July 8 - 15, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
Everybody’s asking, "Are your fall events in person this year?" And, the answer is... (drumroll please)… YES! Our Innovation Conferences, TAGIE Awards, Young Inventor Challenge, and Toy & Game Fair are changing in surprisingly innovative ways and we are adding a hilarious new event. I’m actually knuckling through contracts right now to make the magic happen! I look forward to sharing everything with you soon!
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- Jim Engle, President and Founder, Little Kids Inc.
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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!
From a Major Cable Network Talent Booker: "We are working on a toy related docuseries. The series is focused on the entrepreneurial endeavors of our characters through interviews. Some of the topics we're interested in covering are the history of video games, action figures, toy designers, dolls/plush toys, building sets, puzzles and tech boosted toys. If any of these topics speak to you, please add the topics to your expertise in your POP Profile. We have discovered great contacts we are using in the series through POP and looking for more!"
"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies
I 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
Columnist - Nancy Zwiers
Musings on Life Balance (Not Work-Life Balance)
People in my circles are quibbling over terminology: is it Work-Life Balance or is it Work-Life Integration? Both terms imply that work is not a part of life, which of course is not the case. Evolution requires all living things to make a livelihood. These terms also might imply that our work and our life are on equal footing, but work is just one part of life. Taking a step back, I’m advocating for “Life Balance” as the term of choice.
Our lives are multi-faceted and balancing the many facets is no small feat. Let’s face it: It’s not really a dyad (x vs x) when there are so many different facets competing for our precious time and attention: work tasks, work relationships, rest/relaxation, recreation, health, family (partners/spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings), friends, social circles, local community, citizens, environment, travel, volunteerism, personal finances, etc. We all subconsciously execute a complicated balancing act every day, one that evolves as we move through various life stages.
I submit that balancing all of life’s demands in concert with our values is fundamental to achieving a sense of well-being. Given its complexity and importance, maybe the concept of Life Balance deserves more thoughtfulness on our part?
Of course, there is no magic bullet here, no single right answer (darn!). For sure, life balance strategies differ greatly not only by life stage and values, but also by gender, marital status, parental status, and more. Here are a few musings that might help you jumpstart a personal inquiry into your own Life Balance strategies. READ MORE...
Person of the Week - Jonathan Levy on Jon2.0...
from Co-Founding Mastermind Toys to Spin Master
My brother Andy and I decided to open a small retail store specializing in educational computer games for kids. Our start-up was certainly no kick-starter. It was more like a fixer-upper. I sold my car, and Andy accepted a nod from his wife to make a go of it with a few bucks from their savings.
Our approach to starting up a business was multifaceted; find a location, learn about where the products come from, figure out how they work, buy building supplies to build the store fixtures, paint the building brown only to realize that it should be a zippier colour. We painted it again—blue this time. Voila, Mastermind, The Educational Computer Store, was born. Mastermind was open for 6 whole days without a single customer. Ah, we must have forgotten the marketing component in our “multifaceted” business plan somewhat surprisingly, as Andy had bought and read Jay Levinson’s Gorilla Marketing book cover to cover.
Our in-store concept has always focused on customer engagement. We got a deal to sell Commodore 64 computers—popular in the market—and set them up on the counter so that customers and kids could try the games before making a purchase. This was a little naïve as it was a very slow summer. While our location was in a good neighbourhood, we opened in July and quickly learned that most families leave the city and return in September. Despite the slight seasonal error on our part, I spent the summer in the store, learning about the business, playing our computer games, and sparking up conversation with just about anyone who walked into our shop. Desperate to figure out how to attract customers. We tried it all—from sidewalk signs to window displays, and print advertising in various newspapers and magazines. It wasn’t until a customer walked in and shared that “a friend told me about this place” when we had that infamous ‘light-bulb moment’... READ MORE...
Person of the Week - Ivy Bleser
Unlike Other Design Industries, Toy Design Encompasses Many Different Design Disciplines: Fashion, Interior (playsets), Vehicle, Makeup, Hair, Graphics, Dolls and Much More
Hi Ivy! Thank you for taking time for an interview with us. Let's start with your roles and responsibilities in our industry?
I am a product design manager, currently for the Polly Pocket brand at Mattel.
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
My path was different than a lot of my contemporaries, my mom & dad were actually both Toy designers/inventors, so I literally grew up in the Toy industry. I used to joke that I grew up with a plastic spoon in my mouth. Now you can get a degree in Toy design, but when I was starting out, there was no specific degree for that, people came from all different design industries like graphic, fashion and vehicle design. I initially didn’t want to go into toy design because my parents both did it…so I got a degree in fashion design, but got so disillusioned with that industry and when an opening came up for toys, I took it because of my background and never looked back!
How do you define innovation?
This word can be so overused, it can of course mean thinking outside the box, coming up with something “never seen before”… but it can also be doing something classic, but in a totally new way or a mash-up of things that aren’t usually put together. It’s important to be innovative about how you think of innovation! READ MORE...
Financial and Legal
Netflix is set to acquire Australia’s Animal Logic in a strategic move to build out its animation production capabilities and add more animated films to its content offering. With studios in Vancouver and LA, Sydney-based Animal Logic’s animated projects include Happy Feet (pictured), The LEGO Movies and the Peter Rabbit films. And it’s no stranger to Netflix—Animal Logic is now animating Ron Howard’s The Shrinking...
Cinesite has acquired Montreal-based studio L’Atelier Animation to expand its production capacity and tap into Canada’s tax credits. CG specialist L’Atelier has produced projects including Netflix animated series Robozuna and the family-friendly feature film Fireheart with eOne Films, Main Journey and Caramel Films.
Workers are on strike and pickets are up at the 1190-room Hilton Bayfront adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center as San Diego Comic-Con opens today. The strike, by Local 30 of hospitality union Unite Here, affects cleaning, front desk, bell-stand, restaurant, and other non-management employees at the hotel.
***The above posted after July 15th***
Eaglemoss, known for its high-quality models, figures, collectibles, craft kits and more, and a licensee of some of the biggest properties around including Ghostbusters, Wizarding World, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Marvel, has reportedly entered administration. Greg Connell, managing director of InfolinkGazette, shared the news on LinkedIn, commenting: “Eaglemoss is one of the world’s biggest names in licensed ...
Hong Kong mulls quarantine-free travel plan. With Hong Kong’s new government having taken office two weeks ago, its health chief has been speaking publicly about how the region might relax the strict Covid-19 measures that have been in place since the start of the pandemic.
In June, business chambers expressed disappointment in former chief executive Carrie Lam’s refusal to ‘give in a single inch’...
Bandai Namco, the Japanese video game publisher behind titles including Pac-Man, Tekken and Elden Ring, has admitted that hackers accessed its systems and potentially made off with customer data. In a statement shared with TechCrunch, Bandai Namco said it detected “unauthorized access” to its systems by a third party on July 3, adding that it has since taken measures, such as blocking access to the affected...
The NY Times bought trivia game Wordle. Spotify is now getting in on the action and buying its music counterpart Heardle. The move sees the music streaming service and podcast producer move into interactive gaming for the first time. Heardle, which launched in March, is similar to Wordle but instead of trying to guess a word, contestants must try and guess a song within a few opening bars.
Peak shipping season is about to begin and the West Coast ports are still breaking records, according to the latest edition of the monthly Global Port Tracker issued by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates. The news comes as labor talks continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.
Peachstate Hobby Distribution (PHD) increases global presence with the acquisition of Blackburn-based Bliss Distribution. PHD has announced the acquisition of Bliss Distribution Limited, a leading UK-based distributor of trading cards, toys, games, and collectibles to businesses across the UK, the European Union and the globe. PHD is a distributor of sports cards, entertainment cards, collectible card games, board games...
Euro falls below dollar for first time in 20 years. The euro has fallen below the dollar for the first time in nearly 20 years as the war in Ukraine pushes the single currency down. A single euro bought $0.998 on the foreign exchange market at 12:45 GMT, down by 0.4% in the day's trading. Fears that Russia may restrict Europe's supplies of energy have increased the chances of recession in the euro area.
