June 23 - 30, 2023
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin' Friday!
Tim Kilpin, President, Toys, Licensing & Entertainment at Hasbro
Dr. Michelle Thaller, NASA Astrophysicist, Assistant Director for Science Communication at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Fabulous new venues are booked! Free shuttles will chauffeur you to and from the airport, and all our events - even a couple of new ones - are in very close proximity to the hotel. You are going to love it!!!
Other not-to-miss events during POP Week, November 1 - 5, include: POP Roast, Toy Tussel (Family 'Feudish'), Toy & Game Innovation Awards - the TAGIEs, Young Inventor Challenge, PlayCHC and Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!
“I seriously look forward to each Friday to learn most every update + more in the Industry. Priceless info! Thank you” -Michael Kohner, The Michael Kohner Corporation
"TBR is required reading for: inventors, manufacturers, retailers, marketers, suppliers, absolutely everyone!" - Robert Fuhrer, Founder, NEXTOY
Person of the Week - Schwinn's Lisa VanderMause
Be a Sponge. Learn as Much as You Can from as Many People and Places that You Can
Hi Lisa, thank you for chatting with us today. I know you hear a lot of stories about the Schwinn brand. I have one, too. Tanya Thompson and I were given Schwinn's bikes at one of Oprah's last talk shows. I still have it and love it. What do you do at Schwinn?
Yes, I hear a lot of great stories and that was a fun promotion with Oprah. I oversee brand marketing and consumer experience at Pacific Cycle, including Schwinn Bikes.
What is your claim to fame?
At Schwinn, we pride ourselves on being authentic, welcoming, honest, and bold. Our mission is to bring people together, remove barriers, and lead new generations to a lifelong love of biking - everyone is invited to join the ride, no matter their age or skill level. I’m very proud of the inclusive, welcoming environment that our team has built for the biking community over the years – that’s my claim to fame.
What are you working on now?
This has been a busy and fun year for Pacific Cycle, particularly for the Schwinn brand! Earlier in May, in tie with National Bike Month, Schwinn launched a new nationwide campaign called ‘Let’s Play Bikes’, which aims to support parents and caregivers in getting kids back outside and off their devices. Throughout the summer – which will continue well into 2023 and beyond – we’ve been working alongside industry leaders, retailers, tastemakers, and local organizations to arm parents with the tools and tips they need to help kids get back on bikes, which includes an ongoing stream of educational content like our "Learn to Ride Guides," a “Guide to Kids’ Bike Sizes,” and so much more.
People of the Week - The Gygax Family
(This feature is part of our All in the Family series with aNbMeida. To see other awesome toy families, visit this page.)
Peter, how did your family first enter the toy industry?
My father has been in the toy business for over 20 years. It was always his dream to have his own company. Once he retired, he took the chance and founded Carletto in 1986, and I joined him six months later. The first game we distributed in Switzerland was “Uno”. I was on the road as a sales agent, my father in the office, and my mother packed the parcels.
How did the company evolve?
Working from home soon became difficult, and we moved into a small office and hired our first employees. Years were full of ups and downs, and alongside this, I was learning everything to run a business. In 2000, I took over as CEO, but my father and mother were actively involved in the company until 2005. Even after this, they were always curious to hear and see what the company and the team were doing.
We also expanded the company to other German markets, namely Germany and Austria and now have an office in Nuremberg. In addition to the Distribution Business with Carletto, we founded a game publisher named Game Factory. We also insourced logistics for the Swiss market, which has become a real advantage in recent years. READ MORE...
Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile!
Thank you Jim Seymour for the cartoon this week!
Play the Password Game - you'll laugh... we've all been there!
Quote of the Week: "If adults could remember the joy of playing with toys, the world would be a much happier place." - Charles Lazarus, founder of Toys "R" Us
Lexophile Lovers: Sundays are always a little sad, but the day before is a sadder day. - Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sending in!
Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me! Mary
Financial and Legal
Authorities in The Philippines are weighing a decision on whether to follow the lead taken by Vietnam and ban Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie. Vietnam on Monday announced that it will bar the film’s commercial release due to the movie’s depiction of a map that depicts the “nine dash line,” a disputed representation of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines, like Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia...
Almost half (48%) of European kids TV channels—and 59% of the region’s SVOD platforms (59%)—are US-owned, according to a new report from the European Audiovisual Observatory. Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are prime examples, with all 3 running pan-European operations that reach across the whole continent. The EAO’s Audiovisual media services in Europe says Disney alone operates in 44...
***The above was posted after June 30th***
Argos has closed the last 30 remaining stores in the Republic of Ireland following substantial losses and a business review. As reported in The Irish Times, Argos stores around the country closed their doors for the last time on Saturday 24th June, as the retailer ceased its operations in the Republic of Ireland. Argos announced in January that it would be closing all of its 34 stores in the region.
Barbie or Burberry? Mattel says 'BRBY' trademark invites confusion. Mattel has asked the U.S. Trademark Office to reject British fashion house Burberry's proposed "BRBY" trademark, arguing it is likely to sow confusion with Mattel's famous Barbie brand. Mattel "certainly has a point that BRBY could phonetically sound like Barbie," said Josh Gerben, a trademark lawyer who first posted the filing to Twitter on Wednesday.
First-quarter economic growth was actually 2%, up from 1.3% first reported in major GDP revision. The U.S. economy showed much stronger-than-expected growth in the first quarter than previously thought, according to a big upward revision Thursday from the Commerce Department. GDP increased at a 2% annualized pace for the January-through-March period, up from the previous estimate of 1.3%...
Pennsylvania House passes legislation to allow recycled materials in stuffed toys. On June 27, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow the use of recycled materials in stuffed toys. The bill, HB 1333, was sponsored by Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Philadelphia, and passed the House by a vote of 163 to 40. The bills will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
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‘Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken’ Is Worst Dreamworks Opening Of All-Time. The film delivered an estimated $5.2 million in its opening weekend, making it the lowest all-time opening for a Dreamworks pic. The previous low was 2021’s Spirit Untamed, which launched with $6.1 million on its way to a $17.7M domestic total.
