May 13 - 20, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
DISTOY has been a joyous reunion! So wonderful to see friends and colleagues. I estimate we had over 300 people at our pub event… hard to count since there were as many people outside as inside. If you were there, thanks for joining us! If not, you missed a fantastically fun party, and we, of course, missed you!
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Industry Commentary - Mark Chernick
Chasing Ghosts and Shadows In China - “a brief guide to un-orthodox methods of controlling copies”
Copies of toys is a constant problem in China, and for those of us that design and manufacture toy products in China, is a never ending headache that is difficult to control and impossible to stop.
In the “old” days the copies would take a while to emerge in the market as factories had to get their hands on actual physical samples to copy them. But now, with the advent of 3D machinery, cell phones with cameras, email, texting, and more, the copies emerge in the market with alarming speed. Factories no longer need physical samples to copy an item.
Trying to locate copy factories in China is a complex challenge. They frequently operate under numerous names and legal entities, and if one is discovered, overnight they can change their name and move down the street to another location.
In the past. copies might take 4-6 months to come out…but now they are coming out in half the time, or less, depending on the complexity of the individual item.
Copies can originate in many ways, sometimes physical samples, photos in emails or texts, or even drawings, or from internet images of websites of toy companies, or social media exposure of products.
Financial and Legal
Moonbug Entertainment has acquired Singapore-based studio One Animation, the creator behind non-dialogue comedy series Oddbods. This is Moonbug’s second acquisition since being acquired itself by LA’s Candle Media last year; the company bought the Little Angel YouTube network in February.
Kid’s Toy Maker Prevails on Appeal in Suit Alleging Monopoly. KidKraft convinced the Eleventh Circuit on Tues. not to revive a lawsuit alleging the children’s toy manufacturer monopolized the market for the manufacture of wooden play kitchens. Retailer OJ Commerce and its sister co., manufacturer Naomi Home, sued KidKraft and private-equity firm MidOcean Partners IV LP after KidKraft ended its business relationship with...
Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs’ Candle Media has acquired LA-based Exile Content Studio, which is growing with kids projects, including a franchise inspired by NFTs. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Exile Content Studio—focused on creating Spanish-language content for an underserved global Latino audience—has made a name for itself with adult programming such as Todo Va A Estar Bien for...
Hasbro issued the following letter, which includes a Q&A with new CEO Chris Cocks, to Hasbro shareholders in connection with the Company’s 2022 annual meeting of shareholders to be held on June 8, 2022. For information about the 2022 Annual Meeting, please visit: www.HasbroGamePlan.com. The full text of the letter follows ...
PlayStation is being sued over gender discrimination again. The lawsuit claims PlayStation has a "systemic pattern and practice of gender discrimination." Former PlayStation employee Emma Majo is again attempting to sue the company for gender discrimination after her initial lawsuit against the console maker was dismissed by a federal judge.
The Very Group owner, the Barclay family, is once again considering a floatation of the eCommerce retail group. The board called off its plans for a £4b IPO last year, citing a volatile market as the reason. The onlline retailer has now offered incentives to senior leaders at the firm to support and progress the flotation, which is expected to take place in mid-2023, according to a report in The Sunday Times (UK).
Network Studios has netted $46 million in Series A funding to develop and publish blockchain games. The investment round was led by Griffin Gaming Partners with additional backing from Kleiner Perkins, Galaxy Interactive, KIP, Floodgate, LLL Capital, and N3TWORK, Inc. The cash injection will allow Network to launch its first two web3 titles, Legendary: Heroes Unchained and Triumph.
***The above posted after May 20th***
Macmillan Children’s Books has acquired the publishing rights for Odo. The warm-hearted and funny animated series about a little owl and his forest friends was commissioned by Milkshake (Channel 5) in the UK, who premiered the series in August last year, and KiKA in Germany. The series has also been sold in to more than 150 other territories across the world including HBOMax in the USA, Canal+ in France, ABC in ...
Hasbro announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of D&D Beyond, the leading digital RPG toolset and game companion to the iconic fantasy franchise, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Fandom, the world’s largest fan platform, previously owned and operated D&D Beyond since 2019 and has grown the direct-to-consumer business to be the leading role-playing game (RPG) digital toolset...
UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9% as energy bills soar. Prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years as higher energy bills hit millions of households. UK inflation, the rate at which prices rise, jumped to 9% in the 12 months to April, up from 7% in March. The surge came as millions of people saw an unprecedented £700-a-year increase in energy costs last month.
New York Attorney General investigating Discord and Twitch over role in Buffalo mass shooting. Twitch and Discord are being investigated by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James over their role in a recent terror attack in Buffalo, New York. The attack took place earlier this month and saw 18-year old suspect Payton Gendron allegedly open fire in a grocery store, killing 10 people and wounding three.
Saudi investment fund buys 5 percent stake in Nintendo. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has purchased a 5.01 percent stake in Nintendo. According to a report from Bloomberg, PIF said the deal was struck for investment purposes. The move makes PIF the fifth-largest shareholder in the Japanese console maker. PIF is chaired by the crown prince and deputy prime minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed...
Blizzard faces proposed class-action lawsuit over Hearthstone card packs. Suit argues packs deceive minors into making non-refundable purchases, Blizzard attempting to move case to another court. The parent of a Hearthstone player has proposed a class-action lawsuit against Blizzard with complaints about the game's randomized card packs.
DDM: Gaming investments reached $3.5bn during Q1. Agency also says that M&A transactions for the quarter increased by 276% year-over-year. Today in a new report, Digital Development Management(DDM) said that video game investments during Q1 2022 reached $3.5 billion. The figure represents a decrease of 10.3% year-over-year at a volume of 243 deals made.
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***The above posted after May 20th***
Future Financial Reporting
Sony reduces PlayStation 5 forecast to 18m units due to component shortage. Sony expects to sell 18 million PlayStation 5 units during its next financial year, a reduction of previous forecasts thanks to the ongoing shortage of semiconductors and other vital components. Sony's full-year results for FY2021, in which PlayStation sales rose slightly to $20.7 billion and 11.5 million PS5 units were shipped worldwide, bringing the console's lifetime figure to nearly 20 million. Sony previously estimated it would sell 22.6 million.
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after May 20th***
Stories, Comments, and Advice
THE GO-TO PLAYBOOK FOR TOY ADVERTISING IS TRANSFORMING. Traditionally, the advertising route for toymakers hoping to drive sales in the last three shopping months of the year went through one channel: linear TV. As recently as about a decade ago, cable TV networks accounted for approximately 65% of the total toy media mix during the fourth quarter. But, the go-to playbook for toy advertising is transforming...
CONFESSIONS OF A COMIC BOOK GUY -- ENTERING A POST VILLAIN WORLD? Back in 2009 when Disney acquired Marvel, the only thing the two corps seemed to have in common was they were both synergistic youth ent.conglomerates. One was kids, families, and fairy tales; the other adolescents, young adults, and pulp fiction by way of dime novels and penny dreadfuls. But, one thing they did have in common was villains...
How Wordle brought us back together. Spelling Bee, too, and Words With Friends. Who knew online word games would get us talking to each other again? On March 23, Sam Ezersky took to Twitter and posted an update that would strike terror in the hearts of his 22,000 followers.
“No no no … there couldn’t possibly be a Spelling Bee scheduled with a Z as the center letter … right?”
Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk is developing a satire project about the creation of Netflix’s Squid Game and the popularity of the show. The series is titled The Best Show on the Planet, and it makes complete sense that the guy who created Squid Game would want to tell a story like this. The Korean filmmaker revealed the news during an interview for Deadline’s Disruptors Magazine. Hwang said the show is in the...
***The above posted after May 20th***
John Baulch, ToyWorld - Community spirit…it’s the Friday Blog! Anyone who has been part of the toy trade for any length of time knows what a close-knit community it is. And within the over-arching world of toys, there are numerous splinter groups that have formed an incredibly close bond. I have been fortunate to have spent time with two such groups this week.
Cannes: How Japanese Anime Became the World’s Most Bankable Genre. It was once considered a niche genre just for hard-core fans, but streaming has helped turn it into a globally popular juggernaut. Now the Japanese animation industry is scrambling to meet an almost insatiable demand: "It’s increasingly becoming a borderless form of mass entertainment."
The National Gallery of Art’s New Game—Artle—Is Basically Wordle for Art Lovers. If you aren’t a word lover, you might find yourself on the hunt for a Wordle-esque guessing game based on whatever you are passionate (or just knowledgeable) about. Luckily, they’re not hard to find: There’s Heardle for music fans; Nerdle and Numberle for math fans; and Worldle for geography buffs. There’s even Lordle of the Rings, where...
Netflix vs TikTok: The battle between long and short. From the outside Netflix and TikTok may not look like competitors, but they are. One is consumed on big screens, the other on small. One is long-form, the other short. One consumes billions of dollars in capital to create content, the other gets millions of hrs of programming virtually for free. One is pay-gated, the other free and ad-supported. Of course, it’s not just Netflix vs TikTok.
Playing Video Games Has an Unexpected Effect on Kids' IQ, Says New Study. Researchers have linked spending more time playing video games with a boost in intelligence in children, which goes some way to contradicting the narrative that gaming is bad for young minds. While the difference in cognitive abilities was a small one and isn't enough to show a causal relationship, it is enough to be notable...
Snapchat co-founder pays off college debt of new graduates at Otis Art and Design. Yaritza Velazquez-Medina took a chance on a major career turn when she decided to drop her work as a crisis counselor in 2018 to pursue her artistic passions. She enrolled at Otis College of Art and Design in LA to become a graphic designer — even though she racked up about $70,000 in college debt to do so. But after she crossed the stage...
History and Nostalgia
The Bizarre History of Roller Skates. Roller skates were invented in 1735 by a Belgian man named John Joseph Merlin. He famously introduced his wheeled shoes at a London party, where he crashed into a mirror. Then in 1819, a man named Monsieur Petitbled patented the roller skate – but his version had only three wheels and no way to turn!
***The above posted after May 20th***
Tobor from Schaper (1978). Released in 1978, Schaper’s Tobor promised “imaginative science fiction fun!” in the form of a remote-controlled robot. The sound-activated plastic robot stood about 9-inches tall and ran on 2 D-batteries. Children controlled Tobor’s motion with the telesonic commander (a remote control). Pressing a button on the remote elicited an audible click and caused Tobor to move.
Hangman from Milton Bradley (1976). When he wasn’t endorsing Shrunken Head Apple Sculpture Kits, American actor, Vincent Price, lent his visage to an iconic table-top game with an equally ominous-sounding name: Hangman. Released in 1976 from Milton Bradley, this version of the classic word-guessing game featured Price on the box cover in an Old West setting, complete with a cowboy hat, gallows...
Crayola is looking to color in a complete licensing program for its Colors of Kindness initiative. Celebrating the art of kindness, the special-edition crayon box spreads kindness and self-reliance through creativity. In a recent Crayola study, parents listed the most important attributes they wish their children to embody as kindness (80%), self-confidence (71%), independence (68%), ability to bounce back (63%), and ...
MGA Entertainment is partnering with Hershey, Mike and Ike, Pez, Peeps, and other confectionery brands for a co-branded line of collectible L.O.L. Surprise! dolls. The Peeps doll will come with yellow hair, a yellow outfit with candy details, and a Peeps marshmallow-shaped purse. The Pez doll will come with pink hair, a pink dress that says “Pez” on it, and a mini Pez dispenser with the character’s head on it.
Falcon’s Beyond, the global entertainment company known for its intellectual property (IP) expansion, has entered into a partnership with Moonbug Entertainment to bring CoComelon, Blippi, and its other kid-friendly IPs into immersive experiences. Falcon’s Beyond plans to create interactive entertainment experiences for fans at Curiosity Playground, a kid-focused destination that will deliver hands-on activations...
Jazwares has made its Licensing Expo debut this year with its Squishmallows plush brand, the No. 2 toy property and No. 1 plush property, according to Jazwares and The NPD Group‘s April 2022 report. The mass appeal for consumers of all ages has led to a cross-category program, including beauty, games, apparel, home decor, and more.
Based on the upcoming animated movie DC League of Super-Pets, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and DC have launched a global merchandising program, including toys, video games, children’s books, apparel, and more. The items will be available at mass market and specialty retailers leading up to the film’s release in theaters only, starting July 27 internationally and July 29 in North America.
Hasbro and its entertainment studio eOne have introduced their newest show, Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes. At Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, the two companies unveiled the show’s logo and primary character, Kiya. This new preschool animated series follows Kiya’s high-action dance and martial arts adventures. She lives in the South-African-inspired Kimoja City with her two best friends, Jay and Motsie.
Celebrating its 30th year in business, global brand licensing agency Beanstalk continues to grow its clients’ licensing programmes, and has announced a series of recent new partnerships and clients in addition to new corporate initiatives in sustainability, diversity and charitable programmes.
Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America (BNTCA) is set to entertains fans attending this year’s Star Wars Celebration on May 26 – 29 in Anaheim. BNTCA offers one of the most extensive range of licensed Star Wars toys and collectibles available, which includes Tamagotchi, Meisho Movie Realization and S.H.Figuarts from Tamashii Nations as well as a wide selection of scale figure and vehicle model kits.
Cloudco Entertainment is pleased to announce that its newest 2D animated incarnation of The Care Bears – Care Bears: Unlock the Magic – has started production on six new 22-minute specials for the Cartoonito preschool block on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. Simultaneously, season 1 of Care Bears: Unlock the Magic has been extended into early 2027 for the linear and streaming platforms.
Funko Games has announced the upcoming Disney Hocus Pocus Tricks and Wits Card Game as part of the company’s annual halfway to Halloween celebration. The Sanderson Sisters are awake and brewing up trouble for Funkoween! The newest game to join Funko Games’ nightmarish line-up transports players to Salem where everyone’s favorite witches are ready to put a spell on you!
First-Ever Scooby-Doo Preschool Series Heads To Cartoonito. The preschool block continues to bolster its lineup with new content based on long-running franchises. HBO Max and Cartoon Network have ordered Scooby-Doo! and the Mystery Pups, a new CG-animated series slated for a 2024 release on the Cartoonito preschool block. The adventure-comedy marks the iconic sleuthing franchise’s first-ever preschool-skewing series.
A new Pokémon collection is coming to Hanna Andersson. The premium children’s wear brand announced that it will launch a brand-new collection featuring the much-loved Pokémon brand that was a staple of many millennials’ childhoods and continues to be a favorite with kids today.
Cats vs Pickles are expanding into new mediums. Curiosity Ink Media is partnering with Cepia to serve as the company’s licensing agent for Cats vs Pickles, the toy and entertainment brand in which lovable but misunderstood pickles are in a hopeless pursuit of colorful cats. The brand previously launched popular YouTube animated shorts and a hyper-casual app game, but found its niche with collectible bean-filled toys.
2022 marks the momentous 75th Anniversary of the iconic table football game, Subbuteo. To celebrate, University Games is delighted to announce the release of a commemorative 75th Anniversary Main Game as well as a Premier League Licensed Main Game and Team Set. Launching in July, in conjunction with Hasbro and licence holder Longshore, the new 75th Anniversary Main Game is presented in a commemorative 75th silver grey box and features a limited edition gold football and corner flags all sporting the 75th emblem.
Rubies has announced that another iconic Mattel property will be joining its 2022 costume collection with the addition of He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe and Masters of the Universe: Revelation. He-Man returned to screens in 2021, with both the critically acclaimed series Masters of the Universe: Revelation and He-Man: Masters of the Universe available to stream on Netflix.
Mattel and Milestone, a global racing game developer, announce the Hot Wheels – “Looney Tunes” Expansion for Hot Wheels Unleashed, licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, that will be available starting from July 14. The “Looney Tunes Expansion” includes five new vehicles, a themed Track Builder Module, themed customizations items for the Basement and the Player’s Profile and a new ...
Ferly, the Finnish animation, publishing, and licensing studio today announces international distribution company, Superights, will act as global distributor for preschool show, Momolu and Friends. A co-production with Ferly, Canada-based Yellow Animation and Belgium’s Digital Graphics, the Superights deal marks the continued international expansion of the Momolu brand following its other recent commissions...
ZAG has partnered with Cross Creek Pictures to produce Melody, an animated musical feature created and directed by Jeremy Zag, and starring singer, songwriter, and actress, Katy Perry, in the title role. The announcement was made by Jeremy Zag, Founder and CEO of ZAG and Katy Perry. Melody will be directed by Jeremy Zag, and Katy Perry will co-write and perform the songs for the film.
DeAPlaneta Entertainment has closed a deal to make Bandai the master toy license holder for animated series Milo. The toy range includes playsets and figurines, role play, vehicles, electronic educational toys and soft toys, and will be available for purchase from spring 2023. The deal covers the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, with other countries such as France, Germany and Italy set to follow.
Following the announcement that Hornby licences had joined its portfolio earlier this year, Kidicraft is now pleased to unveil its brand-new range featuring the classic and heritage brands of Hornby, Airfix and Corgi. The initial ranges will comprise twenty-eight jigsaw puzzles across all three classic brands, with something for beginners, collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Golden Bear, RMS, Character Options, Ravensburger, HTI Toys, 8th Wonder, MV Sports and Educa Borras have all agreed deals for Hey Duggee product lines. BBC Studios has signed new agreements for the multiple BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning pre-school animation Hey Duggee, covering UK and EMEA.
TOMY International and Paramount Announce First Collaboration in Partnership with a Crowd-Funded Star Trek NCC-1701 U.S.S. Enterprise from the Original Series. The 1/350 scale premium die cast U.S.S. Enterprise will showcase unique details and features. Crowd-funding window open for 32 days only.
To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise, Jazwares has launched the Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron collection of micro-scale vehicles and figures, featuring iconic vehicles of the past and present. The micro-scale vehicle line features a new size and scale that spans the entire Star Wars saga, capturing details that add to the play experience and that older fans will appreciate for display...
PlayMonster is entering into a strategic licensing agreement with ViacomCBS to launch a new Criminal Minds-themed game. Criminal Minds Unknown Subject, an adult party game, will feature characters and nail-biting crime-solving from the popular TV show. Players will have to think like a criminal in order to catch the killer among them in this social, interactive party game.
Jazwares announced that it has entered into a multiyear global master toy licensing agreement with Uplift Games to create a toy line based on the popular game Adopt Me! Enjoyed by millions on the Roblox platform and playable on mobile, tablet, PC, and Xbox, Jazwares brings the excitement of Adopt Me out of the Metaverse and into the physical world. The Adopt Me! experience creates opportunities for players...
TOMY INTERNATIONAL AND HASBRO EXPAND PARTNERSHIP TAKING BELOVED BRANDS ACROSS NEW CATEGORIES AND TERRITORIES. In the lead-up to the 2022 Las Vegas Licensing Expo, TOMY International announces they have collaborated with Hasbro to take brands like Peppa Pig, Transformers, and My Little Pony to new platforms, territories, and age ranges.
Ahead of Licensing Expo 2022, Flybar inked a multicategory licensing deal with Hoonigan Industries to design, create, and produce an extensive range of automotive-themed toys and outdoor products. Under the newly inked pact, Flybar will launch its first collection of Hoonigan-branded R/C vehicles, ride-ons, and playsets next spring.
Moonbug Entertainment has named Just Play as global master toy licensee for several of its popular IPs. Just Play’s portfolio of brands will include pre-school favourites Little Baby Bum, Lellobee City Farm and My Magic Pet Morphle (North America only), with product launching from autumn 2023. Just Play will also develop ranges for the shows Gecko’s Garage and Go Buster.
Nelvana Revs Up For Monster Jam Animated Series. The Canadian studio has signed a wide-ranging partnership with Feld Entertainment to expand the family-friendly motorsport brand, including production, distribution and consumer products.
***The above posted after the Bloom Report started to send on May 20th***
Moonbug Entertainment has announced an agreement with Disney Branded Television to create a new CG original series, Morphle, based on the hit short-form My Magic Pet Morphle. The 52×7-episode comedy adventure series will debut in 2024 exclusively on Disney+ and Disney Junior globally, excluding China. Disney will also launch episodes of My Magic Pet Morphle on its platforms.
His name and likeness are revered by generations of fans, and now Stan Lee’s legacy will officially be stewarded as part of a 20-year licensing deal between Marvel Studios and Stan Lee Universe. A joint-venture between Genius Brands International and POW! Entertainment, Stan Lee Universe was established in 2020 to manage Lee-created IPs that fall outside the purview of Marvel Entertainment. Lee died in 2018.
HASBRO UNVEILS FOUR NEW LIGHTSABERS AHEAD OF STAR WARS CELEBRATION ANAHEIM. The lightsaber: “not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” For the past 45 years, those words, spoken by Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (1977), have fueled imagination and discovery as countless kids around the world have raised their own lightsaber toys...
Konami Cross Media NY has inked a deal with Disney XD and Hulu that will see animated adventure series Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS make its US debut next month. The 89 x 22-minuter is about a young kid who invents a new way for everyone to duel with their monster companions, but he has to contend with a corporation that wants to control the way everyone plays.
Outright Games Stages Digital Upfront To Intro Five New Licensed Games. Titles based on popular kids brands PAW Patrol, L.O.L. Surprise! and DreamWorks Dragons are in the works as interest in gaming ramps up among families. The gameco has teamed up with DC and Warner Bros. Entertainment to make DC League of Super-Pets: The Adventures of Krypto and Ace, which will launch on multiple platforms July 15...
A collective of over 10+ Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT have banned together to forge a collective of like-minded Apes titled the “Bored of Directors.” The collection of Bored Apes is a great representation of the brand with different images, personalities and graphics and the collective plans to bring more Bored Ape owners on board as the brand grows. Although the brand is not affiliated with Yuga Labs and does not include...
Super7, Disney Team up for Lightyear Early Enlistment Bundle. In celebration of Disney and Pixar’s upcoming Buzz Lightyear origin story movie Lightyear, Super7 has unveiled the Lightyear Early Enlistment Bundle. This limited-edition set features four ReAction figures of characters from the movie atop a film-inspired base.
9 Story Media Group and Karma’s World Entertainment are pleased to announce the accelerated growth of their licensing program for the hit animated property Karma’s World. The exciting roster of new deals was secured by 9 Story Brands, 9 Story’s dedicated consumer products and brand management division.
To celebrate 40 years of one of the most iconic aliens in cinema history, The Noble Collection is collaborating with NBCUniversal for an extraordinary E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 40th-Anniversary Collection. The lineup features a total of 11 items inspired by the gentle extraterrestrial, including three plush toys, four charms, and two bookmarks.
Beyblade Spins into TikTok from ADK Emotions NY. TikTokers are about to “Let it rip!” ADK Emotions NY launched an official Beyblade TikTok channel as part of its growing digital ecosystem that spans all major social networks. The new channel features archival clips and looks at new Hasbro toys.
MasterPieces inspires young generations of explorers to play, create and discover the fun of outer space with its newest licensed product line for NASA branded puzzles, games and DIY wood build-and-paint sets. Now available is a collection of NASA puzzles, games and craft kits that is certified by NASA for accuracy and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) value.
Warner Bros. Discovery is making a splash in kids content with its first upfront since the companies merged, announcing a big-name animated comedy special and a key kids acquisition for LatAm. Cartoon Network and HBO Max used the event to unveil a new “family-oriented” laugher called Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth from comedian and Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen and a team of veteran comedy...
WildBrain is serving up something sweet at Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this year. The media and brand licensing company has inked new licensing, distribution, and promotional partnerships for the beloved Strawberry Shortcake brand. The new opportunities follow the success of Season 1 of Berry in the Big City, with WildBrain dropping Season 2 of the series on the official Strawberry Shortcake channel on WildBrain Spark.
Mercis, which manages the works of Dick Bruna, has appointed Rocket Licensing to represent global icon Miffy in the UK and Eire. Mercis has been keen to secure a new home for Miffy after previous manager DRI Licensing’s decision to wind down the company. Marja Kerkhof, MD of Mercis, says: “Our mission is to share Dick Bruna’s work, and Miffy, with as many people as possible, but always with respect for art and the...
BBC Studios expands its licensing program for the hit preschool series with 10 new partnerships and renewal deals in the U.S. and Canada alongside new licensing agents to tackle the Latin American market in Brazil, South and Central America. The studio also inked 5 licensing deals in the UK and appointed licensing agents for Israel. Additionally, Ravensburger is on board as part of 13 new EMEA licensing ...
Animation studio Cartoon Saloon is heading into Licensing Expo in Las Vegas with a slate of new licensing partners for its Irish Folklore Trilogy. Created and directed by Cartoon Saloon co-founder Tomm Moore, the trilogy includes three Academy Award-nominated feature films: WolfWalkers, Song of the Sea, and The Secret of Kells.
WildBrain has further expanded its entertainment portfolio with the signing of worldwide licensing and merchandising (L&M) rights for a trio of HarperCollins Productions’ popular properties: Carmen Sandiego, The Oregon Trail and Pretzel and the Puppies. Under the deal secured by WildBrain CPLG’s North America office, the agency will build strategic licensing programmes for each of the properties across...
Highlights for Children, the family media brand known for their beloved magazines and books, announces the signing of several new licensing agreements in advance of attending Licensing Expo in Las Vegas in May. Playtek LLC is the company’s new licensee for learning and activity toys; the line will come to market in 2023. Playstories personalized story books transform the reading experience with three titles...
Award-winning animation company Omens Studios has secured a raft of international sales for season two of its hit CGI animated series Leo the Wildlife Ranger across Latin America, Europe and Asia. Globo Brazil has taken season two of the adventure preschool series for Brazil, while Czech TV has picked up the show for the Czech Republic. MTVA in Hungary and Good TV in Taiwan are also on board for season two.
Owl Diaries, the bestselling Scholastic book series penned by Rebecca Elliott, has been optioned by Apple TV+ as an animated series. Scholastic Entertainment will produce Eva the Owlet, with animation work from Ireland’s Brown Bag Films, but there are no details yet about the project’s animation style, format or release date.
Fan favorite dinosaurs are coming to life in a collection packed with Molo’s signature use of colors and prints. The world of photorealistic dinosaurs, created by Molo’s design team in collaboration with Universal, will be printed on styles such as t-shirts and sweatshirts, along with the iconic Jurassic World logo which will be embroidered on cargo pants, shorts, hoodies, and jackets.
Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s educational media organization behind multiple well-loved, Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series, has tapped Scholastic as worldwide master publishing partner for Alma’s Way, the critically-acclaimed animated PBS KIDS series created by Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street). The multi-year agreement includes a range of readers and activity books in both English and...
Toei Animation’s ‘One Piece’ Reveals Treasure-Load of Licensing Deals for Franchise. Just a week away from this month’s Licensing Expo 2022, legendary studio and anime industry leader Toei Animation has released the first-ever licensing report for its One Piece franchise. This new report provides an annual wrap-up of licensing gains for One Piece, the 22-year old hit anime franchise from Toei Animation...
Moose Toys has entered a multi-year global partnership with Universal Brand Development for DreamWorks Animation’s blockbuster Trolls franchise. Under the agreement, the toymaker will develop a range of collectible figures to arrive at retail in Autumn 2023, to support the highly anticipated release of the newest Trolls movie to cinemas on November 17th, 2023.
Four fresh deals have just closed that will expand the international reach of CG-animated preschool series Leo the Wildlife Ranger from Singapore’s Omens Studios. A 52 x 11-minute second season has been snapped up by Latin American network Globo (Brazil), Czech TV, MTVA (Hungary) and Good TV (Taiwan). And this builds on previous sales to Tencent (China), TV3 (Catalonia), MBC (MENA), Zoomoo (APAC and Latin...
France’s Cyber Group Studios has tapped United Smile as the new master toy licensee for its flagship preschool series Gigantosaurus. The Hong Kong-based toyco (also the master toy partner for Guru’s True and the Rainbow Kingdom and Ferly’s Momolu & Friends) will develop and launch a range of plush, figurines, playsets and vehicles for spring 2023.
YouTube Greenlights New Kids And Family Content. The AVOD platform has ordered four originals and several renewals, with actor and host Lilly Singh and YouTube personality Tabitha Brown figuring into its latest content gameplan. YouTube is making its mark with an announcement of four new originals and renewals for its kids and family portfolio—and almost 20 more projects in the development pipeline.
Global entertainment company Boat Rocker has announced that Simba Dickie Group – one of the top five toy manufacturers in Europe – has signed a licensing deal for Dino Ranch, as the preschool hit continues to rapidly expand its global footprint. The product range will feature the Big Bloxx Junior Building Construction set, which contains a minimum of 15 pieces, including exclusive figurines and accessories.
Mattel’s Jurassic World Dominion toys roam London for National Dinosaur Day. The special celebration yesterday gave Mattel the chance to showcase the Jurassic World Dominion range from this summer’s blockbuster movie... as well as unveiling fun new research that found a third of kids are convinced dinosaurs are still alive.
Apple TV+ Leans Into Book Adaptations For Summer. Several shows with kidlit pedigrees will be premiering on the streamer when school lets out, including preschool toon Duck & Goose and Just Don't Fall, based on a memoir by Paralympian Josh Sundquist.
Feld Entertainment relaunches Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ahead of Licensing Expo. Feld Entertainment’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is returning to the entertainment sphere with a relaunch of the traveling circus company. The American icon emerges as a dynamic, multi-platform entertainment franchise, providing families the opportunity to connect in fun, engaging ways.
Silvergate partners with Warner Bros. Discovery for ‘Octonauts’ in Latin America. Silvergate Media has announced Warner Bros. Discovery’s preschool channel, Cartoonito, and streaming platform, HBO Max, have secured the rights for the acclaimed animated series, “Octonauts,” in Latin America. A robust consumer products program is being planned with “Octonauts” toys from global master toy partner,
Gel Blaster, Evolution USA target licensed IP deals. Gel Blaster Inc. has a new target: licensing. Evolution USA will represent Gel Blaster in acquiring licensing agreements based on intellectual property (IP) tied to video game franchises and Hollywood hits. Gel Blaster Surge is the company’s flagship product, a blaster fueled by Gellets — nontoxic, colorful, water-based beads that are all-natural, and biodegradable...
Mobile games extend life for licensed products. As videogame publishers and developers increasingly churn out mobile versions of their top-selling titles, the lifetime of licensed products is lengthening. Console titles remain the largest revenue generators and, for the most part, are updated via downloads. In fact, 71% of Take-Two Interactive’s updates were delivered digitally during the recent fourth quarter...
Heathside Trading announces partnership with Chameleon. The Chameleon brand has long been at the forefront of stationery, art & craft, and toy innovation, and the co. says it is now ready to expand its global reach. As the company teams up with Heathside Trading, Henry Belmonte, CEO of Chameleon, commented: ‘’We are sure Heathside’s many years of experience and global network will help supercharge Bledypen’s...
People of Play
PARAMOUNT GLOBAL EXPANDS CONSUMER PRODUCTS LEADERSHIP WITH 6 KEY APPOINTMENTS. Paramount Global is expanding its consumer products leadership across emerging media, games, global toys, franchise planning, and CP marketing divisions with new roles for key leaders.
Jeffrey Breslow is a preeminent toy and game inventor and designer who spent more than 41 years inventing toys and games and now he's penned a recollection of his career spent inventing fun. "A Game Maker's Life," recounts how, after graduating with a BFA from the University of Illinois in industrial design he became the youngest managing partner of Marvin Glass and Associates, the leading toy design...
Family marketing agency KI (Kids Industries) celebrated its 20th birthday last week, commemorating the occasion with the launch of a new website, brand update and an October conference to look forward to. Licensing Biz sat down with industry stalwart Gary Pope, KI’s CEO and co-founder, to take stock of key moments in the family and licensing space, and discover what he still loves about this industry…
LA-based pocket.watch has partnered with 13 popular YouTube-first creators, with plans to expand their shows into original content beyond YouTube. The new channels joining the company’s roster are Vania Mania Kids (pretend play), Hudson’s Playground (farm-focused outdoor play), Art for Kids Hub (drawing tutorials), Kamdenboy & Kryaboo (pretend play), Scratch Garden (educational videos), Koala & Giraffe ...
James Bruton not only shows it’s possible to build a bike with a massive Omnidirectional front wheel but also proves that it’s drivable. Thus, through this video footage, the engineer and ex-toy-designer demonstrates the whole design process, while at the end he does a trial and surprisingly achieves his goal. An Omni-wheel can move in multiple directions as it consists of smaller wheels around its circumference.
IMC Toys has appointed Carolina Perez-Amaya as national account manager. The boost to the UK team reflects the company’s success over the last two years, as well as its ambitious growth plans for the future. Carolina joins IMC Toys from Tesco, where for the last four years she has worked as the lead buyer for Boys Toys.
Moonbug Entertainment continues the expansion of its Licensing and Merchandising team with the two new senior appts, as the company welcomes Helen and Janice to the role of Global Hardlines director, Consumer Products, each managing a portfolio of hardlines licensees in the UK and US respectively. Both Helen and Janice will report to Duncan Tate, Global head of Hardlines, Consumer Products.
MOOSE TOYS APPOINTS DAVID NORMAN AS GLOBAL GENERAL MANAGER, GAMES. This new hire comes after Moose’s previous announcement that the games category would be the company’s primary focus as it grows its business. Beginning May 23, Norman will work out of Moose’s U.S. headquarters in El Segundo, California.
Hasbro Appoints Najuma Atkinson as Chief People Officer. In her new position, Ms. Atkinson will lead Hasbro’s global Human Resources organization, building a people and culture strategy that attracts and retains top talent, supporting the acceleration of Hasbro’s brand blueprint. Ms. Atkinson will also champion the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts...
Jim Marggraff, whose LeapPad device has taught literacy and math to millions of kids over the last 23 years, has just launched a new video-calling system designed to bridge the distance between far-flung family members and make learning interactive. Three- to seven-year-olds can use the Kinoo app to video-call relatives and play games together online using an integrated wand controller with motion-sensor...
Immersive Entertainment Company, Hunt A Killer Announces Jonathan Lee as its New CFO. Lee has fifteen years of experience as a CFO. Prior to working at Hunt A Killer, he was the CFO at What Do You Meme?, a popular new-age party game. During his five years with the company, Lee was instrumental in elevating it to the #1 market share in adult board games.
The Insights Family is expanding its international reach ahead of Licensing Expo. The global leader in family and kids market intelligence tapped industry veteran Ivan Colecchia to serve as its new SVP of international development. In his new role, Colecchia will oversee business expansion into 22 international markets with more than 100 clients, including Amazon, Hasbro, Paramount, Warner Media, and BBC.
***The above posted after tBR sent early on May 20th***
Victoria Lozano, Warren Schorr Adopt New Responsibilities as Part of Crayola Reorganization. In an effort to bolster kids’ entertainment content and location-based experiences, Crayola has begun an internal reorganization. Lozano, Crayola’s EVP of marketing communications and digital strategy, will add content development to her responsibilities. Schorr has been promoted to SVP business development, global licensing...
Mattel promotes Sanjay Luthra to executive VP and MD for EMEA. Sanjay says the opportunity in Europe is huge and he looks forward to continuing to lead the Mattel EMEA team in expanding the business. Mattel has promoted company veteran of 20 years, Sanjay Luthra, to executive vice president and managing director in the EMEA region.
Dan Cook joins Paramount as senior VP of Global eCommerce. In his new role, Dan Cook will will lead the startegy and execution of Paramount Consumer Products’ eCommerce business growth. Dan will bring valuable insights from previous experiences to create a global centre of excellence and help expand eCommerce penetration by defining innovative sales strategies and developing marketing programmes...
FUNKO TAPS RICH PAUL TO ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS. The leading pop culture lifestyle brand revealed its appointment of Rich Paul to the company’s board of directors. The appointment is dependent on the pending sale of Funko stock by ACON Investments to The Chernin Group.
“Rich is a preeminent sports agent and leading business professional who brings a wealth of experience in sports and music that we believe...
Spin Master announced the appointment of Michael Butcher as GM, NA as part of the co's Toy Creative Center leadership team. Butcher will drive Spin Master’s toy business, delivering sales plans and local marketing execution to align with overall toy growth and revenue goals. Reporting to Chris Beardall, Spin Master’s President of Toy and CCO Butcher will oversee a seasoned toy team including Tom Kelly, SVP Sales, US...
The company behind L.O.L. Surprise!, Little Tikes, Rainbow High, and Bratz appointed Mindy Puente-Escalera as its SVP of global licensing. In her new role, she will develop a strategic plan to grow the company’s licensing efforts across all of its brands. “With more than 20 years of experience in global licensing, merchandising, buying, and product development, Mindy brings a new point of view to our growing ...
Women in Power: Foot Locker’s Samantha Lomow on Leading With a ‘Spirit of Play” and Her Advice for Female Leaders. When Samantha Lomow joined Foot Locker as the company’s first-ever president of global brands in March, she had a clear leadership mantra in mind: lead with a spirit of play. Before joining Foot Locker, Lomow had most recently served as the president of branded entertainment at Hasbro...
Flair GP welcomes back Verity Page. Verity Page, née Groom, re-joins the company’s sales and marketing division to build on her six-year history with the firm. She previously held the title of Marketing manager at Flair and played a fundamental role in the launch of multiple key brands, being integral in the success story of Shopkins.
Kate Holman has joined Playmobil as the new senior National Account manager with a focus on the toy specialist channel. Kate brings with her a wealth of knowledge and industry experience, having held a senior national account role at Kids2 for the last three years, as well as buyer roles at Mothercare, ELC and Tesco.
USAopoly (The Op), a family entertainment company and leading manufacturer of best-selling board games, puzzles, and more, is thrilled to announce the return of the founder, Dane Chapin, as CEO. After pursuing other business ventures, Chapin returns to his roots to elevate The Op to the next level following monumentally successful years for the company. He plans to lead the expansion beyond board games...
Talkin' Toys: GPI Is Here to Help. The Toy Book caught up with David Blanchard, vice president of business development at GPI, about the company’s history, how companies can prevent themselves from spreading too thin, and the services it provides to its clients.
TikTok content creator Michael Le launches gaming startup Joystick. Popular TikTok content creator Michael Le and tech entrepreneur Robin DeFay have co-founded Joystick, a gaming and esports platform aimed at empowering users to become pro gamers or content creators in the Web3 space by giving them the opportunity to keep 100 percent of revenue earned.
Paizo, Inc. names Jim Butler as new president. Jeff Alvarez Steps Down Due to Health Reasons. Paizo, Inc. named Jim Butler as the new President of the company. Butler has served as the Vice President of Marketing and Licensing at Paizo since 2017 (see "Paizo Hires Jim Butler"). He is a veteran of the gaming industry and has worked for TSR and Wizards of the Coast.
Companies and Brands
Add another accolade to actress and LGBTQ activist Laverne Cox's career: her own Barbie doll. Mattel announced Wednesday that it is launching a Barbie doll made in the likeness of Cox, the first time the popular doll has been created in the likeness of a transgender woman. The toy company worked directly with Cox to create a Barbie that fit in closely with her style, Mattel said.
Sustainable Spanish toy brand Oli&Carol have paired up with Scottish textile designer Donna Wilson to release a new capsule collection of teether and bath toys. Including 3 distinct designs, these handmade natural rubber toys reimagine the look of a squirrel, cat and lion in whimsical colors and shapes. The designs, called Cyril Quirrel Fox, Ginge Cat and Richie Lion, are inspired by perfectly imperfect children’s ...
MATTEL, EPIC REVEAL NEW EXPERIENCES FOR UPCOMING MATTEL ADVENTURE PARK. Barbie’s Beach House, Castle Grayskull, and a life-size Pictionary board are soon going to be in the same park. Mattel and Epic Resort Destinations have revealed that the Mattel Adventure Park — opening in Q1 2023 in Glendale, Arizona — will feature additional brand activations from Barbie, Masters of the Universe, and Mattel Games.
Times are undoubtedly tough for many right now. So, to spread some joy, Gibsons has coined June as ‘Kindness Month’ and launched a #PuzzleItForward campaign. Running from the 1st-30th June, the campaign challenges Gibsons’ trade customers to gift a completely free puzzle to their shoppers and brighten their day. The company is offering one free carton of puzzles to its trade accounts, subject to T&Cs, so that...
Chinese streamer Tencent Video has put in an order for Banijay-owned Zodiak Kids & Family’s new CG-animated action-comedy Shasha & Milo, a co-pro with South Korea’s Pingo Entertainment. Production is currently underway on the 26 x 22-minute series, which is about 12-year-old twins who have the ability to transform into human beings, cats or a formidable hybrid of the two.
Mattel, Magic Wheelchair, and Monster City Studios Gift Young Girl Barbie-Themed Wheelchair at Licensing Expo. Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that works to provide custom youth wheelchairs with designs inspired by popular TV shows, movies, and brands. The organization partnered with Monster City Studios and Mattel to celebrate 9-year-old Estrella Rodriguez, who lives with Spina Bifida.
TOYS “R” US THAILAND TO UNLEASH EXCLUSIVE JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION TOYS AND EVENTS. In tandem with the global release of Jurassic World Dominion this June, Toys “R” Us Thailand has partnered with Universal Brand Development and Mattel to launch exclusive movie-related toys and events. From May until June, Toys “R” Us stores across Thailand will give Jurassic World fans a unique, in-store experience.
Taraji P. Henson Revealed as First New Star Voice Talent for PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie™. Highly Anticipated Sequel Set to Hit Theatres Worldwide October 2023 With Additional Cast Announcements to Follow. Following the massive global success of PAW Patrol: The Movie™, Spin Master Entertainment, Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies today revealed the first new star voice talent being added to the cast...
Simba Smoby Toys UK will take the Smoby brand to Gloworm Festival this year, as part of its family-focused marketing calendar. During the event in Newark, Nottinghamshire this August, festivalgoers will be invited to visit the Smoby Play Zone to enjoy a selection of Smoby’s roleplay toys and playhouses, whilst also giving little ones the opportunity to try out some Smoby slides.
Toys R Us has unveiled plans for Geoffrey’s World Tour, a new campaign which will follow mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe as he embarks on a world tour, beginning at the Toys R Us global flagship in the US, followed by planned visits and activations in London, Madrid, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Dubai and markets across greater China, Japan and southeast Asia.
Exploding Kittens revealed Poetry for Neanderthals: Not Safe for Work Edition, an adult edition of the word-guessing game, which will be headed for release in 2022. Poetry for Neanderthals came to market back in 2020 (see "'Poetry for Neanderthals'") as a family word game. The Not Safe for Work sequel is aimed at an older, more mature audience that favors more inappropriate terms. This new version includes...
Mattel launches a UK nationwide resource designed with educators to engage primary schools and KS2 pupils in learning about sustainability, and introducing Mattel PlayBack to children for the first time. Running throughout 2022 in 700 Schools with over 150,000 pupils, the engaging resource has been designed encompassing PSHE and citizenship topics to celebrate the power of sustainable play, at home and at school.
Sesame Workshop is launching new bilingual resources to help families of all economic backgrounds foster healthy eating habits and increase nutritional literacy — the ability to access and understand information about food and nutrition. With generous support from the Walmart Foundation, the Healthy Habits for All initiative features Chef Lily, Sesame Street Muppet and...
American Girl launched the American Girl™ Podcast Network, which is rooted in the brand’s popular stories, characters, and real-world advice to connect and entertain girls, their parents, and the entire fan community over their shared love of all things "AG." The new podcast network, with ad-free shows spanning diverse formats and themes, will amplify the brand’s digital and creative storytelling...
How the hit show Paw Patrol became a Canadian export success. When Toronto-based Spin Master, makers of the hit show Paw Patrol, launched its entertainment division in 2008, executives wanted to create an action-adventure series for preschool-aged children. With a loose idea of what they wanted, they reached out to 5 creators, including Keith Chapman, the creative force behind the successful Bob the Builder series.
Kingsmen Creatives Limited announced together with Hasbro will be opening the first North American location of Nerf Action Xperience and the world’s first Planet Playskool kids experience at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ. Both indoor entertainment centers, slated to open late 2023, will feature multiple activity zones, food & beverage areas, and retail stores that will engage and involve all...
Falcon’s Beyond Global, LLC, a trailblazing, global entertainment company that specializes in intellectual property (IP) creation and expansion, has announced details of Falcon’s Central, the first of its new signature destinations merging retail, dining, and entertainment. Falcon’s Central connects guests with world-renowned brands through a multitude of entertainment experiences, amenities, content, ...
NBCUniversal launches infant and toddler brand. NBCUniversal’s Brand Development division is celebrating all families and the happy chaos of parenthood with the launch of its infant and toddler brand, Welcome to the Universe Baby! – delivering modern, trend-driven collections inspired by fan-favourite NBCUniversal characters, stories and culture-defining moments. “Welcome to the Universe Baby! embraces...
Hasbro has been named among 3BL Media’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2022, marking the company’s 11th straight year on the list. The ranking is based on 155 ESG factors across eight pillars: climate change, employee relations, environment, finance, governance, human rights, stakeholders and society, and ESG performance.
Amid pushback from parents and Republican leaders, Disney has launched a “Pride Collection” initiative, which includes an LGBTQ pride-themed line of plush toys marketed to young children. Among the plush toys from Disney, which were made in conjunction with the squish mallow co., are various Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Stitch, all of which feature a rainbow design.
Snorble Inc. — the company behind the forthcoming Snorble intelligent buddy that helps kids and families develop healthy habits and bedtime routines — is extending its reach with the opening of Lullaboo Studios. The new effort looks to reimagine storytelling using new technology.
THE MULTI-GENERATIONAL POWER OF JAZWARES’ PLUSH TOYS BRING JOY TO ALL. Over the past couple of years, the toy industry has seen substantial growth with no plans of slowing down — a market forecasted to surpass $46 billion by 2027 in the U.S. alone. I recently caught up with Gerhard Runken, senior vice president of brand and marketing at Jazwares,
***The above was poste after tBR sent morning of the 20th***
How Hasbro Is Using Today’s Trends and Nostalgia for a Bright Future. Casey Collins, the head of global licensed consumer products at Hasbro, sat down with me (Global Licensing Group's Anna Knight) to discuss how the shifts of the past couple of years have shaped consumer habits toward Hasbro and how the organization is using those movements to map out plans to reach future audiences while staying true to its...
Dress up and join the party with “Disney Junior Live On Tour: Costume Palooza” launching September 2 in Southern California. The all-new show features the first appearance of characters from “Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends” in addition to Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Doc McStuffins, the Puppy Dog Pals, and Alice from Disney Junior’s newest hit series “Alice’s Wonderland Bakery,” live on stage.
Netflix Thinks Inside The Box With New Promo Feature For Kids Titles. The SVOD is (literally) using shiny things to improve discoverability on its platform, with a new Mystery Box feature to promote shows that younger viewers haven't yet clicked on. Is there an antidote for the burden of choice on streaming platforms? For kids, it may be as simple as tapping into their innate curiosity.
Netflix Lays Off 150 Staffers, Cancels Three Kids Projects. More employees were let go this week as the streamer faces slowing growth and continues to trim its kids portfolio with new cancellations, including Ava DuVernay's high-profile series Wings of Fire. The company is also scaling back its spending on content in the face of declining subscriptions and an increasingly competitive streaming landscape.
A.B. Gee launches 2022 Mattel Autumn/Winter catalogue. As one of the main distributors for Mattel in the UK, A.B.Gee has made sure the brochure is packed full of the company’s iconic toys as well as new, trend setting products. Featuring over 170 lines, classic ranges from Fisher Price, Thomas and Friends, Barbie and Hot Wheels are included, along with new lines from Paw Patrol and Pokémon.
Ukrainian studio Frogwares will use Epic MegaGrant to relocate and support staff. Ukrainian studio Frogwares has received an Epic MegaGrant and intends to use the cash to relocate staff affected by the Russian invasion. The Sherlock Holmes Chapter One developer said the funds will be "crucial" in relocating employees to safer areas and helping those who've moved to more remote regions of Ukraine.
Elements Come To Life In New Pixar Pic. Inspired by director Peter Sohn's childhood growing up in N Yas the son of Korean immigrants, the movie features characters based on each of the 4 elements: fire, water, air and land. Set in a city where every resident is based on one of the four elements, the movie revolves around Ember (fire) and Wade (water), who discover that they actually have more in common than they thought.
Headspinner Productions has found a formula for speedy growth and is sticking to it. The Toronto-based company’s new 2D-animated series Gisele’s MishMash Adventures (pictured) is its third consecutive 10 x three-minute project to use a strategy of digital-first funding and content inspired by an existing IP or driven by a recognizable influencer with a built-in audience.
The Rainbow High crew is welcoming six new dolls to create the brand’s most diverse and inclusive collection of characters yet. Rainbow High’s fourth series maintains the fabulous glam of previous collections. Including a fashion doll with albinism, a character of South Asian Indian descent, a doll with vitiligo, and a multicultural Asian doll, each doll proudly represents their own identity with bold accessories.
With the acquisition of the new 35,000² metre warehouse near Venlo, Northern Europe, Rubies will open its latest DC and fulfillment centre, increasing the company’s strength in distribution and reach. Rubies says the new centre will enable it to stay two steps ahead and ensure it is unmatched in terms of stock holding. The 35,000² metre warehouse is the latest in a series of empowering business expansion...
Snakes and Lattes has opened two new U.S. locations, bringing the count for the board game bar and café chain to nine. The two new locations are in Glendale, CA and Provo, UT. The Provo store was opened from the acquisition of Good Move Café, which will continue to operate under its legacy name "given the influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the area," the company said in its announcement...
Komarc Games to Unveil New StickiKubes and Finger Topz at ASTRA 2022. Retailers looking for something fresh and full of delight will be sticking around Booth 1731 at ASTRA as Komarc Games unveils StickiKubes ($9.99) and Finger Topz ($14.99) plus showcases a half dozen best seller boxed toys and games.
Bravado, Universal Music Group’s merchandise and brand management company, has announced the centralization of both Bravado and Epic Rights licensing rosters. Bravado acquired Epic Rights in 2019 and the new structure includes the expanded purview of Epic Rights’ SVP Global Licensing, Lisa Streff, to oversee global licensing strategies across both companies. Streff will work closely with the existing Bravado...
The Toy Book sat down with Daniel DeLapa, chief marketing officer for Creative Kids, to hear about the brand’s collaborations and its new line of sensory toys. The Toy Book: Creative Kids is on a mission to help harness the creativity and self-expression in every kid. Tell us about Creative Kids’ goals and how they’re reflected in the brand’s products.
Mattel has announced a major change to the way it deals with selected members of the UK independent retail channel. In a letter sent out to Toymaster members on Friday 13th May, the company said it has looked at the best ways to efficiently and effectively support the independent retail channel, ultimately deciding to cease direct supply of certain accounts as of 1st July. Instead, affected retailers are advised to...
Smart Games, a worldwide leader in multi-level logic games, has unveiled its latest game: Horse Academy, a charming game for little ones aged 7 years plus. Allowing players to create their own show jumping path and sequence, the all-new game will have players working towards the winning rosette. Taking the horse successfully from start to finish is a mind boggler, and players must canter their steed over the jumps in the...
Character Options has introduced its latest squishy, stretchy and tactile brand, GooZonians, to the Dolls aisle. Mark tells us how, in the early days of the Goo Jit Zu journey, it very quickly became clear that the concept was a hit with girls as well as boys. “We knew there would be demand for a similar new brand that was specifically targeted at the collectible dolls category,” he explains.
Topps was honoured at the prestigious 2022 UK Newspaper and Magazine Awards on 12th May, taking home the hotly contested Campaign of the Year accolade for its Match Attax Season 2021/22 Collection. It’s been a strong start to the year for Topps following its Jan. 2022 acquisition by Fanatics Inc., the US global digital giant specialising in licensed sports merchandise, trading cards, collectibles, digital...
The Chameleon brand has long been at the forefront of stationery, art & craft, and toy innovation, and the co. says it is now ready to expand its global reach. As the company teams up with Heathside Trading, Henry Belmonte, CEO of Chameleon, commented: ‘’We are sure Heathside’s many yrs of experience and global network will help supercharge Bledypen’s reach and bring our much loved products to a new...
Mattel Targets Collectors With Resurrected Monster High Toy Line. "We’ve been waiting for the right moment to reignite the Monster High brand to connect with (and make a greater impact on) issues like inclusion, diversity and community," Lisa McKnight, Mattel's EVP and global head of Barbie and dolls, tells Kidscreen.
Disney+ is finishing up a big reboot project, but it’s not a typical case of refreshing a movie franchise or a TV series. Launching on the streamer on June 15, Family Reboot is a new six-part live-action series from NY-based prodcos Milojo Productions and Talos Films that focuses on real-life families that have been too busy to spend time together. Through games, challenges and uninterrupted time for heartfelt conversations...
Trick or Treat Studios reveals 'Trollfest'. Trick or Treat Studios revealed Trollfest, a new rock band fantasy game, for release on June 1, 2022 In Trollfest, players assume the roles of rock band managers in a fantasy setting. As such, they need to recruits musicians, put on concerts, and hire dragons as transportation and to run the light show.
The 'Parks' series hits the 'Trails'. Keymaster will release Trails, a new hiking game in the Parks series of games, into retail on June 1, 2022. Players can once again explore the iconic U.S. landmarks and National Parks in the newest game in the Parks series (see "'Parks: The Board Game'"). This game features art from the Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series with both day and night time illustrations.
Triaction Toys introduces Bat Boglins. It’s Friday the 13th, and some new creeps are flying from the Boglands into the toy department. TriAction Toys is extending the Boglins brand with the introduction of Bat Boglins, a “blood-suckingly fun” new collection of characters that include a feature that no Boglins have ever had in the past: wings.“Bat Boglins had been promised to fans more than 30 years ago but never launched,” ...
Latest Ticket to Ride title heads to San Francisco. The brand-new Ticket to Ride: San Francisco features similar gameplay as the other versions of the board game. Players race through the Golden Gate City, passing its iconic landmarks whilst collecting souvenirs, claiming routes and drawing tickets to score points.
John Whaite fronts brand-new audio baking collection from Yoto. Yoto, the audio platform for kids behind the critically acclaimed and award-winning Yoto Player and Yoto Mini, has announced the launch of Baking with Yoto. The cook-along series is a new addition to the Yoto Originals collection, and fronted by chef and 2012 Great British Bake Off winner, John Whaite.
Renegade Game Studios will release 'Circadians: Chaos Order'. Renegade Game Studios will release Circadians: Chaos Order, a new area control game, into retail in Q3. Chaos Order continues the Circadians series of games with a competitive, confrontational area control game featuring six asymmetric Factions. The Factions all have their own Leaders, Attributes, Buildings, and win condition.
Games Workshop previews new 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Combat Patrol'. Games Workshop previewed Combat Patrol: Adeptus Custodes, a boxed set for Warhammer 40,000, which goes on preorder May 21, 2022. This boxed set features the Emperor's Chosen guard and comes with enough models to allow players to build a full army for Combat Patrol-sized games.
25th Century Games reveals 'Sunny Day Sardines' for retail. 25th Century Games revealed Sunny Day Sardines, a new pocket game, for release into retail on June 1, 2022. In this game, players are employees at the Sunny Day Sardines cannery who are competing to become Employee of the Month.
Asmodee will release 'Bullet Star'. Asmodee will release Bullet Star, a new puzzle action game by Level 99 Games, into retail on June 24, 2022. This game is compatible with Bullet Heart (see "'Bullet(Heart)' into Retail"), and the two games can be combined to support up to eight players. Bullet Star adds eight new heroines that are unique to this standalone, and players can either battle each other competitively...
MadFun signs exclusive UK distribution deal with Salta. MadFun has announced its appointment as the exclusive UK distributor for Salta. Having successfully sold Salta trampolines in the UK for the past three years, the company says it is ‘thrilled’ to be taking the next step with the Salta brand.
Zoo animals try to escape in 'Kuzooka'. Pegasus Spiele will release KuZOOka, a new deduction game, into U.S. retail on August 31, 2022. In KuZOOka, players are trying to help zoo animals form an escape plan to break out. They receive new item cards each turn, and use these cards to formulate a escape plan. On their turn, a player either proposes a new escape attempt or ends a current escape.
Rise in the ranks of the Caliphate in 'Crescent Moon'. Osprey Games will release Crescent Moon, an area control game, into retail on June 1, 2022. In Crescent Moon, players must negotiate the delicate balance of the politics of a 10th Century Caliphate to rise to a position of prominence. They take on the roles of one of five asymmetric characters with objectives to fulfill.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Celebrate 10 Years of ‘Subway Surfers’ with a Super Runner Fan Competition. This year marks 10 years since Subway Surfers hit the ground running in the app store. To celebrate more than three billion downloads, SYBO Games is launching a fan competition and fun visual changes to the game.
Twitch viewership hit 1.8bn hours in April. Twitch reached a viewership of 1.8 billion hours watched in April, according to StreamElements analytics partner Rainmaker.gg. Meanwhile during the month Facebook Gaming on the other hand accumulated 336 million hours during the month. In terms of games watched on the Twitch platform in April,
Fortnite now available to everyone on iOS via GeForce Now cloud streaming. After four months in closed beta, a touchscreen-optimized version of Fortnite is now available to stream via Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service on iOS and Android. It means iPhone users have another workaround to play one of the most popular games in the world after it was unceremoniously booted from the App Store in August 2020 ...
The Witcher 3’s next-gen version now planned for Q4 2022. The next-gen version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is “planned” to release in Q4 2022, developer CD Projekt Red (CDPR) announced Thursday. Previously, CDPR was targeting a Q2 2022 launch for the free update, but it pushed the release in April without providing a new date.
Sony brings environmental goals forward by ten years. Sony Corporation is doubling down on its commitment to becoming a greener company by accelerating its deadlines. In its 2010 'Road To Zero' plan, the company pledged to achieve a "zero environmental footprint throughout the lifecycle of Sony's products and business activities" by 2050.
Certain Affinity will help staff relocate from areas that restrict abortion, trans rights. Texas-based developer Certain Affinity has pledged to help staff relocate from areas that restrict access to essential care ahead of a potential supreme court ruling that could allow several states to ban access to abortion.
Andreessen Horowitz debuts $600 million game fund with an eye on web3. Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has spent the last decade funding tech startups ranging from Airbnb to Soylent, is debuting a new $600 million fund for investing in the video game industry.
The Nintendo Switch has now outsold the PS4 in the US. After Xbox Series X / S topped the US sales charts for game consoles in March based solely on how much money they brought in, things turned back to the usual during April, according to stats announced today by the NPD. The PS5 led April in dollar sales, aligning with what we saw as retailers seemed to have more of the consoles in stock last month than for most of 2022.
Safety and Counterfeiting
Counterfeit Frozen dolls, Barbies, Lego; China's toy industry thrives on cheap rip-offs, but who pays the price? It's the consumer and nations that pay the price. China's billion-dollar toy industry has inundated markets with cheaper toys and snubbed out local industries. Disney characters, Avengers' super heroes to Harry Potter series, if there is a successful franchise in the toy or cartoon or video games industry, rest assured, there is a Chinese knock-off flooding the market. Counterfeit Frozen Dolls, Legos, Barbies, Star Wars toys are all across the continents. But the knock-off toys are anything but low profile as the stakes are high and the industry runs into billions and its implications are very significant.
Highlighted Press Releases
ON YOUR MARC, GET SET, PLAY THREE ENGAGING GAMES SOLO OR AS A GROUP. Best Seller tummple, StickiKubes & Shoppin’ Blowout Are Designed For Kids And Kidults To Enjoy Playing Every Day, In Any Way! Logan, UT (May 19, 2022) – At a time when so much school and entertainment takes place on a screen, it’s refreshing to play a game with your hands. Komarc Games suggests three titles for solo or multiplayer fun that involves strategic thinking (tummple $21.99), a bit of creativity (StickiKubes $9.99), and a hybrid board game, (Shopping’ Blowout $29.99), that offers an optional app for those that just can’t resist having a tablet or smartphone nearby.
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
The 2022 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) Nominees have been announced! The game of the year will be awarded on July 16, 2022. Nominated for Game of the Year 2022 are ...
TOTY Awards to Kick off 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market. The toy industry is getting ready to gather in person for The Toy Association's 2023 Preview & 2022 Holiday Market, taking place from Sept. 20-22 in Dallas. To celebrate the first day of the event, The Toy Foundation (TTF) is inviting the industry to its Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Opening Night Party, taking place on Sept. 20 at the Grand Pavilion...
2022 LICENSING INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS NAMES 25 WINNERS. More than 800 entries for the awards were narrowed down to 165 finalists, of which 25 winners were chosen. The awards honor the unique ways brands use licensing to further their goals, how licensees bring the products to market, and the retailers that...
Rubies Masquerade has won two prestigious industry awards during the fifth annual Italian Toys Awards. Organised by industry magazine TG TuttoGiocattoli, this year’s event took place at leading Italian B2B expo Toys Milano. The first award, in the ‘Carnival & Role Play’ category, went to one of the must-have costumes from 2021 – Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Big Thinkers Reveals Animation Accelerator Winners. A family miniseries about a time-traveling tween, a futuristic adventure show for six to 11s set in India, and a YA series exploring the fringes of an urban world caught the jury's attention in this inaugural UK diversity program. Three animated projects from diverse UK creators have been selected for further development and industry pitching opportunities after winning the...
***The above posted after May 20th***
Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has officially closed applications for its Retail Mentoring Programme (RMP) for the first time in its 12-year history, following a record uptake with 82 buyers from 19 different retailers. The annual programme kicked off last week when 78 RMP delegates attended Licensing International’s Licensing Essentials course in central London.
As kids and families gear up for a fun-filled summer of play, the “Best of Spring & Summer 2022 Influencer Choice List,” presented by The Toy Association and powered by Clamour, unveiled the hottest toys and games as voted on by top-tier toy and family content creators. Consumers can shop the list for toy ideas that will keep kids engaged all summer long – from playthings perfect for backyard fun to...
Accolades aplenty at Toymaster Awards Dinner. As part of the May Show in Harrogate, last night saw the welcome return of the Toymaster Awards Dinner to the Majestic Hotel. After a busy couple of days at the Toymaster show, Wednesday evening saw Toymaster suppliers and independent retailers alike welcomed to an elegant evening of food and live musical entertainment, which marked the return of the buying...
The BTHA has presented six Golden Teddy Awards to six exceptional individuals representing a number of areas across the industry, all of whom have contributed considerably to the toy sector over many years. Golden Teddy Awards were presented to Russell Lipman (Wilton Bradley), Paul Wright (Mashal Toy Agencies), Mike Coe (BTHA sustainability consultant), Michael Ives (Mamas and Papas), David Bolton...
Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) has a new board of directors. The global nonprofit organization and the toy industry’s voice for the advancement of women has elected nine new members to its board of directors. WiT appointed the following people to its board:
The Hasbro Charity 7-a-side Football and Netball tournaments will make a return this year on Friday 8th July, at Brunel University Sports Grounds, Uxbridge. Teams from companies across the toy trade are invited to sign up now to secure a place in this industry-wide event. The tournaments, organised by Hasbro, are now in their 8th year. Past events have been much enjoyed and raised in excess of £8,000 for The Toy...
The inspiring new Thomas & Friends Int'l Friendship Day awards commend outstanding acts of friendship from young children over the past yr, such as putting others first, kindness, and going above and beyond to help and support a friend. Nominations are open online with winners to be announced by celebrity dad, singer and musician Aston Merrygold at an awards ceremony ahead of Int'l Friendship Day 30th July...
41 THINGS TO DO AT LICENSING EXPO. The countdown is on, and Licensing Expo 2022 is about to throw open its doors at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for an epic gathering of the global licensing community. As of this writing, more than 3,800 meetings have been booked to take place from May 24-26, and that’s only the ones that are trackable through the Licensing Expo digital platform.
Comic-Con International has announced the 2022 nominations for the Will Eisner Industry Awards. DC Comics was the publisher with the most nominations (15, plus 7 shared nominations for writer, artist, etc.), and Image was next, with 14 nominations plus 4 more shared nominations. Fantagraphics Books and Image Comics/Top Shelf Productions garnered 11 each.
LEGO Group is inviting brick fans all over the world to join the second annual LEGO CON event, following the success of last year’s virtual event. Kicking off on June 18, the event includes a sneak peek behind the scenes to discover the amazing new things the LEGO Group has on offer, while sharing the experience alongside an awesome community centred around the same creative passion.
As the Toymaster show kicks off, Toy World explores how many suppliers are keen to offer extensive support, on everything from window display programmes to MOQs, demo stock to event support and more. Amy Saunders of Just Play commented: “Independents are experts at creating lasting memories and we’re committed to supporting this in any way we can.”
The submissions window for Kidscreen’s Hot50, an annual ranking of the top 50 companies in kids broadcasting, production, distribution, licensing and digital media, is now open. Applicants have until July 29 to complete an online form outlining their company’s three biggest achievements from the last 12 months. Submissions can be made in more than one category, depending on the scope of a company’s...
The Brand Licensing Europe event will see familiar names returning this year, alongside new exhibitors across all key sectors of licensing. Brand Licensing Europe, organised in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, has announced the initial list of companies confirmed to exhibit at the 2022 event, which runs from 20th-22nd September at ExCeL London.
The ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP) has announced the launch of an Environmental Assessment Module, a new online tool to facilitate climate action for the global supply chain. IETP’s Environmental Assessment (EA) is a quick and cost-effective solution companies can use to gain oversight of the positive and negative environmental impacts of their business operations and those of their suppliers.
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.
Colin Cantwell, an animator, conceptual artist and computer expert who played significant production roles in seminal science fiction films like “2001: A Space Odyssey, “Star Wars” and “WarGames,” died on May 21, 2022 at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 90. His partner, Sierra Dall, said the cause was dementia. Mr. Cantwell’s work on several influential movies reached its peak with “Star Wars,” George Lucas’s hugely successful space opera. To impress Mr. Lucas, Mr. Cantwell built two elaborate steampunk-like spacecraft models from parts he had culled from dozens of hobbyist’s kits. He got the job before Mr. Lucas had found a studio. Mr. Cantwell produced the original designs for spacecraft familiar to fans of “Star Wars” (later retitled “Star Wars, Episode IV — A New Hope”): the X-wing, the Rebel Alliance’s starfighter; the TIE fighter, part of the Galactic Empire’s imperial fleet; the wedge-shaped Imperial Star Destroyer; the cockpit for the Millennium Falcon; and the Death Star, the Empire’s enormous battle station, with a weapon capable of destroying a planet. Read More...
John R Hall, Jr. (February 28, 1946 - May 3, 2022) - John Hall began his career in toys with Child Guidance, which was eventually bought by Gabriel and then by CBS Toys. Ultimately, Hasbro purchased this group and John and his wife, Nancy, moved to Rhode Island with their two children, Jonathan and Kirsten, where he had a long career working at Hasbro as Sr VP, Director of Product Development for Playskool. He was affectionately known and embraced the moniker “Dr. No” by toy inventors for his discerning taste. John, with his characteristic dry humor also didn’t mind being referred to as “Dr. Know”. (information from Bob Fuhrer)
David Ward. Co-founded Spectrum Games in 1983 (which would later become Ocean Software) has died at age 75. Ward's passing was announced by his son Ben Ward. Colleagues, friends, and family on social media described him as a legendary fixture of the United Kingdom game industry. Ocean Software had its heyday in the era of ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 games. He helped shepherd games like Daley Thompson's Decathalon, Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Short Circuit across the finish line. As the U.K.'s Science and Industry Museum notes, Ward and Ocean Games found a successful model for the video game business in an era when its competitors began to flounder. Part of the company's success was built on acquiring cheap licenses for popular films and producing games based on them. Ocean Software technically still exists today, though that's because it was purchased by Infrogames in the late '90s. Today, Infrogames is better known as, ironically enough, Atari SA. In 2004, Ward and Ocean Software co-founder Jon Woods were inducted into the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (better known today as The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, or Ukie) Hall of Fame. ELSPA director general Roger Bennett credited the pair for coining "the terminology of the games industry" and laying the foundation for licensed game adaptations that is still in use today.
Nick Alfieri. Independent games publishers Digerati and Big Sugar have announced that Nick Alfieri, founder and CEO of both companies, died late last week. Calling Alfieri's passing "unexpected," the statement provided by the two companies described it as a painful loss, and that his colleagues are beyond devastated at the news. Friends and colleagues on social media echoed these sentiments, praising his enthusiasm and collaborative attitude. Developers who signed games with his companies were thankful for his efforts to shepherd their games to release.
Big Sugar and Digerati have published a number of unique games, including a virtual reality entry in the Sam & Max franchise: Sam & Max: This Time It's Virtual. Other notable games from these two companies include Glee Cheese Studios' A Musical Story and Ludomotion's Unexplored 2.
Alfieri is survived by his wife and young daughter.
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The Toy Universe (Australia) — Edition 1 - New Magazine
Adventure Media & Events (US)
aNb Media (US)
ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)
- WizKids Reveals 'D&D Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle' Miniatures Set
- Wizards of the Coast Unveils 'Magic: The Gathering - Dominaria United' Product Line Deets
- 'Demogorgon, Prince of Demons' Emerges in 'D&D Icons of the Realms'
- Bandai Reveals New Deets on First 'One Piece Card Game' Booster Set
- Wizards of the Coast Previews 'Double Masters 2022'
- Rolling for Initiative – Too Many Comic Events, Too Many Game Campaigns
- Wizards of the Coast Announces 'Magic: The Gathering - 2022 Starter Kit'
- Summer Game Shows Set Vax, Mask Policies
- Shop Talk: A New ICv2 Feature on Comic and Game Stores
- The Pokemon Company International Goes 'Back to School'
Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)
The Toy Universe by The Bugg Report (Australia) - Edition 41:
The Wiggles — Authentically Australian
Sesame Workshop — Feature Interview
Centa IP — Market Wrap Updates
Toikido — Feature Interview
BBC Studios — Feature Interview
A Perspective from Australia — Feature Article
Mizzie The Kangaroo — Feature Interview
Industry Commentary — We Speak to the Industry
3 Tips from a Retailer — Feature Article
The Real Digital Revolution — Column
Getting Back on Track! — Column
Children's TV Show Production Plunged — Column
"Brands Can Change the World" — Feature
News Flash: Azul Master Chocolatier, Evergreen Announced
Plan B Games has announced a re-themed edition of Azul, Horrible Guild has announced a new game, and Catan and Ticket to Ride cookbooks will be released next year.
Video of the Week
Hidden Roles Podcast!
Listen to Marjorie Spitalnik, activist and Founder & CEO of Little Rebels, details her journey to make her toy line a reality; fighting sexism, highlighting lack of awareness of mental health, and spotlighting heroic women of history.
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: email@example.com
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