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May 20 - 27, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

2022 DISTOY Michael Kohner, Tanya Thompson, Angus Walker, Bond Yuen, Adi Golad, Tragmark.j

Happy Bloomin’ Friday!

DISTOY and the Licensing Show had toy people from around the world posting all over social media. Here’s a photo from a lovely dinner I was part of last week in London. We were all absolutely overjoyed to finally be together, and we get to do a repeat at ASTRA in Long Beach in a couple short weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you there!

 

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the new Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed and share with your colleagues! 

Mary

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

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Columnist - Nancy Zwiers

A Parable About Time Management

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The teacher stood in front of her students who had signed up for a course on time management.  They were committed to using their precious time in the most optimal way. 

 

Because this teacher was wise, she created a lesson that was interactive, driven forward by a series of questions that provoked responses from the class.

 

First, the teacher put a 10-gallon bucket on the table that represents the time we each have in our lives…

  • She then took some rather large rocks and filled the bucket to the top. She asked the class, “Is the bucket full?” and they responded in a chorus, “Yes.”

  • The teacher said, “But wait.” She then added some smaller rocks, and as these rocks filled in some of the nooks and crannies left by the large rocks, she once again filled it to the top. “Now is the bucket full?” The class responded, “Yes!”

  • Then she added little pebbles, which further filled in the little remaining space, and repeated her question. This time the class was a little more tentative as they started catching on that all was not what it seemed.  Still, their eyes told them that the bucket was full and they responded, “Yes.”

  • Oh, this teacher was crafty…she next added some sand which easily fit in between the rocks and pebbles. This time the bucket really did seem full—how could anyone add anything else?  The students repeated “Yes?” with a measure of uncertainty.

  • But alas, the teacher had one more trick up her sleeve. She took a pitcher of water and poured it right in over the rocks and sand.  No problem—there was indeed room for the water!  “Is it full now?”  Not surprisingly, the students were kind of afraid to answer at this point, but they all believed the bucket was finally as full as it could be.

Read More. . .

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Person of the Week - David Vonner

Toys are One of the First and Lasting Things that

Binds all of Us as Humans

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Hi David! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions. First, our readers would love to hear what you do in our industry? 

My role is to be the creative visionary that will turn ideas into product. There's multiple ways a product can be delivered. I'm the expert who has the means & resources to deliver.

 

What is your claim to fame in the industry?

 I guess that would be designing Action Figures…but I would rather it to be as a Friend and Lover of Pop Culture.

 

What are you working on now? 

Reimagining toy lines from the 80'a with The Nacelle Company. Bringing Awareness, History, and sharing & providing opportunities with B.I.G.G. (Black Inventors Got Game). Working with my good friend Taboo of the Black Eye Peas on a very special project, and more. I love everything about Pop Culture, and I enjoy being affiliated in every aspect and corner of the culture.

Read More. . .

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All in the Family: The Or Family

Longshore Toys and Games

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

This has to date back to the 1960s. My first job was working in a bank for import services. The Hong Kong manufacturing industry was on the rise, and I was a young adult anticipating new opportunities. I was fortunate enough to be invited by David Pomier, to start up a trading company for him. It was called Worldwide Buying Services; we sold toys and sundries to the United States. I had no experience, and I had to learn my way through to find factories, manage QA/QC, and organize shipments. After approximately 10 years of working in Worldwide, I was invited by Shelly Greenburg to start up the Shelcore office in Hong Kong for another 5-6 years, until I was confident enough to start Longshore on my own in 1978, which was during the opening of China.

In the beginning, we offered general trading services for small orders. We needed to build up our client base. I thought the best way to find potential clients was to go around the hotel cafes near Toy Fair, and there I saw Barry Schneider, Vice President of Far East Operation at Pressman, whom I met back at Shelcore. Barry was looking for an agent in Hong Kong, so we were grateful to be appointed as the FOB agent at that time. That was when Longshore became Toy-focused. Soon after, I met Michael Kohner through referral, and we have worked on countless projects in the international market ever since.Read More. . .

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Financial and Legal

Reliance Brands Ltd (RBL) and Plastic Legno SPA have signed a joint venture arrangement through which RBL will acquire 40% stake in Plastic Legno SPA’s toy manufacturing business in India. This investment by RBL will help to bring in vertical integration for RBL’s toy business and help diversify the supply chain to manufacture toys in the country.

 

Hasbro issued the following letter to Hasbro shareholders in connection with the Company’s 2022 annual meeting of shareholders (the “2022 Annual Meeting”) 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.

 

Italian group Artsana, the parent company of Chicco and Prénatal, has acquired Toys R Us Ibérica from a Portuguese fund. The local competition authority, Autoridade da Concorrência (AdC) was notified of the deal on May 24th. According to the AdC, the purchase includes the acquisition of Toys R Us Ibérica, which includes the Spanish arm of the company and a Portuguese subsidiary, as part of the Prénatal Retail Group. 

 

Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis on Friday recommended that Hasbro shareholders reelect all of the company's director nominees, dealing a blow to hedge fund Alta Fox's effort to replace three board members. "We do not believe there is a sufficient basis to support the board changes sought by (Alta Fox)," Glass Lewis wrote in its report, adding "the preponderance of the evidence validates Hasbro's strategy and business model."

 

***The above posted after tBR sent on morning of May 27th***

 

Leading UK hobby and toy specialist, Hornby Hobbies, is set to build on its recent success after securing a £12m combined facility from Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance. The news follows something of a resurgence for the business in recent years. Since welcoming a new management team in 2017, the hobby specialist has seen a substantial turnaround, with a growth in sales, and return to profit. In 2019, Hornby...

