectations, Martini's, 'Life' and More! 

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Hi Alan! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for our readers! What are your roles and responsibilities in our industry?

I like to think that my role is to develop and manufacture product that meets consumer expectation. As a producer of licensed product, we need to deliver product that provides what the end user expects from that brand. Within those parameters, we at Super Impulse are responsible to our licensors as we represent the valuable brand equity that they have built, to our retail customers to give them product that performs, and to everyone to provide high quality, safe toys. 

 

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

Functional miniatures. I did it at my former company, Basic Fun, in keychain format, and at our current company, Super Impulse, as World’s Smallest. To this day, whenever you see a keychian hanging on a back pack, it is a direct result of the trend we started at Basic Fun. 

 

What has been your biggest achievement?

Hanging on in the toy biz for my entire career. 

 

What was your biggest failure?

Are you kidding? Too many to count – we’re in the toy business. We have more misses than hits.

Do you have a mantra that you live by?

Of course: Toy business – Every day is FUN!   READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - Donna Moore, TTPM

Tips for Being Successful in Business and Life While Loving What You Do

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Hi Donna, Great to see you at the ASTRA Show after so many years! Can you share with our readers what your roles and responsibilities are in our industry? 

I’m the VP of Advertising and Marketing for TTPM  and TTPM Influencer Talent Management – I help clients with suggestive ways to spend their ad dollars whether with TTPM in our b2b, website, or influencer/media events. And with the Influencer division its daily contact with companies negotiating campaigns from shoes to shampoo for our 77 + influencers.

 

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

Just being me – LOL if you don’t know me you are missing out!

 

What has been your biggest achievement?

I’d rather not say the name of the company, but it was a company who never worked with TTPM and never wanted to, I just killed them with kindness, ideas, and suggestions and finally, they are one of my biggest clients.

 

What was your biggest failure?

When I failed to follow up with a client and they called me out on it.

 

Do you have a mantra that you live by?

Just have fun, when you stop having fun at what you do, it’s time to move on!   READ MORE...

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Book Reviewer - Julia DeKorte

Right Brain Red

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“Right Brain Red” by Reyn Guyer with Tim Walsh is not only perfect for those looking to break into the toy and game industry, but for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Guyer, who created Twister and NERF, shares his seven creative ideas for creative success, complete with personal anecdotes and historical stories to support his ideas.

With each idea Guyer presents comes a story, often more than one. In each story he demonstrates, with real life scenarios, how each tip fosters creative success. A wonderful storyteller, Guyer’s chapters serve also as an exposition on his creative life, with experience in marketing, toy and game design, song writing, music production, painting, and sculpting. Guyer shares his wealth of knowledge while also telling the interesting story of his life.

With humility and exceptionally well written tips, Right Brain Red delivers the perfect inspiration and guidelines for creative entrepreneurial success.

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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Financial and Legal

 

LA-based Invisible Universe has raised US$12 million in a star-studded round of funding that will help the animation studio produce more kids content for its digital-first catalogue. Seeking to build “the Pixar of the internet,” Invisible Universe partners with celebrities to create animated characters, initially launching them on social media, where they connect with fans and build a following. 

Spin Master is serious about building its digital gaming business, and its latest move towards this end-goal is an outright acquisition of Stockholm-based developer Nørdlight. Investment entity Spin Master Ventures became a minority stakeholder in Nørdlight last October, and the studio is currently developing a Rubik’s Cube puzzle game (pictured) for the Toronto-based entertainment company.

 

Sunman, the Turkish market leader in toy specialist retail, distribution and production, has acquired 100% of the shares of Romania’s largest toy brand, Noriel. Combining its 38 years of experience with Noriel, Sunman aims to strengthen its presence in international markets, to increase its product range and to reach a significant volume, especially in toy exports. 

 

From August 12th, Hong Kong will be reducing hotel quarantine for overseas arrivals to three days. This will be followed by four days of ‘medical surveillance’. While the new restrictions represent a slight improvement on the previous arrangements, many international business visitors will still feel that they present a barrier to travel. Under the new arrangements, travellers will be quarantined in designated hotels for 3...

 

Warner Bros. Discovery To Merge HBO Max, Discovery+. The as-yet-unnamed super-streamer will launch in the US next summer, and the company is planning further cuts to kids content, including animation. WBD’s goal is to hit 130 million global DTC subscribers and US$1 billion in total streaming earnings by 2025. The company closed Q2 with 92.1 million subscribers worldwide, an increase of 1.7 million over Q1.

***The above posted after tBR starting sending***

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%.