World Population Day: India will overtake China in 2023, says the UN. India is set to become the world's most populous country next year, overtaking China with its 1.4bn people, according to UN figures. By this November, the planet will be home to 8bn. But population growth is not as rapid as it used to be. It is now at its slowest rate since 1950 and is set to peak, says the UN, around the 2080s at about 10.4bn though...
Twitter sues Elon Musk over $44bn takeover deal. Twitter is suing billionaire Elon Musk to try to force him to buy the social media firm, setting up a legal battle with the world's richest man. It comes after Mr Musk announced he was walking away from his proposed $44bn (£37bn) takeover of Twitter on Friday. He claimed Twitter had not given information about the number of fake and spam accounts on the platform.
Nintendo acquires animation studio that’ll become ‘Nintendo Pictures’. Nintendo has acquired CG production company Dynamo Pictures, and will rename it to “Nintendo Pictures,” the company has announced. The new subsidiary will “focus on development of visual content utilizing Nintendo IP” and the “planning and production of visual content including CG animation.” The company’s IMDB page lists credits on dozens...
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***The above posted after July 15th***
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
JUNE 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS. Superhero and Author Titles Get Boosts from Streaming
***The above post after July 15th***
Comic stores enjoyed massive, typically double-digit increases in sales across the board in 2021. The good news for the first five months of 2022? Things are still increasing, albeit at a slower pace.
Some Surprising Good News: Bookstores Are Booming and Becoming More Diverse. More than 300 bookstores have opened in the past couple of years — a revival that is meeting a demand for “real recommendations from real people.”
Stories, Comments, and Advice
Parents are eager to limit what their kids see and how long they spend on their devices, but many don’t know how to set up parental controls, according to new data from Kids Industries (Ki). The London-based research agency surveyed 2,001 parents of kids ages five to 15 in the US and UK. Overall, roughly a quarter of them (23%) don’t use any internet controls to protect their kids, despite feeling concerned about rising...
Design Edge: To License or Self Produce Your Toy Invention? My-my, how the world has changed since I came of age in the late ’80s, early ‘90s.
Back then, I thought we had it all with 57 channels of cable television, a wireless phone in the kitchen, and my Walkman clipped on my hip. Cutting-edge technology was compact discs and the Nintendo NES. There were juggernaut toy brands like Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers...
(For those of you traveling again.) World's best airlines for 2022, ranked by AirlineRatings.com. In the midst of this chaotic season of travel, Australia-based aviation safety and product rating agency AirlineRatings.com has released its annual round-up of the world's best airlines.
Nabbing the top spot for the second year in the row is Qatar Airways, with AirlineRatings.com stating this carrier's commitment...
One year ago, a seemingly unlikely merger took place within UC Santa Cruz’s Division of the Arts, one that fused together the Department of Theater Arts and the Art & Design: Games + Playable Media Program (AGPM). Renamed the Department of Performance, Play & Design (PPD), it is the only university department in the world to break the traditional silos of theater, dance, and games.
***The above posted after July 15th***
John Baulch, Toy World (UK) - In a league of its own…it’s the Friday Blog! While no-one is pretending it’s easy at the moment, thankfully it seems that the toy market is continuing to buck the general retail trend. We don’t have the launch of the Argos catalogue in summer to galvanise the market these days, but there are plenty of new lines hitting shelves over the coming weeks to start injecting some excitement...
Will Hasbro’s 3D Printed Action Figures Kick-Off Mass Customization? Circa 2014, the world was being told by people like this author that 3D printing was ushering in an era of mass customization for consumers. That is, anyone would soon be able to purchase products tailored specifically to them… soon. While there were numerous attempts to realize this marketing vision, most didn’t really pan out.
Is India The Next China For Toy Manufacturing is quite obviously NO! – it is unlikely that we will ever see again a single toy manufacturing hub become as dominant as China became between the 1990s up until a few years ago. However, India is set to become a very important toy manufacturing hub due to some fundamental underlying strengths which we will go into…
The “Learnification” of Gaming. The “gamification of learning” is a common theme in education and edtech, but as we observe the emerging metaverse at Dubit, we’re thinking about the “learnification of gaming.” “Gamification of learning” leverages game design features and mechanics to deliver a curriculum in a playful way. By contrast, today teens and even tweens are creating games and experiences around the ideas...
Just keep your returns: Stores weigh paying you not to bring back unwanted items. The chaotic mix of record fuel prices and an unending supply chain crisis have retailers considering the unthinkable: Instead of returning your unwanted items, just keep them. In recent weeks, some of the biggest store chains, including Target, Walmart, Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and others have reported...
The Pokémon Co. printed 9 billion Pokémon cards last year, doubling production to stop speculators scoring 350-fold returns on rare cards. Roughly 30% of all Pokémon playing cards—the 1997 card trading game based on the Japanese animation of the same name—were printed in the last 2 yrs. The reason? Speculative traders.
History and Nostalgia
The History and Evolution of the NERF Football. Neon foam—that's all Twister inventor and toy developer Reyn Guyer needed to launch NERF in 1969 under Parker Brothers. Dubbed 'the world's first indoor ball,' NERF was such an instant success that within a year, millions of NERF balls had been sold. Moms everywhere rejoiced. The four-inch polyurethane foam ball was made for playing without breaking.
Early Hackers Used Whistles From Cap’n Crunch Cereal Boxes. You can draw a line from the tiny toys to Apple Inc. CEREAL COMPANIES HAVE LONG USED box prizes as an inducement for children to nag parents into buying sugary breakfast food. From movie tie-in toys to video games on CD-ROM (remember Chex Quest?), cereal box baubles tend to be momentarily thrilling and then quickly forgotten. Except when they’re used for hacking.
***The above posted after July 15th***
Do you ever wonder who first thought of Lego Minifigures? The earliest Lego minifigures were much more like the building bricks that Lego is famous for — they were made up of three non-articulating pieces in the shape of a person. They didn’t have facial expressions but were compatible with a few different hats.
Long before Frank Oz brought many Muppets to life, his father, an amateur Dutch puppeteer, made a Hitler marionette as an act of defiance. He buried it during the war. The puppet stands 20 inches tall, hand-painted and carved out of wood, its uniform tattered and torn. But for all it has endured over more than 80 years — buried in a backyard in Belgium at the outset of World War II, dug up after the war and taken...
Urban Spelunking: Vintage playground toys discovered at Neeskara School. The other day I stopped at Neeskara Elementary School, 1601 N. Hawley Rd., to peek at the Green and Healthy Schoolyard Redevelopment Project that's underway. Later, I learned that the work has turned up some cool old playground toys.
Master Caster from Mattel. In 1979, Mattel released the Master Caster electric toy set that let children create their own Formula 1-inspired toy cars from melted wax. Master Caster capitalized on the success of earlier Mattel toys with an internal heating element, such as Thingmaker (1964) and Strange Change Machine (1968). Children plugged in the Master Caster heating unit, popped a wax pellet into...
Scooby-Doo Where Are You! from Milton Bradley. Released in 1973, the Scooby-Doo Where Are You! board game from Milton Bradley invited players to adventure through a haunted castle and be the first to discover the hidden treasure. The game was fashioned after the Hanna-Barbera children’s show of the same name, which premiered on September 13, 1969 as part of the CBS network’s Saturday-morning line-up.
Squishmallows and Pokémon Join Forces for an Epic Plush Collaboration. Jazwares, a leading global toy company, has announced that two of the toy industry’s top powerhouse brands are teaming up, Squishmallows and Pokémon! Exclusively revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, the new Squishmallows x Pokémon collection is a collaboration with The Pokémon Company Int'l, combining the loveable personalities of ...
In the ‘80s, two things were a futuristic dream, flying cars and a merger of the most popular toys: LEGO and Atari. We’re still waiting on the flying cars (Elon Musk, WYA?) but the LEGO Group is *finally* building up an Atari set, brick by brick. The set comes in celebration of Atari’s 50th Anniversary and is inspired by the four-switch revision of the Atari VCS/2600 that debuted in 1980.