 

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 againThe 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.

In a speech by BBC director-general Tim Davie, a new digital-first strategy for the UK pubcaster will result in the closure of smaller linear channels such as CBBC, BBC Four and Radio 4 Extra over the next few years. The plan will also see approximately 1,000 jobs eliminated within the public-funded divisions of the BBC in the same timeframe. Linear net CBBC launched in 2002 to serve kids ages six to 17. 

Ukraine war: World Bank boss warns over global recession. The head of the World Bank has warned that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could cause a global recession as the price of food, energy and fertiliser jump. David Malpass told a US business event on Wednesday that it is difficult to "see how we avoid a recession". He also said that a series of coronavirus lockdowns in China is adding to concerns about a slowdown. 

 

Belgian government introducing tax shelter for games by 2023. Belgium's games industry will soon benefit from tax relief as the federal government has approved a new initiative that will begin by the end of the year. The government will introduce a tax shelter for video games, which will provide fiscal returns for investors in order to make it easier for game studios to raise funding for their titles. 

NLRB: Activision Blizzard "illegally" threatened staff. U.S. labor board prosecutors have determined that Activision Blizzard illegally threatened staff members and violated employees' workers' rights by enforcing an "overly broad" social media policy. The National Labor Relations Board provided a statement of its assessment to Game Developer.

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Financial Reporting

Sales in GameStop’s Collectibles category grew substantially in the company’s fiscal Q1 ended April 30, 2022, as inventory and expenses grew in a money-losing quarter

‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ Is Disney’s Most Successful 2D Release Since ‘The Princess And The Frog’.  Disney’s The Bob’s Burger’s Movie opened at #3, earning a modest $15 million (estimated) over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, with $12.6m of that amount posted over the standard weekend period.

 

Take-Two completes Zynga acquisition at $12.7 billion valuation

 

Global gaming market to hit $222 billion this year. Market data firm sees mobile continuing to drive industry growth even as experiences become more console-like. 

China video games market revenue hits $45.5bn during 2021.

 

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

U.S. RETAIL SALES GROW AS FED FACES ‘TRICKY JOB’ WITH INFLATION, NRF SAYS

 

Apple Generated More Gaming Revenue Than Xbox Console Maker Microsoft In 2021: Here's How

TOP 50 COMICS - MAY 2022

TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - MAY 2022

 

DIAMOND TOP 400 GRAPHIC NOVELS--APRIL 2022

 

DIAMOND TOP 400 COMICS--APRIL 2022

 

ANALYSIS I The Insights Family on the booming creator economy

 

***The above posted after May 27th***

 

What’s Next for Edtech Now That the ‘Pandemic Bump’ Has Faded?

 

What’s Next For Kids Podcasting?

 

SUPPLY CHAIN STRUGGLES CONTINUE AS U.S. TOY INDUSTRY PREPARES FOR ADDITIONAL CHALLENGES. 

U.S. Birthrate Ticks Up 1 Percent, Halting a Steady Decline

 

AVTEX PRESENTS Retail Experience Trends in 2022

 

THE INSIGHTS FAMILY REVEALS LATEST GLOBAL TRENDS REPORT

 

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

What Kids Actually Think About The Metaverse. KidsKnowBest surveys kids on what they know about the metaverse...and discovers it’s all about the shoes. Although we’ve been talking about transmedia for over a decade now, the form it takes keeps changing. Right now, it’s being reshaped—and resold—as the metaverse, an amorphous form billed by techcos and pundits as the future of how we will interact with media...

 

A Guide To Building A Neurodiverse Workforce. Leading kids entertainment companies are embracing practices that nurture neurodiverse talent—and finding there are a multitude of benefits. The past two years have seen companies take meaningful strides towards establishing workplaces that are diverse, equitable and inclusive, but barriers continue to exist for neurodiverse job candidates. 

As Ezra Miller Scandals Mount, What Options Does Warner Bros. Have for ‘The Flash’?  The upcoming comic book adventure, which completed production in 2021 and is scheduled to debut in theaters in 2023, has been extraordinarily well received in early test screenings, according to sources close to the movie. Given DC Films’ inconsistent track record in fielding commercial hits, initial reception that “The Flash"...

This is MerMay, the monthlong art challenge in which artists are invited to create a work depicting a mermaid every day and then post it online with the hashtag #mermay. In 2016, Tom Bancroft, a former Disney animator, drew two lounging mermaids looking at their "shell phones," a scene inspired by his own daughters. When he posted the image on social media, it went viral, he told NPR.

 

RAISING THE BAR: THE FORGOTTEN TRADEMARK RIGHT — TRADE DRESS. The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled an uptick in toy sales, and the ever-increasing percentage of e-commerce sales makes product appearance — as opposed to packaging — more important than ever. In many cases, the outer packaging is not shown at the digital point of purchase and consumers see the product itself instead. 

 

THE BENEFITS OF CLASSIC PLAY After two years of dealing with a once-in-a-century pandemic, consumers are longing for in-person, real-world experiences to interact with one another. But between a massive increase in screen time and social distancing, it seems as though interpersonal communication skills have atrophied, especially with the younger generation. 

