the Bloom Report

Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is September 17 - 24, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with the most recent at top of each section and previous week drops off on 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 Weekly News Brief . . . 

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Happy Friday! 

Our industry is one of the few that has family companies spanning multiple generations. I have always loved their stories, which is why I created the All in the Family series with aNB Media. Read about 21 of these families HERE, the most recently highlighted of which is the Nathansons, the family behind Banagrams! We share their story below. 

And, speaking of family, I’m proud to announce our TAGIE nominees, celebrating our toy industry family! See the nominees HERE and mark your calendars for November 19th to join the fun as the TAGIEs come to life on the POP channel. There is no cost to tune in other than to RSVP, and have we got a fantastic show for you this year!

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report.

Mary

tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin: Death, Taxes, and…

It was Toy Fair a few years back, and as has often the custom when I dine with folks from the Old Company, stories began to surface about Ramon.  A truly larger-than-life Cuban-American, Ramon was our head of U.S. Sales — variously listening to or ignoring us marketing folks, closing the deal with Wal-Mart, exhorting his team to make their numbers.  Often (every quarter, actually), Ramon said: ‘you can count on three things — death, taxes, and Ramon makes his quarter.’

 

Ramon was by turns stubborn, gracious, funny, profane, and brilliant.  I often marveled at his clean desk.  When I would visit his office to ask him a question about a program or an account situation, Ramon would confidently answer without consulting a report or looking at his computer (I think he just used that to send cartoons back and forth with his friends).  Then, because perhaps he thought I might question his omniscience, he would open his desk drawer, extract a single piece of paper, glance at it, and then confirm his previous answer.  I’m pretty sure that paper was blank.

 

It dawned on me years later that my connection to Ramon ran deeper than just Marketing Meets Sales.  I was only 26 when my dad died — he didn’t get to meet our kids, or see what I eventually accomplished in my work life.  It’s not exaggerating to suggest that I looked up to Ramon like a father.  Everyone needs mentors…and everyone should be as lucky as I was that Ramon guided me and gave me advice as I grew through the phases of my career.  I was over 45, and he was still calling me ‘Timmy.’   Read More . . . 

tBR Person of the Week:

Beaver Raymond, VP of Sales and Marketing at Zing, Talks Innovation at the Company

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A makeshift backyard birthday party favor accidentally launched Texas-based entrepreneur and current VP of Sales and Marketing at Zing, Beaver Raymond, into the toy business!

In 2003, Raymond was running a successful clothing manufacturing company. The night before his son’s 9th birthday party, his wife Kim frantically announced to him that they needed 25 party favors for the guests! Raymond headed out to Home Depot, bought some PVC pipe and rigged a craft novelty to build what would be the first Marshmallow Shooter that shoots real marshmallows. Kids AND adults at the party loved it! So much so that that’s how, quite literally, the Marshmallow Fun Company was launched.

 

Fast forward to 2019. Zing, the maker and innovator of high-performance active playthings, was poised to expand its line of blasters. They had their sights set on Marshmallow Fun Company and Raymond.  They knew his whimsical, yet innovative, products seamlessly fit into Zing’s award-winning line of blasters and bow and arrows. The deal was made, Raymond came on board and a sweet relationship began. 

Raymond, now the VP of Sales and Marketing at Zing, is still a product development guy at heart.  He continues to strive to bring more ingenious toys and novelty playthings to market. “My favorite part of working in this business is coming up with something that people didn’t know they needed -- like the Marshmallow Blasters!”  Read More . . . 

tBR Family of the Week: Toy Family Series: The Nathanson Family

Happy 15th Anniversary Bananagrams! 

Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of meeting Abe Nathanson, and love that he created Bananagrams when he was 76! I have been fortunate to share conversations over dinner with his daughter Rena about running a business, families, being a mom, life philosophies, our industry, and more. Theirs is a warm and wonderful story and I hope Bananagrams continues to drive people bananas for many more years!

-Mary Couzin

How did you and your family first enter the toy industry?

