the Bloom Report

Toy Industry's #1 News Summary Worldwide

Below is June 26 - July 3, 2020, Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted each day with newest articles at top of each news section. 

The previous week drops off each Friday when we send you highlights via email. 

Welcome to your Friday briefing of the week's news!

As I write this note, fireworks are exploding outside seemingly non-stop. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whether you in the U.S. celebrating the 4th of July or elsewhere celebrating life, friends and family.  

In case you missed the last few issues...

After 22 years, the Bloom Report  has a new look and steward. It is our honor to carry on Philip Bloom’s legacy and continue this essential news source for the industry.  If you would like to reach Phil, his new email is: philip.bloom100@verizon.net  We'd appreciate your feedback and welcome  advertisements so we can continue this service for free. Phil summarized this endeavor well when he said, "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!" 

Onward & Upward, 

 

Mary Couzin

Company of Week: Learning Resources, Educational Insights and hand2mind Support Educators, Parents and Students During COVID-19

As schools began to close in March due to concerns around COVID-19, a family of award-winning companies, including Learning ResourcesEducational Insights, and hand2mind, launched a range of complimentary, family-friendly online resources and activities to keep kids productive and engaged as they transitioned to distance learning. These tools provided parents the assistance needed as they quickly took on additional responsibilities as in-home teachers, including lesson plans and advice, do-it-yourself projects and videos, along with printable activities and worksheets for kids of all ages. The companies’ combined efforts of creating 8,500 individual assets resulted in more than two million visits to their respective pages, and more than 420,000 content downloads, directly serving consumers seeking these vital resources. 

 

In addition to providing an impressive variety of FREE resources and activities,all three companies believe that every kid should have the chance to learn at home in these challenging times. To ensure more families had access to the hands-on learning tools they needed, the companies partnered with the Kids In Need Foundation to donate $350,000 in educational toys and resources, furthering the organization’s mission in helping underserved children learn during this moment of crisis.

(Read More...)

Person of the Week: Lisa Orman of KidStuff PR

When KidStuff PR founder Lisa Orman started her PR agency 26 years ago, she was becoming a mother for the first time and was faced with educating herself about the many services and products available for children and families. She discovered that many of the most innovative and wonderful products were made by smaller companies, so she decided to dedicate herself to helping these smaller players in the toy & game industry build awareness among consumers via media. That’s still her passion and joy.

 

Her singular focus on this has paid off for small and medium specialty toy manufacturers and retailers, and dozens of companies attribute some of their success and growth to their partnership with KidStuff PR. Every month KidStuff PR clients grace the pages of top parenting magazines  and websites alongside products from industry giants like Mattel, Hasbro and Spinmaster. KidStuff PR clients consistently garner so much media attention that the agency itself makes news.

 

President Lisa Orman established KidStuff Public Relations in 1994 near Madison, Wis., after securing the public relations account for Zany Brainy. Orman used her past experiences as a writer for the Des Moines Register, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and USA Today to give her a better understanding of when, why and how to successfully pitch to a reporter. (Read More...)

 

Financial & Legal News . . . 

MONEY RAISED FOR GAMES ON KICKSTARTER UP DRAMATICALLY IN FIRST HALF 2020. Dollars raised for tabletop game projects were up 46% to $117.6 million in the first half of 2020, vs. $80.5 million in the first half of 2019.  That’s a new first half record; the previous record was set last year. The category outperformed Kickstarter as a whole, which also grew in the first half but not as fast.

Microsoft Expresses Interest in Video Game Division of Warner Bros. The Information reported, citing "two people familiar with the situation", that Microsoft has expressed interest" in acquiring Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, also known as WB Games.  These games include Mortal Kombat, the Batman: Arkham, and Harry Potter series.

End of an era: 'America’s oldest specialty toy store' to close. For over 68 years, shoppers in Concord and surrounding towns have had the joy of buying toys and presents at The Toy Shop of Concord, known as America’s oldest specialty toy store. But due to the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, among other reasons, playtime is over for owner David Hesel, who plans on closing his popular shop on July 31.

Setting Priority Countries For Toy Export SalesOne of the most fascinating features of the toy business is the vast array of countries to sell toys to around the world. For those who are interested in travel and experiencing different cultures, the toy business offers much (at least in normal times, maybe the travel opportunities are restricted right now but nevertheless export sales opportunities abound).

John Lewis (UK) announces eight permanent store closures. The department store chain has decided on which locations it deems unviable, placing 1,300 jobs at risk. John Lewis has officially announced the eight stores it intends to permanently close. Dame Sharon White, the department store chain’s chairman, had warned that not all John Lewis stores would reopen once the high-street lockdown was over...

After being in Business for nearly 30 years Toys, Toys, Toys has filed for Bankruptcy. The Liquidation Sale will begin immediately from five of Toys, Toys, Toys stores located in Vaughan Mills, Square One Shopping Centre, Erin Mills Town Centre, Scarborough Town Centre, & Oshawa Centre.  This liquidation sale includes a huge selection of popular and collectible toys including action figures, dolls, board games, baby...

Australian toy sales that shot up during lockdown. Australia - Growth in toy sales during the coronavirus lockdown eclipsed growth last Christmas. Dollar sales soared by 80 per cent when stage two restrictions were introduced in March compared to the same time the previous year.

TikTok risks losing its biggest market. India is TikTok's top market for new downloads, and parent-company ByteDance had forecast $1 billion in advertising revenue there this year. Now India's ban on Chinese apps has put TikTok's fate in jeopardy in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.

(the above posted after July 3ed)

JUST PLAY ACQUIRES SLINKY AND SHRINKY DINKS BRANDS. Following the sudden disappearance of Alex Brands and the auction of its assets this spring, Just Play has acquired Slinky and Shrinky Dinks. New products from both brands will arrive at retail this fall, just in time for the holiday season. “For 75 years, Slinky has been one of the most popular and recognizable playthings around the world,” says Charlie Emby...

Brainlab Acquires Medical Video Game Innovator Level Ex. Brainlab, the digital medical technology company, today announced the acquisition of Level Ex, a Chicago-based company that creates medical video games designed to advance the clinical skills of physicians and surgeons. The Level Ex expertise and product portfolio align with the broader Brainlab strategy to drive value creation across the healthcare ...

Brick and mortar retail sales expected to decline 14% in 2020 as ecommerce grows 18%. A sharp divergence between brick and mortar sales and ecommerce is emerging, with online sales expected to rise 18% and offline sales expected to decline 14%. Offline sales may take up to five years to return to pre-pandemic levels …

Zynga Closes Transformational Acquisition of Istanbul-based Peak. Zynga, and Peak, Istanbul-based creator of Toon Blast and Toy Blast, announced today that the companies have closed the transaction under which Zynga acquired all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Peak for a total purchase price of approximately $1.85 billion. Toon Blast and Toy Blast, have consistently ranked in the top 10...

Ban on Chinese apps, including TikTok, surprises India content makersIndia's ban on 59 Chinese apps, including the TikTok and WeChat platforms, has left millions surprised and disappointed. The government said the apps were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order". TikTok denied sharing any data with the Chinese government. Beijing said...

V1 ANALYTICS PRESENTS A FASCINATING VISUAL LOOK AT THE EXPANSION AND COLLAPSE OF TOYS ‘R’ US. A new video from V1 Analytics is pushing the nostalgia buttons while also reminding the toy industry of some not-so-old wounds. The data visualizer offers a look at the growth, contraction, collapse, and seeds of rebirth that have been planted for Toys “R” Us in the U.S. Using multiple data sources, the video focuses...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . . 

