the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is Nov 27- Dec 4, 2020. Click Here for Last Week
Articles posted daily with 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...
As we hit the slippery slope toward the holidays, we as the world's largest contingent of toymakers can see all around us that the culmination of our work is central to family, is meaningful to friends, and is vital to society as a whole. Our roles and contributions make a difference. I'm proud and humbled to be a part of the People of Play!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!
tBR Company of the Week - Shari Spiro of AdMagic - Cards Popsicle Humanity - Making Crazy Stunts Happen
One of the most challenging of the many Cards Against Humanity promotional ideas I ever said “no problem” to was the ice pop card pack which was named Cards Popsicle Humanity and debuted at Pax Prime in September of 2015. It consisted of a giant popsicle which held a 10 pack of special cards against humanity cards. When the guys first approached me with the idea I am mediately said “no problem” as I always did. Little did I realize that no die in the world existed big enough to hold 10 playing cards inside of a foil pack. When I finally found a company that agreed to run the job for me I had no idea how many things could go wrong.
First, It took a full 8 months of planning and involved taking a card pack, making sure the wrapper was food safe and freeze resistant and then finding a way to insert it into the center of a frozen popsicle. I tested this first with foil packs I had sent over from one of my plants in China and I tested them by leaving them in my kitchen freezer for about three weeks. I removed the cards - they were cold but there was very little condensation. I determined that it could work with a foil pack. Read More...
tBR Person of the Week - Marjorie Spilanik on Little Rebels, Iconic Women and More
I started in the toy industry around 7 years ago. I love toys and still play with them (I’m 38 years old BTW). Around 7 years ago, my daughter came to me with a drawing and asked me to turn into something real. That’s when I entered the industry. I transformed her drawing into a plush toy that looked just like her drawing. My background is on PR & Communications so this started as a way to encourage my daughter to believe in herself and believe that she could do anything she wanted, but before I knew it, the picture I posted on Facebook went viral and I realized that more parents wanted the same for their kids. That’s how I started Tedybujo and entered the industry. The reason why I am still in the industry is because I truly believe that toys have an outstanding power to teach and inspire kids.
My focus now is 100% on Little Rebels. We started as a plush line doll inspired by iconic historical women and added an app later on that interacts with the dolls to teach about the stories of these women. Today, we are working on a board game and a memory card one. We are also looking to land new licenses deals with new women so we can expand our line and keep sharing their stories. Read More...
Financial & Legal News . . .
Party City advances strategy to create North America’s leading party platform. Party City agreed to sell part of its international operations (“Amscan International”) to Endless LLP, a U.K. based private equity investor (“Endless”), for a total transaction value of approximately US$59 million, including US$45 million of cash proceeds and approximately US$14 million of excess cash and other adjustments to be returned to...
Sony to purchase anime entertainment powerhouse Crunchyroll from WarnerMedia for $1.175bn. Sony Pictures Entertainment has reached an agreement with AT&T to purchase its Crunchyroll anime business – a direct-to-consumer service within the WarnerMedia segment – for a proposed $1.175bn. Under the deal, Crunchyroll anime will fall under Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc and Sony Music Entertainment Inc’s Funimation Global Group, a giant on the anime scene.
UK first non-lockdown shopping weekend in December dwarfs Black Friday. The weekend of 5th and 6th December saw consumers hit the shops in their droves. The first weekend in December, which was also the first weekend since Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted in England, has become the biggest shopping event of 2020, eclipsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Australia's Victorian government invests $25m in screen industries. Australia's Victorian government is to invest AU$33.8 million ($25 million) in the screen industries, including games. The aim is to support more projects to be made in Victoria, with more than half of the fund to be allocated this financial year, boosting employment after the COVID-19 crisis.
Global ecommerce transactions jump in November due to earlier start of holiday shopping season. New benchmark data from ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time digital payment software and solutions, revealed a 21 percent increase in eCommerce transactions globally in November 2020 compared to November 2019.
