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March 25 - April 1, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Are You a Marketing and PR Pro? Attend the POP Quarterly Education Webinars to Keep on Top of Trends! First event is April 21st 1-4pmET

Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

Thank you to the 60+ companies that took our quick poll on the current staffing status of your workplaces and your appetite for industry events. You can view the complete results HERE.  An overview shows: 39% are remote, 36% are hybrid and 25% in-person at this time. Regarding managing employee health and safety, the results were varied and we have listed all comments with the results. 

 

Thoughts regarding in-person events in the coming year were: 74% plan to attend trade shows, 47% plan to exhibit, 13% plan not to attend, and 5% plan not to exhibit. Comments about what shows people planned to attend and their thoughts on NYTF in the fall and the ASTRA Toy Boat were widely varied (no surprise). You can read all the unedited comments with the complete results HERE. We are in interesting times! 

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. Have you checked out the new Bloom Report News Feed?

Mary

"I am a long-time reader and champion of the Bloom Report. The quantity of quality articles on so many different aspects of our industry  is unmatched and  I regularly share and discuss them with my management team as an important business tool."  - Jim Engle, President and Founder, Little Kids Inc. 

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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers

The Incredible Power of Nurturing

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This spring (early here in sunny California), I witnessed the incredible power of Nature and her amazing nurturing instinct. 

 

The story begins when my partner, Jim Mital, hung a hummingbird feeder in our backyard last year…for months, Jim (an amateur photographer) and I enjoyed watching the hummingbirds come and feed.  We have since read that a feeder can help make a spot feel more hospitable to a mommy bird canvassing locations for a nest.  Easy access to critical resources like food are not to be underestimated and feeders make it much easier for moms to feed their young: (note from editor: beautiful photos of birds online in Nancy's full article not to be missed)

But we don’t know this on February 11th when I stumbled upon a little nest while trimming one of my palm trees in the backyard.  It was a thrilling discovery!  Mama Bird was amazingly still as she sat on her eggs, and I thought about how much patience we humans also need to be good mothers . . .  READ MORE . . . 

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Person of the Week - Bob Moog

The University Games Story

Adventure, Hard Work, Lots of Fun and a Great Deal of Good Fortune

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The story of University Games is a story of adventure, hard work, lots of fun and a great deal of good fortune. We started the company on April 1, 1985 with two founders and a receptionist. We had a small office in Menlo Park, CA and $20,000 in a checking account.  The founders, Bob Moog and Cris Lehman were college friends. That was part of where the name University Games came from. The other part of our name came from our initial plan to focus on distribution to university students through university bookstores. Our first product was Murder Mystery Party which has stayed in our line for 36 years. Our second product was the Aerobie which is now part of Spinmaster. We had other early products which were intended for college age audiences which included Topspin and Spinout (Binary Arts), Dare (Parker Brothers) and Rubiks Magic (Matchbox). Putting these distribution deals together led to lifetime friendships with people like Bill Ritchie, Andrea Barthello, Tom Kalinske and Phil Orbanes.

 

While we didn’t have a mission statement we did have 3 guiding principles:

  1. Be profitable (and we have for 34 of our 36 years)

  2. Friendship before business success (Need an entire new article to explain)

  3. Have Fun everyday (we haven’t done great here, but have had our moments)  READ MORE . . . 

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Person of the Week - Terri-Nichelle Bradley

Founder of Brown Toy Box, on a Mission to Disrupt Generational Poverty

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What are your roles and responsibilities in our industry?

I am the founder and CEO of educational toy company, Brown Toy Box. I’m active in the Atlanta education and business community as an equity advocate in the Learn4Life Network, a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, and serve as the Atlanta chapter chair of Women in Toys.

 

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

My mission is to disrupt generational poverty. Brown Toy Box is purpose-driven and centered around celebrating Black and Brown children. Our mission is to introduce STEAM to Black and Brown children and provide early exposure to career opportunities and inspire them through play. At Brown Toy Box, we do this in 2 ways. The first is through retail, selling our STEAM kits and toys. The second is through our work  with Title 1 schools. Title 1 schools are high poverty schools. We created versions of our STEAM kits for schools in effort to make sure we reach kids who are just as smart and deserving, but who just don’t have the means. We get to expose them to STEAM activities and careers as well. Some of my top media highlights include Bloomberg NewsThe Tamron Hall ShowTechstination, and  named to Inc. Magazine’s 2020 Female Founders 100 list.

READ MORE . . . 

Financial and Legal

 

Property from The Strong National Museum of Play’s collection realized more than $821,600, doubling its expected estimate with extraordinary prices achieved for Chinese amber fish carvings, bronzes, porcelain figures and Japanese inro. Strong Diversions: Property from a Lifetime of Play spotlighted works from prominent collector and philanthropist Margaret Woodbury Strong, whose passion for learning and...

The Biden-affiliated nonprofit group Building Back Together plans to launch its own TikTok account on Wed. as part of the group’s latest effort to engage young people with the president’s agenda ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.  The group’s account, @buildingbacktogether, plans to create content inspired by TikTok trends and features, like the green screen function, to explain President Joe Biden’s agenda to the...

 

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

Netflix has inked a global deal for streaming rights to Nippon Television’s unscripted series Old Enough!, which has been airing in Japan for more than 30 years.  Each episode of the 20 x 30-minute show centers around a child or siblings who are sent out on everyday errands (such as buying food from the supermarket) by themselves. According to Nippon, parents are involved in the episode planning, each errand is based...

Nielsen is being acquired for $16 billion, including debt, about a week after the TV ratings and marketing data company rejected a $9 billion offer.  Nielsen is well known for measuring television viewership, statistics that then help govern billions of dollars in advertising spending. It has $3.5 billion in annual global revenue.

Greek goddesses are bringing a whole lot of high school drama to CBBC, which has bought Girls of Olympus from The Animation Band and RAI in a deal brokered by distributor Serious Kids. The 2D-animated tween series ( 26 x 26 minutes) will start airing on the Brit pubcaster’s linear channel and BBC iPlayer this summer.

 

Justices Won't Review Hasbro's 'Game Of Life' Copyright WinThe U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to review Hasbro's bench trial victory in a dispute over ownership rights to: The Game of Life, turning down a petition that sought to extend copyright protections for independent contractors to works created before 1978.

 

Hasbro has turned down a settlement offer from Alta Fox Capital Managemen to have only one of its nominees added to the U.S. toy maker's board of directors, making a shareholder vote over the dispute likely, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday. The two sides have been discussing how to avert a proxy contest after Alta Fox, a hedge fund that holds a 2.5% stake in Hasbro, nominated five directors to the...

 

Netflix has acquired Texas-based independent game developer Boss Fight Entertainment, the company announced in a blog post. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal, which marks Netflix's third acquisition of a gaming company, is part of the streaming service's ongoing push toward gaming. Boss Fight was founded in 2013 by former Zynga Dallas and Ensemble Studios employees. 

 

Ukraine conflict: Russia to allow unauthorized imports from West. Russia is allowing imports without a trademark owner's permission, in reaction to sanctions that have halted an array of Western products. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved "parallel imports" as part of a fourth package of support for small and medium-sized businesses. The West's response to Russia's war has prompted a surge in inflation. 

Facebook paid GOP firm to malign TikTok. Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok. The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing...

 

40% of mobile companies in US and UK suffer losses post-IDFA. New research showed that almost 40% of mobile companies in the US and the UK have lost revenue since Apple implemented changes to its identifier for advertisers last year. 55% of the respondents said that mobile marketing was more difficult for them in 2021 compared to the year before. 

 

Epic facing new lawsuit over Fortnite dance emotes. YouTuber and choreographer Kyle Hanagami has filed a lawsuit against Epic Games over alleged unauthorised use of a dance move in Fortnite. Hanagami claimed that the 'It's Complicated' dance emote in the game copies one of his own choreographed moves, which he holds the copyright for.

 

Ronin Network: What a $600m hack says about the state of crypto. Thousands, if not millions, of people could have lost money in the second largest crypto hack in history. Ronin Network, a key platform powering the popular mobile game Axie Infinity, has had $615m (£467m) stolen. A 20-year-old from Wiltshire, Dan Rean, is one of those affected.

 

Judge approves $18 million settlement for Activision Blizzard EEOC suit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's lawsuit against Activision Blizzard has officially ended in a settlement, with U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer approving the previously proposed $18 million agreement today. The settlement creates a pathway for current and former Activision Blizzard employees that worked at the company...

 

Netflix buys Boss Fight Entertainment, marking third studio acquisition in six months. Netflix has acquired its third game studio in six months with the purchase of Boss Fight Entertainment for an undisclosed fee. Headquartered in Texas, Boss Fight was established by a group of former Zynga Dallas and Ensemble Studios employees in 2013 and is best known for its work on mobile strategy RPG, Dungeon Boss. 

 

Microsoft won't impede Activision Blizzard workers seeking to unionize. Microsoft says it won't stand in the way of Activision Blizzard workers attempting to unionize. As reported by Axios, the company was replying to a letter sent to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella by Activision workers that asked whether the Xbox maker, which is attempting to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, has told the publisher to either approve...

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Financial Reporting

 

Mattel President Richard Dickson talks about his toy outlook ahead of the 'Hot Wheels Legends Tour' with 'Bloomberg Markets' Matt Miller and Jon Erlichman 

Five Below President and CEO Joel Anderson -  company’s net sales grew by more than 45% last year capped by a 16.1% spike in Q4. 

 

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

The UK video games market is worth a record £7.16bn.

Team17 delivers another year of growth, as revenues hit £90m in 2021.

Future Financial Reporting

Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced that it will webcast its first quarter 2022 earnings conference call on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, following the release of Hasbro's financial results.

Spin Master Corp. (TSX: TOY), will report its first quarter 2022 financial results after market close on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 and introduce new segment reporting aligned with each of its creative centers: Toys; Entertainment and Digital Games.

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

Sam Giltrow, ToyWorld, speaks to indie retailers to find out how they have found the year so far, what’s selling right now and what plans they have for Easter and the rest of the year.