Elon Musk and Mattel are blasting off with another collaboration following the success of Tesla-inspired toys and collectibles over the past few years. Musk’s SpaceX inked a multi-year licensing deal with Mattel under which the El Segundo, California-based toymaker will create new products geared toward kids and collectors alike.
The Karma’s World dolls are finally here. Inspired by the entertainment media company started by rapper Ludacris, Karma’s World is an animated series on Netflix that tells the coming-of-age story of Karma Grant, an aspiring rapper. This doll collection is based on the series and features characters from the show.
Spin Master is making plans to bring a host of video game-themed products into the toy department. The company inked a multi-year licensing deal with Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) under which Spin Master will serve as the global master toy licensing for the Sony PlayStation brand and first-party, SIE-owned PlayStation video game titles. The deal includes rights to produce a host of new products...
Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels, the first DLC expansion for Forza Horizon 5, is now available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10/11 PCs, Cloud Gaming (Beta), and Steam. For the new expansion, Mattel teamed up with Playground Games to develop not just a series of new levels, but a brand-new, five-chapter Horizon Story: Hot Wheels: A History of Speed. In the game, players can experience some of the fastest...
The producers of Top Gun: Maverick and the upcoming Mission: Impossible sequels are teaming up with Mattel to bring an iconic toy brand to the big screen. Skydance and Mattel Inc. are developing Matchbox, the long-running real-world die-cast vehicle line, into a live-action motion picture. Screenwriter David Coggeshall (Paramount’s Orphan: First Kill), who previously skirted the toy realm by working on drafts of...
The 75th anniversary of Tonka is being celebrated in a very unique way. New Zealand Mint is offering a limited edition, 1oz rectangular coin that features the iconic Tonka Mighty Dump Truck. Just 1,947 pieces have been minted in honor of the company’s founding in Mound, Minnesota in 1947. Crafted in pure silver, the coin has been treated with an antiqued look accented by the Tonka truck in full color.
Novel Entertainment is teaming up with social enterprise Madlug to support the company’s mission to raise awareness of the value and worth of care experienced children, while helping them make their way with dignity. Under the collaboration, Novel Entertainment has donated its Horrid Henry brand to enable Madlug to create a backpack featuring the popular children’s entertainment property.
Los Angeles-based streetwear company DREAM Clothing is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Cloudco Entertainment’s beloved and iconic property, Care Bears, with limited-edition drops. The first planned clothing release was exclusively made for Pride month and launched on June 1. Subsequent limited-edition releases were dropped during the month of June and are continuing through July.
Discovery Channel, a member of the Warner Bros Discovery family of brands, is diving deep into Shark Week 2022 with merchandising partners. Airing Sunday, July 24 at 8:00PM ET/PT through Sunday, July 31 on Discovery Channel and discovery+ with an exciting lineup of 25 adrenaline-inducing original hours and original shark-themed programming, Shark Week, in its 34th year, is television’s longest-running...
Mattel has announced that its all-new animated children’s series Deepa & Anoop will debut on Netflix on August 16, 2022. Created by acclaimed Bollywood animator Munjal Shroff (Shortcut Safari), accomplished writer Lisa Goldman (Dragon Tales), and award-winning producer Heather Kenyon (Doki Adventures), Deepa & Anoop is Mattel Television’s first original series based on original intellectual property.
JAKKS Pacific has revealed Let’s Go, Yoshi, a perfect addition to any Super Mario collection. Standing at 12 inches tall, this figure has several interactive triggers and 13 points of articulation for tons of posing options. Kids and collectors ages 3 and up will have endless fun with Yoshi to activate his 20+ iconic sounds and music. Pat Yoshi’s nose to hear adorable sounds. Push down on Yoshi’s head for a super cool...
Guru Studio has partnered with TIME Studios to produce a new animated comedy series called Scoops about media literacy and misinformation recognition. Targeting 5--8 yrs, the show features Ellerby, an 8 yr-old girl who seeks the truth behind rumors circulating in her neighborhood with help from her best friend Olsen. Along the way, Ellerby uses journalistic news-gathering techniques to judge the credibility...
Thunderbird Distribution has come on board to distribute and manage consumer products globally for Mittens & Pants, an upcoming series featuring live animals from Toronto-based Windy Isle Entertainment. Under the deal, Thunderbird will sell the show worldwide, except in Canada and the UK, where it is already lined up to air on CBC Kids and Sky Kids this fall.
Gamisodes Remixes Inspector Gadget Into Gamified TV And NFTs. CEO Davis Brimer explains why he thinks his company's mash-up of gaming, TV content and Web3 elements represents an entirely new media category, decked out in a nostalgic trench coat. Just like Inspector Gadget himself, the latest iteration of this eponymous IP is a cyborg, mixing high-tech and human elements to create a totally unique being.
Paramount Consumer Products UK held its annual Partner Showcase, including a surprise awards ceremony in London’s West End, returning for an in-person event for the first time since 2019. The event, organised by Paramount’s UK Consumer Products team, showcased upcoming franchise plans and celebrated partners’ outstanding collaboration from the past year, honouring key retailers, partners and licensees.
Spain’s Zinkia Entertainment (Pocoyo) is gearing up to bring its first original project in 15 years to TV screens, tackling the evergreen kid-favorite subject of dinosaurs. The prodco’s new series Yanco, Dina and the Dinosaurs has been ordered by Spanish pubcaster RTVE and will be broadcast on its kids channel Clan. Details of the premiere date and format have not been revealed yet.
***The above posted after tBR started sending July 15th***
The Nacelle Co. continues the rapid expansion of its toy and consumer products division with products for kids and collectors alike. Following the recent debut of its kid-focused Garden Surprise collectibles line, the company dropped the curtain on its next brand: Big Bad Battle Caps. The new line includes a range of products designed to capture the spirit of bottle cap games, but with a fresh, modern look.
Bluey, the Emmy Award-winning sensation that has won over families worldwide, will make its Season Three debut on August 10th on Disney+ in the U.S. and around the world. Created and written by Joe Brumm and produced by the multiple Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and BBC Studios, the new season of the breakout hit series will be split into two parts.
Psyonix in collaboration with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) and Aston Martin, is celebrating 60 yrs of James Bond with new and returning James Bond-themed content in Rocket League available beginning July 13, on all platforms! 007’s Aston Martin DBS is making its debut in Rocket League and will include 007’s Aston Martin DBS Engine Audio, 007’s Aston Martin DBS Wheels, a Reel Life Decal, and ...
Funko Games invites players to help their favorite Disney and Pixar characters save a world of adorable chaos in their new expandable game, Disney Kingdomania. Stylized after classic pixelated games and designed with Funko’s iconic collectability in mind, Disney Kingdomania is the first game to combine the thrill of blind bag toys with characters from multiple Disney and Pixar universes to create a rare mashup...
World of EPI (Entertainment, Publishing and Inspiration), a leading multicultural doll and toy manufacturer, has announced a new master licensing partnership with Rock The Bells, the global lifestyle platform elevating Hip-Hop culture from its roots to modern day. Founded in 2018 by LL Cool J, Rock The Bells focuses on content, experiences, and commerce that honor the timeless elements of Hip-Hop ...
Hasbro is partnering with the NY Times, which owns the popular online word puzzle, to create "Wordle: The Party Game." The new board game "delivers classic Wordle gameplay, but now in an all new way," the companies said in a press release. Hasbro approached the New York Times to make a party game after noticing how popular Wordle had become online, according to Hasbro Gaming's SVP and GM Adam Biehl.
Toronto’s Headspinner Productions has partnered with Australian musician Emma Watkins to develop and produce a new preschool series called Emma Memma: Sing. Dance. Sign. Watkins, who was a member of famed children’s group The Wiggles for more than a decade, will star in the series and serve as an executive producer under her newly established banner Apricot Sea.
