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October 7 - 14, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

Michael Kohner nailed it! Are you from a company looking for innovative toy and game ideas? Do you have a product idea you'd like to license? We've got the event for you! POP makes it easy peasy for you to find the opportunities and build the networks you need to build your business. Join us in November!  Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference

And... here is a link to more upcoming events!

 

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! You can also comment on the posts in the News Feed! 

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 & Founder, Little Kids Inc. 

"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

"The content is always timely, informative, and digestible." -James Howard, 

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RIP - Rest in Play: David Yeh

Visionary Business Man and Relentless Dreamer

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David Yeh

Setember 3, 1929 - September 22, 2022

David Yeh was born in Shanghai in 1929 and moved to Hong Kong when he was only 18 years old. His first jobs were as a bank teller and then head of the plastics department for a Dutch manufacturing company. In the mid-1950’s, David was introduced to Louis Marx, the US toy king, who hired him as the first manager of Louis Marx (HK) Ltd.  Thus began David’s lifelong love of the toy business and his exceptional journey of success.

 

In 1964, he left Louis Marx and founded Universal International Group and under his leadership it became one of the largest toy makers in Asia by the end of the decade.  David was a pioneer of toy manufacturing in Hong Kong, China, Macau and Taiwan. 

 

In 1977, David made the visionary decision to move beyond solely the manufacturing of toys when he formed Kidco Toys to market his Universal products directly to retailers in the US.  A year later he expanded his US operations with the purchase of 80% of LJNToys.

 

David’s ambitions for growth were further fueled with Universal ‘s bold acquisition of Matchbox Toys in 1982, which, at the time, was the largest toy company listed in UK and had business units across Europe, Oceana and Asia.  Four years later, Universal Matchbox became the first ever Hong Kong company to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

David led the Universal Matchbox Group until its sale to Tyco in 1992.  

In 1996, David was recognized with the “Hong Kong Toy Industry Outstanding Achievement Award” for his contributions to the Hong Kong toy industry.

 

For over 40 years, David had a profound impact on the global toy industry. He was a visionary businessman, a relentless dreamer, generous philanthropist and a mentor to many.  READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - Armando Carreteros

Editor of Nación Juguetes, founded the first journalistic medium for the toy industry in Latin America

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Hola Armando! Please share with our readers what your roles and responsibilities are in our global industry?

As the editor of Nación Juguetes, I like to think that I help consumers to be informed and to establish direct contact with the toy industry. I believe that this link of communication is vital for the development of a vigorous market.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Maintain a journalistic medium specialized in the toy industry in Latin America despite all the difficulties.

 

What was your biggest failure?

Too many to count.

 

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

I have always been fascinated by toys, their manufacturing process, their history and their important role in the society and economy of a country. The information about the toy industry on this side of the world, rather than being scarce, is rather dispersed. I think it was time for us to have a medium that allows us to centralize quality information about it and that is in our language.   READ MORE...

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Industry Commentary - Arch Anderson

D&D x Yahtzee: An Unexpectedly Thoughtful Tie-In

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WotC owner Hasbro has been trying to leverage the sustained modern success of Dungeons & Dragons for several years now. A special edition Yahtzee game is an unexpected indication that they are beginning to understand where the game’s charm comes from. 

 

Here’s something that my Facebook ads have really wanted me to know about: Game publisher The Op / USAOpoly have released a special edition of the classic game Yahtzee in Dungeons & Dragons flavor.

 

I promise it’s more fun than it seems! What could have been a simple uninspired case of “let’s throw an owlbear decal on the dice cup and call it good” has actually ended up being a very clever product. The Hasbro subsidiary has recognized the key thing that the two games have in common: Dice. More specifically: Novel ways of rolling them.

 

The third-party Dungeons & Dragons accessory industry has really come into its own over the past decade-or-so. It’s easy to engage with D&D and its players in a money-earning capacity without getting into copyright trouble, and that’s brought some unique products to the show floors of conventions worldwide. Players are invited to indulge in everything from custom gemstone dice to handcrafted wooden tables that cost more than a new car.

 

Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro have been helping themselves to small slices of that market here and there with a small handful of self-published tools and accessories and by licensing the D&D IP out to companies like Gale Force Nine and Ultra Pro.         READ MORE...

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Financial and Legal

 

European production and distribution giant Fremantle is looking to expand into Latin America and India, with “organic growth” and acquisitions on the cards. Fremantle CEO Jennifer Mullin, talking on a MIPCOM keynote, said the company was on track to hit the €3bn annual revenue target by 2025, which was set by parent RTL Group last year, but added that further deals were being explored.

 

In a private transaction, Genius Brands International, a global kids’ media company, has repurchased 419,336 shares of common stock from an entity owned by Harold and Jennifer Chizick, former executives of the company. The share repurchase was made as part of comprehensive settlement agreement resolving certain employment-related claims made by the Chizicks against Genius Brands, as well as...

 

***The above posted after October 14th***

 

Playstudios Inc., a maker of free-to-play casino-oriented video games, acquired Brainium, a studio known for titles such as Spider Solitaire and Mahjong. The price is $70 million in cash and an additional sum based on Brainium’s performance through the end of the year, according to a statement from Las Vegas-based Playstudios. The acquired company will keep its name and leadership team.

Swiss tech company Talenthouse has completed its acquisition of British prodco Coolabi Group. Talenthouse operates a platform for professional creatives to showcase their work and collaborate with brands and agencies. According to a release, it has 18 million users. Coolabi CEO Jeremy Banks and COO Tim Ricketts and Working Partners MD Chris Snowdon join the Talenthouse leadership team, which already includes...

 

Pittsburgh-based language learning app Duolingo has completed its first acquisition, buying Detroit-based animation studio Gunner, which has been handling animation on Duolingo’s app for the past two years. Gunner will continue to produce art and animation for Duolingo’s flagship all-ages language app, and its Duolingo ABC app, which teaches literacy to kids three- to six-years-old. 

 

Microsoft takes the gloves off as it battles Sony for its Activision acquisition. Microsoft isn’t happy with Sony and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. The UK regulator signaled an in-depth review of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard last month, and the CMA has now published its full 76-page report (PDF) on its findings. 

EU regulators ask developers to weigh in on Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal. EU antitrust regulators have been quizzing game developers about the potential pitfalls of Microsoft's proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. As reported by Reuters, those involved in reviewing the deal want to know whether developers feel Microsoft will be incentivised to make some of Activision Blizzard's largest franchises platform exclusive...

 

New Activision lawsuit makes revenge porn, sexual harassment allegations. Over a year after the first reports and government investigations into the company began, publisher Activision Blizzard is facing fresh lawsuits over what is described in this latest case as a, “pervasive ‘frat-boy’ workplace culture that is a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” The latest suit, filed in Los Angeles...

 

State of Survival creators sued for alleged misleading in-game prices. Mobile game publisher FunPlus and its subsidiary KingsGroup were hit with a class action lawsuit last month for false advertising. First spotted by Top Class Actions, the lawsuit was filed in a California federal court, and alleges that FunPlus' mobile game State of Survival has misled its consumers for years about in-app purchases being available...

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Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

Remote work likely contributed to a mini-baby boom in 2021 among women in the U.S. — a reversal of a years-long decline in the birth rate, according to a working paper published by three economists this week. Why it matters: It's surprising. Economists predicted a crash in birth rates at the outset of the pandemic. The quick economic recovery and the rise of remote work may have changed the trajectory, the authors say.

 

How to Keep Your Jenga Tower From Toppling. Tl;dr: It helps to understand the basic physics of the game. Fun fact: Jenga, the popular block-balancing game, got its name from the Swahili word kujenga, which means “to build.” Swahili is one of the languages that Leslie Scott, the game’s creator, grew up speaking during her childhood in Africa. Jenga is an appropriate name, considering that even as blocks are carefully...

