the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is July 9 - 16, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 

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Happy Friday! ​

Got a minute? Watch our TAGIE Awards sizzle video and count how many people you know. If you’re a Person of Play, you’ll probably recognize them all! Our production team is the absolute best and is already noodling on our next TAGIE show – all we need is the nominees! Nominate somebody or nominate yourself!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

​​

Mary

tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers Answers:  I’m worried about the declining birthrate—what strategies can I employ to grow my business if the toy category declines in the face of low birthrates?

A. While each business can obviously deploy strategies to increase its market share in a declining category, it is also true that a rising tide lifts all boats. In other words, we all have a better chance of success when we are in a category that is growing. What options do we have to grow our toy and game category so we can all thrive?

 

I’d like to point out a very pertinent fact here that is both cause for optimism and gives us some direction on how we can innovate to grow our business and the toy and game category at large: we never outgrow our urge to play!

 

Play is a biological drive that ensures we are learning what we need to survive and thrive. One of the most exciting concepts I’ve come across in my research on evolution and play is “Neoteny.” Neoteny is an evolutionary concept that posits we are designed by nature to retain our childlike traits…and to the extent that we do, we can remain youthful and vital into old age.

 

Childlike traits include playfulness—and all the attributes that make someone playful: openness, curiosity, imagination, aspiration, flexibility, resilience, love, wonder, exploration, etc. I’ve made it my focus to actively nurture and promote my childlike traits because, like everyone, I want to remain youthful and vital into old age. Who wouldn’t want that???  Read More . . . 

NEW! Hidden Role Podcast, The Brains Behind Your Favorite Toys and Games!

tBR People and Company of the Week

In 2020, a meeting of the minds brought David Yakos and Branson Faustini to the same conclusion; they were going to make a podcast. David was 2-time Toy-Inventor-of-the-Year and a lifelong inventor with connections across the industry of play, and Branson was a game designer and media engineer who had dipped his toes into filmmaking.

David and Branson have been developing that podcast for three months. In Hidden Role: The Brains Behind Your Favorite Games, they interview the unsung creators behind toys, games, and all things play. Many podcasts dive into rules and reviews, but Hidden Role wanted the world to hear the struggles and victories that make up these 10-year-long overnight successes. 

Choosing the Guests - "It's not about getting only the most famous or most prestigious people." David said. "We’ve been lucky to hear the stories behind the invention of Nerf & Twister, Bop It, Jenga, Thinking Putty, and from a good handful of industry professionals and inventors, but really, our only qualifier is that the guests have made something to do with play, and that they have a great story to tell. On Hidden Role, everyone's on the same level. You're all heroes to us.”  Read More . . . 

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Activision Blizzard Sued By California For Allegedly Allowing “Frat Boy’ Workplace Culture. A lawsuit claiming Santa Monica, Calif. game manufacturer Activision Blizzard, the makers of Call of Duty, created a workplace environment where sexual harassment and discrimination flourished has been filed after a two-year investigation.

Very Group, formerly Shop Direct, appoints advisory firm as it considers IPO. The Barclay family is said to be mulling an IPO on London Stock Exchange’s junior AIM market for the retail group. A flotation of Very Group would be a logical move following the online shopping boom during the coronavirus pandemic. Full-year results for Very for the 12 months to the end of June 2020 showed revenues of more than £2b...

BYJU makes Epic acquisition. As part of its North American growth strategy, the edtech company acquired the digital reading platform in a US$500-million deal. Indian edtech company BYJU has acquired California-based digital reading platform Epic for US$500 million as part of its global expansion efforts. The acquisition will give BYJU access to Epic’s user base, which include two million teachers and 50 million US kids...

Amazon accused of forcing companies to sell at its price - or 'not at all'. Toy World has been contacted by a small business that says the online retail giant is manipulating prices by deactivating listings for products more expensive than its own. In a letter to the Competition and Market’s Authority, which Toy World has seen, the business complains that Amazon deactivated the listing for one of its toys, which was...

The owner of the most annoying song in the world invests millions in Bitstamp. he South Korean holding company behind the company that launched the Baby Shark-hype a few years ago is mobilizing its highly discreet Belgian subsidiary to invest more than 150 million euros in the popular bitcoin exchange Bitstamp. The well-known children’s song ‘Baby Shark’ and bitcoin have nothing to do with each other.

UK government scraps Tradeshow Access Programme support British SME exporters are reeling after the government cancelled the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) which provides financial support to British SME exporters. For over 30 yrs, the scheme and its predecessors, have provided much needed financial support to SME companies attending major intl trade shows in conjunction with industry trade bodies.

Shipping company introduces new ‘random’ surcharge.  Nick Mowbray, co-founder of Zuru Toy Company, has taken to LinkedIn to expose the latest in a long line of price increases being introduced by shipping companies. The post features an email sent by Hapag Lloyd, informing customers that new charges will be introduced from the middle of next month as a result of “operational challenges along the transport chain.”

(the above posted after July 16th)

Shipping lines attempting to use ‘add-ons’ as bait to secure shipments. Ocean carriers are being accused of using high pressure sales tactics to encourage shippers to purchase extra products, such as customs clearance and insurance, to increase their prospects of shipment. According to a report in The Loadstar, it has seen a message sent to a UK-based shipper by Maersk subsidiary Hamburg Süd which states: “Rates will...

Former Tesco toy sourcing manager jailed in Hong Kong for accepting bribes A former sourcing manager of Tesco, charged with bribery by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for accepting bribes totaling over $615,000 in illegal rebates and loans from a toy supplier for placing orders worth over $20m.

Flipkart: India online retail giant raises $3.6bn in latest funding round. Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has raised another $3.6bn (£2.6bn) ahead of an expected stock market debut. The Walmart-backed company said it will use the money to expand its operations and invest further in its grocery, fashion and delivery service. The latest round of fund-raising increased the firm's value to $37.6bn. 

Australian legislator to propose loot box law. An Australian member of parliament plans to propose a bill to prohibit loot boxes in games for children, as reported by Kotaku. The Classification Amendment (Loot Box) Bill would ban companies in Australia from targeting minors with loot box sales, and is expected to be introduced to Parliament in August. 

South Korea’s container squeeze throws exporters into costly gridlock. BUSAN — Unable to get a slot on a container vessel, Lee Sang-hoon is considering using fishing trawlers docked for repair in the South Korean port of Busan to meet surging export orders for the car engine oil he sells to Russia. “China is the black hole in this shipping crisis, all the carriers are headed there,” said Mr. Lee, owner of Dongkwang...

Mastercard Report: June retail sales rise 11 percent. Retail sales continue to outpace 2020 and 2019 results. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, June 2021 retail sales in the U.S. rose 11 percent over June 2020 and 10.4 percent over June 2019. Last month marked the ninth consecutive month of total retail sales growth, Mastercard reported Friday. E-commerce growth continued to hold steady, up 8.3 percent last month compared to June 2020, and up 95 percent from June 2019. The pandemic caused a sharp shift to spending online.

Epic Games v. Apple is back on in Australia as Apple loses appeal. Following an appeal, Epic Games has been given a green light to continue its lawsuit against iPhone-maker Apple in Australia. It's the latest in an increasingly long-running (and international) battle between Epic Games and Apple that kicked of with a flashy statement from Epic decrying Apple's tight hold on its iOS platform, particularly in regards to how...