Master thief Carmen Sandiego is still on the loose, but WildBrain has captured global linear distribution rights to the 2D-animated series produced by HarperCollins Productions for Netflix, and has already signed a major broadcast deal. Disney has bought the first four seasons (33 x 30 minutes) to air on its linear channels in Japan and France. Caroline Tyre, WildBrain’s VP of global sales and rights, says her team is...
Monster High fans have some scary cool news to howl about today. Nickelodeon and Mattel have dropped the voice cast for their upcoming original animated series Monster High. The 26-episode series follows the teenage kids of famous monsters, including Clawdeen Wolf, Draculaura, and Frankie Stein, as they attend high school and embrace their differences to discover who they are.
Nelvana is taking its first step into the web3 world, partnering with New York-based TIME Studios to co-produce two NFT-inspired animated series. Based on the work of Pablo Stanley, who is also designing a companion NFT collection, Robotos follows a group of friends who go on fantastical adventures in a world set in the distant future
Heathside Trading, with its Khadou brand, has secured a new deal with Rilakkuma for the release of toys and collectibles based on the Japanese Kawaii brand from San-X Japan. Rilakkuma launches a second season, ‘Rilakkuma’s Themepark Adventure’, on Netflix on 25th August 2022 and Heathside plans to capitalise on this by launching mini blind packs, mini plush backpack clips and keychains to the market this autumn.
Miko 3 is partnering up with Paramount Consumer Products to bring animated series such as Spongebob Squarepants, PAW Patrol, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to its kids’ robot Miko 3. “We’re excited to welcome beloved Paramount stories and characters to Miko’s ever-expanding kids content platform,” says Sneh Vaswani, Miko co-founder and CEO.
King Features Syndicate and Totem, a platform for fans and collectors worldwide to express their passions for collectibles in an authentic and accessible way, have announced the officially licensed Popeye digital collection. The deal was negotiated by MJA Licensing, King Features’ agent out of France.
YouTube has ordered a new cooking competition show for kids ages six to 12 called The Big Tiny Food Face-Off from Sony Pictures Television’s B17 Entertainment. The six x 20-minute series jumps on the trend of making and eating really small pieces of food, like tiny cinnamon rolls or sandwiches. In each episode, three tween/teen contestants compete to win and take home a trophy, with chef influencer...
The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific has inked an agreement with South Korean music company HYBE to distribute five new original programs on Disney+, including two exclusive series featuring iconic K-pop group BTS. The three projects that have been announced so far are concert film BTS Permission to Dance on Stage—LA, docuseries BTS Monuments...
Breaking Games, an award-winning game publisher and manufacturer, announced that it will publish the tabletop game for Luck, the animated film produced by Skydance Animation for Apple Original Films, in a deal brokered by IMG. While pre-orders are available via this link, the game officially launches later this month. Luck premieres globally August 5 on Apple TV+.
MATTEL, JANE GOODALL INSTITUTE PARTNER TO LAUNCH SUSTAINABLE BARBIE DOLL AND CAREER OF THE YEAR TEAM. Mattel is focused on making sustainability a top concern. As part of ‘“The Future of Pink is Green” Barbie brand campaign, the toy manufacturing company is launching a certified CarbonNeutral Inspiring Women doll and a 2022 Career of the Year Eco-Leadership Team.
Fresh Monkey Fiction has teamed up with designer and toy historian Jason Geyer aka ToyOtter Toys for the Longbox Heroes Collection. The new range of retro-inspired, 4.5-inch action figures introduces a host of characters from creator-owned comic books into the form factor made famous by the Mattel and Kenner superhero figures of the 1980s.
Universal Pictures Content Group has acquired all French distribution rights for Ukrainian CG-animated feature film Mavka: The Forest Song, produced by Film.UA Group’s Animagrad Studios. Universal will dub Mavka into French and release it to theaters when it’s delivered in Q4 2022. Film.UA has distribution deals set up for the family-friendly pic in more than 20 territories to date, with partners including Germany’s...
Cartoon Network, HBO Max and Lion Forge Animation have teamed up to adapt a Dark Horse/YouNeek Studios graphic novel series called Iyanu: Child of Wonder into a same-name kids TV show. The 2D-animated series will tell a superhero tale inspired by the history of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, following a teen girl who must discover the secrets behind her new powers and save her people from a curse...
Kerry Phelan of Genius Brands International is promoting new properties and pursuing new partnerships. GENIUS BRANDS INT'L exhibited at this year’s Licensing Expo in LV. There, Genius Brands debuted two new properties, “Shaq’s Garage” and the Stan Lee celebrity brand. Kerry Phelan, chief brand officer, Genius Brands Int'l, spoke to License Global about her licensing journey and the company’s future plans in licensing.
Canadian pubcaster TVOKids has launched several new originals and acquisitions to keep kids entertained over the summer on its linear net, YouTube, TVOkids.com and smart TV streaming services. Preschool series Curious Crafting (40 x three minutes) from Canada’s Riverbank Pictures (How Do You Feel?) premiered on July 1 and features a rotating cast of toddlers making crafts with common household items.
Toronto’s Wildling Pictures has secured the rights to produce an animated series based on a collection of Professor Goose Debunks Fairy Tales picture books written by Franklin the Turtle author Paulette Bourgeois. The Snoopy Show writer Jocelyn Geddie has been tapped to develop the concept with Wildling Pictures’ Matt Code (Mary Goes Round), and Natalie Urquhart (Rogue Bridal) and Julie Strifler (Easy Land)...
Netflix and HK-based Playmates Toys are bringing together the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with characters from live-action series Stranger Things in a new action figure line for kids ages eight and up. These Stranger Things Upside Down Remix two-pack toys feature one Turtles figure (dressed in ’80s gear) and one character from Netflix’s smash-hit show. In the first wave, launching exclusively in US Target stores...
Asmodee teams up with Netflix for new licensed games. Asmodee and Netflix have teamed up to adapt Ozark, Squid Game, and Stranger Things into new games, which will launch as exclusives for Walmart on July 30, 2022. Ozark is a territory control game by Mixlore where players try to influence locations from the streaming series, such as the Lickety Splitz and the Missouri Belle.
Videogames make a play for the Halloween business. Videogame characters are increasingly becoming the heroes of the Halloween business. As retailers begin stocking warehouses and, in some cases, stores and websites for the annual fall extravaganza, IPs from videogames like Call of Duty, Sonic, Fortnite, and Minecraft are finding themselves on equal footing with entertainment properties when it comes to Halloween products.
A Pokémon Trading Card Game show is in the works. The Pokémon Company has announced that it's developing an unscripted television series focusing on the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It's also unveiled an open casting call for fans "of all ages and interests" based in the Los Angeles, California area. No TV production company is listed on the press release sent out by The Pokémon Company.
Marvel celebrates 60 years of Spider-Man with new products and experiences. Marvel has announced its Spider-Man "Beyond Amazing" global marketing and consumer products campaign in celebration of the character's comic book debut 60 years ago. Beginning now through December, fans can celebrate Spider-Man's 60th anniversary with new "Beyond Amazing" product offerings, such as apparel, toys, collectibles...
Become Doctor Who's worst enemy in 'Nemesis'. Gale Force Nine will release Doctor Who: Nemesis, a new board game, into retail in September 2022. In this game, players take on the roles of the classic Doctor Who nemeses who are attempting to defeat the meddling Doctor at his own game. Players control minions that they send off to hinder Doctor Who and thwart their plans.
People of Play
Mattel Appoints Mike DeLaet as Global Head of Digital Gaming. Mattel, Incorporated has announced that Mike DeLaet has been appointed Global Head of Digital Gaming, effective July 25. DeLaet brings more than two decades of gaming expertise to Mattel, most recently serving as SVP, Strategic Partnerships for Scopely, a global interactive entertainment and mobile-first games company.