72% of all 2020 mobile revenue generated by games at $81bn. In its latest report, looking back at the mobile market for 2020, the analytics company highlighted that for every dollar spent on iOS and Google Play, $0.71 were for games this year. Gross consumer spend reached $112 billion on mobile in 2020, $81 billion of which came from games.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group in ‘potential rescue talks’ with Debenhams. Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is in talks over a ‘potential rescue transaction’ for the British department store Debenhams. The brand fell into administration last week, putting some 12,000 jobs at risk. Frasers has said that it was ‘in negotiations with the administrators of Debenhams’ UK business’ on a possible deal, but it has...
Activision lawsuit accuses Netflix of poaching CFO. Activision has filed a lawsuit against Netflix, accusing the streaming giant of poaching CFO Spencer Neumann. Neumann was hired by Netflix within days of a messy departure from Activision.
Walmart laying off more than 1,200 workers even as digital shopping booms. Walmart is reportedly laying off an additional 1,200 workers as part of a reorganization that encompasses the big consumer shift to online shopping. In July, Walmart cut its workforce by laying off hundreds in its logistics, real estate and retail location-planning divisions.
China budget store king takes on Toys ‘R’ Us with new chain. Miniso Group Holding Ltd., the newly New York-listed Chinese budget retailer, is making its first foray into the $86 billion global toy market as it tries to take on heavyweights like Toys “R” Us Inc. on its home turf and beyond.
UK Toy sales rocket by 58 per cent on eBay this Black Friday as marketplace cites ‘unprecedented shift to online’. The online marketplace, eBay UK saw toy sales rocket by 58 per cent over this year’s Black Friday period, compared to the same time last year, as housebound shoppers fueled what the platform has cited as ‘an unprecedented shift to online,’ due to the government restrictions throughout...
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
Exclusive: NPD details the UK's toy market's overall performance in 2020 . . . Doll sector trends ‘will play key roles in 2021 and beyond,’ says Zapf Creation UK . . . There and back again: The hobbyist market returns as ‘model making sees massive resurgence’ . . . Toy Association CEO Steve Pasierb talks US market, trends and 2021 . . . Early Christmas shopping sees November toy sales rise in latest NPD report
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
Spin Master - A pandemic toy story: Chess sets, Paw Patrol and parents who can't stop spending . . . Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) Lands New Buy Recommendation, Run With It . . . Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner on the company's holiday sales
Financial Reporting . . .
GameStop has closed 462 stores so far this year, 783 in last two years. For Q3 ending October 31, GameStop posted net sales of $1 billion, down 30% year-over-year, and a net loss of $19 million compared to a net loss of $83 million for the same quarter last year. CEO George Sherman says he anticipates fiscal Q4 to see positive year-on-year sales growth due to next-gen launch
Character's year end results reveal £5m profit and positive outlook for coming year The group reports a £5m profit despite pandemic challenges and anticipates growth in the coming year. On the topic of Brexit, the group’s 2018 acquisition of Proxy ensured the uninterrupted continuity of the group’s UK operations and its cross-border business with the EU. The mainland UK business will be unaffected...
Hasbro announces quarterly cash dividend on common shares. Hasbro, Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.68 per common share. The dividend will be payable on February 16, 2021 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 2, 2021.
Australia: Funtastic sees fruits of Toys ‘R’ Us acquisition in November. Funtastic has seen short-term revenue and profit grow in November, due to its acquisition of Toys ‘R’ Us. The additional revenue streams afforded by Hobby Warehouse, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us boosted Funtastic’s revenue by 60 per cent to $7.1 million for the first month the business’ traded together, while profit grew 78 per cent to $2 million.
Call of Duty made $3 billion for Activision in 12 months. Activision has made over $3 billion in net bookings from the Call of Duty franchise alone over the past 12 months. The company said the action series had set new records after shifting to a shared ecosystem business model, resulting in net bookings rising by 80 percent year-on-year and unit sales increasing by 40 percent.