36 states take legal aim at Google, argue its Play Store practices violate antitrust law. Attorneys general from 36 states have filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of antitrust behavior through its dealings with Android devices and its own Google Play Store. A lawsuit filed by the group this week (readable here via The Washington Post) argues that, despite its promises to keep Android an open platform...

The company that graded the million-dollar copy of Super Mario 64 has a new owner. Wata Games, the company that graded the recent record-breaking copies of The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 64, has been acquired by Collectors Universe, which grades coins, trading cards, and other collectibles and memorabilia. The purchase signals video games’ growing prominence in the world of collectibles, which has ...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Osmo Releases Study on Post-Pandemic Social Skills . . . . . Top 5 Roleplaying Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Top 10 Hobby Channel Card/Dice Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Top 10 Hobby Channel Board Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Top Collectible Hobby Games - Spring 2021 . . . . . Hobby Game Sales Sprout in Spring 2021

(the above posted after July 16th)

Hobby Game Sales Over $2 Billion in 2020 . . . . . Container ports continue double-digit growth amid supply chain disruptions, NRF says . . . . . Super Mario 64 game sells for record-breaking $1.5m at auction . . . . . UK retail sees best quarter on record as sales surge 13.1 per cent . . . . . China reports June exports surge 32%, import growth slows as rebound from pandemic levels off . . . . . BoE inflation target breached for second consecutive month as CPI rises 2.5% . . . . . Copy that! - UK dress up & role play trends . . . . .  June 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Kids Graphic Novels . . . . . Top 20 Graphic Novels - June 2021

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Space Jam: A New Legacy tops US box office

(the above posted after July 16th)

Twitch and Facebook see an increase of 4% for Q2 . . . . . . Dead Cells mobile reaches over 2m units sold in China . . . . . OnBuy secures £35m in series A funding to fuel global expansion and hit unicorn status . . . . . Spring sees record growth for High Street retail sales . . . . .

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Hasbro, announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2021 earnings conference call on Monday, July 26, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. Certain financial and statistical information included in the webcast, such as information required by Regulation G, will be available at the time of the webcast on Hasbro’s Investor Relations website at https://investor.hasbro.com.

Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results on August 4, 2021. Max Rangel, Global President and Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 5, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET). The call-in numbers for participants are (647) 427-7450 or (888) 231-8191.  

Mattel  today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2021 financial results on Tues, July 27, 2021 at approx 4:05 p.m. ET. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The conference call will be webcast on Mattel's Investor Relations website, https://investors.mattel.com/

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Bo Peep's Skunk Mobile - Remote Control Plushy. A remote control car that drives a feminist angle. Bo Peep in Toy Story 4 is independent, smart, kind and really great fun, so I wanted her to join our 5yo son's toy collection - alongside her awesome Skunk Mobile. However, it doesn't exist as an official merchandise, so I converted it from a standard RC car myself - and along the way found some interesting insights into...

TTPM Unveils 2021 Best of Baby List. The TTPM Editorial Team reviewed hundreds of product entries and is ecstatic to unveil the latest and greatest Baby Gear in this year's Best of Baby List. The list features the best Baby Gear across 13 different categories to educate parents new and old. “After countless hours of rigorous testing and inspection, these are the baby products parents can rely on to raise their baby with care. 

The inside story of how a 'band of misfits' saved Lego. Facing bankruptcy in 2003, the Danish toymaker finally learned to love its adult fans. When executives at toymaker Lego first learned that adults were buying large quantities of their interlocking plastic bricks and getting together to build Lego creations of their own, "they thought it was very strange,” says Paal Smith-Meyer.

Spending more time in nature is crucial to children's health, according to a new study (USA Today)Children, especially those living in big cities, are experiencing less and less time in nature which can lead to a decrease in cognitive development, according to a study published by Nature Sustainability. To test how access to green spaces affected children, researchers analyzed 3,568 students, ranging from ages 9 to 15...

Our 5 Favorite Mystery Box Game Subscriptions. It was about three months into the pandemic lockdown of 2020 when I got a letter meant for Sherlock Holmes. The envelope was addressed to me, but inside was a dispatch from John Watson back in 1914 London, describing a peculiar event that he wanted the famed detective’s help with. The puzzle inside was intriguing, so much so that I spent the next hour-plus trying to...

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1980s. Barbie has always been on top of the latest fashion trends, and the ‘80s were no exception. From big hair to big shoulder pads, Barbie rocked it all. Check out this list of the most iconic Barbie dolls of the decade that truly embody the spirit of the ‘80s. Following the designer jeans craze, Fashion Jeans Barbie of 1981 was the epitome of style with her dark-wash skinny jeans...

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1970s. The ‘70s were a decade of big changes for Barbie, with new faces, hair play features, and, of course, new fashions! I’ve created a list of the most iconic Barbie dolls from the ‘70s you might have heard of — maybe you even own a few! Perhaps the most romantic of the gimmick Barbie dolls, Kissing Barbie from 1979 would pucker up her lips and make a kissing noise when...

Peppa Pig is turning American kids into certified Brits who want mince pies and petrol. California kindergartner Dani stunned her parents in May when she addressed her mom, who said she was going to the eye doctor, in a polished British accent: “Mummy, are you going to the optician?” “And we were like, ‘the what?’ ” says Dani’s father, Matias Cavallin. “That’s like a college-level word,” he says. “At least, I wasn’t using it.”

Toymakers Create Their Dream Projects (but Ask for Money Upfront). Hoping to form stronger bonds with their fans, companies like Hasbro and Mattel are making once-in-a-lifetime toys through crowdfunding and other online strategies. Collectors are opening their wallets to buy exclusive products like a $575 Transformers action figure from Hasbro, a $350 Star Wars gunship from Lego, a $75 Magic 8 Ball from Mattel and...

(the above posted after July 16th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld (UK) - Bung culture …it’s the Friday Blog! I suggested last week that the post-pandemic landscape has become something of a grifter’s paradise. More evidence has emerged this week to support that theory. First up, those pantomime villains at shipping companies have been eliciting more boos after it turns out they have been attempting to coerce companies to buy a range of expensive add-on...

Future AI toys could be smarter than parents, but a lot less protective. The thought of a child’s toy listening in on a family 24/7 is unsettling. While smart toys can be useful, educational tools for kids, they also pose privacy risks which toy makers and privacy experts are still learning how to balance. Smart toys made with artificial intelligence, such as machine-learning capabilities, can collect different forms of data from kids.

First lady Jill Biden is partnering with "Sesame Street" and the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) to help military families discuss race with their children. In a joint statement, "Sesame Street" and the USAA shared their joint partnership by releasing a new collection of resources for military families on the discussion of race and diversity.  These new resources will be a part of "Sesame Street’s" Coming Together initiative for racial literacy. 

Red Dead Redemption research: 'Gamers learn about nature'. Researchers say players of a popular computer game have learned how to identify real wildlife and predict animal behaviour. Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) features simulations of about 200 animal species including deer and birds. On average players were able to identify 10 of 15 animals in a quiz, 3 more than non-players, University of Exeter researchers...

Hake's $3.6M auction shatters house record as company marks its best year since launching in 1967. If records are made to be broken, then Hake’s has clearly mastered the art of an encore performance. The June auction’s top lot was a 1999 Pokémon Shadowless Holographic uncut proof sheet with 99 cards, including seven coveted Charizard cards, which sold for a sensational $234,171.