Walmart lays off corporate employees after slashing forecast. Walmart has begun to lay off corporate employees, the company confirmed Wednesday, about a week after it slashed its profit outlook and warned that consumers had pulled back on discretionary spending due to inflation. In a statement to CNBC, the retail giant described the layoffs as a way to “better position the company for a strong future.” 

 

UK interest rates see biggest rise in 27 years. The Bank of England has raised interest rates from 1.25% to 1.75% in a bid to curb soaring prices and warned the UK will fall into recession this year. It expects the economy to shrink in the final three months of this year and keep shrinking until the end of 2023. This would make it the longest downturn since the 2008 financial crisis. 

Indonesia unblocks Steam and Yahoo, but Fortnite and FIFA are still banned. Indonesia has lifted its ban on Steam and Yahoo now that both companies complied with the country’s restrictive laws that regulate online activity (via @ZhugeEX). The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) announced the news in a translated update on Twitter, noting that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 …

 

Indonesia bans access to Steam, Epic Games, PayPal, and more. The Indonesian government has blocked access to a range of online services, including Steam, Epic Games, PayPal, and Yahoo after the companies failed to comply with a new requirement related to the country’s restrictive content moderation laws, as reported earlier by Reuters. 

 

Meta versus FTC with a VR monopoly at stake. The former Facebook's attempt to buy VR app maker Within leads to a fight that could shape the future of the field. "Instead of competing on the merits, Meta is trying to buy its way to the top. Meta already owns a best-selling virtual reality fitness app, and it had the capabilities to compete even more closely with Within's popular Supernatural app. 

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Financial Reporting

 

Disney+ soars to 152.1 million subscribers after adding 14.4 million in Q3

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

FUNKO Q2 EARNINGS POP! WITH RECORD 33.7% SALES SPIKE

Vue Cinemas’ Chain: Fall In Ticket Sales Cuts Company Value In Half To $785Bn

 

Sports video games drove Q1 revenue gains for Electronic Arts

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

 

FIFA and F1 drive EA to Q1 growth Codemasters racer outperforms expectations as FIFA Ultimate Team average player numbers jump 40%

Activision Blizzard announces second quarter 2022 financial results

Nintendo Q1 sales fall 4.7% to $2.3bn, Switch sales down 23%

PS5 sales hit 21.7 million units, but PlayStation owners are spending less time playing games

Miniatures continue to get bigger as RPG, Miniature Games play expands.

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

 

 

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

As wooden toys continue to grow in popularity, Sam Giltrow finds out what is fuelling this trend and how suppliers continue to innovate in the sector.

 

Sam Giltrow catches up with a selection of UK toy shop owners to find out how their summer season is going so far.

 

TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - JULY 2022

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

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

 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

The restructuring of the various Emmy Awards continues apace, with oversight of the Outstanding Game Show and Outstanding Host of a Game Show categories shifting from the Nat'l Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to the Television Academy. In Dec., the organizations shared that categories within the respective ceremonies would be realigned, with series competing based on genre and not ... 

 

Lego Is Actually the World’s Biggest Tire ManufacturerIf you’re thinking about the companies that make the most tires, your mind might jump to the likes of Bridgestone or Michelin, all stalwarts of the tire game that churn out millions every year. But, in fact, there is one manufacturer out there that makes millions more tires than the competition. That brand is, of course, Lego.

 

Bride Stuffed Build-A-Bear With Letters For Future Husband to Open On Wedding Day and His Reaction Is Beautiful. They were 15 when they started dating... Most relationships we're in as teenagers don't last — it can be heartbreaking at the time, but it's true. We grow up so much in high school and the years following that most of us are totally different people by the time we hit our mid to late 20s, and ...

 

John Lewis predicts top 10 Christmas toys. John Lewis is the first retailer to unveil its predictions for this year’s festive best-sellers with nostalgia a key trend. John Lewis has released its top tips for 2022, which it says have been decided upon after months of sourcing by the buying team and extensive trials by the young experts who make up the retailer’s Toy Testing Panel.

 

Dad invents flamethrower for kids to play with at home: ‘Best toy ever’Fun-loving Canadian dad Daniel Hashimoto successfully converted a household leaf blower into a flamethrower that his children use to “scorch” around their backyard. James, 11, and Sophia, 7, have declared it “the best toy ever” in a disarming video that’s now incinerating the internet. “To the children, it was not a deadly weapon, but more a dynamic and...

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - I couldn’t have put it better myself…it’s the Friday Blog! A few interesting nuggets about the impending ToysRUs UK launch have emerged this week. According to what we in the media like to call ‘multiple sources’, the original intention was apparently to launch the website in June. However, according to an official statement issued by Louis Mittoni to the Australian Stock Exchange, “we experienced...