Making Old New-ish . . . Will Walmart’s best shoppers ditch Amazon Prime for Walmart+? . . . Retro Revival: Microskaters on why kids are turning to rollerblading to fight lockdown boredom

(the above posted after July 3rd)

PlayStation now has a dedicated initiative for indie games: PlayStation Indies . . . The ever-growing importance of China to the global toy industry . . . The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in June, after virtually no change in May . . .  BRICK AND MORTAR RETAIL SALES EXPECTED TO DECLINE 14% IN 2020 As E-Commerce Grows 18% 

Financial & Brokerage News . . . 

Amazon could climb another 20% ahead of earnings, chart analyst says as stock hits new highs . . . 3 Top Video Game Stocks to Buy in July

(The above posted after July 3rd)

August 14th Options Now Available For Mattel (MAT) . . . Hasbro – Consensus Indicates Potential 28.8% Upside . . . Mattel Is Finally Playing to Win . . . Is Hasbro's Dividend Helping or Hurting the Company?

Financial Reporting . . . 

Diamond companies received $5-$10m+ in PPP loans. A loan for Diamond Comic Distributors in the range of $5-$10 million was approved on April 10; while a loan for Diamond Select Toys & Collectibles in the range of $150,000-$350,000 was approved on May 1.  A loan to sister company Rosebud Entertainmentfor $350,000 - $1 million, was approved on April 30.

Pokémon GO surpasses $3.6 Billion in lifetime revenue, and is still on the rise despite global pandemic. As Pokémon GO celebrates its fourth anniversary, it has also surpassed $3.6 Billion in lifetime revenue, since its launch on July 6, 2016. 2019 was the game’s best year to date, generating $905 million globally.

Animoca Brands raises $4.1 million ahead of proposed initial public offering. Mobile developer Animoca Brands has raised $4.1 million in funding to support a proposed initial public offering. Animoca has spent the past few years expanding its business with a number of weighty acquisitions, the most recent of which saw it nab Power Rangers: Legacy Wars developer nWay, and digital collectibles marketplace Quidd.

(The above posted after July 3rd)

FY 2019-20: A New Record Year for Focus Home Interactive and First Studio AcquisitionFocus Home Interactive, a leading French publisher of video games, announced its full year 2019-20 results for the twelve-month period ending on 31st March 2020. Revenue up +13%, operating income up +36% and net income up +64%.

Genius Brands International to retire all senior secured convertible debtGenius Brands, a global brand management company that creates, licenses, and broadcasts, multimedia entertainment content for children, becomes debt free and has $55 million in cash on the balance sheet.

Indigo loses $171 million in Q4 after taking large impairment, tax charges. Indigo Books & Music is reporting a surge in losses caused by non-cash charges in the quarter to fiscal year March 28. The Toronto-based book, gift and specialty toy retailer lost $171 million. Indigo attributed the higher loss to impairment and deferred tax charges along with the decision to pay staff wages until the end of March even though...

Future Financial Reporting... 

Spin Master Corp. to Report Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results on August 5, 2020. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

Mattel, Inc. today announced that it plans to release its second quarter 2020 financial results on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at approximately 4:05 p.m. Eastern time. Following this, Mattel will host a conference call and webcast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Hasbro, Inc. announced that it will webcast its second quarter 2020 earnings conference call on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. ET, following the release of Hasbro's financial results. The webcast and the accompanying presentation slides will be available to investors and the media on Hasbro's Investor Relations home page at https://investor.hasbro.com

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . . 

The Economist: Citius, Altius, Fortnite. Why the next Olympics should include Fortnite. The Tokyo Olympics, which were supposed to start next month, have been postponed until 2021, thanks to covid-19. That delay offers a chance for reflection. The International Olympic Committee wants to make the games more popular with young people …

The $70 video game is inevitable. How the next generation of video game consoles will impact your wallet. LastLast week, 2K Sports announced that it would raise the price of NBA 2K21 by $10 — from $59.99 to $69.99 — for next-generation video game consoles. To see all the bells and whistles on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, consumers will need to pay a little more than they did the year before. 

David Kleeman: Roblox Dubit Coffee Break with Andy Douthwaite. During the pandemic, unable to be together in person, kids have been looking for places to hang out with their friends, and often those places are online. One platform in particular has really taken off: Roblox.

As a company that has built virtual worlds for kids for over 20 years, Dubit was curious to understand the platform’s appeal and strengths,...

Scrabble Tournaments Move Toward Banning Racial and Ethnic Slurs. The fight against systemic racism has taken aim at Scrabble. An agreement is at hand to bar offensive terms, though some players endorse using them for points. Josephine Flowers became a ranked, competitive Scrabble player more than a dozen years ago, and to commemorate the moment, she inscribed her custom-built game board...

India-China standoff may be one jolt too many for ailing Bengaluru toy industry. The toy industry in Bengaluru is gasping for breath and is set to suffer irreparable damage unless there is a dramatic turnaround in fortunes soon. With 70 percent of the much sought after modern toys imported from China, shops are surviving on whatever stocks have been imported already. There appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

‘Celebrity Escape Room’ challenges guests inside intricate hotel maze. That elevator sits front and center in the “hotel lobby” set that “Friends” stars Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox along with actor Ben Stiller and “Parks and Recreation” star Adam Scott entered at the start of the show, which aired May 21, 2020, as the lead in for NBC’s series of programming to raise money for children’s charity Comic Relief. 

(the above posted after July 3rd)

Mattel introduces anti-vaccine Barbie, sells out in California. There will be 4 dolls in total: Measles Barbie, Mumps Barbie, Rubella Barbie and Polio Barbie (complete with a wheelchair). “We are really hoping to corner the market on the science illiterate,” said Mattel Spokesman Ken Rothwell. “We know a lot of anti-vaccers are actually fairly wealthy as well as fairly stupid. In a nutshell, the perfect consumer.” (Note: article by Science, Health, Satire. A non-award winning online newspaper delivering the 47th best science satire on the web.)

Casual Game Revolution's Weekly News Post - News Flash: Sonora Released, Downton Abbey Card Game Announced. Pandasaurus Games has released a 'flick and write' game, Rather Dashing Games has announced a Downton Abbey card game, and Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion has been released

WORLD ACCORDING TO GRIEPP: THE DC -- DIAMOND STORY.  Column by Milton Griepp. So DC cuts off a major distributor to comic stores, upending the distribution system, perhaps permanently.  What's familiar about this picture? When I read Geppi Family Enterprises’ CEO Steve Geppi’s description of the breakdown of negotiations between GFE company Diamond Comic Distributors and DC...

John Baulch - Let’s play Twister, let’s play Risk…. it’s the Friday Blog! Games are back in the news this week, and not just because they’re still selling incredibly well. No, this time it’s because the government has turned to heritage gaming for inspiration on how to defeat coronavirus. Rather than complex strategising and scenario planning long into the night, it appears that our illustrious unelected leader, super spore... 

EA pledges to investigate allegations of abuse and support victims EA has asked employees to come forward if they've ever experienced abuse or harassment during their time at the company, telling them "these behaviors are never okay." The company said it has been shocked by the number of "disturbing stories around sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct" that have been shared online in recent weeks...

Roblox accounts hacked to support Donald Trump. Users of the online multiplayer game for children aged 9 to 14 complained their profiles were hacked with the message: “Ask your parents to vote for Trump this year!” and “MAGA2020”, an abbreviation of Make America Great Again.