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Spin Again: Board Games from the Fifties and Sixties. During 1950s and ’60s North America, the popularity of board games grew in lock-step with the proliferation of television sets. In Spin Again: Board Games from the Fifties and Sixties, co-authors Rick Polizzi and Fred Schaefer have compiled a 119-page reference guide on this aspect of pop culture. 

Romper Room Romper Stompers from Hasbro (1970). From 1953 to 1994, the Romper Room children’s television series ran in syndication in the United States and a variety of international markets. As the show grew in popularity, a line of branded toys was produced that complemented on-screen activities. One of the iconic toys produced for the show was Romper Stompers, released by Hasbro in 1970.

11 memorable ‘90s toy commercial jingles. The U.S. toy industry grew from $12 billion in 1990 to $19.6 billion by 2000—and a big part of that record-breaking success had to do with compelling commercials aimed at kids. A 1998 Consumer Reports study estimated that, on average, 30,000 toy-related television ads ran each year. 

Flashback: newly discovered video goes inside Hasbro’s 1987 French Toy Fair presentation. It’s been quite a year for toy history as archival video has surfaced online from the 1980 launch of Kenner’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back toys, a tour of Toys “R” Us circa 1991, and the 1997 launch of Tamagotchi at FAO Schwarz. Now, another video is making the rounds that’s been hiding in the shadows on YouTube...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

A new Star Trek toy line from Playmates Toys is slated for release in 2022. ViacomCBS recently awarded Playmates licensing rights to all Star Trek properties for action figures, vehicles and ships, role play, and more toy categories. The new toy launch will follow the premiere of Star Trek: Prodigy, the first series from the property aimed at younger audiences. Playmates was the master toy licensee for Star Trek from...

PlayMonster has announced the launch of Spirograph Animator under license from Hasbro, which allows creators to spin art to life using light and motion. The Spirograph Animator features gears like the original, but the addition of spinning and lights creates a 3D effect. This deluxe studio set features bonus built-in storage and comes with 6 gears and five markers. “A whole generation of children grew up creating ...

Pocket.watch and Ryan's World collaborate with NASATo promote STEM learning and space exploration, nine-year-old star of Ryan’s World, Ryan Kaji, will interview 2 astronauts currently living and working aboard the Intl Space Station – NASA’s Megan McArthur, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) astronaut, Akihiko Hoshide. 

Nickelodeon preps Baby Shark movie. The kidsnet is developing an animated feature film based on Pinkfong's YouTube hit, and has also greenlit a second season of Baby Shark's Big Show!. The ViacomCBS-owned kidsnet is developing the first-ever Baby Shark animated movie, building on its existing content and global licensing partnership with SmartStudy, the parentco of Baby Shark IP owner Pinkfong.

Interactive murder mystery brand Hunt A Killer signs global publishing deal with ScholasticThe interactive sci-fi, horror murder mystery entertainment co, Hunt A Killer has forged a new global partnership with Scholastic for launch of a series of novels, ebooks, and audio books, featuring all the characteristic clues of the Hunt A Killer games. The first title to hit shelves through the global publishing deal will be Perfect …

(the above posted after July 16th)

Moonbug Entertainment Names WowWee as Master Toy Licensee for ARPO Robot Babysitter. The Amazon Kids+ series ARPO Robot Babysitter doesn’t even premiere until this fall, but its cast of characters is already headed for the toy department. WowWee inked a deal with Moonbug Entertainment to serve as the master toy licensee for the series.

Playmates Toys to Live Long and Prosper with Star Trek License. The toy company has inked a deal with ViacomCBS for the licensing rights to create action figures, vehicles and ships, role-play items, and other toy categories for the Star Trek universe. The new toy line will be available next year following the premiere of Star Trek: Prodigy, a series geared toward a younger audience.

Sybo Games signs deal with Sakar International to expand Subway Surfers range. The agreement will see Sakar International grow its line of wheeled goods across Europe after a successful launch in the US and Canada last year. The global licensing deal, brokered by Retail Monster’s US and UK teams, follows the US team’s North American deal between Sakar and Sybo Games’ SubSurf consumer and lifestyle brand.

Funko and Smiffys among roster of partners for 40th anniversary of Danger Mouse. Funko and Smiffys have joined a line up of premium licensing partners to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Boat Rocker Studios’ iconic animated series, Danger Mouse, with a raft of new launches across the collectables, dress up, and gifting sectors. Licensing partners signed up to mark the milestone anniversary span both the UK and US, 

THE PARTY GAME ‘THINGS…’ IS GETTING A SCHITT’S CREEK MAKEOVER. Okay, no, not an intense game of Celebrity overseen by David in a Rosebud Motel room, but honestly the next best thing. PlayMonster has partnered with ITV Studios for a Schitt’s Creek-inspired version of the popular party game THINGS… (previously known as The Game of Things). Players are given a topic in each round of the game, and everyone...

Playmobil teases major new partnership with classic TV IP The A Team. Playmobil could be igniting the passions of kidult audiences across the UK once again with another heavy dose of nostalgia. And this time it’s taking the form of The A Team. Playmobil UK has teased a new partnership in the retro property space, releasing an 11-second snippet via social media this morning, hinting towards a major new project ...

Jazwares unveils its Dino Ranch toy, plush, playset and vehicle line-up. Jazwares has finally unveiled its highly anticipated Dino Ranch toy line, expanding on the dinosaur themed world of play from the popular animated series which has become the number one preschool show on US cable since it launched in January.Items in the new range from Jazwares will be making their debut at online retailers such as Walmart.com...

KISS signs new licensing, retail partners for world tour. Band releases multiple new licensed products as they return to the stage. KISS and the band’s exclusive global licensing agent, Epic Rights, have signed new licensing agreements in the last year across multiple product categories for key territories worldwide with new products for retail. Products include toys, playing cards, puzzles, and board games. 

LEGO expands Volkswagen partnership to launch LEGO Volkswagen T2 Camper Van. The LEGO Group has struck up a partnership with the German car manufacturer Volkswagen to launch the latest version of the ubiquitous LEGO Volkswagen T2 Camper Van, expanding upon its portfolio of cult vehicle LEGO builds. The new LEGO Volkswagen T2 Camper Van is based on its namesake of the late 1960s and ’70s and ...

Rilakkuma eyes UK toy and gift sectors as plush partner discussions get under way. Discussions are underway with potential licensing partners to bring the popular kawaii-inspired character, Rilakkuma to the plush toy sector, strengthening the character brand within the core gift and toy categories as the IP gathers momentum here in the UK market. Heading up the licensing plans for the IP here in the UK, the Paris...

Moonbug Entertainment, Netflix strike deal for new ‘Cocomelon,’ ‘Little Baby Bum’ contentTwo of the biggest preschool brands on the planet are getting new content on Netflix. Moonbug Entertainment inked a deal with the streaming giant to create new specials, nursery rhyme compilations, and three seasons of CoComelon Lane, featuring all-new adventures starring JJ, the breakout star of CoComelon. 

The Super Mario and Tag Heuer collaboration is a $2,150 Wear OS watch. A few days ago, Tag Heuer posted a teaser for a Super Mario-themed watch. You might have assumed that a Swiss-made mechanical timepiece was in the works, but now the news is out: it’s actually a limited edition version of Tag’s Connected Wear OS smartwatch. 