***The above posted after June 30th***
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
Caption This: Why Subtitling Is Big Business Amid the Content Boom. Gen Z's affinity for watching content with captions on and the increasingly global nature of streaming are creating a massive market for transcribers – even as AI looms to take their jobs.
***The above posted after June 30th***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
After “Barbie,” Mattel Is Raiding Its Entire Toy Box. In an era when “pre-awareness” rules Hollywood, the company is ginning up plots for everything from Hot Wheels to UNO. n 2019, Greta Gerwig became the latest in a line of writers, directors, and producers to make a pilgrimage to a toy workshop in El Segundo, California. Touring the facility, the Mattel Design Center, has become a rite of passage for Hollywood types...
Making Children's Media about STEM More Inclusive. Kareem Edouard has been doing research for years on how to make children’s media more inclusive. And these days he’s putting those ideas into practice — on a big platform. He’s applying his research as a creative producer for a new show on PBS called Work It Out Wombats!, aimed at teaching concepts of computational thinking to kids ages 3 to 6.
Making Sense of China Now: Part One—International ambitions. A strong streaming business, a growing demand for YA-skewing animation, and local companies starting to vie for international success are defining the massive Chinese market now, says producer Josh Selig, founder and president of China Bridge Content and former CEO of Little Airplane Productions... (he) recently attended this year’s edition of the China...
Stuffed animals are not just for children any more – adults are also clamouring for squishy friends and weighted plushies. The trend, which took off during the Covid-19 pandemic, has persisted for many young adults. But it is not just about cute, soft decor – for some people, stuffed animals help alleviate their anxiety and loneliness. Marina Khidekel, a health journalist and founder of Hugimals, is one of these adults.
Disney+ breaks new ground with the launch of the streamer’s first African original animated series, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire. The Afrofuturistic sci-fi anthology, debuting globally on 5 July, is led by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, and comprises 10 short films from creators in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. “It’s actual African creators getting the chance...
Kids TV From Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro: How Dreamworks Animation TV Changed Children’s Programming. Ten yrs ago, the studio set out to change the kids and family landscape, and with auteur partnerships, preschool franchises and gateway horror, they have. In February 2013, Dreamworks Animation Television teamed with Netflix on its first-ever children’s and family series, Turbo Fast. Just 4 months later...
***The above posted after tBR started running on June 30th***
Retailers Rick Derr & Dave Middleton compare notes on US & UK trade shows. Passionate toy retailers and unlikely friends Dave Middleton (Midco Toymaster, Midco Toy Planet and Freak Treats) and Rick Derr (Learning Express Lake Zurich) speak to Toy World after successfully completing their latest foreign exchange programme. Following Rick’s visit to Harrogate for the Toymaster May Show, Dave headed to Columbus...
John Baulch, Toy World - Half-time team talk …it’s the Friday Blog! And lo, we find ourselves at the midway point of the year. The first half has – by and large – gone the way most people thought it would. We knew there would be an abundance of excess stock to move through. We knew there was no craze on the horizon. We knew that some consumers would be short of disposable cash. Taking all that into consideration...
Teen Flying Drone Saves 2 Jeep Passengers Stranded in Flooded Sinkhole. "I said, 'What is that?' And I flew down over it and it's a car in the hole,” said Josh Logue. A Colorado teenager found more than what he expected when he set out to investigate recent flooding in Weld County. The teen went to get help from his neighbor Ryan Nuanes — an assistant fire chief at the Denver Fire Department. The pair then...
Mattel President Flew to London to Argue With Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig Over an Off-Brand ‘Barbie’ Scene: ‘The Nuance Isn’t There’ on the Page. While the scene in question was not disclosed, Dickson’s concern is further proof that the upcoming “Barbie” movie isn’t just a sanitized love letter to the famous doll. As the film’s trailer says point blank: “If you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this...
Time Magazine Cover Story - How Barbie Came to Life. There’s plenty to consider about Barbie, but let’s start with her feet. Perfectly arched, but not quite demi-pointe—the ideal position to fit into any pump. They’re instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever played with the iconic doll. So when the trailer for the upcoming live-action Barbie movie opened with a shot of star Margot Robbie stepping out of Barbie’s marabou...
Greta Gerwig’s upcoming “Barbie” movie is reportedly rated PG-13 ― but the French poster for the Margot Robbie-Ryan Gosling flick makes it sound more like, well, a French sex comedy. The tag line on the film’s poster reads: “Elle peut tout faire. Lui, c’est juste Ken.” This can be translated as: “She can do everything. He’s just Ken.” Sounds innocuous, right? Well, The Hollywood Reporter says the phrase also allows for a...
TikTok has recently faced scrutiny over child safety issues in the US and elsewhere due to its youth-skewing userbase and reams of inappropriate content on the platform. Now, the company (owned by China's ByteDance) has announced that it's is giving parents more control over what their teens can see. It's adding new content filtering controls to its "Family Pairing" feature, letting parents filter out videos...
Report: Valve won't publish Steam titles that feature AI-generated content. Valve is seemingly refusing to publish Steam titles that leverage AI generated assets. A Reddit post highlighted by GameDiscoverCo founder Simon Carless details how Valve prevented a developer who included a few "fairly obviously AI generated" assets in an early version of their game from shipping the project on Steam.
Unity yanks AI-driven asset creation tool Atlas from storefront after one day. Unity has pulled an AI-driven asset creation tool called Atlas from its Asset Store just one day after it launched. Earlier this week, the company debuted a slate of new Unity AI tools, including Unity Muse and Unity Sentis, in closed beta to help developers leverage AI-based search across Unity documentation and embed AI models in..
Children’s toy Clixo proves prioritizing accessible design has relevance beyond tech. From an accessibility standpoint, one of Apple’s less heralded innovations of the past decade is the Cupertino tech titan’s reliance upon magnets in so many of its industrial designs. The Smart Cover for iPad. The ear cushions for AirPods Max. The prescription lens system for Vision Pro. Magnets are cool. Apple sure knows it.