 

PAINTING A PICTURE OF WELLNESS IN THE ACTIVITIES CATEGORY.  The ideal childhood should be made up of rainbows and butterflies without a worry in sight‭, ‬but kids today are growing up in a hectic world and it’s taking a toll on their mental health‭. ‬As a result‭, ‬manufacturers are creating more toys in the activities category that are incorporating themes of wellness and mindfulness to help kids process their emotions and learn important life skills‭.‬

 

***The above posted after Mary 27th***

 

John Baulch, ToyWorld, All to play for in the second half…it’s the Friday Blog! We’re rapidly approaching the second half of 2022– the business end of the year, the ‘make or break’ period for many toy retailers and suppliers. After the past two years, we had all hoped for a return to more normal trading conditions and sales patterns this time round. Instead, it looks like we’re in for another rollercoaster ride, buffeted by a...

Cartamundi’s Marco Van Haaften on why NFTs are “a prerequisite for success”. Marco Van Haaften is Global Licensing irector at Cartamundi. He’s participating in a panel called ‘Everything you need to know about Web 3.0’ alongside Lex Scott from Banijay Brands and Beanstalk’s Dave Tovey at the next European edition of Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit, taking place 21 June, at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Surprising an 8-year-old with a new LEGO® arm. David "Hand Solo" Aguilar changes a little boys lif with Legos! 

KEY DESIGN STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL TOY PACKAGINGHow does a brand stand out among the visual chaos and oversaturation of the toy categories at retail‭? ‬There’s a broad spectrum of design strategies that companies need to employ correctly to make a  brand’s packaging successful‭, ‬such as establishing solid package design architecture‭, ‬owning a color palette‭, ‬and staying consistent‭.

REPRESENTATION BEYOND THE COMPUTER SCREEN. Generations Z and Alpha are often described in the media as the “first” or “most” likely to do things. They’re the most diverse and most connected generation — many U.S. kids own multiple devices by age 3 — meaning they are also the most self-aware.  In a trend largely guided by social media, kids have a stronger sense of identity at a younger age than previous generations.

Harnessing the power of classic play. ASTRA’s vision is to “change the world through the power of play” —  and classic play is vital to this vision. If you look up the definition for the word “classic,” there’s a phrase that stands out: “something that has a recognized and established value.” This issue of the Toy Book is dedicated to classic toys like dolls, plush, games, puzzles, arts and crafts, and construction sets. 

 

Backstory: Toys ‘R’ Us — the epic tale of ‘the world’s biggest toy store’. It was the late 1940s and the dawn of a new era in the U.S. With World War II firmly planted in the rearview mirror, families settled down in some of the country’s first planned communities. Amid the suburban sprawl, Charles Lazarus — a cryptographer in the U.S. Army — returned to civilian life and began to crack a different code by accident...

 

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 cinematic art of advertising toys. On Wednesday, April 30, 1952, families across the U.S. settled in for a night of entertainment. In the midst of a commercial break, something different appeared on screen among the usual words from sponsors: a message encouraging kids to play with their food. Looking for its first big retail sellout, Hasbro took a chance at advertising its new Mr. Potato Head toy directly to families on TV. 

 

Unpacking the prevalence of mystery and deduction in tabletop gaming. Many of the newest games hitting store shelves and gamers’ too-full storage closets can be boiled down to a simple, three-word question: Who done it? Or, more colloquially, whodunnit? Games that center on mystery — of both the crime-solving and social deduction persuasion — have been a long-standing staple in the category. 

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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!

Swap Mobile from Remco. In 1967, Remco released Swap Mobile, a souped-up sports car with interchangeable engine parts. The car’s base engine (style 7060) consisted of a single plated V-8 engine and chrome hood ornament. Three additional engine assemblies were sold separately and could transform the Swap Mobile into a Piston Pusher, Turbo Jet, or Rocket Car. 

 

Up Against Time! from Ideal. Released in 1977 by Ideal, the Up Against Time! game challenged players to steady their nerves and move quickly to stack a series of barrels before their efforts came to an unfortunate end. The game’s goal was to stack more barrels than the opponent(s) to earn the highest score. Players dropped a steel ball into the starting slot at the top of the plastic tower. 

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Licensing 

 

Planet Ankama has acquired international distribution rights to preschool series Cricket Pang from Seoul-based You Need Character. The French distributor will sell the 2D-animated show in Europe, the US, Canada, MENA, Australia and New Zealand. Cricket Pang is a sport-driven adventure series in which Pang the elephant and his four friends play cricket in their small forest village. 

 

HERSHEY IS BUILDING A SWEET LICENSING PROGRAM FOR CLASSIC TREATS. You may not want a candy bar sitting on your shelf for years‭, ‬but you can show off your sweet tooth in other ways with Hershey-branded collectibles that will last forever‭. ‬Funko recently released both a plush and a vinyl version of a Hershey’s Kiss‭, ‬and opened preorders for a Funko Pop‭!-‬ified Hershey’s Milk Chocolate‭ ‬Bar and a pack of Twizzlers with...

Moonbug Entertainment’s wildly successful animated kids YouTube series CoComelon has been taking over the toy industry — and the hearts of kids worldwide. With multiple licensing partnerships, there are so many different types of toys available for CoComelon fans. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below:  

 

We all know that high school can be a hellish place, but Monster High takes it to a whole new level with the latest Skullector Doll. Dracula is joining the ghoulish gang known as the Monster High Skullector series in a collaboration between Mattel and Universal Pictures. The Mattel Creations designers paid homage to one of the original Universal Monsters and the 1931 horror film Dracula with the iconic ...