Mighty Mojo Toys inks deal with The Wiggles for plush, puzzles, and more. Mighty Mojo Toys inked a licensing deal with The Wiggles. Under the new agreement brokered by Playology International, Mighty Mojo will produce a new line of Wiggles plush, puzzles, party kits, and accessories for the North American market. The news comes as The Wiggles celebrates 30 years of providing fun and educational music-based ...

Run-DMC ‘Walk This Way’ into the fisher-price little people lineup. It was 35 years ago this month that the worlds of rap and rock converged with the groundbreaking collaboration between Aerosmith and Run-DMC for an update to the former’s 1975 hit, “Walk This Way.” Now, the iconic rappers from Hollis, Queens are entering into a new collaboration with an unlikely partner: Mattel. 

Talking Tom & Friends lands new 3D CGI series Talking Tom Heroes: Suddenly Super. Things are hotting up for the award-winning family entertainment brand, Talking Tom & Friends thanks to a slew of new licensing deals across the US and a brand new 3D CGI animated series for global distribution. Denoting a step up in its plans for global expansion, the popular Talking Tom IP will be the focus of a new series...

McFarlane Toys teases first Netflix-Based The Witcher action figures. McFarlane Toys acquired the toy rights to the entire The Witcher franchise a while back. So far, however, the company has only put out figures based on the third video game, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Witcher fans have waited to hear news of Netflix series getting toys, and now, it’s finally here. 

HUGE! Play preps Gamebud Talking Tom for Fall. Ahead of Toy Fair New York last year, industry vets Kevin Mowrer, Adrian Roche, and Dave Ciganko launched HUGE! Play alongside a licensing deal to produce new toys based on the Epic Story Media slate. Now, Epic Story Media is ramping up licensing efforts for Outfit7’s Talking Tom & Friends and HUGE! Play is getting ready to unleash the first interactive toy inspired...

Popeye: everyone's favorite sailor man gets a stunning action figure line. Popeye Classics, a new toy line by Boss Fight Studio featuring lovingly crafted figures of the spinach-guzzling sailor and his friends, is now available for pre-order. The figures, which stand between four and six inches depending on the character, include Popeye, his beloved Olive Oyl, arch nemesis Bluto and Olive Oyl's brother Castor Oyl.

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People . . . 

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Hape CEO Peter Handstein to the show. Since its founding in 1986, Hape has become known as a premier designer and manufacturer of high-quality wooden baby and kid’s toys. Handstein delves into his backstory in selling outdoor play equipment for use in kindergartens and the similarities between that business and selling toys to consumers. 

Natasha Crookes to leave the BTHA. Natasha is setting up a PR and Public Affairs consultancy after 19 years with the British Toy and Hobby Association. Natasha joined the BTHA in 2002 as deputy toy fair organiser, taking over the head of Toy Fair position in 2003. She moved on to run the communications and public affairs team in 2007 and has led that work ever since.

Tim Erickson takes over Peanuts. The former DreamWorks and GoldieBlox exec will work with WildBrain, Sony and Charles Schulz's family to develop new licensing and retail opportunities for the brand. Starting on July 26, Erickson will oversee Peanuts Worldwide’s licensing team, working with the company’s three minority owners—WildBrain (41%), the family of brand creator Charles M. Schulz (20%) and Japan’s Sony...

Colleen McCarthy-Evans’s ‘Why Am I’. Longtime Santa Barbara Creative Discusses New Children’s Book and Seven Seas Press. The creative life of Colleen McCarthy-Evans runs from improv theater and charter schools to board games and, most recently, writing and illustrating children’s books. Her latest is Why Am I, a book about big questions illustrated by Sarah Dietz of Germany. The book, which was named the “Book of the...

(the above posted after Bloom Report sent on July 16th)

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Learning Resources‘ Senior Product Manager Michael Blaustein to the show. Blaustein’s career in electronic toys includes experience at Tiger Electronics and VTech prior to joining Learning Resources and helping to launch award-winning products, including Botley the Coding Robot and Coding Critters...

Meet the Filipino artist behind the design of the Naomi Osaka Barbie doll. The lead artist behind all these was Filipino-American designer Carlyle Nuera, who works at Barbie Signature at Mattel. Prior to taking on Naomi Osaka, Nuera has done already done several projects within the company. In an Instagram post, he showed his appreciation for the young tennis icon. "What inspires me most about Naomi is how she....

An interview with Rubik's Cube creator Ernő Rubik. Ernő Rubik is a Hungarian inventor who, as his name suggests, is the brains behind the much loved Rubik's Cube. He created what was then known as the "Magic Cube" in 1974 for his students when he was a professor of design in Budapest.  A head-scratching puzzle loved by people of all ages, this brightly coloured cube has inspired a whole community of Cubers...

In his first interview since taking over kids and family programming for Paramount+, Nickelodeon president and CEO Brian Robbins talks with THR about his strategy for streaming vs. linear, pushing further into features and YA programming (a LeBron James pic) and his former 'Head of the Class' co-star/network hitmaker Dan Schneider: "We are not contemplating working together right now."

An Interview with Hasbro Master Model Artist Tony Collela – Adventures in Collecting. On this episode, Dave and Erik are joined by Hasbro Master Model Artist Tony Collela! Hear what it's like to work on lines such as Marvel Legends, GI Joe Classified, Power Rangers Lightning Collection, Ghostbusters, and Fortnite, as well as about Tony's 16 years of industry experience!

Hasbro promotes Kim Boyd to Head of Global Brands and Consumer InnovationHasbro has promoted its senior vice president and general manager of global brands, Kim Boyd to the role of head of global brands and consumer innovation within its newly created Global Consumer Innovation Organisation. In her new role, Boyd will be responsible for driving Hasbro’s brands cohesively, consistently, and globally with…

MGA Entertainment appoints Julie Taylor as sales director.  Julie is joining MGA from Golden Bear, where she held a similar role for nearly 15 years.  Having previously held a similar role at Golden Bear for almost 15 years, Julie will join MGA in autumn, equipped with a wealth of success and experience in the industry.

Netflix hires former EA, Facebook exec to launch its own game division. Bloomberg News is reporting that Netflix has hired former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive Mike Verdu to lead the company’s gaming division. This news follows some rumors back in May that indicated Netflix was looking for a key executive hire to launch an Apple Arcade-like bundle of games. Verdu previously worked at Facebook...

DKB Toys appoints former WHSmith Travel buyer, George Stone to its UK buying team. DKB Toys has responded to the recent acct growth and new client acquisitions with the appointment of George Stone to the UK buying team. Previously a toys and games and soft toys asst buyer for WHSmith Travel, Stone joins the company as a junior buyer with two years’ experience in developing and establishing working...

Book of Beasties taps education sector for new CEO and head of sales as it eyes UK growthThe children’s mental health and wellness game company, Book of Beasties, has appointed a new CEO and head of sales as the team eyes UK growth and new avenues for product development. Former teacher, economist, and education adviser, Oisin Bishenden has taken over the reins of the award-winning children’s ...

Golden Bear makes raft of staff changes as it prepares for continued global growth. The British toy company has detailed a raft of staff changes as it prepares for continued global growth this year and beyond. The firm will be welcoming Becky Matthews to the newly created role of UK sales and marketing director. Matthews has been a senior national account manager in the business and will combine this with …

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Companies, Brands . . .