Exploding Kittens and Pandemic among Black Friday board games sales surge at OnBuy. Sales of the popular Elan Lee board game, Exploding Kittens, surged by an impressive 511 per cent on the UK marketplace, OnBuy, who has since reported a record-breaking Black Friday that saw sales across the board total nearly £2.5 million in one day alone.
Future Financial Reporting . . .
Equities analysts predict that Mattel will announce earnings of $0.22 per share for current quarter, 5 analysts have issued estimates for Mattel's earnings. The highest EPS estimate is $0.30 and the lowest is $0.18. Mattel posted earnings of $0.11 per share in the same quarter last yr, which would indicate a positive year-over-year growth rate of 100%. The firm is expected to report its next quarterly earnings results Feb. 11.
Amazon and Apple eye historic $100 billion in holiday quarter. The holiday season could be historic for two of the stock market’s biggest names, with sales that are expected to surpass a milestone that has rarely been reached in Wall Street history. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. are each expected to report revenue above $100 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 …
Stories & Comments . . .
A special interview with Santa on toys and more. 2020 has been a tough year for many people all over the world. How are you preparing for Christmas in these unprecedented times? “To be honest, I really thought Christmas 2020 would be called off and I would get to spend it with Mrs Claus and the reindeers sun baking in the Caribbean.”
Amazon sellers worry they can’t meet holiday demand as company limits warehouse space. Amazon in August instituted limits on product shipments from third-party sellers who use its U.S. warehouses in an effort to make sure it had enough space to store all their goods for the holidays. But third-party sellers say they can’t restock products quickly enough, causing them to run out of inventory and lose out on some...
UK: Out of the frying pan – Are we oven-ready or heading for the fire? Covid-19 vaccines are beginning to be rolled-out, shops have re-opened, and Christmas shoppers continue to spend their money on toys. It really does look like there’s a light at the end of this long, winding tunnel. But, asks Kids Brand Insight’s Steve Reece, with chaos at the ports and Brexit not quite as oven-ready as we were told, what will we...
Inside the Industry: “It’s now critical to equip kids to be the change-makers of tomorrow”. The obligatory references to the film Big, made by almost everyone outside of the industry who asks what it is we all do, aside, a career in toys is often a fascinating and fulfilling one. It’s peculiar then that it is also a career, that, for many of us, we have by one route or another, fallen into.
Toy World features on Toys That Made Christmas Great show The two hour Toys That Made Christmas Great show was broadcast on Channel 5 on Sunday evening, highlighting some of the classic toys that have been huge Christmas hits through the years. The programme featured numerous toy trade luminaries, including MGA’s Andrew Laughton, Sarah Allen from Mattel, Bandai’s Nic Aldridge, former Toys R Us...
Pink and blue toys colour future of our children, study warns. Last year, the equality campaigning organisation the Fawcett Society set up an 18-month commission into the effects of gender stereotyping in early childhood – the first of its kind in the UK – to examine the harm it causes and explore how it interacts with race and class.
Nostalgia, boredom drive holiday toy sales It is an alchemy that is driving consumers to snap up retro-faves such as Beyblade spinning toys and Lego Super Mario Bros as toy industry analysts ..
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
Barbie Beauty Center from Mattel (1972). Released in 1972 by Mattel, the Barbie Beauty Center combined two childhood favourites: Barbie and dress-up play. Some assembly was required with this toy. The box contained Barbie’s head, a pink plastic tray, and a neck to which Barbie’s head needed to be manually affixed.
Where’s the Fun From? – Who Invented Silly Putty? In the latest installment of his YouTube series, Where’s the Fun From?, Tim Walsh tells the story of the moment when Silicone Oil and Boric Acid met in 1943, spawning a bouncing baby ball that became Silly Putty and changed the toy world forever.