ARCADE1UP EXPANDS LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH 3 NEW HIRES. Tom Lyons is joining Arcade1Up as CMO where he will oversee the company’s digital marketing, brand strategy, strategic partnerships, creative, communications, eCommerce, and social media. Adriana Vila Soto will serve at Arcade1Up as the SVP of marketing and strategic partnerships. Chris Cardenas is joining as the VP of sales...
ZAG has appointed Luca Bonecchi as the head of consumer products in Europe. Bonnechi was most recently a head of agent management at Acamar Films following a six-year career as vice president of licensing EMEA for Entertainment One (eOne). Bonnechi will replace Helena Perheentupa who will be taking on a new senior management role with ZAG that has yet to be announced.
Meet the guys who design Lego sets for adult fans of the iconic toy bricks. During the recent Lego 90 Years Of Play media event at the toy company’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark, we spoke to Mike Psiaki and Milan Madge, the designers of the two Lego Icons sets, to get some insights into what it is like designing Lego sets for adults versus children.
‘Insurmountable’ obstacle pushed Hunter Sparagna to do whatever it takes to succeed. One-week contract to create an action figure led to full-time job at McFarlane Toys for VCUarts alum. When Hunter Sparagna was a kid, his older brother drew the entire Pokémon Sapphire Generation — the third generation of the Pokémon video game series circa 2002.
A Game Maker’s Life. JEFFREY BRESLOW, a preeminent toy and game inventor and designer, spent more than 41 years inventing toys and games since graduating with a BFA from the University of Illinois in industrial design. In 1976 at the age of 34, he became the youngest managing partner of Marvin Glass and Associates, the leading toy design company in the world.
***The above posted after July 15th***
MTV Networks alum Gabrielle Howard has been appointed creative development manager at Fred Rogers Productions. Howard, who served as a development consultant for the Pittsburgh-based prodco, was recently hired on full-time. Reporting to CCO Ellen Doherty, she will manage the company’s production slate and work with creatives to shepherd projects through the development process.
Carlos Biern joins the DeAPlaneta Entertainment team as Content and Distribution Director of the Kids & Family div. Reporting directly to Diego Ibañez, Chief Brand Officer, Carlos Biern will accelerate the company’s trajectory, enlarge the DeAPlaneta Kids & Family portfolio of quality animated series with original productions, coproductions and acquisitions and position the brand on TV channels and OTT platforms globally.
“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Bill Nichols and Peter Cmiel of Blip Toys to the show. On the show, the Blip Toys duo explains how some decisions they made early in their careers guided them to where they are today. The conversation veers toward the success of the Squinkies collectible line and the Zoom-O Disc Launcher.
A 16-year Nintendo of America veteran has unlocked a new level inside the corporate castle. Devon Pritchard was named as EVP of sales, marketing, and communications, after serving as the acting executive in that role since last November. “Devon’s years of leadership at Nintendo give her a deep understanding of our people, our products, and our fans,” says Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser. customers.”
A recent partnership between LA’s 3Pas Studios and Encantos has gone a big step further, with Encantos announcing today that its co-founder Steven Wolfe Pereira has been named chief business officer at 3Pas. The move will see Wolfe Pereira vacate the CEO role he’s held at Encantos since 2019. But he’ll remain in place as chairman of the kid-focused tech company, while co-founder Susie Jaramillo takes over as CEO.
Shinzo Abe killing: Hideo Kojima threatens to sue over false posts. A legendary video game developer has threatened to sue over hoax posts portraying him as Shinzo Abe's killer. Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima was linked to the shooting of Japan's former prime minister in pictures on website 4chan. The images were shared by a French politician and reportedly broadcast by Greek and Iranian news outlets.
Social Media star Addison Rae debuts toy line as Chief Fun Officer Of Bonkers Toys. TikTok is taking over the toy aisle and social media star Addison Rae is getting in on the action. Rae is the third most-followed account on TikTok with more than 88 million followers and 5.7 billion likes. The 21-year-old also dominates YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, with more than 100 million followers across social media. Now she’s joining forces with Bonkers Toys to release her first toy line in a deal brokered by IMG.
Co-owner Of Iron Metals Melissa Noe battles cancer. Michael Noe is raising funds to help his wife and co-owner Iron Wind Metals in her battle with cancer. Melissa Noe (also known as "Crazy") was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer in April of 2021. The cancer treatments have been both financially and emotionally taxing, and Michael Noe has been raising funds via GoFundMe to help ease the financial burden. Michael and Melissa have both been mainstays in the metal miniatures, and their booth has been a permanent fixture at Gen Con and Origins.
Companies and Brands
Upper Deck debuts Collect Forever, a new direct-to-consumer (D2C) collectibles distribution platform. Collect Forever is an outlet that fans can use to purchase, store, and trade every type of collectible. The launch was announced at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) by Upper Deck President Hason Masherah who shared details...
At Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), Hasbro unveiled plans for the first of its new D&D toy lines: The Golden Archive Collection. This line follows the premium, 6-inch scale form factor made popular by other Hasbro lines, including Star Wars: The Black Series, the Marvel Legends Series, and the G.I. Joe Classified Series. Rooted in nearly 50 years of D&D lore, the line will feature characters, creatures, and ...
Best known for its sand and water toys, Dantoy is moving into tableware for kids with a range which has a focus on sustainability and children’s development. The toy manufacturer, which has been making toys for 58 years, says the range will encapsulate the same values and quality of its toys with a focus on children’s growing proficiency, motor skills development and hand-eye coordination.
Moose Toy's Mama Surprise is the newest addition to the Little Live Pets line of realistic toy pets that teach kids the importance of nurturing animals. This interactive guinea pig features more than 20 sounds and reactions that kids can activate by caring for her. When kids pet her and feed her toy celery, her heart will start to glow, signaling that it’s time to put Mama in her hutch, where she will welcome a new baby.
Hasbro dominates the water and foam dart blaster categories with Super Soaker and NERF, and now they’re targeting a new blaster medium: super absorbent polymer projectiles, or gel. The NERF Pro GelFire Mythic Full Auto Blaster fires hydrated super absorbent polymer rounds and is expected to be on store shelves by Nov. 1. According to Hasbro, its GelFire line includes “patented technology exclusive to NERF...
MultiPlast Systemsof Solon, Ohio, a manufacturer of renewable and sustainable packaging material (www.multiplastsystems.com), has announced that they will be expanding their manufacturing and application capabilities for its organic, degradable, resin additive for enhanced end-of-life sustainability for plastic packaging and products.
Fisher-Price UK supports Family Action’s Creating Happy Memories campaign. Gemma Atkinson junk modelling with daughter Mia. Actress, radio presenter and celebrity mum Gemma Atkinson and her three-year-old daughter, Mia, have helped to launch the Creating Happy Memories family-focused campaign from charity Family Action supported by Fisher-Price.
The Lego Group enlisted the help of celebrity photographer Rankin to celebrate 90 years of Lego with fans aged 1 to 90 years taking part in a special photo shoot. Hundreds of fans shared their stories of what Lego play means to them to be in with a chance of being photographed by Rankin, best known for his iconic celebrity portraits including the Spice Girls, David Bowie and The Queen.
Mattel Opens Its Vault to Revitalize Dormant Brands. The toymaker will reintroduce three toy lines this week at Comic-Con as part of a strategy to dig deeper into its intellectual property portfolio. Barbie is about to reunite with some old friends. Mattel, the maker of the popular fashion doll, is dusting off three dormant lines that have not been on toy shelves in decades: Major Matt Mason, Big Jim and Pulsar.
Henson Developing Activism-Focused Content. A new special and unscripted series engineered to teach kids about citizenship through puppets and comedy are in the prodco's pipeline. The Jim Henson Company is aiming to empower six- to 11-year-olds to be active citizens with a new puppet-led series and special. Citizen Squad is a live-action musical one-off that encourages kids to change the world for the better...
Mattel UK partners with Smyths on summer Barbie and Hot Wheels tours. Mattel has kicked off the holiday season with an immersive Barbie Dream Camper and dynamic Hot Wheels Hauler experience at its new Slough HQ. The Mattel UK team was out in force to celebrate the two iconic brands and get a taste of the experiences that will be touring round the country in the coming weeks, exciting kids and parents alike.