Why YouTube went on an egg-venture with Goldieblox. The platform’s global head of kids and family, Craig Hunter, tells us why its latest original checks all the boxes for "view and do" content. During the pandemic, instructional YouTube videos were gold for many families, providing both entertainment in the moment and something to do afterward. At YouTube, there’s a more official term for it, and that’s “view and do.” 

 

ATSUKO OKATSUKA TALKS HBO COMEDY SPECIAL, HER GRANDMOTHER AND HER LOVE FOR KEWPIE. Atsuko Okatsuka, one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch for 2022,” graces the latest cover of Contrast Magazine, wearing the first inclusive jewelry collection by Kewpie® x ONCH. Airing this December, fans will be able to watch Atsuko’s standup comedy special on HBO Max.

 

***The above posted after October 14th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - Hope might be a strategy after all…it’s the Friday Blog!  I attended a fascinating NPD presentation in London earlier this week. Like all attendees, I am bound by confidentiality not to reveal the key stats that were quoted, and I want to be invited back to future events, so I have to be careful what I share. Nevertheless, I felt it would be good to reflect on some of the general observations that were...

 

From Hot Wheels to handling content: How brands are using Microsoft AI to be more productive and imaginative.  When designers at the toy company Mattel were asked recently to come up with a new Hot Wheels model car, they sought inspiration from DALL∙E 2, an AI system developed by OpenAI that creates custom images and art based on what people describe in plainspoken language.

A woman who describes herself as a "big kid" has her dream job - making artwork out of old toys which sell for up to £1,500 a pop. Zoe Pocock, 48, has "unleashed her inner child" and get to play with discarded and recycled toys - whilst positioning them in frames to create quirky pieces. After being made redundant from her job as a manicurist in March 2014, she decided to lean on her creative side and make wall...

 

Forget Madden. The Hottest Game in the N.F.L. Is Chess. Athletes, known for being gamers, often find ways to compete during their downtime. Football players who tackle chess are drawn to the mental challenge that runs against stereotypes in their sport. Amari Cooper, the Cleveland Browns wide receiver and a four-time Pro-Bowler, had Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie on his heels. 

Nintendo switch price cheaters accidentally rocketed a game to mass audiences. Price tourism, the scummy practice where people spoof their location so as to take advantage of emerging economies in the poorest parts of the world, isn’t exactly looked fondly upon by the games industry. Picking up a full-price game for a buck-fifty by pretending you’re in Brazil both rips off the developers and damages the economies of the country being e-invaded. But in a weird twist, publisher Mike Rose has just revealed how it helped boost his latest game …

 

Science has wrought a lab-grown gamer brain that plays Pong. An Australian scientist hopes gamer brain will help further research in treating Alzheimer's. A scientist grew a brain in a lab and, unfortunately, it’s a gamer. According to the BBC, Dr. Brett Kagan, the chief scientific officer at Australian research company Cortical Labs, assembled a small brain using stem cells from both human and embryonic mice. The company’s research paper claims the resulting neural network “learned” how to play a simulation of Atari’s 1972 tennis game, Pong.

 

How G.I. Joe jump-started the action figure craze. Action figures were originally toys that were ready for “action,” because they were more flexible than similar-sized dolls. Designed with multiple joints, G.I. Joe could wage war, Jane and Johnny West could ride their horses and Evel Knievel and Derry Daring could perform motorcycle stunts. With the introduction of Star Wars action figures in 1978, these toys became smaller and less flexible. oday, action figures are still meant for action-oriented play, but they’re also something many people collect and display …

 

The business of selling toys to your inner child. Mattel Inc.’s American Girl now has new adult cocktails at its in-store cafes and grown-up dresses that mimic outfits worn by its dolls. Lego A/S has more than 100 sets designed specifically for adults. Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc., which lets kids design their own teddy bears, has a line of racy stuffed animals only for customers 18 and over.

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History and Nostalgia

 

Revisiting the Playground.  We might think that the playground is the natural place for children to play: swings, slides and roundabouts are widely seen as the essential features of a public play space for children. Nonetheless, the present-day playground is the culmination of over 150 years of debate about where and how children and young people should spend their time when not at school or work. 

 

History of Board Games: Why Is Losing Fun?  Who really is responsible for Monopoly? What's happening in our brains while we play board games? Why are cooperative games like Pandemic, Gloomhaven, Arkham Horror, and Hanabi so popular? Is it fun for everyone to lose? Welcome to the History of Fun, a new series about the history and science of humans' favorite ways to have a good time. 

 

***The above was posted after the Bloom Report was sent out October 14th***

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of The Rocking Horse? Since horses were first domesticated approximately 4,000 years ago, their likenesses have been used for toys. So it’s no surprise that when wealthy Europeans began using horses for leisure activities in the 16th century, they had wooden rocking horses made for their children’s nurseries. The earliest examples utilized a cradle-like form and were often made...

 

The story of Uno. Uno was created by the Robbins family of Reading, Ohio, who loved to play cards. They particularly enjoyed Crazy Eights but found that the game’s tricky rule variations often led to family arguments. In response, Merle Robbins began to market a deck with custom instructions in the hopes of avoiding arguments. Different cards meant different things: for example, playing a king reversed the...

 

Who first thought of Magic 8 Balls? The Magic 8 Ball was introduced by Abe Bookman of the Alabe Crafts Company of Cincinnati in 1946. It featured a flat spot that allowed it to stand on a desktop and contained a 20-sided plastic polyhedron floating in a diluted liquid. Each of the facets was inscribed with a different answer to a yes-or-no question. While Bookman originally marketed the item as a paperweight...

Skyro from Amsco (1975). Amidst the rising popularity of frisbee as an outdoor, family-friendly game, Amsco introduced Skyro, its own variant on the flying disc. Released in 1975, Skyro’s design took advantage of several aerodynamic principles. Shaped like a cirUnlike a frisbee, Skyro was oriented vertically in the hand, much like how one holds a water glass. 

 

Crazy Clock Game from Ideal (1964). Released in 1964 by Ideal, Crazy Clock Game took players on a Rube Goldberg-inspired journey to spring a man from the comfort of his bed. The game borrowed heavily from Mouse Trap, another game designed by Marvin Glass & Associates and published by Ideal in the 1960s. 

 

10 gadgets & toys that defined the 90s. Nostalgia grabs in the media tend to follow a progressively linear track, and, with shows like King of the Hill coming back and movies such as Hocus Pocus getting sequels, there's no denying that the 90s are back. The decade was a transition period that saw home technology start to morph from the clunky experiments of the 80s to the slightly sleeker, more user-friendly products...

 

10 best comic books based on toys. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law sees the supervillain Titania steal the hero's name and license everything from it. She didn't make She-Hulk toys, though it wouldn't be unusual given comic books' relationship with toy lines. Many great comics from Marvel, DC, and other publishers drew inspiration from iconic toylines like Transformers and G.I. Joe. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

 

Baby Shark swims in new waters on Arabic VOD Shahid. On the heels of a Brazilian expansion last month, Pinkfong is now investing in localization for the MENA region with its first Arabic dubs for the preschool IP. The Pinkfong Company has partnered with Saudi media conglom MBC Group to make its content available on Arabic-language streamer Shahid. As part of the deal, the SVOD is picking up nearly 500 episodes ...

 

Lion Forge Animation and Nine PBS, a Missouri affiliate station of the US pubcaster, are joining forces to shine a spotlight on Black voices and literacy with a new IP that’s designed to expand into a 360-degree franchise. The first Drawn In animated short is already online, with more episodes to come. They will be released in the future on the Nine PBS channel. And the partners are also planning print and digital comics...

