the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is March 12 - 19, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles are posted daily with the most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights. 

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...

Happy Friday! 

This week we celebrate the life of Gerry Crown, a beloved member of our toy & game industry family. We are very happy to have captured him in a conversation with Adi Golad last fall (video to left). Many of his friends came together virtually from around the world to pay tribute: Gerry Crown... the Kingdom of the Heart. Have your tissues ready. 

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report and for the many wonderful birthday wishes this week! Love sharing the day with Tony Serebriany, Rachel Griffin, John Bell, Tom Liddel, Melanie Notkin, Zack Weisman, Melissa Hill, Liesl Diesel and Christian Giove. Crazy how many Ides of March birthdays there are in our industry! 

Onward and Upward! 

Mary

Dear Tim . . . We're living in the 'golden age of content' with the new shows being produced and ... tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments

Hi Tim, we're living in the 'golden age of content' with all the new shows being produced and consumer at a rapid rate. How would you determine the licenses to go after in this rapidly shifting landscape? -Nick Metzler

 

Hi Nick. Spot on observation about how quickly new kid-targeted content is multiplying. And it’s not just the content, it’s the platforms that are quickly expanding too. Twenty years ago, we were contending with a well-developed cable TV universe that even then was stuffed with more choices than your child could shake a remote at. Now? YouTube channels, video game ecosystems, streaming services…is it possible Disney+ is only 16 months old? And should we count unboxing videos, influencers on TikTok, podcasts for cryin’ out loud? What a wild and bewildering content landscape it is.

 

Isn’t it awesome?

 

If storytelling is what helps children gain context for play, then there has never been a time like this. Content truly has been democratized – and the days of assuming that only a full-length feature film or 26 half-hours on Nick will drive sales are behind us. Read More...

Hape … Love Play Learn: tBR Company of the Week 

(Founder, CEO Peter Handstein)

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Hape (pronounced “hah pay”) toys! That’s 35 years of making well-crafted toys with sustainability, education, innovation and most importantly, fun, in mind. And it sure has been fun!

 

For 35 years, we’ve proudly grown to be one of the largest producers of toys made from sustainable materials, producing the highest standard of developmental green toys for children from zero to six years old. Just as we create products to grow with children, we’ve been lucky enough to grow along with them with more than 30 Hape companies globally and thousands of employees. We could not be “Hape-er” to celebrate this momentous occasion in 2021! See what we did there?

 

It comes as no surprise that last year brought on change of epic proportions to the toy industry. As a longstanding company, we’ve certainly had to adjust to the new ways we’ve communicated and developed business models to capitalize on opportunities creating sustainable product and achieving sustainable growth. That meant an internal revamp to provide even better products, more customer focus, better service and a better supply to all of Hape’s customers. This also included listening to consumer and customer feedback and insights – highlighting a core philosophy that we truly learn through play – while continuing to focus on sustainability every step of the way. Read More...

Financial & Legal News . . .

Toys "R" Us is coming back: what investors should know. Children of the 1980s and 1990s have fond memories of walking the aisles of Toys "R" Us, basking in the glory of the chain's wide selection of games, dolls, and activities. But in the years leading up to its 2017 bankruptcy, things started going downhill. Tales of half-empty stores, poor selection, and a glaring lack of customer service are only some of the reasons why...

Microsoft in talks to acquire Discord for over $10 billion. Microsoft is interested in acquiring Discord in a deal that could be worth more than $10 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg. People "familiar with the matter" claim the Xbox maker is in talks to purchase the community chat platform, but indicated that a deal was still some way off. 

February retail sales numbers deliver mixed signals for economic recovery, growth. Depending on the headlines and the data source, U.S. retail sales for February have been presented as both a fine example of year-over-year growth and one of the biggest month-over-month declines in recent history. In reality, February results are both and will probably mean little in the long haul to the overall economic recovery...

German games market reaches record high of €8.5bnThe German games market grew 32% in 2020, generating a record high of €8.5 billion in revenue. That's according to the latest report from German games industry trade body Game, based on market data from GfK and App Annie. Hardware generated €3.2 billion in revenue -- a 26% rise year-on-year that includes sales for consoles, gaming PCs and peripherals. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment acquires eSports brand Evo. Sony Interactive Entertainment and RTS, a new venture from Endeavor's esports business, announced that they had acquired the assets and properties of the fighting game event Evolution Championship Series from Triple Perfect through a joint venture esports partnership. 

Pandemic drives UK games market to record £7bn year. The UK video games market generated a record £7 billion last year. Spending on video games products and culture rose 30%, topping 2018 record by more than £1 billion. That's according to the latest annual market valuation compiled by trade body UKIE, released today to mark the start of the London Games Festival. The research shows that spending on video games software, hardware and other related products grew by 29.9% over the past year.

IronSource going public at $11.1 billion valuation. IronSource has announced it's going public via special purpose acquisition company Thoma Bravo Advantage. The two entities will merge to "bring to the public markets a highly-profitable and scalable business that provides a comprehensive business platform for app developers," IronSource said. The transaction valued the mobile marketing company at $11.1 bill...

ByteDance acquires Moonton Technology. Nuverse, which is part of ByteDance's gaming companies roster, has acquired Shanghai-based developer and publisher Moonton Technology. According to Reuters, the acquisition valued Moonton at $4 billion. In internal communications, CEO Yuan Jing clarified the studio would continue to operate independently. 

Beware scammers targeting the toy market. Toy World has been advised that the latest attempts to defraud companies involve email hacking. A fresh attempt to defraud toy companies has been brought to Toy World’s attention by Brainstorm Toys. Nick Saunders contacted us to detail the new approach that scammers are taking, so that other toy companies can be vigilant against similar attempts.

John Lewis confirms next stores to close. John Lewis has named the next eight stores to close, which will see 1465 staff affected and the store estate reduced to 34 branches. “Today’s announcement is incredibly sad news for our affected partners, for our customers and for the communities we’ve served over many years,” said John Lewis Partnership chair Sharon White.

Suez canal container ship partially refloated after blocking trade arteryTugboats work to free 400-metre ‘megaship’ as vessels gather at either end of key waterway. One of the largest container ships in the world has been partially refloated after it ran aground in the Suez canal, causing a huge jam of vessels at either end of the vital international trade artery.

Record number of containers fall into the sea. At least 2,980 containers have fallen off cargo ships in the Pacific since November, in at least six separate incidents. Hasbro’s US operation is one of the companies which has been named as having been affected. A variety of factors have been cited, including the weather, a surge in US imports tied to the pandemic, and a shipping phenomenon known as parametric rolling...