Markets: The toy market in France. France is a major toy market – after the mighty USA, and the Asian powerhouses of China and Japan, France is one of the European ‘group of three’ – along with the UK and Germany - with the largest market size in Europe driving significant retail sales.

“The French market is on approximately the level of the UK and Germany. It’s quite a dynamic market which has increased in the last few...

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. 

 

India is becoming a powerhouse in toys exports, PM Modi presented figures. During his monthly Mann Ki Baat address, Prime Minister praised the country’s toy industry and said India is becoming a powerhouse in toy exports. While addressing, the Prime Minister also said that I had earlier said that the country has the potential to become a powerhouse in the export of toys.  

24 Must-Have Back To School Supplies To Kickstart Their Year.  Getting your back-to-school supplies has never been easier and more affordable. With this guide, you will have all the right products at your fingertips. We’ve got planners to keep your kids organized, journals to promote literary creativity, markers for their artistic side, and much more! 

 

WTF started kids’ Surprise Toy Obsession? Unpacking the history (& appeal) of this craze. You would think, since I have covered the toy market for a couple of decades, that I could put my finger on exactly when surprise toys took hold and became an entire category at Target. Probably with Hatchimals in 2016? Or LOL Surprise! toys the following year? 

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History and Nostalgia

 

Water balloon battles are a favorite summer activity, but do you know the history behind these simple objects? In 1950, an English inventor named Edgar Ellington attempted to create a waterproof sock using latex and cotton. When he tested it by filling it with water, he noticed that some of the water started gushing out. Frustrated, he threw the water-filled sock onto the table, and it burst. This gave him the inspiration...

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of Disc Golf? The first Saturday in August is designated as National Disc Golf Day, so we are taking a look at the history behind this unique sport. No one knows who the first person to play disc golf was. That’s because there have been many historical reports of isolated games. However, “Steady” Ed Headrick is considered the Father of Disc Golf. He patented the Disc Golf Pole Hole in 1975...

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

Ringa-Majigs from Molenaar Inc. . In the 1960s, Willmar, Minnesota-based Molenaar Inc., released Ringa-Majigs, a construction toy for children ages 3 and up. Touted in the company’s advertising as a “new dimension in building blocks,” Each Ringa-Majig was approximately 2½-inches in diameter and made of heavy-duty plastic in one of several vibrant colors. 

 

The Sinking of the Titanic from Ideal . In 1975, Ideal controversially released The Sinking of the Titanic, a board game that re-framed the real-world disaster as a roll-and-move fight for survival between players. The game was played in two phases. Phase 1 challenged players to rescue passengers, gather food and water, and board a lifeboat before the Titanic sank. 

 

Wham-O: Sports are Fun! For almost 75 years, Wham-O has been a ubiquitous guest at family barbecues and outdoor playtime, thanks to iconic toys such as the Frisbee, Hula-Hoop, Slip ‘N Slide, and Super Ball. This Sports Are Fun! mini-catalogue from the 1960s showcases the breadth of the company’s sporting and outdoor product lines at the time. 

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Licensing 

 

Next year’s Carnival celebrations could feature more kids dressing up as dragons, knights, princesses and trolls, thanks to a new licensing deal between DeAPlaneta Entertainment and MOM Fun Company in Spain. MOM will be the first licensee to make consumer products based on Technicolor Animation’s CG-animated kids series Gus, the Itsy Bitsy Knight.

 

More than 700 episodes from Hasbro-owned studio Entertainment One are coming to the HappyKids AVOD platform. New series such as Power Rangers (season one - 60 x 22-minute episodes) and GI Joe (season one - 95 x 22-minute episodes) and fresh episodes of Transformers, My Little Pony and Ricky Zoom will launch throughout the remainder of the summer.

Fisher-Price , in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is introducing its newest set of football stars, on and off the pitch, the “Ted Lasso:” Little People collector set.  The figure pack celebrates Ted Lasso and the AFC Richmond gang ahead of the 3rd season on Apple TV+.  This set includes 6 characters from the show: Rebecca Welton, Keeley Jones, Coach Beard, Roy Kent, Sam Obisanya and of course head... 

 

Nick Jonas is adding another accomplishment to his already-long resume: game collaborator. The 29-year-old singer, songwriter, and actor, best known as being one of the Jonas Brothers, has teamed up with Big Potato Games to reimagine his personal favorite game. Nick Jonas’ LINKEE, now available at AmazonTarget, and Walmart, is the ultimate fast-paced, quick-witted trivia game.

Britain’s pubcaster has acquired a package of new episodes and series from London-based Moonbug Entertainment for its iPlayer service. Preschool shows Blippi Wonders (season one – 26 x three-minute episodes), Little Baby Bum (300 x two-minute episodes), Gecko’s Garage (season one – 26 x two-minute episodes) and Lellobee City Farm (50 x two-minute episodes) will soon be available for the first time on the BBC...