Rena Nathanson: The original Bananagrams grew from my family’s passion for games. At the time we developed Bananagrams in the mid-2000s, we were a family of three generations, spanning in age from 7 to 75 years, and we loved playing all sorts of word games.  However, nothing out there had the speed and fluidity that we craved.  We longed for something competitive, but that the family could play together — all ages at the same time.  We also wanted something portable with no extraneous packing or pieces.

After marathon sessions experimenting with various permutations of word games (and subjecting our extended family and friends to hours of testing), we finally came up with Bananagrams. The name originated from my dad, Abe, declaring, “This anagram game is driving me bananas!” Hence, Bananagrams!  And it was my mother, Sandy, who led us on the design for the now iconic bright yellow pouch.  Read More . . .

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Financial & Legal News . . .

B.C.'s first unionized animation workers ratify collective agreement. The 200 workers at Titmouse studio are the second group of animators in Canada to unionize. The deal comes one year after the workers became the first in B.C.'s animation industry to unionize, organizing under Animation Guild, Local 938 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), around concerns over unpaid overtime...

The Board Game Business Is Booming, But the Global Shipping Crisis Could Be Disastrous.  As prices skyrocket for both shipping containers and space onboard overseas cargo ships, shipping delays and freight cost increases are hitting board game publishers, and particularly smaller companies, hard. Despite the fact that consumers are buying games, there’s no way for publishers to get products to their customers...

Cartoons and children's shows are next on the chopping block in China's entertainment crackdown.  The National Radio and Television Administration, the country's broadcasting authority, announced late Friday that it would ban cartoons and other TV shows primarily produced for children that contain any mention of violence, blood, vulgarity or pornography.

RETAILERS CHARTERING THEIR OWN SHIPS  And Leasing Containers.  It had to happen: large retailers have begun to charter their own ships and lease containers to handle shipping inbound goods from Asia to North America.  The most recent was Costco, which chartered three ocean vessels for the next year, and leased thousands of containers to use on the ships, CFO Richard Galanti explained to analysts...

Fresh series of power cuts hit China factoriesFactories in at least 10 Chinese provinces have either cut output or closed temporarily this month, after government-imposed power cuts aimed at curbing carbon emissions. According to a report in The Loadstar, the cuts came after China’s economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, unveiled a plan to restrict energy-intensive....

Asmodee owners rumoured to be looking to sell the company for 2b Euros. According to a report on the Board Game Quest website, PAI Partners is in the process of exploring its options for a sale of the Asmodee business. Board Game Quest, a specialist website for the hobby gaming market, quotes Stephen Bounocore, the now-retired publisher of Stronghold Games (one of the publishers distributed by Asmodee)...

(the above posted after September 24th)

Netflix acquires The Roald Dahl Story Company  With plans to create an entire Roald Dahl universe, the streamer has 19 projects in the works and is planning to spend US$1 billion on animated series alone. Netflix sweetened an animated series partnership it signed with The Roald Dahl Story Co 3 yrs ago by acquiring the British co. and its slate of beloved children’s book properties, including Charlie and the Chocolate...

TikTok parent ByteDance adds time limit for kids under 14 on its video app in China.  Douyin’s youth mode will limit kids under 14 to 40 minutes a day.  The app’s youth mode keeps it in line with the Chinese government’s new restrictions on access to video games for younger children. Teens under 14 will be able to access Douyin between 6AM and 10PM, but won’t be able to use the app outside of that window...

Evergrande: Crisis-hit firm strikes China debt deal. The main property unit of Chinese real estate giant Evergrande has said it has struck a deal over a bond interest payment which is due on Thursday. The amount due for the domestic bond is estimated to be $35.9m (£26.3m). The announcement will offer some relief to investors concerned over the company's debt crisis. 

Retail sales rise, NRF plans supply chain 360 event. The issues with the global supply chain are commanding headlines on a daily basis, but retailers are still doing big business. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail sales spiked in August as consumer demand continued to outweigh the multitude of issues affecting businesses right now. 

China trials website for public to report games violating new restrictions. A new website has been launched in China urging people to report any video games or companies that do not comply with the nation's recently increased restrictions on gaming. The South China Morning Post reports that this website, titled 'Reporting platform for gaming companies implementation of anti-addiction regulations'...