 

In celebration of Lightyear releasing in theaters on June 17, Disney and Pixar have created a short video series to showcase the upcoming, out-of-this-world toys. In the three-part series, Buzz Lightyear and his team undergo Space Ranger training and take on Zurg in intergalactic combat. Check out the videos below, as well as more details about Mattel‘s newest action figures and ships featured in the series.

 

Green Kids Club (GKC) is expanding its Environmental Heroes books into audiobooks and a TV series. Authored by GKC founder Sylvia Medina, the preschool book series features nine titles. The stories focus on wild animals exploring the natural world and surviving challenges, often with the help of human companions. GKC has licensed the books to Miami-based Storypod to develop audiobooks. 

 

Flix, the upcoming TV adaptation of Tomi Ungerer’s book of the same name, has been picked up by ABC Australia. Targeting kids four to seven, the 2D-animated series (13 x 11 minutes) was first announced in 2016 and was commissioned by Irish pubcaster RTÉ last year. The book was published in 1997 by Zurich-based Diogenes Verlag and centers on Flix, the only dog growing up in a town of cats. 

 

Nickelodeon is bringing stop-motion preschool series Kiri & Lou to US audiences for the first time.  The network has acquired seasons one and two (52 x five minutes) for Nick Jr. from London-based distributor CAKE. It will launch on June 13, and a 42 x five-minute third season is expected to air later this year. Following the premiere, episodes and short-form content from the series will also be available on the Nick Jr. ...

 

Paris-based distributor Superights has picked up season two (52 x five minutes) of French animation studio Le Regard Sonore’s Koumi’s Animated Picture Book.  The educational series, which blends 2D animation and live-action footage, premiered in 2020 on French channels Piwi+ and TV5Monde. Broadcasters including UYoung (China), TFO (Canada), Minno (US), RTVS (Slovenia) and LTV (Latvia) have all aired season...

 

Ahead of the release of Marvel Studios' Ms. Marvel, the latest Marvel Legends from Hasbro has arrived showcasing the titular star. Available for pre-order on June 8 (hey, that's the same day Ms. Marvel premieres on Disney+!), take a peek at the new Kamala figure. Featuring multiple points of articulation, along with a second set of hands, the highly detailed is perfect for any Super Hero collection — or Super Hero-in...

 

Stranger Things Season 4 launched on 27th May, and KAP Toys is celebrating the success of its short lead time Mystery Capsule launch. 

KAP Toys is the distributor of the YuMe toys brand in the UK & Ireland. The partnership has enjoyed proven success to date, including with the best-selling Warner Bros. licensed Harry Potter toys and the development of the Toikido Among Us collection.

 

To celebrate the Care Bear’s 40th anniversary, Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, owner of the Care Bears ent brand, are bringing the iconic Care Bears brand to life through food, apparel, and experiential event collaborations with companies across Canada. “We’re honored to pay homage to 40 incredible years of the Care Bears, and to provide opportunities for the devoted fan base in Canada to join in on...

MasterPieces adds its new NFL licensed All-Time Greats puzzles and playing cards, as well as      popular  NCAA team,  MLB,  NFL  and  NHL league and sports team versions of Tumble Tower, Poker Chip sets and dozens of new puzzle designs in its Locker Room and Gameday Collections. More teams are offered in MasterPieces popular puzzles, games, and toys. In addition, the co’s Baby Fanatic infant ...

Red Monk Studio and Sphere Animation (formerly Sardine Productions) are proud to announce their cooperation to develop Nadia: a 52×11’ animated show that aims to charm kids from upper preschool to age 9. This project, created by the talented Caterina Cappelli, marks the first partnership between both studios, which are eager to present the series next month at MIFA during the Annecy animation festival.

 

Fresh off their mano-a-shell battles with characters from one classic 1980s franchise, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to the big hair era for another series of pop culture crossovers, this time with Street Fighter. Playmates ToysCapcom and Nickelodeon announced the upcoming Street Fighter vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection, timed with the best-selling game’s 35th anniversary in 2022, and...

Strictly’s Johannes Radebe comes on board for Pride Tales Tonie. Ahead of Pride Month in June, children’s audio system tonies is excited to launch Pride Tales, a Tonie dedicated to celebrating and reinforcing positive Pride messages for little listeners and their families. Narrated by television favourite and professional dancer Johannes Radebe, the Pride Tales Tonie takes the shape of the famous Pride Rainbow. 

 

Cartamundi is celebrating HM The Queen’s seven decades on the throne by launching a Royal Flush Limited edition Platinum Jubilee playing card deck. The colourful and quirky decks designed by JJ from jjillustrates.co.uk, feature beautiful soft patriotic graphics that complement this historic occasion. The decks have landed at WHSmith Travel stores as a “see it first” and will roll out across retail. 

 

Mattel UK’s marketing director, Kelly Philip, tells Toy World what’s on offer within the new Lightyear toy range, and how the co.’s long-standing relationship with Disney has allowed it to lean into the studio’s expertise.  What can you tell us about the Lightyear movie? The new movie is Buzz Lightyear’s origin story, and it has been so exciting to see the toy range develop to introduce new characters to this beloved... 

 

ZAG has signed an exclusive agreement with Emoji Company to develop and launch a one-of-a-kind collaboration that will combine the strength of two power brands, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir and emoji.  The announcement was made by Julian Zag, EVP Global Operations and Head of Consumer Products, ZAG, and Marco Hüsges, CEO and Founder, The Emoji Company.

 

Three new series for children have been greenlit by Australia’s public broadcaster as part of its just-announced lineup for 2022/2023. Educational series Reef School will air on preschool-skewing channel ABC Kids, with narration from Emma Watkins, a former member of superstar kids music group The Wiggles. The show dives underwater to explore an imaginary Australian coral reef through the lens of the ...