 

TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - MARCH 2022

 

TOP 50 COMICS - MARCH 2022

 

NRF SAYS U.S. RETAIL STAYING STRONG DESPITE INFLATION, UKRAINE CRISIS

 

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

Oscars draw over 15 million viewers, up from last year's record low... but the event still doesn't seem to have the appeal to viewers that it once had.

 

THE INSIGHTS FAMILY I Gen Z and the rise of social shopping

 

State Of The Biz: Flexibility Is Key.  More than half (52%) of US employees across all industries, age groups and experience levels are reporting burnout, according to a 2021 report from job search site Indeed. And this is up by 9% from a pre-COVID survey.

Rising demand for user friendly and tech enabled toys favors growth of smart toys market

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice


Ahead of the launch of Jurassic World Dominion this summer, Toy World takes an in depth look at the world-leading global franchise. Movie licensed merchandise has always been a key fixture in toy retail aisles. The excitement generated by the launch of a blockbuster movie, coupled with heavyweight promotional activity, is a longstanding recipe for sales success. Or, at least, it was until the pandemic struck...

 

Retail Profile – Midco & Learning Express.  Toy World sat in on a Teams call between Rick Derr, from Learning Express in the US and Dave Middleton, owner of Midco Toymaster in UK, to find out why small is mighty. Take two successful toy retailers, one either side of the pond – what happens when you get them together?

 

The push toward voice adoption across mobile apps, websites, cell phones and smart speakers underscores consumers’ fervent interest in engaging with devices through conversation. There have been small but numerous signs in recent years throughout the media and entertainment world that this industry is ready to embrace, learn and, most significantly, leverage voice technology.

 

Does Hollywood Need to Rethink Its China Strategy?  As the Asian power's domestic film market mostly thrives, the disappointing box office for Warner Bros.' 'The Batman' and other recent releases suggests a continuing decline in audience enthusiasm for U.S. tentpoles: "China seems to have turned its back on Hollywood."

 

Netflix Announces A Motherlode Of Anime Content For 2022. Int'l markets are a key front in the current phase of competition among streaming media platforms, both as opportunities for subscriber growth and as sources for new content with global appeal. As Netflix strives to fend off competition from Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and other major platforms that have rounded into shape...

 

OPINION: We Can Help Build A Metaverse That Works For Kids.  "It's time for us to build the metaverse we want, not just take the one we get," says Dubit SVP David Kleeman, who imagines the Web 3.0 world as a place that augments kids' development instead of impeding it. If I share a secret, will you promise not to tell? There’s no actual metaverse yet. For all the talk and press, it’s not here and won’t be for some time. 

 

Former Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger addressed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill Thursday when he joined anchor Chris Wallace on his new CNN+ interview series. Noting that a lot of these issues, such as the bill, are “not necessarily political,” Iger emphasized: “It’s about right and wrong.”  He continued, “So I happen to feel — and I tweeted an opinion about this ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in Florida.

 

UNCENSORED LIBRARY PROJECT / BANNED JOURNALISM HOUSED IN VIRTUAL MINECRAFT ARCHITECTURE.  When schools ban books, the strategy often backfires on would-be censors, resulting in greater interest around illicit literature. Their Uncensored Library project brings together architecture and journalism in an unlikely virtual reality space: the interactive gaming world of Minecraft."

 

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Give the people what they want …it’s the Friday Blog! I finally managed to get out of the UK for a couple of days – for someone who loves travelling, 30 months without jumping on a plane felt like an eternity. A bit of time away was long overdue and even though this trip was just a quick city break to Lisbon, it felt great to finally be getting back to some semblance of normality. Or at least it did until I saw the queue at passport control when we arrived in Lisbon – how I looked longingly at the empty lanes for EU travellers ...

Dozens of companies in the US and Canada are taking part in a global trial to see how 4-day work weeks...work.  35 companies (including Kickstarter) are taking part. It’s being run by 4-Day Week Global — a New Zealand-based nonprofit. And will last six months. The org says that the pandemic has “made it clear we can find a better balance between work and life.” 

THE BIGGEST THREATS FACING THE TOY INDUSTRY – PART 1: Lack Of Risk Diversification In Our Supply Chain. Welcome to TOY INDUSTRY JOURNAL newsletter #3. This edition is the start of a series looking at the major risks the toy industry currently faces. Our industry has been successful overall for a long period of time, but in these ever more disruptive times, we can’t take ongoing success for granted.

 

The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive: How could this affect my business?  In this exclusive piece, Todd Merton, head of Business Development at the not-for-profit organisation IETP, outlines how the EU Due Diligence Act will impact toy companies. In Feb., in an effort to combat the serious issues of child and forced labour as well as the environmental abuses still prevalent in Europe and around the...

 

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: A REPORT FROM A UKRAINIAN TOY SUPPLIER. It’s not every day that a Zoom meeting with one of my toy suppliers has to be delayed at the very last minute. But, when I joined the toy industry a few years ago, I never could have imagined the email I received one morning last week: “I might be a little late, as I am in the bomb shelter.”

 

Girls and boys appear to be susceptible to the negative effects of social media use at different ages, according to new research. A study published today in Nature Communications suggests that teens and tweens have different windows of vulnerability to technology depending on their biological sex. Like many adults, most American teens have a close relationship with their screens. Half of children in the U.S. own...

 

Dr. Seuss makes a comeback.  A year after six Dr. Seuss books were shelved for racist imagery, the family franchise is doing better than ever.

Why it matters: A proactive campaign by Dr. Seuss Enterprises — the private company that manages the work of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel— to address Dr. Seuss' fractured history on race is paying off. Driving the news: Dr. Seuss is the #1 literary license in the U.S. by print sales...

 

How Hot Wheels Unleashed harnessed the power of a niche and has been a runaway success for developer Milestone and it’s fastest-ever selling game, as Lead Developer Federico Carlo Riccardo Spada explains. ’ve always looked up to my older brother. He’s just over a year older than me, so of course, he was my best friend when we were little. Every morning, I’d scurry to his room to wake him up. 

The Sonic movies won't follow the games chronologically in future – and director Jeff Fowler says a future character is teased in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is heavily inspired by both the Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 games, with plenty of references to characters, stages, and moves from the Sega classics. But director Jeff Fowler has said fans shouldn’t expect the franchise to move along the Sonic games timeline...

 

Brick by brick: How Lego continues to build a toy empire.  The retailer celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. And with over $8 billion in sales and IP deals that leverage pop culture, it shows no signs of slowing down. Mention Lego and most people have a story to tell.  They used to play with Lego when they were kids. They just bought a set. (Did you know they have a typewriter design

 

From The Conversation: As I talked to people in board gaming communities and examined the games themselves, I realized that there were big, systemic social, labour and economic issues that were limiting the wide-spread adoption of board gaming and market growth. My research argues that one of the key factors facing board gaming is the homogeneity of the current board game design labour pool and limited representation on the products themselves. I found that 92.6 per cent of the designers of the 400 top-ranked board games  on BoardGameGeek  were white men.

 

Why it matters that the Peabody Awards are recognizing games.  On Thursday, the Peabody Awards unveiled its first crop of winners for digital and interactive storytelling, which focused on a variety of foundational texts released prior to 2019, an acknowledgement that the field has long been overlooked by our institutionalized awards bodies.

 

Daily Wire to make conservative kids’ shows to rival ‘woke’ Disney. Ben Shapiro grew up loving Disney movies, he told his podcast listeners last week. The conservative firebrand passed that love on to his kids by taking them to Disneyland as soon as they were old enough — 6 months of age in the Shapiro household. But then Disney got political, he claimed. Gay characters appeared in their movies and those characters...

Stocking miniatures starter sets in 2022: Entry Level Miniatures Product Suggestions for Retailers. Looking to carry miniatures can be a daunting experience for retailers, especially for those that are unfamiliar with the various brands of miniatures available. Unlike card or board games, the initial capital investment to build a miniatures game section is significant, and there are many SKUs to choose from per game line. 

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History and Nostalgia

 

Frantik from Kenner. Released in 1979 by Kenner, Frantik challenged players aged 6 to adult to score as many points as possible before their ball dropped into the gutter. A rotating game board outfitted with a pachinko-style peg maze created the challenge. Each player got only a single turn on the Frantik wheel, creating a strong sense of urgency. 

 

CHECKPOINT: Danger! from Ideal. Released in 1978 by Ideal, CHECKPOINT: Danger! enticed players into the cloak-and-dagger world of secret agents. CHECKPOINT: Danger! had a similar play pattern to Battleship from Milton Bradley. Players took their best guesses and made strategic moves in an effort to locate the opponent’s assets and eliminate the threat. 

 

Snoopy’s Doghouse from Romper Room. Released in 1978 by Romper Room, a division of Hasbro, Snoopy’s Doghouse was an interactive toy featuring the popular Peanuts characters, Snoopy and Woodstock. The box included a wind-up walking Snoopy figure, a wind-up hopping Woodstock figure, Snoopy’s red-and-white doghouse with a black door, a Snoopy flag, ice cream truck, birdbath, and a green base...

 

9 forgotten video game mascots that couldn’t rival Mario and Sonic. Mascots are so important in the video game industry. From the very early days, the likes of Pac-Man really helped to push the brand of the video game itself, and help Atari spin the character off into cartoons, magazines, toys and so much more. So we took a look at nine forgotten video game mascots, and while they probably aren’t the most forgottenist...

 

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Licensing 

Sectaurs Returns as Nacelle Co. and Seven Towns Enter Licensing Pact.  Another heroic crew from the 1980s is getting a shot at a comeback. The “insect-evolved humanoid” Sectaurs are suiting up for a relaunch thanks to a long-term licensing agreement between The Nacelle Co. and licensor Seven Towns. The original toys were issued by Coleco in 1985.

WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences will launch a spellbinding collection of products to help fans celebrate the magic of the highly anticipated Warner Bros Pictures film Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, debuting in theaters in the UK on April 8th and in the USA April 15. Allowing wizards, witches and Muggles everywhere to relive unforgettable Fantastic Beasts movie moments and engage...

 

The Topps Co, which earlier this year became part of the global digital sports platform Fanatics, has announced a partnership with UEFA as an official licensed partner of UEFA Euro 2024. From this year until 2028, under the current agreement, Topps will provide official stickers, trading cards and collectibles connected to the UEFA Euro and other UEFA national team competitions including the UEFA Nations League Finals...