Has the penny dropped? Daily Mail warns UK faces being crippled by Brexit. The penny looked to have dropped for another pro-Brexit newspaper this weekend after the Daily Mail warned the UK faced being crippled by a “perfect storm”. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to hold a fresh round of crisis talks with the energy industry amid fears more small suppliers could go to the wall following a surge in gas prices. 

Supply Chain Bottlenecks (enough stories to warrant own section . . . unfortunately)

Hottest toys may be sold out by Black Friday due to bottlenecks. The most popular toys for kids this holiday season, from nostalgic favorites to cheap items popularized by TikTok, may sell out much sooner as a result of global supply-chain hangups. A lack of workers in China, container shortages and bottlenecks getting containers onto ships are all contributing to shortages, toy industry experts say. 

Record backlog of cargo ships at California ports. Some 65 cargo ships have been forced to queue outside two of America's biggest ports, in the latest sign of supply chain disruption hitting the US. The ships are stuck outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, which handle 40% of all cargo containers entering the country. Before Covid, it was unusual for more than one to wait for a berth.

Christmas toy price rises and stock shortages warning. Parents are being warned of toy shortages and price hikes as we approach Christmas. Industry body the Toy Retailers' Association (TRA) said while shelves were unlikely to be empty, there would be less choice than previous years. Suppliers blamed a combination of rising shipping costs and the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers. 

Toy makers battle supply chain hiccupsAlthough the calendar says it’s still summer for another day or so, consider getting your Christmas list polished up sooner rather than later. Leading toy manufacturers are worried that continued slowdowns across global supply chains will impact the holiday shopping season. 

High-stakes Christmas looms as surging toy demand meets supply-chain snarls. With demand for toys at an all-time high, U.S. suppliers and retailers are racing to outrun severe air, sea and land shipping snarls so Santa has a mountain of dolls, scooters and video game consoles to deliver at Christmas. The holidays account for a major chunk of the toy industry's nearly $33 billion annual sales, and LEGO blocks...

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Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

Parents and teachers are focusing on social-emotional learning more than ever before. According to a new survey from publisher McGraw Hill, 94% of educators are aware of the concept and its value for kids, compared to 83% in 2018. US schools have also started teaching kids how to manage their emotions, maintain healthy relationships and make empathetic decisions, according to the “2021 Social and Emotional...

(the above posted after September 24th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Christmas is NOT cancelled…it’s the Friday Blog!  “Soaring bills, empty shelves and NO toys for Christmas” screamed the Daily Mail headline last weekend. Clearly, I am familiar with the idea of journalistic licence and the concept of hooking readers in with a hyperbolic headline. But this example reinforces something I have been feeling for a few weeks now...

Innovating in existing markets: 3 lessons from LEGO.  The Danish toymaker’s trajectory from industry trailblazer to the brink of bankruptcy to sustained recovery shows there’s more to innovation than sheer luck or a wholesale focus on disruption. “No innovation lasts forever,” said David Robertson, a senior lecturer in operations management, in a recent webinar hosted by MIT Sloan Executive Education. 

How the Pop It! Invaded Your Home.  Blame a capuchin monkey and pandemic anxiety for the latest toy craze. The company behind the original idea is an Israeli outfit called Theora Design, which was founded by a married couple, Theo and Ora Coster. Theo emigrated from the Netherlands to Israel after World War II and married Ora, an art teacher who would become the creative mind behind their company, which released...

TTPM, the leader in video product reviews for toys, baby, and pet gear has released their Holiday Most Wanted 2021 List. This year, the Holiday Most Wanted List is divided into four categories: Learning & Developmental Play, Activities & Active Play, Role Playing & Imaginative Play, and Entertainment/Influencers. Within each of the four categories, the TTPM Editorial Team, who have a combined 100+ years of predicting...

55 top toys for Christmas 2021: The most popular gifts that will be on Santa's wish lists. There are fewer than 100 days until Christmas – and with the clock ticking on the countdown to the festive season, it’s time to get shopping for those Top Toys of 2021.  Choosing the most joy-inducing Christmas gifts for our kids isn’t always easy, so every shortcut is welcome. 