 

Set for a 2023 premiere, Dream It To Be It will connect kids (including many with disabilities) with experts to give them a taste of their dream jobs.  Canadian pubcasters TVOKids and Knowledge Kids have greenlit Toronto-based Lopii Productions’ new unscriped docu-style series about making kids’ dreams come true.

 

***The above posted after tBR sent on morning of May 27th***

 

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.

Playmonster invites fans to prove their knowledge in a Disney Trivia board game. The position of Ultimate Disney Trivia Master is open for competition. PlayMonster has teamed up with Disney to launch The Magical World of Disney Trivia game. The board game invites the most hardcore fans to answer questions from almost 100 years of Disney history, from the very first of Walt Disney productions to the titles of today. 

 

Bratz, JimmyPaul launch a Pride collection featuring same-sex couple. June marks LGBTQ Pride Month, and the girls with a passion for fashion are making inclusivity the staple item of the season. In collaboration with renowned LGBTQ designer Jimmy Paul (creator of JimmyPaul fashion brand), MGA Entertainment‘s Bratz Pride collection adds a flair of rainbow to the doll’s trademark attitude. 

 

Prostar Playtime: bringing Star Trek’s first kid-focused series to store shelves. Star Trek may have first flown its starships into pop culture consciousness more than five decades ago, but this ever-expanding franchise of space adventures continues to — as the Vulcans would put it — live long and prosper. 

Get in the ring with 'Lucha Wars'. Backspindle Games has announced Lucha Wars, a dice game inspired by Mexican professional wrestling, set to release this summer. In Lucha Wars, each player assumes the role of a Luchador, or wrestler.  Using the Grapple dice, they try to knock out their opponent by reducing their life points to zero or manage to pin them to the mat for a “count of three.”  

 

Rubies strengthens partnership with Mattel with all-new Barbie costumes. Barbie, the top global toy property of the year*, is partnering with Rubies on a brand-new Barbie dress-up collection for 2022. The new Barbie children’s dress-up range will be available across EMEA and features popular styles including Astronaut, Ballerina and Princess costumes.

 

Capitalizing on the exposure from its own original game show on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock, Konami Cross Media NY, Inc. is unveiling an array of new Frogger consumer products in support of the 40th anniversary of the iconic video game property. The announcement was made by Jennifer Coleman, Vice President of Licensing & Marketing at Konami Cross Media NY.

King Features Syndicate, a unit of Hearst and home to some of the world’s most popular entertainment characters, announced expansion into the new territories Benelux, India and the Middle East, for its iconic comic characters, Popeye and Olive Oyl. Building upon its already successful global licensing program, brand owner, King Features, has signed new agents to support growth in the territories, including ...

The award-winning, global digital studio, TheSoul Publishing announces partnership with Retail Monster, the leading global brand extension company, to develop licensing and retail programs around its flagship franchise, 5-Minute Crafts.  Kn own around the globe for its positive, fun and quirky crafts, 5-Minute Crafts, is the world’s top DIY brand and the only channel to consistently rank among the top...

JumpStart, the parent company of Neopets, is launching their first Neopets cookbook inspired by the Neopian world. Neopets has partnered with Publisher Andrews McMeel to extend the magic of the nostalgic online game to kitchens around the world. Set to launch in Spring of 2023, the first Neopets cookbook will be available for purchase wherever books are sold worldwide.

Ada Twist, Scientist‭ ‬is an animated series on Netflix that follows 8-year-old scientist Ada Twist and her two best friends‭, ‬Iggy and Rosie‭, ‬as they‭ ‬ask big questions and work together to find out how things work‭. ‬As much as science is based in logic and fact‭, ‬Ada Twist shows‭ ‬kids that it’s full of wonder and discovery as well‭. ‬

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People of Play

Brian Levant Publishes ‘My Life and Toys’. Countless writers have sought to capture the history of American pop culture in magazines, newspapers and books, but the material artifacts are often an afterthought. In My Life and Toys, acclaimed director, writer, and producer, Brian Levant places his extraordinary collection of toys from comics, TV, and films on the center stage. 

 

Mary Coleman has been named chief creative officer at CG animation studio Locksmith. This is a brand-new position for the London-based company, and it will see her overseeing development and supporting filmmakers through the process. Coleman officially starts in July, but it’s not clear yet whether she will work in London or from her current LA base. Locksmith—which only launched in 2014—plans to expand its...

 

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF RAINBOW LOOM ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. Following a quick recap on the backstory of the TOTY and TAGIE-winning Rainbow Loom, Albritton, Ng, and Minor delve into the empowering nature of Rainbow Loom play and the social capital that kids build with it. Rainbow Loom is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and Ng and Minor discuss how they’ve worked to keep the brand...

With M&A activity ramping up alongside the popularity of its IPs, Moonbug Entertainment confirmed today that chief content officer David Levine is exiting the company. “We thank David for his dedication and hard work leading Moonbug Studios through a period of significant growth,” a Moonbug spokesperson told Kidscreen. The company didn’t confirm the exact date of Levine’s departure or if he is being...

 

INTERVIEW: Richard Denning, Co-Director of UK Games Expo. This weekend, the UK Games Expo, the UK’s largest board game convention, returns to the NEC, Birmingham. Ahead of the event, we caught up with Co-Director Richard Denning, to talk about his career journey from NHS medic to board game inventor and event organiser, and the many ups and (lock)downs along the way.