Macy’s is ready to welcome a new generation of Toys “R” Us kids to its stores in time for the holidays. The partnership between two storied retailers is kicking into high gear thanks to an expanded pact between Macy’s Inc. and Toys “R” Us owner WHP Global that will see Toys “R” Us in-store shops open in every Macy’s store across the U.S. The expanded agreement ups the location count from the 400 stores initially...
Amazon UK has announced plans to create a further 4,000 permanent jobs in the UK. This will bring the number of UK jobs offered by Amazon to 75,000. The new jobs will span a variety of roles including packing and shipping orders at fulfilment centres set to open in Wakefield and Knowsley, warehouse work, office work in London and Manchester, and technology roles in Edinburgh and Cambridge.
University Games debuts Tom Gates games range. UG has teamed up with the popular children’s brand to create an award-winning range of games and puzzles to be launched this mo. The new Tom Gates Monster Games Compendium includes 3 games packed with quintessential Tom Gates humour, creativity and doodling, scooped top honours at The London Toy Fair earlier this year, winning a Toy Fair Hero Toys Award.
Norton PR says it is embarking on a new and exciting journey, bringing in a range of new hires in response to new business wins. Having grown exponentially over the last few months, the PR agency is introducing new members to its expanding team, bringing in expertise from a range of industries. The company is also re-launching it’s company website and comms channels to echo its values and broad client base.
Toy start-up Fabula has announced a partnership with Mumzworld in a move that will position the business among the top children’s brands in the Middle East. Nazneen Yasin, founder of Fabula Toys, told Toy World: “The Middle East is an extremely exciting market for us because it isn’t just thriving but constantly growing, offering numerous opportunities for an ambitious business like ours.
National Geographic’s leading palaeontologist, discusses why dinosaurs continue to captivate kids and how he’s helped shape Tonies’ new dino-themed audio offering. Nazir, dinosaurs are perennially popular amongst small children – why do you think that is? Nazir Ibrahim
Dinosaurs are, in some ways, like the dragons of our mythology – but they are real. That certainly makes them irresistible to kids.
STEM toy brand Hexbug says it has reinvented the RC tuner car with the launch of the fully customisable Hexmods range in the UK. Designed to be authentic and engaging, children can experiment with different modifications to create a car of their own design. The new collection features two sets: Pro Series Elite and Pro Series Elite Raceway. With the Pro Series Elite set, children can enhance their creativity...
***The above posted after tBR started sending on July 15th)***
UK Hasbro’s Partner Day sees companies honoured at ‘The Oinksters’. Character Options and Wow! Stuff were among those partners presented with Oinksters awards at the annual event, this year themed ‘The Power of Peppa’. Over 200 people attended the event, which was held at The Science Museum in a new meeting space – Illuminate – which boasts spectacular views across London.
This month sees the latest SuperThings rollout and to support the launch, Magic Box Toys has unveiled details of its comprehensive marketing plan designed to drive awareness with fans – both new and existing – and increase sales of the popular collectible brand. The SuperThings Rescue Force comes complete with an array of pocket money collectibles for fans to discover, with 80 plus Rescue Force ...
Melissa & Doug is taking supply chain issues into its own hands. The Connecticut-based toymaker is opening a distribution facility to support its growth and continue the company’s effort to be more environmentally friendly. The 500,000 square-foot space, which is expected to expand even further to 750,000 square feet by 2026, is located near the New Jersey Turnpike in New Jersey.
Wild Republic is pleased to announce the grand opening of a brand new, immersive showroom in Las Vegas at the World Market Center. The new showroom was designed to emulate an art gallery versus a toy shop, connecting people, the planet, and animals through immersive experiences. The new Wild Republic Showroom will officially open its doors on July 23, 2022, in conjunction with the Last Vegas Market.
Jazwares, a leading global toy company, has unveiled Big Fat Yarn, unique craft kits featuring an innovative new way to knit. Jazwares has also debuted its exciting Fall 2022 lineup which is poised to have the hottest, must-have toys of this upcoming holiday season. Knitting and crafting have recently surged in popularity, and Big Fat Yarn unwraps the trend with do-it-yourself finger knitting kits. With no tools required...
Disney has selected 6 cos. for its annual accelerator, highlighting the co’s keen interest in AR, NFTs and AI characters. The program, which starts this week, will connect executives from the selected tech companies with Disney’s sr leadership team members, who will offer guidance and mentorship. Disney will also explore developing new technologies and storytelling methods with these companies to increase innovation...
Henson, A Kids Company About To Spark Discussion About Tough Issues. The Jim Henson Company has partnered with Oregon’s A Kids Company About to co-produce a new mixed-media series for six to 11s called A Kids Show About. Based on an 80-title book series, the TV show’s 22-minute episodes will feature live-action segments, animation and puppet vignettes.
When fans go to the movies, play a video game, or read a comic book, they often dream of playing the characters they love. Now, Hasbro is looking to bring that dream to market with the help of 3D printing. Hasbro and Somerville startup Formlabs have signed a partnership to use 3D printing technology to manufacture personalized action figures, a product line called the Hasbro Selfie Series.
Asmodee has unveiled a new game in its Ticket to Ride game series, aimed at younger players. Ticket to Ride: Ghost Train is an easy to learn and quick to play game for all the family, in which players collect Parade Float cards to claim routes on the map whilst trying to visit different locations in the hair-raising town. From the Mad Scientist’s Lab to the Gingerbread House and on to the Lonely Barn...
Squaregles, the magnetic construction toy that incorporates building, art, storytelling, racing and more into every magnetic connection is officially available for kids to explore and happily Get Lost in Play! With hours of engagement, learning and development in each playset, Squaregles are specifically designed to be inclusive and enable all children to incorporate other toys into play, while literally building irresistible...
Spin Flip, TCG Toys’ new 360-degree handheld puzzle, is part brain teaser, and part gizmo, fidget and art; spin it, flip it, solve it! A shifting amalgam of mechanics and gadgetry, this 2-sided “puzzle-vation” is set to fascinate and inspire adventurous puzzlers to solve it. Spin Flip arrives on shelves this Fall. “There is nothing quite like trying to solve a puzzle that fits in the palm of your hands,” said Michael Albert, CEO, TCG Toys.
MGA Entertainment has been named as a finalist in the Licensing Awards UK 2022. Sponsored by Licensing Source Book Europe, the awards have become an endorsement for excellence, with award categories covering all aspects of the UK licensing industry. MGA was named a Licensing Awards UK 2022 finalist in the following categories: · L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Range for George@Asda from Somerbond in the Best Licensed...
The LEGO Group has previously halted shipments to Russia but has now "indefinitely ceased commercial operations in Russia." The LEGO Group is the latest to stop sales in Russia. This halt comes after the company paused shipments to Russia in March. The world’s largest toy maker follows a slew of companies like Starbucks, Adidas, McDonalds, and many more.
Kangaru Brands announces a program of licensed scented stationery, activity kits, art supplies, and more for retailers and fans to enjoy in partnership with Cloudco Entertainment-owned, Care Bears property. The lines include a large variety of colorful and playful items that reflect the beloved brand’s nearly 40-year history.
The Pokémon Company International has announced the initial development of a new unscripted series involving the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) and the opening of a casting call for fans of all ages and interests in the best-selling TCG. Casting for the series will be focused on fans located in the Los Angeles, California area, and those interested in applying can visit the casting agency website.
Just Play announces the release of the all-new fashion doll line, Art Squad. The collection includes four 10-inch-tall Art Squad Dolls that each feature a unique fashion and art activity including painting, etching, beading, and stenciling. With the included arts & crafts supplies, DIY activities, and color-in clothing and accessories, Art Squad Dolls provides a canvas for kids to express their creativity and self-expression.