Matchbox 1983… A New Beginning Catalog. In 1953, Lesney Products released a set of 1:64 scale die-cast cars that were an immediate sales success and became the company’s first 1-75 Matchbox series. Increased competition and a recession forced the company into bankruptcy in 1982, where Universal Toys purchased them.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Hasbro celebrates ‘Monopoly’s’ 85th anniversary with new merch. Hasbro has inked multiple licensing deals in honor of the game’s milestone anniversary. New consumer products are set to hit shelves and online in time for the holidays. “Monopoly” is a family-favorite game brand enjoyed by more than one billion players in 114 countries across the globe.
Rebel Girls expands with new licensing partnerships. Rebel Girls, the global entertainment brand known for its book series “Good Night Stories” and its podcast of the same name, has expanded the Rebel Girls Franchise to include content and licensed merchandise.
IMC Toys debuts Cry Babies Tutti Frutti toys, animated content. The animated content will be supported by new products for the Cry Babies Magic Tears and Cry Babies brands, including Cry Babies Magic Tears Tutti Frutti and Cry Babies Tutti Frutti in the main three hero characters, Mel, Ella, and Pia. The toys will be available in January at all major retailers.
‘Brave Bunnies’ hops into licensing. Brave Bunnies, a new animated pre-school series from Glowberry, has announced new licensing plans for the international market. Glowberry has appointed Big Picture Licensing as exclusive licensing agent for U.K. and Eire and master agent across EMEA and APAC.
The Koyo Store lands Games Workshop deal to launch Warhammer 40,000 collectables. The entertainment merchandise specialist, The Koyo Store, has secured the global rights to create a range of officially licensed Warhammer 40,000 collectables through a new partnership with Games Workshop. The range will not only be sold through Games Workshop’s own High Street stores, but also available for fans to buy direct.
Big Potato Games partners with Vocala to bring its board game titles to Alexa. The independent board games company, Big Potato Games, has partnered with the voice design studio, Vocala, to bring a selection of its popular games out of the box and into the world of voice. Under the new partnership, best-sellers like Obama Llama and Linkee have been developed as voice activated games to be played on Alexa devices.
Global Licensing Group details new dates for BLE 2021 – a hybrid of in-person and online events. Global Licensing Group, a division of Informa Markets and event organisers of Licensing Expo and Brand Licensing Europe, has detailed its 2021 and new event format, bringing with it a hybrid of in-person and virtual offerings.
Rainbow Group’s Pinocchio and Friends to debut on TV in Q4 2021. The Rainbow Group, the company behind brands like the Winx Club and 44 Cats, is set to launch a new market milestone for Carlo Collodi’s original The Adventures of Pinocchio. Characters from the original story are joined by new ones, in a setting that promises to bring fresh air to televisions around the world, and to the licensing market.
Posh Paws: “2021 is lining up to be our biggest yet” thanks to portfolio of heavyweight licenses. The plush toy specialist, Posh Paws International, is preparing for what looks to be its ‘biggest year yet,’ as it readies for 2021 with a raft of new releases and licensed launches based on some of the biggest children’s entertainment franchises of the past decade.
Animaccord taps Firefly Brand Management to rep ‘Masha And The Bear’ for U.S. licensing. Firefly Brand Management inked a new deal to represent the popular animated series as its U.S. licensing agent. Firefly seeks to expand the Masha and the Bear brand through new licensing agreements and promotional partners across a variety of categories, including electronic toys, apparel, and more.
IDW, Toho International stomp into ‘Godzilla’ deal. IDW and Toho International have announced a multi-year publishing program that will bring Godzilla and dozens of monsters from the “Godzilla” live action films to a wide selection of publications and merchandise. IDW will have worldwide distribution for Toho’s “Godzilla” comic book, graphic novel, gaming and merchandise program, with the exception of some parts of Asia.
Flash Gordon board game rocketing your way via Plastic Meatball. Plastic Meatball, experts in the retro-nostalgic merchandise space, announced today their partnership with King Features Syndicate to develop a cross-category line of products based on the 1980 cult-classic film, “Flash Gordon.” Plastic Meatball’s deal encompasses a wide swath of consumer products categories, including apparel, puzzles, and more.