Decoding Gen Z has helped Roblox become a $23 billion metaverse sensation. These are its 5 tips for tapping into the next generation. Whether the metaverse becomes the next frontier of brand-consumer interaction or not, one thing is for sure: Those who embrace it early stand to gain a competitive edge in engaging the next generation. Gen Z, who have grown up in a digital world, are seeking immersive, social, and...
History and Nostalgia
Someone has found what could be the first Magic: The Gathering card worth 7 figures. The owner has remained anonymous, but the card could sell for over $2 million. Since it was found, Magic packs from the same set have fallen in value as collectors give up the hunt.
1,500 Disneyland collectibles are up for auction this month. Fans can bid on an original Dumbo vehicle or a $5,000 trash can. A restored Dumbo ride vehicle will be available in the auction, and it's expected to fetch between $200,000 to $300,000. Disney fans can view the items at a free exhibition in California ahead of the mid-July auction.
***The above posted after June 30th***
Bob Brechin has announced that My Palitoy Story: The History of a Famous British Toy Company, has been fully funded on Kickstarter with just hours to go before the campaign closed to pledges. Researched and written by Bob Brechin – who was part of the creative team that saw the brand receive the epitaph ‘Toy of the Decade’ in 1980 – and designed by Brian Hickey, My Palitoy Story provides a comprehensive...
15 popular toys when Baby Boomers were kids. Tamagotchis, POGs, and Furbies are just a few of the short-lived toy fads that have come and gone in the last 30 years. Some toys, however, first targeted at Baby Boomers, had a simplicity and lasting appeal that has kept them on holiday wish lists for over 50 years, and a number of them made our list of 21 of the most popular gifts of the century.
Vince & Larry: The Crash Dummies from Tyco (1990s). In the early 1990s, Tyco unveiled Crash Dummies, an off-beat toy line patterned after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s series of PSAs that featured Vince and Larry, two talking crash test dummies who evangelized the importance of wearing seat belts while in a car through their zany antics.
Big Foot from Milton Bradley (1977). Released in 1977 by Milton Bradley, the Big Foot board game challenged players to avoid encounters with the mythical bipedal primate in an effort to be the last surviving gold prospector on the mountain. The 1970s were a busy time for Bigfoot lore. The creature was featured in a two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man titled “The Secret of Bigfoot” that first aired in 1976.
Behind an interactive toy phenomenon: What makes Furbies tick. Furbies, the endearing interactive toys that captured the hearts of millions in the 1990s, are about to reach a new generation of children, as Hasbro has recently announced a fifth generation Furby. The first four major releases of Furby saw the toy evolve to incorporate new features and designs while maintaining their distinctive charm.
Licensing and Entertainment
British broadcaster Sky has commissioned two new series to launch in Oct. on its Sky Kids ad-free linear channel. One of the new greenlights goes to live-actioner Let’s Game: Worldbuilders from London’s MonRae Productions and Nest Productions. This family-friendly series features popular YouTubers competing in construction challenge video games such as Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker, Frontier Developments’ Planet ...
The Gotham Group locks down rights to upcoming YA books. The two thrillers—Their Vicious Games and That Night in the Library—are in good hands at the LA-based company, which is also working on a live-action Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for Disney+. Due out this month from New York’s Simon & Schuster, Their Vicious Games (pictured) marks the debut of author Joelle Wellington. Drawing inspiration...
Mattel's new live-action “Barney” movie will lean into adults’ “millennial angst,” producer says. A live-action "Barney" movie is headed for the big screen. But according to one studio executive, it won't be for kids – it's for adults who grew up with the character. Producer Kevin McKeon told The New Yorker that the project – which is set to be produced by Mattel and Daniel Kaluuya, known for his starring roles in "Get Out,"...
Tom Hanks May Star in Mattel’s Live-Action Movie About the Toy that Inspired Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear. Major Matt Mason is being pulled out of Mattel's toy chest for a live-action adaptation, potentially starring Tom Hanks as the action figure. Per a New Yorker feature published Monday about Mattel's plans to go from a toy manufacturer to a pop culture phenomenon maker, part of that brand expansion will...
BBC Children’s and Education has announced its intention to greenlight three 2D-animated projects from its inaugural Ignite program. Initiated two years ago with a callout in the UK for animated kids projects, the accelerator’s goal is to provide development funding and talent to projects from indie producers and BBC’s in-house production talent.
***The above posted after June 30th***
Barbie, Her House and the American Dream. Take a stop-motion journey with the young, single homeowner of the Dreamhouse. Ken isn’t on the deed. Against all odds, Barbara Millicent Roberts bought her first home in 1962. Women were denied mortgage applications because of their sex or marital status at the time, but that didn’t stop her. The house was modest: a yellow-walled ranch home made of cardboard.
Sky is licensing a “paw-pular” IP to help its new interactive camera appeal to kids and families. The British broadcaster has launched a smart camera called Sky Live that connects to its two-year-old streaming TV Sky Glass. The device’s features include Watch Together, which allows multiple households to see and hear each other while watching content simultaneously, and interactive workout app Mvmnt.
Project Runway Season 20 Episode 3 Recap: Thanks, It’s FAO Schwarz. The designers raid a toy store for their latest looks. Were I presented with this week’s Project Runway challenge—take $2,000 worth of toys and transform them into couture—and set loose in FAO Schwarz, I can almost guarantee any thought of the “unconventional materials” challenge would vanish from my mind. I would waltz out of that wonderland...
Hasbro and luxury fashion label Anya Hindmarch are proud to collaborate on the launch of the highly anticipated Anya Hindmarch x Mr. Potato Head capsule collection. The eight-piece capsule collection of small leather goods spotlights the cross-generational pop culture icon, Mr. Potato Head in his classic Derby hat, mustache and bright red nose. The collection is available now at Anya Hindmarch, Net a Porter, Matches
Here’s a first trailer for Supa Team 4, Netflix’s first African animation series. The series launches next month on July 20. The eight-part series sees comes from writer Malenga Mulendema, South African toon studio Triggerfish and London-based kids specialist Cake, with animation from France’s Superprod.