Hamleys has announced a its ‘Summer of Imagination’ campaign, with experiences and special guests in-store to keep kids (and grown-ups) busy all summer long. Hamleys stores across the country have welcomed pre-historic dinosaurs and space rangers as they become Team Dino and Team Space, further celebrating the blockbuster releases Jurassic World Dominion and Lightyear.
This autumn, University Games is set to launch 5-Letter Wordlet, a confounding new word strategy board game. 5-Letter Wordlet will see the hugely popular single-player online trend brought into the home and enjoyed competitively with family and friends on games nights. The new multi-player game offers all the fun and puzzling challenge of popular word guessing games with the additional benefits of face to face...
Following the tragic mass shooting in Highland Park, IL on July 4, a family of local toy cos. is pledging support. Vernon Hills, IL-based Learning Resources, hand2mind, and Educational Insights have donated $10,000 to the HP Community Foundation in support of its efforts to provide aid to those directly impacted by the tragedy. Additionally, the family of cos is donating a host of social-emotional learning...
Holotoyz, which makes stickers, books and decals that come to life through the magic of Augmented Reality (AR), has raised €1m in funding. The company’s co-founders, the husband-and-wife team Declan Fahy and Kate Scott, say the money will be used to create jobs and fuel its expansion into new global markets.
The Resurgence of American Girl Doll-Core. Millennials and Gen Z women who have grown out of their doll phase have found community in the meme pages taking over Instagram and Twitter. The dolls have become a rallying cry, both for the nostalgia of our childhoods and as a protest against the series of unfortunate historical events we’ve been living through.
Fisher-Price Joins Barbie, MEGA, and Matchbox in Mattel PlayBack, a Toy Takeback Program Designed to Recover and Reuse Materials in Mattel Toys. The new program is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys in future Mattel products, keep materials out of landfills, and supports the co.’s goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials in its products and packaging by 2030.
Spin Master has revealed its 2022 portfolio, featuring new intellectual property, expansions within popular evergreen brands and licensed characters and experiences. "At Spin Master, we're relentless in our pursuit to reimagine where imagination can take us," says Chris Beardall, president, toys and chief commercial officer, Spin Master. "Our deep understanding of play allows us to identify emerging trends...
Black-Owned Toy Start-Up (Purpose Toys) Unveiled New Naturalistas Pixie Puff Collection, The First Coily "4C-Textured" Natural Hair Fashion Doll Line on National CROWN Day. CROWN Day is holiday that celebrates the first signing of the CROWN Act into legislation in California, on July 3, 2019. The CROWN Act is legislation aimed to outlaw Natural-Hair discrimination in schools and the workplace.
Kids down under can now catch up on current affairs in a localized version of kid-first news show Nick News. Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand has launched the format, featuring a kid-friendly overview of global news stories including updates on sports, celebrities, TikTok trends and toys. Segments will be broadcast at regular intervals throughout the week on Nick feeds in both regions, as well as on Aussie...
Keymaster unveils 'Parks: Wildlife'. Keymaster unveiled Parks: Wildlife, a new expansion for the Parks board game, which will ship in the first week of August 2022. This new expansion adds New River Gorge to the list of national parks available to roam through. It also adds new gear, new sites, and wildlife to view along the trail. In this expansion, the new park cards require wildlife to visit, and it comes with a Barry the Bison...
Asmodee will release 'K3' into U.S. retail. Asmodee will release K3, a new cube-stacking game by Helvetiq, into U.S. retail on August 12, 2022. This new strategy game is based on the concept of ascending K3, also called Broad Peak, one of the hardest mountains to climb. Players must plan their ascent, then organize their tokens to form a pyramid. On their turns, players either place a token on the pyramid or pass.
Asmodee . 'Recto Verso'. Asmodee will release Recto Verso, a new building game by Tiki Editions and Super Meeple, into retail on August 19, 2022. In Recto Verso, players try to create skylines with only one point of view of a challenge card. The other point of view from the challenge card comes from the other player or team of players on the opposite side of the table.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
PlayVital has announced that its extensive line of premium products is now available for gamers around the world that seek the best video game accessories to improve their gaming life. Gaming is not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle. With a wide range of options for Nintendo Switch, PS5/PS4, Xbox and Steam Deck, PlayVital is poised to be a major force in the gaming industry.
***The above posted after July 15th***
Nintendo issues heat advisory for Switch users as blistering temperatures loom. Nintendo is warning Switch owners to not use the console in extreme temperatures, indicating that playing the device in an environment of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher may cause the device to shut off. This warning (first spotted by Nintendo Life) was issued on Nintendo's Japanese-language customer service account, and...
Unity is merging with IronSource to help devs with monetization. Unity has struck a merger agreement with app monetization platform IronSource in a deal that values the company at $4.4 billion. The engine maker has agreed to an all-stock transaction that represents a 74 percent premium on the 30-day average exchange rate. The Unity board has also authorized a share buyback program of up to $2.5 billion...
Israeli digital gaming revenue valued at $8.6bn during 2021. Yesterday Israeli Game Developers Association, GamesIS released its 2021 Digital Gaming Industry report in collaboration with consulting firm Deloitte, which said that the Israeli digital game market is valued at $8.6 billion. The country also made up 5% of 2021's total revenue generated by the global video game market.
The video game prescribed by doctors to treat ADHD. While many parents worry that their children spend too much time playing computer games, Kelcey Sihanourath is pleased to see her son Owain pick up his tablet. Now aged 13, he was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in pre-school. Since then, the family, who live in the US city of Savannah, Georgia, have taken Owain to see...
Safety and Counterfeiting
What is the world’s most dangerous toy? Probably the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab Kit, which included three sources of radiation and four uranium ores that are also radioactive. The kit, which first went on sale in 1950, came with an instruction booklet, a pamphlet on how to prospect uranium, and various tools that enabled children to dive deep into the world of atomic chemistry. Voula Saridakis, a curator at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, explains the fascinating history of this rare toy.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Now entering its 15th year, the TAGIE Awards, presented by People of Play (POP), will once again honor the best and brightest innovators, designers, retailers, suppliers and marketers in the toy and game industry in 2022. Each year, the TAGIEs bring together the many communities that make up the larger industry of play, including professionals and fans from all over the world.
SPIELWARENMESSE TAPS TOY BOOK EDITOR-IN-CHIEF MADDIE MICHALIK TO ITS TREND COMMITTEE. The international toy fair relies on the expertise of its TrendCommittee, a team that works together to find and identify relevant trend developments at their early stages. This international team is made up of market researchers, trend scouts, and journalists, and works to discover future-oriented trends...
The BlogOn Toys Awards are back again for the sixth time, and are joining forces with Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide on the official Demo Zone. Running since 2017, the BlogOn Toy Awards are an ideal way for toy and game companies, be they big or small, to connect to UK-based influencers whilst raising product awareness within the media.
Following a two-year, digital detour to become “Sweet Suite @ Home,” the Toy Insider‘s Sweet Suite event returned to its original, live format last week. The legendary toy party thrown by the Toy Insider (like the Toy Book, published by Adventure Media & Events) welcomed top-tier press, media personalities, and digital influencers — including Instagram stars, TikTokers, and YouTube creators — for an epic night...
Hasbro Pulse Con 2022 will take place Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 in a virtual format. Other than the dates, nothing more has been revealed about the now-annual event, its programming, or its product offerings. On Hasbro‘s second quarter earnings call this week, the company revealed that its direct-to-consumer (D2C) business via Hasbro Pulse has grown more than 60% this year and has been positioned to be an important part...
Announcing The 2022 Kidscreen Awards Winners! After dominating the shortlist with 20 nominated entries, Netflix took home the lion's share of trophies...and its preschool show Trash Truck scored the most wins by a single title. Animated preschool series Trash Truck (pictured) from Glen Keane Productions earned four trophies for the SVOD, making it the winningest show at the 13th-annual event.
Entries are now open for Brand Licensing Europe’s Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition, which boosts the profile of new brands, illustrators, inventors and product designers and helps them to successfully break into the $300b global licensing market. Entrants are invited to enter one of three categories.
Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China will welcome more than 1,000 exhibitors to the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, August 5-7, 2022. Although the trio has pushed this specific convention back several times due to spikes in COVID-19 cases, they are set to hold the event in August and utilize online programming to make it as accessible as possible.
Europe’s leading event for licensing and brand extension, Brand Licensing Europe, has revealed a vibrant and inspiring yet practical content programme. There's something for everyone, with the line-up having been developed to further attendee knowledge about the opportunity that brand licensing presents.
The Spiel des Jahres jury has announced its choices, with games from AEG and Pegasus Spiele taking the two top prizes. The prestigious Spiel des Jahres award went to Cascadia by Randy Flinn, published by AEG/Flatout/Kosmos. Other nominees were Scout from Oink Games, and Top Ten by Cocktail Games. The Kennerspiel des Jahres award went to Living Forest by Aske Christiansen, published by Pegasus Spiele.
***The above posted after July 15th***
TTPM's 2023 Spring Showcase Taking Place on March 14th. Mark your calendars - TTPM’s Spring Showcase is March 14, 2023! Join top media and influencers to see the Most Wanted toys just in time for spring and summer!
The Toy Association and Adventure Media & Events announced today a partnership to deliver a one-of-a-kind “play date” in March 2023 that will give media, investors, and the influencer community direct access to the toy companies, brands, and products that will be hot throughout the year, including spring and summer launches and a first look at the hottest toys for the coming holiday season.
Celebrating the year’s finest work in children’s television and digital entertainment, the 14th annual Kidscreen Awards is officially accepting entries. New this year is a Best Podcast category, which is open to both scripted and unscripted series. Podcast entries will be evaluated by a select group of industry execs based on quality of writing, directing, sound production, music and voice talent.
Lego Group teams up with UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 Fan Festival. At the London festival kids can create their own fantastical football teams and have their photo taken with a replica of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 trophy. As part of its national sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament, the Lego Group is bringing Fantastical Football to the London Fan Festival in Trafalgar Square...
Toys R Us Japan has won the prestigious Marketing Initiative of the Year award at the 2022 Retail Asia Awards for its Dream Toy Creator Contest, which was held in Japan last year. “We are honored to be presented with this award,” said Toshihisa Tachihara, of Toys R Us Japan. “The Dream Toys Creator Contest was the first-of-its-kind toy design competition for students held during the Covid-19 pandemic...
Where Bobbleheads Are Born. The Licensing Expo returned in person this year, where characters big and small searched for a match made in consumer heaven. From May 24-26, upward of 10,000 people were in Sin City in search of new partnerships (Las Vegas is, after all, the perfect place to quickly solidify a union), and more creative ways to convince consumers to buy whatever the attendees were selling.
The team at Spielwarenmesse eG swapped its desks and screens for toolboxes and paintbrushes. The international trade fair organizer participated in Corporate Volunteering Day once again in Nuremberg, Germany on July 5. The program invites companies based in Nuremberg to engage in a variety of projects, designed to benefit institutions that may not have the resources to implement these projects themselves.
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.
Alice Bergman, 'Strong and Fierce'. Alice Bergman, an early feminist, civil rights activist, and founder of the iconic Upper West Side toy store, West Side Kids, died peacefully on Saturday morning, her daughter Jennifer Bergman informed the community in an email. The cause was pneumonia. Alice was 86. “Friday, she had a good day,” Jennifer wrote. “She spoke to friends on the phone, spent time with each of us and talked about her goals. Both Les [Jen’s younger sister] and I were by her side when she died. Her body was so fragile, but her mind and spirit were strong and fierce.”
Those words seemed to define Alice Bergman, who arrived on the Upper West Side in 1961. In 1971, she started a handmade toy company, called Toys for All Children, eschewing the then-standard blond, blue-eyed, male-dominated version of reality for a more ethnically diverse, non-sexist one.
“She made an African-American, woman-doctor puppet – in 1971!” Jennifer exulted. “She was way ahead of her time.”
In 1981, she opened West Side Kids.
“I haven’t really changed very much about the store since she retired in 2014,” Jennifer said. And why should she?
It is a beautiful, old space – brightly painted, covered from polished-wood floor to painted-tin ceiling with shelves and stacks of toys and books. (There’s even a copy of the Constitution!)
“My mother’s philosophy about toys was very strong,” Jennifer told WSR in an earlier interview. “Play is a child’s work, and toys are the tools for that work. You need the correct tools to grow into a creative, interesting adult.”
Bruce Reynolds, toy rep in Seattle. (Note from Mary - while at ASTRA I heard that Bruce passed, but I have not been able to find more information. If anyone has more information, please me know. Thank you.)
Penny Sawyer LIEBERMAN, born April 18th, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY, died peacefully in her sleep after a long battle with pancreatic cancer on July 9th, 2022 in New York, NY. Penny is survived by her husband, Jay; her children, Juliet and Matthew Lublin, Erik and Alexis Ekstein, Andrea Lieberman and her husband Vincent Passeri; along with her beloved grandchildren, Jordan, Tyler, Garrett, Evan, Owen, Paloma, Leonardo; and her beloved dog, Bebe. Penny was a toy inventor extraordinaire, responsible for creating Puffy Stickers and The Pillow People, a line of soft pillow dolls developed to help children deal with their fear of the dark. Penny's Linkedin Profile is here.
Public broadcaster NHK reported that Takahashi’s body was found in the sea, about 300 meters off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Province. It reported that he was wearing snorkeling equipment at the time. The body was identified as Takahashi’s on Thursday after the Japan Coast Guard connected it to a white rental car that had been abandoned some 12 kilometers away. The Coast Guard said that Takahashi had traveled to Okinawa alone. His body bore no noticeable sign of injury and an investigation into the cause of his death has now begun. Takahashi’s agency Studio Dice turned the artist’s web page black. READ MORE...
James Light. Hell Let Loose producer James Light has passed away due to complications resulting from cardiac surgery. He was 28.
The Hell Let Loose dev team shared the news on Reddit and said Light is "one of the key reasons" the project has achieved success.
Light began his career in video games in 2018, joining Hell Let Loose publisher Team17's QA department to work on the multiplayer shooter.
He quickly rose through the ranks to eventually become a producer on the project, and is described by his colleagues as someone who possessed an "incredible work ethic, humility, and enduring kindness."
"Despite being extremely effective, he was always the first to champion the efforts of others and bring praise to the team as a whole," wrote Team17 community manager Greg Medlin.
"His achievements -- though quiet -- saw him develop into the role of production assistant, and then several months ago receive his final promotion to the position of producer -- formalizing his role in overseeing the entire PC development side of Hell Let Loose.
"He had more knowledge of the game than perhaps anyone else -- certainly more than me -- having reported and studied thousands of bugs -- knowing every intricacy and nuance across every aspect of the game."
The team said Light made an "indelible impression on the game," before adding that he also "made that same impression on us."
Bob Simpson - Bob was chief executive of Palitoy from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s and was credited with bringing top brands Action Man, Tiny Tears and Star Wars to the company.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Bob Simpson, who was the chief executive at Palitoy during a golden era for the company. Although he was very much a ‘behind the scenes’ director, leaving Harry Trowell and his sales team take a lot of the limelight, he did a great job working with the American owners and helped to bring numerous top brands to the company, including Action Man, Tiny Tears and Star Wars.
The funeral service will be held at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Kirby Muxloe, just outside Leicester on Monday 11th July at 12.30pm. Any former colleagues wishing to attend the service and the wake at the Royal Oak should contact Bobwhitworth@btopenworld.com.
We are grateful to former Palitoy chief designer Bob Brechin for providing the following obituary: READ MORE...
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Q2 Traditional Media Panel
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Dr. Cheryl Robinson - Forbes Contributor, founder, Ready2Roar
Marisa LaScala - Senior Parenting and Relationship Editor, Good Housekeeping
Bridget Carey - Senior Editor, CNET
Ethan Alter - Senior Writer, Yahoo Movies/Yahoo TV
For more information on the event where this panel was aired, visit this page.
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