The Toy Insider experts reveal the hottest toys of 2021. Debuting at Holiday of Play in New York City, the Toy Insider has unwrapped its 16th annual Holiday Gift Guide. Published by Adventure Media & Events, the Toy Insider Holiday Gift Guide breaks out this year’s most coveted new toys and games across three lists, including the legendary Hot 20, the STEM 10, and the 12 Under $20. 

Meet the Nigerian board game creator trying to change an industryLagos, Nigeria Kenechukwu Cornelius Ogbuagu has been obsessed with playing and building games his entire life. As a child, he played board and card games including Snakes and Ladders, Whot, and Ludo with the kids in his neighborhood in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria, where he was born and raised. 

Extremists using video-game chats to spread hate. Extremists are using mainstream video games and gaming chat platforms to spread hate, BBC Click has found. Over three months, researchers found anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia on platforms, including DLive and Odysee, where users stream and chat about games such as Call of Duty and Minecraft. 

Even Sonic dad Yuji Naka is shocked at game’s $430,500 auction price. The rivalry between Mario and Sonic goes back for decades, but even one of Sonic’s creators was stunned to see the blue hedgehog apparently giving chase to Mario in a whole new realm: that of outrageously priced video game auctions. As noted by Eurogamer, Yuji Naka, former head of Sega in-house development crew Sonic Team, was stunned...

Uncovering the real history of the women who pioneered video games. It’s a fact: The women who helped shape the video game industry often go unacknowledged, hidden from history by popular narratives and male-centric scholarship. Mary Kenney, a narrative writer and game designer at Insomniac Games, aims to shed light on some of those overlooked pioneers by highlighting key women...

The Bootleg Bible is a delicious dive into bootleg toymaking around the world. You might be familiar with the official Avengers toys, but did you know there are bootleg characters crafted by indie toymakers globally, celebrating cultural icons that didn't make the cut but their makers believe deserved an action figure? A new book by Blue Monday Press reveals more about this fascinating world of bootleg toys. 

Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks. An architect and LEGO enthusiast from Chicago is touring a spectacular LEGO model of Vatican City. The work is the world’s first contiguous LEGO landscape of an entire sovereign country. Vatican City may be one of the smallest city states in the world, but it has no shortage of minute details. 

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Zoom-Loom Automatic Weaving Machine from Kenner (1968). Children of the ’60s and ’70s could use the Zoom-Loom Automatic Weaving Machine to design & make their own placemats, scarves, pot holders, and more. The toy’s promotion of textile production and sewing skills is an excellent example of the type of creativity toy that was being released during the time period. Knowing that children could get frustrated with lengthy setup and preparation times, Kenner took a variety of steps to ensure that the Zoom-Loom, released in 1968, was easy to use.

Matchbox Aircraft Kits (1973). First introduced in 1973, Matchbox Aircraft Kits extended the company’s line of diecast model cars to include a set of plastic aircraft model kits. Designed to appeal to modelers of all ages, the kits were 1/72 scale and ranged from World War I biplanes to more modern jet fighters and helicopters. Each kit came with a set of full-color decals and a multi-position base stand that allowed for “high-action poses.” Out of the box, each airplane came pre-molded in two colors, which varied depending on the aircraft and provided a finished look without need for painting.

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Fisher-Price Expands Little People Collector Line with New Figures.  Three new Fisher-Price Little People Collector collections debuted this week, including the Golden Girls, the Rolling Stones, and Inspiring Women. Fans of each can take home the tiny version of big names, either for their kids’ toy boxes or for their own collector’s shelf.

These Jurassic World Collectibles Combine Slime, Dinos, and Epic Battles.  ToyMonster revealed plans for a U.S. launch of its Jurassic World Captivz Clash Edition line. These dinosaur egg collectibles are set to hit store shelves in November (just in time for the holidays), and each comes with a detailed dinosaur figure. Inside, kids will also discover lava-like slime, a battle token, and a battle guide inside

JAZWARES’ ‘DO, RE & ME’ TOYS LAND AT AMAZON. Characters from the new Amazon Original animated series Do, Re & Mi are flying into the toy department, appropriately, at Amazon. The new musical series about a trio of bird buds voiced by Kristen Bell, Jackie Tohn, and Luke Youngblood debuted last week on Amazon Video and Jazwares just released its first toys from the series with more to follow in the months ahead.