Popular online multiplayer game Among Us will soon be “venting” into the world of TV as a new animated series project gets underway at CBS Studios (Star Trek: Prodigy). The company’s animation division, CBS Eye Animation Productions, is developing the show concept with Innersloth, the Washington-based game studio that created Among Us. It will explore a similar premise as the game, in which crewmates...
In an exciting collaboration, My Hero Academia, TOHO animation, Crunchyroll, the National Basketball Association (NBA), NBALAB, and HYPERFLY have joined forces to create a unique fashion collaboration that merges fans’ widespread devotion for anime and My Hero Academia with their passion for the NBA, resulting in a one-of-a-kind, must-have line of streetwear for fans.
Millimages, one of the most innovative IP developers and oldest independent animation studios in Europe, has launched a new Molang digital channel that will be hosted by Molang as a YouTuber. The innovative concept will see Molang and sidekick Piu Piu interacting with their fans in video concepts normally made by humans (gaming, ASMR, reactions, and various challenges), propelling the cartoon character and brand into a whole new dimension of social media.
Mighty Jaxx Lunches Freeny’s Hidden Dissectibles: One Piece Funboxx Figures Ahead of Netflix Series. With the newly released poster of the highly anticipated One Piece live-action series on Netflix, it’s time to re-introduce yourself to some of the series’ most beloved characters ahead of the show’s rumored 2023 release. Available now on MightyJaxx.com and in stores in July, Mighty Jaxx’s newest Freeny’s Hidden ...
WildBrain CPLG, Supercell join forces for ‘World of Clash’ global licensing partnership. WildBrain CPLG has secured a global partnership with game company, Supercell, to create the first licensing program for its “World of Clash” gaming franchise. Under the partnership, WildBrain CPLG will represent global licensing rights (excluding China) to Supercell’s flagship online multiplayer strategy game, “Clash of Clans,”...
Konami Cross Media NY inks new Yu-Gi-Oh! licensing deals. Konami Cross Media NY, which manages the Yu-Gi-Oh! licensing rights outside of Asia, has announced partnership agreements with Tomy International, Heathside Trading and Trade Invaders. The agreements will bring new Yu-Gi-Oh! product lines in the toy and game licensing categories, extending the brand’s visibility and availability throughout Europe. .
Funko Bitty Pop! launches across Europe. Funko Europe will launch its hugely anticipated Bitty Pop! line, a brand-new, micro-sized form factor collectible, across Europe from the beginning of July. From the 1st of the month, the collection will be available online at funkoeurope.com and in select retailers. On display for the first time in January at the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade and media show...
Toikido creates UEFA Euro2024 mascot inspired by iconic children’s toy. The mascot for next year’s UEFA Championship will be a teddy bear. Toikido, in collaboration with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Fanatics, master licensee for EURO2024, has unveiled the UEFA EURO2024 mascot. The life-size teddy bear mascot will be featured in a collaboration with Toikido’s online Roblox game world...
Hasbro announces new Star Wars ‘Young Jedi Adventures’ toys. Hasbro revealed today a new lineup of Young Jedi Adventures toys, including two new plush toys of Nubs and Yoda, as well as a collection of training lightsabers to match characters Lys Solay, Kai Brightstar and Nubs. This series of toys is expected to be available at all major retailers beginning this summer.
LEGO reveals new castle set, murals to celebrate 100 years of Disney. The celebrations for 100 years of Disney are not slowing down anytime soon. The LEGO Group revealed an all-new LEGO Disney Castle set as an homage to the iconic castle at the beginning of all Disney movies. This 4,837-piece set not only features the castle building, but also references 14 classic Disney films over the past 100 years...
Disguise to create line for new ‘Transformers’ film. Disguise has received worldwide rights to design, market, manufacture and distribute costumes, costume accessories, inflatables, adaptive costumes and trunk-or-treat kits for Hasbro’s “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.” The latest installment in the “Transformers” movie series from Hasbro, premiered globally on June 9.
New episodes of ‘Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series’ now available on Netflix in the US. The Pokémon Company International announced the third batch of episodes of Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, the globally popular Pokémon animated series, is now available exclusively on Netflix in the U.S. nIn the newest episodes, Trainers can join Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu on their latest adventures in the Pokémon...
Cryptozoic licenses 'Adventure Time'. Cryptozoic Entertainment licensed Adventure Time from Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products to produce a new roleplaying game. This will be the first RPG created with the Adventure Time license. Previously, the Adventure Time license had appeared on variety of cards games like Munchkin (Munchkin: Adventure Time), Fluxx (Looney Labs), and Love Letter.
Yu-Gi-Oh! heads to Portugal in prime time. Panda KIDS, a leader in children’s and young adult content in Portugal, is adding Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS, the latest anime series in the popular Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, to its Monday-Friday primetime lineup. Panda KIDS, owned by Dreamia, a joint-venture between AMC Networks International Iberia and NOS, has picked up Seasons 1 and 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS, comprising 92 episodes, which will air in the 21:00h time slot, Monday-Friday.
New Super Mario Bros. Movie Toys Are Coming Soon. A new batch of figures and playsets based on the Super Mario Bros. Movie has been announced. The lineup of new figures, from Jakks Pacific, includes Princess Peach and Cat Mario, along with a pair of playsets based on the film, and more. This set of toys will be available exclusively at Target in the US, and is slated to release in July.
Fred Rogers Productions and Lovevery collaborate on ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ digital content sponsorship. Fred Rogers Productions has secured a sponsorship agreement for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with Lovevery, the global childhood development brand supporting families with their subscription early learning program.