Imprint Entertainment launches kids division. Maryann Garger and Michael Becker will head up Imprint Family Entertainment and create films, TV series and podcasts, starting with Groove Tails.  It’s a shift for the LA-based studio, which has focused on decidedly more adult fare to date, including Nicholas Cage starrer Primal, horror film Zombie Tidal Wave and the marijuana-centric Kid Cannabis. 

BYJU’S Learning App Launches in U.S. Powered by Osmo. After finding success in India, BYJU’S is expanding globally to provide more technology-based education experiences. Through a new partnership, BYJU’S is powered by Osmo Technology and launches in the U.S. with content from Disney.

Hasbro, Super7 Collaborate for G.I. Joe ReAction, Ultimates! Lines. The ongoing resurgence of Hasbro‘s G.I. Joe brand has reached a new level. In one of the worst-kept secrets of recent months thanks to some retail listings that leaked earlier this year, Hasbro and Super7 are collaborating on two new lines of products inspired by the 1980s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series and toy line.

Bonkers Toys Gets Into the Game with YouTube Gaming Star Aphmau. Following its successful toy lines with YouTube stars, including Ryan’s World and FGTeeV, Bonkers Toys is getting into the game with another top YouTuber: Aphmau. Over the past few years, Aphmau aka Jessica Bravura has amassed more than 8 billion lifetime views on a Minecraft-heavy channel boasting more than 10 million subscribers.

Mattel Creations Expands for SDCC Exclusives, Direct-to-Consumer Offerings. In the absence of a traditional Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) for the second year in a row, Mattel is expanding its own direct-to-consumer platform to connect with toy fans. Beginning today, Mattel Creations will be the exclusive destination for a host of products spanning numerous pop culture licenses across several of Mattel’s brands.

Hamleys invites kids to go for gold at summer long sports day. Fun and games will be taking place at the Regents Street branch this summer as well as nationwide in all Hamleys stores until September. Most pandemic restrictions in the UK are now being lifted, however the end of the summer school term has still been affected with many sports days being cancelled, meaning no egg and spoon, bean bag balancing or the...

Zapf launches Baby born Surprise Mini BabiesThe adorable new 6cm Mini Babies collection sees the brand entering an exciting phase in its collectibles journey.  New to the Baby born Surprise Mini Babies range is the multiple character surprise reveal, with bundles including either a set of twins or triplets. There are nine food and garden themed sets to collect, with tiny new friends including Garden Peas, Banana Peels, Cheeky...

Jazwares’ Dino Ranch toy line, based on Boat Rocker Studios’ franchise of the same name,  will hit retail this fall. Products will be available via online retailers Walmart.com, Target.com, and Amazon, and in-store at other retailers including Kohl’s. Fans can choose from plush, assorted figures, feature vehicles, and playsets. “We’re thrilled to bring the world of Dino Ranch to preschoolers, and the entire team at Jazwares...

Big G Creative has a ghostly new murder mystery game, out now. You’ve Been Ghosted, available exclusively at Target, is a “whodunnit” that challenges three to six players, ages 10 and older, to solve their own murder from beyond the grave. They’ll need to figure out which suspect is guilty, what weapon they used, and their motive — the first to solve the mystery wins. The murder mystery game introduces 12 characters...

Spin Master Looks to Recruit Talent to Games Pod. Spin Master is looking to recruit board game and puzzle enthusiasts for its new games pod, hoping to reach prospective applicants with the launch of a new meme campaign. Calling all board game fans: Spin Master is recruiting for its new games pod, with the help of a meme campaign. Created to support marketing for Spin Master’s games and puzzles division, the games pod...

Netflix bets on animated movies, games for growth. While the SVOD giant's subscriber growth has slowed, The Mitchells vs. the Machines was a bright spot in Q2, and the streamer confirmed plans to get into games. Following a pandemic-driven bump in 2020, Netflix’s growth appears to be slowing. It added just 1.5 million new subscribers globally in Q2 2021—a far cry from the 10.1 million users that signed up in the same ...

Spirit Untamed toys arrive at retail as film hits cinemas. Global master toy licensee Mattel is building on the equine adventure with a broad range of horses, character dolls and play sets. The next chapter of DreamWorks Animation’s high-stakes adventure about a fearless girl and her beloved wild Mustang, Spirit Untamed is now hitting the big screen, with the movie enjoying a star-studded opening in the UK as celebrities ...

YWow collaborates with Hasbro for new range of Mini Puzzles.  YWow Brands, a fast growing toy company specialising in novelty puzzles and games, has recently collaborated with Hasbro to develop an assortment of five different collectible Mini Puzzles based on popular Hasbro gaming titles: Monopoly, Monopoly Junior, Cluedo, Operation and Trivial Pursuit. Each puzzle resembles a miniature version of the games, allowing...

Learning Resources and The Creation Station open Playfoam workshops. The #SummerofPlayfoam activity sessions will run across the UK as part of Learning Resources' wider Summer of Play campaign. The workshops, which will run from 24th to 31st July, will involve hands-on play and activities using the multi-sensory reusable compound that never dries out.

Hornby announces #HornbyHoliday Summertime Layout ChallengeModel railway enthusiasts are invited to create a summertime themed layout for the chance to win £1000 worth of prizes. Entrants must register to participate in the challenge by Sunday 25th July, and by 9th August must provide images (plus videos if wished) of the layout base, featuring the track and ground level scenic.

The Entertainer & Mattel launch The Summer Games campaignThe Entertainer is launching an engaging campaign spanning stores and online, highlighting Mattel's games range as the perfect family entertainment. The new campaign, The Summer Games, taps into the summer of sport consumers are enjoying and encourages the ‘athletes’ in each family or friendship group to battle it out over the likes of Uno, Scrabble...

Winners crowned for PlayMonster UK's My Living World Design a Bug Competition. Primary school students designed bugs for the My Living World campaign, as over 230 schools received free Ant World and Worm World sets with STEM Learning Packs. The competition was very popular, with over 800 students entering their bug designs.

(the above posted after July 16th)

Disney moving 2,000 jobs from Southern California to new Florida campus. The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it planned to build a new regional campus in central FL to house at least 2,000 professional employees who will be relocating from So. CA to work in digital technology, finance and product development. The new Disney DIS, +0.40% campus will be located about 20 miles to the east of Disney World, in a ...

The Entertainer urges consumers to get their Christmas shopping early. With shipping from China reaching a crisis point that has seen costs skyrocket to all time highs amid a shortage of containers within the global supply chain, the UK’s independent toy retailer, The Entertainer is making its message to the consumer clear. Costs, shortages, and delays have hamstrung companies across the industries worldwide in recent 

Mattel wants to be like Marvel: Barbie is his strong card to star in movies. For 62 years, Barbie has been the hardest-working woman in the toy aisle, thanks to her endless variety of outfits and accessories; lately, even his complexion and skin color have changed as he moves from one profession to another. Astrophysicist Barbie. The dancing Barbie. Farmer Barbie. Firefighter Barbie.

Nickelodeon lines up trio of movies  SpringHill and Genius Entertainment are producing Fantasy Football, while Nick and Awesomeness adapt Hush Hush and prep a Blue's Clues movie. To kick things off, Nick and Awesomeness Films are planning to start production on an original live-action feature film called Fantasy Football in early 2022. 

