BloomReportMasthead.jpg

March 4 - 11, 2022

ButtonSubscribeFree.jpg
ButtonClassifieds.jpg
ButtonGotNews.jpg
ButtonAdvertise.jpg
ButtonLastWeeksNews.jpg
ButtonSearchableDirectory.jpg

Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

PopFeedTomSelleckMeme.jpg

Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

We had so many questions about our POP feed this past week, we are running this again . . . 

POP now brings you news, information, classifieds, interviews, events and everything, around the clock and around the world!! We now have two information feeds on POP: The Homepage Social Feed covers everything of interest to our industry, media and consumers. The POP News Feed zooms in on industry news like you see here on the Bloom Report. 

 

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have become clogged with ads and junk posts about topics that aren't important to you. POP is the solution! You can now easily find out what is hot an happening in the play industry, all in one place! Be a part of what’s popping and post, post, post to POP!

 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

tBR Circle LOGO.jpg

Person of the Week - Christy Kaskey

Christy Kaskey.png

What are your roles and responsibilities in our industry?

I am the founder and CEO of a small Chicago based toy company, creating sets of sports action figures to inspire creative play in kids all year long.

 

What has been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement is staying in business for over 20 years and selling over one million of the toys I created for my own kids, to other families!

 

Do you have a mantra that you live by?

“I know how it looks.  But just start. Nothing is insurmountable.” - Lin-Manuel Miranda

 

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

I got into the industry for my kids.  In 1999 I was a mom of two boys, ages 2 & 3, and was desperate to find a toy that would inspire them to play on their own while I made dinner!  They both spent hours playing sports with any ball they could find, but they were not too interested in any of the traditional toys we had at home.  I had so many memories of my own brothers staying happily entertained with action figures while growing up, I thought sports themed action figures may be the answer for my kids!  When I could not find anything on the market like what I was imagining, I decided to design my own.  Football Guys was my first introduction in 2001. READ MORE . . . 

tBR Circle LOGO.jpg

Industry Commentary - Cassidy Smith

The Toy Association (TA) is not so "Special" Anymore

Cassidy Smith.jpg

 I was so excited to finally attend New York Toy Fair to debut our new company, Uniche Collective! I knew going in attendance would likely be less than stellar, especially relative to previous years as this was the comeback from the cancelled 2021 show. That said we wanted to support the show as much as possible and maximize the exposure we would get to our valued retailers. You can imagine how difficult it was to get the news that the show had once again been cancelled, only to then find out that Toy Fair's plan was to move the subsequent show to September of 2023. Compounding the frustration was the fact that I had just returned from New York Now which had been extremely productive. It was clear this was not New York forcing Toy Fair to shut down for health and safety reasons, but that Toy Fair had shut itself down for more political reasons.  

 

Between the cancellation of Toy Fair in 2022 and the new September 2023 dates, it has becoming increasingly clear TIA is directing their show toward the mass market and sending a clear message they don't really care about the specialty buyer, making Toy Fair far less special than it was before.

 I feel ASTRA took a positive step in reaching out to their members to get an indication of what works best from a cross- section of specialty retailers, independent reps and manufacturers. ASTRA president Sue Warfield took a very savvy approach to this, and appears as though she truly has the best interest of the specialty markets in mind.   READ MORE . . .

tBR Circle LOGO.jpg

People of the Week - The Pressman Family

Lynn and Jack Pressman.jpg
Jim, Donna and Kate Pressman.png

Note from Mary - this article about the Pressman family is part of a series I have with aNb Media about toy industry families - 22 families to date and more fascinating stories coming! 

Lynn Pressman was one of the first people I heard about when I entered the toy industry. She absolutely fascinated me. People talked about her business acumen, flair, hats, stunts like bringing an elephant to NY Toy Fair and much more. I met Jim for the first time at the UK Inventor Dinner and he seemed quiet, thoughtful and reserved. Although their styles were different, both were exceedingly successful in growing Pressman Toy during their time at the helm, as was Jack Pressman obviously. Theirs is a great story! You can read the Pressman Family Story HERE.

 

Jim Pressman answers our questions here about his toy family . . . 

Jim, how did your family first enter the toy industry?

My father, Jack Pressman, grew up working with his Father who owned the Pressman Sporting Goods and Toys retail store. After Jack was discharged from the service, he worked for a company that sold metal toys. Then, in 1922, at the age of 27, he became a partner in the North American Toy Company, which then changed its name to J.Pressman and Company.

 

Who has been involved and who is involved now?

From 1922 until his death in 1959, Jack was President. In 1942 he married Lynn Rambach. In 1947, he dissolved his partnership at J. Pressman and started Pressman Toy, naming Lynn as Vice President. Lynn became President after Jack’s death and ran the company until 1977, when she named her youngest son (me) President. I was President until 2014 when we sold the company to Goliath Games.  READ MORE . . . 

Financial and Legal

 

The Swedish corp. Embracer Group has completed its acquisition of both Dark Horse Media and the Asmodee Group. In Dec. 2021, Embracer announced that it would acquire the French board-game publisher Asmodee for $3.11 billion, and on Mar 8 it announced that all conditions for the sale, including regulatory approvals, had been satisfied and that the sale had been completed. Asmodee will function as an independent division of Embracer, and there are no plans for changes in its operations, organizational structure, or management team.

China Covid spike sees Shenzhen suspend production. Located in the manufacturing hub of Guangdong province, China, Shenzhen told businesses yesterday to suspend production or have employees work from home for at least a week. Mainland China is facing its worst Covid-19 outbreak since the country clamped down on the pandemic in 2020, with major cities rushing to limit business activity.

Hasbro defeated a lawsuit in NY federal court brought by a toy inventor claiming the company failed to pay him royalties for sales of games based on ideas he pitched to Hasbro’s products acquisitions department. David Wexler, who sued in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY, failed to show his ideas for “mash-up” games were novel and that Hasbro unlawfully used the ideas. Judge Valerie E. Caproni...

 

Disney CEO apologizes for silence on ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.  Facing a tidal wave of backlash following Disney’s failure to speak out against FL’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Disney CEO Bob Chapek formally apologized to employees today for the company’s failure to support its queer community. In an internal memo, Chapek addressed widespread criticism of Disney’s witting silence in response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed recently...

 

Russia Strikes At Peppa Pig In Copyright Battle.  A Russian court dismisses eOne's trademark infringement case, and the government issues a decree allowing local companies to use IPs from brand owners in "unfriendly" countries without permission or payment. Peppa Pig has gotten caught up in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the development could have implications for other entertainment IPs.

Summer Infant, a leader in premium infant and juvenile products, has announced that it and Kids2, Inc, a global company that designs solutions to help early-stage parents and families, have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Kids2 will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common stock of the Company for cash. Under the terms of the agreement, the Co.’s stockholders will receive...

Studio debts reported to be more extensive than first thought.  Studio was sold to Frasers Group for just £1 and owing more than £80m at its collapse, with Frasers Group taking on secured lenders’ claims against the company for around £26.8m. According to a report in Retail Gazette, the administrator, Teneo, has submitted new documents to Companies House which show the total consideration for the group ...

Flat River Group is acquiring two Canadian companies, expanding its publishing and distribution capabilities and team, the company announced.  Flat River Group, a 1st party e-commerce partner which also serves the hobby trade through its Impressions Game Distribution unit, now adds distributor and publisher Luma Imports and publisher Synapses Games.

 

Amazon to proceed with acquisition of MGM. First announced in May last year, the deal is the company’s second biggest, just behind its purchase of supermarket chain Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7b (£10.4b). As well as bolstering Amazon’s advance into the world of TV and film, the deal would also make Amazon a much stronger competitor to streaming rivals such as Netflix and Disney+.

 

***The above posted after March 11th***

 

Rightsline, the leading rights and finance management platform for the media and entertainment industry, announced that it has acquired REAL Software Systems. This move will extend its core IP rights management services to fully support end-to-end financial and royalties workflows, while simultaneously expanding its market from media and entertainment into gaming, publishing, consumer products...

 

Pembroke VCT, the venture capital trust focused on backing early-stage businesses with exceptional founders and management teams, has invested £500k into Annie Mals, a children’s education brand launching its maiden offering, a series of books devised to give children confidence to engage with contemporary issues, such as mental health, diversity and introversion. Annie Mals was founded by award-winning...

 

MAPP Trap, a price monitoring tech company using a proprietary search engine, is applying its experience and relevant learnings, while transforming the tech- and legal-focused podcast landscape, with its newly released podcast series, Legal Briefs. Created for e-commerce decision-makers who want to explore specific strategies to protect their brands, pricing, distribution and intellectual property, Legal Briefs...

 

Embracer Group completes acquisition of Asmodee in 2.75b Euro deal.  It has been confirmed that Asmodee will continue to operate as before the transaction and no reorganisation is anticipated. In Dec 2021, Embracer Group AB entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire Asmodee from funds managed by PAI Partners and other shareholders of Asmodee. On 17th Jan 2022, Embracer, PAI and the other shareholders ...

 

Labor Report: Taking The Pulse Of Unionization In Animation.  Kidscreen delves into union drives at animation studios in Canada and the US, and the effects they may have across the industry. When Emily Gossmann was hunting for her first job after graduating in 2013, professors gave her a piece of advice: “Look for the old guys.”

 

Newly funded POW! Interactive acquires Jasco Games. POW! Interactive Holdings Corp, which recently closed a funding round of $20 million, has acquired Jasco Games and plans to expand sales of its games and pursue additional acquisitions, the company is announcing today.  POW! Interactive, co-founded by Paul Wharshavsky and Luohan Wei, is organized as a “holding company that invests, acquires, operates,...

Trio of Activision Blizzard shareholders reportedly under investigationAmerican businessmen Barry Diller, David Geffen, and Alexander von Furstenberg are reportedly under investigation for insider trading, having allegedly bought a large quantity of Activision Blizzard shares just ahead of the company being acquired by Microsoft. 

Atari buys MobyGames database for $1.5 millionAtari has purchased long-standing video game database MobyGames for $1.5 million. The company secured the option to purchase MobyGames at that price in November 2021 and had until March 2022 to complete the deal. Explaining why it finally pulled the trigger, Atari said it wants to "give back" to the community by helping MobyGames continue its goal of documenting...