Bridgerton board game readies for a turn within the Netflix series adaptation machine. An upcoming board game will translate the intrigue and garden politics of Netflix’s period drama Bridgerton into a contest of subtle dance moves and subtler scheming. Bridgerton: The High Society Game lets three to six players take on the role of courtly members of the ton, a high society ecosystem of scandal, intrigue...
Bulldog Announces New Deals for Sesame Street’s Grown-up Fans. Bulldog Licensing, the leading licensing agency, which represents Sesame Street in the UK on behalf of non-profit organization Sesame Workshop, has announced the imminent arrival at retail of two new ranges to build on the brand’s significant presence across UK retail and which underline the enormous appeal of the brand to the fast-growing adult market.
The BBC has teamed up with Moonage Pictures in the UK and German broadcaster ZDF to co-produce a new live-action series based on Enid Blyton’s 21-book series, The Famous Five. This latest adaptation consists of three feature-length episodes (90 minutes each) and targets kids ages seven and up with stories that follow the young explorer on adventures such as discovering islands and traveling across the UK.
NY’s MiMO Studios is swimming with a new partner to produce its CG-animated film adaptation of The Pout-Pout Fish picture book series. With Australia’s Like A Photon Creative (Sesame Street and Balloon Barnyard) on board, production is now underway on Pout Pout Fish: The Movie, which is being financed and executive produced by Macmillan Publishers. The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossing more than US$1.3 billion at the global box office recently offers up a clear signal that market demand for kids and family films is at an all time-high, says Cyma Zarghami, MiMO’s founder and CEO.
People of Play
Greta Gerwig, who will soon be in theaters with Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated Barbie movie, is attached to direct a feature film version of The Chronicles of Narnia books for Netflix, sources have told The Hollywood Reporter. While no official announcement has been made, it has long been rumored that Gerwig, who worked with the streamer on the Noah Baumbach-directed White Noise, would tackle a Narnia movie.
***the above posted after June 30th***
Charlotte Smith joins Wow Stuff as general sales manager and will work with Wow Stuff’s retailers and distributors both globally and in the UK. Charlotte Smith has joined Wow Stuff as general sales manager, and commences her new role on Monday 3rd July. Bringing with her extensive experience in the toy trade, Charlotte joins from MGA, where she has been working as a senior national accounts manager.
MEET THE BRAINS BEHIND MATTEL’S MOLDED MUSCLE ACTION FIGURES. The industry’s top action figure makers explain how they get them to look so jacked. Our relationship with action figures is a fascinating love affair that often extends long past childhood and fortunately, M&F was able to sit down with two of the men behind the magic at Mattel, to learn more about the process of designing muscle on their action figures...
Ryan Seacrest will replace Pat Sajak as host of “Wheel of Fortune” starting in 2024, Sony Pictures Television announced on Tuesday. Seacrest signed a multi-year deal and will also be a consulting producer on the show, according to the production company. “I’m truly humbled to be stepping into the footsteps of the legendary Pat Sajak,” Seacrest said. “I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege...
Ryan Seacrest isn’t the only one making “Wheel of Fortune” news. While the “American Idol” host prepares to take over for retiring Pat Sajak after next season, UK’s ITV is reviving the game show across the pond with Graham Norton (“The Graham Norton Show”) at the helm. The series aired from 1988-2001 on ITV. (Note from Mary: If you haven't watched The Graham Norton Show, I recommend. It helped me thru the pandemic.)
Get to Know Schylling’s New SVP of Sales, Vince Santore brings more than 32 yrs of experience focused in “transformational growth” and “forward-thinking management” to the post, per a release from the classic toy and novelty maker. Santore spent 19 of his 32 yrs in the industry with Spin Master where he received awards from the organization such as the 2013 Iron Man of the Year Award, 2009 Striving for...
David Allan to join Epoch Sales team. Epoch Making Toys is pleased to announce the arrival of industry stalwart David Allan to the role of sales manager for UK & Eire. David has been brought into the company due to his extensive past experience in sales to assist driving the growth of the business across all the categories.
Julia Goldin, chief product and marketing officer at Lego Group sat down at Variety Studio presented by Canva at Cannes Lions to discuss the brand’s growth and its expansion into the digital world. Lego is set to dive into the metaverse in collaboration with Epic Game’s Unreal Engine in the much-anticipated endeavor. “I think everybody should be participating in the metaverse, and we are definitely seeing evolution...
Companies and Brands
How TikTok Shop is powering a Kanoodle sales boom. Toyco Educational Insights is tapping into TikTok trends and partnering with creators to build new revenue streams on the s-commerce platform, says marketing manager Lee Parkhurst. On the heels of participating in a testing phase last year, Educational Insights is now using social commerce (s-commerce) platform TikTok Shop to turn its toys into viral successes.
FAO Schwarz, New York’s well-known and well-loved toy store, is partnering with Universal Products & Experiences to become a Gabby’s Dollhouse destination for young fans this summer. DreamWorks Animation‘s Gabby’s Dollhouse is a combined animated and live-action series that follows Gabby, a cat-loving 12-year-old with a magic headband. The series is available for streaming on Netflix and follows Gabby...
The San Francisco-based AR game-maker behind Pokémon GO is laying off more than 200 employees and scrapping third-party games to focus on developing AR tech. Niantic saw its revenue surge during the pandemic when locked-down people left their houses in droves to play Pokémon GO. So it hired staff and invested significantly in creating new games and developing its AR tech, CEO John Hanke explained...
***The above posted after tBR starting distribution June 30th***
Ken Is Inviting Lucky Barbie Fans To Stay In Her Actual Dreamhouse. Ken has revamped the mega mansion with all of his favourite things – including rollerblading, an outside disco dance floor, and a guitar for serenading. Lucky guests will also be able to sunbathe and chillax by the infinity pool and rifle through Ken’s wardrobe to find the best beach outfits.
Adults are driving sales of the hottest toy on the market: Squishmallows. The fandom is often likened to the Beanie Baby craze — and on its way to be an enduring brand like Hello Kitty and Pokémon. In just a few years, the toy, which ranges in size from two to 24 inches and costs between $5.99 and $39.99, has surged in popularity with all age groups. According to Jazwares, which acquired Squishmallow parent co. KellyToy...