Basic Fun’s Tiny TV Classics Are a Boxy Blast from the Past, in Collectible Form. The days of the CRT TV are lost upon the younger generations, but they’re making their way back into kids’ and adults’ collectible cases through Tiny TVs from Basic Fun! The 1.5-by-3 inch, Tiny TVs are real-working sets that feature famous scenes and quotes from iconic shows and movies.

Mattel makes its toys more diverse, launches new Naomi Osaka Barbie dolls. Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka now has her own line of Barbie dolls. The 23-year-old world No. 2 tennis player, who has used her position to call attention to issues of police violence and racial inequality, became a part of Mattel's push to make its iconic toy line more diverse with dolls based on different role models and professions.

Moose Toys introduces Scruff-a-Luv Cutie Cuts. The plush pets can be given a full salon make-over, including being shaved and trimmed with a kid-safe accessory that works and feels like real clippers. The new Scruff-a-Luvs Cutie Cuts is said to be a first-of-its-kind plush and gives kids the fun experience of pretending to be a real dog groomer. 

Just Play - going solo. Independent US toy company Just Play has announced the creation of its 1st European subsidiary, which will open officially on 1st Jan 2022. Toy World met with David Allmark, executive advisor, and Anna Chapman, VP marketing EMEA at Just Play’s stunning new office in Henley on Thames, to find out why the timing is right for this step and how the European business strategy is set to extend the US success.

Safari Ltd. announced plans July 9 to open its first retail store, ToyTopia, in St. Johns County. The Nocatee Town Center store is planned to open in January, but that could be moved up in time for the holiday season. The store will encourage children to explore and interact with toys off the shelves. Nocatee residents Alexandre Pariente, CEO, and Christina Pariente lead Safari Programs, which operates Safari Ltd.  

MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! joins VeVe’s NFT platform. Yesterday, in celebration of L.O.L. Day (7.07 upside down), MGA Entertainment (MGAE) and VeVe revealed plans for a series of collectible NFTs inspired by the L.O.L. Surprise! brand. New Zealand-based VeVe mints digital collectibles on the blockchain, which allows for “an immutable record of authentication.”

Capstone Games will release 'Lux Aeterna'. Capstone Games will release Lux Aeterna, a new single player card game by Tony Boydell, in October. The player's spaceship is stuck in the gravitational pull of a black hole and they have to repair the damage to the ship's systems. The goal of the game is to draw and play all of the cards in the main deck without the ship collapsing or descending into the black hole.

Smart Toys and Games to distribute Whiz Kid Games’ Go Genius board games to the UK and Ireland. Smart Toys and Games has signed an exclusive agreement with Whiz Kid Games to launch its new Go Genius to the UK and Ireland this autumn. The new range aims to combine fun and learning through board games with a sustainable drive delivered through each game’s design. 

Renegade Game Studios and Oni Games announce 'The Three Little Wolves'. Renegade Game Studios and Oni Games announced The Three Little Wolves, a family game designed by Poki Chen and Smoox Chen, which will release in October. In The Three Little Wolves, is a reimagined fairy tale where the Big Bad Pigs tries to destroy the Little Wolves houses.

Spin Master’s PAW Patrol: The Movie toy collection is PAWsome! Spin Master Corp., creators of PAW Patrol, is set to debut a PAW-dropping toy collection for the upcoming feature film PAW Patrol: The Movie, a Spin Master Entertainment production in association with Nickelodeon Movies and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Fans can experience the larger-than-life story for the first time ever on the big screen August 20, 2021...

Engage in a duel of spies in 'Kompromat'. Asmodee USA will release Kompromat, a espionage card game by Helvetiq, into retail on August 20. In Kompromat, players take on the roles of rival spies trying to either release compromising material or suppress compromising material about a public figure. It is a strategic card game where players play several hands of blackjack simultaneously in an attempt to push their luck. 

ZURU extends Rainbocorns line with three new series. Three new characters are set to joint the Rainbocorns surprise unboxing egg brand from ZURU. Rainbocorns Puppycorn Surprise and Rainbocorn Fairycorn Surprise, both arrive in stores across the country in July, followed by Rainbocorns Jelly Shake Surprise in August. Puppycorn Surprise comes in a bright teal reusable egg sporting puppy ears, with a puppy-focused...

Funko announces expansion of Snapsies toys with Series 2 and seasonal Snapsies GEMS. Funko has announced two new expansions of tts Snapsies Mix and Match Surprise line, including some that will only be available during certain seasons. SuperParent has been given an exclusive look at some of the new toys and have plenty of first-look pictures to share! Series 2 of the "snap-and-match" Snapsies toys will feature ...

Mattel reveals first look at ‘Barbie: Big City Big Dreams’. A new Barbie adventure is coming to Netflix this fall. Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams is the latest expansion into the Barbie universe, and it’s set in the heart of New York City. Everyone’s favorite blonde icon, Barbie Roberts, travels from the West Coast to East Coast to pursue her dreams of music at Handler School for Performing Arts in the big city. 

Capstone Games announces 'Imperial Steam'. Capstone Games announced Imperial Steam, a railway-building game by Alexander Huemer, for release in October. In Imperial Steam, players tackle the economics and logistics of building an Industrial Age railway network. The goal of the game is for players to expand their network as much as they can. 

Leder Games reveals 'Fort: Cats & Dogs Expansion'. Leder Games revealed Fort: Cats & Dogs Expansion for release into retail in October. This new expansion to Fort (see "Build the Coolest 'Fort' on the Block") includes two modules that add Dogs and Cats to the mix. Dogs can be loyal companions, but they get distracted and run away if they are neglected. Cats move around and perform actions at specific times.

Speculate on Civil War bonds in 'Profiteers'. Stronghold Games will release Profiteers, a new historical board game, on July 28. In Profiteers, players assume the roles of British arms manufacturers that are trying to gain gold and bonds, which change in value depending on who is winning the American Civil War. They can invest money in arms factories to gain influence over the war, speculate, or buy up businesses that profit...

Battle through Middle-Earth's 'Spreading War Expansion'. Fantasy Flight Games revealed Spreading War Expansion, for LotR: Journeys in Middle-earth, which will release into retail in Q3. The shadow of war plagues Middle-earth in this new expansion. It contains new heroes, enemies, journey map tiles, terrain, and items to add to their campaigns. 

Asmodee USA reveals 'Winston'. Asmodee USA revealed Winston, a dachshund collecting card game by Helvetiq, for release into retail on August 20. In Winston, players try to collect the longest dachshunds that they can make. They play at least two cards each turn in an attempt to complete different-colored dogs. Longer dachshunds score more points, but players have to also try to avoid ending up with dog poo!..

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Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

The updated Xbox Family Settings app will let parents set spending limits. Microsoft has added new features to the Xbox Family Settings app to give parents the ability to more closely manage how their children interact with games. One of the new tools will allow parents to set spending limits to manage how much their kids can spend on software, apps, and in-game purchases like skins. 

Google is introducing 'play as you download' games with Android 12. Google is rolling out 'play as you download' games with Android 12 so users can start playing almost twice as fast as before. The company said the feature will allow people to "get into gameplay in seconds while game assets are downloaded in the background."Google claims 'play as you download' titles will help developers achieve go-to-market success,...