Designer Happy Meal toys from McDonald’s being listed for as high as $300K online.  Toys from McDonald’s adult Happy Meals are now being listed in the thousands of dollars on bidding websites after the limited-edition boxes sold out earlier this month. The fast-food giant collaborated with designer streetwear brand Cactus Plant Flea Market to release the “Cactus Plant Flea Market Box” on Oct. 3.

 

Italian kids content producer/distributor Mondo TV Group has partnered with Paramount-owned AVOD Pluto TV to bring a number of its titles to Pluto in Latin America and Europe. In LatAm, Pluto TV picked up live-action comedy-drama Heidi Bienvenida (60 x 45 minutes), which targets kids ages eight to 12, along with 2D-animated Sissi the Young Empress (78 x 11 minutes), aimed at kids ages four to seven. 

 

PBS KIDS has greenlit a new series of animated shorts focused on teaching kids about civics. City Island (20 x three minutes) will put a spotlight on topics such as city planning, how communities work and conflict resolution. New York-based Augenblick Studios and Future Brain Media are producing the shorts, which will launch on PBS KIDS in December 2022 and January 2023. Aaron Augenblick (The Jellies!) created the ...

 

Da Vinci pre-buys educational comedy Fantastic Antics. France Télévisions greenlit the 2D-animated French toon about time-traveling explorers, and Da Vinci plans to air it worldwide. France Télévisions commissioned the 26 x three-minute series from Les Films Jack Fébus. Aimed at six- to 11-year-olds, the slapstick adventure follows a trio of explorers who travel through time to learn about different cultures and eras...

 

Italian prodco Brand Cross has tapped Mondo TV Studios to manage distribution for its new 2D-animated series Leo’s World, about a boy on the autism spectrum learning to manage his emotions in imaginative ways, everywhere in the world except Italy, Vatican City, Malta and San Marino Republic. The first season (10 x 12 minutes) is a co-production with Italian pubcaster RAI Kids, and will debut there November 28...

Mubadala finances reboot of popular Arab series Mansour. The sci-fi action-adventure show, which has millions of YouTube subscribers and draws big numbers on OSN, is getting a new series from Bidaya Media, Top Draw Studio and Baboon Animation. It revolves around a 12-year-old boy who accidentally creates an evil technology called Blink. With the support of his closest friends, Mansour must face the chaos and danger...

 

Literary classic The Three Musketeers will entertain a new generation of kids in a girl-powered, CG-animated series for ZDF, France TV and RAI.  Produced by France’s Mediawan and its Italian production company Palomar, the series (52 x 11 minutes, pictured) is aimed at children ages five to eight and features the iconic swashbucklers as girls adventuring through France trying to defend the young King Louis XIII. 

 

Brand New, Action-Packed Animated Series ‘Digital Girl’ Now in Production. A Productions, a leading UK-based animation production studio, and Cyber Group Studios, a leading producer and distributor of animated programs for kids and families, are proud to announce the start of production of the brand new adventure-comedy superhero series, Digital Girl. Commissioned by BBC and pre-sold to Super RTL and Discovery...

 

Prime Video Rings in the Holidays With Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge, Premiering December 13.  Prime Video has announced the premiere date for its upcoming unscripted competition series Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge, along with the competing bakers. Hosted by actress, author, producer, and Emmy award-winning host Tamera Mowry-Housley with baking icons Clarice Lam and Joshua John Russell as judges, all eight...

ZAG and multinational food-products corporation Danone have partnered to bring a range of healthy foods and beverages to children and families across Spain and Portugal. Three of the Danone’s product lines—Actimel, Font Vella, and Danone Natural Yogurt—will feature the superheroes from ZAG’s flagship property, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.

 

DEAPLANETA TO LEAD GLOBAL EXPANSION OF WONDERPALS NFT BRAND.  Started as a non-fungible token (NFT) company last October, WonderPals aim to bring kindness and joy to both the physical and digital worlds. They can be used as avatars in the metaverse and serve as a pass to the inclusive online and offline community. After the brand launched its NFT collection in February, all 10,000 NFTs sold out in seconds.

The History Channel is taking an even deeper dive into the backstories of America’s most iconic toys. Last fall, the channel debuted a four-part docuseries called The Toys That Built America. Now, the show is coming back for a second season that’s twice as long. Across eight new, one-hour episodes, the series will cover the stories and rivalries that influenced the modern toy industry. 

 

Pop music girl group XOMG POP!, led by social media star JoJo Siwa and her mother, Jessalynn Siwa, is partnering with entertainment licensing agency and production company Thomas Global Media to announce the first wave of licensing deals for the groupThis group of licensing partners includes Moose Toys as the master toy licensee. Moose’s full toy line for the group will be available in 2024.

 

Empire, Odeon, Picturehouse, Showcase, The Light and Vue will start screening Pip and Posy’s animated antics from 21st Oct, initially for a two week period. Pip and Posy’s Cinema Show brings the duo’s special brand of play to the big screen for an hour of fun consisting of seven episodes, plus games and a singalong. BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated production company Magic Light Pictures holds the global...

 

BBC Children’s has ordered three new kids factual entertainment series for CBBC and CBeebies, as well as commissioning another seven My Life documentaries. First up in the just-greenlit column is live-action series Treasure Tales (30 x 14 minutes) from UK-based Screen Glue. Aimed at kids ages zero to six, this series follows two friends who discover new stories as they find lost treasures such as a mysterious hat...

 

Rubies is branching out into new product categories with the release of the Kidrobot plush collectibles range. A world leader in fancy-dress costumes and accessories, Rubies is introducing the officially licensed collectible plush in a range of sizes and characters, from the biggest brands in entertainment including Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Sega. Known as The Phunny range, the hand-held plush...

 

Canadian broadcasters TVOKids, Knowledge Network and TFO have commissioned a new preschool series called Mia & Codie from Epic Story Media. Animated by Vancouver’s Relish Studios, the CG-animated series (40 x 4.5 minutes) centers around an eight-year-old girl who builds a robot to be the little brother she has always wanted. Together, Mia and Codie solve everyday problems through coding.

 

Disney has greenlit new multi-cam comedy series Pretty Freekin Scary from UK-based CakeStart Entertainment and Cloudco Entertainment in the US.  Targeting kids ages six - 14 and their families, the 20 x 30-minute series follows along with a 14-yr-old girl who dies but is allowed to return home as a regular girl with two guardians from the underworld. She has to adapt to her new life while attending high school...

 

Another music icon is becoming a doll. Tina Turner is joining Gloria Estefan, David Bowie, and Elvis Presley in Mattel’s Barbie Signature Music Series. The new doll is specifically designed after Turner’s iconic outfit that she wore in 1984’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” music video. Designer Bill Greening says, “We started it right about the time she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [as a solo artist in 2021].”

 

***The above posted after tBR started sending on October 14th***

 

Magic Light Pictures debuts Pip and Posy show on the big screen.  The one-hour Pip and Posy’s Cinema Show will be shown on 244 screens at all major cinema chains in the UK this autumn.  Empire, Odeon, Picturehouse, Showcase, The Light and Vue will start screening Pip and Posy’s animated antics from 21st October, initially for a two week period. Pip and Posy’s Cinema Show brings the duo’s special brand of play...

 

Boat Rocker’s animated pre-school series Dino Ranch is renewed for a third season and will begin airing autumn 2023. Season three (52 x 11’) will air on Disney Junior and Disney+ in the US in autumn 2023, followed by an international rollout on Disney Junior in Latin America and streaming on Disney+ in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand

 

Netflix enrols with UK TV ratings agency BARB. Membership of BARB means that Netflix will reveal streaming numbers for the first time. The move is a significant departure for the streaming platform after previously being somewhat reticent about its viewership numbers. The publication of independently audited viewing figures will let Netflix be more easily compared with traditional channels.