Sanjay Luthra on the ‘cultural moment’ that is the Barbie movie. Toy World publisher John Baulch says it’s always a pleasure to catch up with Sanjay, whose collaborative, partnership-driven approach with customers has played a big part in strengthening Mattel’s relationships across the entire retail spectrum. This has never been more important than it is now, with the Barbie movie out in July: yes, it’s a major summer...
PopHeads Studios has added bold, new, eco-3D applications to its innovative product partnerships and says 2023 is proving a great success for the company due to this new way of working. Leading international retailers are placing initial orders with licensees in volumes exceeding 100k units, and with two more applications hot out of the studios, opportunities are opening up across the world.
Roblox wants to make it easier for companies to scale, learn and advertise on its popular gaming platform. At the Cannes Lions advertising festival on Wednesday, it unveiled the Roblox Partner Program, which is designed to connect brands with game developers, creators and ad companies that have experience reaching Roblox audiences. These partner companies will work with brands that are either new...
Tech startup KidsPod has launched a mobile app with podcasts for kids to fill a gap in the market. Targeting kids ages three to 13, the new KidsPod app has a catalogue of more than 300 podcasts on topics ranging from science to bedtime stories, including Brains on! (APM Studios), Wow in the World (Tinkercast), Greeking Out (National Geographic Kids) and The Past and the Curious (Mick Sullivan). In beta since April,...
Mattel made the Time 100 Most Influential Companies list. A game did too. Find out which one. Congratulations to Mattel for being included in this year’s “Time 100 Most Influential Companies ” list. They and other honorees were selected based on relevance, impact, innovation, leadership, ambition, and success. And Mattel is in good company. No, make that outstanding company.
The LOVE, Litzky Grant supports entrepreneurs and small businesses that improve the lives of kids and families. The 2023 recipient is Surprise Powerz, a company that sparks curiosity through its educational and diverse line of talking STEM dolls. Surprise Powerz was chosen as this year’s LOVE, Litzky recipient for its focus on improving the imbalance of STEM toys for girls, and inspiring young girls to take on the world...
Luxury stroller wagon brand WonderFold announced the launch of their new Car Seat Adapter. This new accessory will enable their best-loved stroller wagons to carry newborns safely in a car seat from birth rather than the originally recommended 6 months. This opens up a whole new world for growing families, allowing adventures to start from day one with their wagons.
Meta explains how its AI decides what you see on Facebook and Instagram. The company is also testing new tools to give you more control over what you see on the platforms. Unless you switch to chronological timeline on Facebook, the things you see on your timeline could seem pretty arbitrary at times. Now, Meta has given us pretty comprehensive look at how its AI systems decide on the posts that appear...
Bandai celebrates Tamagotchi Uni with London launch event. Bandai UK celebrated the launch of its most interactive and connected Tamagotchi yet, Tamagotchi Uni, with a fun event held in the cocktail bar of the exclusive members club, Century Club, on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue. Trade media joined influencers and their families for drinks and canapes – including the signature Flora Dora cocktail – and took part ...
Blue Orange's 'Mech A Dream' heads to U.S. retail. Blue Orange Games will release Mech A Dream, a new worker placement game by Thomas Dupont and Antoni Gullien, into U.S. retail on August 3, 2023. In this futuristic strategy game, players need to help create dreams for their robot friends. They will need to assign workers to three different shifts to collect steam and electricity to produce robot dreams.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Battles of Legend: Monstrous Revenge is available now. Konami Digital Entertainment has announced that the new all-foil booster set Battles of Legend: Monstrous Revenge is available now for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (TCG) in Europe and Oceania. This the first booster set for the Yu‑Gi‑Oh! TCG to celebrate the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game’s 25th Anniversary by featuring Quarter Century Secret Rares.
‘Bluey’ Comes to the U.K. and Ireland. It has been announced that theatre tour “Bluey’s Big Play” will visit the U.K. following sold-out shows across Australia and the U.S. “Bluey’s Big Play,” is the theatrical adaptation of the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning children’s television series produced by Ludo Studio which airs on Disney+ and CBeebies, will hit the road in December and will tour the U.K. and Ireland until summer 2024.
Chip Theory Games unveils '20 Strong: Solar Sentinels' for retail. New solo card and dice game. Chip Theory Games unveiled 20 Strong: Solar Sentinels, a new solo card and dice game, for release into retail on September 15, 2023. In this game, a player takes charge of the Solar Sentinels, a quad of interstellar warriors that are sent out to fend off an alien invasion.
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG to revamp starter decks and release two new sets by end of 2023. Three new ways to get into the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game were just announced by publisher Konami, including a refresher on the starter deck experience and cards brought overseas from Japan for the first time.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus collides with Zombicide in the co-op game’s latest expansion. A new expansion themed around Monty Python’s Flying Circus is coming to the Zombicide board game series. Based on the beloved comedy sketch television show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus – A Rather Silly Expansion is an upcoming game expansion for co-op zombie-fighting board game, Zombicide: Second Edition.
New Hasbro IndianaJones products revealed! During today’s Hasbro Pulse Indiana Jones Fanstream, several new Indiana Jones action figures from the Adventure Series product line, featuring characters from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny films. Hasbro’s Indiana Jones Adventure Series is inspired by the 40-plus-year legacy of the adventures of Indiana Jones.
Zag supports Plastic Changemakers Education Pack. The Plastic Changemakers Education Pack and a special Miraculous episode have been created to teach children about plastic pollution. In honour of Plastic Free July 2023, international non-profit organisation The Breteau Foundation is encouraging UK primary school teachers to pre-register for a Plastic Changemakers Education Pack ahead of the summer...