Roblox has more than 100 million users worldwide. It is marketed at children aged between nine and 14.

 The July issue of Toy World magazine is out and has a strong ‘reboot’ theme, timed to coincide with major lockdown easing and the reopening of non-essential retailers following a long, challenging three months of temporary closures and strict stay-at-home orders. Reflecting the optimism and positivity of the toy industry, the July issue features upbeat, forward-thinking views and opinion from contributors including...

QUIBI’S ‘LIFE-SIZE TOYS’ PAIRS EPIC STUNTS WITH RADIO FLYER, LEGO, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE, MORE. Some classic toys are about to go big for the short-form content platform, Quibi. Originally slated to debut in MayLife-Size Toys will premiere July 6 with Nitro Circus ringleader Travis Pastrana playing host as iconic toys are transformed for epic stunts.

Disney’s deepfakes are getting closer to a big-screen debut. How close are deepfakes to being used in big-budget films and TV shows? Pretty damn close, if a new demo from Disney is anything to go by. In a video and paper being presented at a computer graphics conference this week, researchers from the House of Mouse show off what they say is the first photo-realistic deepfake at a megapixel resolution.

MOVIE TRAILERS: Official Trailer for 'Gamemaster' Doc About the Board Game Industry. "The worst thing you can do as a game designer is fall in love with one of your designs… which [does] not work." Gravitas Ventures has unveiled an official trailer for a documentary titled Gamemaster, marking the feature directorial debut of Charles Mruz. 

Remembering the toy industry's past . . . 

Celebrate 60 Years of Etch A Sketch. Introduce your kids to unplugged creativity and drawing (without a pencil.) Etch A Sketch is reaching a major milestone this year, celebrating 60 years on Jul. 12, 2020. Etch A Sketch Day, observed annually, marks the day this toy was first sold. This year, Etch A Sketch joined forces with other iconic names for a series of limited edition launches earlier this year, including the beloved...

Fantasy Flight brings back The Lord of the Rings board game for an anniversary edition. Fantasy Flight Games revealed The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game Anniversary Edition, a new version of Reiner Knizia's classic board game, for release in Q4.The Lord of the Rings: The Board Game was first published in 2000 as a tabletop retelling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy,

Reliable Toy Company. Founded by three brothers in Toronto in the 1920s, Reliable Toy Company grew from being a tiny toy producer to become the then British Empire’s largest toymaker. By 1936, the company produced over one and half million dolls, across three hundred different models.

(The above posted after July 3rd)

The Accidental Invention of the Slip ‘N Slide. A young boy’s summer antics 60 years ago inspired his father to create the timeless backyard water toy...

Good Gnews: Remembering The Great Space Coaster. Tubby Baxter. Gary Gnu. Goriddle Gorilla. Speed Reader. For people of a certain age, these names probably tug on distant memories of a television series that blended live-action, puppetry, and animation. It was The Great Space...

Back to the Future's 35th anniversary shows just how far toy collecting has comeBack when it first hit theaters, BTTF wasn’t explicitly for an all-ages crowd. Add to that the fact that the toys and collectors' market was in its infancy, and the result is a whole bunch of missed...

Jewel Magic from Mattel (1975). A 1975 dealer advertisement for Jewel Magic from Mattel. When loaded with beads, the Jewel Magic machine produced “oodles of baubles ‘n bangles” at the turn of its handle. Individual pieces could be linked together, allowing kids to ...

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_SEL_L

Worldwide Licensing News . . .  

WOTCH Creations, SmileyWorld Team for ToysWOTCH Creations and SmileyWorld have announced a new licensed toy set to be released this October. Products, called Smiley-Halves, will allow consumers to collect and connect from Smiley’s emoticons, with 22 variations in the first phase of the new children’s fidget toy.

IMG named exclusive global licensing agent for video gaming’s smash hit Rocket League. IMG has been appointed as the exclusive global licensing representative for the popular Rocket League video game franchise. The move was made by the franchise owner, Psyonix in a partnership announced this week.

YuMe Toys Teams Up with Canspan BMGYuMe Toys entered into a new partnership with Canspan BMG. Under the new deal, Canspan will support YuMe Toys’ forthcoming summer and fall product launches. YuMe is a company that is making waves throughout the toy industry with its high-quality products based on some of the hottest properties out there,” says Jamie Berman, president of Canspan BMG...

Rocket Licensing eyes toys, publishing for CBeebies’ English learning series Yakka DeeRocket Licensing is looking to secure toy and publishing partners, as well as specialists in educational products and resources, for the popular CBeebies show Yakka Dee, an English language learning series for pre-schoolers learning to talk. The series is also targeted at children with speech difficulties, and those learning...

Marvel, Moose Toys release Goo Jit Zu toys. The new collaboration between Moose Toys and Marvel is making it easier for kids to channel their inner superhero at home. Following the breakout success of Heroes of Goo Jit Zu in 2019, Moose Toys unveiled a new line of the toys in collaboration with Marvel …

Surge Licensing to rep Awkward Yeti Characters After creating the web comic that led to multiple New York Times bestsellers, The Awkward Yeti and Heart and Brain author and artist Nick Seluk is now turning his eponymous characters into consumer products and promotions with Surge Licensing as the exclusive licensing agent. Surge plans to further develop the brand through toys...

Rather Dashing Games licenses 'Downton Abbey'. Rather Dashing Games has acquired the rights to Downton Abbey to produce a new card game based on the Downton Abbey movie. The new card game will release in Q4 of 2020. The new Downtown Abbey game will be an easy-to-learn card game for ages 12 and up, and is based around competing to capture cards with key moments of resolution, revelation...

Genius Brands acquires Stan Lee's likeness, IPs The prodco now holds the rights to more than 100 properties Lee created, with plans to develop and license seven per year under a new business banner. Terms of the deal give Genius exclusive worldwide rights to Lee’s name, physical likeness and signature, as well as his live-action and animated motion picture IPs across TV, digital, publishing,...

(the above posted after July 3rd)

Arcade1Up, Coleco Partner for Mini Arcade Machines. Two years, after its successful Kickstarter, Coleco has partnered with Arcade1Up to create new Mini Arcade units for nationwide sale, utilizing Arcade1Up’s retail and licensing connections. The successful campaign raised $71,246 — more than doubling its $30,000 goal. This campaign included Mini Arcade versions of two games: Rainbow Brite Journey to Rainbow and...

Minecraft cereal is coming this SummerFrom toys and clothing to books and party supplies, Minecraft-themed merchandise can be found all over the shelves. Soon it will make its debut in the cereal aisle in partnership with Kellogg’s. The Kellogg’s cereal has a cinnamon flavor, and it includes green, square-shaped marshmallows that represent the blocky creepers that players need to watch out for ...

Spin Master gets crafty with TikTok creatorsSpin Master inked a multi-category co-branding and licensing agreement with TikTok creators WeWearCute. The partnership will see tween-focused stationery, craft and activity products launch under Spin Master’s new inkFLUENCER brand.

The first two branded products will launch exclusively with Walmart in October, with additional items hitting shelves in 2021. 

Disability visibility: ToyLikeMe’s mission to change the children’s industry with MixMupsMixMups, the new stop-motion animated pre-school series created by #ToyLikeMe’s own Rebecca Atkinson comes with one mantra: There is always another way. Currently in production under the expertise at Raydar Media and an extended ‘dream team’ comprising some of the kids’ entertainment space’s most influential ...

Wow! Stuff has signed a licence with Magic Light Pictures for its full catalogue of brands including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Zog, and The Snail and the Whale – all creations based on books by the author and illustrator duo, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The master toy deal is multi territory – products will be available in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, USA and Canada. From January 2021...