 

Surprise! has teamed up with FIFA to encourage fans to ‘let their champion out’ with the launch of an all-new, sporty series of co-branded collectibles to celebrate the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Available now, the limited edition L.O.L. Surprise! x FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Collection, will comprise 12 different dolls to collect from 10 of the qualifying countries who will compete in Qatar, as well as a FIFA Fan...

Cue the maniacal laughter! ‘Tis the season for frights and thrills, so it’s fitting that the ABC and BBC have co-commissioned The Spooky Files from Aussie prodcos Tony Ayres Productions (TAP) and Megaboom Pictures.  This new live-action comedy series (10 x 24 minutes) will debut in 2023, airing down under on linear via ABC ME, and in the UK on CBBC and BBC iPlayer.

 

Canada’s public broadcaster is looking to help kids celebrate their pets and has commissioned new Lopii Productions docu-style series Bestest Day Ever With My Best Friend!. CBC Kids plans to add the 20 x seven-minute live-actioner to its 2023 programming lineup. Aimed at preschoolers, Bestest Day revolves around young pet owners giving their critters a special day, complete with presents and a party. 

 

Playmobil is taking its first steps in the anime cosmos with a new licence that it says will appeal both to children and to the kidult sector. In a first for the toy company, figures from the popular anime series Naruto Shippuden will be released in early 2023. Naruto Shippuden is a series mainly adapted from Part II of Masashi Kishimoto’s original manga series, set 2.5 years after the original series in the Naruto universe.

 

YouTube, France Télévisions and Paris-based studio TeamTO are seizing on the cross-generational appeal of iconic tunes to capture co-viewing audiences with: Behind the Beats.  The CG-animated series (26 x five minutes) breaks down popular music genres such as new wave, G-funk, rock ‘n’ roll, K-pop and reggae—with stories about the artists who pioneered them.

 

Nick Jr. Israel has ordered a brand-new CG-animated series for four- to six-year-olds about a team of fairies who use an app to grant wishes to kids in need. Fairy Express is a 52 x 11-min co-production from French studio Cottonwood Media (Theodosia) and ViacomCBS-owned Israeli prodco Ananey Studios. It’s based on an original idea from Ananey’s head of animation Gili Dolev (Zack and Quack), and was co-created by...

 

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is still months away from its 2023 debut, but Disney Branded TV has already greenlit a second season.  Based on Marvel’s comic book franchise, the 2D-animated series is produced by Disney Television Animation and follows a brainy 13-year-old girl who accidentally brings a brawny T-Rex into present-day New York City.

 

London-based Moonbug Entertainment is continuing to bolster the strength of its IPs in the Middle East with a local linear preschool channel in Turkey.  The new Moonbug Kids net is set to launch in November and will operate through two of the country’s leading television providers, Tivibu and TV+. It stands to reach approximately 2.6 million paid subscribers across the two platforms.

 

British broadcaster Sky Kids has commissioned a 2D-animated series based on the Isadora Moon books by Harriet Muncaster. Published by Random House, the kidlit franchise for readers ages six to nine spans 16 titles that have collectively sold more than three million copies globally in 30 languages since the first book was released in 2016.

 

Raise the anchor and hoist the sails—Irish prodco Distillery Films’ new educational preschool series is about to embark on a voyage around the world. French distributor Superights has acquired the distribution rights to Sullivan Sails and will represent the show globally, excluding Ireland and Italy.

 

Just Play has partnered with award winning dance group Diversity to promote the launch of the unique and innovative RUKUSfx. The handheld motion-controlled music mixer allows users to mix, move and create music through motion, using 120 music tracks and 80 sound effects. Using four simple movements: Swipe, Punch, Twist and Flick, the user’s own music tracks can also be uploaded to mix seamlessly...

 

The Toy Book and The Pop Insider can exclusively reveal that on Black Friday, The Nacelle Co. — the studio behind The Toys That Made Us (Netflix), Behind The Attraction (Disney+), and Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (History) — will unwrap the fifth season of its acclaimed series, A Toy Store Near You on Amazon Prime Video. The news of the new season is being revealed to a live audience...

 

Season five of the globally popular series, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, is now available on Disney Channel U.S., with new episodes premiering weekly on Saturdays at 10am ET/PT. Created by ZAG and co-produced with Method Animation (Mediawan Kids & Family), the 3D-CGI-animated superhero aspirational action-comedy series, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, has become a bona fide worldwide...

Atari, one of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers, announced a 10-yr license extension for RollerCoaster Tycoon with the franchise’s creator, Chris Sawyer. Under the new agreement, Atari will seek to develop new titles, expand digital and physical distribution, and explore brand and merchandising collaborations as part of a long-term plan to bring the franchise to new...

 

Roarr! is set to embark on the biggest development in the park’s history, after being granted full permission to create a new four-acre interactive play-themed area within the existing 85-acre park. Gigantosaurus Land is a collaborative new partnership between Roarr! and Cyber Group Studios, producer and distributor of animated series for children and families worldwide.

 

MGA Entertainment and Outright Games have launched L.O.L. Surprise! B.B.s Born To Travel. Based on the L.O.L. Surprise! brand, this arcade fashion game gives fans the chance to create their own custom dolls for others to unbox, while travelling the world to capital cities. The game is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S, Steam and Google Stadia.

 

Acamar Films has extended its partnership with Prime Video for key European territories the UK, Ireland, Italy, and Spain for its award-winning animated series Bing with a multi-year deal. Building on the success of Bing in Italy, Prime Video has also acquired Bing’s latest season bringing all 104 episodes of Bing to Italian fans. Celebrating the messy, joyful reality of pre-school life, the latest series sees Bing, Flop...

 

Renegade Game Studios announced that they are in negotiations to license Axis & Allies, Diplomacy, and more from Hasbro, for publication, via an expansion of their partnership. The expansion of this partnership will allow Renegade to publish certain Avalon Hill brand games, including Axis & Allies, Diplomacy, Squad Leader, and Robo Rally, for the hobby, mass, and specialty markets starting in 2023. 

Toys"R"Us Asia launches exclusive special edition 'Dragon Ball Z' and 'One Piece' Monopoly sets. Exciting news for anime lovers! Toys"R"Us Asia is set to launch special edition Monopoly sets in Asia featuring two popular animations – Dragon Ball Z and One Piece. These unique sets will be available in limited quantities during the initial launch, only at Toys"R"Us stores and Toys"R"Us online in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and...

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People of Play

 

As news broke of more layoffs at Warner Bros. Discovery, another shift was taking place that will mean significant changes at its animation studios. Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios development and production teams will now work together on both studios’ projects, while the Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe operations will remain separate. Audrey Diehl, previously WBA’s SVP of series...

 

Amscan International has appointed a new chief operations officer (COO) to support the ongoing growth and development of the company. Neil Weaver joins the Milton Keynes-based designer, manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer of party products from fashion and homewares retailer Cath Kidston. Whilst at the company, he held the position of sourcing, supply chain and IT director.

 

University Games announced the appointment of industry veteran, Jeff Pinsker, to the newly created role of Executive Vice President. Pinsker entered the toy industry in 1991 as a product manager at University Games. During his 9-year tenure with the company, Pinsker served as a marketing manager, general manager and president of the company. Pinsker returns to UG following an incredible period of contributing...

 

Veteran industry executive Samantha Freeman has joined the Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA) team at Swiss investment company Novastone Capital Partners. ETA programs (commonly called search funds) identify and align entrepreneurs and experts to acquire, manage and grow privately held companies, often with an exit strategy in mind. Freeman is Novastone’s first kids industry specialist,....