(the above posted after March 19th)

Toymaster readies for retail reopening Brian McLaughlin, retail manager at Toymaster, told Toy World how the group is helping its members prepare for the lifting of restrictions on 'non-essential' retail from next month. The group’s window display programme will begin again from April. Lego is the supporting supplier, kicking things off with its highly collectible new Vidiyo range.

Little respite in ongoing container shortage. Toy companies have been concerned about the price of shipping containers since the start of the year, when prices were hiked massively to reflect the short-term supply and demand situation. There was also a suggestion that shipping companies were looking to make up the shortfall from the ongoing operational challenges in 2020. 

Hasbro Floats Sale of eOne Music Assets, Including Lumineers' Label & Death Row Records. The company is seeking a $600 million payday, according to sources. eOne's music assets -- which are being shopped by J.P. Morgan -- include ownership of the famed Death Row Records rap catalog, Dualtone Records, Canadian label Last Gang Records, the production music operation Audio Network, a small music ...

PlayMonster Continues Cross-category Expansion with BriteBrush Acquisition.  The jump from the toy department to the oral care aisle follows a year of success for BriteBrush, which was developed and launched by WowWee at Toy Fair New York (TFNY) last year. PlayMonster plans to expand the BriteBrush line of interactive toothbrushes for kids in an effort to continue merging fun with healthy habits...

MyGames nabs minority stake in Espresso Publishing to expand hypercasual business. MyGames has acquired a minority stake in mobile publisher Espresso Publishing to expand its hypercasual business. The Russian video game company has invested an undisclosed amount in Espresso, but has the option to acquire a controlling stake as part of the deal. MyGames, which recently acquired minority stakes in three ...

WHP Global, a brand acquisition and management firm based in NY,  announced it has acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids Inc., parent company to the iconic Toys“R”Us (“TRU”), Babies“R”Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe brands, and more than 20 established related consumer toy and baby brands. Toys”R”Us and Babies“R”Us generate over $2 billion in global retail sales annually through nearly 900 branded stores and ecommerce sites in over 25 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East.

Sony jointly acquires fighting game tournament Evo. Sony Interactive Entertainment has acquired the Evolution Championship Series, alongside a new esports company called RTS. Better known as Evo, the fighting game tournament is a major event in the calendar for fans of games like Smash Bros, Street Fighter, Tekken and Mortal Kombat. The next events will be digital-only and are scheduled to take place...

Keywords Studios acquires 85% interest in Tantalus Media. Game services provider Keywords Studios has acquired a 85% interest in Tantalus Media, for a total consideration of up to $46.8 million. The initial consideration amounted to $30.6 million, including $18.4 million in cash and $12.2 million in new ordinary shares. The rest will be dependent on Tantalus' performance over two years. 

Embracer Group raising over $890m for even more acquisitionsEmbracer Group is gearing up for yet more acquisitions as it stands to raise more than $890 million. The parent of THQ Nordic and Koch Media has issued 36 million new Class B shares at SEK 210 ($24.71) per share. The process is expected to raise SEK 7.6 billion ($893.9 million), which will be used to "further strengthen the company's financial position and...

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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Can the puzzle and game boom keep up?  . . . . . Gartner: Top trends in retail for 2021 . . . Preference for local shopping (UK) set to continue

(the above posted after March 19th)

Despite It All, Hobby Games Channel Grew in 2020 . . . . . Opinion: why buy now, pay later may be one of the biggest retail trends of 2021 . . . . . Three core gaming trends of 2021, so far . . . . U.S. video game sales spiked 35% in February . . . . . Toy Trends in China: A Conversation with John Tong & Jacqueline Vong

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Mattel stock doesn't toy around with its composite rating . . . . . GameStop Ends Fiscal Year with $215 Million Loss

(the above posted after March 19th)

Board games and direct to consumer platform helps Funko to strong Q4 2020 finish . . . . . Team17 sees 2020 revenues soar after record number of game launches . . . . . Here’s One of the Best Canadian Stocks to Buy Right Now-Spin Master

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Nintendo reportedly expecting another record year for software, with a series of major games. Nintendo is reportedly expecting to ship 250 million units of software in its next fiscal year – comfortably beating its existing all-time records – thanks to a line-up of (mostly unconfirmed) blockbuster games. Per anonymous sources of Bloomberg, Nintendo has briefed some partners and suppliers on its expectations for April 2021 to March 2022, and set expectations of shipping 250 million games.

$676.64 million in sales expected for Mattel, Inc.this quarter. Equities research analysts forecast that Mattel, Inc. will report sales of $676.64 million for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $718.10 million and the lowest estimate coming in at $640.00 million. Mattel reported sales of $594.10 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 13.9%.

$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.

Hasbro, Inc. forecasted to post FY2024 earnings of $6.58 per shareHasbro, Inc. - Jefferies Financial Group issued their FY2024 earnings estimates for shares of Hasbro in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, March 9th. Jefferies Financial Group analyst S. Wissink forecasts that the company will post earnings per share of $6.58 for the year. 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

Grogu never stops eating, and now there’s a toy to match his appetite. Keep it away from the fridge. This is actually the second animatronic Grogu, following one last year that could coo and fall asleep. Hasbro’s senior design director Vickie Stratford says that when it came to creating a follow-up, “the concept of snacking opened up many fun ideas for our design and development team to create an all-new interactive experience.”

11 Secrets of LEGO Designers. Many kids (and adult fans) fantasize about getting to play with LEGO bricks all day. For the professional designers who work for the toy company, that’s their life. “It’s unfair how cool this job is,” LEGO designer Mike Psiaki confirms to Mental Floss.

Though it’s a dream job for many, designing sets for The LEGO Group has a less-glamorous side as well. 

10 ways office work will never be the same. From where we work to how our work is measured, office work will be permanently different after the pandemic. These changes represent a chance to remake work as we know it and to learn from the mistakes of our working past — if we’re thoughtful about how we enact them.

When Redditors decided to meme stock GameStop, they were irrational heroes. When moms decided to meme stock Beanie Babies, they were irrational idiots. My Mother Risked It All on the Beanie Baby Boom...  She was a Mormon homemaker who just wanted to take part in the market economy. Then it all came crashing down. (Thanks, Bob Fuhrer for sending.)

Father of girl, six, with Down's syndrome says she's 'thrilled' after she inspired toy company to make .Lottie Dolls has released a doll, called Rosie Boo, designed to resemble six-year-old Rosie Barnett, from Wiltshire, who has Down's syndrome.The new doll's release came ahead of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) on March 21, which was picked to show the unique nature of the triplication of the 21st chromosome...