 

Paramount has set a new release date for “Sonic the Hedgehog 3,” moving the video game adaptation to a release on December 20, 2024 while pushing back an untitled “Smurfs” musical to February 2025. The decision to move Sega’s famous blue speedster into the competitive holiday season shows how bullish Paramount is on the franchise, as the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” was released on Valentine’s Day weekend...

 

Nickelodeon Launches Global Search For Series.  The broadcaster is calling out for kids live-action and animated pitches from BIPOC and other underrepresented communities, with plans to put three into development. In collaboration with Rise Up Animation and Ghetto Film School, Nickelodeon has launched a new content accelerator that will send three concepts from underrepresented and early-stage creatives into...

 

Cuphead Rolls the Dice with New Partners, Agents, Merch, and Exclusive Social Content Ahead of New Cuphead Show! Episodes. Global gaming phenomenon Cuphead is celebrating a year of massive success, from debut of the acclaimed series The Cuphead Show! in Feb., to the June 30 release of the highly-anticipated video game expansion Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course — which has already reached at platinum... 

 

Dr. Seuss Enterprises Announces New Partnership with AtGames. AtGames, a leader in interactive entertainment products, has announced that classic Dr. Seuss properties will be featured in new virtual pinball tables for the AtGames Legends Arcade Family of products running on the Legends Arcade Platform. The Dr. Seuss properties that will be developed into innovative new original virtual pinball tables...

 

Brit toyco Toikido has partnered with Retail Monsterto roll out its new range of Piñata Smashlings products in North America next year. The launch will kick off with a Roblox game in summer 2023, followed by collectible cards from Topps and figurines, plush, playsets and piñata eggs containing Smashlings from Israeli toymaker PMI in the fall.

 

Amelia Fang Kidlit Franchise Set For TV Adaptation.  The vampiric middle-grade books, which have sold more than half a million copies in the UK, will make the jump to screens in a new comedy-adventure series. Laura Ellen Anderson’s Amelia Fang is looking to scare up some new fans in a 2D-animated comedy series and two specials. London-based CAKE has partnered with DCM Pictures (Bibi & Tina) to produce all three projects...

 

The World of EPI is set to introduce an exquisitely detailed line of collectible dolls based on the iconic characters from Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. Leading multicultural doll pioneer, Dr. Lisa Williams and World of EPI, authentically designed the Fresh Dolls Fierce collection in collaboration with Marvel to bring the strong, powerful and brilliant warrior characters from Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther:...

 

Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Nat Southworth at KAP Toys about kawaii cats, Stranger Things fans and why a ‘nice thing’ can be everything. Cover star KAP Toys, which this year celebrates its 5th anniversary as a successful toy company and distributor, has unveiled a major step forward in its expansion plans – its first own-brand plush range, Fuzzballs.

 

NetEase Games and MGM have announced the first crossover event between NetEase Game’s mobile video game Vikingard and the studio’s hit television series Vikings. Debuting 23/August, the first in-game integration will feature thrilling content and exciting themed events related to season 1 of Vikings that allow players to experience the journey of the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok.

 

FIRST LOOK AT THE NACELLE CO.’S SECTAURS ACTION FIGURE LINE. “Sectaurs is a line with a great history, fantastic design, and a seemingly endless well of creative potential,” says Nacelle Co. Founder and CEO Brian Volk-Weiss. “For us, it was a no-brainer to jump into the revival of this property.”

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

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...

U.S. Toy, Horizon Group USA ink retail distribution pact for specialty toy and gift market. Products from Horizon Group USA are about to become much more accessible for independent toy stores and gift shops. U.S. Toy inked a deal with Horizon to serve as the exclusive distributor for its arts, crafts, and STEM kits for the specialty market. 

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People of Play

Swerve is expanding its team with new hires, internal promotions, and newly created roles. “We’ve been diligent in adapting to industry trends and listening to our client needs which have contributed to the transformation of Swerve over the years,” says Swerve President and CEO Andrew Wagar. 

Helena Perheentupa has been named SVP of the ZAG Play Toy Division and is charged with developing new toys and complementary products for the LA-based company’s flagship franchise Miraculous, superhero adventure series Ghostforce (52 x 11 minutes)and upcoming CG-animated feature film Melody. In a release, Perheentupa says the division will continue to work closely with master toy partner Playmates and other...