Konami Cross Media NY, Inc. named PhatMojo as master toy licensee for Yu-Gi-Oh! to develop a toy line for the brand in time for the 2022 holiday season. “PhatMojo is one of the fastest growing toy and brand management companies and we are excited about our new partnership with a company that prides itself on creativity and connecting fan communities,” said Konami VP of licensing and marketing, Jennifer Coleman. .

Cubles, known for its collectible, 3D paperboard character, has entered into a licensing partnership with Professional Bull Riders (PBR), brokered by IMG. Cubles is launching a PBR-branded line featuring four riders with bulls, available now on PBRShop.com and Cubles.com, and coming to additional retailers later this month. Recommended for ages 6 and up Cubles are a 3D mash-up of puzzles, origami, action figures...

WowWee will release Mattel’s Barbie Dream Playhouse as a Pop2Play foldable playset this November.  Kids can play inside the bedroom loft, featuring a pop-up bed and dresser along with cardboard accessories so they can play with their own Barbie dolls. The playhouse comes complete with a kitchen, doors and windows that open and close and more. The pop-up Barbie Dream Playhouse folds flat once kids are done...

(the above posted after September 24th)

Inside Little Engine's new preschool slate  EXCLUSIVE: The Canadian indie has new preschool concepts in development with TVO and CBC that it’s looking to take worldwide, and is moving into third-party distribution for the first time. Based on a children’s songs by country singer George Canyon, Happy Trails is a 39 x seven-minute musical series for three to fives that’s in development with CBC.

Crayola has launched a new season of its original, digital-first Scribble Scrubbie Pets series, produced by WildBrain Spark, a kids’ and family AVOD network and digital studio. The Crayola Kingdom channel is managed globally by WildBrain Spark across YouTube and YouTube Kids and is home to the Scribble Scrubbie Pets series and all Crayola kid-targeted content. 

Bluey Expands Across Europe with New Licensing Agents.  BBC Studios has appointed new licensing agents to represent the preschool series Bluey in 24 European countries. Bluey began in Australia in 2018 and has since launched in the U.S. and UK markets with success. This further expansion will include distribution deals for global master toy provider Moose Toys in each new territory.

Mattel, Warner Music Group’s Arts Music Release He-Man, Hot Wheels, and Thomas & Friends Albums. Last year, Mattel entered into a multiyear global music licensing agreement with Warner Music Group’s (WMG) Arts Music division for the label to serve as the sole distributor of Mattel’s back catalog of more than 1,000 songs. Now, new albums are joining the Mattel discography with the release of a trio of new titles...

PlayMonster, Lucasfilm Team up for Star Wars-themed Toys and Activities.  The Force is strong at PlayMonster as the Wisconsin-based company is collaborating with Lucasfilm to launch new Star Wars-themed products in 2022. In its first drop, PlayMonster will release toys and activities infused with iconic characters from a galaxy far, far away that include Koosh, Spirograph, Colorforms, and Latchkits.

Animaccord’s Masha and the Bear goes from strength to strength in the UK  Masha and the Bear, Animaccord's internationally beloved kids' cartoon, has reached another milestone by hitting 100b views worldwide on YouTube. In this special piece, the studio outlines the property's other global rankings, how this year's B2C activities will drive sales at retail, and what's next for the content slate.

L.O.L. Surprise is coming to the silver screen with ‘L.O.L. Surprise! The Movie’MGA Entertainment’s (MGAE) L.O.L. Surprise! line is hitting the big screen. Dropping on Netflix, L.O.L. Surprise: The Movie! will follow one girl as she goes on a fabulous journey to find the hero insider herself. Filled with music and dance, this 45-minute animated movie is bursting with fan-favorite characters — and of course, lots of surprises. 