Sega partners with Retail Monster in the UK for Sonic’s 30th anniversary. With the iconic Sonic the Hedgehog brand celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2021, and significant opportunities with its Retro Gaming portfolio to build on, 2021 will be a big year for Sega. Through its partnership with Retail Monster, Sega will look to drive brand collaborations and retail activations for Sonic’s Anniversary.
People . . .
Mattel Names Jonathan Anschell Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Secretary Former ViacomCBS Media Networks General Counsel brings extensive media industry and global brand expertise to Mattel. Anschell will report to Ynon Kreiz, Mattel’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He will succeed Robert Normile, who will continue in his current role through Dec. 31, 2020, and then remain with Mattel as...
ViacomCBS Networks International has appointed Raffaele Annecchino (pictured) as its new president and CEO. He succeeds David Lynn, who will step down after a short transition period. Reporting to ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish, Annecchino will oversee all ViacomCBS media networks and related businesses outside the US, with responsibility for a portfolio of pay-TV brands and networks across six continents.
Ubisoft names VP of global diversity and inclusion to improve workplace culture. Ubisoft has named Raashi Sikka as its first vice president of global diversity and inclusion. The appointment comes as the French publisher looks to reshape its workplace culture following a number of high-profile misconduct allegations across multiple studios.
Sega and Tencent veteran John Clark named Curve Digital CEO. British games publisher Curve Digital has named Tencent and Sega veteran John Clark as its CEO. The new hire follows a string of big signings for the Human: Fall Flat publisher.
Neil Druckmann is now co-president of Naughty Dog. Naughty Dog did some top-level role shuffling today at the Santa Monica-based studio. Neil Druckmann, studio vice president and creative director of The Last of Us Part II, is now co-president at the company.
ZAG is continuing to build its consumer products division with the appointment of Sarah Boyer as VP of retail for North America. Beginning in the newly created role today, Boyer will manage strategic relationships across all tiers of retail, build licensing programs and supporting licensees with product placement and promotion. She joins ZAG from MGA Entertainment, where she served as senior director of...
Companies . . .
Netflix Enters the Pre-School Toy Game What's on Netflix - To start with, Mighty Express, launched in September, comes directly from toy company Spin Master. It was created by Keith Chapman, the producer behind powerhouse franchises, Bob The Builder, and Paw Patrol. He also has creative input into Buddi, the surreal young-skewing pre-school program about anthropomorphic blobs. Gabby’s Dollhouse, an original...
The LEGO Group revealed plans to cut its absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032. This goal has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative as consistent with levels required to keep global warming to below 1.5°C. This goal applies to emissions from its own operations, which equals 10% of emissions, and then energy use for its stores, factories, offices, supply chains, and that from raw materials and...
Schleich Celebrates 85th Anniversary with Times Square Billboard. To celebrate the end of its 85th anniversary year, Schleich USA debuted a Times Square billboard featuring stories from fans around the world, including new photos from famed toy photographer Mitchel Wu.
The celebration began at Toy Fair New York, where the world’s leading manufacturer of animal figurines asked toy lovers all over the world to...
FAO Schwarz lists iconic New York City toy store on Airbnb. FAO Schwarz is also hosting Online Experiences on Airbnb so others can experience the magic of FAO Schwarz, no matter their location. This one-time, one-night stay will take place on 21st December, and is available to book for one New York City family of four from the same household starting 15th December at 5pm GMT for just $25 (plus taxes and fees).
LEGO opens its first airport LEGO Store in the US in Marshall Retail Group partnership. The LEGO Group has opened its first airport LEGO Store in the US, having partnered with The Marshall Retail Group – a WHSmith Company – to set up shop inside Salt Lake City International Airport. The all-new LEGO store allows visitors the opportunity to shop for hard-to-find products from the LEGO portfolio, as well as its top sellers.