 

Jack Peach is key lead innovation engineer at Mattel and the product innovation team support all of Mattel’s portfolio of brands. “Being an inventor, I’m most excited to see the sparkle in a kid’s eye when a toy does something unexpected, something ‘magical’. It is a shared experience driving imagination at their level and mine, encompassing ‘What if? Why not?’,” Peach said.

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

Toys R Us Asia has announced that chief executive officer, Andre Javes, will be leaving the company to pursue other interests, effective from 24th August. Pieter Schats, current chairman of Toys R Us Asia’s board of directors, and previously the company’s CEO from 2002 to 2014, will serve as interim executive chairman until a permanent group chief executive officer is appointed.

 

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.  

Lucky Duck hires Scott Morris. Lucky Duck Games has hired Scott Morris to be their new Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. Morris has been a mainstay in the games industry for decades. He was most recently GTS Distribution's Director of Business Development for Gaming, and prior to that, had been President of Passport Game Studios. Morris was also VP of Business Development for Arcane Wondersand ...

 

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Companies and Brands

 

After months of speculation by pundits, Disney+ is finally sharing details about its new AVOD, which will launch in the US on December 8.  Operating in a cluttered streaming market and with inflation on the rise, Disney and Netflix have both made moves to create a lower-cost option with ads for consumers who don’t mind that viewing experience. The new tier will launch simultaneously on Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. 

 

The powerful price monitoring tool MAPP Trap has just launched InteliTips, a new system driven by proprietary machine learning algorithms and MAPP Trap’s expert knowledge base. InteliTips subscribers receive weekly emails that address changes to their ecommerce conditions. What makes InteliTips so intelligent? 

 

Lego is set to take fans and families on an immersive Mission to Mars in a free two-day event in London over the August bank holiday weekend. In Lego City Missions, cadets will board the spaceship before blasting off on a mission to Mars, where they will use their creativity and imaginations to solve problems, before being interviewed about their mission.

 

G.I. JOE: THE BADASSERY OF SERPENTOR AND MORE DECLASSIFIED INTEL FROM HASBRO. Last month, the Hasbro team made its return to Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) with a look at new toys and collectibles from several of its top brands. With SDCC sidelined for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the G.I. Joe Classified Series never got to have a proper push in San Diego following its launch in 2020.

The Squishmallows Gamer Squad Honors the Tech of Yesteryear. Technology is evolving so quickly nowadays, it’s hard to keep up. Before we had new iPhones and Nintendo Switches launching every year, we had our trusty brick cell phones, Game Boys, and cassette players of yesteryear. Jazwares is throwing it back to the good old days with a Squishmallows Gamer Squad featuring plush versions of retro devices.

 

Walmart has held discussions with major media companies about including streaming entertainment in its membership service, according to 3 people with knowledge of the conversations, part of an effort to extend its relationship with customers beyond its brick-and-mortar stores. In recent weeks, executives from Paramount, Disney and Comcast have spoken with Walmart, the people said, as the retailer ponders...

The LEGO Group is expanding its factories in the Americas.  This week, the global toy company officially opened an expansion at its factory in Monterrey. As part of a $500 million investment, this new expansion will increase production capacity in order to meet growing, long-term demand globally.  “Today marks an exciting milestone for our factory in Nuevo Leon; we are the largest LEGO manufacturing facility in the world...

 

A look inside the design center where Hot Wheels creates its timeless toy cars. The engineers can't just shrink down the real thing. Here's how they actually do it. During the height of the muscle car craze of the 1960s, Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler wanted to create toys that better reflected what was going on in the burgeoning hot rodding scene. 

 

As Posh Paws celebrates its 15th anniversary, Toy World catches up with Lauren Shipman to find out how the company has changed and where it is heading. Posh Paws has continued to grow and evolve with the changing retail landscape over the past 15 years, including looking at new ways to present its ranges during the pandemic when customers could rarely touch and feel products, and consumers were switching...

 

Tonies has released a new TV advertising campaign showcasing its Toniebox, the musical storybox for kids. The campaign, which took to the air from 8th August on Channel 4, ITV2, Sky and Sky Kids, among others, highlights that Tonies not only amazes kids but brings happiness to the whole family.

Lego unveils largest store in the world in London. The revamped Lego store is packed with customer experiences including a Personalisation Studio, along with models of British icons. The Lego Group opens its new-look Leicester Square store today, on its 90th birthday, with a raft of customer experiences that it says will be scalable for other stores. The revamped store in the middle of the tourist hot-spot is now...

 

World Play Day is the first-ever global LEGO celebration and it’s happening to honor the moment that Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen turned his attention to toymaking in 1932. World Play Day will feature a host of activities that families can take part in at home or at designated locations around the world. The company says that the activities are designed “to help families and communities find a quick...