People . . . 

YouTube sensation Joey Graceffa partners with Studio71 to launch Escape the Night Board GameYouTube star Joey Graceffa (over 12M subscribers) has partnered with Studio71 Games, a Red Arrow Studios company, to help bring to life his vision to expand the Escape the Night universe with an all-new electrifying board game. Inspired by Graceffa’s murder-mystery YouTube series. 

IMC Toys strengthens UK presence with new appointments and new office move. John Gray joins IMC as operations and logistics manager, bringing with him a wealth of toy sector experience to the role, having previously held positions with Mattel, Mega Brands, Spin Master and MGA. Meanwhile, Katie Petitt joins the team as account manager, after previously working in buying roles for both Debenhams and Toys R Us.

Andrew Day: the gaming boss who gets addicted to the games. Andrew Day is chief executive of Irish company Keywords Studios. His business has helped make many of the world's most popular games - from Call of Duty, to World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Clash of Clans, League of Legends, Assassin's Creed, and Candy Crush

Ubisoft exec Maxime Beland has resigned after harassment and assault allegations. Ubisoft vice president of editorial Maxime Beland has resigned from his role after being accused of sexual harassment and assault.The company also revealed that Beland's fellow editorial vice president, Tommy Francois, has been placed on disciplinary leave pending the outcome of an investigation

Richard Garfield - Game Designer Spotlight. In today’s episode of History of Game Design we are going to be looking at the master of the multiverse, the tycoon of trading cards, the flying purple hippopotamus himself, Richard Garfield, PHD. As always, we are going to be taking a look at his life and career, as well as the process and philosophy behind his game designs.

WORLD ACCORDING TO GRIEPP -- IMAGE NOT CONSIDERING DISTRIBUTION ALTERNATIVES. In response to a column last week on the events surrounding DC's move to new distributors, ending its relationship with Diamond Comic Distributors in N.A., Image Publisher Eric Stephenson reached out to communicate the company’s position on the situation.  I'd characterized Image as "rethinking the whole exclusive distributor...

(the above posted after July 3rd)

Master Of Mystery: The New Billionaire Who Made A Fortune Selling Toys In Blind BoxesWang Ning, 33, is readying his fast-growing, Beijing-based company Pop Mart for an IPO—and an expansion beyond China.  No one’s quite sure. And that’s the mystery, fun and immense commercial promise of Pop Mart, a fast-growing Beijing-based toy company. It sells its products—typically small figurines...

Former Sony President & CEO Jack Tretton Joins Rogue Games as Strategic AdvisorRogue Games, a leading digital games publisher, today announced the appointment of Jack Tretton, former President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, to the role of strategic advisor. The appointment signals the company’s commitment to cross-platform gaming.

Wil Wheaton Joins Games by Bicycle as its First Global Board Game AmbassadorThe actor, writer, and board game enthusiast is best-known for his roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory, and as creator/producer of the web series, Tabletop. “My goal when we created Tabletop was to put more gamers into the world,” says Wheaton. “We’d do that by showing how fun and social gaming is...

Gaming the impossible: Jane McGonigal wants you to save the world. World-renowned game designer has the tools you need to regain confidence in times of chaos, visualize your future and create positive change. Climate change, a global pandemic, racial injustice … in the face of a society in turmoil, how can we as individuals take better control of our lives and the future? The answer might be found in video games.

Ubisoft Places Two Executives on Leave Following Misconduct AllegationsUbisoft Entertainment, one of the world’s largest video-game publishers, placed two executives and several employees on leave as part of a corporate investigation into misconduct allegations. The two high-ranking employees under scrutiny are Tommy François and Maxime Béland, both vice presidents in the group overseeing development of...

GOING HOG WILD WITH JOSH LOERZEL ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Josh Loerzel, vice president of sales and marketing at Hog Wild Toys. Loerzel, who recently took part in the Toy Book‘s Talkin’ Toys series, delves into his backstory which includes stints at Monkey Business, Zing, and Yulu before landing at Hog Wild.

Spin Master announced Hollywood consumer products executive Heather Oster was appointed VP, Global Franchise Development. Oster, who will be based in Spin Master’s Los Angeles office, will report to Spin Master Entertainment’s Executive Vice President Jennifer Dodge. A highly-skilled executive with in-depth experience in global film, TV, and...

Gaumont Appoints Former Amazon Exec Michelle Sullivan as VP, Creative Executive, Animation & Family. Gaumont, the world’s first film company and producer of the award-winning series Narcos, the forthcoming animated series, Do, Re & Mi, starring Kristen Bell (Frozen) and Jackie Tohn (Glow) for Amazon Prime Video, and High in the Clouds, an animated feature developed together with Paul McCartney for...

Dr Seuss Enterprises names new senior director of global marketing and global licensing manager. Dr. Seuss Enterprises has strengthened its senior team with the promotion of Shannon Spisak to senior director of global marketing and communications, and Jenna Marson to manager of global marketing and licensing. The moves come as the company continues to expand on its strategy to develop in-house talent.

 

Companies, Organizations . . . 

Marvel Reveals Comic Con at Home Schedule. Marvel has revealed its plans for Comic-Con at Home, this year's virtual San Diego Comic-Con event. Marvel appeared in Disney+'s plans and Hulu's plans via the Hellstrom series. Now Marvel has revealed its schedule of events. One is the Disney+ panel on the Marvel's 616 docuseries. Another is the Marvel HQ event, aimed at younger Marvel fans. Last is Marvel Comics: Next...

Arcane Wonders reveals 'Hello Neighbor: The Secret Neighbor Party Game'. Arcane Wonders, along with tinyBuild, Evolution, and Genuine Entertainment, revealed Hello Neighbor: The Secret Neighbor Party Game, based on the popular video game, for release in October. Players assume the roles of one of the neighborhood kids, the treacherous neighbor, or a secret neighbor to locate keys and unlock a door to win.

Le Toy Van Opens All-New U.S. Webstore for Heirloom-Quality Wooden ToysDesigned in London with a dash of French flair, Le Toy Van has been in business since 1995, but online buyers have typically been faced with calculating British pounds versus U.S. dollars in order to make a purchase. This week, that changes. Le Toy Van has opened an all-new U.S. website and has a selection of toys available on Amazon.

Far Out Toys and pocket.watch launch Ryan’s World Road Trip Board Game. Far Out Toys announced the debut of the newest game from the phenomenally successful brand, Ryan’s World.  The Ryan’s World Road Trip Board Game was inspired by the summer tradition of loading the kids up in the car and heading out on the highway on a road trip!.

Hornby Hobbies, Corgi Introduce the Hornby Centenary Bristol Lodekka Bus. Hornby Hobbies is continuing its 100th anniversary celebration with a #Hornby100 social media takeover filled with new product announcements. The month-long campaign kicked off with a collaboration between the company’s Hornby and Corgi brands: the Hornby Centenary Bristol Lodekka double-decker bus.

Mattel and Spin Master bring new short content to HappyKids.tvMattel, Spin Master, and 9 Story Distribution International are the latest big name brands in children’s entertainment to join Future Today’s popular HappyKids.tv app. The deal will bring new short content featuring Barbie, Thomas and Friends, Hot Wheels, Bakugan: Battle Brawlers, and more.