What is Roblox? Everything you need to know about the latest craze. Released in 2006, Roblox grew from obscurity into a gaming juggernaut, culminating in a multi-billion-dollar public stock offering. Here's what you need to know about the game. Roblox is a video game and creation platform available on most mobile devices, consoles, and PCs. Players choose from experiences built by developers and can use...

Imported toy collectors are snapping up Japanese brand. Collecting imported toys, a hobby popular among some Chinese youngsters, has recently witnessed a new trend: snapping up Bearbrick, the Japanese cartoon-like toy bears, with prices jumping from a few thousand yuan per unit to as much as hundreds of thousands, which is partially driven by the logistic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

UK girl, 10, persuades Waitrose to stop stocking comics with plastic toys. WAITROSE will become the first retailer to ban children's magazines containing plastic toys following the campaigning of a 10-year-old girl from Wales. Skye Neville, from Fairbourne, inspired the supermarket chain to make the change after launching a petition amid concerns about the impact on the planet. 

Game studios speak out against escalating violence toward Asian communities. Several major figures in the game industry have posted statements in support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities following fatal shootings this week that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. 

Wooden toys for children: what advantages do they offer? If we go back a little to our childhood or to that of our parents and grandparents, we will realize that there have been toys made of wood or natural materials throughout our lives. What’s more, then, wooden toys were the protagonists of any home: a spinning top, a yo-yo, wooden cars, seesaws, jump ropes… Why leave behind those good childhood memories? 

The evolution of tech in toys: From play to playful learning. India has one of the largest young populations in the world. Indian toy industry is still at the budding stage with a vast consumer base of a 500-million strong young population. According to IMARC, a research platform, it is estimated that the Indian toy industry is worth over ₹10,000 crore. 

(the above posted after March 19th)

ToyWorld's (UK) John Baulch - Waiting for the bang …it’s the Friday Blog! Some of you may have picked up on the cryptic comment in last week’s Blog, which referenced imminent news about the Toymaster Show. At that stage, I was aware that the decision had been taken and that the show would not be happening in 2021. However, I was not able to announce it until the members had been notified.

Why it’s a problem that kids have been deprived of play during the pandemic. Part of the fallout from being cooped up inside for months on end and trying to avoid others during the coronavirus pandemic is that young children have not been allowed to play as much and in the ways to which they have been accustomed — and that’s a big problem for kids. Child development experts, such as Nancy Carlsson-Paige, have argued...

The First “Spirit Untamed” Trailer and It’s a Must Watch​. Did you miss it? Last weekend The Grammy Awards dropped the first trailer for the upcoming Spirit Untamed feature film and it has something extra special. In addition to bringing Lucky, Spirit, Prue and the rest of the gang back together, the trailer also features Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams”––and it’s the only place you can listen. Haven’t seen it? Keep scrolling!

Rolling for Initiative -- 'Dungeons & Dragons' as Therapy This week, Scott Thorne explains how Dungeons & Dragons is being used to help treat adults getting therapy for substance abuse or other mental health issues. An article in our local newspaper once again reminded me just how far Dungeons & Dragons has come since the days of Jack Chick’s Dark Dungeons tract.  Although the store never had any protests in....

7 most valuable collectible action figures. Writers and artists have created numerous fictional worlds over time. The idea of playing with their toys was previously attached to kids. However, some famous personalities have completely changed this belief. Adults, too, love action figures. Thousands of dollars are spent to collect these incredible 'action figures.' Moreover, once a fan of a media franchise, always a fan.

How this Nigerian entrepreneur founded a $10m toy company with just $30. At 18, Paul Orajiaka from the Nigerian Southern state of Warri was desperate to migrate to the United States for greener pastures. He was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he could only have a bright feature should he find his way to America. So desperate was he that he made several fruitless trips with his friends to the U.S. Embassy...

Why Toys"R"Us deserves another chanceYahoo Finance's Brian Sozzi and Myles Udland discuss why Toys"R"Us deserves a fair comeback, after being bought by WHP Global. It's only mid-March, but it's not too early to talk about the holiday retail season. Brian Sozzi, a name that could be back, could be back for Christmas 2021, Toys R Us. I just drove by a defunct Toys R Us up near the old neighborhood this weekend. 

Opinion | West End Farewells? – Regent Street’s Hamleys has met a modern cross-roadsWhile the past year has seen the toy industry achieve great results through channels nimble enough to adapt to the demands of the pandemic, for many a big name retailer, the road has been a rocky one. Among them, the iconic toy shop, Hamleys has suffered its fair share of knocks. With an eye for analysis, Utku Tansel LLB, MBA...

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Watch The Strong's virtual event about Shindana Toys—the Black-owned company behind the groundbreaking Baby Nancy doll. Hosted by The Strong’s Christopher Bensch, the discussion touched on Shindana Toys’ creation and evolution, their role in the community, their products, and examples of Black entrepreneurship. Speakers included Marva Smith Maxey, David Crittendon, Yolanda Hester, and Rob Goldberg.

(the above posted after March 19th)

Don’t Upset Me from Ideal. Released in 1978 by Ideal, Don’t Upset Me is a roll-and-move game with a roulette-style twist. The object of the game is to be the first player to move their playing piece around the game board and back to home base safely. To facilitate the journey home, two to four players, ages seven and up, are provided with five cone-shaped pawns whose colors correspond to matching locations...

Video Game History Hour. The Video Game History Hour podcast highlights the people who have made significant contributions to the gaming industry and shares stories seldom told outside of that world. Launched in November 2020, Video Game History Hour is the official podcast of the Video Game History Foundation. Hosted by video game historians Frank Cifaldi and Kelsey Lewin, the weekly podcast features...

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Marvel and Mondo Launch Mecha Action Figure Line With Spider-ManMondo recently announced a pair of new Spider-Man-inspired figures that are being released as part of its Marvel Mecha line of collectibles. Designed by Remy Paul and sculpted by Jay Kushwara, the figures depict Spider-Man in his traditional red-and-blue suit and in a black costume variant. "The Marvel Mecha line of collectibles began with a question...

Moose Toys and Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Join Forces for Jit Zu CollectionHeroes of Goo Jit Zu Single Figure Assortment was recognized as the No. 1 non-licensed Action Figure Item for 2020 and for Year to Date 2021, according to The NPD Group*.  Now the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu superhero-sized its line up with its latest collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC. 

Moonpig ties up with Lego for biggest ever brand launch. Moonpig has announced the biggest brand launch to date on its website, making Lego gifts available for its millions of customers. Moonpig has never launched so many new gifts from one brand before, but has revealed that the extensive partnership will pave the way for many more to come. Moonpig says that it aims to make birthday gift shopping a breeze with ...