 

FoxMind Launches Match Madness Duo at Gen Con and Receives Rave Reviews. It’s finally here, Match Madness Duo, the highly anticipated follow-up to the best-seller Match Madness from the award-winning toy and games manufacturer and distributor, FoxMind. Unveiled last week at Gen Con, the largest annual event dedicated to tabletop gaming and culture in North America, the new game did not disappoint....

 

NYC-Area Families Invited to Experience the Best of the Bronx at Free ‘Alma’s Way’ Alma Train Party at Grand Central StationIt’s The Alma Train Party! Join Fred Rogers Productions, the MTA, and Thirteen to celebrate Alma’s Way, the hit PBS KIDS series created by Sonia Manzano (the iconic “Maria” on Sesame Street) and the launch of the new digital game, The Alma Train. The special “block party”-like event will feature...

 

Sesame Workshop’s ‘Tamir on the Street’ YouTube Series Explores Family Traditions in New Episode. Sesame Workshop has released a new episode in the recently debuted web series, Tamir on the Street, available exclusively on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel. The series stars eight-year-old Sesame Street Muppet, Tamir as he creates his very own YouTube-style show where he learns more about the friends and...

 

Jack & June, a proud member of the Woodplay Playsets family of brands from Escalade Sports, announced its newest releases for 2022 in the outdoor play and leisure lines. The all-new Playhouse, Porch Swing, and Cedar Adirondack Chair provide more opportunities for families to enjoy the outdoors. Since 2018, Jack & June has quickly become the backyard favorite, thanks to its wide range of easy-to-use, do-it-yourself ...

 

The Pokémon Company International has announced a new Pokémon animated special, Pokémon: The Arceus Chronicles is coming to Netflix this September. Inspired by the popular Pokémon Legends: Arceus video game, the special follows Ash, his Pikachu, and friends as they adventure and explore the Sinnoh region. 

This local card-game maker has already gone viral, and Nutt Heads is just getting started. When Chad Boyles wanted a kids version of the popular game Cards Against Humanity, he decided to create his own. The viral hit ended up launching Boyles into the card game business. “The game just went crazy,” Boyles said. In addition to landing his game, Kids Against Maturity, in top commercial retail outlets, 

 

Konami reveals Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG news. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (TCG) has gone from strength to strength in recent years. A large part its success can be attributed to fan-pleasing packs that have offered new ideas, beautiful designs and strong desirability among players. Collector’s tins have been a staple of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG since it first came to the West in 2002, and the 2022 Tin of the Pharaoh’s Gods will...

 

With annual CG confab SIGGRAPH slated to start Monday in Vancouver, DreamWorks Animation announced its intent to release its proprietary renderer, MoonRay, as open-source software later this year. MoonRay has been used on feature films such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Croods: A New Age, The Bad Guys and upcoming Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. “We are thrilled to share with the...

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

Following the global launch of preschool series Baby Shark’s Big Show! on Nickelodeon last year, the fin-tastic YouTube sensation is heading to Paramount+ in a new feature-length film. The SVOD has greenlit BABY SHARK’S BIG MOVIE! (working title), with a US premiere set for the holiday season in 2023.

 

PlayMonster UK is introducing a new range of My Fairy Garden play sets. Available now, the sets encourage children to interact with nature and develop a love and care for the environment through play. The My Fairy Garden range features stunning grow & play sets, inviting kids to enter the fairy realm through magical portals among flowers and trees. The realm is home to fairies of all different kinds – Water, Earth, Light, ...

In April, Sambro announced the appt of Lisa to the newly created role of Ethical and Sustainability manager, reflecting a wider company drive towards a more sustainable future. The company is making major strides in its the area of sustainability and the environmental impact of toy production, and Lisa is on board to oversee the implementation of a new sustainability programme, as well as manage the ethical ...

 

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.

‘90s nostalgia returns with Barbie 30th Anniversary Totally Hair Doll line. The best-selling Barbie is back! Kids and collectors can look forward to the debut of the Barbie Totally Hair 30th Anniversary doll collection this fall. Mattel is bringing back the iconic ankle-length hair, bold highlights, butterfly clips, and — of course — crimped hair. A real flash from the past. 

 

Asmodee USA enters into non-exclusive agreement with Funko Games. Asmodee USA revealed that they have entered into a non-exclusive agreement with Funko Games to distribute Funko's titles to hobby, toy and gift retailers. This non-exclusive agreement covers Funko's entire library of tabletop game titles, including but not limited to their Funkoverse line, party games, kids games, and licensed board games...

 

Asmodee USA takes Awaken Realms' Games exclusive. Asmodee USA has inked an agreement for exclusive distribution of Awaken Realms English language games worldwide. The agreement includes but is not limited to Awaken Realms' Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon, Etherfields, The Great Wall, ISS Vanguard, and Lords of Ragnarok. Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon, Etherfields, The Great Wall, and ISS Vanguard...