 

Prima Chambers fell in love with consumer products during her internship at Procter and Gamble in 1998. Since then, she has built up nearly two decades of experience in the field working at companies such as Reckitt and Hershey. Since joining Paramount in May 2022, Chambers has led strategy and growth for key Paramount properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Rubies appoints Claire Barkwith as new national account manager. Rubies bolsters team with the appointment of Claire Barkwith as new national account manager for Fashion and Apparel. As Rubies continues to expand and strengthen its National Accounts selection, Claire joins the team and will be responsible for managing and growing Rubies national accounts including major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, George at Asda...

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Companies and Brands

 

Top Marketing Talent Launches Think Brilliantly, a Marketing and Creative Agency. Think Brilliantly is a new marketing and creative boutique agency that provides a wealth of expertise for brands looking to elevate their marketing performance and boost their competitive edge. Outsourcing a company’s marketing needs presents opportunities for growth by having readily available access to expert knowledge...

Bananagrams have been a staple in family game nights for 15 years now. To celebrate the milestone, Bananagrams is releasing a deluxe, new design for the spelling game.  The Bananagrams Signature Edition is the same game kids know and love, but so much fancier. There are 144 letter tiles in a warm brown color with gold lettering and 10 luxe tiles featuring a Bananagrams logo. Players can use the luxe tiles to...

 

Floatie Kings, the company known for its custom and branded pool floats, is releasing winter inflatables to decorate yards or up families’ sledding games. In 2015, Floatie Kings had its start with custom pool floats. The company prides itself on offering luxury floats, with a focus on social media and artist collaborations. After playing in the pool for seven years, Floatie Kings is now expanding its inflatable offerings to...

LA-based Toybox Labs has landed its first retail partner after selling direct-to-consumer for six years through its e-commerce site. The company’s namesake 3D printers are hitting shelves in CAMP stores this week across the US, just in time for the holiday season. Using demo stations installed at CAMP stores, kids can try out the product for free and print a custom name tag or a toy that takes less than five minutes...

 

Blu Track. A small toy manufacturing company in eastern Iowa plans to devote its entire shift on Friday to building and packaging several hundred race car kits that will be donated to local Toys for Tots campaigns. Amy Belding, spokeswoman for Blu Track, says the Anamosa factory makes flexible two-lane racetracks that allow kids to race two cars at once, side-by-side.

Google is bringing a set of new kids-focused features such as parent-controlled watchlists and AI-powered suggestions to Google TV, the latest in a series of efforts from the Android-maker as it attempts to broaden the offerings of its TV operating system for family consumption. The company said it is adding these features to the kids’ profiles to improve content recommendation and exploration. Parents can directly push...

 

TTPM 2022 Holiday Showcase Highlights. TTPM, a leading outlet for the latest news, reviews and anything else for toys and licensing, has thrown another successful Holiday Showcase, where they exhibited their most wanted toys list for this holiday season. This year’s event drew a wide crowd of exhibitors, influencers, media, and more to see all the up and coming product for Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.

 

Hess Corporation announced its Holiday ‘22 season with the release of the Hess Flatbed Truck with Hot Rods on sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com with 9 Energizer batteries included. Anticipate those sights and sounds on Christmas morning with the 42 lights and 4 realistic sounds from this revved up 3-in-1 toy truck set. “Gift givers will cherish joyous moments of the kids immersing themselves in...

 

Pittsburgh’s own Fred Rogers Productions (FRP) recently relocated to the SouthSide Works neighborhood to a workspace that is both practical and cost-effective while fostering creative inspiration important to the company’s mission of providing quality entertainment for children and their families. Designed with Pittsburgh’s R3A Architecture and Workscape, the new office environment takes its inspiration from FRP’s...

 

TOYS ‘R’ US AT MACY’S TAPS INTO THE GHOST OF RETAIL PAST FOR A HINT AT CHRISTMAS FUTURE. Shortly after Macy’s and WHP Global inked a partnership deal last year to bring Toys “R” Us into hundreds of Macy’s stores, I told Retail Dive that there was real potential to celebrate two storied retail brands — particularly when you combine the powerful forces of two iconic personalities: Santa Claus and Geoffrey the Giraffe.

 

Makeship is taking advantage of its plush rush and turning to vinyl. Launched in 2018, Makeship is a crowdfunding platform primarily known for giving content creators, such as YouTubers and Webtoon authors, a space to develop limited-run plushies for their fans to purchase. The platform is now expanding into offering vinyl figures.

 

The Lil Wish Lanterns are a new line of collectible toys distributed by Intersell. There are two different parts to any Lil Wish collection: the lanterns and the Wishimals. There are four different lanterns to collect from the four lands of Wishlandia: Friendship, Love, Courage, and Happiness. The key to Lil Wish Lanterns are the Wishimals, creatures that kids put in the lanterns that reflect and play with the rainbow light. 

 

Melissa & Doug, an educational preschool toy brand, is expanding its operations to Oracle Cloud to integrate a new, globally-based business modelThrough sectors of Oracle Cloud, including Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and Oracle Autonomous Database, Melissa & Doug can improve cost efficiency within its business and encourage better ways to support its rapid growth...

 

Author Giovanna Fletcher and YouTube star MC Grammar hosted the event to mark the launch of best-selling children’s brand Tonies in Hamleys. Giovanna Fletcher and MC Grammar hosted the event. A star-packed Gruffalo-themed storytelling session was held at London’s Regent Street store to mark the launch of Tonies at Hamleys and to celebrate the recent NPD data revealing Tonies to be the fastest-growing toy...

 

L.O.L. Surprise! fashion show heralds release of new movie and toy line.  Gok Wan and Katie Piper were joined by 10,000 fans at Westfield, London for a L.O.L. Surprise! fashion event, which also previewed the brand’s latest products. Fashion icons and confidence advocates Gok Wan and Katie Piper were joined by 10,000 fans at the L.O.L. Surprise! fashion show at Westfield London on Sunday. 

 

UK-based Guinness World Records is launching GWR Studios, a new production arm that will focus on developing content for broadcasters and digital platforms. The division is also interested in developing new kids and family content, a spokesperson confirmed to Kidscreen. The studio will be helmed by Karen Gilchrist (VP of television and digital) and Kathryn Hubbard (head of content licensing).

 

Paramount UK announces Peak Sustainability strategy. The Paramount strategy, established to accelerate change, comprises seven key climate action pledges including reducing carbon emissions. The new commitment is designed to drive collective change across Paramount’s UK business and with its suppliers, partners and audiences. Peak Sustainability informs part of a longer-term vision for parent company...

 

The Vivid Toy Group partnered with Merlin Venues at the London Eye to take VIP guests on a sky high journey above London. The event featured branded Sky Dancer activities, themed catering and the chance to get hands on with the five fluttering fashionista dolls in the collection: Fuchsia Fantasy, Miss Mint, Sapphire Sparkle, Coral Cutie and Purple-Licious. A host of celebrities including Anna Nightingale, Vanessa Feltz,..

 

Nickelodeon, in partnership with the South Korean-based Pinkfong Company, has announced that it is debuting a brand-new Baby Shark float balloon hybrid at the 96th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, New York. Doo-do-do-do-doo! The brand-new Baby Shark float will feature characters from the beloved preschool property Baby Shark's Big Show​​​​​​. 

 

Build-A-Bear’s CEO Is Not Giving Up on Malls. Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John talked to TheStreet about the toy market. Launched out of a Missouri mall in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop has followed the changing face of retail over the last two decades. Earlier this week, chief executive Sharon John Price John rang the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell in celebration of its 25th anniversary. 