L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance partners with Pineapple Dance StudiosGlobal fashion doll brand L.O.L. Surprise! has partnered with Pineapple Dance Studios for a series of exclusive virtual dance workshops. The free of charge workshops, aimed at encouraging children to champion self expression, get active and celebrate all things dance, took place earlier this month on Sunday 7th March, with 600 families ...

Global games and puzzles firm YWOW takes on US market with Kraft Heinz line-up. The international games and puzzle company, YWOW Brands has made its big move on the American market with the launch of a new range of Kraft Heinz branded novelty puzzles. The deal was brokered by Kraft Heinz’s exclusive licensing agency, Brand Central, and arrives as YWOW continues to make waves on the global games...

Hasbro reveals new Ghostbusters Kenner Classics toys. It’s a (proton) blast from the past with the Ghostbusters Kenner Classics Ecto-1 from Hasbro! Inspired by The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, with design and deco influenced by the toys from the 80s, the Kenner Classics Ecto-1 toy features moving wheels, an opening tailgate, a roof-mounted swivel blaster seat, and a deployable ghost claw so kids can imagine bustin’ ...

Tiger Woods inks long-term exclusive deal with 2K. 2K made a hole in one today by announcing the Company has agreed to an exclusive, long-term partnership with Tiger Woods, one of the most iconic and celebrated figures in golf history. In addition, 2K announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held HB Studios Multimedia Ltd., developers of the critically acclaimed and commercially ...

Universal’s Jurassic World joins the Wow! Stuff lineupWow! Stuff inked a deal with Universal Brand Development to create a new line of toys and collectibles inspired by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World franchise. The new lineup from Wow! Stuff includes a Drop ‘n Pop Dinosaur Egg that kids can drop onto any hard surface to reveal a soft plush dinosaur. 

The Noble Collection preps ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ 40th Anniversary Collection, more Universal collectiblesThe Noble Collection inked an expanded deal with Universal Brand Development to bring more properties from NBCUniversal to market in the year ahead. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Amblin Entertainment’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 2022, 

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People . . . 

The LEGO Foundation names new CEO. Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen will take over from John Goodwin, overseeing research activities and strategic partnerships that impact the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation has named Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen as its new CEO, taking over the role on September 1. Albrectsen will succeed current CEO John Goodwin, who has headed up the organization since 2017 and will continue ...

WILL NIEBLING AWARDED RICK LOOMIS SERVICE AWARD. For Contributions to the Games Industry. Will Niebling has been awarded the Rick Loomis Service Award for contributions to the games industry, the Game Manufacturers Association announced.  The award was created to honor the legacy of the late GAMA co-founder and longtime owner of Flying Buffalo Games, who passed away in 2019.

In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Warren Schorr, VP of business development and global licensing for Crayola. Prior to joining Crayola in 2010, Schorr held executive roles at Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and MGM. Now he works to grow and extend a brand that has become a true “household name,” with brand recognition in 99% of U.S. homes.

Cocktails with the Creators  – The most recent talk was with Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductee Tom Kalinske, where he shares stories of his leadership roles at Sega of America, Inc., Mattel, Leapfrog, and beyond using the original toys and games from the collections of The Strong National Museum of Play.

The Preteen’s Guide to Getting Rich Off YouTube. Ryan Kaji’s video empire makes most of its revenue from merchandise, not ads. Ryan Kaji is one of the most popular YouTube creators in the world, with a main channel that’s drawn 29 million subscribers interested in watching the 9-year-old open new toys, exercise, or do crafting projects. For Ryan and his family, that audience has translated into millions of dollars in ...

ZAG builds LatAm licensing team Former Viacom exec Angela Cortez will head up CP business in the region, while Eva Rodriguez takes on a new global licensing role. Cortez will lead new business development efforts across the Latin American region, and will also manage a team of local licensing agents representing the company’s brands there, including Gloob, Tycoon and IMC. 

Cineflix Rights taps Tim Mutimer as CEO The former Banijay Rights exec will manage distribution of Cineflix's catalogue of proprietary and third-party content, including kids titles Pet School and Whizz Kids. Based in London, Mutimer will step into the role this summer after current CEO Chris Bonney retires, according to a Cineflix Rights spokesperson.

Richard Hollis joins HTI as licensing manager The appointment of Richard Hollis to oversee HTI's portfolio of licensed properties follows the news that Michelle Dalziel will be leaving the company. HTI Toys has announced that Michelle Dalziel, senior licensing and marketing manager, will be leaving the company this spring to pursue a career in her family business. Richard brings with him a wealth of experience gained from....

Tiger Head Toys welcomes Fernando Del Rio as global sales director. Fernando Del Rio will oversee Tiger Head's extensive portfolio of properties which includes Super Cute Little Babies, Baby Gemmy and Hamstars. Fernando brings with him wide ranging experience in the entertainment and toy industries, following a successful career which has included working at Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Famosa...

(the above posted after March 19th)

Talking Games with Patrick Matthews on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Patrick Matthews, project manager at Triller and president of Live Oak Games. On the show, Albritton and Matthews explore the value and challenges of creating complex, story-based games, and the differences between developing digital and physical games. Additionally, the duo has a conversation about the negative aspects of games that are purely engineered for addiction.

Talkin’ Toys: Storypod co-founder Daniel Buelhoff describes the creation of this Kickstarter success. The Toy Book chatted with Daniel Buelhoff, co-founder and CEO of Storypod, an audio-based, screenless storytelling toy for kids. Storypod launched on Kickstarter last summer, ultimately raising more than $240,000 for the project. The toy officially went on sale this month at storypod.com, and we talked to Buelhoff...

Sesame Workshop creates new D&I role. Wanda Witherspoon, with 20 years of Sesame Workshop experience, will be the company's first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. Witherspoon previously served as VP of public affairs and special events, but she will now focus on driving all of the not-for-profit company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

Clementoni welcomes Nicola Beglin as national account manager. In her new role, Nicola will oversee key existing accounts and explore new business opportunities to help maintain Clementoni’s positive growth trend. Leading infant, science and puzzle brand, Clementoni, is delighted to announce the appointment of Nicola Beglin to the role of national account manager.

James Luff joins DKB Toys & Distribution UK team. Focusing on independent trade accounts, James will be key to growth at DKB, helping to devise and implement initiatives to develop the business. In response to a surge in new account signings, DKB Toys & Distribution has announced the appointment of James Luff as account manager, to focus on growing and nurturing independent trade accounts.