Lucky Duck Games will release 'Turtle Splash!' Lucky Duck Games will release Turtle Splash!, a children's game, into U.S. retail. In Turtle Splash!, players are attempting to help the Turtle get down river to the lake. They take turns flicking the Turtle down the River, and flip over animal tiles based on how close to the center of the lake they land. 

 

Trick Or Treat Studios reveals 'Shadowgate: The Living Castle' for hobby retail. Trick or Treat Studios revealed Shadowgate: The Living Castle, a new semi-cooperative board game that is currently on preorder for hobby retail. Shadowgate: The Living Castle is an officially licensed board game that is based on the 1987 Apple Macintosh video game, which became widely popular via its Nintendo Entertainment System...

 

Osprey Games announces 'Imperium: Horizons' standalone game. Osprey Games announced Imperium: Horizons, a standalone deck-building game, for release in summer 2023. Imperium: Horizons continues the Imperium series of asymmetric deck-building games that began with Imperium: Classics and Imperium: Legends. 

Genius Games announces 'Ion: A Compound Building Game 2E'. Genius Games announced Ion: A Compound Building Game 2E, a chemistry card drafting game, which will release into retail in 2022. Ion 2E is a revised edition of the original game that released in 2015. It is a card drafting game in which players choose ion and noble gas cards, and attempt to create neutral compounds or collect sets of noble gases. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Koch Media rebrands as Plaion to "acknowledge who we truly are". Managing director Klemens Kundratitz emphasises firm will remain "first and foremost a games company". As of today, Koch Media is no more. Instead, the company will now go by a new moniker: Plaion. The 28-year-old games publisher unveiled its new logo today, and GamesIndustry.biz spoke to managing director Klemens Kundratitz about the motivations...

According to an official Xbox news post, Microsoft is testing a higher-price, family sharing Game Pass plan that would allow up to five people to access the same subscription, as rumors had previously suggested. The initial rollout is exclusive to Colombia and Ireland, and allows members of the Xbox Insiders program to test out the new package. According to an Xbox spokesperson, the added members "have their own...

Tencent Games and Logitech have joined forces to create a handheld device focusing on cloud gaming. It’s currently referred to as the “Logitech G Gaming Handheld” and is scheduled to release later this year. “Logitech G’s leadership in PC and console gaming gear make them an ideal partner to help us realize the vision of bringing a better gaming experience to gamers around the globe,” said Daniel Wu, GM...

Apple is rumored to be upgrading the regular iPad later this year with new internals. Though an earlier leak suggested that the tablet would follow the same design language as its predecessor, a set of freshly leaked renders hint toward a design refresh. These renders have been published by MySmartPrice and have been attributed to CAD files sourced from a case maker.

Dire Wolf has released its digital version of Everdell for Steam, iOS, and Android devices. The digital version of Everdell, a popular worker placement game featuring groups of animals, is now available on multiple platforms. The game costs $9.99 on iOS and Android devices, and $19.99 on Steam. The iOS version can be played on either mobile devices or iPad and all versions of Everdell include compatibility. 

PlayStation fans seem to be embracing the digital gaming future, with almost 80 percent of all game purchases on Sony consoles being non-physical this quarter. This data comes from PS4 and PS5 users, and is an increase of 13 percent compared to last year.

This comes despite a drop in PlayStation Network users, meaning this doesn't just mean there's a wider market for digital games to appeal to. 

Highlighted Press Releases

 

HAS A FUN ASSIGNMENT BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS. Wipeout™ Dry Erase Protective Gear Is Perfect For Back-To-School By Scooter, Bike, Blades Or Boards As Students Personalize, Wear, Then Draw Again. Port Washington, NY (August 9, 2022) – Wipeout™ likes to remind parents this time of year that back-to-school shopping lists should have the three Ps – paper, pencil and pads. Knee pads, elbow pads and a bike helmet are a must when kids are scooting on the sidewalk and riding along bike paths. As moms and dads already know, protective gear only cushions the body if the child wears it. So, Wipeout came up with a creative way to ensure kids will want to show off their oh-so-cool gear since they get to decorate it themselves with the magic of dry erase markers. How’s that for their first 2022-2023 academic assignment?