 

Kids content to remain ad-free on Netflix Since Netflix first announced it would be offering a lower-priced AVOD tier, advertisers and kidcos alike have wondered what it would mean for younger-skewing content on the platform. But as the launch of the new tier approaches, the streamer has confirmed to Kidscreen that it will not display ads in kids’ profiles, or in any content aimed at viewers ages 13 and under,...

 

***The above posted after tBR started sending on October 14th***

 

WildBrain, in collaboration with Mattel Television, shared that seasons 14 and 15 of Fireman Sam and season five of Polly Pocket are in production with slated deliveries beginning in December. Fireman Sam and the Pontypandy Rescue Team are back to save the day on land, at sea, and in the air with two new computer graphics animated seasons of Fireman Sam. Season 14 is scheduled for December and season 15...

 

Barnes & Noble has spoken: Asmodee’s Wavelength is its 2022 Game of the Season. Wavelength is a game where two teams attempt to read each other’s minds. One player from a team has to guide their teammates to the hidden target using only clues based on a spectrum like hot to cold or good and bad. The closer teams get to their unknown target, the better they score overall. 

 

The Power of Grayskull is going digital.  The Masters of the Universe series, a first in a series of collaborative drops from Cryptoys and Mattel, will be released on Nov. 9. Cryptoys is an NFT (non-fungible token) platform focused on bringing the concept of toys and collectibles to the digital world of the blockchain. An NFT is a digital ID. They are often associated with art or other assets, but the NFT itself is basically a receipt...

 

My Avastars, the “Avatar Stars of the Metaverse,” are officially available at retail.  Following a formal unveiling at The Toy Insider’s Sweet Suite event this summer, the doll line from WowWee is available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Additionally, WowWee partnered with Toys “R” Us at Macy’s to launch HYPEGIRRRL_77, a premium My Avastars doll that includes more than 1,000 looks.

 

Kids content creation company Epic Storyworlds is launching Freeground, an online studio experience focused on fan engagement through experiences centered around popular game platform Roblox. Freeground’s first collaboration will be with Falcon’s Beyond — a global entertainment development company — and will feature an entertainment destination, including a theme park and games ...

 

After almost three years on the market, independent toy company Cepia is taking its hot property Cats vs Pickles and turning it into a card game. This time, instead of simply releasing the item to market, Cepia turned to Kickstarter to launch Cats vs Pickles: Mayhem, a game of cats, chaos, and crazy pickles. The premise is as simple as the backstory behind the characters.

 

Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go rebooted the long-running series in its 26th season and will continue chugging along in its current form for seasons 27 and 28. Each season includes 26 11-minute episodes and an hour-long special. Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studios and Mattel Television are co-producing the new seasons. The current season broke new ground with the addition of Bruno the Brake Car, the first...

 

Learning Resources, which has brought kids interactive toys for almost 40 years, is now expanding into the pet industry.  Brightkins, Learning Resources’ new line of 13 pet toys, includes training activity kits, toys that dispense treats, and treat puzzles. Learning Resources hopes to engage both the pet and the family with these new products.

 

LEGO GROUP ENCOURAGES GIRLS TO SEEK OUT STEAM SUBJECTS ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL. To honor International Day of the Girl, which takes place every year on Oct. 11, the LEGO Group has started a new campaign to encourage girls to stay curious about science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) subjects and careers.

Disney unveiled or changed the release dates for a slew of movie titles Tuesday, including Marvel’s Blade, which was announced this morning to be delaying production.  Blade, the vampire pic starring Mahershala Ali is currently in search of a new director, following Bassim Tariq’s departure. It is now set to open September 6, 2024, having previously been slated for November 3, 2023. 

 

Hasbro division Entertainment One is at work on a documentary feature about Dungeons & Dragons, the popular roleplaying game. The documentary, to coincide with the game’s 50th anniversary in 2024, will draw on the game’s wizards and elves and archived Dungeons & Dragons footage dating back to the game’s creation in the early 1970s. Dungeons & Dragons writer Joe Manganiello will co-direct...

Konami tells Toy World why Yu-Gi-Oh! Speed Duel GX: Midterm Paradox appeals to all kinds of players, making it the perfect stocking filler. The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is hugely popular: players across the world have enjoyed collecting iconic cards, building powerful decks and duelling one another for more than 20 years. Introduced in 2019, Yu-Gi-Oh! Speed Duel is a specialised version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. 

 

Asmodee has announced Welcome by Asmodee, an entity designed to help game publishers meet their distribution needs whether the scope is local, global, or anything in between. Backed by Asmodee’s industry expertise and worldwide network, the Welcome team offers all game publishers a personalised route to market solution. A one-stop-shop point of contact within Asmodee, Welcome will work with...

Disney Is Developing An ‘Immersive Experience’ That Will Tour Globally. Walt Disney Animation Studios is teaming with Toronto-based Lighthouse Immersive Studios to develop Disney Animation: Immersive Experience, a traveling experience of Disney animation which will world premiere in Toronto this December before heading across the U.S. and other territories in 2023. Here’s what we know about the project...

 

Beating a record number of over 100 entries, ‘The Misfit’ – a 1963 Ford Anglia with a supercharged BMW engine – will represent the UK in the global Hot Wheels Legends Tour and stake its claim to become a 1:64 scale die-cast in the 2023 line up. Built by Michael Charalambous, and only finished in 2022 after final push during Covid lockdown, The Misfit was also voted the fans’ favourite at this year’s event.

 

Tiny Pop to premiere Gabby’s Dollhouse. With a little magic and a new surprise every day, DreamWorks Animation’s Gabby’s Dollhouse leads viewers from room to room through a fantastic dollhouse with mini-worlds and irresistible kitten characters. With a new surprise to unbox in every episode, Gabby shares her excitement with her best stuffed animal pal, Pandy Paws, before heading on the next delightfully...

 

For the first time in over 50 years, UK fans of model railways can now build more compact railway layouts, thanks to a completely new product range from brand leader HornbyScaled to 1:120 and known as tabletop railways or ‘TT’, the new scale and brand, Hornby TT:120, is smaller than the more traditional and familiar ‘00’ models but still easily handled by both young and old.

FAO Schwarz is celebrating 160 years by partnering with Schleich to release a figure of the only animal that makes sense for such a monstrous anniversary: the king of the Jurassic period, the T-Rex. As part of Schleich’s expanding Dinosaurs collection, the T-Rex is an authentic, lifelike replica — on a significantly smaller scale — featuring reptile textures and the dinosaur’s signature snarl.

 

Rainbow High announced the official launch of its next collector doll in its Rainbow High Celebration Collection: Maria Garcia. This beautifully designed collector doll was created to celebrate Día de Los Muertos, the longtime recognized Mexican holiday, traditionally observed on November first and second. Customarily family and friends gather to pay respects to and remember those who have passed on.

Create A Castle Co-Founders Kevin & Laurie Lane Become ‘Shark Tank’ Winners.  Create A Castle co-founders Kevin and Laurie Lane, swam with the Shark Tank sharks, pitching their innovative sand-and-snow castle-building toy line and came away with a new partner in billionaire entrepreneur Kendra Scott who outbid fellow shark Daymond John with a $350,000 offer for 20% of the business.

 

Fisher-Price has, on World Inclusion Day today, launches a new inclusive collection for young children – the People Kind Figure Pack. The pack includes Little People characters that represent six skin tones, different occupations (including a recycling collector, a baker, a mother, a photographer, a doctor). Different health conditions are represented, such as vitiligo, as well as a mix of abilities (wheelchair use), genders, ...

 

Smyths Toys Superstores has today officially revealed its top toys for Christmas 2022. The exclusive list features some of the year’s most highly-anticipated toys, including toys from WWE, Jurassic World, and Squishmallows. It also includes new releases from classic brands like Lego, Barbie, and Fisher-Price.