Georgia man buys rare 'Pokemon TCG' card using SBA Covid-19 relief loan. The U.S. Department of Justice convicted Georgia resident Vinath Oudomsine on one count of wire fraud for using an Small Business Administration relief loan to purchase a Pokemon TCG Charizard card. Oudomsine had spent more than $57,000 of the $85,000 relief loan on the rare Pokemon card. 

newyork-toy-600px-x-400px.jpg

 

Program Highlights

  • A++ rated insurer, $20 Billion in assets

  • Exceeds Wal-Mart and other leading retailers insurance requirements

  • Variable rate based on sales projections

  • Foreign & Domestic Liability coverage

  • Blanket additional insured vendors

  • Employee benefits liability

  • All certificates and claims handled in house

  • Quick quotation turnaround

  • Product recall expense $250,000 limit

 

Additional Coverage

  • Umbrella up to $50,000,000

  • Ocean Cargo & Property

  • Commercial Auto

  • Lead coverage

  • Intellectual properties (copyrights, trademarks, & patents)

  • Credit Insurance

  • US Customs Bond Insurance

  • Health Insurance

Call us today at 800-392-6958 (ext. 318)

for a free consultation and quotation for your business needs.

185 Newman Springs Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724

Contact: Jason Welch: tel: 732-842-2012 (ext. 318), fax 732-530-7080, jawelch@york-jersey.com or Bob Witkin bobwitkin@york-jersey.com

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

Financial Reporting

 

2021 Global Box Office Down 50 Percent From Pre-Pandemic Times: MPA Report. Not all is lost, however. The annual report from the Motion Picture Association says the theatrical business will recover from COVID-19 and also trumpets the rise of streaming.

 

John Lewis achieved its highest ever sales of £4.93b, up 8% on a like-for-like basis, a 10% improvement on two years ago.

 

***The above posted after March 11th***

Funko Earnings ‘Pop’ as Sales Spike 58% in 2021

Omdia Analysis: Cloud gaming market value tripled in 2021.

 

Lego annual revenue increases 27%

Amazon announces 20-for-1 stock split, $10 billion buyback

 

Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps’ premiere community action program, distributed an unprecedented 22.4 million toys, books, and games to nearly 8.8 million children in need in 2021.

 

'THE BATMAN' TOPS FRIDAY BOX OFFICE WITH $57 MILLION; 'I AM LEGEND' SEQUEL ADDS STARS; 'ALIEN' MOVIE GETS A DIRECTOR; 'MORBIUS' AND 'FANTASTIC BEASTS' TRAILERS RELEASED; 'TWISTED METAL' SERIES ORDERED

Future Financial Reporting

Target, Kohl’s forecast sales increases this year. Target and Kohl’s are forecasting low- to mid-single-digit percent increases in sales for 2022. Much of this optimism is tied to a post-pandemic U.S. market and both chains are plotting store expansions and adding new brands to their product mix to offset rising costs and ongoing supply chain issues. 

 

Discovery investors will be asked to approve the $43 billion deal to combine with WarnerMedia, which AT&T is spinning off, at a March 11 virtual meeting.

Wall Street eyes Walmart results for signs of tighter margins, slower growth. When Walmart on Thursday reports how it fared during the holiday quarter, investors also will want to see how higher labor, transportation and materials may affect the retailer’s margins, given its “Everyday Low Price” strategy. Refinitiv estimates total gross margins to be 23.90% in the fourth quarter, down from 25.26% in the prior quarter, while revenue is expected to fall 0.6% to $151.15 billion.

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

Proliferation of streaming subscription channels, coupled with internet access costs, are driving many younger consumers to “discover” free TV once more.

 

SpongeBob SquarePants Is The Most In-Demand Show On Amazon

 

Only 7% of Movies in 2021 Featured More Women than Men, Study Finds

 

DIAMOND TOP 400 COMICS--JANUARY 2022

 

FEBRUARY 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS

 

FEBRUARY 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS

FEBRUARY 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS

 

***The above posted after March 11th***

 

2021 IN COMICS: A RECORD YEAR FOR RETAIL And a Strong Start to 2022

Only 10 percent of UK games industry workers want to return to the office full-time

 

Pay-TV Providers Shed 4.7M Subscribers In 2021, Down Slightly From 2020 Cord-Cutting Levels – Report

TCGPLAYER (Trading Card Games) TOP 25 SEALED TCG PRODUCTS (WITH PRICE SHIFTS) - FEBRUARY 2022

HOBBY GAMES CHANNEL UP 30% IN 2021

 

Capstone Partners Reports: Juvenile Products & Toys M&A Poised for Continued Strength in 2022

Top 50 Comics - February 2022

Top 5 Roleplaying Games - Fall 2021

 

Top 10 Hobby Channel Card/Dice Games - Fall 2021

 

Top 5 Non-Collectible Miniature Lines - Fall 2021

 

TOP HOBBY CHANNEL BOARD GAMES - FALL 2021

 

Top Collectible Games - Fall 2021

 

Developing expertise in Science & Nature - the STEM category

 

Track and race – the Action Vehicles category

 

With so many eco-friendly and sustainability developments taking place in the toy industry, Toy World rounds up the latest Green news.

 

The Outdoor category Rachael Simpson-Jones talks to a number of UK suppliers specialising in different areas of Outdoor Toys to find out how the category is shaping up this year.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

Custom LEGO Store Sells Zelenskyy Figures And Tiny Molotov Cocktails To Support Ukraine.  All proceeds from the sales of these items will go to Direct Relief, an international humanitarian aid organization that is currently working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health to help both refugees and people who are trapped or voluntarily remaining in the country. They have been working to help folks in Ukraine get their medical needs...

 

The toy bridge.  Romanian border police and citizens have turned the pedestrian bridge linking Ukraine and Romania at Sighetu Marmației into a toy bridge.  Each child who comes from Ukraine can take a toy from there, to enter the country with a nice thought.

 

Instagram’s new parental controls, announced in December, are launching today in the US. The service’s head, Adam Mosseri, refers to them as the company’s “first set” of parental supervision tools, allowing parents and guardians to view and set limits on the amount of time their teens are spending on Instagram, get updates on which accounts they’re following and being followed by, and receive notifications...

 

Pixar’s latest project, Turning Red, has been very well-received by critics, but how does its Rotten Tomatoes score compare to other Pixar movies? While there are many studios that have brought a variety of stories to the world of animation, Pixar continues to be the biggest and most influential one, and it keeps on treating its audience to at least one movie per year. This year, Pixar is bringing two very different movies...

 

What’s Now Vs. What’s Next: The Future Of Kids Tech.  From metasocieties to VR eSports, we spoke to experts about the trends that are big now, and poised to get even bigger in the year ahead. Kid-focused tech has evolved to better meet children’s changing needs, and looking at recent trends can shed light on what the most significant innovations will be in 2022 and beyond. 

How Collectibles Brand Funko Became A $1 Billion Pop Culture Powerhouse.  Back in January, 2017 Funko FNKO -1.9%, then a largely under-the-radar collectibles company, predicted that it would hit $1 billion in revenue within five years. Since then, the Everett, WA based company has gone public, recovered from what was described as the “worst first-day return for an IPO in 17 years”, scored licensing deals with some of the...

 

New book charts the rise and fall of British toy company Tri-ang.  Written by Prof Kenneth D Brown, Emeritus Professor of History at Queen’s University Belfast and a leading expert in the history of the toy industry, the book is based in part on hitherto unused papers preserved by Peggy Lines, daughter of one of the founders. The book reveals how a Victorian family business became the iconic Tri-ang trademark, makers of Cindy...

 

Inside the Succession Drama at Scholastic, Where Harry Potter and Clifford Hang in the Balance.  When the CEO of Scholastic died suddenly last year, he left control of the family empire to a former colleague—his ex-girlfriend. Now there may be a showdown brewing over billions of dollars in kids’ fare.

 

Pixar Blasts Disney for Censoring Its LGBTQ Content. As well as for failing to speak out against Florida's harmful "Don't Say Gay" bill. Employees of Pixar have sent a scathing letter to their parent co. Disney, accusing it of censoring virtually all LGBTQIA+ content from Pixar’s films. The letter comes one day after Disney CEO Bob Chapek claimed the company’s leaders were opposed to FL’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay”...

Ukrainian Companies Launch Toon To Counter Misinformation.  The country's screen industry is fighting the invasion with a two-minute short called The Good Always Wins and an open-letter campaign calling for international endorsement. Ukrainian broadcaster 1+1 media and animation studios Animagrad and Mamahohotala have teamed up to create a 2D-animated short designed to counter Russian propaganda about the invasion.

***The above posted after the Bloom Report sent on March 11th***

John Baulch - Weathering the storm…it’s the Friday Blog! It has been a relatively busy news week in the toy community – which is good, because it helps to have something positive to focus on instead of the heartbreaking situation in Ukraine or the fact that Covid cases are once again on the rise in the UK (even though this is being kept off the front pages by the lunacy we are witnessing in Eastern Europe).

 

Edtech Companies Tap AI For More Personalized Learning.  AI is shaping the future of digital learning as parents—daunted by online schooling—turn to tech companies for help. Are they ready? COVID-19 posed plenty of challenges for folks around the world, but parents of school-aged children had a particularly hard time. As millions of students were forced to attend virtual school, many parents were too busy ...

 

Polish Illustrator Creates Fantastic Russia-vs-Ukraine Image for Aid Donations. To raise funds for Ukranian support, Polish illustraor Pawel Jonca careated this image of Russa as a red bear, about to step on a certain sharp crick toy we all know, with the Ukranian flag colors. 

 

The 10 most innovative companies in gaming in 2022.  Video games are defining culture, commerce, and community, and Dapper Labs, Roblox, Epic Games, and Rec Room are leveling up the experience. Games have historically been an underrated corner of business and the culture—but no longer. People are flocking into game worlds for immersive entertainment and social connection, and celebrities and brands...

 

YOUTUBE TAKES ACTION ON LOW-QUALITY VIDEO CONTENT. by MELISSA HUNTER, founder, Family Video Network. The time has come for what many toy-focused YouTube creators have feared.  In addition to requiring channels to mark their content as “Made for Kids” or “Not Made for Kids,” YouTube released new standards last July that are meant to help creators by providing more transparency into what the platform...