 

B&M has promoted chief financial officer Alex Russo to the role of chief executive, following the recent announcement that current CEO Simon Arora is to step down. Alex Russo, who joined B&M in October 2020, previously held senior positions at Asda, Tesco and Kingfisher, while he also worked in finance at Wilko. According to the retailer, his appointment reflects the outcome of a thorough assessment and external benchmarking process, which has taken place over the last six weeks.

 

Fun In Motion Toys is pleased to announce the promotion of Sadie Stewart to the new position of VP of Finance and Administration. She joined the organization in 2021 as the head of finance and has since taken on many additional responsibilities leading to this new departmental leadership role. “Sadie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new assignment from her 10 plus yrs in public accounting, including...

 

Following a period of acceleration in the co’s growth and production volume, Xilam Animation is further expanding with the appt of Julie Apperé in the newly created position of Talent Scout – Head of Talent Acquisition and Management. Apperé is a highly respected and valued professional; by all artists, creative talent, technicians and production colleagues alike. In this newly created position, she will...

 

Full-service communications agency KidsKnowBest has announced the two key hires of Agnieszka Kendrick and George Sinnott in the roles of performance director and growth manager respectively.  Agnieszka joins from Metia, where she was the global Paid Media lead. Previously, she worked at agencies including TBG Digital (now part of Sprinklr) and ForwardPMX, where she led the Nike performance team.

 

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.

 

Animation studio Atomic Cartoons has recruited Kitty Walsh as its first-ever executive director of development. Walsh previously served in the same role at Disney Junior, leading development for the series Robogobo and 2021 special Mickey’s Tale of Two Witches in addition to helping develop The Chicken Squad and Eureka!. Based in LA, Walsh reports to Atomic Originals VPs Aaron Behl and Kristin Cummings, and...

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Companies and Brands

 

Nifty’s, the platform for NFT-powered fan communities, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products are partnering once again, taking their collaboration to a whole new level, with the launch of an all-new story-driven blockchain program that will engage Looney Tunes fans like never before! Looney Tunes: What’s Up Block? will use digital art as a new medium for storytelling, creating a fresh narrative for the Looney Tune...

American Girl announced the return of a true original—1940s-era historical character and fan favorite Molly McIntire! One of the company’s first three historical characters to debut in 1986, Molly—a nine-year-old girl growing up on the home front during World War II—has inspired a generation of girls with her patriotic spirit and story of resilience. Now, back from the American Girl archives, Molly is set to spark ..

Fittingly, in time before World Environment Day on June 5th, Playmobil presents Wiltopia, the first sustainable product range. The new theme provides the answer to the question of how children can be taught about animals, nature and the environment as well as the importance of sustainability. Without dry facts, and with a huge amount of fun!

 

Amazon to pull Kindle e-readers and bookstore from China. Poor sales may be to blame, not censorship. Chinese readers are about to lose some choice in e-books. Reuters reports Amazon is pulling Kindle products from China over the course of the next two years. The company will stop offering Kindle e-readers to local retailers as of today, and plans to shutter its digital bookstore in the country on June 30th, 2023.

Apple is moving some iPad production out of China for the first time amid ongoing disruption caused by lockdowns in cities such as Shanghai, Nikkei Asia reported. BYD, a Chinese manufacturer and major supplier of iPads, will soon start producing a small number of the tablets in Vietnam, according to the report. The iPad would be the second major Apple product series to be manufactured in Vietnam after AirPods Pro 2.

 

Xbox Celebrates Pride Month With New Controller Design And Donations To Charity. Starting on June 9, the faceplate design you see above will be available in the Xbox Design Lab as a customization option through the end of the month. Inspired by Pride, the faceplate incorporates 34 flags representing different LGBTQIA+ groups. Xbox has put together a site highlighting each flag on the controller

 

The LEGO Group announced the launch of its “A-Z of Awesome,” an ongoing campaign that uses LEGO builds to celebrate inclusivity and embrace self-expression in the LGBTQIA+ community. In “A-Z of Awesome,” each letter of the alphabet will be designed in LEGO bricks by a member of the LGTBQIA+ community, including LEGO fans, members of the community, and LEGO employees. 

 

Disney Doubles Down On Younglings In Star Wars Preschool Toon. Lucasfilm's first full-length animated Star Wars series for preschoolers, Young Jedi Adventures will bow on Disney+ and Disney Junior in spring 2023. The House of Mouse has greenlit Young Jedi Adventures, a new original animated Star Wars series from Lucasfilm slated for a spring 2023 release on Disney+ and Disney Junior.

 

Spin Master is expanding on representation and inclusion in its products. The global children’s entertainment company teamed up with the Toronto-based 6ix Academy, an inner-city business and arts program dedicated to social justice pursuits, for an all-new fashion illustration set.

The Truly You! Character Creator set is inspired by fashion design plates and allows kids to mix characters with a variety of outfits.

Representing the largest single investment in the 87-year history of Schleich GmbH, the brand relaunch will roll out from July 2022 via an extensive international brand campaign. Schleich’s new campaign assets ask kids imagine new storytelling possibilities. Schleich GmbH has announced its intention to redefine its purpose and brand story with the implementation of a new global brand strategy which...

 

BABY born unveils brand-new Storybook doll line. Leading doll brand BABY born is introducing a magical new brand to the UK market this spring: BABY born Storybook. This new range sees six fairy dolls welcome children aged 3-plus into the enchanting Storybook world, combining doll play with storytelling and imagination. 

 

The Crayola brand, which is synonymous with color, creativity and self expression around the world, is continuing to drive International growth across new and existing categories in EMEA through a new representation partnership with WildBrain CPLG.  The brand’s successful global partnerships with the likes of Vans and Fat Face; have driven significant interest from IP owners and brands who see exciting...

 

Following a monthlong fan vote, Hasbro announced that the Thimble token will return in the next generation of the Monopoly game later this year after receiving the most votes during the Monopoly Throwback Token Vote campaign. The “sewing companion” will take the place of the T-Rex token, after the ferocious dinosaur couldn’t fight off the fans – receiving the most votes to leave the game. 

Vivid Goliath appoints Havas Entertainment as media partner.  Havas Media Group entertainment agency will plan and buy media with a digitally-led approach across TV, video-on-demand, digital, and social channels. “We have all seen how the media landscape has evolved, diversified and fragmented and we believe Havas is well placed to help manage our campaigns with its creative and digital capabilities as well...

 

IMC Toys is entering the fashion doll market with the launch of BFF by Cry Babies: a ‘grown-up’ version of the company’s popular, best-selling Cry Babies nurturing doll range.  Making its on-shelf debut from July, the range will offer consumers and retailers a natural transition and extended brand journey. Supporting the company’s long-term strategy to grow and develop its Cry Babies ‘ages and stages’ approach...

 

To celebrate the first birthday of LEGO MYTHICA: World of Mythical Creatures at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, an exclusive new LEGO MYTHICA playset (40556) has launched, giving families and fans the chance to build their favourite mythical theme park attraction in their own home. LEGO MYTHICA is a world that exists in a parallel universe where LEGO creations come to life.

***The above posted after May 27th***

 

Battat Breaks Out Of The Toy Box. With 18 original brands to play with, Battat co-owner Joe Battat says he and his team surveyed the fast-changing toy landscape and realized they were sitting on a goldmine of established properties and brand storytelling just waiting to be expanded. “Five years ago, we didn’t even have social media; it had always just been about the toys,” he recalls.

 

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 BarbieMasters of the Universe, and Mattel Games

Sambro Europe is proudly celebrating more than a decade in the European toy market, having gone from strength to strength since the launch of its new Amsterdam hub.  The toy company first opened its European operations in 2011, to ensure it had a frictionless hub across the region. Since then, it has experienced outstanding growth – increasing its turnover by 73% in 2021 to €43.7m.

 

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.

Games Workshop unleashes new 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Kill Team'. Games Workshop unleashed Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team Moroch, a new skirmish boxed set, which is headed to preorder at the end of May 2022. This boxed set focuses on another area in the Nachmund Gauntlet, Moroch. It is a frontier world that is sieged by Chaos forces who are trying to claim the only safe passage through the Great Rift.

Czech Games Edition unveils 'Starship Captains'. Czech Games Edition unveiled Starship Captains, a new space exploration board game, for release in Q4 2022. Starship Captains is a Euro-style action selection game with engine building mechanics. In this game, players take command of a starship to explore a galaxy full of dangerous pirates and interplanetary missions. 

 

Money Heroes extends partnership with Orchard Toys for Ed and Bunny Go Shopping game. Following the successful initiative of Ed and Bunny Go Shopping, Money Heroes is extending its partnership with leading educational games manufacturer Orchard Toys. The two brands have committed to producing an additional run of the game that helps teach children to learn about money.

 

Exiled vampires attempt to build a new kingdom in 'Blood Orders'. Trick or Treat Studios will release Blood Orders, a new vampire board game, into retail in 2022. In this game, players assume the roles of exiled vampires who are trying to build an underground kingdom in a new city. To accomplish this task, they will need to use their vampire cards to send agents to visit locations in disguise to gain resources...

Mine unstable worlds with 'Stress Botics'. Stressed-out robots compete for resources on an unstable world in the heavy-weight Euro-style boardgame Stress Botics, releasing in the U.S. in the fourth quarter from Barcelona-based publisher 2 Tomatoes Games. In Stress Botics, players control “Beta Bots” sent by the Cubebotics CORP to retrieve resources from a distant planet, then deliver them...

 

Ron Burgundy heads to retail with 'Anchorman: The Game - Improper Teleprompter'. Barry & Jason's Games and Entertainment will release Anchorman: The Game - Improper Teleprompter, a new party game, into retail in July 2022. Ron Burgundy can read about anything off a teleprompter with a straight face, and this game puts players up to that challenge. 

 

With the overwhelming support of the Neopets Community, JumpStart, the parent company of Neopets, is proud to announce a grand donation of over $100,000 USD, which will be distributed evenly to four non-profit organizations: World Wildlife Fund (WWF), The Trevor Project, Project HOPE and Eden Reforestation Project. These Donations were made possible by the outpouring of support from Neopets fans...

For the month of April, Waboba allocated $5 from all Blue and Yellow Moon Ball purchases on its website, as well as Amazon, with all such proceeds devoted to supporting the World Central Kitchen, providing nourishing meals for people who had to flee Ukraine.  Given the best-selling popularity of Moon Mall (over 10 million sold worldwide), this effort has been a great success. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Sat Cat Studios delays Replaced to support staff affected by Ukraine invasion. Belarusian developer Sad Cat Studios has delayed its sci-fi action platformer Replaced due to the ongoing war in the Ukraine. Belarus shares a border with Ukraine, which is currently being invaded by Russia with support from Belarusian officials such as president Alexander Lukashenko.

Female avatar sexually assaulted in Meta VR platform, campaigners say. Campaigners say the avatar of a 21-year-old researcher was sexually assaulted in Meta's virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds. Corporate accountability group SumOfUs, for whom the researcher works, says it shows Meta needs better plans to mitigate harms in the metaverse. Meta's annual shareholder meeting takes place on Wednesday. 

 

The Gollum video game launches in September. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be available on September 1st, my precious. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, the upcoming video game starring Gollum that was first revealed in 2019, will finally be released on September 1st, developer Daedalic Entertainment announced Tuesday. The game will be available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X / S, with a...

 

Netflix’s Exploding Kittens mobile game launches at the end of May. Netflix’s Exploding Kittens — The Game, a new mobile title based on the popular card game, will be available for free for Netflix subscribers on May 31st, the company announced Tuesday. The new game will be a different version than the one that’s already available on the App Store and Google Play, and at launch, it will have two exclusive cards.

 

TikTok reportedly plans a ‘major push’ into gaming and games livestreamers could play with viewers. TikTok is testing games for the app in Vietnam ahead of a “major push” into the space. A company representative confirmed tests of HTML5 mini-games, saying, “We’re always looking at ways to enrich our platform and regularly test new features and integrations that bring value to our community.” 

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Hightlighted Press Releases

 

Press Release: Set out to conquer international markets at the Spielwarenmesse. By tradition, the international toy industry comes together at the start of the year for the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg. After a two-year break imposed by the pandemic, the world’s leading toy fair will be opening its doors again at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre from 1 to 5 February 2023. 

 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Fed-up Toy Company Responds to Knock-offs.  Having founded Viahart, a manufacturer of educational toys, in 2010, Molson Hart learned his products were being illegally produced and sold by others. He realized the problem, intellectual property theft, extended far beyond Viahart. And that prompted the launch of his second company. He told me, “I founded Edison Litigation Financing in 2017 with my brother, a computer science guy. Our company finds businesses experiencing intellectual theft. There are a lot of crooks knocking off products.”

Experts anticipate summer 2022 to be the busiest travel season in recent memory, with people eager to make plans unencumbered by pandemic restrictions. According to Travel + Leisure, travel will likely generate almost $2 trillion of the U.S. economy in 2022.  Counterfeiting criminals know what’s on your packing list, and they’re churning out substandard - even dangerous - dupes of the hottest items. Already, enforcement officials are warning consumers against: Fake toys - like sand shovels and buckets - that hide undisclosed choking hazards and heavy metals that can make kids sick 

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

Licensing Expo 2022, organized in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, drew thousands of attendees from the world’s most reputable retailers and licensees, with the number of retailers in attendance rising 42% from the 2019 event, marking record growth for Licensing Expo.  Notable attending companies include Target, Hot Topic, Walmart, Fanatics, Five Below, Zulily, ...

 

 

Licensing International has announced new board members - nine executives—Casey Collins, Hasbro; Michael Connolly, Retail Monster; Javier Garza, Warner Bros. Discovery; Alexandra Heyd, BurdaVerlag Germany; Tanya Isler, Netflix; Stuart Pollock, Segal Licensing; Marc Schneider, Beanstalk; Kalle Törmä, Flowhaven; and Angell Xi, Jingtian & Gongcheng—were elected by the Licensing International membership to serve...

 

The live finale of the License This! competition took place at Licensing Expo, and two winners were named. Catoms: Atoms with Attitude from designer Kieche Meleson O’Connell was named the winner of the Character & Animation category. O’Connell reimagined the periodic table with cats, each featuring different coat patterns, powers, and personalities.

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...

 

Talkin’ Toys: Toy Fair reimagined. The Toy Book catches up with Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association, to discuss Toy Fair becoming a fall event in New York, shifting toy industry timelines, and a new Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards schedule. Toy Book: What key information did you learn from exhibitor, retailer, and attendee focus groups as part of research for...

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...

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

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

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) 

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Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Community spirit…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Moose Toys appoints David Norman to spearhead global games

  3. Barbie joins Rubies’ licensed costume portfolio

  4. Moonbug names Just Play as master toy licensee for raft of hit properties

  5. ToyZone, a specialised 360º toy agency with design superpowers

  6. New licensees join Hey Duggee licensing programme

  7. 75 years of Subbuteo campaign kicks off

  8. Bandai to launch first toy range for pre-school series Milo

  9. Moonbug welcomes Helen Genia

  10. Toys R Us to launch Geoffrey’s World Tour

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US)

WizKids Unveils 'Dungeons & Dragons: Vecna Premium Statue'
Funds Urge Compromise in Hasbro Boardroom Battle
Cuddle Up to Huggable 'Dungeons & Dragons: 16-inch Tiamat Plush'
Arcane Tinmen Offers 'Dragon Shield' RPG Supplies
The X-Men Face 'Marvel Champions'

Beadle & Grimm's Teases New 'Magic: The Gathering' Collaboration
Rolling for Initiative -- Starter Decks, Tarot Decks and Other New Releases
Games Workshop Unleashes New 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Kill Team'
CATAN Studio and Asmodee Unveils New 'CATAN - 3D Expansions: Seafarers + Cities & Knights'
Ares Games Teases 'War of the Ring: The Card Game'

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

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Tokaido Duo Announced, Spiel des Jahres Nominees
A new two-player version of Tokaido is set for release later this year, the 2022 Spiel des Jahres nominees have been announced, and Catan: Dawn of Humankind is available for pre-order.

 

Video of the Week 

16-Year-Old Inventor Makes Toys Out of Garbage

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

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

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