Barnes & Noble College Partners with American Video Game League to Launch Autumn Anarchy Fortnite Tournament. Barnes & Noble College, a Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. company, has partnered with the American Video Game League, a BoomTV company, to launch Autumn Anarchy, a first-of-its kind college esports tournament. Autumn Anarchy will invite more than 500 gamers nationwide...

Wizards of the Coast piloting new text alert program with U.S. WPN members. Wizards of the Coast announced that they are piloting a program where U.S. WPN retailers can get "major announcements" for Magic sent to their phones via text message. The new program is aimed at keeping WPN retailers informed about Magic product news before players ask about it.

Epic Story expands with new sister company. Ken Faier and Steve Couture are teaming up to launch Epic Storyworlds. The Canadian company, based in the province of Québec, will serve global audiences with properties spanning television, digital, gaming and consumer products.

Epic Storyworlds has already locked in its first greenlight from CBC, which picked up animated action-comedy Dex and the Humanimals... 

Walmart is dropping *dozens* of exclusive collectibles next week. If you haven’t heard about Walmart Collector Con yet, you aren’t alone. The retailer hasn’t posted about or promoted this upcoming online event, but it’s something that should *definitely* be on every collector’s radar.  On Friday, July 17, at 10 a.m. ET, Walmart is set to drop more than 60 exclusives...

Artist formerly known for prints: Laurence King Publishing is settling into the children’s games sector. For a company that “stumbled into the children’s area” when it published Marion Deuchars’ first activity book Let’s Make Great Art in 2011, the publisher has made short work of establishing itself within a market for games and puzzles with a strong literary aesthetic, and has even managed to find success...

CRAZY AARON’S STEPS UP TO SPONSOR THE TOY FOUNDATION’S TOY BANKCrazy Aaron’s is the official “Adopt-the-Pig” sponsor of The Toy Foundation’s Toy Bank this year. The Pennsylvania-based company behind the popular line of Thinking Putty will donate $10,000 to the cause and will release a special-edition putty crafted in The Toy Bank’s signature orange color. 

German toy manufacturer Schleich selects KN to neutralise CO2 in its sea freight. Schleich, one of the largest toy manufacturers in Germany and an international provider of realistic animal figures, has decided to neutralise its entire sea freight CO2 footprint with the help of Kuehne+Nagel. "The decisive factor was Kuehne+Nagel's Net Zero Carbon programme, which sets new standards with CO2 neutral logistics. 

Microsoft announces Xbox Series X games event for July 23rd. Microsoft will hold its Xbox Series X games event on July 23rd at 9AM PT / 12PM ET. The company is planning on showing games made by its Xbox Game Studios, including Halo Infinite. There will be more than just Halo, though. Microsoft has been steadily acquiring game studios, and the company now has 15 Xbox Game Studios in total. 

Lego will stop advertising police related toys and figurines. Lego, the Danish toy company with worldwide operations, decided to step forward and demonstrate in support of the movement Black Lives Matter. Lego announced on its official Twitter account that it would donate $ 4 million to “organizations dedicated to supporting black children and educating all children about racial equality.”

PlayMonster’s Snap Ships Blast into Retail, Invite Kids to ‘Build to Battle’. PlayMonster is blasting into a whole new realm with its first franchise-based toy line. Developed over the past couple of years, Snap Ships is a new brand for kids ages 8 and up that combines action play and construction - two of the hottest play categories - for an immersive play experience across a fully realized world that includes ...

Sony PlayStation pulls ads from Facebook until end of month. Sony PlayStation joins the list of companies suspending advertising on Facebook and Instagram through July. PlayStation said in a statement: "In support of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, we have globally suspended our Facebook and Instagram activity, including advertising and non-paid content, until the end of July.”

Nickelodeon, James Corden fly with pigeons. The actor and talk show host is producing an animated film and TV series based on the book Real Pigeons Fight Crime, which will air on all of the kidcaster's platforms. Under the multiplatform deal, actor and talk show host Corden (Peter Rabbit) and producer Winston (The Late Late Show with James Corden) will produce the content through their Fulwell 73 shingle.

Netflix & Hasbro Release Final Trailer for “Transformers: War For Cybertron: Siege”, in partnership with Rooster Teeth, released the final main trailer for Chapter One of the highly anticipated Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy which premieres on Netflix on Jul. 30. The Series raises the stakes of the Autobot and Decepticon war with Chapter One having six, twenty-two minute episodes, complete with...

IKEA Korea donates profits from consumer-designed toys. It has donated profits it generated by selling consumer-designed soft toys to a nongovernmental organization for children, as part of its commitment to promote children's right to play. According to the home furnishing firm, it has donated 35 million won ($29,230) to the "Save the Playground" campaign run by Save the Children.

GOGO GACHAS ROLL INTO TARGET THIS AUGUSTRedwoodVentures and Olo Industries had a winning partnership with the soft and squishy Smooshy Mushy line, and now they’re back for more with the debut of GoGo Gachas. Based on the Japanese “gachapon” trend of vending machine capsules filled with toys and charms, GoGo Gachas is a new unboxing toy that dispenses disco ball capsules...

Funskool: Well-poised to carve out larger share of global toy market  The Chenna, India i-headquartered toy maker is expecting a growth of 15-20 per cent in its exports this financial year and is hopeful of a sound growth in the domestic market too. The toymaker currently has two manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu and one in Goa. 

(the above posted after July 3rd)

Facebook  is no longer betting on Lasso, an app it launched a year and a half ago, to take on TikTok . The social juggernaut’s TikTok clone is shutting down on July 10, Lasso alerted users on Wednesday. Launched in late 2018, Lasso was seen as Facebook’s answer to TikTok that’s gained ground with young users, both in China and in the West. Lasso allowed users shoot up to 15-second long videos and overlay popular songs. 

WowWee unleashes Power Treads all-surface vehiclesKids build and unleash custom vehicles that can be used with or without the included modular track system. Power Treads have received more than 6 million views on TikTok. “Power Treads gives you raw power, a customizable vehicle, and a modular building system,” says WowWee’s Chief Technology Officer Davin Sufer. 

Cards Against Humanity workers are unionizing. Employees at Cards Against Humanity (CAH) are unionizing. In a statement posted on Twitter, workers said that they have sent a letter to CAH’s owners to voluntarily recognize their union. Cards Against Humanity employees have come forward over the past few weeks to talk about a long office culture of racist and sexist behavior...

Mattel's Uno launches major social media campaign across TikTok and Instagram. Are you a Sore Loser, a Dodgy Dealer, a Victory Dancer, or do you simply make up your own rules to suit your game? Uno is celebrating the ‘four different types of player personalities'  through the launch of a new digital campaign. The campaign – titles #unowhoyouare – has identified the four different types of players ...

Barbie's new collection includes a doll with baby hairs, and fans are loving the inclusive hairstyle. Barbie launched a new collection of dolls with streetwear-inspired style and beauty looks. One of the dolls has styled baby hairs, which has caught the attention of fans online who are applauding the inclusive style. The new dolls are part of Barbie's BMR1959 line, which stands for Barbara Millicent Roberts...

Call of Duty: Warzone will soon offer 200-person matches. Popular battle royale shooter Call of Duty: Warzone is upping its already large 150-person lobbies to let 200 people compete in Quad mode contests, publisher Activision announced. Warzone’s large lobbies are one of many ways the game tries to differentiate itself from the increasingly crowded battle royale market. But after this update, if you’re playing... 

The Last of Us Part II sold over 4 million copies in three daysLaunched on June 19th, The Last of Us Part II has become the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive in history after selling over 4 million copies in three days to June 21st. The sequel launched on June 19 following a series of delays, some of which were caused by logistical issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic...

Amazon’s shooter Crucible goes back into closed beta after rocky launchAmazon-owned game studio Relentless is putting its free-to-play shooter Crucible back into a closed beta state after admitting it launched the game before it was ready. Colin Johanson says the focus is now on ”providing the best possible experience for our players as we continue to make the game better,” and so the game will be reverting back...

Microsoft will ban Forza players who add the confederate flag to their digital carsMicrosoft updated its enforcement guidelines to have a zero-tolerance policy for any player using the confederate flag or other symbols that represent “notorious iconography” including swastikas will also be banned...

MGA Entertainment Introduces L.O.L. Surprise! J.K. Mini Fashion DollsSeries 1 of L.O.L. Surprise! J.K. mini fashion dolls includes four dolls who are little sisters to popular members of MGA Entertainment’s L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. fashion doll lineup. The dolls will debut to fans during a YouTube livestream on the L.O.L. Surprise! channel 

Pixel Toys doubles its team during lockdownSince the Covid-19 outbreak began in late February, the independent UK games developer and publisher has continued to grow, increasing its team from 55 to 85 employees. Following the announcement of expansion plans earlier this year, which saw the opening of a second floor within its building, business has continued to thrive. In fact, while many UK businesses...

American Girl gets patriotic with Team USA lineThe line is a tribute to inspirational athletes, featuring gear and outfits fit for 18-inch dolls. The clothing and accessories cover six summer sports: gymnastics, soccer, swimming, track and field, softball, and beach volleyball. The collection also includes a Team USA Medal Ceremony Set and a kid-sized Team USA “Go for the Gold” T-shirt.

Jazwares Unveils Premium UFC CollectiblesJazwares is making waves with its new UFC Ultimate Series, a line of action figures and role-play collectibles showcasing some of the sport’s most popular fighters. The first wave of the line features both current and former UFC champions, including UFC lightweight champion Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones...

Nickelodeon Readies Next Chapter of Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesNickelodeon and Point Grey Pictures are jointly announcing today that production will begin on an all-new CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theatrical motion picture. Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver to Create All-New Iteration of the Iconic Franchise and Its Chaotic Cast of Crime-Fighting Ninja Turtles.

Apple is reportedly canceling some Arcade contracts to focus on ‘engagement’Apple reportedly canceled several contracts for games set to launch on Arcade. Allegedly for the same reason: Apple wants new games that will keep players coming back to the service. For developers wondering where Apple’s bar for engagement currently lies, the report mentions that an Apple Arcade representative cited Grindstone...

Microsoft has announced that it's closing 83 of its Microsoft stores across the world, marking an exit from the retail space from the Windows (and Xbox) developer. According to a press release, this permanent closure follows a temporary one that began with the spread of COVID-19. With reopenings coming to a screeching halt across the country, it doesn't appear that Microsoft's sleek...

Leaked Microsoft document hints at second next-gen Xbox. Microsoft has been planning a second, cheaper and less power next-gen Xbox console. Codenamed Lockhart, it’s designed to take most of the key next-gen improvements found in the Xbox Series X and provide them at a lower price point for gaming at 1080p or 1440p. 

Asmodee USA will distribute games from Italian game publisher Giochi Uniti International to the U.S. market beginning in August, the companies announced.  Giochi Uniti games are published under the Stratelibri brand in their home market, and include titles such as Kingsburg and Letters from Whitechapel. Upcoming games from the line include Bar Barians, a game of tavern brawling, Kingsburg: Roll...

Ravensburger has announced the launch of the WWE Legends Royal Rumble Card Game. This new game will be available via pre-order on Amazon and will officially release at retail stores across the nation on July 26th of this yearThis game aims to recreate the high-octane action of the Royal Rumble wrestling events of the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. company. With over ...

Pocket.watch Plans Global Expansion of Emmy-Nominated Ryan’s Mystery Playdate, Announces Fourth Season PickupPocket.watch, the studio behind global franchises from the YouTube stars and characters loved by Generation Alpha, unveiled plans to expand hit kids TV series Ryan’s Mystery Playdate to international markets, beginning with Amazon FreeTime Unlimited in Germany. Pocket.watch’s gaming...

WeWearCute, popular TikTok content creators, have partnered with Spin Master Corp., a leading global children’s entertainment company, in a multi-category, co-brand and licensed products agreement. Under Spin Master’s new inkFLUENCER™ brand, a tween-focused stationery, craft and activities line inspired by fashion and influencers, WeWearCute will unveil two feature items exclusive to Walmart this October...

The Far East welcomes first Entertainer storeWorking with Kim Hin Joo (Malaysia) Bhd as its franchise partner for the territory, The Entertainer has opened its first store near Kuala Lumpur. Plans are already in place for further expansion across Malaysia before Christmas, with two more stores confirmed. The Entertainer operates in 10 other territories across the globe. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Relative To Our Industry . . . 

Exclusive: Toymaster’s Ian Edmunds speaks to Toy World. Ian explained how the buying group is supporting indie retailers through the reopening of the high street. Toymaster’s members have fared better than anyone expected throughout the pandemic and lockdown, utilising social media and online marketplaces to great affect and resulting in precisely zero permanent closures.

Exclusive: suppliers discuss post-lockdown plansAs retail gets back on track, Toy World spoke to leading suppliers to find out how their companies are re-booting plans and ranges for the remainder of 2020. Throughout the lockdown period, the toy industry as a whole has faced numerous challenges, but suppliers have remained resilient throughout. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on E-commerce: Staying Ahead of the Digital Divide. COVID-19 has brought America’s digital divide to the forefront. As online shopping and restaurant digital ordering exploded with the advent of the public health crisis, many companies were caught off guard, but those that invested in strong digital capabilities before the crisis were well equipped to weather the storm.

Amazon delays Prime Day until October due to coronavirusAmazon gave third-party sellers a placeholder date of the week of Oct. 5 for Prime Day, according to an email obtained by CNBC. The company has delayed its annual shopping event several times in recent months due to coronavirus-related constraints.

Asmodee has launched a huge summer competition with its new #PlayItOutdoors campaign, offering fans of its games the chance to win a £2,000 prize every week just by taking their favourite games outside to enjoy the great British summer. With the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in many families staying at home this summer, Asmodee is seeking to promote board games as the perfect activity for households...

Toy Aid, the charitable initiative set up by Joel Silverman and Richard North, raised £143,075 as part of Global’s Make Some Noise, the registered charity of Global Media Group. Toy Aid was created to raise money for charities that support disadvantaged children, young people and their families, who found themselves particularly vulnerable during the recent pandemic.

The re-invention of brands has already begun. Opinion article written by Pablo Durañona, Marketing Manager of Kids Corp, on how the Latin American market has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic

(the above posted after July 3rd)

Learn about insurance coverage in the age of COVID-19. Insurance coverage has long been designed to handle foreseeable disasters, such as floods, storms, and fires. But the ongoing pandemic has demonstrated the difficulties for businesses to reconcile coverage with a new type of financial loss.

Combining Gamification And Human Resources During A Pandemic. Gamification, a relatively new concept in HR, has become quite the buzzword. It refers to the process of optimizing everyday tasks and situations by applying game design theories. Gamification can also be defined as using game design techniques in a business context or some alternate, nongaming context. In other words, the concept emphasizes simplicity and redesigning everyday routines and tasks.