Interview with Elspeth Fawcett, Mother of 3 & Founder at Environmental Toy Company: Yummikeys. Yummikeys is a small, mum-owned business based in Scotland. We create environmentally sound, plastic-free toys and feeding necklaces, as well as keepsake necklaces. All products we make are fully carbon offset and made in an ethical manufacturer.

Melissa & Doug co-founder on confronting her depression. Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of toy company Melissa & Doug, seemed to have it all. The firm that she started in 1988 with her husband Doug grew into an iconic brand worth a billion dollars. But despite the trappings of success, Bernstein still experienced an existential depression. Now for the first time she's opening up about her lifelong mental health battle in a new...

Jade Raymond announces new Sony game studio just weeks after leaving StadiaLongtime industry veteran Jade Raymond is heading up a new studio that will create original games for PlayStation. Raymond announced the news today via the PlayStation Blog. “We want to create worlds where players can escape, have fun, express themselves, and find community,” Raymond wrote about the new studio, Haven.

Silas Chu appointed HKTDC regional director Europe, Central Asia & IsraelSilas Chu’s appointment at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) took effect from 23rd February 2021. Silas has already begun to supervise the HKTDC’s 13 offices in Europe, Central Asia and Israel (Almaty, Barcelona, Budapest, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Tel Aviv, Stockholm and Warsaw). 

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Companies . . .

Mattel taps Audi, Porsche, Land Rover, and Mercedes for Matchbox toy cars relaunch. Mattel is launching an all-new range of Matchbox vehicles that will pay homage to the most iconic car manufacturers in Europe including Land Rover, Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche. The new range from Matchbox will celebrate names from across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia, featuring 100 per cent licensed vehicles...

Barbie hits the runway with new reality show Mattel Television is partnering with Mission Control Media to develop design competition series Barbie Fashion Battle. Barbie Fashion Battle‘s 12 adult contestants will be divided into two teams—each headed by a celebrity fashion icon—to compete for a cash prize and an opportunity to design a line of Barbie doll fashions for the Mattel Creations e-commerce and content platform.

Sesame launches new racial justice resources Launching amidst a rise in violent attacks against Asian Americans, the "ABCs of Racial Literacy" content package aims to dismantle racism, says Kay Wilson Stallings. “ABCs of Racial Literacy” focuses on helping families celebrate their own unique identities, and provides kids with age-appropriate strategies to address questions around race and racism. 

From Almost Bankrupt to Most Profitable Toy Company; Lessons From LEGO. Reflecting on popular toy brands throughout the years, none stand out quite like LEGO. Today, LEGO is one of the largest, most profitable toy companies in the world. With so much success, it's easy to forget the company at one point was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 2003, LEGO was $800 million in debt. How did this household brand ever bounce...

Mattel, Twitter And Adobe Sign Equal Pay Pledge. California women lose a combined total of $78.6 billion each year because of the gender pay gap, and California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) are committed to reducing that figure.  Today, Equal Pay Day, they made some significant progress announcing that eight new companies...

(the above posted after March 19th)

Mattel: Empowering Kids for Over 75 Years. The global toy giant continues to foster innovation, imagination and inspiration among the next generation. When you think of toys, you think of Mattel. Which doll is more iconic than Barbie? Who hasn’t seen a Thomas & Friends railway instantly evoke a smile on a child’s face? Which retail toy aisle doesn’t boldly feature at least a half-dozen must-have Fisher-Price products...

Nickelodeon’s new slate is packed with social media-focused content and, oddly, characters named Ruby. At its upfront presentation yesterday, the kidcaster unveiled four upcoming shows in addition to a roster of previously announced Paramount+ projects. Corus-owned prodco Nelvana has two new concepts headed to Nickelodeon—ZJ Sparkleton and The Hamster Show (working titles). 

FAO Schwarz to open first flagship store in Italy A partnership with Prénatal Retail Group will see FAO Schwarz open a flagship store in Milan in 2021, before exploring further expansion in Europe. ThreeSixty Group is partnering with Prénatal Retail Group, one of the largest toy retailers in Europe, to introduce the FAO Schwarz brand, retail store and eCommerce concepts to Italy, with an eye to expand in to Spain, France, Portugal...

Monopoly will update Community Chest cardsHasbro, Inc. announced that for the first time in its 85+ years, Monopoly will be changing all 16 of its Community Chest Cards. True to its longstanding history of inviting its fans to help make changes to the game, and during a time when community means more than ever before, Monopoly is asking consumers worldwide to determine the new cards by voting at ...

Spirit Untamed toy and lifestyle lines launch at retailAs fans gear up for the next chapter of DreamWorks Animation’s high-stakes adventure about a fearless girl and her beloved, wild Mustang, Spirit Untamed, Universal Brand Development launches a dynamic cross-category consumer-products program, inspired by the highly anticipated feature film. DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit Untamed launches summer 2021...

How Hasbro is phasing out plastic packaging. The global toy company plans to eliminate all plastic packaging for new products by the end of 2022 and is introducing two new products that will “bring sustainability to family game night.” “We're trying to sell toys, but we're also trying to genuinely make the world a better place and hopefully preserve some of the resources that this world has left to offer our kids,” said...

University Games to remove single use plastic from portfolio as part of its Taking Steps to Protect Our Planet push. UGis taking positive strides to improve their environmental impact in 2021, in its quest to be the most environmentally friendly games and puzzles company in the UK. As part of its plans, the games, puzzles and gift specialist has created a new ‘Taking Steps to Protect Our Planet’ logo that will help enforce

Mattel Teams up with Pizza Pizza and Pizza to Celebrate UNO in Canada. Canadian families can now order a hot pizza pie with a side order of UNO. Mattel entered into a partnership with Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73 locations across Canada to offer a special UNO Combo featuring a co-branded UNO deck to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the popular card game. 

No Kiddin’ Around | Why Playmobil is taking the adult fan market seriously this year and beyond. It doesn’t take a DeLorean for a journey into your own past, but it certainly does help, as more and more toy companies are seeing audience numbers increase across their kidult product offering. Among them, is Playmobil, a company that is blazing a new trail with its expanded Back to the Future line-up this year.

Wise Wizard Games offers direct-to-retail purchasingWise Wizard Games announced that they will be offering direct-to-retail purchasing for their games for Wizards Retailer Guild Member stores. The direct purchase program is only open to brick-and-mortar stores who sign up to become Wizards Retailer Guild Members, and all payments for products must be made via credit card. 