Can Sunny Bunnies be the next Baby Shark? The popular alien rabbits could soon give the not-so-predatory sea creature a run for its money in the sing-along category with a new spinoff of the growing franchise. Poland’s Animation Café and AVOD network WildBrain Spark are releasing Sunny Bunnies Sing-Along this summer. The show features the bunnies belting out reimagined versions of popular children’s songs...

 

Barbie Announces New Musical Adventure and Accompanying Toy Range. The new toy range includes “Barbie Mermaid Power” dolls, inspired by upcoming movie. Starring Brooklyn and Malibu, “Barbie Mermaid Power” is a new, aquatic movie adventure that follows Barbie “Brooklyn” Roberts character’s debut as co-lead in “Big City, Big Dreams”. The release focuses on the character’s continued integration...

 

Asmodee releases new family party game Tug! Joining the Asmodee portfolio, Tug! is described as a tug of war in a box and a battle of brains over brawn, from the inventor of Confident? Tug! has been designed to play with friends and family and is ideal for quiz lovers. Two teams go head-to-head in a game of brains over brawn and try and answer fun 50:50 questions in a back-and-forth battle played out inside the game box...

 

Giant Halloween Top Trumps to arrive at ZSL London Zoo. Winning Moves and ZSL London Zoo have partnered to create a Halloween Top Trumps trail for the upcoming October half term. Visitors to the zoo will be able to play the ultimate game of Top Trumps while discovering spine-tingling, Halloween-related facts about the animals. 

Burnt Island reveals 'Fall of the Mountain King'. Burnt Island Games revealed Fall of the Mountain King, a standalone board game, for release on November 2, 2022. This game is a standalone prequel game to In the Hall of the Mountain King, which released in 2020. The new game is set during a war that drove the trolls from the mountain kingdom. 

 

Hachette Boardgames announces new trivia game by Scorpion Masque. Hachette Boardgames announced Zero to 100, a new trivia game by Scorpion Masque, for release on December 1, 2022. In this game, players try to guess correctly or at least be close as they answer a series of trivia questions. Players will divide into three teams and receive six question cards at random for each team. 

 

WizKids makes plans for 'Rebuilding Seattle'. WizKids has announced Rebuilding Seattle, a game about the reconstruction of the city following the devastating fire in 1889.  The new game will release in January. In Rebuilding Seattle, the players are tasked with overseeing the reconstruction of a neighborhood in the city of Seattle that has been destroyed.  

 

Radio Flyer introduces Flyer Folding Cargo electric bike. Radio Flyer is continuing to innovate. The 105-year-old company behind the iconic Little Red Wagon is expanding on the successful launch of its Flyer electric bike line with the introduction of a new folding bike. Geared toward families, the Flyer 860 Folding Cargo Bike features a space-saving design that stores easily at home and can be transported in the trunk...

Games Workshop announces new 'Warhammer 40,000' 'Kill Team' box. Games Workshop announced Kill Team: Shadowvaults, a new boxed set for Warhammer 40,000, which will hit preorder on October 15, 2022. The Kill Team: Shadowvaults expansion sends players deeper into the Gallowdark, adding two new kill teams and terrain. 

 

'Frost Punk: The Board Game' barrels toward retail. Asmodee will release Frost Punk: The Board Game, a post-apocalyptic game based on the video game series by 11bit Studios, into retail on October 31, 2022. Frostpunk: The Board Game, by Glass Cannon Unplugged, is based on the bestselling strategy-survival-city-builder video game that was launched in 2018. 

 

Fantasy Flight Games announces new 'Arkham Horror: The Card Game' scenario pack. Fantasy Flight Games announced Fortune and Folly, a new Arkham Horror: The Card Game Scenario Pack, for release into retail on April 4, 2023. In Fortune and Folly, players are getting in touch with their inner Ocean's Eleven as they try to pull off a casino heist. 

 

Fireside Games will release 'Castle Panic 2E’. Fireside Games will release Castle Panic 2E, a new edition of the classic tower-defense game, into retail on November 30, 2022. Castle Panic is Fireside's time-honored, 2010 Origins Award-nominated game (see "Awards Finalists"), and it has gotten a makeover.

Gamelyn Games' 'Tiny Epic Vikings' sets sail for retail stores. Gamelyn Games will release Tiny Epic Vikings, a new board game, into retail in April 2023. In Tiny Epic Vikings, players assume the roles of the chief of a clan of Vikings. The game takes palce over the course of three eras, where players will try to claim icy territory and build up their clan. 

 

Worship the great inky one in 'Cosmoctopus'. Lucky Duck Games unveiled Cosmoctopus, a new card engine-building game by Paper Fort Games, which will head to retail after an October 2022 Kickstarter. In this game, players become devotees of the Great Inky One, a mysterious celestial being. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Arcade Archives Toy Pop coming to Switch & PS4. “TOY POP” is an action game released by NAMCO (Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.) in 1986. You control PINO and ACHA, who pop out of a toy box, and collect the hearts hidden in the box (stage) to open the door and advance. Use the change targets hidden in the boxes to change weapons and defeat enemies. 

 

FIFA 23 passes 10.3 million players to set launch week record. FIFA 23 has delivered the biggest launch of any FIFA title to date with over 10.3 million players dipping into the soccer sim during its first week on sale. EA said that total represents "the biggest launch period in EA Sports FIFA franchise history," which is somewhat fitting as the U.S. publisher prepares to sever ties with long-time partner FIFA to establish a...

 

Epic Storyworlds launches online studio experience focused on ‘Roblox’. Kids content creation company Epic Storyworlds is launching Freeground, an online studio experience focused on fan engagement through experiences centered around popular game platform Roblox. Freeground’s first collaboration will be with Falcon’s Beyond — a global entertainment development company — and will feature ...

 

Mark Zuckerberg reveals new Quest Pro VR headset. Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled a new VR headset, the Quest Pro, at an online event held for developers. With a price tag of $1,499 (£1,499), Quest Pro is almost four times the price of Meta's current headset, the Quest 2, which starts at $399. It boasts thinner lenses, a curved battery around the head strap at the back, and controllers which self-track. 

 

Xbox Cloud Gaming is coming to Meta Quest. Xbox Cloud Gaming is coming to the Meta Quest 2 store. At today's Meta Connect livestream, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed the news. Since Cloud Gaming launched in 2020 as an attachment to Game Pass, Microsoft's game streaming service has gradually expanded in terms of player base and platforms. 

 

Google pivots from Stadia to cloud-optimized Chromebooks. Stadia may be on its way out, but Google will continue to make cloud streaming a part of its video game business strategy. The company announced this morning a trio of Google Chromebooks built for playing games in the cloud. In the announcement that confirmed Stadia's closure next year, VP Phil Harrison confirmed that the cloud technology powering...

 

Final Fantasy XIV reaches 27 million players. The hit MMO Final Fantasy XIV has reached 27 million registered users, up from 24 million around this time last year. During a recent livestream, director Naoki Yoshida broke the news via a gold disco ball, which he had Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda unfurl to reveal the grand number.  

Highlighted Press Releases

STRING THE TINSEL THEN GIFTWRAP THE TANGLE® TO MAKE SPIRITS BRIGHT FOR ANYONE ON YOUR LIST.  Of All The Toys On The Market, Tillywig’s 2022 Best Creative Fun Award Goes To Tangle Original With Texture “To Heighten The Senses And Brighten Your Day, No Matter Your Age”  We’ve all been there. Staring at a holiday gift list for every stage and every age from the neighbor’s child to your boss. Tillywig Toy & Media Awards has discovered the ideal present that’s actually been around for decades! Tangle® Original With Texture ($30) just snared the prestigious Fall 2022 Tillywig Best Creative Fun Award. This fresh reincarnation of the original fidget toy wowed Tillywig judges who see every new idea on the market!