Kellytoy unveils new Valentine’s Day Squishmallows. Kellytoy, a subsidiary of Jazwares, LLC, announced its Valentine’s Day Squishmallows squad, the perfect “chonky” and snuggly plush treat to make every Valentine feel special. The newest squad members are as memorably loveable as they are cute and the perfect gift idea for under $20.
Eaglemoss Hero Collector unveils ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ products. In the tradition of their Build The DeLorean from “Back to the Future” and Build The ECTO-1 from “Ghostbusters,” Eaglemoss Hero Collector has announced a brand new subscription program inspired by the Enterprise-D from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Maple Landmark, America's 'Local Toy Company,' rooted in family, forest Mike Rainville, founder and owner of Maple Landmark, landed his first wholesale account at age 15, when a traveling salesman noticed the wooden tic tac toe boards Mike had for sale at the Lincoln General Store. That was 1979. Today, Maple Landmark supplies wooden toys—including the tic tac toe and cribbage boards that gave Mike his start....
Hasbro, Inc., announced plans to join forces with Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley and his “Dream Machine Tour” this holiday season, bringing positive experiences to communities that have been greatly impacted by this difficult and unprecedented year. The company is contributing $450,000 to Grammy and Emmy award-winning Charlie “Rocket” Jabaley, who will use the funds to deliver acts of kindness to families across the...
Jakks Pacific tantalizes ‘Apex Legends’ players with in-game challenge to support action figure debut. Jakks Pacific is getting into the game — literally — to promote its new line of Apex Legends 6-inch scale action figures. The “Legends Challenge” is an in-game initiative that will run Dec. 5-13 inside the Apex Legends battle royale game.
Mcfarlane Toys launches Dune collectible action figures. Ahead of the highly anticipated Dune movie, expected to hit theaters and HBO Max on Oct. 1, 2021, McFarlane Toys revealed its line of collectible action figures inspired by the characters of the film. The collection includes a 7-inch Build-A-Figure assortment featuring intricate costumes and accessories as well as “ultra-articulation” for precise posing.
Get ready to sleigh with Little Tikes’ Reindeer Carriage ride-on. Just in time for the holidays, MGA Entertainment’s Little Tikes division released its newest ride-on, a Reindeer Carriage mirroring Santa’s magic sleigh. The classic Little Tikes red carriage comes fitted with a reindeer guiding the sleigh and reins for kids to hold onto.
Firestar joins Hasbro’s Marvel Legends series. Hasbro revealed the latest addition to its Marvel Legends Series: the fiery heroine Firestar. Designed for kids and collectors ages 6 and up, the Firestar figure features Angelica Jones fitted in her iconic yellow outfit and flowing red hair.
Funko releases Snapsies toy line. Funko’s brand new toy line Snapsies is available now exclusively at Target and Target.com. Designed and developed for children ages 6-11, Snapsies offer snap-and-match technology allowing kids to customize their figures to create thousands of unique combinations.
BBC Studios launches digital trading cards collection Doctor Who: Worlds Apart on blockchain. Doctor Who has completed its jump into the realm of digital trading cards with the launch of Doctor Who: Worlds Apart, a digital platform that features more than 200 trading cards for Whovians and collectors to obtain. Developed by a pairing of BBC Studios and Reality Gaming Group …
Hachette Boardgames will release three new Gigamic games into U.S. trade. Hachette Boardgames will release three new Gigamic games into U.S. Trade this December. Peek-a-Mouse, a family game; Quetzal, an excavation game; and Dinner in Paris, a restaurant management game.
Games Workshop unleashes the next 'Warhammer Underworlds' core set. Games Workshop will release Warhammer Underworlds: Direchasm, a core set for Warhammer Underworld board game, on December 12. Players can now explore a remote part of Beastgrave known as the Direchasm in Warhammer Underworlds competitive miniatures game.
The LEGO Group commits to reducing carbon emissions by 37 per cent by 2032. The LEGO Group has committed to reducing its absolute carbon emissions by 37 per cent by 2032 – a target that has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative. The goal is consistent with levels required to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees, and is recognised as the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.