Lucky Duck will bring Game Trayz to global retailIn their GAMA Expo presentation, Lucky Duck Games revealed that they will be partnering with Game Trayz to bring their products to retail. Additionally, they will launch a kids brand called Lucky Duck Kids, and have two titles in the works.  Lucky Duck Games struck a deal with Game Trayz to bring their inserts and organizers to the global market. 

This kid-friendly 3D printer is the toy you wished you had growing upOne of the perks of being a parent is watching your childhood dreams come true for someone much younger and smaller than you, and one of the best examples is 3D printer technology. Now, anything that you can imagine can become a physical reality, provided you have the proper tools and know-how.

Brainstorm’s Eugy sales grow as range expands. 2021 sees Brainstorm entering its third year collaborating with New Zealand manufacturer Dodoland as distributor of the popular Eugy range. Brainstorm initially launched with eight models but plans to have over 40 of the cute animal craft projects in stock ready for the second half of 2021. Eugy is an eco-friendly craft collectible that allows children to create their own 3D...

How Waffles + Mochi found its puppeteers. With diversity in mind, Higher Ground had to broaden its search for talent way beyond the usual suspects, says Qadriyyah Shamsid-Deen. Significant headway has been made over the past year to improve diversity behind the scenes of the kids entertainment industry. But when Higher Ground Productions started casting its new series Waffles + Mochi, the studio realized...

Jazwares’ First Act to Sponsor Virtual #SchoolsGotTalent. ClassTag and Jazwares announced the second annual #SchoolsGotTalent virtual talent show, sponsored by Jazwares’ musical instrument brand, First Act. Bringing together ClassTag’s community of more than 25,000 schools and five million parents, the #SchoolsGotTalent contest invites children from across the nation to submit their talent performances for the...

Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest Announced for April 9, a brand-new collector-focused event. Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest brings collectors a schedule filled with exciting brand panels that will offer exclusive news and opportunities to secure their favorite products before anyone else, as well as special guest appearances including Henry Golding, star of the upcoming film Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins and cast members of the new series Power ...

Hasbro is celebrating the 65th anniversary of Play-Doh by skipping to the end that most cans of the famous compound face: they get all mixed up. According to Hasbro, kids’ true colors likely end in muddy grey, and with that in mind, they’re ready to “bring parents face-to-face with their unavoidable, cringeworthy compound truth” with the very first can of pre-mixed Play-Doh Compound. 

Russian Cosmonaut Inspires Mattel to Create New Barbie Doll.  ​Kikina, who has worked for Roscosmos since 2016, said Mattel’s new creation will send a signal that with hard work, anyone can become a cosmonaut. "We don’t expect every girl, who play with this doll to become a cosmonaut. The most important thing is for them to understand that every girl has a choice, they can choose any profession they like"...

eOne announces new content plans for Peppa Pig. The new content plan for Peppa Pig includes 104 new episodes, ensuring a continuous pipeline of fresh content through to 2027. Hasbro’s global content studio, eOne, has outlined a new content plan for Peppa Pig which confirms that 104 x 5” episodes have been greenlit for production, ensuring a continuous pipeline of fresh content through to 2027.

This Toy Company Reopened Its Office. Here's What Its Employees Think. When Basic Fun! CEO Jay Foreman told his employees to come back to work last summer, not everyone was happy. Here's what their operation looks like today. A dozen years ago, Jay Foreman (below) started a company that makes toys, including classics like Tonka trucks, Care Bears, and Lincoln Logs. It’s called, appropriately, Basic Fun! 

Hasbro Gives Brand A Starring Role.  Since the 1990s, toy manufacturer Hasbro has promoted its Nerf brand of foam balls and dart blasters with the slogan “It’s Nerf or Nothin’. Now, Hasbro’s strategy for the brand could be described as “It’s Nerf in Everything.” As Hasbro seeks to transform itself from manufacturer to multi-dimensional and multimedia powerhouse with three operating units—digital, entertainment...

Asmodee announces three distribution dealsAsmodee USA announced three new distribution deals today, adding the Tabletop Tycoon lines and beginning exclusive relationships with Thundergryph Games and Fantasia Games.  The Tabletop Tycoon lines, including Victory Point games, Starling Games, Flying Meeple, Spark works, and Polyhero Dice will be available to Asmodee customers beginning April 2 ...

Arcane Wonders reveals 'Aquatica: Cold Waters'. Arcane Wonders revealed Aquatica: Cold Waters, a new expansion for Cosmodrome's Aquatica board game, for release in spring 2021. Aquatica: Cold Waters adds new modules to the base game, and allows games of Aquatica to support a fifth player. It also offers new location types, new cards for Ocean’s creatures, and mechanic that replaces the goal-track. 

Devir will release two 'Mazescape' games into U.S. retail. Devir Games will release MazEscape Labyrinthos and MazEscape Ariadne into U.S. retail in late spring 2021. MazEscape is a one player game where the goal is to find the exit to a labyrinth. These games include seven maps that the player needs to transverse using a compass rose, a pointer, and their wits. In MazEscape Labyrinthos, the player makes their way ...

Wizards of the Coast to Launch Dark Alliance in June. Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, Inc. announced that Dark Alliance, the explosive action roleplaying game that builds upon the rich lore of the Forgotten Realms in Dungeons & Dragons, launches on June 22, 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One Consoles and Xbox Series X|S. “Dark Alliance marks an important milestone for us...

Steve Jackson Games' 'Random Fun Generator' is headed to retailSteve Jackson Games announced that a retail version of their Random Fun Generator will hit stores in August. Steve Jackson Random Fun Generator, which raised $90,423 from 3,930 backers on Kickstarter (about $23 a backer), is headed for a retail release. This game box is chockfull of fast-playing dice games for all ages. 

MasterPieces announces Elf on the Shelf license dealDirect from the North Pole, MasterPieces, Inc. announces a license agreement with The Lumistella Company to deliver a line of puzzles and games featuring Santa’s famous helper, The Elf on the Shelf. This holiday season Santa will get some extra daily reminders about children having fun with new puzzles and games featuring the phenomenally popular The Elf on the Shelf. 

Funko unveils 'Seinfeld' Pop! dolls. Funko is launching a line of products based on the TV show "Seinfeld." Funko's "Seinfeld" program includes vinyl Pop! figures, as well as backpacks, wallets, glassware, T-shirts and the new Funko Games party-starter, "The Party Game About Nothing." Figures include "Jerry" wearing The Puffy Shirt, "Elaine," "George" and "Kramer." 

Genius Brands, Tankee bring Roblox to Kartoon Channel! The ever-expanding world of Roblox is coming to Kartoon Channel! thanks to a new partnership deal between Genius Brands International and Tankee. Production is underway for an all-new, 12-episode Roblox series that will feature top Roblox influencers and will begin streaming on Kartoon Channel! in June. 