Google slashes Stadia’s revenue share to try to attract developersGoogle is revising how much of a cut it takes from Stadia games in a bid to try to attract more developers. Starting on October 1st, Google will take 15 percent of sales up to $3 million through the end of 2023. With the change, Google seems to be trying to make its cloud gaming platform a more enticing option for developers — a proposition that...

Respawn says Apex Legends and Titanfall hackers are hampering developmentApex Legends and Titanfall hackers are forcing Respawn to divert attention away from upcoming features like cross-progression. As spotted by Eurogamer, Apex Legends game director Chad Grenier explained that recent hacks, including one that essentially nuked matchmaking for a huge chunk of players (including this writer)...

SecretLab’s Titan Evo chair claims to offer more comfort, features, and magnets. SecretLab’s new line of 2022 gaming chairs have a renewed focus on packing in more features without significantly boosting the price. It’s also making it easier to decide which one to buy. Instead of offering both the Titan and Omega chairs, it’s cramming the best aspects of each into a single model called the Titan Evo.

Roblox partners with Sony Music to fill the metaverse with musiciansRoblox has signed a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment to bring more musicians into the metaverse. The agreement will see Roblox and Sony Music work together to "develop innovative music experiences" for the Roblox community with a view to helping Sony Music artists to reach new audiences and tap into additional revenue... 

Ubisoft worried 'inappropriate' behavior could hurt staff hiring and retention. Ubisoft has indicated the "occurrence of inappropriate behaviour by employees" has become a very real risk to the company. As spotted by Axios, the French publisher added the risk factor to its recently published universal registration document, and noted it could also affect its ability to attract and retain talent. 

How Tencent’s sweeping new facial scans will catch Chinese kids playing past curfewTencent, the biggest game company in the world, is rolling out facial recognition technology that will likely scan many gamers’ faces every single evening, aiming to catch minors breaking a gaming curfew and help prevent video game addiction (via Gizmodo). That’s a lot of controversial concepts in one sentence, no? 

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Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

FTC Cracks Down on False “Made in USA” Claims. The FTC issued a new rule this month to deter what the organization is calling “rampant Made in USA fraud.” The move comes amid countless products with dubious Made in USA markings being targeted toward consumers through social advertising or via product tags on goods sold at brick and mortar retailers. The new rule is a codification of previous guidance....

(the above posted after July 16th)

Amazon faces lawsuit to remove thousands of potentially deadly products. A lawsuit filed against Amazon by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has been billed as a ‘huge step forward’ in the fight to force the online giant to accept responsibility for the removal of dangerous items being sold online. An administrative complaint has been brought against Amazon by the CPSC that aims to force 

Hazardous goods found for sale after consumer protection inspectors were pulled from ports during COVID-19The government’s consumer watchdog agency has discovered widely ranging hazards among toys and other products now for sale after it secretly stopped routine inspections of imports during the pandemic. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission still has not answered basic questions...

Plastic toys can contain 100+ harmful chemicals, study finds. Scientists are warning for parents there may be dozens of potentially harmful chemicals in your children's toys. New research says more than 100 chemicals found in various toys could pose a threat. They hope this latest study will lead to more regulation on chemicals used in plastic children's toys. 

Gun resembling LEGO toy sparks backlash in USA US gun company is facing a backlash for producing a pistol that looks like a children's toy made of Lego. Culper Precision said its customised Glock weapon, named Block19, was developed to "highlight the pure enjoyment of the shooting sports". But Danish toymaker LEGO has written to the company demanding that it stop producing the weapon, ...

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

RAINY DAY? HOORAY! KIDS CAN’T WAIT TO BUILD AND PLAY INSIDE INCREDIBLE CARDBOARD FORTS & MAZES. Make-A-Fort Build Kits Are Durable and Reusable For Kids Of All Ages. They Really Do Stand Up To Playtime (And Spare The Couch Cushions!). Andover, Kansas (July 16, 2021) – Raise your hand if you’ve ever positioned the couch pillows on the floor to become walls topped by a roof of blankets. Suddenly there’s a secret entrance to crawl through. There’s something magical about an indoor fort that brings joy to every child. Take that thought and ratchet it up a notch with Make-A-Fort Kits available at https://www.makeafort.fun.

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

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

The second-largest toy market in the world is primed for expansion and Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China, and Licensing China are making plans to help companies better connect with families next year. The 3 concurrent trade fairs will return to the Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center from March 30 to April 1, 2022. According to Research & Markets, China’s toy industry is set to become a $61.3 billion...

MIPCOM and MIPJunior to be consolidated. The merged market will take place from October 11 to 14, with the MIPJunior Screenings integrated into the event's digital platform. Rather than running as a standalone event the weekend before MIPCOM, MIPJunior 2021 will be presented as part of the broader MIPCOM event running from October 11 to 14. And participation in the kid-focused market won’t require additional...

Hasbro, The Entertainer and The LEGO Group make The Licensing Awards 2021 list of finalistsMaking a return to its physical format this year, the Licensing Awards will be celebrating the best in collaborations across the categories, from Best Licensed Live Event and Best Licensed Toys 

Mattel’s Richard Dickson and Roz Nowicki to deliver keynote at Licensing Expo Virtual. Mattel’s president and COO, Richard Dickson and the firm’s head of global consumer products and franchise marketing, Roz Nowicki will be taking to the stage at the upcoming Licensing Expo Virtual next month, when the pair deliver the online conference’s Day Three Keynote address. In a fireside chat titled Mattel and Living its Brand Purpose, 

Daytime Emmys Awards success for Hilda and Paddington. This year’s Daytime Emmys saw more than 3,100 submissions contest the awards, judged by professionals from across the television industry. The ceremony was live-streamed on the Emmy OTT platform powered by Vimeo, with more than thirty categories celebrated on the telecast and on social media. The ceremony was hosted by singer, songwriter, director ...

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) revealed today that they will return to San Francisco in 2022 with an in-person event. As we know, the 2021 conference kicked off today and will be running entirely online for the next few days presenting a ton of information and presentations across multiple facets of gaming. However, like a lot of conferences, this is usually being held in person. That in-person vibe...

Spielwarenmesse sponsors the European sustainable toys conference bio!Toy 2021. Spielwarenmesse is showing its support of the sustainability movement sweeping the toy industry and beyond, having signed as a major sponsor of the second annual bio!Toy Conference taking place in Germany this September. Held in Nuremberg, bio!Toy is a European event centered on the use of sustainable plastics within toy design…

The 2021 winners of the German Game design awards were unveiled in the categories of Game of the Year, Enthusiast Game of the Year,  and Children's Game of the Year. This year's nominees were released to the public in May. Spiel des Jahres or Game of the Year was bestowed upon Johannes Sich's MicroMacro: Crime City published by Edition Spielwiese , and brought to the U.S. by Pegasus Spiele...

Social issue shows win big at Daytime Emmys. Shows like The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special and Girl's Voices Now picked up some hardware, but Netflix scored the most wins in the kids categories. Sesame Workshop’s The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special (pictured), about standing up to racism, won two awards, including Outstanding Preschool, Children’s or Family Viewing Program.

Judging panel announced for License This! 2021 competition. The competition is produced by the licensing industry’s trade show organiser, the Global Licensing Group, and industry trade assn Licensing International, and among the world-renowned companies represented on the panel are Bioworld Merchandising, Boat Rocker Studio, Crayola, FYE, Hallmark, Licensing International, Lisa Mark Associates, Product Counsel...