 

BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELT SANTA! ORDERS BEGIN TODAY FOR 3-IN-1 HESS FLATBED TRUCK WITH HOT RODS. A New Generation Gives Nostalgic Nod: A Retro-Design Racing Dream Team Loaded with Flashing Lights & Realistic Sounds. New York, NY (October 17, 2022) — Hess Corporation announced its Holiday ‘22 season with the release of the Hess Flatbed Truck with Hot Rods on sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com for $41.99 plus tax with free standard shipping* and a whopping 9 Energizer® batteries included. Anticipate those sights and sounds on Christmas morning with the 42 lights and 4 realistic sounds from this revved up 3-in-1 toy truck set!

 

***The above posted after October 14th***

 

Gray Matters Games, a Glen Ellyn, Illinois-based game publisher, announced the release of Word Wipeout, a new, fast-paced word game in which players race to collect the most letters by spelling a word related to over 200 fun categories. The rounds get progressively more challenging as fewer letters remain in a race to get the word out! Word Wipeout is the result of a wonderful collaboration between Gray Matters Games and the College of DuPage. What started as a capstone project for three students, Jess Pistone, Samer Abdelmalek and Elizabeth Mendoza, is now a game that will be sold nationwide in the US and Canada at Barnes & Noble and Indigo along with hundreds of independent toy & game stores. The students won the College of DuPage award for best packaging and received incredible real-world experience by taking a game from concept to finished product.

 

GIFT THE LITTLE PICASSO OR DALÍ ON YOUR LIST THEIR NEXT MODERN MASTERPIECE WITH SQUEEGEE ART. Priced Nice At $29.99 And Chosen As A Top Holiday Toy In The Toy Insider’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide For Kids To Drip, Slide, & Create! Bloomfield, NJ (October 7, 2022) — Some kids color in the lines. And others go abstract. For families with a budding artist on their holiday list, consider giftwrapping a squeegee kit that could turn into a modern masterpiece! iHeartArt Squeegee Art ($29.99) skips the crayons and paintbrushes and introduces a whole new way to splash color across a blank page.

 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

Top Gun jacket auction raises £18,500 for charity. Two leading figures from within the toy and licensing communities hoped the auction of the movie memorabilia would raise money for industry charity The Light Fund to help it achieve its £250k English Channel Relay Swim Race 2022 fundraising goal. Mark Kingston and Wow Stuff’s Richard North not only surpassed the £5,000 target but managed to get a second...

The Canadian Toy Assn announced the 2022 inductees into the Canadian toy industry Hall of Fame. Monika Merz, Former President Toys "R" Us Canada & CEO of Toys "R" Us Asia Pacific as well as Spin Master co-founders, Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, and Ben Varadi, will be showcased and awarded for their contributions to the industry on Nov 17, 2022, at the Hall of Fame Gala Reception and Dinner at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

 

***the above posted after October 14th***

 

The Rose d'Or 2022 shortlist is out, and 20 kids shows are in the running. The Rose d’Or is pleased to announce that over 200 programmes from 30 countries have been selected for consideration in the final stages of Rose d’Or 2022. Mark Rowland, Chair of the Judges said “the quality of entries from across the globe gets ever higher, we’ve been presented with some very tough choices to arrive at this shortlist...

 

Toymaster, the largest buying group for independent toy retailers in the UK & Ireland, has presented awards to three more of its retailers who this year are celebrating 25 years of membership. Awards were accepted by Robert & Diane Gliddon from Gliddons Toymaster in Sidmouth; Stephen Miller from Stewart Miller Toymaster in Northern Ireland and Mike Slocombe from Watkin Toys in Taunton.

Paramount Consumer Products & Experiences UK proudly showcased its annual PAW Patrol Awards presented by celebrity mum of three, Vogue Williams, at London’s Soho Hotel on Saturday 8th October. Six of the UK’s bravest little heroes were honored with trophies at the exclusive star-studded ceremony where Vogue and her son Theo were joined by a host of celebrity families including Lauren Goodger...

Commonwealth Games makes mystery esports U-turn. Competitive gaming will not be a medal event in the 2026 Commonwealth Games, after a surprise U-turn. Esports was a pilot event at the 2022 Birmingham Games, co-funded by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF). 

 

MadeforMums Toy Awards winners 2022 announced. MadeForMums, the UK parenting site for product reviews, has announced its winners of the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022, as judged by over 600 child testers, their parents and a team of expert judges on over 300 shortlisted toys. MadeForMums says its top-ranking toy review content drives over £960K of toy sales a year, with a MadeForMums Toy Award...

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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.

Kazuki Takahashi was killed trying to save people from drowning, according to new reports. The Manga artist is best-known for creating the Yu-Gi-Oh series, which went on to spark a lucrative card game and anime which became a worldwide phenomenon in the early 2000s. Takahashi died on July 4 this year, with his death provoking an outpouring of love from fans of the series, those who were inspired by him, his friends and family. It is now being reported that the renowned artist died while trying to save other from drowning at a popular dive spot in Japan. 

Takahashi reportedly dumped into the water to save a US soldier, an 11-year-old girl and her mother who had got into difficulty at the swimming spot. Major Robert Bourgeau spoke to military newspaper Stars and Stripes where he said the 60-year-old had tried to rescue people caught in a riptide but drowned when he got into difficulty himself.

 

Diana Wallman - Toy World is sad to report that UK retailer and toy industry veteran Diana Wallman has passed away after a short illness. Both Diana and her husband Ken have been fervent supporters of the Fence Club since Ken joined in 1989. The couple were regular supporters of functions until they moved to Australia about 10 years ago. Clive Jones of The Fence Club shared the sad news with members who knew the couple.

Many will remember Ken and Diana’s successful toy shop, Young Folk, and their sports shop, in West Wickham. Diana was heavily involved in both businesses; she loved working in the shops and being part of the wider toy trade through the Fence Club and the BATR. The couple were members of Upper Thames Wholesalers and subsequently Youngsters for many years.

Clive, a friend of the couple, explained that Ken and Diana were in the UK for their granddaughters wedding in July which they thoroughly enjoyed. Before they left Australia for the occasion, Diana had been given the news she had terminal cancer.

Following the wedding, the couple decided to stay on in the UK to catch up with family and friends, however, in late August, Diana’s condition deteriorated suddenly and their plans were put on hold. “Sadly, she continued to decline very quickly and then entered a hospice a few weeks ago,” explained Clive. “Ken says the care she received there has been fantastic and it was a very peaceful last few days.”

 

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Wizards of the Coast Bans a 'Magic: The Gathering' Card Over Accessibility Concerns
WizKids Unveils 'D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Sand & Stone'

Magpie Games Announces 'Avatar Legends RPG' Preorder and Street Dates
Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'Magic: The Gathering - Starter Commander Decks'
Asmodee Announces 'WELCOME by Asmodee'
WizKids Unveils Three New Kidrobot 'Dungeons & Dragons: Phunny Plush' Toys
Renegade Announces Negotiations with Hasbro to License 'Axis & Allies,' 'Diplomacy,' and More
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Rolling for Initiative -- Looking at 'Magic' Fall 2022

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The Toy Universe by The Bugg Report and The Bugg Report(Australia)

Paramount Australia and New Zealand Consumer Products Partner Showcase Returns With Transformed Portfolio

Bluey Balloon to Debut at 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Splendor Duel, The Op's Ghoulish Games Giveaway
Splendor Duel is currently available for pre-order, The Op has a game giveaway in progress, and Pegasus Spiele has announced a new game.

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