Dan Dee International named 2020 Walmart Sustainability Supplier of the Year. Walmart recently held its seventh annual Supplier Growth Forum as a virtual event in place of the usual in-person gathering that typically takes place in Rogers, Arkansas. Amid the yearly updates on the retail giant’s strategic initiatives, key focus areas, future growth strategies, 

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

Alienware’s latest gaming laptops can now be configured with Cherry MX switchesAlienware and Cherry have worked together to cram what both companies are calling the “first true” mechanical keyboard into a gaming laptop. Starting March 18th, you’ll be able to purchase Alienware’s M15 R4 or M17 R4 laptops and upgrade them to a Cherry MX mechanical keyboard for an extra $150 at checkout. 

Google Play halves its fee to 15% for devs' first $1M revenue per yearGoogle is following in Apple's footsteps and making changes to how it handles revenue splits on mobile. The tech giant has announced plans to reduce the standard cut it takes from all Google Play revenue from 30 % to 15 %, but only for developers earning under a certain threshold each year. Starting on July 1, any developer or publisher launching...

Blizzard cuts 50 employees in move to reduce its esports business. Blizzard Entertainment has laid off at least 50 employees (in the midst of a global pandemic), a move that the company tells Bloomberg News is part of a plan to de-emphasize in-person esports events that have been on hiatus for about a year. A company spokesperson stated that “players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally...

97% of UK games vacancies are based in offices despite pandemicAlmost all jobs currently advertised across the UK games industry are for positions based in offices, studios and other shared premises -- despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The revelation comes from the first monthly report by Games Jobs Live, which monitors and analyses vacant positions advertised directly on employers' websites..

Wonderstorm taps Brotherwise for 'Dragon Prince' minis game. Brotherwise Games has reached a deal with Wonderstorm to produce The Dragon Prince:  Battlecharged, a miniatures-based board game inspired by the Emmy Award-winning animated Netflix series, with release set for this fall. The game combines elements of tactical miniatures games and card-based battle games.  .

Animal Crossing breaks Nintendo's European sales record. Almost exactly a year after its launch, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold seven million copies across Europe -- the largest first-year total for any Nintendo game in the region. According to figures from Nintendo, the seven million sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons represents one-third of all Switch owners in Europe. In its financial report for...

Twitch and Facebook Gaming exploded during the pandemic — and they’re even bigger a year laterThe biggest finding in this month’s report is that, in terms of hours watched, both Twitch and Facebook Gaming are up around 80 percent year over year. To be slightly more specific: Twitch has grown by 82 percent, while Facebook Gaming grew by 79 percent. 

Logitech’s new gaming-focused earbuds play nicely with USB-C devices. Logitech’s latest earbuds, a $50 model called the G333, are unremarkable in terms of design, with a flat cable that houses an inline remote and mic, swappable silicone ear tips, and the ability to connect to gadgets via a 3.5mm jack. What makes them stand out is the included 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter.

PS5 and Switch sales spike in February | UK Monthly Boxed Charts. Over 200,000 games consoles were sold in the UK during February. The latest data from GfK shows it was a bumper month for the console market, driven by an influx of new PS5 stock and a boost in Switch sales driven by the launch of the new Mario game: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. 

Chess category booming as Twitch hours watched in February grew 82%The Chess category on Twitch has reached a new milestone of over 21 million hours watched in February 2021, according to data from Rainmaker.gg, StreamElements' analytics partner. That represents massive growth from February 2020, when it drew 1 million hours watched. StreamElements noted that chess viewership surged ...

Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Fake import goods to Japan spike amid 'Demon Slayer' anime boom. Fake merchandise relating to the smash hit anime and manga series "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" have contributed to a significant boost in the number of counterfeit goods suspended from import at Osaka Customs in 2020 for violating intellectual property law, the authorities have revealed, Among the fake items contributing to the rapid ...

Press Releases . . . 

TWEEN INVENTOR’S DEBUT BOARD GAME ENJOYING SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS WITH TOP TOY HONORS. Candy Collections! 11-Year-Old Creator Wins Tillywig, Hot Diggity Awards And A Spotlight As Bloom Report’s Person Of The Week. Fairfax Station, VA (March 25, 2021) – Chess, Scrabble, Monopoly? Browse any child’s toy shelf and there’s bound to be several classic board games. The best games can be based on strategy, chance or a combination of the two. Candy Collections! ($24.99) “has all the makings of an instant classic!” proclaimed Tillywig Awards this week, who made its 11-year-old inventor a Tillywig Spring 2021 Best Family Fun Award Winner. 

STRETCHEEZ™ SERVES UP A HANDS-ON CULINARY ADVENTURE WITH APPETIZING PLAY FOOD SETS. Open-Ended Play Has Never Looked More Delicious: Thin Air Brands Introduces Stretchy and Squishy Pizza, Burger, Burrito & Snacks Play Food. Letting kids experiment with food choices is the delicious idea behind the launch of Stretcheez™ play food sets. Kids add toppings to pizza or build a burrito with yummy components. There’s no mess and no waste because it’s all make-pretend! Stretcheez secret sauce, so to speak, is the tactile compound of a stretchable, squishable base that feels like dough and moves like slime. Youngsters are encouraged to handle but never taste the many...

LOST FOR WORDS? JAMBO BOOK CLUB OFFERS A LIBRARY OF BIPOC STORYBOOKS TO TEACH CHILDREN EMPATHY The Right Bedtime Story With A Kiss Goodnight Can Make Kids Better Equipped With Values Of Respect, Justice, Tolerance, Love For An Equitable Tomorrow.  Take a look at your child’s bookshelf. Count how many stories feature a child of color. How many feature a character of Asian heritage? On the Autism spectrum? If the answer is none or only a few, consider a subscription to Jambo Books ($34.99/month) at JamboBooks.com to improve your family’s window of the world.

(the above posted after March 19th)

eeBoo FILLS IN THE PIECES, WITH LOVE,TO CELEBRATE WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH WITH EDUTAINING PUZZLES & GAMES. Spotlighting Women’s History Month: From Jane Austen’s Book Club and Viva La Vida Frida Kahlo 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzles to Children’s Votes For Women 100 Piece Puzzle. If you don’t know eeBoo and eeBoo Piece & Love, you should. Woman-owned and mother-run for over 25 years, eeBoo is a lifestyle brand that prominently features female artists and illustrators from around the world, environmentally sustainable vibrant design, and fresh themes to celebrate this monthˆInternational Women’s Day and Women’s History Month!