(the above posted after July 16th)

Spielwarenmesse 2022 reports high exhibitor levels plus new area. Spielwarenmesse organisers say registration numbers are only marginally down on the number signed up at the same point of registration for 2020. More than 1,400 companies from across 57 countries have already booked their place at next year’s Spielwarenmesse,  which takes place from 2nd-6th February at Nuremberg’s Exhibition Centre.

Conflicted and terrified | Toy retail and gaming events approach UK ‘Freedom Day’ with caution and confusion. With Government plans full steam ahead to lift all Covid restrictions on July 19th, despite evidence of rising cases, the discordantly named Freedom Day has left toy and game communities at odds with the change in approach to health and safety this summer. 

Kidscreen Awards 2022 is open for entries. The Best Inclusivity category will now recognize behind-the-scenes representation, and a new Best Holiday or Special Episode Award has been added. Additionally, a brand-new Best Holiday or Special Episode category has been added for series segments that celebrate a holiday, seasonal or cultural theme.

Licensing International reveals its 2021 Rising Stars  The six brand licensing professionals to receive the 2021 Rising Star Award from Licensing International this year have been named, marking the ninth annual celebration of the up and coming talent from across the global licensing community. “We are thrilled to recognize these talented young professionals who will be the future leaders of our global …

Face masks will be mandatory at Essen Spiel ’21 along with vaccination or negative Covid tests. Masks will be mandatory for visitors to this year’s Essen Spiel – Europe’s tabletop and board gaming gathering – as well as proven Covid-19 immunisation or negative Covid test results, even if the government relaxes all measures around social distancing.

Ustwo's Alba wins Game of the Year at Games for Change Awards. Ustwo Games' Alba: A Wildlife Adventure has won the coveted Game of the Year trophy at the Games for Change Awards, as well as the Most Significant Impact prize. Ustwo's game, originally a mobile title but ported to consoles in June, focuses on a little girl's fight to preserve the wildfire of her island. 

The UK Games Expo People Awards 2021 is now open for public voting. The People’s vote is now open for this year’s UK Games Expo Awards with a shortlist spanning 52 finalists across 18 board gaming categories. With the nomination process now closed, the voting has commenced and the UK Games Expo 2021 judges have produced a shortlist of the best games – and accessories and novelty items …

Gen Con announces updated on-site health safety protocols. Gen Con, LLC. announced updated on-site health safety protocols for their upcoming September show. This show was pushed back to September 16-19 from August 5-8. As COVID-19 cases continue to drop, Gen Con organizers have decided to allow its vaccinated attendees to enjoy the show without masks as long as they can provide proof of vaccination. 

Here are the winners of the 11th annual BAFTA Young Game Designers competition. BAFTA has announced the winners of its 11th annual Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, which aims to spotlight and celebrate some of the best and brightest emerging talent in the UK games industry.  51 finalists competed for the Game Concept Award and Game Making Award across the 10-14 and 15-18 age categories this year...

League of Legends’ US championship will welcome back in-person fans. This year’s League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) finale is the latest esports event to welcome an audience to attend in person. Riot Games announced on Friday that the final two matches of the LCS Championship, the league’s postseason summer tournament, will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on August 28th and 29th,...

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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.

Peter Lockey The director and co-founder of The Puppet Company, Peter Lockey, passed away on 1st July following a short battle with a brain tumour. Toy World is sad to report that Peter Lockey has passed away just shy of his 64th birthday. His son Sam, sales director at The Puppet Company, which this month marks its 20th anniversary, told Toy World the story of how his father came to be in the toy trade. “Previously a teacher, like my mum (Sue, co-founder), dad went into working for the family luggage business, after which he partnered with his father, Eric – who is also very creative – to make pine furniture.”

Willi Zapf The Zapf Creation team has shared the news that its former owner Willi Zapf passed away on 30th June at the age of 83. In 1958, Willi and Brigitte Zapf took over the management of the Max Zapf doll factory. Under the new name of Zapf Puppen-und Spielwarenfabrik, Willi and Brigitte Zapf launched Baby born in 1991. He sold the company in 1992, but continued to lead it through success, growth, and innovation, until his retirement in 1997. With passion and determination, he led the company to become one of the leading manufacturers of play and functional dolls, and Baby born grew into one of the best-selling products the doll sector has ever seen.” Andrew Laughton, who headed up Zapf UK for many years, told Toy World: “Willi was a true gentleman. I would not have even entered the toy industry without his support and belief. A good friend of my father, together they built the Max Zapf business in the UK until he sold it over 20 years ago. I’ll be forever grateful to Willi and the entire Zapf family for their friendship and the opportunity they gave my family. His son Stefan still works at Zapf, heading up IT, so the family connection to the brand still remains. It’s poignant that 2021 is the 30th anniversary of Baby born – the brand transformed the large doll business worldwide, and it was Willi who saw the concept and believed in it from the start.”

Ora Coster - We lost one of the greats this week -  Ora Coster. She and her husband Theo were the brilliant leaders of Theora Design. They were celebrities in the inventing world and dear friends of mine. Pictured here are Ora and Theo with their sons Boaz and Gideon at the TAGIEs in 2012, receiving the award for Lifetime Achievement. Our hearts are heavy, but we are richer for knowing Ora and all the wonderful playthings she left behind. I am gathering stories, memories and tributes to Ora (and Theo) for a story. Please send me yours to mary@chitag.com

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Licensing International Announces 2021 Rising Stars

  2. Funko Extends Snapsies Line with Series 2 & GEMS

  3. Moose Toys to Debut Cutie Cuts Pet Grooming Toys

  4. ZURU Extends Rainbocorns Line with Three New Series

  5. WowWee Tapped for ARPO Robot Babysitter Toys

  6. 9 Story to Grow its Kids' Brands with Retail Monster

  7. Kiss Retail Program Launches Ahead of World Tour

  8. Subway Surfers Expands Worldwide Rights to Sakar

  9. Amazon Kids+ & Moonbug to Develop Blippi's Treehouse

  10. Danger Mouse Rolls Out 40th Anniversary Merch Program

ToyWorld (UK)

1.       Bung culture …it’s the Friday Blog!

2.       Former Tesco toy sourcing manager jailed in Hong Kong for accepting bribes

3.       MGA Entertainment appoints Julie Taylor as sales director

4.       Shipping lines attempting to use ‘add-ons’ as bait to secure shipments

5.       Exclusive: Just Play – going solo

6.       Golden Bear reshuffles team in preparation for further growth

7.       John Lewis Partnership unveils plans for 1,000 job cuts

8.       Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams to hit cinemas in August

9.       The Lego Group brings Pop & Play Tour to UK families this summer

10.     Smyths Toys Superstores’ Oscar duets with Mr. Monopoly for latest hit

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TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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After debuting on our POP Week Event Platform to over 13,700 viewers,  we have moved our panel discussions to YouTube and ar sharing them almost every week here on the Bloom Report! 

Social Media Tips and Tricks for Brands, Companies and Inventors 
Moderators: Lana West (Marketing Communication Specialist, Schleich USA)

Panelists: Julie Stern (Vice President, Brilliant PR & Marketing), James Zahn (Senior Editor, The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider), Mindy Schanzle (Marketing Communications Lead - Radio Flyer),

Mary Higbe (Director of Marketing, Goliath), Danielle Parde (Digital Marketing Manager, Fat Brain Toys)

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

 

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

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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