Tablestar Games returns to the board game scene. TableStar Games is back in the board game business as of Q4 2020. It's been about a decade since TableStar Games took a detour into video games and exited the tabletop scene, after a couple of Wealth of Nations expansions.
TKC Sales sees Stomp Rocket awareness on the rise with TV, national media, and awards coverage. Television airtime, national media Christmas Gift Guide coverage, and a social media family influencer campaign, has helped to take the consumer awareness of TKC Sales’ multi award-winning Stomp Rocket ‘to new heights’ this season, as the firm expects to see momentum continue into spring 2021.
Kmart introduces dolls with Down syndrome. Kmart is being praised for adding dolls with Down syndrome to its diverse collection. The dolls – a boy and girl with Down syndrome facial features – will be available in New Zealand stores in time for Christmas.
Video Games, Gaming Hardware and Game Development News . . .
Minecraft tops YouTube's list of most watched games of 2020. Minecraft dominated YouTube this year, according to an end-of-year stats dump from YouTube Gaming. Videos of Microsoft's game were watched 201 billion times this year; Roblox was second with 75 billion views.
Stadia expands to 8 more European countries. Google Stadia has officially launched in eight more European countries, bringing the total number of countries where the cloud-based game streaming service is up and running to 22. Players in Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland are now able to sign up for the service.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sells 3.7m in one day. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sold more than 3.7 million copies in its first full day on sale, Blizzard announced today. That topped the company's previous day-one high, Diablo 3's 3.5 million copies sold upon release in 2012, and prompted Blizzard to label it the fastest-selling PC game of all time.
LEGO is Nintendo’s best-selling third-party video game franchise. Here’s a fun fact for you: the LEGO video game series is Nintendo’s best-selling third-party video game franchise. That’s according to Mat Piscatella, who works with market research firm the NPD Group. The industry analyst tweeted the stat to celebrate the 25th anniversary of LEGO video games.
Enrollment opens for Apple's fee-reducing Small Business Program. Developers can now enroll for the App Store Small Business Program, which will halve iOS platform fees to 15 percent from 30 percent for smaller creators. In an explainer posted on the Apple Developer website, the company said those looking to enroll must be an Account Holder in the Apple Developer Program.
Epic Games is ditching in-person Fortnite events in 2021. Epic Games won't hold in-person Fortnite tournaments in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Outlining what the competitive Fortnite scene will look like in 2021 and beyond in a recent blog post, the company said it absolutely plans to reintroduce physical events in the future.
Ryan’s World comes to Roblox. Ryan’s World is expanding into a new digital realm. The top YouTuber is planting a flag inside Roblox this weekend with the opening of Ryan’s World in Roblox. Created by Sunlight Entertainment and p.w. Games, the gaming division of pocket.watch, Ryan’s World in Roblox will officially debut at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 5.
Call of Duty has brought in $3 billion in past year. Call of Duty is enjoying a banner year, as Activision today announced that with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the franchise has now surpassed $3 billion in net bookings.
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
Cyberpunk 2077 features epileptic triggers. Game Informer warned of rapid white and red blinking lights in CD Projekt Red's RPG, representing a risk for those vulnerable to epileptic triggers.
Doctors issue Christmas toy safety warning for children over magnetic balls and ‘button’ batteries. Doctors today issued an alert about the danger to children from magnetic toys and “button” batteries in the run-up to Christmas. One London hospital has treated 33 children who have swallowed toy magnets.
Press Releases . . .
RETAILERS HAVE NEW DISTRIBUTION SOURCE FILLED WITH DAM GOOD IDEAS FROM EUROPE. American families already have a love affair with Belgium – as in the finest chocolates or waffles! Now, hard-to-come-by European toys are on their way to neighborhood shops with the arrival of Belgium-based toy distributor DAM (rhymes with mom). U.S. retailers have been impressed with their stylish catalog and sales potential since their debut at ASTRA Marketplace last year. DAM is a leading toy distributor in France, Italy, Spain and the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). The family owned company is celebrating 28 years of bringing uniquely designed toys to every age range.