 

HEAR THEY COME! SPOKESTER SENSES BIKE RIDERS APPROACHING AS SCHOOL TRAFFIC RESUMES. Accidents Happen When You Forget To Look Both Ways! Spokester Has Us On Alert For Cyclists With the Vroom Sound Of A Motorcycle. Midlothian, VA (August 9, 2022) – Is there a young pedal pusher in the house? The phrase “pedal pushers” derived from the style originally worn by cyclists in the ‘60s, because long pants could catch in bicycle chains. Whether deftly riding a two-wheeler or experimenting with training wheels, safety and cycling is a must. Beyond the potential skinned knee is the fear of not seeing or hearing a cyclist approaching. One $9.99 product, Spokester (https://spokester.com/), eliminates that worry and makes the young rider the coolest kid on the cul-de-sac!

 

THE CLASSIC PIGGY BANK GETS A PLAYFUL, ADORABLE UPGRADE WITH SAILOR TATTOO DECALS AND GOLD MARKER DETAILS ADORNING A FRENCHIE SAILOR DOG AND COOL KITTY! Save Those Pennies (Dimes And Quarters Too!) For A Rainy Day With Bright Stripes’ Frenchie And Kitty DIY Tattoo Ceramic Banks. Bloomfield, NJ (August 8, 2022) — Budding artists will be searching the couch cushions and coat pockets for spare coins to place inside their newest piece of work, Bright Stripes Tattoo a Frenchie Ceramic Bank and Tattoo a Kitty Ceramic Bank ($19.99). To coin a phrase, this little piggy bank has a fresh feel and look as a new generation of kids and tweens discover that saving can be enticing.

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

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...

 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Children’s online safety is in jeopardy. Smart toys with AI algorithms are a threat. Research suggests that the global market share of smart toys will grow by 26%. But their AI connectivity poses an ethical challenge.  Where regulations may have limitations, initiatives such as the Smart Toy Awards actively incentivize smart toy developers to set children’s wellbeing and developmental needs as their utmost interaction design priority.

Epoch Everlasting Play is recalling about 251,600 of its Kidoozie play tents and playhouses due to the flammability risk and burn hazard, according to a recall report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recalled products, manufactured in China, failed to meet industry flammability standards and pose a risk of burn injuries to children, the report said.

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

***The above posted after August 5th***

 

People of Play announces new webinar series. The second in the People of Play’s webinar series will focus on Awards, 4th Quarter Activations, and International Opportunities in 2023. People of Play (POP) strives to provide the toy industry with a comprehensive networking and resource hub. After a successful first event that drew more than 100 industry professionals from five countries, the team has announced plans for the next in its POP quarterly series of webinars designed to educate and inspire public relations and brand/marketing professionals …

Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit (B&LIS) North America has confirmed its first wave of speakers.  The two-day thought leadership convention announced a series of new speakers for its upcoming event at Convene New York in New York City. The summit is dedicated to transforming the future of brand licensing and is partnering with Licensing International to strategically design a one-stop shop for in-depth ...

 

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...

 

25 STEAM toys top Toy Association's "Back to School" shopping list for parents. The Toy Association today unveiled its "Back to School STEAM Toy Shopping List," which includes 25 officially accredited STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) toys that will support learning for kids of all ages during the upcoming academic year. 

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.

 

 

 

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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.

Arthur Houtman. Game industry veteran and Vertigo Games managing director Arthur Houtman has passed away.

The news comes from a statement on Vertigo Games' website, where the company shared news of Houtman's passing. Houtman co-founded two companies, Vanguard Games and Force Field, which were acquired by Embracer Group VR division Vertigo Games in August 2021. Houtman remained with the company after its acquisition, acting as managing director of Vertigo Studios Amsterdam.

Vertigo Games wrote that Houtman was "instrumental" in transforming the small indie studio into a thriving company. It noted that even though he'd reached retirement age in 2021, he kept working at Vertigo Studios Amsterdam to help it navigate its status as a newly-acquired company.

"It feels extremely unfair that he did not get the chance to round off this final step and go and enjoy a well-deserved retirement after all the hard work he dedicated to our company," the studio noted. "Arthur will be remembered as a straight shooter who never minced words, but he was always honest and focused on the end result." "Above all, he was a humble, generous and kind man and a source of advice for anyone who wanted to benefit from his 30 years working in the world of video games." Colleagues on social media described Houtman as "one the most amazing and genuine people you'll ever meet in this industry," and "a true gentleman, a great friend and a very talented professional."

Houtman began his career in the video game industry as a producer on various CD-ROM prototypes, eventually landing at Infrogames (the company that would become Atari) as production director. He'd later work at Disney Online Studios before departing to co-found Vanguard Games. Vanguard Games would find some success with a pair of licensed Halo titles called Halo: Spartan Assault and Halo: Spartan Strike before pivoting to virtual reality development under the Force Field name. It released games like Landfall and Coaster Combat before being acquired by the publisher of Arizona Sunshine.

 

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...

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