Playview Brands, a leading toy company with a keen eye for the future of fun, is broadening its vision with an array of brands and licenses, including leading properties NERF, Minecraft, and the upcoming one-of-a-kind service, MyHeroMail. Playview has proudly selected ChizSix Marketing & Media as its Agency of Record (AOR) to ensure its ever-growing portfolio stays in the foreground.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Final Fantasy XVI has sold 3 million copies in one week. Final Fantasy XVI has shipped and digitally sold 3 million copies in one week. The sixteenth main installment in the long-running franchise launched for Playstation 5 on June 22, 2023. It has been 7 years since the last mainline entry in the series, Final Fantasy XV, landed on PlayStation 4 (and eventually other platforms), marking one of the biggest gaps between...
New Hello Kitty game is basically Animal Crossing, a deadly combo. Calling all Animal Crossing and Disney Dreamlight Valley fans, there’s a new cozy build-up-and-decorate-an-island game for you to get excited about and you don’t have to wait long to play it. And if you love Hello Kitty, well, even better. On Tuesday, Apple announced a list of games coming to its video game subscription service, Apple Arcade..
Report: Google is experimenting with instant games on YouTube. Google might be looking at YouTube as its next platform for pushing into the video game market. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the former shepherd of Stadia is experimenting with a feature called "Playables" that will be available on YouTube via a web browser or mobile app. .
Meta: Facebook owner launches $7.99 a month virtual reality service. Facebook owner Meta has launched a virtual reality (VR) subscription service as it tries to make that part of its business profitable. Meta says paying users will get access to two new games a month. For the first three months of the year, the parent company of Instagram saw a $4bn (£3.1bn) loss at its VR unit. .
Gloomhaven Digital is coming to Nintendo Switch later this year. One of the best digital board games adaptations currently available is on its way to portable gaming, as strategic dungeon crawler Gloomhaven popped up among the titles coming to the Nintendo Switch on September 18th. News that Cephalofair’s massive hit board game in an equally massive box was being developed for the Switch came...
43 million US PlayStation owners have played Call of Duty games. Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty franchise has been extremely popular on PlayStation over the last few years. A recent Sony document with improper redactions reveals that the shooter franchise has been played by 43 million unique users with consoles since 2019.
Highlighted Press Releases
TOY INDUSTRY JUDGES NAME FIRESIDE GAMES THE MASTER SLAYER OF BOARD GAMES THIS SEASON
GAMA, PAL Awards, Mom’s Choice, NAPPA, Hot Diggity And Creative Child All Tout Castle Panic Titles As The Perfect Kick-off For Game Night
Austin, TX (June 26, 2023) – When toy industry pros go on a quest to uncover the best board games this season, one name continually pops up – Fireside Games with its library of cooperative, lightly tactical board games. This week five different toy entities tout Castle Panic Second Edition ($34.95), Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests Expansion ($29.95) and My First Castle Panic ($24.95) for the industry’s highest honors.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Licensing International: The Fight Against Counterfeiting. Some of the most innovative work being done by the licensing industry in the past year has actually been focused on presenting sales. That may seem counterintuitive, but it's crucial for the continued success of the global brand licensing business as part of the ongoing fight against counterfeiting.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
World's biggest cruise ship launching next year... Wonder if it will be the ASTRA Toy Boat in 2025?
NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2023 TOY & GAME INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS ARE OPEN! People of Play (POP) is Accepting TAGIE Award Nominations NOW Through August 4th. Now entering its 16th year, the TAGIE Awards, presented by People of Play (POP), will once again honor the best and brightest innovators, designers, retailers, suppliers, PR and marketers in the toy and game industry. 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. The TAGIEs are part of POP Week. This important recognition, honoring contribution, innovation, and spirit of community is the very heart of POP.
The People of Play and Happy Camper live partner to bring the Young Inventor Challenge to summer camp scene. The People of Play (POP!), a leading community of toy industry professionals, and Happy Camper Live, the first 365-day online summer camp program offering hundreds of online and interactive activities for children, are excited to announce their partnership to bring the Young Inventor Challenge to the summer camp world.
Learning Express Toys Celebrates Record Success at 2023 Annual Convention & Toy Expo. This year marked the 36th anniversary of the franchise, and 24th in-person Convention, and gave franchisees a chance to celebrate their community while getting a first look at upcoming products from nationwide vendors. The best vendors and products were presented with awards toward the end of the show.
PlanToys Named Winner of the 2023 ASTRA Excellence Awards for Manufacturer of the Year. ASTRA, American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, announced that PlanToys, the global leader in sustainable toy manufacturing, has been named the winner of the 2023 ASTRA Excellence Awards for Manufacturer of the Year.
BAFTA has today announced the four talented winners of this year’s Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, via a special digital ceremony hosted by actor, comedian and presenter Inel Tomlinson for the second year running. The 45 finalists were competing for one of two awards - the Game Concept Award which rewards the most unique and creative game ideas, and the Game Making Award for the most...
Attendance numbers for Origins Game Fair 2023, which were up 38%. Origins 2023 hosted 16,082 attendees from June 21-25, 2023. This is up from last year's attendance totals, which was 11,689 people, representing a steady return toward pre-pandemic attendance numbers. At the last pre-pandemic show in 2019, Origins drew 20,642 people , and the 2023 attendance was about 22% short of that number. The 2022 show...
The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) says it is ‘delighted’ to have presented a Golden Teddy Award to Mark Foster, managing director – UK & North America at Playmobil. The award was presented to Mark during the BTHA’s annual Industry Day at Great Fosters Hotel, surrounded by colleagues and friends, past and present. The award presented was presented by outgoing BTHA chairman Graham Canning.
Kartoon Studios Announces the World Premiere of “Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee” Exhibition. In a further tribute to the legendary Stan Lee as part of his 100th birthday celebration year, Kartoon Studios (NYSE AMERICAN: TOON), the controlling partner of “Stan Lee Universe, LLC” , will debut a first-ever exhibit, “Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee,” on Tuesday, July 18th, at the Comic-Con Museum...
WiT and Gen Con join forces. Women in Toys (WiT) is joining forces with Gen Con, the premier tabletop gaming convention on an exciting new partnership! The two groups will be collaborating on initiatives year-round, beginning with a WiT x Gen Con Women’s Gaming Network Open House in Indianapolis on August 3, 2023.
Sega hosts third annual Sonic Central to update fans. In honour of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 32nd birthday, the event from Sega shared a host of news on gaming, appearances and consumer products. The event streamed on the official Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube and Twitch channels last Friday (23rd June). New details were provided for the upcoming launch of Sonic Superstars as well as the Sonic’s Birthday Bash Update...
Spielwarenmesse invites community to help choose mascot name. Visitors to the next Spiel Essen will be welcomed by the fair’s own mascot and they are being invited to suggest a name. Playful, curious, welcoming and joyful – these are the qualities of the orange tabby kitten created by well-known game illustrator and author Michael Menzel and shared by the world’s largest board game fair.
Origins Award 2023 winners announced. GAMA and the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design announced the winners of the Origins Awards 2023 at Origins Game Fair on Friday, June 23, 2023. At the ceremony this year the AAGAD and GAMA inducted four people and two games into their Hall of Fame. They also gave out the Rising Star Award to Mathias Wigge, who created Ark Nova in 2021.
Strong Museum of Play to unveil massive expansion, new exhibits this month. Life-size play is about to get serious. The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, one of the largest and most comprehensive museums dedicated to the history and evolution of play and games, is unveiling a 90,000-sq-foot expansion on June 30 with a focus on classic board games, video game technology, and interactive exhibits.
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 readers. Archives can be found HERE
John Cook - passed away on June 28th 2023. A model maker and toy inventor, he worked at Mattel, Kenner and Plauskool. He worked on Hot Wheels playsets, Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, Play Doh, Carci doll and much more.
Ron Stuart, President of Learning Wrap-ups passed on June 22nd, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend passed away on June 22, 2023 surrounded by his loving wife and family. Ron was a giant of a man, physically strong, vibrant, full of faith and always active. He was born in Ogden, Utah on September 2, 1953, the oldest son of Kenneth Fernelius and Marion Wolthuis Stuart. Dad had a fantastic childhood growing up in Uintah, Utah, playing his favorite sports, working alongside his father in the garden, and playing with his brothers and cousins. It was the best place to be a kid. He graduated from Bonneville High School in 1971 and served a full-time mission in the North Carolina-Virginia Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After returning home, he attended Weber State College, where he met Christine Fackrell, while participating in a musical production together. They were sealed for time and all eternity on February 12, 1976, in the Salt Lake Utah Temple by his mission president, whom he adored, Rex D. Pinegar. Together, Ron and Chris have raised four wonderful children who appreciate the love and example of their dedicated parents. Family was everything to Dad. Honoring each other Dad and Mom, worked tirelessly for our benefit instilling the values of hard work, dedication, tenacity, humor, patience, love, and faith. He taught by example and with involvement, coaching our teams, working side by side, mowing the lawn, digging in the garden, serving others, and taking us on work trips where he used the time for special teaching moments. We loved being able to call Dad for anything and are certain he was as good as two men for any job.
Sports were a huge part of Ron’s life. He had a passion for baseball, basketball, football, and golf. He was an all-state baseball player in high school and later a talented fastpitch softball pitcher and home-run hitter, playing on national teams. All his life he loved playing golf, fostering lifelong friendships and countless memories. Nothing was better than playing with, coaching, and cheering for his grandchildren in all their sporting events, music, and other activities.
His career with Learning Wrap-ups, the company he and his mother started in the early 1980’s, took him throughout the US and the world selling Wrap-ups. He was passionate about education, helping children master basic math facts. He was always enthusiastically developing additional products for the company and working with his brother Rich to make Learning Wrap-ups successful and provide employment opportunities for others. Dad was a brilliant businessman, but more important to him were the friendships and relationships he created while working.
Simon Hedge - (from John Baulch's blog) former Flair managing director Simon Hedge passed away this week at the tender age of 56. I know many of his former colleagues and industry friends were absolutely devastated to hear the news, as although it was no secret he was not well, things apparently deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks. Simon had most recently been working on a consultancy basis with Sinco Toys. Our sincerest condolences to his family.
JOHN ROMITA, SR. - Will Eisner Hall of Fame Marvel artist, art director, and character co-creator John Romita Sr. passed away June 12 in his sleep, according to a Tweet by his son, artist John Romita Jr. He was 93. Romita Sr. had a long and illustrious career as a comics artist, beginning in 1949 for Timely Comics, where he met a young Stan Lee. He did work for Atlas and DC Comics, ending up at Marvel in 1965, where he learned by doing pencils over Jack Kirby layouts on Daredevil.
After Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko left Marvel in 1966, Romita began penciling Amazing Spider-Man with #39, redefining the look of the character and helping to establish the look of the Marvel universe. His initial run on the title spanned an almost uninterrupted string of 56 issues and over 50 covers. Romita took over as Marvel art director in 1973, a position he held until the late 1980s. He continued to do covers, story art, and inks, with published work through the 00s.
While at Marvel Comics, Romita co-created characters Mary Jane Watson, the Punisher, and Wolverine.
"He is a legend in the art world and it would be my honor to follow in his footsteps," Romita Jr. said in his post. "He was the greatest man I ever met."
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- Wizards of the Coast Unleashes Summer Superdrop 2023
- GAMA Reveals Origins 2023 Attendance
- CMON Announces 'Monty Python's Flying Circus - Zombicide 2E'
- Upper Deck Reveals 'Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game - Legendary 2099 Expansion'
- Cryptozoic Licenses 'Adventure Time'
- New 'Pokemon TCG' Ultra-Premium Incoming
- Origins Award 2023 Winners Announced
- Asmodee's Mixlore Studio Announces Game Based on 'Bridgerton' Netflix Seriesv
- Rolling for Initiative -- A 'Warhammer 40,000' Launch and Free RPG Day
- Ares Games Unveils 'Fantasy World RPG Core Rulebook'
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