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .
Kidscreen Summit Virtual unveils its agenda. More than 50 keynotes, panel discussions, research presentations, buyer Q&As and strategy interviews with some of the industry's top execs are in the lineup. The virtual event, running from February 8 to March 5, is also expanding its popular pitching and networking formats, offering more than 600 opportunities for one-on-one meetings with buyers.
Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe Shift 2021 Dates, Reveal New Format. Traditionally held in June, Licensing Expo will now take place as an in-person show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, taking place from Aug. 10-12, 2021. A new digital companion event will take place online from Aug. 24-25.
Toy Association Pushes for Action Against Counterfeits. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the online shopping trend, with the U.S. Census Bureau estimating that retail e-commerce sales grew 44.5 percent year-over-year during the second quarter of 2020. Despite lockdown restrictions in the spring, U.S. toy sales experienced double-digit monthly growth, thanks in large part to the strength of the online channel.
Obituaries - Remembering Those that have Passed . . .
(If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we can share with our industry)
Glyn Davies Toy World is sad to report that Glyn Davies passed away in Liverpool on November 20th, after catching coronavirus. Glyn had turned 70 in July. Glyn worked in the toy trade for many years as a rep and national account executive for several toy companies, including Blue Box, Rainbow, Mondo and Fisher Price. His final role of a long and distinguished toy trade career was at Bandai. Julian Boyers, former managing director at Bandai, commented: “I was deeply saddened to hear of Glyn’s death, which happened very quickly and unexpectedly.
Jimmy Hunter, the founder of Hunter Toys, passed away on November 14th, 2020. Jimmy took on the role of BTHA Chairman from 2000-2002 and was heavily involved for many years with both Toy Fair and the BTHA’s ‘Value of Play’ initiatives. He was the champion for Total Fun, the consumer event held in the early 2000s, while he was also the brainchild behind the longstanding Golden Teddy awards. His daughter Sally Hunter, who has followed in Jimmy’s footsteps by building a long and successful career the toy trade, told Toy World: “The fact that the Golden Teddy awards are still being presented so many years later gives me goosebumps.
Simon Holdsworth, Managing Director at Thos Holdsworth & Sons Ltd, passed away on November 14th, 2020. "Many of our staff have worked alongside Simon for more than 20 years. Words like mentor, great boss, good friend, awesome storyteller, gregarious, quick witted, dynamic, proud, demanding, knowledgeable and tireless are just some of their comments. He is, and always will be our champion! Our legacy for Simon is to keep the company running smoothly and exemplify the excellence that he demanded from us each and every day. There will be many memories, and no doubt a number of stories from your time spent with Simon, perhaps encouraged by his favourite tipple of a G&T or a wee glass of Grand Marnier! In the coming weeks, I hope that we get the chance to remember the good times and raise a glass in his honour." - Fleur Tisdale,
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Adventure Media & Events (US)
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1. Rolling for Initiative -- A Case for the Possible Sale of Wizards of the Coast Being on the Horizon
2. Force of Will, Inc. Announces 'The Magic Stone War - Zero'
3. WizKids Figure and Terrain Release Calendar for Q1 of 2021
4. The Big Get Bigger: PRH Acquires S&S
5. GAMA Makes More Changes to the Origins Awards for the 2020/2021 Cycle
6. WizKids Figure and Terrain Release Calendar for Q2 of 2021
7. Twogether Studios Keeps 'The Adventure Zone: Bureau of Balance' Off Amazon for the Holidays
8. ABA Requests a DOJ Challenge to Penguin Random House's Purchase of Simon & Schuster
9. Funko Unveils Build-Your-Own 'Pop! People'
10. Buffalo Games Doubles Down on Puzzles
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It’s the most fun you can have with 54 blocks of wood!
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Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom
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Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson
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