 

Updated: Global Toy Industry Supports Ukraine During Russian Conflict. Dozens of companies have answered the call to provide aid and support to kids and families in Ukraine and the surrounding area. The Toy Book is monitoring the situation with daily updates on the global industry response and is providing links to more information and resources for those looking to join the efforts. 

Games firms opposing Russia are cutting off a $3.4bn market. Analysts help us contextualize the impact of sales bans by Microsoft, EA, Take-Two and more. For the past week, some of the biggest names in video games have been halting all sales in Russia in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine. So far, Microsoft, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, CD Projekt and...

Pandemic lessons learned allow strong holiday season despite supply chain problems. Throughout 2021, there was a constant drumbeat of dire supply chain news, warning of empty shelves in stores for the holidays, and a bleak season as a result.  For the most part, those warnings turned out to be overblown, not because supply chains weren’t massively disrupted (they were), but because through planning, hard work, and...

GoPopAd_BloomReport2021.jpg

History and Nostalgia

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SIMON TOY? In 1977, toy developers Ralph H. Baer and Howard J. Morrison were named as the inventors on patent number US4207087A, filed on behalf of Marvin Glass & Associates, as published by Espacenet. The application for the "microcomputer controlled game" described the game play as taking place either between two players or one player versus the game itself as "the machine generates a random sequence of tones which must be accurately repeated by the participant. 

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MY BUDDY DOLL? In 1972, children's books author Charlotte Zolotow published her classic story "William's Doll," one of the first examinations of gender equality when it comes to expectations and support concerning kids and their toys. Per Zolotow's personal website, the book tells the story of a little boy named William who wants a doll to play with, a request that is treated with apprehension and concern by his parents, and scorn and derision from other kids, until his grandmother steps in and saves the day.

***The above posted after March 11th***

A 1998 Pocket Monsters Japanese Promo "Illustrator" Pikachu Holo card, graded PSA NM 7, sold for $900,000 at a recent Goldin auction.

The world is perhaps within spitting distance of  seeing its first million dollar Pokemon card sale, now that this card has landed within $100,000 of that benchmark. This scarce promo was only released in Japan back in 1998, and is widely considered one of the most elusive Pokemon...

The evolution of the iconic Barbie doll throughout the years. Barbie has come a long way in her many years on shelves and in the hands of girls around the world. First introduced to the world on March 9, 1959, Barbie was created to be a woman with a plethora of opportunities in the world, from astronaut and dentist to Olympic gold medalist and the first female President of the United States. 

 

Property from The Strong National Museum of Play to be auctioned off. CHICAGO, IL.- Hindman Auctions will present Strong Diversions: Property from a Lifetime of Play on March 28, which will feature items from The Strong National Museum of Play’s collections and its founder, Margaret Woodbury Strong. 

 

Big Loader Construction Set from Tomy (1977). Released by Tomy in 1997, the Big Loader Construction Set put children in charge of their own construction site. The set came with 12 road sections that connected for over eight running feet of track in a layout of approximately two square feet. 

 

Ringing up baby: why rotary dial toys survived the rise of smartphones. Though real rotary phones have largely vanished from our lives, they live on through children’s play. Fisher Price first released the toy “chatter telephone” in 1961. You know, the one with the red receiver, blinking eyes and a cheerful smile. 

 

Newsletter-ad -Latest.jpg

Licensing 

 

Apple TV+  is adding to its kids and family lineup with a new 2D-animated kids series from DreamWorks Animation, Pinecone & Pony set to premiere on Friday, April 8. Based on the book with the same name by Canadian author and comic-book creator Kate Beaton, Pinecone & Pony is an eight x 30-minute animated comedy for kids and families about a young girl named Pinecone who sets out to become a warrior. 

 

Moonbug Ent has inked its first multi-territory linear deal, partnering with WarnerMedia to air preschool series CoComelon across EMEA.  Under the deal, WarnerMedia has picked up 170 episodes of the popular series to air on the conglom’s fledgling preschool block Cartoonito across more than 115 countries in the area this yr. The brand’s 3D-animated musical episodes, which cover educational topics and..

 

New Wave Toys Introduces Dragon's Lair, Space Ace RepliCades. Better load up on your quarters because the ‘80s are back and better than ever. New Wave is expanding its RepliCade line of playable, 1:6-scale arcade cabinets with new additions based on fan-requested classic games. Fans can now choose from the Space Ace x RepliCade, the Space Ace x RepliCade Conversion Kit Edition, and the Dragon’s Lair...

 

EastPoint Sports, Chippo Bring Golf x Cornhole Mashup to Mass Retail.  Under a new licensing deal, EastPoint Sports will bring the Kickstarter hit Chippo to Target and Walmart this spring. The game combines elements of golf and cornhole into a new backyard experience. Under this new deal, Chippo will join EastPoint Sports’ family of brands and introduce two new products, Backyard Chippo and Chippo On the Go, to major...

 

Buffalo Games Expands Pop It! Collection with Stranger Things, Star Wars, and Marvel.  Kids can’t get enough fidget toys. You know the ones: They look like a waffle full of colored bubbles that kids can pop in and out. Now, kids are going to become even more obsessed with the launch of Buffalo Games’ new licensed Pop It!s featuring a pop culture twist.

 

Mattel, Microsoft Extend Licensing Pact for Halo FranchiseMaster Chief has some unfinished business in the toy department. Mattel and Microsoft have inked a multiyear extension of their global licensing agreement for Halo toys in select categories. The agreement includes exclusive rights in the construction and vehicles categories under the MEGA and Hot Wheels brands.

 

Netflix and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have announced they are bringing some of the most iconic and beloved stories and characters of Dr. Seuss to life with 5 new animated preschool series and specials.  The projects are inspired by treasured stories like Horton Hears a Who!, The Sneetches, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and Wacky Wednesday, in addition to lovable characters like Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.

 

Dolu, after working with Mattel for the past 6 years in other countries, this year the company is able to supply 21 items covering Barbie, Fisher Price and Hot Wheels to UK retailers. The items cover both outdoor and indoor toy ranges. With classic Fisher Price branding that is instantly recognisable and trusted by parents worldwide, Play Houses, a Picnic Table, a Sand Water Table, Swings...

 

Magikbee and WildBrain have signed an agreement to license Seasons 9, 10, and 11 of Mattel’s classic Polly Pocket series for Magikbee’s kids’ streaming platform, KidsBeeTV. KidsBeeTV is a global brand with customers in more than 200 countries. In that sense, Polly Pocket is a key IP in the kids’ streaming app catalog, appealing to a large fan base around the world and resonating with both kids and their parents. 

 

Tweety’s 80th anniversary celebrations take flight. WarnerMedia Global Brands and Experiences (WMGBE) is reminding the world that Tweety is no ordinary canary by launching an 80th anniversary celebration on a global scale. As one of Looney Tunes’ most beloved characters, Tweety is known for being unflappable and unapologetically authentic. 

 

TOMY launches Toomies Batman range.  In line with the release of the much-anticipated The Batman film this March, TOMY Toomies has announced the launch of a new range of toys that bring Gotham City a little closer to home. In partnership with Warner Bros, the new range of character figures and vehicles brings the action and drama of the Batman … 

 

***The above posted after March 14th***

 

Tonies unveils raft of new partnerships and licences.  A bumper month sees Tonies welcome National Geographic Kids, Toy Story 2, Disney Lullabies, Spirit Untamed, Cars 2, Mr Men and Little Miss and more.  Tonies, the children’s audio system, launches a raft of exciting new Tonies for young listeners of all ages this Easter, adding to its ever-growing library of stories, songs and educational content for kids.

 

Funko Games Announces Rear Window Game.  The quintessential nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Alfred Hitchcock thriller has been transformed into Rear Window Game – coming to a tabletop this summer from Funko Games’ acclaimed design studio Prospero Hall. One player assumes the role of the Director and “Master of Suspense” himself who must communicate using clues and signs (and without ever uttering a word)...

 

Genius Brands Intl has announced the appointment of the award-winning Brands with Influence as the exclusive licensing agent in the U.K. for the Co.’s portfolio of IP.  Brands with Influence will be responsible for creating licensing, merchandising and retail programs for Genius Brands’ slate of properties, including the Stan Lee brand, from the legendary Marvel creator, which the global media children’s co. manages...

 

Macmillan Adapts Podcast For Publishing.  As kidcos seek new ways to monetize audio content, the publisher is turning a Pinna podcast series for preschoolers into a multi-format book range. Kids audio streaming service Pinna is teaming up with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group imprint Farrar, Straus and Giroux to adapt its preschool podcast series Quentin and Alfie’s ABC Adventures as a series of kids books.

 

Netflix and DreamWorks Animation have announced a new series in the Boss Baby franchise. The Boss Baby: Back in the Crib is set to debut globally on Netflix May 19, picking up where last year’s feature film sequel The Boss Baby: Family Business left off. In the latest series, main character Theodore Templeton is framed for embezzlement and forced to turn back into Boss Baby. Now living with his brother...

 

Kangaru Toys welcomes Reese’s into the fold with their line of scented stationary and writing utensils. This one is for the true peanut butter lovers, who know you can never have enough Reese’s Creamy Peanut Butter. Now Kangaru toys has captured the essence of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and squeezed it into these remarkable markers, gel pens, colored pencils, stickers, erasers, notebooks, journals and more. 

 

Fender Musical Instruments (FMIC)’s Fender Custom Shop™ announced the launch of a special collaboration with Mattel and Hot Wheels™, the global leader in car culture. Created by the Shop’s esteemed team of eleven master builders and five apprentice builders, the Fender Custom Shop Hot Wheels collection consists of 16 one-of-a-kind, bespoke designs inspired by the die-cast vehicles...

 

Fun In Motion Toys introduces the Wes Peden Signature Series Glow.0 LED Juggling Balls, bringing the art of juggling to a new level.

The juggling balls were designed in collaboration with Wes Peden, the No. 1 juggler in the “Top 40 Juggler of the Year” 10 times. Each Glow.0 juggling ball set comes with three soft and squeezable balls. Each ball contains two LED lights for a bright juggling experience. 

 

Animal Adventure Inks Licensing Deal for Sophie la girafe. Under the deal brokered by Anjar & Becker Associates, the licensing agent for Sophie la girafe, Animal Adventure/Dan Dee International will market Sophie-inspired plush, feature plush, mobiles, activity mats, storage cubes, rockers, rocking horses, soft chairs, stroller toys, baby wedges, and seasonal products in the U.S.

 

Wonkybot Expands Tara Tremendous Universe.  The podcast company's Marvel-esque strategy behind its popular kids superhero property is finally coming to fruition, says founder/creator Stewart St. John. Kids superhero podcast Tara Tremendous is on the verge of becoming a full-blown franchise featuring crossover characters and interconnected storylines à la the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

 

WarnerMedia is banking on new animated content from nonprofit Sesame Workshop to help it stand out in the streaming wars.

WarnerMedia has greenlit a new Charlotte’s Web miniseries and a Sesame Street-themed special based on the The Nutcracker. The new productions will join its slate of Sesame projects on HBO Max and the Cartoonito preschool block on Cartoon Network.

King Features Syndicate  is partnering with Swedish slots specialist Lady Luck Games to create branded digital game content featuring iconic comic characters Popeye, Olive Oyl, Beetle Bailey and Flash Gordon. The new games will be available for players in slots across Europe and Asia for the first time, further expanding the reach of the character brands to fans across the world within the growing online casino game category. 

 

Bicycle, the bestselling playing card brand in the world, is launching a Bicycle x Smiley Collector’s Edition. The commemorative decks are part of Smiley’s 50thanniversary takeover with Bicycle and other major brands incorporating the trademark “smile” image into established products. The limited-edition deck features a design created by world-renowned graffiti artist, André Saraiva, who transformed Smiley’s original...

The Op reveals 'Smash Up: Disney Edition'. The Op revealed Smash Up: Disney Edition for release into retail in summer 2022. In this version of AEG's shuffling building game, players will dive into the wonderful world of Disney. This standalone game comes with decks for 8 different Diney movie factions, including Frozen, Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph, The Lion King, Mulan, Aladdin, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and...

 

Cartamundi, Warner Bros. Consumer Products launch DC hybrid trading cards. Cartamundi, a world leader in playing cards, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC have launched DC Hybrid Trading Cards by Hro. Using the “Hro” app, a new platform that combines the physical and digital worlds, fans can unlock the DC Multiverse and collect, trade and buy the first DC-based hybrid NFT trading cards...

 

Far Out Toys, Kidoodle.TV bring ‘The Glo Show’ to TV screens worldwide. As the Glo-Up Girls fashion doll line hits shelves at Target stores in the U.S. and Australia, Far Out Toys inked a licensing deal with Kidoodle.TV to bring Glo-Up Girls entertainment to millions of young viewers around the world. Under the new deal, kids can watch The GLO Show on the Kidoodle.TV service on more than 1,000 devices...

 

Ravensburger gives Villainous a Star Wars spin. Ravensburger has announced the newest title in its award-winning Villainous board game franchise will be based on the Star Wars galaxy. In the new Star Wars (Power of the Dark Side) Villainous game, gamers can play as Darth Vader, Asajj Ventress, Kylo Ren, Moff Gideon or General Grievous. .

 

The spotlight is on movie-related merchandise. The red carpet is once again being rolled out for tentpole films with some regularity, and the licensing industry is watching to see if the merchandise sales that typically flow from blockbusters will also resume. The marquee film from this past weekend, The Batman, posted a record $248.5 million in box office revenue and there was no shortage of related licensed products. 

 

Fresh from the Batcave: how Batman stays relevant in licensing. Batman has been a part of the pop culture lexicon since the 1960s. Multiple generations have been introduced to the Caped Crusader, and fans are passionate about the character and his best version. YouGov conducted two separate surveys on the character, depicting how fans discovered Batman and their favorite live-action version. 

New 'Dune' board game coming from Gale Force Nine. Gale Force Nine has announced its next board game based on the science fiction classic Dune. Arrakis:  Dawn of the Fremen, produced under license from Legendary, will launch in July. Arrakis:  Dawn of the Fremen is a competitive game about the conflicts between tribes of Fremen on the planet Arrakis, set a hundred generations before the events depicted...

Mattel blasts off with toys inspired by Disney and Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’. With Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear hitting theaters on July 17, Mattel is celebrating the iconic Space Ranger’s origin story by revealing a full lineup of new toys inspired by Buzz Lightyear’s early adventures. This 11.5-inch figure features Buzz Lightyear in his Space Ranger Alpha Suit with lights, sounds, jetpack exhaust, and pop-out wings.

Fat Brain Toy Ad dimpl-br-540x250.jpg

People of Play

Exploding Kittens has hired former Rad Power Bikes and Aritzia exec Jed Paulson as its first chief commercial officer to elevate the company’s expanding global footprint. In this newly created role, Paulson will head up the commercial strategies of Exploding Kittens’ direct-to-consumer site and its retail partner relationships. He will also focus on strengthening the company’s digital marketing development to increase...

Super Soaker inventor: ‘Put it on the table and let it stand on its merit’. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why generations love the Super Soaker line of water guns. “I’ve been accused of being a rocket scientist,” laughs Lonnie Johnson, who was working for NASA at the Jet Propulsion Lab when he came up with the idea for the manually pressurized device that propels water with greater power, range and accuracy.

 

***The above posted after March 11th***

Simon Philips, former president of Marvel Ent Intl, is setting his sights on a new universe to conquer. Philips has joined the board of Falcon’s Beyond Global, a Florida-based experiential entertainment company that brings IPs to global markets through theme parks, resorts, attractions and patented technologies. Philips arrives at Falcon’s Beyond with a resumé that includes generating more than US$16 billion in...

 

A tribute to Ralph Baer, written by friend of the Lemelson Center, Richard C. Levy: In early 1999, I was hired as new product acquisition consultant by Educational Insights, a specialty toy and game company. My two-year assignment was to open doors to the independent inventor community, here and overseas, and look for product that EI could license and sell in the mass market. One of my first calls was to Ralph Baer. 

 

Writer, producer and director Latoya Raveneau is making Disney her creative home. The director of Disney+ series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder and executive producer of Rise Up, Sing Out has signed an overall deal to develop and produce animated projects exclusively with Disney Television Animation and 20th Television Animation. Raveneau will work on kids and family projects for Disney Television Animation...

 

On this episode of ShopTalk, we sat down with President of Super Impulse, Alan Dorfman, to discuss all things miniature! Known as the “King of Mini Toys” Alan has created some mini classics like the Mini Etch-A-Sketch, the ‘Worlds Smallest’ toy line, Garbage Pail Kids, Mini Super-Soaker and more! Hear all about Super Impulse’s upcoming plans for 2022, their NEW Pop Taters in partnership with Hasbro, Alan’s thoughts...

 

Global Licensing Group has appointed Laura Freedman-Dagg to the newly created role Head of Retail, Licensing. Prior to taking maternity leave, Laura held the position of event manager, Brand Licensing Europe, where she was integral in growing the trade show’s retail proposition, successfully attracting an increasing number of high-quality European retailers to attend the event

 

Melissa & Doug has welcomed Jeremy Robinson as the new sales director for Northern Europe, based in the company’s UK office. Reporting to managing director, International, Francisco Anselmi, Jeremy will have responsibility for managing existing and new business within the key markets of the UK, DACH and the Nordics. 

 

Marcy Kelly has signed on to partner with Mattel Films to write across their upcoming film slate. Kelly has worked with Mattel Films on several projects, including a feature film script based on the #1 card game property UNO. She adapted cult favorite Mean Girls into a branching narrative video game for Pocket Gems and Paramount. In its first year of release, Mean Girls: Senior Year achieved over 221 million views....

Wise Wizard Games hires Derek Funkhouser as their new director of game development. Wise Wizard Games has hired Derek Funkhouser as their new Director of Game Development. Funkhouser was previously the Game Development Manager at Skybound Tabletop from 2019 to 2022. He has worked as a designer and developer on such titles as Tidal Blades, Wonderlands War, and Trial by Trolley. 

Next Level Games president Douglas Tronsgard announces retirement. Douglas Tronsgard, president and co-founder of Next Level Games, has announced his retirement. Tronsgard co-founded the developer in 2002 and served as CEO for 20 years. His role changed to president following Nintendo's acquisition of the studio last year. In a post shared to LinkedIn Tronsgard said: "After over 20 years in the video...

GSNMC Manufacturing ad August 9 2021 for Bloom Report.jpg

Companies and Brands

 

The UK channel answers the call initiated by Rebecca Atkinson’s #ToyLikeMe campaign, featuring the lives and play patterns of children living in a wheelchair-accessible home. Channel 5′s Milkshake! will be the network home for MixMups, a preschool series created by–and featuring–people with disabilities.

 

eeBoo Shows Off New Puzzles Made of Sustainable Materials.  Woman-owned and run toy company eeBoo has a new selection of puzzles made with sustainable practices and materials for both kids and grownups. Never underestimate the value of play, even for a three-year-old, as lifestyle brand and toy manufacturer eeBoo knows well. Its 2022 collection of puzzles and games has universal themes parents can appreciate.

 

Bandai America Incorporated has announced that it will be merging with Bandai Namco Collectibles LLC (Bluefin,) effective April 1st, 2022. The merger will result in one group by the name of Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America Inc. Leading the new company will be Mr. Steve Fujimura, CEO and President and Mr. Shu Takahara as the Chief Operation Officer.

 

Schleich, the world’s leading manufacturer of animal characters and playsets, is pleased to enter into a yearlong partnership with the American Montessori Society. The American Montessori Society promotes independent, engaged and self-motivated learning. Schleich animal characters integrate into educational activities such as those in language development and cultural studies. 

 

Hasbro Named One of ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ for 11th Consecutive Year.  The global play and entertainment co is one of just four consumer products companies being honored by Ethisphere in a field of 136 companies. The award recognizes companies for leadership in areas including business ethics and compliance, ethical sourcing and human rights, environmental sustainability, and social impact across global...

 

Far Out Toys, Kidoodle.TV Bring ‘The GLO Show’ to TV Screens Worldwide.  As the Glo-Up Girls fashion doll line hits shelves at Target stores in the U.S. and Australia this month, Far Out Toys inked a licensing deal with Kidoodle.TV to bring Glo-Up Girls entertainment to millions of young viewers around the world.

 

MGA Entertainment Teases Rainbow High Spinoff, Shadow High. The doll world is buzzing with the promotional rollout of MGA Entertainment’s latest doll brand. The company behind L.O.L. Surprise! began teasing the new doll line as students from Shadow High “hijacked” the official Rainbow High Instagram account. Read more…

 

Spin Master Games is holding a special pop-up event in NYC this weekend as they're giving away free treats with games. The company will be having special ice cream trucks show up at three different locations between March 18th-20th around Manhattan. The event is being done to promote their latest card game, Tell Me Without Telling Me, a fresh new party game inspired by the viral TikTok trend. .

 

Since its soft launch by Waboba in 2012, the Moon Ball has become a world best-selling ball, making that milestone with now over 10 million sold. “While it’s always been a popular activity toy, its popularity has zoomed with the onset of social media,” noted Jordan Sullivan, Waboba’s Director of Fun, “and there have been over one million views on TikTok, YouTube and more, all showing the wild tricks we...

 

Cloudco Ent, owner of the venerable-but-irreverent Madballs brand, and The Topps Co, owner of the renowned-yet-over-the-top Garbage Pail Kids brand, have released much-anticipated limited-edition collaborations that fans of these iconic 80s brands have been eagerly waiting for. By playfully pitting the two “heavyweights of gross” against one another, licensees such as Chalk Line, Dynamite Entertainment...

 

Sesame Workshop kicks off ‘Word of the Day’ with Amanda Gorman.  Starting today with Amanda Gorman introducing the word “Upstander,” guests will include: Samuel L. Jackson; Gabrielle Union; Brett Goldstein; Anna Cathcart; Zazie Beetz; Ava DuVernay; and First Lady Jill Biden. The Sesame Workshop “Word of the Day” videos will roll out simultaneously on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel and across Cartoon...

 

ZAG and Burger King Launch Global QSR Promotion for Miraculous.  Zag’s global promotion with Burger King first launched internationally across Europe, Latin America, MENA, and Pacific Asia, on Jan 17, and in France on Jan 24. The U.S. is scheduled to launch on March 24, 2022, in approximately 7,200 participating Burger King restaurants. The promotion features six branded premium items featuring characters...

 

Cra-Z-Art to Donate $250,000 In Toys to Aid Children in Ukraine.  Cra-Z-Art will donate approximately $250,000 worth of their premium markers, colored pencils, crayons, coloring books, activity kits and puzzles. The company, headquartered in Randolph, NJ, produces and markets such popular toy items as Kodak jigsaw puzzles, Shimmer ‘n Sparkle activity kits, Cra-Z-Art art materials, Disney arts and crafts, USA Gold...

PRX & Sensical Tune Into Podcast Partnership.  Five audio series for kids, including Molly of Denali and Live from Mount Olympus, have just launched on the streamer. Common Sense Networks’ ad-supported streaming service Sensical has picked up five kids podcasts from audio company PRX. Available on Sensical now are the Molly of Denali and Pinkalicious & Perteriffic audio series it made with PBS KIDS and GBH...

 

Star Stable Tests A Kinder Approach To Online Moderation.  A six-week AI-powered pilot program on Star Stable Online encouraged kids to be nice and reduced the amount of toxic messaging by 5%. Swedish video game company Star Stable Entertainment is rolling out a new artificial intelligence system in its Star Stable Online game that could revolutionize online moderation in the kids gaming space.

Asmodee USA announced that six companies have added them as an English distributor for various game titles and products. These companies include Modiphius Entertainment, Para Bellum Games, Spin Master, Skytear Games, Trans Atlantic Games, and Road to Infamy.   Spin Master will have a non-exclusive agreement with Asmodee USA for distribution of select games from their catalog. Games included in this deal. . . 

 

FuturumKids Dips Into Australia With Paddles. The CG-animated bridge series featuring a lovable polar bear out of water makes its first move outside of Europe. The bear that accidentally ended up in Ireland just found himself even further away from home. Paddles, the CG-animated series featuring a polar bear cub who is accidentally delivered by stork to a frozen River Shannon in Ireland, is set to start airing in Australia...

 

Marvel teams with The Prince’s Trust to give aspiring designers their first break.  Marvel has announced the launch of its first ever Marvel & The Prince’s Trust collection, created in collaboration with the youth charity. Disney partnered with The Prince’s Trust on a two-week programme to give young aspiring designers the opportunity to break into the world of fashion and product design by pairing each participant with a mentor...

 

Lego supports Comic Relief with brick walk challenge. TV star and mother-of-two Jacqueline Jossa took on the challenge of treading barefoot over Lego bricks, to raise money for Comic Relief this Red Nose Day. Onlookers watched as the former Queen of the Jungle took cautious steps along the specially designed Lego brick walk on London’s Southbank, navigating her way across more than 30,000 Lego bricks. 

 

Marks & Spencer will be introducing an Early Learning Centre toy section into a small selection of its stores (10), as it extends its strategy to sell external brands in an attempt to increase its appeal to families. The move follows a trial to sell ELC toys via the Marks & Spencer website, which started last year. Then, over 200 toys from a curated Early Learning Centre range were added to the M&S website and...

 

What a Rush: Stern Pinball scores big with rock star's help on new machine line. George Gomez has been making coin-operated games in the Chicago area for decades, and he's spent the last few years ushering in a "renaissance in pinball" in Elk Grove Village. "We're the largest manufacturer of pinball machines in the world, and on any given day, we probably own 90% of the world market for pinball," Gomez, the COO... 

 

New Hatchimal toys are coming, and we've got a sneak peek at one of them! Remember Hatchimals? They’re cute, interactive plush toys that come in an egg that they have to hatch out of first, and you never knew exactly what you were going to get! Kids went absolutely gaga for them a few years ago, and now Spin Master is revealing the next stage in their evolution: the Hatchicorn!

 

PowerTown Wrestling, a brand developed by Relativity Worldwide, has appointed Southard Communications as its first agency of record to support the debut of its retro action-figure line. Southard will handle all PowerTown's marketing, communications and social-media campaign. It will also spearhead consumer and trade media relations, events, influencer marketing and paid digital communications.

 

Ms. Marvel Reportedly Set To Release In June.  Ms. Marvel is set to release after Moon Knight, and the series' red carpet premiere has been scheduled for early June, indicating its release date. The upcoming show is based on the highly popular character Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), a 16-year-old Muslim Pakistani-American from Jersey City who is a big fan of superheroes, in particular, Carol Danvers.

 

***The above was posted after the Bloom Report was release on morning of March 11th***

 

TIME Studios To Develop Another NFT Animated Series.  "the littles" is TIME's latest investment to hail from the blockchain as it grows its web3 content portfolio. The blockchain is proving fruitful territory for New York-based TIME Studios Kids & Family, which is sending another NFT-inspired TV concept into development.

 

UK Bliss Distribution has been appointed official distribution partner for the games publisher Wizards of the Coast. The new deal means that Bliss will be able to promote more Wizards of the Coast products than ever before across franchises including Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. It will also allow qualifying retailers to access the Wizards Play Network. 

 

Mario Kart toys return to McDonald's for Mar10 DayMcDonald's has announced that its latest Happy Meal promotion will contain toys based on the popular Mario Kart franchise, available throughout March to coincide with March 10, also known as MAR10 day. The news comes just weeks after it was confirmed by Nintendo that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe would get new DLC, containing tracks from previous games in the series. 

 

Kohl's wants to transform from a department store into 'a focused lifestyle concept'Sixty years ago, Kohl's pivoted from the grocery business to become a department store, at a time when department stores were already in decline. Now, facing macroeconomic headwinds and pressure from activist investors and even inviting bids to sell itself, the retailer says it's leaving behind that model too.

 

Elenco Electronics, the creators of the award-winning Snap Circuits brand of educational circuit-building toys, announces that it has been named a participant sponsor of The Smart Factory @ Wichita, a new Industry 4.0 immersive experience center, established by Deloitte and Wichita State University in Kansas.  The Smart Factory facility, located on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus, is a ...

Public broadcasters CBC (Canada) and ABC (Australia) are expanding their ongoing partnership with a new joint initiative to support kids animation production and gain an edge in a busy marketplace. Open to projects from both new and established creators in the two countries, the Kindred ABC/CBC Animation Collaboration is seeking “fresh, innovative and artistic animation” targeting tween and preschool audiences. 

 

23 classic Beatrix Potter stories will join Yoto, the audio platform for kids, celebrating the 120th anniversary of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The company behind Yoto Player and the recently launched Yoto Mini has collaborated with Penguin Audio to bring the stories to its content library, featuring a star-studdded range of voices including Tom Hardy, Lily James and Olivia Colman.

Smart Teddy Announces New and Engaging Content Updates for 2022.  Smart Teddy, the fun, customized, connected bear that helps parents engage their little ones with a furry companion while simultaneously helping kids set up good habits, is announcing the company’s 2022 seasonal content updates. As a part of an emerging generation of educational, smart toys Smart Teddy is programmed with more than 25 daily activities...

 

Mattel to donate $1 million to aid Ukrainian refugees  Mattel has issued a public statement on the situation in Ukraine. The statement reads: “Mattel stands with the Ukrainian people and we are devastated and saddened by the impact the war is having on innocent children and families. Guided by our purpose to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach

 

MGA Entertainment is expanding its Rainbow High portfolio for spring summer 2022 with the release of the all-new Junior High dolls this month. The original six characters from the Series 1 range – Ruby Anderson, Poppy Rowan, Sunny Madison, Jade Hunter, Skyler Bradshaw and Violet Willow – will all feature in the range as younger versions of themselves, revealing their origin stories and how they found their creative...

 

WREBBIT3D CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF 3D PUZZLES. The Toy Book chats with Wrebbit3D President Jean Théberge about the company’s evolution over three decades and what’s in store for the company’s milestone anniversary.  Toy Book: Congratulations on celebrating 30 years of 3D jigsaw puzzles! How do you think your puzzles have changed the toy industry? 

 

Miniland USA Introduces Diverse Doll Line.  Classroom toy and game manufacturer Miniland USA is bringing its social-emotional learning focus to the toy industry arena by making their dolls with Down syndrome, hearing implants, and glasses directly available to consumers this year. The collection aims to support the representation and acceptance of kids in classrooms worldwide.

 

Fanatics Launches zerocool Trading Cards Brand with StockX Co-founder.  Following its surprise acquisition of The Topps Co. in January — a move that accelerated its entry into the sports card realm by several years after inking a deal with Major League Baseball — the company’s Fanatics Collectibles division is launching a new brand: zerocool. 

 

Hasbro revealed a new partnership with Girl Up, a global leadership development initiative founded by the United Nations Foundation that advocates for equal rights, access, and opportunities for girls to be leaders.  Hasbro hopes to support Girl Up’s efforts to reach a wider audience which include its leadership program, content creation, digitizing current assets, and a forthcoming digital learning platform. 

 

Argos digital store-in-store concept reaches 400 outlets.  The new Argos digital store, situated in Sainsbury’s Crystal Peaks, Sheffield, follows the opening of two similar stores in Belfast and Waltham Cross earlier this week. The latest opening means that more than half of all Argos stores are now within branches of Sainsbury’s, enabling shoppers to pick up a wide variety of general merchandise purchases at the same time as...

 

Rubies and Smyths Toys team up for ‘Create-A-Costume’ competition. The costume manufacturer is collaborating with the retailer to bring children’s designs to life for two lucky Create-A-Costume winners. Rubies and Smyths Toys are inviting kids to design their own super suit or princess dress in a competition to not only promote the companies, but also spark children’s imagination and creativity.

 

Spotify US has launched the latest edition of its Sound Up training program with a first-ever focus on the kids and family audience. The four-year-old training and mentorship program aims to help creators from historically excluded communities learn how to produce for the podcasting market. This edition focuses on content targeting kids ages three to nine, and the whole-family co-listening experience.

 

PowerTown Wrestling, the brand developed and being brought to market by Relativity Worldwide, has appointed Southard Communications as its agency of record to support the brand on a comprehensive marketing, communications, and social media campaign. Based in NY, Southard Communications has 3 decades of experience in the toy, game and collectibles space and is an ideal partner, according...

 

Miniland USA, makers of classroom toys and games focused on social and emotional learning, has announced the launch of their best-selling line of dolls with Down syndrome, hearing implants and glasses, direct to consumers. The respectfully inclusive collection was created to support representation and acceptance of children in classrooms worldwide, yet equally found enormous success among consumers...

FAMILY OF MISSION-LED EDUCATIONAL TOY COMPANIES TO SUPPORT CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN UKRAINE. With thousands of children and families gravely affected by the conflict in Ukraine, the family of award-winning educational toy companies Learning ResourcesEducational Insights, and hand2mind today announced they are providing support in numerous meaningful ways. Along with financial support...

TikTok is suspending new video uploads and livestreams on its app in Russia, citing the country’s newly-passed “fake news” law as the reason for the change.  “In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law,” TikTok writes on Twitter. “Our in-app messaging service will not be affected.”

 

Netflix is suspending its services in Russia over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, as first reported by Variety.  “GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES ON THE GROUND, WE HAVE DECIDED TO SUSPEND OUR SERVICE IN RUSSIA”.  “Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” Netflix spokesperson Emily Feingold said in a statement to The Verge.

Disney Will Reignite Interest In Avatar 2, Says 20th Century President.  While some may doubt audiences' interest in the Avatar franchise, 20th Century president Steve Asbell is confident Disney can easily win everyone over. Part of the reason Avatar 2 has taken so long to reach this point is because Cameron has been hard at work perfecting the technology required for the special effects. 

 

CBC Reboots Street Cents On Social. The '90s series that aimed to help teens make sense of their cents is springing back to life as the pubcaster's first original TikTok series. Banking on the strong cultural force of ’90s nostalgia, Canadian pubcaster CBC is rebooting one of its flagship kids series from the decade with an of-the-moment spin. Street Cents, a newsmagazine-style series about money and financial literacy...

 

Canadian company NGD Kids is looking for global distributors. NGD Kids’ range includes the popular Farm Hoppers and the product line is expanding over the next year as the company is set to release a new line of Hopper Balls as well as its own range of plush toys. Other well-known toys in the range include Fantasy Hoppers, Wildlife Hoppers and Holiday Hoppers.

 

‘Gabby’s Dollhouse’: Dreamworks’ Next Big Franchise on Netflix? Independent media analyst Emily Horgan dives into how Gabby's Dollhouse could be one of Netflix's biggest kids franchise launches to date. In the show, we follow Gabby, who uses her magical cat ears to transport herself into her dollhouse where she goes on adventures and solves problems alongside a host of kitty characters.

 

Ads To Arrive On Disney+ In New Subscription Tier.  The new AVOD option will launch in the US first later this year, and then expand into international territories in 2023. Consumers looking for a break in the cost of Disney+ can look forward to a lower-priced ad-supported viewing option that’s set to debut later this year. The premium-content streamer is expanding its subscription menu with a new tier as part of its efforts...

 

The Pokemon Company International announces 'Sword & Shield - Astral Radiance'. The Pokemon Company International revealed Sword & Shield - Astral Radiance, the next expansion for Pokemon TCG, which will hit retail on May 27, 2022. This new booster set is inspired by the Pokemon Legends: Arceus video game, showcasing a variety of Hisuian Pokemon and card art depicting the Hisui region.

Learning Resources lends support to families in war-torn Ukraine. With the conflict in Ukraine leaving thousands of children and families in desperate need of help, Learning Resources has announced it is providing support in numerous meaningful ways. Along with giving its financial support, the company is sending educational toys and activity sheets translated into Ukrainian so that children there have resources...

Osprey Games announces 'Village Rails'. Osprey Games announced Village Rails, a new railroad game by Brett J. Gilbert and Matthew Dunstan, for release into retail on August, 18, 2022. Village Rails was designed by the award-winning duo behind such games as Costa Rica and more recently, Vivid Memories (see “Vivid Memories”). 

 

These pedal cars will be toddlers’ new favorite retro ride. The Classic Pedal Cars from Kid Trax are the perfect retro ride for your littlest drivers. Available in police car, fire truck, hot rod, and pink convertible styles, these mini rides have fun vintage styling for a fun look as kids cruise down the sidewalk. All of this is finished off with cute chrome hub caps that really give these cars that classic feel. 

 

Bezier Games will release 'Cat in the Box: Deluxe Edition'. Bezier Games will release Cat in the Box: Deluxe Edition, a 2E of a trick-taking game by Japanese publisher Ayatsurare Ningyoukan, into retail in August 2022. Cat in the Box was originally released in 2020. In this game, based on the concepts of quantum mechanics, players calculate how many tricks they need to win and place a bid on that number of tricks. 

 

Games Workshop reveals 'Combat Patrol: Tyranids' For 'Warhammer 40,000'. Games Workshop revealed a Combat Patrol: Tyranids boxed set for Warhammer 40,000, which is coming soon to retail. Combat Patrol: Tyranids  box comes with a total of 43 miniatures to help players field an army or add to their collection. 

 

Conversation is the name of the game with the ‘Let’s Get Talking’ card deck. It’s not always easy to get your little ones to open up. And while it’s not always fun, it can be! What Do You Meme is making open conversation the name of the game with a new collection of question-based cards. The Let’s Get Talking game includes three levels of cards: “Light Questions,” “Big Questions,” and “Bigger Questions,” which each feature...

 

Celebrate Hindu faith with 2 new plush goddesses from Modi Toys. Modi Toys is adding two goddesses to its plush collection of Hindu deities: Saraswati Devi (the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts) and Durga Devi (the goddess of power and protection). Modi Toys was founded by Hindu siblings who wanted to pass down their Hindu faith to their first-generation American kids. 

 

Cyanide & Happiness chooses Gamefound for next party game. Explosm, the company behind the brand Cyanide & Happiness, is launching a new campaign for its latest party game on Gamefound, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to gaming. Their two previous games, Joking Hazard and Trial By Trolley, were among the top 30 most backed Kickstarter projects of all time. 

 

A quartet of titles coming from R&R games. R&R Games has announced four new titles, including a Euro-style strategy game, two party games, and a kids game, all scheduled to release on May 15. In Dom Pierre, players compete to dominate production of the new sparkling wine. Ferret Out is a social-deduction style party game. 

Asmodee will release 'Caverna: Cave Vs. Cave - The Big Box'. Asmodee will release Caverna: Cave vs. Cave - The Big Box, a new board game box set from Lookout Games, into retail on April 1, 2022. Caverna: Cave vs. Cave is a head-to-head worker placement that was originally released in 2017 by Mayfair Games. 

Asmodee will release 'Bad People' and 'Bad Choices'. Asmodee will release Bad People and Bad Choices, two new party games by Dyce, into retail on April 22, 2022. In Bad People, players vote for or against their friends on their answers to outrageous questions. The goal of the game is to reveal what people really think of one another and share crazy and ridiculous stories at the end of each round. 

 

Save the world a word at a time in 'Illiterati'. Gap Closer Games has launched Illiterati, a cooperative survival word game, onto Kickstarter. In Illiterati, players take on the roles of Librarians attempting to stop a secret organization from making the world illiterate. Each round, players draw letter tiles and have three minutes to create words by shifting letters between each other. 

Toy retailers respond to Ukraine war; LEGO becomes a symbol of resistance. Dozens of retailers and ecommerce companies are severing ties with Russia in the wake of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. But one little toy sold around the world has become a symbol of Ukraine’s ability to inflict pain on Russia: the Lego block.

Nintendo and Bungie halt sales to Russia. Nintendo and Bungie have now stopped shipping and selling products to Russia. In a statement, Nintendo said it is suspending shipping to the country "for the foreseeable future, due to considerable volatility surrounding the logistics of shipping and distributing physical goods." 

 

Sony shuts down PlayStation Store operations in Russia as war escalates. Sony will no longer be selling games in Russia on its PlayStation Store. The company has announced that it is suspending all software and hardware shipments in the country, and will not be launching Grand Turismo 7 in the region. 

 

Rovio, Zynga, and Supercell suspend operations in Russia and Belarus. Major mobile game companies Rovio, Zynga, and Supercell have halted sales in Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine. Angry Birds maker Rovio has pulled all of its titles from app stores in both regions. 

Nintendo delays Advance Wars remaster due to Russian invasion. Nintendo has delayed the launch of its upcoming Advance Wars remaster following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In a brief statement, Nintendo of America said it will be delaying Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp "in light of recent world events."

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks halt Russian sales.  McDonald's said it was temporarily closing its roughly 850 restaurants in Russia, while Starbucks also said its 100 coffee shops would shut. On Wednesday, Heineken stopped beer production and sales in Russia. And Mothercare said all business in Russia, which represents 20% to 25% of its global sales, had been stopped.

TikTok limits services as Netflix pulls out of Russia. Video-sharing site TikTok and streaming giant Netflix have limited and cut their services respectively in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. TikTok said it had suspended live streaming and new content from its platform as it assesses tough new laws to crack down on "fake news" about Russia's armed forces. 

 

Take-Two halts sales, marketing and more in Russia and Belarus. The list of games firms no longer servicing the Russian market continues to expand as Take-Two Interactive pulls all its activity there. The Grand Theft Auto publisher has also taken similar steps in Belarus, not only stopping all sales of its games, but even preventing them from being installed. 

 

Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, and Take-Two to halt sales in Russia. Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, and Take-Two Interactive are the latest game companies to suspend sales in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. In a statement published on March 4, 2022, Activision Blizzard explained it will be halting new sales of its products, including in-game items, in Russia while the conflict continues. 

Microsoft suspends sales to Russia. Microsoft today announced that it is suspending all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia in protest of the country's invasion of Ukraine. The company is also working with governments of the European Union, United States, and United Kingdom to comply with sanctions by halting "many aspects" of its operations within Russia. 

 

Nintendo gamers in Russia just got locked out of digital game purchases. Nintendo has temporarily put its Russian eShop into maintenance mode, the company said in a notice on its Russian website, which appears to mean that players in the country can’t buy digital games from the store. 

 

Visa and Mastercard suspend Russian operations. Visa, Mastercard and American Express have announced they will suspend all operations in Russia in protest at its invasion of Ukraine. But Russia's major banks have already downplayed the impact the move will have on consumers. Shoppers will still be able to use the cards for purchases within Russia until they reach their expiry dates. 

Divvy Expense tracking that’s NOT from the Stone Age v2.jpg

Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

VIDEO GAME HARDWARE SHORTAGE CONTINUES TO PUMMEL THE INDUSTRYCall it déjà vu, but the U.S. video game industry is facing a boss level that it just can’t defeat: the global supply chain. According to The NPD Group, video game hardware sales fell 27% in February of 2022 to lead an overall 6% drop for the industry last month. Declines were seen across all major categories of consumer spending on video games...

 

***the above posted after March 11th***

 

Video game publishers and developers are cutting off Russia, too. From mega-publishers to small-team indies. The global business community is increasingly moving to isolate Russia for the war it's waging in Ukraine, and video games are no exception. Here's a rundown of what we've seen so far from key players in the video game space as efforts to isolate Russia have snowballed in the midst of Ukraine's calls for the industry to take action.

 

Hands-on with Alienware’s new, curved QD-OLED gaming monitor. QD-OLED screen technology was one of the big, new innovations that debuted at CES 2022, marking Samsung Display’s long-awaited foray into making big-screen OLEDs. LG Display finally has some competition, and so far, we know that Sony plans to release its first QD-OLED TV models soon. 

 

Gotham Knights gets a new October 25th release date. Gotham Knights, Warner Bros. Games Montreal’s next open-world Batman-themed RPG, has gotten a new release date: October 25th. Originally announced in Aug 2020 for a 2021 release, the game was delayed to an unspecified 2022 date early last year, with the developers explaining that they needed “more time to deliver the best possible experience for players.”

 

EA halts sale of Russian items in FIFA Ultimate Team. EA has halted the sale of Russian items in FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) to show solidarity with Ukraine. The company previously announced it would be removing Russian national and club teams from its FIFA titles, but has now also stopped the sale of all Russian items in its lucrative multiplayer mode. 

 

Itch charity Bundle for Ukraine is offering almost 1000 games for $10. Hundreds of creators have come together to raise money for Ukraine through a jam-packed Itch charity bundle. Organized by Necrosoft Games director Brandon Sheffield with support from developers around the world, the Bundle For Ukraine features 991 titles including familiar faces like Wandersong, Backbone, Superhot, A Short Hike,...

 

EA is suspending game and content sales in Russia and Belarus. Battlefield and Apex Legends publisher EA is the latest game company to halt sales in Russia and Belarus, following the likes of CD Projekt and Bloober Team. Microsoft has also pledged to stop selling products and services in Russia. 

 

Formula 1 and Frontier Developments unveil ‘F1 Manager 2022’ video game. Formula 1 and Frontier Developments today unveiled “F1 Manager 2022,” the first management simulation game as part of a long-term, multi-title agreement, set for release in the summer of 2022.  Players become the team principal of their chosen team and lead drivers, engineers and fans to glory in the 2022 F1 Constructors’ and Drivers’...

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Spin Master wins landmark IP protection victories in China.  Spin Master has announced several landmark IP protection case wins. The victories are a positive sign of China’s commitment to tackle counterfeiting and IP infringement in the toy industry. The cases include financial compensation following a win for Spin Master in a patent lawsuit against a Chinese company, as well as the first criminal judgment obtained …

 

***The above posted after March 11th***

 

Inside ZAG’s Anti-Piracy Division Strategy.  The company’s new division uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to identify suspicious consumer products based on its IPs. Even superheroes need a hand sometimes, which is why ZAG Entertainment recently launched an anti-piracy division to safeguard the intellectual property rights for its brands, content and consumer products.

 

Counterfeit and pirated goods get boost from pandemic, new report confirms. The latest Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment, produced jointly between Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), reveals that the distribution of counterfeit goods has been thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Russians reportedly planting bombs in Ukraine that look like toys. An independent news outlet is reporting that Russian "occupiers" have begun spreading bombs disguised as children's toys around the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The report has surfaced as the number of Ukrainian civilian casualties rises and Russia faces international scrutiny for possible war crimes. "The occupiers are scattering explosive devices that look like children's toys around the city," the outlet, Hromadske International, wrote in a recent tweet.

Peggy brown PBCC Bloom ReportAd 2021 540

Highlighted Press Releases

 

ALL ABOARD FOR FIRST PLUSH TRAIN IN BELOVED HESS TOY TRUCK COLLECTION. Choo-Choo Train Revealed Today As 2022 My Plush Hess Truck Collectible. Hess announced this morning a new addition to its Hess Toy Truck collection – My Plush Hess Truck: 2022 Choo-Choo Train, the third in its plush toy series designed especially for its youngest fans. On sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com, the soft and durable green fabric train has colorful accents, lights and sounds. The $34.99 price includes free standard shipping* and Energizer® batteries. My Plush Hess Trucks are so popular that the first two releases in the series sold out – the snuggly 2020 Fire Truck and the playful 2021 Cement Mixer. 

 

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Spielwarenmesse eG and Licensing Intl have announced a co-branded event that combines their skillsets to provide the Germany and the wider German-speaking region with a licensing event of its own. Licensing-X Germany will offer the licensing sector across Germany, Austria and Switzerland a new platform and will coincide with Insights-X, the established stationery event, from 5 to 7 Oct 2022 at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre.

 

Licensing Expo 2022 Delivers on Continued Commitment to Sustainability with Products of Change. Returning as an instrumental partner following last year’s successful implementation at Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit (B&LIS) Europe and Brand Licensing Europe, the expanded initiative represents an ongoing commitment to facilitate industry-wide change and help as many as possible across the industry...

 

The U.S. toy industry’s first in-person trade show of 2022 is a wrap. ToyFest West became the unlikely first event of 2022 following the cancelation and subsequent reimagining of Toy Fair New York. According to the Western Toy & Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA), more than 500 exhibitors lined the halls at the Expo and World Market Center in Las Vegas last week. Buyers from independent toy stores...

 

THE TOY ASSOCIATION PREPS DALLAS PREVIEW & HOLIDAY MARKET EVENT.  Officially, Toy Fair Dallas has been put out to pasture, but there’s still one big toy industry event that The Toy Association is saddling up for this fall. The Toy Association’s 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market is set to take place Sept. 20-22, 2022 at the Dallas Market Center.

Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy launches. The series of masterclasses has been developed by Brand Licensing Europe and Licensing International and begins in-person in London on May 12th. The all-new Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy is a series of six masterclasses specifically designed for experienced retail professionals. The year-round programme, developed by licensing industry experts...

 

Border Crossing Children’s Film Festival Helps Kids Displaced By War. The organization running free film screenings for children and families in refugee centers throughout Poland needs more titles from the global animation industry. To help struggling families cope with the hardship of displacement, and to give Ukrainian kids the chance to feel like kids again, Polish film directors Bianca Lucas (Letters from the Ends of the World) and Weronika Jurkiewicz (The Vibrant Village) have teamed up to organize free film screenings for children and families at refugee reception centers near the Polish-Ukrainian border and throughout Poland. 

 

Netflix Dominates The Annie Awards. The streamer racked up the most trophies (20), thanks to category sweeps by animated family feature The Mitchells vs. the Machines and vidgame-based YA series Arcane. Netflix’s Oscar-nominated feature film The Mitchells vs. the Machines and League of Legends vidgame-based series Arcane were big winners at the 49th annual Annie Awards, where the streamer collected the most...

 

2023 U.S. Toy Season to Launch Aboard First-Ever 'ASTRA Toy Boat' Cruise! ASTRA has announced it will host a trade show cruise and play date Feb. 20-24, 2023. Move over Love Boat, ‘cause here comes the ASTRA Toy Boat! Details will be shared soon including itinerary and pricing. The Association is excited to share this first-of-its-kind opportunity with the specialty toy industry and hopes families will come aboard to amplify...

 

ICYMI: James Zahn Moderates Cynopsis OTT Virtual Conference Panel Presented by Future Today.  On March 8, 2022, Zahn was welcomed to the virtual stage by Cynopsis Media Editorial Director Lynn Leahey to introduce and moderate the panel: In the Living Room, Kids are the Chief Entertainment Officers: What does this mean for brands? 

2022 SXSW Gaming Awards Winners Announced. This year’s SXSW Gaming Awards included 40 nominees across 12 different categories, with winners determined by a weighted total between SXSW staff and advisory board input as well as public voting. The winners were revealed during the virtual SXSW Gaming Awards show on Saturday, March 12 at 7:00pm CT.

 

***The above posted after March 11th***

 

The UK Toy Trust has announced that it will be supporting two inspiring and highly impacting children’s charities this year as part of the Big Challenge event, which takes place on Saturday 18th June. Spread a Smile and Starlight will partner with the Toy Trust to provide relief and positive play experiences to seriously ill children in hospital. The Toy Trust Committee has recognised the potential negative impact the last y yrs... 

 

Nickelodeon unveiled the nominees for the 2022 Kids’ Choice Awards, adding that iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove and NFL star Rob Gronkowski have been tapped to host the in-person show. Taylor Swift and Adele lead the individual nominations with four each, while Danger Force, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, iCarly, Cobra Kai and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run also earned 4 nominations apiece.

 

Licensing Expo heads to Las Vegas with 170+ exhibitors and growing.  Licensing Expo is gearing up to host what promises to be the consumer product industry’s most productive in-person get together in three years, with a growing roster of brands signing on daily to exhibit at the in-person event to be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, May 24-26, 2022. 

 

ToyFest West Opens at the Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas.  The toy industry slot machine is all 7’s this week as North America’s first major in-person toy industry event of the year is underway at the Expo at World Market Center LV. International Market Centers hosts ToyFest West 2022 from Mar 9-11, an event for retail buyers to go hands-on with a variety of new toys, games, and gift products in a new mixed-use venue.

 

The Children’s Media Conference (CMC), now in its 19th year, will be returning to Sheffield for an in-person and parallel online event from Tuesday, July 5 – Thursday, July 7, 2022.  CMC’s first hybrid event follows the success of its virtual conferences in 2020 and 2021, and will see a packed agenda of keynotes, masterclasses and panels tackling the urgent issues facing the children’s media industry and young audiences. 

 

Wow! Stuff and Playmates Toys announced as Master Sponsors of The Light Fund English Channel Relay.  This summer, on a day between the 30th of June and the 3rd of July when the weather conditions are right, two boats of six swimmers will be racing each other across the English Channel to France in aid of The Light Fund charity. All the participants will be from the licensing industry, trying to 

 

Retailers are invited to apply for a delegate place on the popular Retail Mentoring Programme, and have until 22nd April to do so. Brand Licensing Europe’s popular Retail Mentoring Programme is a free-to-attend, CPD-accredited course, delivered through a series of seminars, workshops and 1-2-1 consultancy sessions between May and September 2022. It is now in its 12th year and boasts hundreds of alumni...

SCORE Banner ad.jpg

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.

 

Emilio Delgado, ‘Sesame Street’s’ Luis for more than 40 years, has died. The actor died Thursday at his home in New York City. He had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, in 2020, according to a report from TMZ, citing his wife. Delgado had remained active in theater, starring in “Quixote Nuevo,” a version of “Don Quixote,” before the pandemic struck in early 2020. His extensive stage work included serving as artistic director of the Barrio Theatre Ensemble of East Los Angeles.

Still, he’ll be best remembered for the popular children’s program. Delgado had cited the PBS show’s importance as a cultural touchstone in the way people of color were depicted on TV.

“For the first time on television, they showed Latinos as real human beings,” Delgado told the Houston Chronicle in 2020. “We weren’t dope addicts. We weren’t maids or prostitutes, which were the way we were being shown in television and in film. Here, on ‘Sesame Street,’ there were different people who spoke different languages and ate interesting foods, and they were all Americans.”

“A beloved member of the Sesame family for over 50 years, his warmth and humor invited children to share a friendship that has echoed through generations,” Sesame Workshop said of Delgado in a statement to CNN. “At the forefront of representation, Emilio proudly laid claim to the ‘record for the longest-running role for a Mexican-American in a TV series.’ We are so grateful he shared his talents with us and with the world.” READ MORE  . . . 

Ira P. Hernowitz - June 23, 1965 - March 6, 2022. Ira passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ira was born in The Bronx, NYC in June of 1965. He went away to sleepaway camp at Camp Olympus in upstate New York at a young age. The friends he made at camp would stay with him throughout his life, and the experiences he had there shaped him into the kind, generous leader that he was.  He attended the Bronx High School of Science and later Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science and met his wife, Nancy. His passion and brilliance led him to an illustrious career in a wide variety of businesses, including Hasbro, Toys “R” Us, Kindara Fertility, and Carson Dellosa Education. In every position he held, he was a leader and an innovator while also incorporating kindness into everything he did and constantly pushed others to exceed expectations. He traveled extensively and had no hesitations about trying new foods or ordering sushi for the table. Those around him knew he could always be counted on for a nuanced opinion or sage advice.  He was deeply loved by his family and friends. They knew him as tenacious, brilliant, and resilient in the face of challenges. He was a mentor, a comedian, and had an incredible patience and perspective that endeared him to everyone he met. He was a skilled writer, an avid golfer who belonged to both Potowomut Golf Club in RI and Suntree Country Club in FL, and a frustratingly good Scrabble player. He was a kind soul who cared deeply about the well-being of all people. All who knew him will carry him with them always.

 

Steve Webb, head of Retail at Cartamundi, has passed away after a short battle with cancer, Toy World is sad to report.

Dan King, general manager UK at Cartamundi, reached out to Toy World to say: “Steve had been fighting cancer for the last 10 months and he leaves behind his wife Nic and children Gracie and Jack. He was so brave and showed so much tenacity and positivity throughout this battle, which was why he was such a great sales person. Steve had only recently started his position but in the short time he was with the company he quickly became a much-loved member of the team. We are all going to miss him terribly and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Before taking up the role at Cartamundi, Steve spent several years at One For Fun (formerly H. Grossman) as strategic account manager. Prior to this, he also worked for A.B.Gee as a national account manager.

David Mordecai, One For Fun CEO, said: “Steve was full of life, fun and laughter, and throughout his illness always tried to beat it and never ever moaned or got depressed in any shape or form. He was an inspiration to us all. He would rather be talking about his time playing football with Wimbledon and the Crazy Gang and having a pint. As his illness worsened, his bravery in how he dealt with it was remarkable. Our hearts go out to his family. He will be sorely missed by his colleagues everywhere, his customers, his friends and most of all his family.”

 

Kim Jung-ju - founder of free-to-play giant Nexon, has died at age 54. Word of Kim's passing comes from The Korea Times, who was informed of his death by a Nexon spokesperson. He apparently died last month in the United States. Nexon did not provide a cause of death in its statement to The Korean Times. It did state that Kim "had been receiving treatment for depression, and we are sad that it seemed to have worsened recently."  Kim founded Nexon in 1994 after graduating from Seoul National University. The developer and publisher grew to be a powerhouse in South Korea's game industry on the back of games like MapleStory, and KartRider. Its recent hits have included Mabinogi and Vindictus.

Nexon is now headquartered in Tokyo under parent company NXC Corp., where it went public on the Japanese Stock Market in 2011.

Kim is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Pop%20Logo%20Database%20Options_edited.j

JOIN PEOPLE OF PLAY (POP)

It's Linkedin + IMDb + Wikipedia + Fiverr!

  • Display your entire portfolio, unlimited products, videos, photos, media, and more

  • Easy-setup and a real live helpful person to talk to if you have questions

  • Advanced search for industry contacts by roles, skills, location, and more

  • POP Pub networking – just one connection can change your life!

  • Access to information of products, people, and companies

  • Find person-to-hire based on skills, roles and expertise 

  • Ad campaigns, target members of the industry 

  • Exclusive discounts and events 

  • Classified Ads

 

What are you waiting for? We've got the most powerful platform in our industry!

Join here:  www.peopleofplay.com 

 

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) 

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Keeping it in perspective …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Jeremy Robinson takes the helm at Melissa & Doug

  3. Toy Trust to donate £10,000 to support Ukrainian refugees

  4. Disney+ to introduce ad-supported subscriptions

  5. Ty Warner donates Beanie Babies profits to help Ukraine

  6. Amazon physical toy sales admit defeat

  7. NGD Kids looks for UK distributors

  8. Embracer Group completes acquisition of Asmodee in 2.75b Euro deal

  9. New Annie Mals brand attracts £500k investment

  10. Obituary: Steve Webb

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)

Top 5 Roleplaying Games - Fall 2021

Top Hobby Channel Board Games - Fall 2021

Top Collectible Games - Fall 2021
Wizards of the Coast Previews 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Streets of New Capenna'

Wizards of the Coast Bans One Card in Two 'Magic: The Gathering' Formats
Rolling for Initiative -- Three Effects of Increasing Gas Prices
WizKids Will Release Two More 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures: Paint Kits'
Georgia Man Buys Rare 'Pokemon TCG' Card Using SBA COVID-19 Relief Loan
Pandemic Lessons Learned Allow Strong Holiday Season
Bezier Games Will Release 'Cat in the Box: Deluxe Edition'

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

-          Funko presents the 2021 sales report  

-          LEGO celebrates Sonic the Hedgehog™ in Chile 

-          Super7 presents Mandora action figure and her vehicle 

-          The dark side takes over the game "Villainous 

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Smash Up Disney and Star Wars Villainous Announced
Two newly themed editions of board game favorites have been announced, Bezier Games has announced Cat in the Box: Deluxe Edition, and the 2022 As d’or Winners have been announced.

Video of the Week 

Throwback to 2020 PAC-MAN 40th Anniversary! The Cat Trial 9: PAC-MAN™

PAC-MAN™ is celebrating its 40th anniversary and we’re celebrating the milestone in an epic fashion with The Cat Trial #9: PAC-MAN™. With the help of skilled operators, we built a life-sized game board using the latest Cat machines, attachments and technology. Our players (including Cat customers, expert operators and gamers) used remote controls to operate the giant PAC-MAN™ and the ghosts. Just like every jobsite, they found a challenge waiting around every corner.

Welcome to the  Future POP Ad.png

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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

Phil%20Bloom%2C%20Mary%20Couzin%2C%20Gra