 

French distributor APC Kids is making the most of MIPTV, closing several new deals along the Croisette. The children’s division of APC Studios has just announced its first global sales for Go Green with the Grimwades and Zoe & Milo, which will be screened at the market later this week.

Superights is proud to announce it will sell international rights of the animated series Go! Go! Cory Carson – a new, Emmy Award-winning addition to the Superights animation catalog to VTech. This agreement marks the first deal between the French company and the world leader in electronic learning products for children ,VTech, and confirms Superights’ standing at the forefront of the international stage.

 

Australian distributor Odin’s Eye Animation has announced new deals with Disney Japan and ABC Australia for animated series The Beachbuds. They come on the heels of the show’s launch last fall on Disney+ Hotstar in the APAC region. Produced by Montreal-based Syon Media and J-Toon Studios in LA and Indonesia, The Beachbuds (52 x 11 minutes) launched on Disney Japan today. 

 

Singapore’s Powerkids Entertainment has teamed up with Italian comic publisher Sergio Bonelli Editore to turn its catalogue of books into animated series for kids. The first series to roll out under the deal will be Dragonero (26 x 26 minutes), co-produced by Powerkids, Sergio Bonelli, Italian pubcaster Rai and post-production house Nexus TV, with Powerkids overseeing animation, global distribution (excluding Italy) and consumer products.

 

APC Kids, the children’s entertainment division of leading co-production and distribution group APC Studios, has secured a raft of key int'l deals for live action family series Go Green with the Grimwades and brand-new 2D animated series Zoe & Milo. These deals mark the first global sales for both series, with APC Kids debuting Zoe & Milo at MIPTV this week.

 

Cloudco Entertainment, owner of iconic entertainment property Care Bears, has launched its new Care Bears: Unlock The Magic animated series on Globo Play, Gloob, and Gloobinho networks in Brazil, joining the Noggin platform in Mexico. The content deals come alongside new toy deals that will further support the launch of the TV series as well as the Care Bears’ 40th Anniversary celebrations...

BBC Digs Into Theodosia.  After premiering on HBO Max last month, this live-actioner about a teen girl who unlocks special powers while on an archaeological dig with her family is heading around the world with new broadcast deals.  Paris-based distributor Federation Kids & Family is bringing a little Egyptian magic to a handful of new channels this year, including the BBC.

 

Israeli broadcaster HOT and KiKA in Germany are joining forces on a new live-action sci-fi series called DreaMars, about a crew of teenagers who fly to Mars on a critical mission. The show was ordered by HOT for its linear kids channel Zoom, and it will be ready to air in both regions next year. Also involved in the co-pro are Israel’s STORYZ Productions, SKLAN&KA and Paris-based SAMKA, and German broadcasters...

 

***The above posted after The Bloom Report sent on morning of April 1st***

 

Addo Play (part of TEAL Group Holdings) has announced a brand-new licensing partnership between global toy manufacturing and entertainment company Mattel and award-winning, everyday toy brand, Addo. Roll out will begin in AW22 across EMEA with a new Barbie licensed craft compound range called Bobble It!. Further licensed product introductions will include Hot Wheels, Fisher Price and...

 

The LEGO Group launched LEGO Hogwarts Moments last year with four building sets that recreate iconic Harry Potter scenes in  the   Hogwarts classrooms. Now fans can build and explore even more of the wizarding school with four more Hogwarts sets. The Hogwarts Magical Trunk takes the excitement of packing up for Hogwarts and turns it into a customizable building experience.

 

The new blockchain racing game, K4 Rally, has teamed with various professional race drivers to bring blockchain technology into the world of racing, offering users a game filled with enthusiasm, thrill, and fun. K4 Rally combines racing gameplay, a Play2Earn model, NFT gaming, and is as close to being a real rally sport as it gets. K4 Rally is the first cross-blockchain NFT rally game where players can own, upgrade, trade...

 

Neopets and Upper Deck Announce New Trading Card Collection and Future Gaming Release JumpStart, owner of Neopets, is thrilled to announce a new agreement with Upper Deck to release a new line of Neopets trading cards. Brokered with the help of Carlin West Agency, Upper Deck and Neopets will release the highly-anticipated Neopets trading card collection, featuring fan-favorite characters and unlockable...

 

Cyber Group Studios and French kids broadcaster Gulli have partnered to develop two new original animated series in a deal that also includes a pre-buy of Taffy‘s third season. All 3 projects will start production this year. The first of the two brand-new projects is The McFire Family, a CG-animated series for kids ages six to eight. Its 52 x 11-minute episodes center around 3 kid descendants of the world’s first firefighters...

Mattel Takes Over Trolls Toy License From Hasbro. Ahead of a third movie due out in fall 2023, the toyco is developing a new line of dolls, vehicles, plush and games for DreamWorks Animation's classic franchise. LA-based toymaker Mattel has inked a multi-year global licensing deal with Universal Brand Development for DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls.

Quantum Storey inked a multi-year deal with Hasbro for the rights to produce books and digital content featuring characters from famous toy and game brands using its “Extended Reality (XR)” storytelling platform. “Quantum Storey is excited to team up with Hasbro to add an entirely new dimension of interaction that will inspire young fans seeking a deeper connection with their favorite characters,” says Quantum Storey...

9 Story Brands and Retail Monster Ltd. are pleased to announce the expansion of the global licensing program for their new animated series Karma’s World from Karma’s World Entertainment and 9 Story Media Group. New partners in the UK include KIDdesigns (Consumer Electronics), Poetic Brands (Apparel, Outerwear and Swim), Cooneen by Design (Nightwear and Underwear), Roy Lowe & Sons Ltd...

EnchantedMob and PhatMojo have announced their agreement for the hugely-popular game, Poppy Playtime. Under the global deal, PhatMojo will serve EnchantedMob, Inc. as its master toy partner and will manage consumer products licensing for the rapidly-growing Poppy Playtime franchise. Toys and other products will be available this summer.

Canada’s Mercury Filmworks has acquired the rights to develop and produce a new animated children’s series based on Scott Rothman’s popular children’s picture book Attack of the Underwear Dragon (October 2020, Random House), an Amazon Editor’s Pick and National Indie Bestseller, illustrated by New York Times’ Best-Selling illustrator and Annie Award-nominated animator, Pete Oswald.


“Ninja Life Hacks,” a children’s social emotional learning publishing property, has announced the launch of social emotional learning products featuring its superhero characters like Positive Ninja and Angry Ninja at Walmart. The program was brokered by The Brand Liaison.  The collection aims to encourage children to feel and discuss their emotions and give them the tools they need to tackle life’s challenges. 

 

Leading lottery supplier Scientific Games has extended its licensing agreement with toy maker Mattel to continue developing games based on popular Mattel brands. The three-year contract extension allows Scientific Games to continue delivering Mattel titles to lottery operators, with the current portfolio of Mattel branded games including Magic 8 Ball, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Uno, and Scrabble.

Award-winning content creation, distribution and licensing studio One Animation has secured a new wave of VOD and linear international sales across its portfolio of hit series, which includes the short-form, long-form and seasonal specials of Oddbods, as well as Insectibles (52×11’), Rob the Robot (104×11’) and Antiks (80×2’).  In a multi-territory deal, Netflix has picked up season 3 of Oddbods, with the...

The Point.1888 and EMEA sub-agents sign 48 new deals for CoComelon, Blippi and Morphle.  Brand Licensing specialist The Point.1888 and its sub agents across EMEA have signed a raft of new licensee deals for Moonbug Entertainment’s hit brands Blippi, CoComelon and Morphle. The new deals come on the back of recent news that Blippi is now available on demand via streaming giants Netflix and HBO Max, with Blippi...

 

Boat Rocker’s hit pre-school series Dino Ranch has been snapped up by UK broadcaster Tiny Pop and will air in April, supported by a robust digital and social campaign. After a successful launch of the toy range in the US, Canada and Australia last year, master toy partner Jazwares will also bring its Dino Ranch range to retail in the UK this summer, complemented by publishing from Scholastic and followed...

 

Acamar Films’ award-winning pre-school series Bing is poised for further growth in the Nordics, announcing Maki as the property’s new pan-regional master toy partner. The agreement follows the contract renewal with licensing agent Alicom, as Bing continues to deliver strong broadcast ratings across the region.  

 

Animated War Short Mila To Air In Ireland, Latvia And Japan. International broadcasters are interested in content that can help explain the war in Ukraine to kids, and free rights for 30 days have led to several acquisitions for the short film. Mila, a CG-animated short focused on World War II, is available at no charge to broadcasters look for content that helps explain the concept of war to kids.

 

France Télévisions has ordered 2D-animated comedy Me and My Compost from French prodcos Superprod and Vivement Lundi! to teach kids about ecology.  The 52 x 11-minute series shares ideas about protecting the environment with five- to eight-year-olds, as a compost creature and his human friends learn about activities such as recycling and gardening. The project is still in development, and the studios predict it will...

 

Rovio Entertainment has teamed up again with SONIC Drive-In, the quick-service restaurant chain owned by Inspire Brands, to bring Angry Birds toys to its Wacky Pack kids meals, in a deal brokered by IMG. The partnership is part of a consumer products programme celebrating the popular entertainment franchise’s first long-format series, Angry Birds: Summer Madness.

 

Funko announces collaboration with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.  The Pops! seven-time World Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton and his former teammate, 10-time Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas. Lewis and Valtteri were teammates for five seasons from 2017 to 2021, winning the World Constructors’ Championship during each of those seasons. 

 

Octonauts takes the plunge at Sea Life at Mall of America.  Silvergate Media and Merlin Entertainments have announced a new activity trail, Octonauts: The Great Gup Rescue, which has just been unveiled at Sea Life at Mall of America before beginning its voyage to Sea Life centres around the world.

 

Nickelodeon Announces Franchise Expansion Plans At 2022 Upfront. More than 40 projects are in the pipeline for the kids network, including a newly announced spinoff of PAW Patrol featuring the construction-hatted character Rubble. Set to coincide with the property’s 10th anniversary in 2023, this new series will also premiere alongside the feature film sequel PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie.

WWE and Fanatics announce long-term sports platform partnership across E-commerce, licensed merchandise, trading cards and NFTs. WWE and Fanatics today announced a comprehensive, long-term sports and entertainment partnership that will see Fanatics utilize its expanded digital sports platform to create a new, enhanced experience for WWE fans globally across several businesses, including e-commerce and licensed...

SEGA, General Mills strike a deal for Sonic the Hedgehog in the grocery aisles. SEGA of America is collecting some gold rings from General Mills. The video game maker teamed up with the breakfast food giant to bring Sonic the Hedgehog into the grocery aisles with special edition cereal and fruit snacks. The deal comes ahead of Paramount Pictures‘ release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on April 8. 

Restoration Games will release 'Unmatched Marvel: Hell's Kitchen'. Restoration Games will release Unmatched Marvel: Hell's Kitchen, a new Unmatched set featuring Daredevil and Elektra miniatures, into retail on April 20, 2022. In this new Unmatched game, players engage in a classic brawl in Hell's Kitchen. Daredevil and Bullseye are at it again, and they are ready to settle the score on the Hell's Kitchen battle map. 

Yoto adds 16 Disney stories to its library. Yoto, the audio platform for kids behind the critically acclaimed and award-winning Yoto Player and recently launched Yoto Mini, has added 16 additional titles to its ever-expanding library of Disney favorites. The titles, which include Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, The Muppets Most Wanted and Frozen 2, can simply be inserted into a Yoto device for screen-free storytime.

Chronicle Books and LEGO continue to build publishing partnership. Continuing its collaboration with The LEGO Group, Chronicle Books has announced six new licensed LEGO products for the spring 2022 season. New books include: “LEGO The Art of the Minifigure”, “LEGO Build Every Day: Ignite Your Creativity and Find Your Flow”, “LEGO Master Builder Notebook”. Puzzles and calendars include: LEGO IDEAS Minifigure...

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People of Play

The BBC has hired media diversity specialist Joanna Abeyie on a short-term contract, a day after it emerged the corporation’s diversity chief June Sarpong is to depart later this year.  Abeyie will take on a six-month Interim Head of Creative Diversity role, working closely with the outgoing Director of Creative Diversity Sarpong and BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore.

 

Amazon has appointed former Blizzard designer Kurt Sparkuhl to lead its mobile games development as lead games designer for mobile.

Sparkuhl brings over a decade of games industry experience to the new role including work as a quality assurance analyst and later a game designer for World of Warcraft, which included quest and narrative design, world spawning, lore development, and cutscene and event scripting.

 

Paramount Global has promoted Pam Kaufman to the role of president, consumer products and experiences.  In her new role, Kaufman will report to Brian Robbins, president and CEO of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon and CCO, kids & family, Paramount+ and Raffaele Annechino, president and CEO of Paramount International Networks, studios, and streaming. She will now oversee the Paramount global portfolio of live...

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Jamie Emmick to the show. Emmick serves as director of special markets for the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. (BHTB) and leads the CustomPlush.com side of the business. She is a Genius of Play Ambassador and was a recent finalist in the Rising Star/Licensor category of Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment’s Wonder Women Awards.

 

Jeopardy! S38 E147 | Question about Reuben Klamer, Inventor of the Game of Life. Two out of the three contestants got it right. Scroll to minute 17:26 to see the action!

 

Global Kids Star Blippi Joins with Easterseals SoCal for Autism Awareness Month in April.  As part of an ongoing effort by children’s programs to help families open a dialog with kids to tackle issues that matter,  Easterseals has worked with the globally popular Blippi to create an episode which explores about how all children learn differently. 

 

Hasbro is bolstering its board of directors with the addition of two executives from the tech and gaming space. Elizabeth Hamren, chief operating officer of Discord, and Blake Jorgensen, executive vice president of special projects, and former chief financial officer and chief operating officer, at Electronic Arts (EA), joined the board as of April 1.

 

MATTEL PROMOTES STEVE TOTZKE TO PRESIDENT AND CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER. Following a successful turnaround effort, Mattel is officially in growth mode. The company promoted veteran executive Steve Totzke to president and COO as it seeks to evolve its strategy across toys and entertainment. Totzke previously served as EVP and CCO, developing a digital-first demand creation approach and expanding e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail reach.

 

Daedrea Fenwick of Kulture Karaoke - Join us (GPI) as we talk to two Black women business owners about how they got started, being Black business owners in the toy and game industry, and their fast track from start-up to Target shelves. Don’t miss our fascinating conversation with Daedrea Fenwick of Kulture Karaoke whose business literally started in a car while on the way to her birthday party and ...

 

Moonbug Entertainment has appointed Danny Spronz as Head of Global Loyalty & Promotions and EMEA Retail Development. Danny will be responsible for driving the Loyalty & Promotions programmes at Moonbug as well as developing the EMEA retail strategy across Moonbug’s portfolio of properties, including Blippi, CoComelon and Little Baby Bum.

Spin Master has announced the appointment of Doug Wadleigh as Head of Global Toy Brands. The newly created position within Spin Master’s Toys creative centre is part of the Company’s new organizational design being implemented to enable and accelerate future growth. Wadleigh will oversee the development and health of all global toy brands, reporting to Chris Beardall, Spin Master’s President of Toys and COO.

CEO Coaching International, the leading executive coaching firm for growth-focused CEOs and entrepreneurs globally, is pleased to announce Mateo Romano as its newest Partner and Coach.  Romano is a high-impact, global entrepreneurial consumer products industry leader with 25+ years of experience at top brands including Mattel, Moose Toys, and Tyco Toys.

Schell Games, the largest full-service educational and entertainment game development company in the US, announced the appointment of Jasmine Bulin as the company’s new VP of design. In her new role, Bulin will oversee the design dept and set the pace for discipline growth while forging and growing successful industry relationships. She will use her deep experience in the games industry to collaborate internally...

PlayMonster continues to expand its executive ranks with the addition of Dianne Lauble as director, inventor relations. In her new role, the Chicago-based Lauble will work to expand and grow PlayMonster’s relationships within the inventor community while focusing on the development of the next generation of inventors, creators, and designers that will propel the company’s product assortment into the future.

***The above was posted after April, 1st***

 

Grom Social Enterprises’ Curiosity Ink Media has hired former Nickelodeon and Warner Bros. Animation writer Dustin Ellis to oversee kids content development, starting with two new animated series.  Ellis will write and develop Aloha Hoku, about a Hawaiian girl’s adventures with a magical ukulele; and Laugh on Lorp (working title), a concept he created with comedian Maz Jobrani that features a crew of aliens who accidentally...

 

Cyber Group Studios — the company behind Giganotosaurus — promoted Rapaëlle Mathieu to EVP. Mathieu formerly held the senior vice president sales, digital and acquisitions position at Cyber Group Studios.  “As the company is now developing into an international group comprised of many talented companies and executives worldwide, I am very pleased to have Raphaëlle take more responsibilities....

 

Snorble Appoints Thomas Chan as VP of Software Engineering and Platforms.  In his new role, Chan will develop the company’s flagship product, Snorble, to help parents establish healthy habits and bedtime routines for their children. He will also oversee the entire Snorble infrastructure including the application programming interfaces (APIs), software, the mobile app, and the Snorble Experience Engine.

 

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes Kids Industries CEO and Co-Founder Gary Pope. Pope leads a team of researchers, strategists, creatives, and developers that work to help toy, entertainment, and consumer products companies better connect with families around the world. Kids Industries has served a variety of companies and brands over the past 20 years, including Mattel, Playmobil, WWE, Disney...

 

A new Disney Little Golden Book is on its way!  Santa Stops at Disneyland is a labor of love for its author, Ethan Reed. In its about the author section on Amazon, it states that Reed has been working on this book for his son for 15 years for his oldest son’s first Christmas.  Additionally, Ethan Reed is currently a toy designer and a former Walt Disney Company Imagineer. 

 

Marisela Escobedo has left NBCUniversal to join Moonbug Entertainment as its first senior territory manager for Latin America. In this newly created role, she will manage the licensing business of Moonbug IPs including Blippi, CoComelon and Little Baby Bum. Based in the LA office, Escobedo joined the company on March 23, coming off a stint as senior manager of consumer products and regional fast-moving consumer goods...

 

Paramount Pictures COO Andrew Gumpert is adding oversight of Nickelodeon Studios to his remit. He is now COO of Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon Studios, still reporting to the division’s CEO, Brian Robbins. Since joining Paramount Pictures as COO in 2017, Gumpert has overseen business, operations and strategic planning for brands such as Sonic, Transformers and Star Trek.

Josh Wardle Explains Why He Sold Wordle. You've got six chances to guess why. As with any popular game, it soon gets copied in a bid to make some quick cash. Wordle was no exception, with numerous clones appearing on app stores complete with ads or in-game purchases attached. Wardle was faced with responding, "and so selling to the NY Times was a way for me to walk away from that. I didn't want to be paying a lawyer...

 

Canadian Musician Grimes Reveals 'Intergalactic Children’s Metaverse Book' at Avalanche Summit.  Grimes’ children’s metaverse book project is part of a $100 million initiative started by the Avalanche Foundation and the non-fungible token (NFT) launchpad OP3N. “When I first got into Web3, this was the kind of project I was hoping to see,” Grimes told the audience. 

 

Appointments and restructure bolster Rubies’ EMEA team. Following a change of role for Georges Ghougassian, who is now director of Licensing & Brands, Rubies has appointed Caroline Masson to lead the EMEA Brand & Marketing initiative. Caroline has spent the last five years at IMC France as senior marketing manager and was previously senior marketing manager at Rubies France, having gained experience in sales and marketing...

 

Amazon Games boss Mike Frazzini is stepping down. Amazon Games boss and company veteran Mike Frazzini is stepping down. Frazzini announced the news on Linkedin, explaining he will be officially departing on April 29, 2022, to spend more time with his family. The Amazon Games vice president has been with the company for over 17 years. Frazzini initially joined as a product manager in 2004 and took on a number of roles...

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Companies and Brands

Spin Master, the company behind the Sago Mini studio and apps (including Sago Mini School and Sago Mini World), has teamed up with Otsimo to release a new app. Sago Mini First Words is a game-based learning app designed to help kids build on their early language development through fun activities, mini games, and videos.

After much internal debate and numerous astrological consultations, all of us at Radio Flyer are proud to announce that, unlike Tom Brady, the color red is *really* retired. Effective immediately, our wagons will feature Pantone's Color of the Year, Very Peri. All questions and comments can be directed to our former CRO (Chief Red Officer), who has recently found himself with more free time. (April Fool!)

 

Super7's April Fools' Joke was a Collection of Real G.I. Joe Merchandise Created in Partnership with Hasbro.  In honor of this holiday of tricks, Super7 released a very real collection of products with some silly origins. The new G.I. Joe PSA collection includes action figures and other items inspired by the G.I. Joe PSAs that originally aired in the ’80s, only to be turned into a series of parody videos in the early ’00s.

 

Mattel Celebrates Earth Month with Sustainable Toys from Matchbox, MEGA Bloks.  The new assortment includes the MEGA Bloks Green Town collection and extensions to the Matchbox “Driving Toward a Better Future” initiative. Mattel is the first toy company to incorporate certified renewable polymers from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE program into its products.

Moonbug Joins Zigazoo’s Push Into NFTs. Invisible Universe and young artist Nyla Hayes are also launching their first tokens exclusively on the kids social media platform, which is looking for more partners, says founder Zak Ringelstein. The NFTs on offer feature elements from Moonbug’s CoComelon, Blippi and My Magic Pet Morphle IPs and Invisible Universe’s Qai Qai brand (which was created in partnership with Serena Williams...

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailer Artkive is getting into the non-fungible token (NFT) market with a new service that digitizes kid-generated designs in the blockchain and provides educational tools to help its customers understand the technology. Since 2012, the LA-based company has run a DTC operation that converts kids’ art into personalized photo albums or framed mosaics. 

LEGO Store Leicester Square set to become brand’s largest in the world.  The LEGO Group has announced today that it will be overhauling its Leicester Square store to make it the brand’s largest in the world. It will also be the first store in the UK to feature the LEGO Group’s new ‘Retailtainment’ concept. Retailtainment will blend physical and digital experiences that allow shoppers to immerse themselves 

Camp, Disney Collaborate for Interactive Retail Experience.  Mickey & Friends x Camp: An Extra Big Adventure opens at Camp’s 5th Avenue flagship store in Manhattan on May 28. The collaboration is the first of several Disney-themed experiences that the growing retailer plans to launch this year.

Common Sense Media Launches Podcast Ratings for Kids and Family Shows.  The ratings will look at categories like educational value and co-listening quality and outline whether topics that may not be appropriate for children — such as violence, drugs, and alcohol — are present in the show.

BYJU’S Joins The Virtual Camp Craze.  The edtech company's first-ever online summer camp will feature the likes of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and cover topics including STEM, arts, gaming and cuisine. In an effort to help kids catch up on learning they missed during the pandemic, Indian edtech company BYJU’S is launching its first virtual summer camp program. Running from June 10 to August 30, the camp...

The LEGO Group Opens Billund Campus.  It took five years of planning and construction, but The LEGO Group has finally completed an epic build on its home turf. The workspace can house up to 2,000 staffers in a manner that LEGO hopes will “provide a playful, inclusive, and collaborative environment that enables employees to develop the best play experiences for children all over the world.”

 

Exploding Kittens is bringing 2 new games to the table this Spring: Zombie Kittens and Poetry for Neanderthals: Not Safe for Work Edition. On a mission to ignite game night in households up and down the country, the 2 new titles come hot on the heels of newly launched Mantis and UK-exclusive Exploding Kittens: Cat Burglar Edition and are being offered exclusively to the hobby and independent sector for the...

Disney is one of four companies that will air a new public service from GLAAD that features a transgender teen and calls for nationwide support of LGBTQ youth.  The video comes as tensions between Disney and Florida lawmakers have escalated over the passing of Florida’s HB 1557 law, which has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Mrs Wordsmith, leader in hilariously illustrated literacy products for educators and kids, has launched a handout for families entitled How to Talk to Kids about War, in light of current events in Ukraine. This resource guide was designed to help kids navigate this difficult subject with tips from experts, followed by illustrated social-emotional vocabulary around compassion, empathy, resilience, and solidarity.

WildBrain CPLG, a world-leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agency, is continuing to strengthen its global footprint with expansion across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and the launch of new dedicated offices in Singapore, Taipei and Seoul. Additionally, the licensing team who are part of WildBrain’s existing Shanghai operations will be expanded and renamed WildBrain CPLG China. 

The fierce and fashionable L.O.L. Surprise! dolls are O.T.W. back to the metaverse for a second installment of the popular Roblox game, Twilight Daycare, and this time they’re backed by the power of Gamefam and WildBrain Spark. MGA Entertainment‘s L.O.L. Surprise! miniature dolls make up for their size with fierce fashion and big personalities. With a variety of unique characters, each doll arrives in a small container...

 

Donkey Hodie, the hit puppet series from Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures, has been greenlit for a second season on PBS KIDS. The series is produced by Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s educational media organization behind multiple well-loved, Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Spiffy Pictures, the award-winning production company...

Arts & crafts brand Little Brian has unveiled a new look as it begins selling directly to UK retailers rather than via distribution partners.

The company decided to reinforce its identity by bringing the brand to life with the creation of a Little Brian mascot. “As well as introducing the new mascot, we’ve implemented a vivid, multicoloured theme across all of our packaging,” Emily explains. “This will instantly...

 

The Entertainer and Mattel have launched a special retailer sales programme to support Ukraine. As of Thursday 31st March, 100% of proceeds (excluding VAT) from selected Mattel products sold in The Entertainer stores are being donated to the British Red Cross and The Salvation Army’s Ukraine Crisis Appeals. The charity partnership centres upon four of The Entertainer’s best-selling Mattel products...

 

Toikido has teamed up with toy maker Thinkway Toys to distribute the official toy line for Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation feature Luck.  Luck, starring Eva Noblezada and Simon Pegg, centres around the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. When she discovers the never-before-seen Land of Luck, Sam must unite with magical creatures there to turn her luck around.

 

Spin Master issued its third annual Corporate Social Responsibility report, articulating the environmental, social and governance goals and performance of Spin Master for 2021. “Spin Master has always had a noble purpose, to create magical play experiences for children and their families,” said Max Rangel, Spin Master’s Global President and CEO. 

 

Purpose Toys, one of the largest Black-owned toy start-ups, has announced the release of two new purpose-driven toy lines,  Naturalistas and HBCyoU, in partnership with Just Play and Kidfinity Inc (a Just Play affiliated company). Both lines will be sold and distributed by Purpose Toys for retail launch globally in Fall 2022, with additional collaborations planned for Spring 2023 and beyond.

 

Crazy Aaron’s has launched a limited-edition Play it Forward Thinking Putty in partnership with The Toy Foundation where all proceeds will directly support the millions of children and families impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Available in TTF’s signature orange with playful purple sparkles, it will be sold exclusively on CrazyAarons.com through April 22, 2022.

 

Sesame Workshop is celebrating five years of its Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children initiative dedicated to showing that all children — autistic and neurotypical alike — are amazing in their own ways. New videos and activities launching today are centered on themes of friendship and belonging and feature Julia, a 4-year-old autistic Sesame Street Muppet, and her brother Sam and new friend Wes...

Funskool India Ltd., India’s leading toy manufacturer, adds another blockbuster to their list, by acquiring the rights from international brand Goliath to manufacture and distribute their popular board game ‘Sequence’, in India. Developed by Doug Reuter in 1981, Sequence is a combination of a board game and a card game. Often referred to as the ‘Perfect Family Game’, Sequence can be played by 2 to 12 players. 

 

Hasbro CEO Signals Renewed Focus on Gaming Amid Proxy Battle Since 2019, the toymaker has pushed into original entertainment content with the purchase of the 'Peppa Pig' studio Entertainment One, to mixed results. “Make no mistake, Hasbro is a games company. In 2021, games was a $2.1 billion business growing at 19% with an operating profit margin of more than 30 percent. Games are the beating heart of Hasbro...

 

Joel Silverman, co-founder and CEO of data-led ad agency KidsKnowBest talks to Toy World’s Sam Giltrow about how the company has been transforming children’s views and viewing habits into crucial information for toy companies. Launched five years ago, London-based KidsKnowBest has grown to be a respected full-service agency which is slowly but surely changing the mindset of companies trying to find the...

TV personality, writer and activist Katie Piper was among stars and influencers celebrating L.O.L.Surprise! along with children’s confidence and the spirt of sisterhood at a special event on Saturday. Spring has seen L.O.L. Surprise! launch the new L.O.L. Surprise! Queens series which celebrates the spirit of sisterhood and encourages children to embrace who they are; the World Travel series with a new storytelling travel...

 

GENIUS BRANDS INTERNATIONAL REBRANDS CHIZCOMM AS BEACON MEDIA GROUP.  The companies have been rebranded as Beacon Media Group under parent company Genius Brands International Inc. With the refreshed alignment and branding, Donna MacNeil will lead Beacon Communications in Toronto while Kathleen Campisano will lead Beacon Media in New York. 

 

Mattel unveils first mass-retail toy to be certified CarbonNeutral. Mattel, Inc today announced an expansion of its sustainable product offering with the debut of new products from its popular MEGA and Matchbox brands. The expanded offering is in line with Mattel’s goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials in all its products and packaging by 2030. MEGA, the global leader in preschool …

 

Funko opens first international franchise store in Dubai. Funko has brought the one-stop retail shop destination to the UAE featuring products from Funko, Funko Games and Loungefly. Funko has announced that it has appointed Monkey Distribution as the first franchise operator catering to growing pop culture enthusiasts and Funko Funatics in the Middle East.

 

Izipline brings the fun of ziplines homeEasy to set up kits from Izipline create a family adventure space in the garden, plus harnesses, helmets and gloves are also available.  Since 2004, Izipline has been bringing the fun of ziplines into gardens and playgrounds with its range of quality products at affordable prices. 

 

Amazon has launched a new projector and video-calling device this week, teaming up with major kidcos to stock it with entertainment content and activities. Amazon Glow connects parents and kids through video calls. At the same time, it can also project content like animated storybooks and interactive games onto a pad with sensors that detect movements so that families are able to play together. Disney, Mattel,...

Bandai – celebrating a legacy Bandai UK’s 40th anniversary celebrates four decades of innovation, reinvention and evolution with a raft of product launches and activities that reflect the company’s roots – and where it’s headed. Toy World’s John Baulch and Rachael Simpson- Jones paid a visit to the Bandai UK team at its Richmond office to find out more.

The BBC has finalized the transition of its Children’s In-House Productions division from the public service broadcaster to commercial arm BBC Studios. Rebranded as BBC Studios Kids & Family, the amalgamation completes a process that began in March last year, when the BBC announced that the absorption of the in-house kids production team would play a significant role in the British pubcaster’s five-year plan...

***The above posted after The Bloom Report sent morning of April 1st***

 

A wonder-fool idea: Little Tikes launches Cozy Cabs service.  Sick of the rising prices of fuel? Exhaust-ed by waiting for your taxi to arrive? Leading toy brand Little Tikes has gone the extra mile to solve travel nightmares with the launch of its brand-new sustainable and fuel-free taxi service, Cozy Cabs.

 

The Entertainer pledges support for World Autism Acceptance Week. To mark World Autism Acceptance Week (28th March to 3rd April), The Entertainer is donating 10% of all profits of Ready Steady Dough lines sold both in-store and online to the National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families.

 

Big Potato Games has launched a limited edition batch of potato plushies for the first time, with 100% of funds going to support the children of Ukraine. The exclusive plushies are available to buy from bigpotato.co.uk for £10 with money raised donated to the charity Children’s Town Ukraine. Based in Ukraine, this vital charity has been supporting vulnerable children, orphans...

 

Hunter Price continues to build on its strategic partnership with toy manufacturer Bildo by adding Play-Doh Blocks to its distribution deal, in conjunction with Hasbro. The building blocks are a new concept to the market, offering added play value by combining building and extrusion tools with the world-renowned Play-Doh compound.

 

Marshall Retail Group — a WHSmith company — opened a new concept called sodoPOP in collaboration with Funko and Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). The new store is stocked with some of Funko’s signature brands of toys, collectibles, and fashion accessories, including Pop! Vinyl figures, Paka Paka, Loungefly, and more.

 

The new CG-animated Transformers: EarthSpark series is currently in the works, and it’s co-produced by Nickelodeon and Hasbro’s EntertainmentOne (eOne). eOne describes the show as an “action-comedy” series that will introduce a new generation of Transformers robots, specifically the first Transformers robots who are born on planet Earth. Together, they will forge a bond with the human family who welcomes...

 

Los Angeles Adventuretown Toy Emporium is giving 50% of sales of Ukrainian toys to support three Ukrainian toy brands. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Annamarie von Firley, President of Adventuretown, reached out to the U.S. distributor of the three Ukrainian brands that she has been carrying to find out how Adventuretown could help.

 

KidQuest Game Inspires Higher Emotional and Mental Well-Being, Invites Kids to Discover Life Lessons through Storytelling.  Created by a mother and son entrepreneurial team, accomplished author Ariane de Bonvoisin and 7 year-old Everest van der Zwan, KidQuest is filled with 100 questions that prompt engaging and surprising interactions, such as "When you were a kid, what did you love doing with your grandparents?"...

 

Playmobil’s successful collaboration with the luxury car brand Porsche continues into 2022 with the launch of the new Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 model.  This classic 1972 sports car, beloved for its streamlined looks, unique lines and racing performance, has been presented in toy form by Playmobil in its stunning prototype yellow, making it a true collector’s item for all car lovers.

 

MGA Entertainment reveals new Mermaze Mermaidz Colour Change dolls. The fashion doll range will be on shelves from May and features character backstories via entertainment content. An all-new line of fashion dolls is aiming to make a splash at retailers, featuring an under water theme with colour change and water play trends.

HEXBUG launches BattleBots toys in the UK  HEXBUG is celebrating its ongoing partnership with BattleBots by introducing an exciting new line of micro fighting machines, inspired by the largest professional robot fighting TV series. Fans of the show can now bring their BattleBots experience home by purchasing their own miniature HEXBUG BattleBot robots along with their interchangeable accessories on Hexbug.com.

Smiffys has announced a major new collection launching for Halloween 2022, Universal Monsters. The Universal Monsters range includes some of the most iconic characters from classic horror films of the last century. These frightening creatures – including Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man – have stood the test of time and continue to haunt audiences to this day.

Brainstorm launches spring marketing campaign. Aqua Dragons, StikBots and Klikbots will all feature in the campaign across TV and digital media. Brainstorm is supporting key distribution lines with TV and digital marketing campaigns running throughout April, including ads for its popular Aqua Dragons brand.

 

Little Partners, makers of the Original Learning Tower, has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant approximately 5,000 trees in advance of the 150th Arbor Day natl holiday on April 29.  The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest member nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. Since its inception 50 yrs ago, the Foundation has helped to plant and distribute almost 500 mill trees in more than 50 countries. 

 

Waboba Launches ‘Rewild’ Eco-Friendly Ball Collection.  The old saying – “Eat the football!” – comes to mind with the news that Waboba has introduced its Rewild collection of footballs, soccer balls and volley balls, all made from the jute plant and rubber tree. “No, we aren’t recommending that anyone should actually think they’re edible,” stated Jordan Sullivan, Waboba’s Director of Fun, “but we are pleased...

 

Disney+ will launch in 42 countries and 11 territories this summer, including South Africa, Turkey, Poland, Hungary and the Middle East, and now it has unveiled the exact launch dates and pricing.  The Walt Disney streaming service on Tuesday unveiled May 18 as its start date in South Africa and June 16 as its launch date in Israel, with other countries getting it on June 8 or June 14, respectively.

 

Sunny Bunnies production relocates from Belarus to Poland.  The popular preschool toon's creative team is now fully operational at new Warsaw-based prodco Animation Café, which has also acquired the Sunny Bunnies IP. Animation Café has also purchased the Sunny Bunnies IP for an undisclosed amount and is now its sole owner and producer, although UK-based Media I.M. continues to hold exclusive commercial rights...

 

Netflix & ACTF launch incubator for kids series concepts.  Beginning on April 30, eligible Aussie producers, prodcos and creators can submit original tween live-action concepts and preschool animated projects that celebrate Australia's uniqueness. More specific hooks for live-action submissions could include mythical creatures, lore or outdoor survival, while preschool projects have the option to include repeatable songs...

 

Moose Toys mixes things up at Australian Toy Association’s product awards.  The company was the major winner at this year’s awards, taking home the top spot in an impressive six categories. Paul Solomon, CEO at Moose Toys, took to LinkedIn to say: “As an Aussie company the Australian Toy Awards are very close to our heart. Last night our incredible team were awarded six wins including the coveted Toy of the Year...

 

Spin Master’s Tech Deck sponsors major skateboarding championships.  Taking place over two weekends next month, the 2022 Skateboard GB x Habito National Championships has announced that the fingerboarding brand Tech Deck will be one of the official sponsors of the national competition. Spin Master’s Tech Deck is the global leader in fingerboarding, creating working replicas of skateboards that enthusiasts ‘ride’...

 

AT&T And WarnerMedia Launch New Digital Learning Platform.  AT&T is expanding its ongoing learning initiative with a new platform created in partnership with WarnerMedia that pairs characters from popular TV shows and movies with learning material. Mattel and Hasbro launched a similar online learning hub in 2020 that provided resources and games to help kids learning at home during the pandemic.

 

Sesame Workshop is debuting a new Muppet named Ameera to bring more visibility to two underrepresented communities—kids living with disabilities and displaced children from conflict zones around the world.  Ameera is a “witty, inquisitive” eight-year-old girl who uses forearm crutches to move around and sometimes a wheelchair as a result of a spinal cord injury. She will be introduced in April...

 

Halilit’s Ukranian supplier of Dodo puzzles looks to the future.  Dobra Firma, which manufactures Halilit’s range of Dodo puzzles and has been caught up in the conflict in Ukraine, issues an update. The games and puzzles manufacturer which is based in Kharkiv, Ukraine, has been able to secure safe passage of its stock over to the company’s warehouse in Poland and is currently making the difficult journey as regularly as...

 

Robo Force is back, in all its former ‘80s glory! After launching its toy division last month, studio Nacelle Co. — the studio behind Netflix‘s The Toys That Made Us, The Movies That Made Us, and A Toy Store Near You — has unveiled the first wave of Toys in its Robo Force collectible action figure line. 

VTech unveils new infant, toddler, and preschool toys for Spring 2022. VTech unveiled a trio of new additions to its infant, toddler, and preschool toy lines for spring. “One of my favorite toys this year is the Level Up Gaming Chair — it’s a fun way for kids to pretend to emulate the cool technology their parents use,” says Andy Keimach, president of VTech. “Our new toys encourage kids to use their imaginations which is...

Greg Rutherford leaps into action for Character Options campaign. Character Options’ campaign to Stay Active this summer has taken a hop, skip and jump into the celebrity stakes with the signing of Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Rutherford MBE to lead the messaging alongside influencers as each of the products in the Stay Active collection gets unboxed at home and reviewed on social media. 

LADbible launches celeb-inspired card game First Impressions. Digital entertainment publisher LADbible has launched its first-ever card game, First Impressions. Based around LADbible’s popular First Impressions YouTube series, the game is designed to bring together families and friends to recreate their best (and worst!) impressions of their favourite global celebrities, film characters and more. 

 

'Wonderland War' heads to retail. Skybound Tabletop will release Wonderland War, a new strategy board game, into retail on April 20, 2022. The Looking Glass has become shattered and Wonderland is engulfed in war. Alice has returned to find that The Jabberwock is rampaging across the land and the Red Queen wants blood. In this game, players will take charge of one of the five Wonderland factions and fight for area control. 

 

Wizkids unveils five new 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' character packs. WizKids unveiled five new D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures Character Packs for release into retail in July 2022. These Dungeons & Dragons Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures are highly detailed figures that arrive primed and ready to paint. This new group of heroes includes some of the less-played races of characters such as Aarakocra and Drow.

 

Hot Wheels releases NFT Garage Series 2 after first series sells out. Hot Wheels has been known for its die-cast toys and wacky tracks for almost five decades. You’ve most likely owned one before, and there’s a good possibility you still have one on your shelf right now. Throughout the epidemic, cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity, and NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been particularly popular. 

52TOYS celebrates the ‘Legacy of Lovecraft’ with new action figure line. China’s 52TOYS is looking to make an international splash with its new Legacy of Lovecraft action figure collection. In partnership with sculptor Jim Lee of Unspeakable, the collection of five classic characters from the Lovecraft mythos will be released as 3.75-inch vintage-style action figures, each with five points of articulation. Deep One, Dagon...

 

Asmodee will release 'Azul: Queen's Garden'. Asmodee will release Azul: Queen's Garden, a new board game, into U.S. retail on April 15, 2022. In Azul: Queen's Garden, players are headed back to the palace of Sintra. King Manuel I has commissioned the construction of an extraordinary garden for his wife, Queen Maria of Aragon, and the players must be up to the challenge of arranging plants, trees, and ornamental features.

 

Power Rangers in Space Red Ecliptor pre-orders arrive from Hasbro. Hasbro has put up pre-orders for their next Power Rangers Lightning Collection figure as we return to the In Space series. At long last then a villain, Red Ecliptor is back with a deadly bright red deco that features premium detail. Inspired by the show, Power Rangers in Space, 

Adventure time: Bigjigs Toys’ latest products encourage outdoor play. Bigjigs Toys has doubled its outdoor and garden range over the past 12 months, with new products including a Pop-Up Bug Net, Multi-View Bug Magnifier, Bug Box, Short Handled Shovel, Short Handled Spade, a Flower Press, Telescopic Net and Explorer Set. The importance of outdoor play can’t be overstated. 

 

Tackle 'Unfinished Business' in 'Star Wars: Outer Rim'. Fantasy Flight Games will release Unfinished Business, a new expansion for Star Wars: Outer Rim, into retail on June 6, 2022. Star Wars: Outer Rim is board game of bounty hunters, mercenaries, and smugglers that came out in 2019 (see "Become the Most Famous Scoundrel in the Galaxy"). 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Sesame Workshop has received an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games, which will be used to support the production of a 360° capture of the set. The $150,000 Epic MegaGrant helps with the creation of a high-definition digital version of the Sesame Street set that captures iconic locations including the 123 Sesame Street brownstone and its front stoop, Oscar’s trash can, Hooper’s Store, and Big Bird’s Nest. Utilizing Epic’s Unreal Engine, an innovative real-time 3D creation tool that has been used to create cutting-edge content and advance the art in virtual production, the capture will be leveraged for future Sesame Street XR (“extended reality”), interactive, and gaming applications.

 

Ukrainians Design Game Called 'Beat Putin', Users Play as Elon Musk, Game Raises R145k for Humanitarian Needs.  An online game inspired by the war between Russia and Ukraine was developed as means to raise funds, and so far it's been popular The game was designed with the Ukraine southwest city of Ukraine, Mariupol as a background, since it's one of the hotspots in the Russian assault 

Game companies haven’t given up on the NFT concept completely despite the ongoing controversy. According to a well-known Call of Duty insider, Activision has also been thinking of adding non-fungible tokens to its main franchise. A new report came from RalphsValve, an insider known in the Call of Duty community for providing several trustworthy leaks.

 

Activision and contemporary fashion leader Alpha Industries have announced the launch of a unique physical and in-game product collaboration with Call of Duty – the new limited-edition Call of Duty x Alpha Industries B-15 Flight Jacket. Revealed during last autumn’s Call of Duty: Vanguard launch event, the limited-edition Call of Duty x Alpha Industries B-15 Flight Jacket is now officially available to purchase...

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

Sony announces new PlayStation Plus subscriptions, its answer to Xbox Game Pass. Sony is announcing new versions of its PlayStation Plus subscriptions today, its long-rumored answer to Xbox Game Pass. PlayStation Plus is now a combination of Sony’s two current subscription services, PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now. 

 

Fortnite gets permanent no-build mode called Zero Build. Epic Games is introducing a permanent no-build mode to Fortnite called Zero Build. The company removed building from the popular battle royale shooter earlier this month to commemorate the start of the current season, adding new movement and ability mechanics such as a shoulder bash and overshield in the process. 

 

Nintendo delays The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel to 2023. Nintendo has announced that the (still-unnamed) sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will now be released in 2023. It's another delay for the long-awaited game that's not only in one of Nintendo's flagship franchises, but the sequel to the fourth-bestselling game on the Nintendo Switch. 

 

Apex Legends next-gen console updates with 4K and HDR launch. Respawn Entertainment has confirmed that Apex Legends upgrades for the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles will launch tomorrow with the new Warriors collection event. Until now, the battle royale shooter has shared versions across the console generations. But when the update is released — usually around 1PM ET — console players will finally...

 

Humble's charity "Stand with Ukraine" bundle raised over $20 million. Humble managed to raise over $20 million for Ukrainians affected by Russian invasion through its Stand with Ukraine charity bundle. Precisely 473,895 bundles were sold from March 18 to March 25, raising $20,736,340 for humanitarian organizations including Razom for Ukraine, International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps,,,

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

B&M, Amazon and eBay products urgently recalled over safety fears. Several top stores have recalled items in recent days due to health and safety concerns. Among the impacted shops are B&M, Amazon and eBay. The items have been recalled due to various risks such as the product containing glass fragments, posing a choking hazard, the risk of burns, or micro-bacterial risk. In many cases, customers who have...

 

Oxford Street shop raided and fined £22,000 over fake Peppa Pig toys and designer goods. An Oxford Street shop has been raided for selling £22,000 worth of fake Peppa Pig toys and other designer goods. Westminster City Council’s trading officers seized more than 1,500 items including fake TikTok hoodies, and counterfeit Nike and Louis Vuitton phone cases, from the shop on March 29. .

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Highlighted Press Releases

 

FUN AND CAPTIVATING NBA MATH HOOPS SCORES THE TOP PRIZE: A STEM.ORG ACCREDITED™ TRUSTMARK.  Bringing Students into the STEM Pipeline through Basketball.  This month all eyes are on the game of basketball and March Madness. From the tip off to every fake, foul, and free-throw, the captivating game comes with serious stats requiring precision math skills. Students (and their teachers) in grades three through eight looking to boost their own math skills have an assist from the basketball-themed NBA Math Hoops apps and board game! These games form the core activities of the NBA Math Hoops program, a community-based math education program operated by nonprofit Learn Fresh in partnership with NBA Cares. 

 

PunkinFutz X Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes releases Read and Play Bundle for Autism Acceptance Month. PunkinFutz, a sensory play company, celebrates Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month with neurodivergent author Lindsey Rowe Parker and autistic illustrator Rebecca Burgess, creators of the award-winning book about sensory differences, Wiggles, Stomps and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down.

 

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

Leading Bubble Manufacturer Little Kids Inc. Welcomes Families into an Epic World of Foam with Innovative Föm Mania® Brand. The backyards of America are about to get a lot more awesome thanks to Föm Mania®, the latest innovation from Little Kids® Inc., the number one bubble manufacturer  in the U.S. In addition to the mom-favorite brand Fubbles, the company's lineup of award-winning bubble, sports, novelty...

 

Jazzminton Sport – New Innovation Removes The Boundaries Of Typical Paddle Games. Jazzminton Sport is a creatively competitive paddle ball game that offers the same fun and excitement of tennis, badminton, pickle ball and even ping-pong all at once...but with a “hole” new spin on it.  The difference? No boundary or court is needed – just a small space. It can be played anywhere indoors or outdoors: garages, basements...

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Get Schooled at Licensing Expo with Licensing U.  When the licensing industry gathers in Las Vegas for Licensing Expo from May 24-26, attendees will have a chance to extend and advance their knowledge of the business. The 2022 edition of Licensing U features a packed slate of educational content that was developed and produced by Licensing International

 

ASTRA’s Certified Play Expert Program Returns.  The program offers retailers a chance to become familiar with the art and science of play through research-based instruction. Certified Play Experts can help independent retailers stand out from the pack by knowing what they sell and being able to guide parents and gift-givers to great products that kids will love.

Cannes Film Fest Expecting 90% Of Industry Delegates To Attend In Person; Asia Set To Return Despite Travel Challenges.  Last year, the French fest reported 10,000 total registrations for its market, split roughly evenly between on-site and online attendance. That total was in line with 2020, when the event was entirely digital due to lockdowns, with 10,000 professionals registering for the virtual market. In 2019, pre-Covid...

 

Licensing Expo, produced in partnership with industry trade association Licensing Intl, will celebrate the event’s long-awaited, in-person return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Ctr this May 24th-26th with an opening night party in association with ATLUS. The party will take place on the first day of Licensing Expo, May 24th, and will provide after-hours networking for the industry, bringing together the world’s most...

 

TOYFEST REVEALS DATES FOR 2023, REBRANDS AS NATIONAL SHOW. The Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) has officially revealed plans to drop the “West” and rebrand the show as Toy Fest — a national show — when it returns to The Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas, from Feb. 27 to March 3, 2023.

The Toy Association is reminding companies that Friday, April 8 2022 is their last chance to apply for the Best of Spring & Summer 2022 Influencer Choice List, presented by Clamour. “Don’t miss out on the opportunity to put your playthings directly in front of digital content creators influencing what kids are buying this season,” said Adrienne Appell, EVP of marketing communications at The Toy Association. 

 

Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) is calling for entries for the third edition of the Play for Change Awards which celebrate toys or initiatives that make a positive impact on children’s lives either by promoting diversity and inclusion, by showing care for our planet or by encouraging the development of the skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.

 

Back with a bang this year, the Outdoor Toy awards once again invites kid testers to put the very best outdoor toys through their paces. Toyology and the Kidzcoolit network will be overseeing the media and social coverage of the awards, which will see a total of 10 toys crowned must-haves for get-out, get-up and get-active play.

 

Rosie Marshall, head of Toys & Children’s Gifts at Playroom, the toy division of AIS, chats to Sam Giltrow about the INDX Toys & Nursery show, which takes place on 6th/7th April.  This week will see members of the AIS buying group and other specialist toy retailers return to Solihull’s Cranmore Park exhibition centre for the group’s annual domestic show.

 

Summer events in Pokémon GO have recently become more exciting with the announcement of Pokémon GO Fest 2022. Coming together for community-driven events in Pokémon GO is part of what makes the mobile game exciting for players. Events like Pokémon GO Tours, Community Days, and Spotlight Hours are all great incentives to get outside and meet up with friends to catch new companions. 

 

Josh Wardle Hosts First Live Wordle Competition! Toy industry luminaries Bob Fuhrer and his son Alex competed with hundreds of world class puzzlers in the first ever Wordle competition held in Stamford, Conn. Despite not playing Wordle every day, Sid Sivakumar, a 25-year-old crossword constructor from St. Louis, won the competition.

 

There will be no E3 this year. Will Powers, PR for gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer, said that he received an email stating the digital event was canceled. IGN initially reported the news, saying they had also independently viewed the email confirming E3’s cancellation. in January, E3 was once again shifted from an in-person event to an online-only exhibition due to the pandemic. Now, it seems that the digital event has been completely canceled.

 

***The above posted after April 1st***

 

People of Play has announced its first series of quarterly educational webinars targeting industry marketing and PR pros. The first session will be April 21st from 1pmET -4pmET; the session will kick-off with a keynote speaker (TBA) followed by break-out sessions on topics requested by attendees. Topics have been vetted from both agency and brand view point. The session will end with networking in the virtual POP Pub.

WONDERCON 2022: ALL THE DETAILS AND SHOW FLOOR HIGHLIGHTS.  This weekend, collectors, geeks, and cosplayers around the world will flock to Anaheim, California, for Comic-Con Intl’s slightly smaller — but certainly no less epic — comic convention, WonderCon. For the first time since 2019, the event will be taking place in-person at the Anaheim Convention Center from April 1-3, with more than 400 exhibitors lined up. 

Toy Fair New York will become a fall event taking place from Saturday, Sept. 30, to Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.  The Toy Association entered into a 3-year commitment with the Javits Center to host the reimagined event beginning next year and through 2025. As previously reported exclusively at the Toy Book, the move to fall comes following extensive research into the needs of the industry.

GAMA EXPO, TOY FAIR NEW YORK SHIFT DATES  Toy Fair Shifts Seasons, GAMA Expo Moves Later. The GAMA Expo move is not as major. GAMA Expo will be held April 24-27, 2023; the April dates are about six weeks later than the typical early to mid-March dates the show has had for years.  This date move is temporary, and was made as a result of the show’s cancellation in 2021.

Speakers confirmed for European Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit  Iconic British retail brands Liberty and Sainsbury’s, and global entertainment powerhouse Hasbro, are just three of the speakers confirmed for the second European Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit (B&LIS), taking place 21 June at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

 

2022 Australian Toy Association Award Winners. The ATA's annual Awards Ceremony, proudly sponsored by Hasbro Australia was live-streamed last night on the Toy Fair Digital Platform. The Awards celebrate the people, products and licenses that strengthen the industry in Australia.

 

Toymaster launches spring catalogue and ‘Give a Toy for Easter’ campaign.  Toymaster, the independent toy buying group, has just launched its latest spring/summer catalogue. One of the many benefits of Toymaster membership, the twice-yearly catalogues offer specialist indie retailers another way to engage with their communities.

'Magic: The Gathering's' Pro Tour returns with tabletop events. Wizards of the Coast announced that Magic: The Gathering's Pro Tour will make a return and feature FLGS tabletop events. Over the past two years, tabletop Magic events have been on life support thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the much touted, newly-formed Player's Tour was seemingly left for dead in favor of more digital events. 

 

Games Workshop announces Golden Demon USA 2022 winners. Games Workshop announced the winners of the Golden Demon USA 2022, the first official GW miniature painting competition held on U.S. shores in over a decade. The Golden Demon USA 2022 contest was held at Adepticon 2022, which took place from March 23-27, 2022 at the Schaumburg Convention Center. 

 

GDC 2022 on-site attendance down 59% from last pre-COVID show. While the Game Developers Conference returned to San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center last week for the first time since the pandemic, it was still not quite a return to normal. Organizers today announced a 2022 attendance figure of 17,000, down 41% from the record 29,000 attendees at GDC 2019. However, 5,000 of those attendees were just...

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

 

Charles Marx, passed on April 4, 2022. Charles was the son of David Marx and newphew of Louis Marx. Louis and David co-founded the Louis Marx and Company. 

 

Estelle Harris, Mrs. Potato Head in 'Toy Story' series, dies at 93. Harris was best known for her distinctive voice and comedic timing, forever cemented by her role as the mother of George (Jason Alexander) in Seinfeld, where she appeared on 27 episodes. Her foil was Jerry Stiller, who played Frank Costanza, and the three characters engaged in countless scenes of lovable bickering. 

She also had a robust voice career, anchored by her work as Mrs. Potato Head in the second, third and fourth chapters of the Toy Story series. Channelling the verve of her Seinfeld role, she has a loving and nagging relationship with Mr. Potato Head, perfectly voiced by Don Rickles.

From there, she popped up in many animated projects large and small, including films such as Brother Bear (2003) and Tarzan II (2005) and series such as Hercules, The Wild Thornberrys and Godzilla: The Series (all from 1998). – Reuters

Scott Bennie - Games writer, producer and designer Scott Bennie has died from pneumonia at the age of 61. News of his passing was shared on his Facebook page, reported via PC Gamer. Bennie is best known for his stint at Interplay during the 1990s, where he worked as a producer and designer on several RPG games including the studio's The Lord of The Rings adaptations and strategy title Castles: Northern Campaign. 

He also worked as a writer across several Star Trek titles, including Starfleet Command 1 and 2, Starfleet Academy, as well as the original Fallout game. Bennie also contributed several tabletop games throughout his career, including Dungeons & Dragons, Marvel Superheroes, and Hero Games' Champions. Industry figures, peers and former colleagues paid tribute to Bennie and his work on Twitter. Developer and Interplay founding member Rebecca Heineman called Bennie "a great game designer and writer," and added, "I will miss him." InXile studio head Brian Fargo wrote: " I was saddened to hear that Scott Bennie died today. He was a brilliant writer who worked with us at Interplay on some true classics like Star Trek: Judgment Rites and Starfleet Academy. RIP." Author Matt Forbeck said: "I'm sad to hear of the passing of my old friend Scott Bennie, who I met through the wonderful, tight-knit community of Hero Games designers back in the early 1990s. He was a sharp man, full of neat ideas, and bumping into him at a convention was always a highlight of that week."

 

Mohammad Fahmi - Coffee Talk creator and writer Mohammad Fahmi has passed away. The news was shared on social media by Fahmi's family and his colleagues at Coffee Talk developer Toge Productions. "Today we've received the most devastating of news. Our beloved Fahmi, the writer of Coffee Talk and a beloved friend of Toge Productions has passed away. We are absolutely devastated by his early departure," wrote the studio.

"Thank you for everything you had done for Toge Productions, for the indie game industry, for your friends and family. We will never forget you and you will always be in our hearts." Over the years, Fahmi worked on numerous projects including What Comes After, Afterlove EP, and Code Atma as a game designer, writer, and director. He also spent time at Gameloft as a programmer and designer, lending his talents to games such as Asphalt 6: Adrenaline and The Oregon Trail: American Settler.

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Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

-Next New York Toy Fair to Take Place Sept 30th – Oct 3rd 2023

-People of Play Announce Quarterly Education Webinars to Keep Toy Industry Marketing and PR Pros on Top of Trends

-Moose Toys Wins Big at Australian Toy Awards

-Kid-Invented Social Card Game KidQuest Announced

-Professional Race Drivers Team up with New Blockchain Racing Game, K4 Rally

-Neopets and Upper Deck Announce New Trading Card Collection and Future Gaming Release

-Mattel and Universal Brand Development Reach Licensing Agreement for ‘Trolls’

-Goliath Announces ‘Casefile: Truth and Deception’ for Launch in 2022

-Popeye and Intimissimi Uomo Team Up For Spring/Summer 2022 Menswear Collection

-9 Story Media Reaches the UK With New Licensing Partners for Hit Series Karma’s World

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Glass half full? …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. The bumper April issue of Toy World is out now

  3. Toy Association confirms dates for inaugural September ’23 Toy Fair

  4. Mattel announces global licensing deal for Trolls franchise

  5. Appointments and restructure bolster Rubies’ EMEA team

  6. Toymaster launches spring catalogue and ‘Give a Toy for Easter’ campaign

  7. The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive: How could this affect my business?

  8. MGA Entertainment reveals new Mermaze Mermaidz Colour Change dolls

  9. Halilit’s Ukranian supplier of Dodo puzzles looks to the future

  10. Raft of new licensee deals for CoComelon, Blippi and Morphle

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)

WizKids Unveils Two 'D&D Icons of the Realm: Strixhaven' Miniatures Sets
Jasco Shows 'My Hero Academia: Plus Ultra! Board Game'
Rolling for Initiative -- 'Critical Role' and 'Magic: The Gathering' Miniatures
'Elder Elemental - Phoenix' Reborn in 'D&D Icons of the Realms'

WizKids Unveils Five New 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' Character Packs

ICv2 Miniatures Week 2022
Miniatures Previews from GAMA Expo 2022
Top Sculpts: Best Miniatures Sculpts of 2022 (So Far)

Wizards of the Coast Previews 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate'
GAMA Expo, Toy Fair New York Shift Dates

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

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Family Business New Edition, Azul: Queen's Garden April Release
Lookout Games is releasing a new edition of card game Family Business, Asmodee is releasing Azul: Queen’s Garden this April, and Calliope has announced Tsuro: Luxury Limited Edition.

Video of the Week 

Hidden Roles

Nicholas and Rebecca are BlueMatter Games!

Nicholas Cravotta and Rebecca Bleau are the creative minds behind over a hundred games and puzzles. From cooperative Escape Rooms to party games like Pickwits, these two tell us how to work together to create a really good game! --- Check out BlueMatter Games: https://www.bluemattergames.com/

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

 

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

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

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

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

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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

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