How shut-in consumers turned mobile gaming into a $100-billion industry. Globally, daily "in-app" payments for mobile games have jumped 24 per cent since the pandemic began. But while the sector’s big listed groups such as Nintendo, Activision Blizzard and Take Two have enjoyed share price rises of more than 25 per cent since early March, a clutch of mobile gaming studios, many privately held, have enjoyed the real...

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another live event: the third annual Hot Wheels Legends Tour. The Tour kicked off on March 7 in Miami, with the first date standing as the only completed stop of the tour’s anticipated 18-date U.S. run. Additional dates were postponed, with a trial virtual run taking place on May 16 hosted by Hoonigan. Now, the remainder of the tour will go virtual. 

Disney has delayed Mulan for the second time this year, moving the film from July 24th to August 21st. The move follows Warner Bros.’ decision to delay Christopher Nolan’s Tenet for a second time from July 31st to August 12th. Disney doesn’t want to be the first studio to release a major film in the middle of a pandemic when the company is unsure of about how many people will show up. 

How Do Doctors Treating Coronavirus Relax? By Playing the Game ‘Pandemic’. The board game gives healthcare workers the chance to save the world in around 45 minutes; ‘stress relief.’ As associate medical director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network in North Carolina, Sonali Advani assists more than 50 hospitals in the Southeast on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Can A Board Game Help Us Understand The Pandemic We're Living Through? Board game designer Matt Leacock never expected to live through a pandemic when he created the board game, aptly named Pandemic, in 2007. Leacock began developing the game in 2004 after reading "The Hot Zone" during the SARS outbreak. He wanted to create a collaborative game where your opponent is not... 

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . . 

Learn about future changes to EU Directive on restriction of hazardous substances. Toy Association members interested in the future of the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, which restricts the use of certain hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products, including battery-operated and electrical toys, are invited to attend a free webinar on July 9 at 10 a.m. (Eastern).

FIGHTING KNOCKOFF TOYS WITH ROBERT COOK ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design speaks with Robert Cook, sales manager at Verisk Financial G2. Cook and his team help manufacturers protect themselves from the ever-present risk of knockoffs, counterfeit, and copycat products. They also provide guidance to assist companies ...

(the above posted after July 3rd)

Amazon established a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit in an effort to crack down on counterfeiters and those selling counterfeit products on its site. The global, multi-disciplinary team is composed of former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators and data analysts, who it says will “join Amazon’s extensive work to drive counterfeit to zero.” Amazon, which announced revenues of $75.4b in the first three months...

Peggy Brown Consulting Ad 540x250 pxl.jp

Press Releases . . .

TICKETY-BOO! BRITAIN’S LE TOY VAN DEBUTS U.S. WEBSITE FOR SHOPPING AND SHIPPING STATESIDE. Dotty Tea Kettle, Red Bertie’s Tractor And The Iconic London Bus A Few Pleasures & Treasurers To Be Discovered At LeToyVan.com.  Moms and dads no longer must calculate British pounds versus U.S. dollars when browsing through Le Van Toy’s beautifully crafted inventory. The award-winning toymaker based in London expands into the U.S. market with a stateside website! Dotty Tea Kettle ($19.99) and Tea Set & Tray ($39.95) are just a click away at LeToyVan.com or Amazon. The short time span of childhood should be enjoyed to the fullest, believes Le Toy Van. Their vast array of European toys with an added French flair spark imagination without the use of technology. Timeless and well- made are the hallmarks of this toymaker...

Mattel, Nelvana and 9 Story All Turn to Future Today for Distribution of Content. More Than 250 New Episodes of Popular Kids’ Titles Launched on HappyKids TV. Future Today, the largest OTT publishing platform, announced today it will be expanding its offering on HappyKids.tv by adding many popular new titles, including “Barbie,” “Thomas & Friends” and “Hot Wheels” from Mattel, “Bakugan®...

(the above posted after July 3rd)

GOOD VIBRATIONS: JAMMIN WITH YOU INVITES THE WHOLE FAMILY TO TURN UP THE LOVE EVERY FRIDAY. Celebrity Guests Pop Up Each Week In TGIF Free Summer Concert Series July 3 To August 7 With An Added Fundraiser For Life Is Good Playmakers. Wellesley, MA (July 2, 2020) – Do you recall the hit song, Put A Little Love in Your Heart? Music maestros at Jammin With You are following the song’s lyrics, “and the world will be a better place for you and me, just wait and see…” with a free summer concert series. Everyone in the house will be off the couch and on their feet dancin’, hummin’ and jammin’ with artists Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Mister G and Josh & the Jamtones to namedrop a few headliners. Parents will recognize Tim Kubart on the Friday, August 7 roster as a Grammy Award winner for Best Children’s Album.

TAGIE AWARD NOMINATIONS KICKS OFF WITH ANNOUNCEMENT OF A NEW NAME, NEW CATEGORY AND NEW VIRTUAL PROGRAM. In the spirit and theme of “Celebration,” the TAGIE Awards will boldly continue this year by expanding its platform honoring the best and brightest innovators, designers and marketers in the toy and game industry.  The Chicago Toy & Game Group is announcing a number of changes to make the toy and game industry’s preeminent design, innovation and marketing awards bigger and better than ever. First, in acknowledgement of the global reach the 13 year old program has attained, the TAGIEs will be renamed the Toy & Game International Excellence Awards. This slight name change reflects the support of people in over 150 countries that are a part of the Chicago Toy & Game Group’s community, whether online or in person. 

Spin Master Corp. is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Glass to its Board of Directors.  Kevin was most recently Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at CIBC from 2011 to 2019, where he was responsible for financial strategy, oversight, reporting and planning as well as the use and composition of CIBC's balance sheet resources. 

HAVE YOU SPOTTED THEM? EIGHT FUNGISAURS IDENTIFIED BY CLEVER KIDS AROUND THE WORLD. HAVE YOU SPOTTED THEM? EIGHT FUNGISAURS IDENTIFIED BY CLEVER KIDS AROUND THE WORLD. Genetically Engineered Dinosaur-Mushroom Hybrids Are The Cutest Collectibles Including C-Rex… A T-Rex Mash Up With A Woolly Chanterelle. Los Angeles, CA. What do you get when you genetically cross a Velociraptor dinosaur with a Chicken of the Woods mushroom? Why even ask? Because kids everywhere have discovered Fungisaurs ($10). These imaginative collectible toys expect to be the next-big-thing with kids ages 4 and up. The whole family will dive into the topics of nature, science and biodiversity once they interact with Fungisaurs. 

SUMMERTIME AND THE LEARNING IS EASY WITH FIVE EDUTAINING ‘STEAM’ GAMES FROM OjO. Movie Director Math Or Which Way? Coding Games Boost Kids’ Comprehension While Combating The Dreaded Summer Brain Drain New York, New York (June 22, 2020) – What did you do this summer? That’s the question most kids will hear when they return to classes in the fall. Imagine a teacher’s surprise when Junior proclaims, “I built my spatial awareness, imagination and collaboration skills thanks to OjO!” The suggestion is not that far-fetched as global toymaker OjO rolls out five inviting games that really do boost, in a fun way, STEAM skills for children ages 4 and up! OjO’s motto is simple – create smart games for future innovators.

 

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

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

What’s going on with toy trade shows and events? Your guide to what is happening with all the toy and licensing trade shows and events in 2020 and early 2021. The past few months have seen the majority of physical toy, licensing and nursery trade shows and events cancelled, both here in the UK and across the globe. Many shows which were initially postponed to later dates have subsequently been cancelled...

DRAGON CON IS TOAST FOR LABOR DAY, EMERALD CITY GIVES UP ON 2020, AND 'STAR WARS' CELEBRATION LIGHT SPEEDS TO 2022

Coronavirus Convention Cancellation Round-Up. The cancellations of conventions continue into Q3 of 2020, and the outlook for the remainder of the year has become bleak.  Here are the latest conventions to cancel for 2020.

Koelnmesse has announced the cancellation of all its 2020 trade fairs due to take place before the end of October. This means that Kind + Jugend, the international trade fair for children, toddler and baby equipment, has been cancelled. The international trade fair organiser has worked hard to allay the concerns of exhibitors and visitors, but notes that, ultimately, restarting the Cologne trade fair scene isn’t..

Toymaster cancels September show, which was due to take place 2nd-4th September. The event had already been postponed from its usual May timing, with Government restrictions on gatherings now putting paid to the buying group’s plans to hold a later show. Despite support for the event, Toymaster has wisely taken the decision to cancel the 2020 show, and focus on the 2021 May event instead...

The first-ever Toy Fair Everywhere virtual market week, hosted by The Toy Association, will kick off next Monday, July 13. More than 150 exhibiting companies, as of this writing, have signed on to showcase their hottest toys and games to global buyers and media vying to see what will be trending in Q4. Created in partnership with software provider Balluun

Play-Room planning to replace September trade show with buying eventThe proposed event would still require the government to change its current policy on mass gatherings to be able to go ahead.T his buying event would differ significantly from the traditional show: a  reduced number of companies – likely to be no more than 30 or 40 – would occupy booths measuring 4m x 4m, set 2m apart and each with ...

(the above posted after July 3rd) 

CHICAGO TOY & GAME GROUP REINVENTS THE TAGIES AS THE TOY & GAME INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS, keeping the TAGIE designation while broadening its scope to honor innovators, designers, and marketers in the toy and game industry. The change celebrates the international reach of the ChiTAG community, which includes members from more than 150 countries.

Meet the Nominees for Licensing International’s Excellence Awards – Toys, Games. Nominees include companies from five countries on three continents. Licenses from the world of entertainment, lifestyle brands, museum collections and corporate trademarks are all included on the list. Overall, more than 600 entries were received this year from companies in 22 countries and were judged by a panel of 152 executives... 

Hyve Group announced that a virtual forum will replace this year’s Autumn Fair, which was due to take place on 6th-9th September.

As exclusively revealed by Toy World, the physical event has been cancelled for 2020 due to concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Timed at the beginning of September, the event is a crucial shopping destination for buyers to prepare for the Golden Quarter...

MIPCOM & MIPJunior to take place in person. After multiple shows were cancelled in response to the pandemic, Reed Midem is planning a hybrid physical and digital gathering for both events in October. The physical event will be a bit different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The French government is allowing trade shows and exhibitions with more than 5,000 attendees to take place as of September 1,

The organiser of the MCM London Comic Con, ReedPop, has announced that the October event has been cancelledCurrently the London ExCel Centre is still on standby as an emergency hospital. As the venue for MCM London Comic Con, the October show will not be able take place as planned.

The new Licensing International Small Business Global Grants Fund provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers across the globe.​ Licensing International is looking to lend a helping hand to the industry’s small business employers that are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak with the launch of its Small Business Global Grants Fund. With small businesses making up 59 per cent of its membership...

Licensing Week Virtual hailed a success. Over 32,000 unique content views and 2,900 digital meetings took place across the five-day online event. The virtual conference and exhibition secured 4,477 attendees globally from the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and more, while attendees included Build-A-Bear, Guess, Primark, Selfridges, Target and other world-renowned retailers. Some 2,933 virtual meetings...

'YU-GI-OH!' POSTPONES IN-STORE EVENTS INDEFINITELY Cancels National Championship, YCS. Konami has eliminated more events from its tournament and organized play schedule in response to the increase in daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the company announced.  Two tournament events have been canceled: the WCQ - National Championships, which had previously been postponed...

Autumn Fair, due to take place at the NEC in September, has been cancelled, a move which has been widely anticipated for some time. While there has been no official announcement as yet, several exhibitors have contacted Toy World to confirm that they have been told by a representative of the Hyve Group that the show will not take place in 2020,...

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Top Stories from Trade Magazines Worldwide this Week

Adventure Media & Events Hot 10 (US)

  1. Just Play Acquires Slinky and Shrinky Dinks Brands (The Toy Book)

  2. Hot Wheels Legends Tour Goes Virtual for the Remainder of 2020 (The Toy Book)

  3. Wil Wheaton Joins Games By Bicycle as First Global Board Game Ambassador (The Toy Book)

  4. WowWee Unleashes Power Treads All-Surface Vehicles (The Toy Book)

  5. The Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide Finds a New Home with PARENTS Magazine (The Toy Insider)

  6. Walmart Brings Summer Fun with Drive-In Movies & Virtual Camp (The Toy Insider)

  7. Ravensburger Enters the Ring with WWE Legends Royal Rumble Card Game (The Toy Insider)

  8. Yo Joe! Check Out Tons of New G.I. Joe Merch from Hasbro (The Pop Insider)

  9. SDCC: Funko Drops its First Summer Exclusives (The Pop Insider)

  10. Choose Your Fighter with Jazwares' UFC Collectibles (The Pop Insider)

aNb Media's (US)

  • Popular TikTok Content Creators WeWearCute Partner with Spin Master on New Stationery, Craft and Activities Line

  • Just Play Acquires Slinky and Shrinky Dinks

  • Spin Master Names Heather Oster as Vice President, Global Franchise Development

  • Firefly Scores New Licensing Deals for Animated Adult Cartoon Series and Brand The Freak Brothers

  • WowWee Launches Power Treads™ All-Surface Vehicles

  • Annual Opening of TAGIE Award Nominations Kicks Off with Announcement of New Name and New Virtual Program for 2020

  • Virtual Licensing Week Unites the Global Licensing Industry Highlighting Post-Pandemic Growth

  • Jazwares and UFC Bring the Action to Fans with Launch of New Collectibles Line

  • Dr. Seuss Enterprises Promotes Shannon Spisak and Jenna Marson

  • NHRA Revs Up with Castline

Toyworld (UK) 

ICv2: THE BUSINESS OF GEEK CULTURE's (US) 

  1.  WizKids Unveils Huggable 'Magic: The Gathering' Planeswalkers
  2.  Dark Horse Announces 700-Plus-Page Volume for 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe' Toy Lines
  3.  Preview: 'D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Mythic Odysseys of Theros 8 ct Brick' and 'Polukranos'
  4.  Stonemaier Games Unveils 'Pendulum'
  5.  Ravensburger Reveals WWE Card Game
  6.  Ultra Rare 'Pokemon' Card and High-Grade 'Super Mario Bros.' Cartridge Put Up on the Auction Block
  7.  Rolling for Initiative -- DCC Day Followup, Free RPG Day and Cards Against Humanity
  8.  Steve Jackson Games Unveils 'Munchkins & Mazes'
  9.  'Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG' Summons 'Phantom Rage'
10.  Asmodee USA Gets Giochi Uniti International

Spielwarenmesse Magazine-Monthly, not Weekly  (Germany) 

TOYS Magazine (Germany) 

Toy & Hobby (Australia) 

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

Tabletop Wire (US)

  On the way! 

Video of the Week

Daisy & David Snow from The Fantastic Factory Share How They Come up with Ideas with Young Inventors. Spring Challenge has closed, now accepting entries for

Young Inventor Fall Challenge. We Love Kid Inventors

 

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

 

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

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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