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals

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

New date confirmed for The Fence Club Charity Golf Day The event will take place on Wednesday 23rd June in Harrogate, with the Fence Club hoping it will be the first social event for 17 months. An open invitation has been extended to all toy industry golfers to attend the event, with organiser Simon Anslow confirming: “You do not need to be invited by a member of the Fence Club. Bookings can be from single players...

(the above posted after March 19th)

The Outdoor Toy Awards is making its return for 2021 The Outdoor Toy Awards is making a return for 2021, offering specialists across the sector the chance to be crowned the ‘must-haves for get-out and play time,’ and securing coverage within national children’s publications ahead of the summer. Organised and founded by Toyology’s Peter Jenkinson, the Outdoor Toy Awards 2021 promise to “do things a …

GEN CON PUSHED BACK, FORMAT NOW INCLUDES FLGS POP-UPS. September Becomes a Marathon of Major Game Shows. After postponing Gen Con badge registration and event submission earlier this year (see "Gen Con Pushes Back Badge Registration and Event Submission"), Gen Con LLC. has decided to move the entire event from August 5-8, 2021 to September 16-19, 2021 and convert it to a hybrid live/online format.

Guangdong Boutique International Trade Fair kicks off on virtual platform this week. The Guangdong Boutique International Trade Fair – Toy Fair, has taken on its virtual form this year, currently being hosted online on the International Trade Online Expo platform. The fair kicks off today, March 15th 2021 and will run for the next four days, until March 19th. The move was decided upon in order to ‘provide more...

Toymaster show cancelled Restrictions on travel and gatherings mean the buying group has pushed its annual show back to 2022. As a result of this, the Toymaster board has decided that the May Show will not take place in 2021, and the next show will be at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate May 17-19th 2022.

RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

Gerry Crown - Founder of Crown & Andrews (Australia), an Entrepreneur, Bon Vivant, Champion Rally Driver, Serious Golfer, Loving Husband and Father and a real English Gentleman passed away March 12th, 2021 peacefully in his sleep. A beloved member of our toy & game industry family, we are very happy to have captured him in a video conversation with Adi Golad last fall. Many of his friends came together virtually from around the world to pay tribute: Gerry Crown... the Kingdom of the Heart. 

Peter A. Flihan, Jr., Peter started as a buyer at B.Altman & Co, Buyer for Child World, Commonwealth Toy and then seeing a niche in that market, he and Linda Hejduk started their own stuffed toy manufacturer, Westcliff Limited. His son Peter joined them soon after, where they enjoyed more than a dozen years in business, travelling extensively to South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China.

Brian Dalrymple  a game retailer since the 1980s, at Dragon’s Lair and later at The Adventure Game Store in Davie, Florida. He was involved with GAMA for at least 20 years, and was elected Secretary and Board Member in 2003, a role he held until 2019.  His even keel, competence, and generally pleasant demeanor kept him on the board through numerous regime changes.  Dalrymple was also a game publisher, most recently as co-founder of Alligator Alley Entertainment, which published the Esper Genesis Heroic Sci-Fi Roleplaying Game.

Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape passed away at the age of 94. Ottens was an engineer at Philips, which reports that more than 100 billion cassette tapes have been sold worldwide.

Frank Thorne - He was 90 at the time of his death on March 7. Thorne started working in comics in 1948(!), but was best known for his work on Red Sonja, a character he started drawing in 1976, at a time when the character was being developed in the Robert E. Howard Conan universe by Barry Windsor-Smith and writer Roy Thomas.  Thorne provided most of the art for the Red Sonja solo series, which ran from 1977-1979. Thorne also created some of his own characters, including Ghita of Alizarr in an original graphic novel, Lann in Heavy Metal, Danger Rangerette in National Lampoon, and others. Thorne worked for Standard Comics and DC in addition to Marvel; did newspaper strips, including Perry Mason; wrote a number of books for Fantagraphics; and did magazine illustration work for Playboy, Hustler, High Times, and Vanity Fair.

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Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. WHP Acquires Controlling Stake in Toys"R"Us

  1. IMC Toys is Hiring for Three Positions

  1. PlayMonster Acquires BriteBrush

  1. Play-Doh Releases 65th Anniversary 'All Mixed Up' Can

  1. Spirit Untamed Toy and Lifestyle Lines Launch at Retail

  1. Monopoly Will Update Community Chest Cards

  1. Irene Weibel Joins Portfolio Entertainment

  1. Batman, Superman, & more Join Heroes of Goo Jit Zu

  1. eOne Announces Peppa Pig Content Plan Through 2027

  1. The Noble Collection Expands NBCUniversal Partnership

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Waiting for the bang …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Wow! Stuff unveils new Jurassic World lineup

  3. Little respite in ongoing container shortage

  4. TRU has new owners in WHP Global and teases return to US retail

  5. FAO Schwarz to open first flagship store in Italy

  6. H. Grossman’s Pushpoppers land in UK stores

  7. Exclusive: Toymaster readies for retail reopening

   8. Toymaster confirms 2021 show cancelled

   9.  Moonpig ties up with Lego for biggest ever brand launch

  10. Brainstorm’s Eugy sales grow as range expands

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

  1.  Asmodee Acquires Plan B Games
  2.  Games Workshop Sales through Independent Retailers Up 32% in North America
  3.  Renegade Game Studios' Printings of 'Vampire: The Masquerade 5E' Books are Headed to Retail
  4.  White Wizard Games Transforms Into Wise Wizard Games
  5.  Asmodee Announces Three Distribution Deals
  6.  Gen Con Pushed Back, Format Now Includes FLGS Pop-Ups
  7.  WizKids Reveals 'Marvel Heroclix: Avengers Fantastic Four Empyre' Set
  8.  GW Brings 'Piety and Pain' to 'Warhammer 40,000'
  9.  Toys 'R' Us Brands Sold Again
10.  Funko Closes Year Strong

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

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

Total Licensing

The Bugg Report

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Ready, Steady, Worm! Pre-order, Asmodee Acquires Plan B Games
River Horse has a new Labyrinth-themed game available for pre-order, Asmodee has acquired the company behind Azul, and Renegade Game Studios has announced a new Clank! In! Space! expansion.


Video of the Week! 

This week we celebrate the life of Gerry Crown, a beloved member of our toy & game industry family. We are very happy to have captured him in a conversation with Adi Golad last fall (video). Many of his friends came together virtually from around the world to pay tribute: Gerry Crown... the Kingdom of the Heart. Have your tissues ready. 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher