the Bloom Report

Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary

Below is May 14 - 21, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

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

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

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

Happy Friday! 

Exciting news! joining Tim Kilpin as one of our columnists is Nancy Zwiers  ! (here is her POP profile). I chose this photo of her because it is so Nancy - she isn't afraid of anything, she is willing to tackle the biggest problem or the elephant/shark in the room with a smile on her face, and she'll have fun doing it while inspiring those around her. Enjoy her first column! 

I received my second vaccination earlier this week and am happy to get back to socializing again! The New Yorker (thank you Boaz Coster for posting) recently had a cartoon of Guess Who? the Maskless Edition which I found quite funny. A few years ago I had the pleasure of being with the Costers in Israel and saw the many versions of Guess Who? in their studio. I couldn’t even to begin to guess how many!

Have you checked out the POP Dictionary recently? If you add a word, it is linked to your profile! Thank you, Bob Fuhrer, for adding "Works Like a Model". ​

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report! 

 

Mary

Dear Nancy . . .  My company only sells low-tech toys. How can we effectively compete in an increasingly high-tech world?  tBR Columnist Nancy Zwiers Comments

Q. My company only sells low-tech toys. How can we effectively compete in an increasingly high-tech world?

A. Let’s reframe: Physical toys are not low-tech…they’re high-touch!

 

Physical toys competing for market share against digital offerings have one clear cut advantage: the power of touch, the most ancient and fundamental of our senses.

Exercising our motor skills (both gross motor and fine motor skills) is crucial to how we wire our brains. In fact, neuroscientists contend that the very reason we developed brains in the first place was to be able to move in our environment—the motor cortex rocks! 

Toys that encourage children’s fine motor skills have good “fiddle factor.” Not only is this manipulative play good for kids, but it is also irresistible! Read More . . . 

 

Amit Bar: Meet the guy who wants to change the Board Game industry - tBR Person of the Week

The global board game market is anticipated to reach values of more than $12 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of over 9% during 2017-2023. (*1)

 

Amit Bar, a Research Assistant specializing in the Board Game industry, believes that the opportunities to win the Games category are huge and the secret lies in better localization of the products. His research, The role of culture and personality traits in board game habits and attitudes: Cross-cultural comparison between Denmark, Germany, and USA, has been published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

How did you come to research this topic?

 

“My academic background is in Marketing and my work experience is the Sales, Marketing and Commercial departments. At the time, I was an employee of Mattel. Even though Games are usually priced at least double more than the average toys, this category generates lots of money. For many toy companies the Games category is the “Cash cow” of the business, an important pillar in the portfolio. And this caught my attention. 

Read More  . . . 

Financial & Legal News . . .

Amazon is officially acquiring MGM for US$8.45 billion after speculation that the companies were in talks to merge. MGM, beyond its massive scripted film and television inventory, is the parent company of cable net Epix and MGM TV. Led by reality veteran Mark Burnett, MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman, the TV unit is behind such unscripted hits as Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank and Beat Shazam...

The Squizzas saga takes further twist, as company files for voluntary liquidationBut are the people behind the defunct online retailer trying to start up under a new name? Toy World was contacted by several toy companies with information that another company based at the same address as Squizzas had been in contact with them, with a view to opening an account.

Has online retailer Squizzas ceased trading? There had been reports that the company hasn’t paid suppliers for some months, while consumers complained of unfulfilled Squizzas orders, despite payment being taken. Online retailer Squizzas was originally incorporated in August 2015. Companies House lists two directors – Luke Bedden and Sean French. Just before Christmas, the company publicly apologised...

(the above posted after May 21st)

Suspicions over fake reviews prompt Amazon to ban Chinese sellers  Numerous brands face long term bans under suspicion of incentivizing fake reviews by offering free products or discounts.  These brands are usually sold by multiple sellers connected to the parent company, all of which have been suspended by Amazon across its international marketplaces.

WarnerMedia & Discovery to merge in US$43-billion deal  Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the standalone company, which plans to continue operating SVODs discovery+ and HBO Max separately. Under the agreement terms, AT&T will receive US$43 billion and control a 71% share in the new company, with Discovery owning the remaining 29%.

Threat of global inflation grows as prices increase in Chinese factories  The price of raw materials and goods leaving Chinese factories rose 6.8% in April, its fastest pace in more than three years. For practically the whole of 2020, China’s producer price index (PPI) was in negative territory, as Covid suppressed global demand.

Android ad spending spikes after Apple rolls out iOS privacy feature. The Post-IDFA Alliance today released some early indicators about how the mobile ad market has been affected by Apple's requirement that users opt-in to tracking for advertising purposes, which began rolling out last month. The Alliance -- a group consisting of Liftoff, AdColony, Fyber, Chartboost, InMobi, Vungle, and Singular -- reported that ad...

Mobile dev Jam City is going public through a merger at a valuation of $1.2 billion. American mobile game company Jam City is going public on the New York Stock Exchange at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and Panda Pop developer explained it will become a publicly traded company though a merger with DPCM Capital Inc., and said the deal will include the acquisition of...

Another deal on Media Merger Monday. Amazon in Talks to Acquire MGM, WarnerMedia. In a wild Merger Monday for media companies, news broke that Amazon is in talks to acquire MGM, as AT&T and Discovery made a formal announcement about the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger and new details were revealed. Amazon is reportedly in talks to acquire MGM for around $9 billion, according to Variety.

Devolver Digital reportedly preparing IPO at £1bn valuation. Devolver Digital is reportedly preparing to go public on the London Stock Exchange, with a valuation that could reach £1 billion. According to The Telegraph, the publisher appointed bankers from Zeus Capital in preparation for its public listing. Game World Observer added that the company is expected to go public by the end of this year. There's no more details about the situation at this stage. The company had a very successful 2020, being the publisher of Mediatonic's hit Fall Guys.

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

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

Social media, involvement are key for reaching tweens . . . . .  The Insights Family Issues ‘The Next Generation of Families’ Report

(the above posted after May 21st)

Pent-up demand fuels U.S. retail surge, though growth will slow later . . . . . Licensing trends: The license market in Spain . . . . . NPD - 2021 looks like an outstanding year for UK licensed toys . . . . . Analyst: Only 6% of iOS 14.5 users chose to opt in to ad tracking so far

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. reported that total revenues for the fiscal 2021 first quarter increased 96.7% from the first quarter of 2020.

(the above posted after May 21st)

Mattel – consensus indicates potential 20.1% upside . . . . . Electronic Arts Buys Glu Mobile for $2.1 Billion . . . . .  TARGET CRUSHES EARNINGS ESTIMATES AS TOY SALES SPIKE 40% IN Q1 . . . . . SUMR Brands Reports Q1 2021 Financial Results . . . . . France $4.78 Billion Toys Markets to 2026 with Mattel, Hasbro, LEGO Group, Ravensburger, Spin Master Corp &. Vtech Dominating . . . . ELECTRONIC LEARNING TOYS GIVE VTECH AN EARNINGS BOOST . . . . . Wizards of the Coast reveals a record year for Dungeons & Dragons . . . . . Valheim has sold 6.8 million copies since Feb to become a 'franchise' . . . . . Genius Brands International announces three-fold increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2021

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Walmart boosts sales forecast as U.S. customers want to ‘get out and shop’Walmart Inc on Tuesday raised its full-year earnings forecast after shoppers armed with government stimulus checks ventured back into stores, driving demand that is expected to continue through the year as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Shares in the world’s biggest retailer were up about three per cent after it reported a strong quarterly sales beat and said it expects fiscal 2022 earnings to increase by high single digits. It had previously forecast a slight decline in profit for the year.

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories & Comments . . .

USING MATH TOYS AS TEACHING TOOLS DURING THE PANDEMIC. If there’s one thing that parents love in their kids’ toys, it’s educational value. Who wouldn’t want their kids to excel in school and learn key skills to succeed in life? While not all kids love school, all kids love toys, and with so many STEM options out there, it’s easy to learn key skills in sciencetechnology, engineering, and math through the power of play

HOW TOY COMPANIES ARE LEVERAGING CROWDSOURCING FOR FUNDING, CONTENT and FOSTERING COMMUNITY.  Imagine if LEGO produced a cheesy, ‘80s-inspired action series called LEGO Neon, which follows a character named Dan Clash who embodies all the action tropes of that era. Or perhaps picture a new line of building sets called LEGO Heroes of Olympus, featuring LEGO versions of the Greek gods...

Meet the Collierville 7-year-old whose big imagination is taking her big places. German toy manufacturer Schleich and American youth organization 4-H partnered for "Create Your Story," a contest for National Tell a Story Day on April 27. The partners created the beginning of a story that included Schleich's characters — Blair the Bull, ChaCha the Tiger, Larry the T-Rex and Lilly the Rainbow Unicorn — gathering on...

Sidekicks Save the Day in Disney’s New Board Game.  Sidekicks need more love, especially since they’re often the best movie characters. Disney’s new board game puts your favorite sidekicks—Timon and Pumba, Tinker Bell and Abu—front and center. Spin Master Games is launching Disney Sidekicks on Aug. 1. The premise? Villains have captured familiar heroes and locked them up in a castle. Sidekicks to the rescue!

Finding Neverland | How adult fans are driving toy sales across the UK There’s no shame in admitting it, toys, games, gaming, and play doesn’t have to have an age limit; something that a growing portion of the UK population can attest to. Last year, the UK’s kidult market hit new heights, fuelled by a pandemic that left grown ups and kids at heart with a lot more...

Opinion | Value Added Tact: The importance of meeting the sensibilities of ‘kids these days’ From Generation Z to Generation Alpha, audiences’ tastes and preferences are ever changing, from awareness of social responsibilities to greater demand for sustainability. Co-founder of Kids Industries, Gary Pope explores the importance of authenticity when meeting today’s youth and their new consumer values.

Campaign launched to support UK summer of play  Charities and businesses will support a summer of play to aid recovery from the mental and physical impact of the pandemic. Over 90% of children surveyed felt that the way they play had changed since the pandemic. They said they are playing outside less with their friends, playing alone more and are less active than they were before the pandemic.

How toy industry giants are going greenWhether by using plant-based plastics, recycled materials, or collecting old items from consumers, the toy industry is making efforts to go green. In recent years, major brands in the sector – such as Lego, Hasbro and Mattel – have launched various initiatives as part of a wider move towards environmental responsibility.

(the above posted after May 21st)

What kidcos should know about NFTs.  Non-fungible tokens can give consumers a new way to buy merch, but companies should be cautious when deciding to enter the game, says Dragan Boscovic. Kidcos like Funko and Toy Mint are getting into non-fungible tokens just as the blockchain tech is starting to gain attention.

John Baulch, Toyworld UK - Here comes the rain again …it’s the Friday Blog! On the subject of international business travel, there was some potentially good news for the toy community this week, as the Bavarian region of Germany – home to the Nuremberg Toy Fair – has provisionally given the green light for trade shows to run again from September.

To get kids to care about diversity, make it familiar. Children universally seek out that which is familiar. And prodcos looking to make inclusion resonate with them need to bridge the gap, writes David Kleeman. The past year has brought extensive and much-needed attention to diversity in children’s media content. Kidscreen Summit, COVID Zoominars and virtual festivals focused on the need and right for all children...

The Physical & The Virtual: Understanding Children's Relationships With Their Media.  Former UK Children's Commissioner, Anne Longfield, on the role of media in kids' lives and their experiences with media in today's blend of physical and digital worlds. Moving forward, what role can public service media play in shaping the future, and staying relevant for generations?

Batavia man’s modified Ford Falcon may be made into Hot Wheels car. Ryan Upham, 37, admits he has yet to grow up when it comes to toys, but that just might wind up making him famous. A self-proclaimed Hot Wheels fan, Upham is excited about being involved in the Virtual Hot Wheels Legends Tour, an international contest presented by Mobil 1 where the winning car is immortalized into a Hot Wheels die-cast toy...

UK Kids want in-person shopping, learning  New research from Childwise collected for its latest “Buzz Bulletin—Kids in Lockdown” report, kids are eager for a complete or partial return to normal, with one-third (36%) saying they’d choose to learn completely in person at school, if given the option.  (35%) of kids want a mix of at-home and in-school learning, while only 20% want to continue with full-time remote learning.

Opinion | Making augmented a reality: How AR is empowering future generations of play. With brands like Pokémon and LEGO paving the way for toy manufacturers (big and small) to bring augmented reality into their products, and as the technology continues to blend hands-on play with endless digital universes, it’s small wonder why the AR toy trend has caught the imagination of so many.

Jeffrey Epstein, Timothy McVeigh action figures for sale on Etsy. Action figures of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and other criminals are being sold on Etsy. As of Wednesday morning, Newsweek found action figures of cult leader David Koresh, cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet were available to buy from sellers on the website.

eBay is banning the sale of 'adult' video games in JulyOnline marketplace eBay is banning the sale of "adult" video games, which it defines as titles with a "rating of X, XXX, R18, or unrated for an adults-only audience." The ban on adult games is being implemented as part of a wider "adult items policy" that will also prohibit the sale of "sexually oriented materials" including some books, anime, comics, magazines, and art. 

A licensing perspective on the WarnerMedia-Discovery deal. The proposed deal under which WarnerMedia would be merged with Discovery’s media assets into a separate publicly traded company signals yet another wave of media consolidation as companies gear up to compete in the streaming services business. Among many other aspects, the deal would seem to have a profound effect on the companies’ brand...

Stimulated brain sales | From the fidget market to sustainable collectables, Brainstorm Toys talks 2021. From STEM toys and kits that proved essential items over the pandemic, to outdoor toy and play innovations, as well as a range of Klikbots that span not only the creative arts sector, but the resurgence of the fidget toy market, too, Brainstorm Toys is home to some of the most exciting products on the toy...

Opinion | Play culture: Conversations around inclusive toys need to be bigger and betterDesriee Asomuyide is the founder and creator of the children’s brand Little Omo, an inclusive and multi cultural preschool brand that aims to encourage conversations around diversity and inclusivity within the toy and play space. Here, she talks us through the importance of turning the volume right up on the diversity discussion. .

GoPopAd_BloomReport2021.jpg

Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Don’t Break the Ice from Schaper (1969). Released in 1969 by Schaper, Don’t Break the Ice is a tabletop game for two to four players, ages 3 to 10. The gameboard is made up of a set of plastic ice blocks and a stand/frame that holds them together. While most ice blocks are approximately 1-inch square in size, one larger 2×2 block is used to attach a plastic figure in a seated position. 

Rubik’s Zig Zaw Puzzle from Ideal (1983). A vintage dealer advertisement from 1983 for the Rubik’s Zig Zaw Puzzle from Ideal. This pseudo jigsaw puzzle contains 131 pieces and was designed for ages 8 and up. A majority of the pieces in the puzzle are of identical shape and size, allowing them to be fit together in “billions of combinations.” Once all the pieces are matched up properly, the final result is a 16″ x 20″ mural of a ...

PlaytimeFun_540x250_BloomReport_Ad_3_SEL

Worldwide Licensing News . . .

In a new partnership with The Licensing Shop, Moose Toys’ Heroes of Goo Jit Zu brand is expanding beyond the toy aisle and into apparel, publishing, confectionery, sleepwear, and accessories, among other consumer product categories. The Heroes of Goo Jit Zu figures are filled with a gooey compound that allows kids to squish, smash, and stretch them. Last year, the Heroes of Goo Jit Zu Single Figure Assortment was recognized

Barbie signs Japanese licensing partner. ITOCHU will create new fashion-forward products and brand collaborations for the doll franchise in the region. Representing international fashion brands including FILA, Paul Smith and LeSportsac, ITOCHU will create new fashion-related products and set up brand collaborations.

Toikido teams up with Winning Moves for Among Us puzzles An initial range of four puzzles will feature the Among Us brand, which Winning Moves expects to be a top selling licence. Toikido, which holds global master toy rights across multiple categories for Among Us, has announced a partnership with leading games company Winning Moves and Top Trumps USA, to bring an Among Us collection to the franchise’s global fanbase.

Jazwares to Debut Pet Toy Line In Partnership with Wham-O. Jazwares is continuing to enter into new product categories, announcing a long term deal with Anjar & Becker Associates and Wham-O to produce a new line of pet toys. Scheduled to be online and at brick-and-mortar retailers in North America in fall 2022, the Wham-O products will join upcoming pet costumes in building out the company’s pet product offerings.

(the above posted after May 21st)

LEGO, Hasbro Unleash Powerful Infinity Saga Gauntlet Collectibles. This month, Marvel and its licensing partners have released a variety of merch celebrating The Infinity Saga — the 23 Marvel Studios movies that make up Phases 1-3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). LEGO and Hasbro have unleashed new gauntlet-inspired collectibles that are must-haves for any MCU fan

JAKKS & Disguise Named Partners for CoComelon. Disguise will design and manufacture costumes based on the children’s show, which currently streams on Netflix, Roku, and Hulu. JAKKS will also design, manufacture, market, and sell CoComelon seasonal toy product lines. These lines will be available in the U.S. and Canada at retailers in-store and online in 2022. CoComelon, the most-viewed YouTube channel in the U.S....

Moose Toys Releases Full Space Jam Line. Moose Toys, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, has released its full line of toys based on Space Jam: A New Legacy — including new Goon Squad toys, which are now available in stores and online nationwide alongside LeBron James and the Tune Squad toys.

ToyMonster Jurassic World Captivz Debut in the U.S.  Following the global pilot program launched in Australia, the ToyMonster Jurassic World Captivz range will launch in U.S. retail stores starting in June. The collectible Pop N’Lock toys, which combine slime, battle play, and species design, are inspired by the animated series, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous from Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, and Amblin... 

Marvel Licensing talks 'Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends' series, productsMarvel has revealed a new show for Disney Junior, “Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends,” set to launch this summer. In addition to TV content, Marvel is planning the release of multiple licensed products, also set for a summer launch. Licensees already involved include Hasbro, Centric Brands, General Mills and more. 

Licensing program expands for second series of Paddington TV show. The Copyrights Group has announced further product launches to support the second series of the Adventures of Paddington TV show, building on its existing licensing program. Series two of the show launched in April in the UK, and it has become a family favorite on Nick Jr. and Milkshake! and boosted consumer demand for Paddington products.The Point.1888 inks new Moonbug licensing deals. Multiple new deals have been announced for Moonbug properties under their deal with The Point.1888. The Point.1888 has raised the bar for Moonbug Entertainment properties, including “Blippi,” “CoComelon” and “My Magic Pet Morphle” with the signing of 12 licensees across EMEA as sub-agents. The Point.1888 was appointed last summer as the master licensing agency...

Epic Infinity Saga Collection Celebrates Milestone Moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All your favorite Marvel heroes are assembling, again, in a new collection! Newly released and upcoming Super Heroic offerings will support the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — aka, the Infinity Saga —  consisting of 23 films bringing together the saga’s most groundbreaking moments, characters...

Dino Ranch to roll out multiple consumer product lines. Boat Rocker Studios (a division of global entertainment company Boat Rocker Media) announced a raft of new licensees for its preschool show Dino Ranch across key categories in the U.S. and Canada. Set on a family dinosaur ranch, the series premiered in January on Disney Junior and DisneyNOW in the U.S. and on CBC and CBC Gem (Canada). 

Baby and parent product label Marcus & Marcus eyes toys and STEM toys partners. The baby and parent product label, Marcus & Marcus is looking to break into the toy industry, eyeing new partners to take the brand into toys and STEM toys amid a wider consumer product licensing strategy. As part of its plan to expand its offering and build up the Marcus & Marcus name among parent and baby markets, the firm has...

nancy lombardi ad.540x250.jpg

People . . . 

Exclusive Interview – LEGO Masters Season 2 Judge Amy Corbett. Amy  is a Senior Design Manager at The LEGO Company, where she drives the development of brand-new product lines, bringing new groups of people of all skill levels into the world of LEGO.  She is also one of the judges on the U.S. version of the popular FOX show, LEGO Masters, hosted and executive-produced by Will Arnett.

Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Richard Levy, a multi-hyphenate with more than 40 years of experience spanning the entertainment, toy, publishing, and licensing industries. On the show, Levy — who once worked in marketing for Paramount Pictures — shares stories of his early career in the toy industry, including the sale of the electronic Star Bird to Milton Bradley...

Henson ups Chris Lytton to president. Lisa Henson is handing day-to-day management over to Lytton so she can focus on her CEO role and oversee more studio production. Lytton will now lead day-to-day company operations, with global distribution, consumer products, content production, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and Henson Recording Studios all reporting into him. 

Genius Brands ups Jon Ollwerther. The new president of OTT Kartoon Channel! will also continue to serve as EVP of business development. He is the latest to join Genius Brands’ executive ranks. In April, Harold Chizick was named president of global content sales, marketing and consumer products. In 2020 Michael Jaffa was named COO for the company overseeing its business opps in production, consumer products, global...

How childhood bullying inspired this Lego VP to design an LGBTQ set.  According to Matthew Ashton, Lego’s VP of design, the company had wanted to create a product celebrating the LGBTQ community. Ashton himself faced challenges growing up as an LGBTQ kid. He experienced bullying from other children and adults trying to turn him into a person he was not. 

(the above posted after May 21st)

Kids International Marketing appoints James Triptree  James will work alongside UK sales manager Nigel Deacon and McCabe Marketing & Sales, as KIM continues to expand. The appt follows James’ recent announcement of his new company, toys2market. Based in the UK, toys2market will provide a broad range of services to toy and games manufacturers and suppliers. James is planning to work with both British and European...

Since 2006, when Inka and Markus's  first game was published by Kosmos, their career as game inventors has seen meteoric success. Through playing together, and then also with the help of their children Lukas and Emely, ideas arose that were developed, made tangible, pitched, tested, professionally produced and successfully brought to the market. It is difficult to look past the sheer number of German games prizes...

“Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton welcomes Martin and Alysha Horstman, the creators of the Pixicade Mobile Game Maker, an innovative new platform that kids can use to transform their drawings into playable mobile games. On the show, Albritton chats with the husband and wife duo about how Martin’s tech skills and Alysha’s background in art came together in developing Pixicade.

Bossing It | Basic Fun’s Tim Ives: ‘The toy industry is headed in an exciting direction’.  This quarter, ToyNews is catching up with Tim Ives, the new general manager for the UK and ROI at Basic Fun to learn what the role means to him, his ‘best of’ career highlights, and the serendipitous nature of launching Lincoln Logs to the UK

Liza Abrams Joins Brand Central  Brand Central LLC, a global licensing consultancy headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Kentucky and New Jersey, announced the hiring of Liza Abrams to the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Manufacturer Representation and Brand Central Insights trend service. Abrams will be based in New Jersey and will report directly to Brand Central CEO, Ross Misher.

ByteDance: TikTok's co-founder to step down as chief executiveThe CEO and co-founder of TikTok's owner ByteDance has announced he will step down and transition to a new role by the end of the year. In a letter to employees, Zhang Yiming said he will be succeeded by fellow co-founder Rubo Liang. The move marks the biggest shake-up at the Chinese technology giant since its launch almost a decade ago. 

540 x 250.gif.gif

Companies, Brands . . .

HEALTHY ROOTS DOLLS ARE ALL ABOUT CURL POWER. As a young child, Healthy Roots Dolls Founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles broke down in tears when her parents gifted her a Black doll. Although the color of its skin matched her own, as a girl who never saw herself represented in toys, she felt it wasn’t the “pretty doll.”

Happy Funkoween! Funko Debuts Seasonal Toys and Collectibles. As the summer heat rolls in, Halloween may be the last thing on your mind right now. But get ready to channel all things creepy and spooky, because Funkoween is upon us! Some of the products will be available for preorder immediately, while others will be coming soon. Check out a special, Funkoween-themed episode of Funko Fun TV below to get a first...

Claws and Effect | The continued expansion of Exploding Kittens Exploding Kittens burst onto the scene in 2015 when it set records as the most backed game on Kickstarter to date. Six years later, the kittens’ explosion is still expanding with ten games to the portfolio and 45 countries on its roster. ToyNews talks to Exploding Kittens’ director of international sales, Joeri Hoste.

Disney plans to close 100 channels this year CEO Bob Chapek confirmed at a media conference that the conglom will hyper-focus on DTC, resulting in a "robust rate" of channel closures. He didn’t specify which nets would go dark, but said “we will continue [to close channels] at a robust rate, and then the great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+.” According to Chapek, Disney closed 30 channels in 2020.

TALKIN’ TOYS: BLUE MARBLE MOVES TOWARDS MORE SUSTAINABLE STEM TOYS. The Toy Book caught up with Blue Marble’s Director of Sales Aaron Thompson to discuss the company’s mission and how it sets itself apart in the STEM category. Toy Book: Blue Marble’s science kits stand out from others in the category because they come with everything kids need to conduct the experiments. 

Edx Education launches UK retail website  As Edx Education continues expansion in the UK market, the website will extend the company's reach for its ever-growing product range. Leading educational toy brand Edx Education has announced the launch of a UK retail website at www.shopedx.co.uk. Edx says the website will offer British parents and educators competitive prices, exclusive deals and discounts, and....

Netflix is reportedly exploring an expansion into gaming. According to The Information, the streaming leader is in the process of recruiting for a dedicated gaming division. No official listing has been identified, but Netflix has reportedly sounded out a number of execs in the videogames industry over helming the new expansion beyond traditional films and TV. Seemingly confirming interest in the space, a Netflix spokesperson...

Netflix sails to Australia for new kids movie. The SVOD is co-producing True Spirit—a live-action movie based on Jessica Watson's record-setting global sailing adventure—with Resonate and Sunstar Entertainment. Based on Jessica Watson’s memoir of the same name, the movie will recount how the 16-year-old Australian became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world in 2010. 

Argos staff reported to be at centre of new 'fire and rehire' controversy  Some workers are alleged to have been told by the retail chain to sign a new contract or face losing their jobs. The Mirror has reported that a ‘fire and hire’ controversy over replacement contracts will leave some staff worse off by thousands of pounds a year, and affects mainly 700 office-based staff, including head office and distribution workers.

Mattel Will Pay to Recycle Your Old Matchbox Cars. These Are the Ones You Shouldn’t Throw Away. If they’re in perfect condition, some of your Matchbox editions could be worth hundreds (and maybe thousands) of dollars.  Several years ago, my son and I were playing with his toy cars and I thought it would be interesting to create slo-mo videos of the tiny vehicles doing loop-de-loops and flying toward my camera. 

Toyi wins iF Design Award 2021   First conceived by product designer Elif Atmaca as a solution to allow kids who live in disadvantaged areas to transform their surroundings through play, Toyi has been awarded with an iF Design Award 2021. Toyi kits consist of wheels, feet, eyes, joints, sticks, flexible connectors and junction parts, with which kids aged 6+ can use to transform any object around them into a toy of their own creation.

MATTEL UNVEILS LATEST HOT WHEELS LEGENDS TOUR STOP WINNER; COLLEGE CAMPUS ‘HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED’ TRACK.  The dust has settled following the second North American stop of the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour. Paul Kalenian of Santa Fe, New Mexico emerged victorious with his 2020 Lulu, a one-of-a-kind, streel-legal, race-inspired ride that he developed and built in just seven months

(the above posted after May 21st)

Macy's to invest in toys, pets, gourmet food to attract young customers. Department store chain Macy's unveiled plans to invest in new areas like toys, health and wellness, pets and home décor. These investment plans are part of the company's move to bring in young and new customers, even while retaining the existing ones. Commenting on the move, Chief Executive Jeff Gennette said, "Customers have signaled for...

Sphero’s cute car-shaped robot is driven to teach kids about programming.  It includes puzzles that require logically giving computers instructions.  It’s called the Sphero indi, and kids can use different-colored silicone tiles to give the car instructions, letting them create courses and mazes (and hopefully learn how to logically solve problems while doing so).

Rollplay announces launch of hero line Pedal Drifter  The Pedal Drifter has already been nominated for a prestigious Top 10 Spielzeug (Top 10 Toys) award in Germany. Available from September, the new pedal vehicle is suitable for for kids from two years of age and comes in a stylish airplane design. 

Get a First Look at Masters of the Universe: Revelation as Mattel Unveils the Masterverse. A new era of Mattel’s fantasy franchise arrives this summer with the July 23 premiere of Masters of the Universe: Revelation on Netflix. This week, Mattel released the first stills from the new animated series along with a look at Masterverse, a line of 7-inch scale, super-articulated action figures.

MGA Entertainment Celebrates 20 Years of Bratz with Doll Relaunch.  They shook up the fashion doll aisle in 2001, and now the Bratz are back. MGA Entertainment is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Bratz brand with a yearlong run of activations, kicking off on May 21 with the return of the original Core 4 characters: Cloe, Sasha, Jade, and Yasmin.

Madame Alexander Launches New Dolls for 2021  The new Peekaboos line (for ages newborn and up) is available on Amazon, with each doll dressed in a hooded outfit to encourage young ones to play peek-a-boo with their new doll. The plush dolls are available in three different animal-themed outfits — Llama, Uni-Cat, or Sloth. Additionally, the My First line and Huggums line this year are debuting baby dolls in new skin...

Sport Bigs Debuts Toys Dedicated to Women's Sports   New toy company Sport Bigs is celebrating female athletes by launching a line of talking toys dedicated to women’s sports. The line includes 18-inch plush celebrating only women’s sports and inspired by famous athletes.

Sport Bigs will direct portions of proceeds from the toys into women’s sport sponsorships, athlete compensation, and additional grassroots...

MEET THE BRAND-NEW CARE BEAR: TOGETHERNESS BEAR. For the first time in at least a decade, the Care Bears, an iconic brand with millions of fans spanning generations, will introduce Togetherness Bear, a brand-new Bear to join the group. The newest Care Bear friend focuses on togetherness, acceptance, inclusivity, and loving what is unique about you, messages that are so important for kids growing up.

Mattel Unveils Helen Keller Doll — the Newest Addition to Barbie's Inspiring Women Series.  A doll inspired by Helen Keller will hit shelves at retailers nationwide and on Barbie.com on Tuesday. Keller, who notably did not let being both deaf and blind keep her from learning to communicate, will be the latest historical figure to have her likeness immortalized, Mattel announced on Tuesday.

Hasbro Named to 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 10th Consecutive Year  3BL Media has named Hasbro to its annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking, recognizing outstanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance among the 1,000 largest, U.S. public companies. The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking is based on 141 ESG transparency and performance factors in eight pillars:...

CAMP LAUNCHES E-COMMERCE PLATFORM FOR KIDS TO SHOP FOR GIFTSRetail is evolving, and Camp is charging forward with a new platform that allows kids to shop safely online with a preset budget controlled by a parent or guardian. The Camp Present Shop is being billed as “the first e-commerce platform where kids can safely shop online.” It’s designed for kids ages 3-12 and serves as a safe space to pick out and...

HASBRO, PARAMOUNT RELEASE FIRST TRAILER FOR ‘SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS’ The hype for Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins began at Toy Fair New York last year, and following a pandemic-related detour from its original theatrical launch last October, the big-screen reboot of Hasbro‘s popular military franchise is back on track for a July 23 debut.

Pocket.watch's Love, Diana - heading across the globe  The Love, Diana brand has enjoyed an incredible 6 months since its launch in Oct 2020; Pocket.watch's Danny Spronz tells us more. Danny Spronz, managing director, EMEA, Pocket.watch, tells Toy World what the standout new girls’ property Love, Diana offers licensees and retailers, its plans to develop and expand the franchise, and why YouTube is reaching more kids...

Zapf Creation - moving with the times  As Baby born marks its 30th anniversary, Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Kasia Leskow, Zapf Creation marketing manager, about why the  brand has stood the test of time. The company has entered 2021 on strong footing, seeing YOY growth despite the numerous challenges in the marketplace. 2020 saw Zapf’s sales increase,

Story Time Chess secures Webby Award. Story Time Chess has been awarded a Webby in the Games: Family & Kids category. Aiming to teach chess to young children, the game utilizes stories, illustrations, and custom pieces and board. These supporting materials help communicate the rules of chess to children ages three and up in a way that’s fun and simple. 

'Critical Role' two-count character packs incoming. WizKids will release Critical Role Unpainted Miniatures character packs in September. These new character miniatures feature classes and characters from the Critical Role universe, and sculpted as highly-detailed figures. Each pack comes with two figures that are primed and ready to paint, and require little to no assembly. 

McFarlane Toys Review: My Hero Academia Goes Plus Ultra with New 2021 Collection.My Hero Academia is one of the biggest franchises in anime, and fans are always looking for new merchandise to celebrate the series. From Funko to LoungeFly, all sorts of brands have taken on the series, but McFarlane Toys stands apart with its action figures. Now, the company has a new line of collectibles for fans in 2021, and we can ...

R&R Games will release Reiner Knizia and Martino Chiacchiera's 'Witchstone'.R&R Games will release Witchstone, worker placement board game by Reiner Knizia and Martino Chiacchiera, in July. In Witchstone, players take on the roles of wizards trying to restores the legendary Witchstone to full power. This game features a combination of worker placement and engine building mechanics with multiple routes...

Excavate a planet in Steve Finn's 'Mining Colony'. Dr. Finn's Games revealed Mining Colony, bidding and tile-laying board game designed by Steve Finn, for release in May. In this game, the players take on the roles of miners looking to replenish their homeworld's natural resources by excavating a nearby planet. The game is played over the course of ten rounds where players discover, excavate, and develop the planet. 

Games Workshop announces an Ossiarch Bonereapers warband for 'Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm'. Games Workshop announced Kainan's Reapers, an Ossiarch Bonereapers warband for Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm, coming in May. Mir Kainan leads his Reapers into battle with the Soulreaper Axe in-hand. This commander is a fighter and a wizard who can easily vanquish his foes.

HEXBUG looks to dial up UK awareness around new launches with Full Volume PR agency. The HEXBUG toy brand is looking to dial up its UK awareness with the appointment of the consumer PR agency, Full Volume to help work on the launch of several new ranges from the firm. The Ancoats agency has been briefed to not only drive the national recognition of HEXBUG’s current portfolio and launch several new ranges...

Carrera Revell Group to take on Rollplay distribution across Europe. Carrera Revell Group has struck a deal with the manual and electric children’s vehicles specialist, Rollplay to take over distribution across the UK, Benelux, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Austria. The distribution deal with the global manufacturers of toy car racetracks, model kits, and RC vehicles will commence in June this year. 

TOMY revs up new Ricky Zoom toys as the CGI series makes second season debut in the UK. TOMY is preparing to launch its follow up master range of Ricky Zoom toys this year, as the popular preschool series revs itself up for its second season debut here in the UK. First launched in July 2020 during what has been a challenging period for retail, Ricky Zoom toys have made a solid start and are set to launch...

David Bowie lands on Tonies platform with 1978 classical music recording of Peter & The Wolf. It’s happened. David Bowie has landed in the toy space thanks to the latest launch from the kids’ audio system, Tonies and the 1978 recording of the cultural icon narrating the double bill Peter and The Wolf/Carnival of the Animals. Destined to take children on a musical adventure, the classical music Tonie will launch...

Battle Decepticons in 'Transformers Deck-Building Game'. Renegade Game Studios announced Transformers Deck-Building Game for release in August. Renegade has started releasing games using the brands licensed as part of their recent licensing expansion agreement with Hasbro In Transformers Deck-Building Game, players become one of the mighty Autobots, and go off to do battle with the Decepticons. 

LEGO unveils its tallest Marvel build to date with Spider-Man franchise’s The LEGO Daily Bugle. The LEGO Group has welcomed the tallest LEGO Marvel set to date to its collection with the launch of the LEGO Daily Bugle set, an intricate brick-version of the newspaper building made famous through Marvel’s Spider-Man. The new build – one that weighs in at 3,772 pieces to stand at 82cm tall – comes complete with the....

US toy firm on mission to lift women’s sports with first talking plush sports stars. An American toy company is on a mission to not only change the face of sports toys but also the narrative around women’s sports with the launch of a new series of talking plush toys dedicated to some of the country’s biggest names in the genre. Sports Bigs has made no secret of its desire to disrupt the $1.25 billion US plush toy...

CMON will release 'Zombicide 2e: Fort Hendrix' into trade. CMON will release Zombicide 2E: Fort Hendrix, a new expansion for Zombicide 2E, into trade in June. Fort Hendrix is a brand-new expansion that adds new elements to the base 2E game. This expansions provides players with new Survivors, the new Shooter Zombie, and Day and Night rules for advanced play.

Smart Toys and Games launches spring/summer hero titles Pirates Crossfire and Apple Twist. Smart Toys and Games has released a slate of new spring/summer launches as the firm continues to ride a wave of popularity in strategy and puzzle games that sprang out of the nation’s lockdowns this year and last. The newest collection from the brain game specialist features titles including Pirates Crossfire and Apple Twist...

Character unveils multi-licence Mash’ems TV campaign. One of Character Options’ core brands, Mash’ems has been a mainstay of retailers’ collectibles aisle for more than a decade, and, in a demonstration of its commitment to both the brand and to its retail partners, Character Options has kicked off May with a multi-media marketing drive to take the brand to another level. 

Walmart confirms it is indeed still selling Pokémon cards. Contrary to published reports, Walmart confirmed in an email to The Verge on Friday that it has not suspended the sale of any trading cards, including the Pokémon cards that Target recently took off its shelves. There have been reports on social media of people seeing signs at Walmart stores indicating that the retailer would also no longer be selling the cards...

Pottick Law Ad new as of Nov 2020.jpg

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

Outriders surpasses 3.5 million players within one month. A whopping 3.5 million people have given Outriders a go since the game first launched back on April 1, prompting publisher Square Enix to anoint the series "the company's next big franchise" in a press release. Square Enix shared the milestone alongside its latest patch notes and adds that the 3.5 million figure represents unique players...

‘The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem’ game will be out around Halloween 2021. Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), and Outright Games, have announced ‘The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem’ video game features the iconic spooky family as they embark on a new adventure set in the world of the hit animated movie franchise and will be out in time for Halloween this year on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Xbox...

Survey says 59% of women hide gender to avoid harassment while gaming online. 59% of women hide their gender while playing games online to avoid harassment, according to a new survey. Reach3 Insights and Lenovo today released findings from a survey of 900 women gamers in the US, Germany, and China about their playing habits and perceptions of how women are portrayed in games. 

80s action heroes come to Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone. Prepare for non-stop action coming to Call of Duty: Warzone, Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Mobile in the mid-season update arriving tomorrow.  The ’80s Action Heroes event includes two new Operators who also happen to be iconic action heroes, Die Hard’s John McClane and Rambo from Rambo: First Blood Part II. 

Amazon goes quiet on its Twitch-based Pac-Man game, but Bandai Namco says it’s still in development. In May 2020, Amazon announced Pac-Man Live Studio, an interesting new version of Pac-Man that you’d be able to play right inside Twitch. The game was set to release that June — but recently the company removed all traces of it from the Amazon Games website. Nearly a year after Live Studio was...

MGM, Play.Works debut 'Pink Panther Time Traveler' game. 'Time Traveler' will be the first of three games based on the character. Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Play.Works, a Connected TV influencer video and games network, unveiled its "Pink Panther Time Traveler" game, which is available in select territories through connected television devices on multiple platforms.

Xbox partners with Tencent-owned Timi Studios to create new game contentMicrosoft has formed a 'strategic partnership' with Tencent-owned Honor of Kings developer Timi Studios to create new game content. Announcing the collaboration in a translated press release, Timi explained it will be working with Microsoft's first-party Xbox Game Studios to "jointly create excellent game content" and bring new...

Twitch plans to introduce local subscription pricing around the worldTwitch is introducing local subscription pricing to ensure the cost of subscribing to streamers better aligns with the cost of living in different regions.  The company explained the current price of a Tier 1 subscription is roughly the equivalent of $4.99 in every country, making it difficult for many viewers to support creators because of the...

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

Epic vs Apple

Apple spent $1m on Fortnite marketing, earned "over $100m" in commission. Day 13 of the ongoing antitrust trial between Epic Games and Apple saw the latter's head of games business take to the stand, offering more insight into how the relationship between the two. Michael Schmid discussed how Apple worked closely with Epic on both engineering problems and marketing efforts around Fortnite. 

Apple asks court to rule iOS is not an ‘essential facility’. After two and a half weeks in court, Apple is taking aim at one of the central elements of Epic’s antitrust case. In a filing Tuesday night, Apple asked the court to dismiss one of the 10 counts alleged in the initial complaint, arguing Epic had failed to establish any evidence for the charge that Apple had violated the essential facilities doctrine by failing to...

The level of Mac malware is not acceptable, says Apple’s Craig Federighi at Epic trial. The antitrust case between Apple and Epic continued today, and it brought Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, to the stand. Federighi’s mission was pretty clear from the outset: to extol the security benefits that come with iOS’s walled-off ecosystem and warn of the dangers that would come with...

Apple execs don't know if the App Store is profitable, "don't deny that it likely is". A key Apple witness has claimed the mobile giant does not know whether or not the App Store is profitable. Apple Fellow and former senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller returned to the stand yesterday and was questioned about a variety of topics, from data tracking to explicit content on the App Store. 

62% of all App Store revenue is generated from game transactions. Fortnite players on iOS generated 13.2% of all in-game revenue in the time the game was available on the App Store. Apple's App Store is fueled by gaming, with 62% of all revenue created by game purchases on the platform. The figure was given by Apple antitrust expert Lorin Hitt, who testified as part of the ongoing Epic vs Apple trial last week...

Epic vs Apple: What we've learned so farUpdate: 62% of App Store revenue driven by gaming, but Apple doesn't know if the platform makes a profit. It's safe to assume anyone following coverage of the trial already knows much of the background, but here's a short summary of how the two companies got to this point: In August 2020, Epic Games added a hotfix to the mobile versions of popular battle royale game Fortnite...

Epic vs Apple - week two in review: does the judge have a solution in mind? Legal experts weigh in on the second week of the trial and the battle of the economists. The antitrust trial that could reshape the mobile games industry rumbles on, having now entered what should be its final week. As the focus finally turns to Apple and its defence against Epic's accusations of monopolistic and anti-competitive behaviour...

Epic vs Apple trial will only affect 17% of iOS games. Apple Fellow reveals that three quarters of all games on the App Store are completely free with no in-app purchases. The ruling from the ongoing antitrust trial between Epic Games and Apple could only impact less than a fifth of all games on the App Store. During his testimony yesterday, Apple Fellow and former senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil...

Apple needs to show iOS allows competition... while justifying locking it down. The Epic v. Apple trial will deliver a verdict on whether Apple is suppressing competition. But if you were watching Wednesday’s testimony, you could easily end up more confused about what its App Store actually allows. Apple says iOS users benefit from a locked-down, curated platform. It rejects “stores within stores” like the Epic Games Store...

Epic fights Apple in court by playing Candy Crush. Sometimes I reflect on my life and wonder where I went wrong, such that I am sitting on a wooden pew in federal court, watching a Google search for Candy Crush Saga on the display monitor. This is a huge trial with major stakes for tech companies. It is also a crashing bore. On the stand is Lorin Hitt, professor of operations, information, and decisions at the University...

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

How 7 'smart toys' are protecting kids' data and safetyKids today have a chance to interact with their toys, which have built-in sensors, speakers, cameras and microphones that allow them to engage in ways never imaged before. The toys can customize the experience as they learn more about the child, opening children up to a new digital frontier with new risks and challenges. 

Peggy brown PBCC Bloom ReportAd 2021 540

Press Releases . . . 

A Bears for Cares Book DON’T MONKEY AROUND WITH OUR WORLD! Newest Title in the Bears for Cares Series of Children’s Books Now Available for World Chimpanzee Day July 14, 2021 ‘Jenny the Chimpanzee’. “Today I have a story to tell. A story that I know so very well. The story of how we came to be. Told by no other than Jenny the Chimpanzee.” Thus, starts the delightful new “Jenny the Chimpanzee” book...

RIZE Helps Little You Play at a Whole New Level in the Personalized Toy Business  RIZE, Inc., a company dedicated to bringing industrial 3D printing to all users, has partnered with Little You so that kids can turn their wildest imaginings into functional 3D anime toys made using RIZE’s technology and materials.

Gray Matters Games, a Glen Ellyn, Il-based game publisher, announced the release of its new family party game, The Root Beer Float Challenge! The game has players competing in solo, cooperative and head-to-head challenges in a race to collect all the ingredients of a root beer float.  Uniquely packaged in a large tin root beer can, the game comes with 4 straws, 2 foam cherries, and a giant ping pong ball which are all used in the 120 physical challenges – one challenge has a player volleyball serving a cherry off the wall while their partner has to catch the...

Fair Game of Downers Grove, IL (near Chicago) will host Games for Brains on June 19th - an afternoon of fun and games to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer's Association’s Longest Day.   The event will include silent auction, prizes, special shopping offers and will have local game inventors and entertainers in attendance, including: Gray Matters Games challenging players to their new family party game...

FEELING BUBBLY THIS SUMMER STARTS WITH $14.95 POWER-PACKED WOWmazing® GIANT BUBBLES POWDER KIT. Planning A Staycation Or Road Trip? Remember To Add Some Clean (Dish Soap, Water & Powder) Fun For Day Transformed Into A WOWmazing® Adventure

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (May 25, 2021) – Nothing says clean, wholesome childhood pleasures than blowing bubbles. South Beach Bubbles cranks up the fun to a WOWmazing new level with their power-packed Powder Kit ($14.95) available at SouthBeachBubbles.com. Parents may have to get out the thesaurus to top ginormous, monster and just plain WOWmazing (!) to describe the TikTok-worthy bubbles to be made.

(the aboved posted after May 21st)

Endless Games Flows Its Hottest Game Outside. Get Outside! As temperatures rise this Spring, Endless Games is seeing that its hottest selling game, The Floor Is Lava, is finding its way outdoors for children to pretend that the entire yard is lava! Switching out the living room carpet for a grass covered lawn is proving to be a fun new environment to play. Many people know the impromptu game of shouting out “LAVA” and ...

SHOWING PRESCHOOLERS HOW TO LIVE A GREEN LIFE REAPS NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT FOR ADVENTERRA GAMES. Puzzles & Simple Games To Introduce Environmental Concepts Are Applauded By The National Parenting Center, The Toy Insider™, Hot Diggity & Mom’s Choice – Most 3-year-olds have a mental to-do list of eat, nap, play, potty, then repeat. Saving the planet can now be added thanks to Adventerra Games. With their roll out of simple puzzles and memory games — including Hungry Bins: Learn To Recycle ($19.99) or Saving Water ($14.99) — even preschoolers can comprehend living a green life. In addition to dozens of toy industry honors, these beginner games were authenticated by STEM.org and earned its Early Childhood Product Seal.

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

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

Inclusivity, mature subjects win at the YMAs Echo Media's About Sex, a Pride episode of It's My Party and CBC Kids News all took home trophies at last night's ceremony. CBC Kids News, which covered topics such as the pandemic and racism, took home the Best Gaming or Interactive Experience award for all age groups. The “Pride” episode of BGM’s It’s My Party won Best Program, Live Action Non-Scripted for kids...

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TOY FOUNDATION. We caught up with The Toy Foundation Executive Director Ellen Lambert and Senior Foundation Manager Elizabeth Max to take a look back at how the organization pivoted last year to assist families impacted by COVID-19, and learn about what’s in store for the months ahead.

BIG COMPANIES CONTINUE TO BAIL ON ATTENDING GEN CON INDY 2021  Asmodee USA, Asmodee NA Studios, and Ultra PRO Are All Out.   Asmodee, one of Gen Con's largest exhibitors, released the following statement today: Asmodee has decided to not physically participate in Gen Con 2021, but we will be focusing our support on Gen Con Online to bring you some exciting news and events. 

(the above posted after May 21st)

Spielwarenmesse welcomes news that trade fairs given go ahead in Bavaria  Trade fairs may be held once again in Bavaria from September, a decision which will positively impact Spielwarenmesse events in Nuremberg. The ministers have said that such events may take place from 1st September, as long as certain conditions are met. 

Clamour & The Toy Association Release Spring & Summer 2021 Influencer Choice List. The Toy Association and Clamour have announced the “Spring & Summer 2021 Influencer Choice List,” which highlights the top toys and games as voted on by toy and family content creators in the Clamour network.

'Spiel des Jahres' Nominations Revealed   A prestigious German game design award, SdJ noms were revealed along with the nominees for the Kennerspiel des Jahres and Kinderspiel des Jahres awards. The Spiel des Jahres ("Game of the Year") nominees are: The Adventures of Robin Hood by Michael Menzel; published by Kosmos, MicroMacro: Crime City by Johannes Sich; published by Edition Spielwiese, Zombie Teenz,,,

CSAs night two: Corner Gas Animated, PAW Patrol, Odd Squad, Bit Playas nab top honours. The Canadian Screen Awards' second evening of prize-giving recognized children's content, animation, digital and immersive. 

Posh Paws Product Showcase Events to take place in June  In the absence of in-person trade shows so far this year and with social distancing restrictions easing, Posh Paws has announced that it will be hosting six Product Showcase Events across the UK in June, so that customers can physically see its new licensed plush toys and high-quality gifting ranges.

Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest returns June 10th with a ‘world premiere showcase’Summer Game Fest is back this year, and it will start on June 10th with an event called “Kick Off Live!” that’s billed as a “spectacular world premiere showcase” with “more than a dozen” world premieres and announcements. The show, which will begin at 2PM ET, will be hosted by Geoff Keighley, who you might also know as the host...

Toy Shop UK opens its 14th annual Independent Toy Awards for entries. Toy Shop UK is hosting its 14th annual Independent Toy Awards this year as the online platform opens its 2021 awards programme for entries from now until August 12th. Suppliers are being urged to send in their hero product entries across any of the 30 categories in this year’s event. The awards are recognised as unique within the industry, being the only ones that are voted for by the nation’s independent toy retailers.

'Smart Toy Awards'   As toys become 'smarter' and customise experiences this could open kids up to new digital risks and challenges. To highlight and encourage new solutions, the 'Smart Toy Awards' recognise ethically and responsibly designed AI-powered toys that create an innovative and healthy play experience for children. Here are this year's finalists! 

PlaytimeFun_BubbleAd_FIN.jpg
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.

Eric Carle, author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, died on May 23rd aged 91. A statement issued by the family read: “In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter is now travelling across the night sky.” Carle’s most famous book published in 1969 tells the story of a caterpillar with a giant appetite and has sold more than 50 million copies around the world and translated in 62 languages. His family said Eric Carle had died in Northampton, Massachusetts, from kidney failure. 

Michael LovelandMichael spent his whole career in the toy business until his retirement a few years ago, notably with Bandai, where he played a pivotal role in the formation of the UK operation back in 1982. Tasked by the Japanese parent company to set up a UK subsidiary, Michael and his brother Nigel successfully established the operation with its first UK office in Guildford. Michael went on to become Bandai’s European marketing director, and was part of the team that first brought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the UK and European markets, having brokered a deal with Playmates Toys. Michael was also instrumental in Bandai becoming the original distributor of the Nintendo range of electronic and video games. Michael was also involved with both the British Toy and Hobby Association and the Toy industries of Europe throughout his career, serving as an active Board member in both organisations.

Candace Irving - She worked with Mattel in Public Relations for many years and then moved on to Warner Brothers where she worked in Licensing (thank you, Sherry Gottlieb for letting us know.)

Jon Seisa (from Jon's brother) It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our brother Jon Seisa of Long Beach, Calif.  Jon passed away on April 16, 2021 at the age of 65.  In early childhood you could see that Jon was no ordinary child. As kids we would set up the garage to look like a doctor’s office. We got bed sheets and draped them to cover dad’s work bench and walls.  We would set up this hospital bed and put all kinds of strange things underneath the bed.  Jon portrayed the “Mad Doctor”, while his brother, Rick, was the terrified patient. We’d invite the neighborhood kids to come watch the performance. It was hilarious and amusing to watch the neighborhood kids’ reactions, seeing Jon pulling out work tools, toys and all kinds of other different objects from his brother’s stomach. The neighborhood kids were scared, they thought it was REAL.  What a BLAST it was! He was an animated character, hence his path was predestined.  Jon was a gifted artist, illustrator and designer with a colorful and animated personality.  In 1973 he attended Santa Ana College.  While there he designed a large aquatic theme park, Magic Marina for an environmental design thesis.  From 1976-1983 he was the Lead Art Director for Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA.  While there, he worked with such renowned Disney artists and designers as Ward Kimball, Ken Anderson and Hollywood art director Harper Goff.  In 1985 he took his many talents to Mattel, Inc. and helped create and launch some of their toy and doll product lines, including the Barbie Classique Collection.  After seven years with Mattel, Inc., he then decided to venture out on his own as an independent Freelance Art Director. Jon is survived by his brother Rick and sister Debbie, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.  He will be deeply missed and will always live in our hearts.  (Thank you Marcia Reece for letting us know.)

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

JOIN PEOPLE OF PLAY (POP) PlayBase

It's Linkedin + IMDb + Match + Wikipedia + Fiverr!

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

  • An easy-setup Profile and a real real live helpful person to talk to if you have questions

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

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

  • FULL access to information of products, people, and companies

  • Exclusive discounts and events 

  • Classified Ads

  • Find person-to-hire based on skills (company membership)

  • Opportunity to Launch Advertisement Campaigns, targeting members of the industry (company membership)

People and companies are registering and new features are being added by the minute... what are you waiting for? We've got the most powerful platform in our industry! Join here:  www.peopleofplay.com 
 

PlaytimeFun_SprinklerAd_EmailVersion_REV

Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. Madame Alexander Launches New Dolls for 2021

  2. SUMR Brands Reports Q1 2021 Financial Results

  3. ToyMonster Jurassic World Captivz Debut in U.S. 

  4. JAKKS & Disguise Named Partners for CoComelon

  5. Sport Bigs Debuts Toys Dedicated to Women's Sports

  6. Liza Abrams Joins Brand Central 

  7. Moose Toys Releases Full Space Jam Line

  8. Dino Ranch to Roll Out Multiple Consumer Product Lines

  9. ViacomCBS & SuperRTL Expand Licensing Deal in GSA 

  10. Story Time Chess Secures Webby Award

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Here comes the rain again …it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Threat of global inflation grows as prices increase in Chinese factories

  3. Vtech announces strong full year results

  4. Lego launches first-ever LGBTQ+ set to mark Pride Month

  5. Exclusive: NPD – 2021 looks like an outstanding year for licensed toys

  6. Zuru and MGA 5 Surprise litigation dismissed

  7. Carrera Revell Group to take over Rollplay distribution

  8. Spielwarenmesse welcomes news that trade fairs given go ahead in Bavaria

  9. Exclusive: Pocket.watch’s Love, Diana – heading across the globe

  10. Suspicions over fake reviews prompt Amazon to ban Chinese sellers

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

Mass Merchants Pull 'Pokemon TCG,' Sports Cards Off Shelves
Walmart Says In-Store Signage Was Incorrect
WizKids Unveils 'D&D Ghosts of Saltmarsh' Board Game Expansion
Paizo Will Not Appear at Gen Con Indy in 2021
Rolling for Initiative - Why Plastic Game Accessories Are Scarce
Wizards of the Coast Teases a Phyrexian 'Magic: The Gathering' Drop
New TCG 'MetaZoo'
'Spiel des Jahres' Nominations Revealed
Battle Decepticons in 'Transformers Deck-Building Game'
The 'Best Chess Set Ever' Returns to Hobby Trade

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Crimes & Capers, Pandemic Hot Zone - Europe - Renegade Game Studios has announced a new series of mystery games, Z-Man Games will be releasing the next game in their Pandemic: Hot Zone line, and Gen Con 2021 registration news.

Video of the Week! 

Tim Walsh Doer of Deeds.jpg

AATH Annual Conference Keynote Tim Walsh:

Using the Power of Play to be a Doer of Deeds

 

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

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