‘Kingdom Hearts’ board game coming soonThe OP Games has announced a new “Kingdom Hearts”-inspired game. In “Kingdom Hearts: Perilous Pursuits,” players will take on the roles of five characters to explore and overpower mounting threats to various worlds to seal the doors of six worlds to save them and restore the harmony forever. 

Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! scores content from Hasbro’s eOne, othersHit content from Hasbro‘s Entertainment One (eOne), Zodiak Kids, and ABC Australia is coming to Kartoon Channel! Genius Brands International licensed a host of new programming, including Peppa Pig, My Little Pony, PJ Masks, and more as it continues to expand its library of kids and family content. 

Barbie exhibition to launch  in Las VegasIllusion Projects and Mattel have announced Barbie: A Cultural Icon, the first Barbie doll exhibition to tour in the U.S,. inside The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas. Opening in October, the exhibition will honor more than 60 years of Barbie, including the first Barbie doll produced in 1959 and leading guests through the decades, paying homage to Barbie and the world around her.

Funko Games announces 'The Warriors: Come Out To Play. Funko Games announced The Warriors: Come Out to Play, a new fighting board game, which will be headed to retail stores in Q1 2022. This new board game places players in the shoes of the Warriors as they try to escape back to Coney Island before a rival gang wastes them. 

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People . . . 

Lindsay Pierce has joined the Revenew Sales team!  Lindsay has been named VP-Sales and will be handling mid-tier Key Account retailers with whom she has built successful relationships during her career in the Toy Industry.  She is also excited about taking on current Revenew Sales accounts with a goal to create even more successful partnerships.  Lindsay is based is Portland, OR but will be handling accounts....

Modi Toys co-founder Avani Modi Sarkar was recognized as one of Inc.‘s 2021 Female Founders 100. Sarkar and her brother, Viral Modi, are Indian immigrants who launched the company in 2018, after they were inspired to create plush toys that would help them to pass their cultural and religious traditions on to their first-generation, Indian-American children. Each Modi Toys plush represents a Hindu deity and...

Basic Fun! appointed Craig Leaf its new president. Company founder and former president, Jay Foreman, will remain CEO. As president, Leaf is tasked with driving top- and bottom-line growth, while focusing on expanding market share, building the business across all channels, and partnering with customers and the global Basic Fun! team. He is based out of the company’s headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

WarnerMedia Kids & Family is expanding its creative and programming team with new hires Gloria Ponce and Sowon Sawyer, who will both report to  head of kids and family programming Amy Friedman.Sawyer was named VP of program planning, and will focus on the recently launched Cartoonito block plus other programming initiatives across Cartoon Network and HBO Max.

Sesame Workshop has promoted CMO Samantha Maltin, adding an EVP remit to her portfolio that now includes oversight of events and IP growth. Maltin reports to president Sherrie Westin, and is now responsible for expanding the non-profit’s brand and humanitarian efforts through events, as well as leaning on its content archive to make a bigger impact and drive revenue internationally. 

Paramount Pictures shuffles execs  Motion Picture Group president Emma Watts has left, and Daria Cercek and Michael Ireland were promoted to take her place. Paramount did not provide a reason for Watts’s exit; she joined the company in March 2020, fresh off a stint leading the 20th Century label for Disney following its acquisition of Fox.

Ayo Davis takes charge of Disney Branded TV.  The longtime Disney exec will take over from Gary Marsh in heading up programming and operations as president of the content division. In her new role, Davis will oversee programming, strategy, casting, current series, development projects, business affairs and marketing for all content going to Disney+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

(the above posted after September 24th)

PBS ups Sara DeWitt to SVP & GM  After 20 years in digital-focused roles at the US pubcaster, she will now oversee children's programming and education strategy across all platforms. The role was previously held for 21 years by Lesli Rotenberg, who left in May to pursue new opportunities advocating on behalf of children and families.

Gary Marsh stepping down  The president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television is leaving corporate to launch his own prodco, backed by the House of Mouse. Marsh’s new venture is backed by Disney General Ent, under a multi-year production deal designed to develop “world-class brand-defining content” for Disney’s streaming and linear platforms. 

Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Joel Morris and Mike Horn, co-founders of Cubles — sturdy, paperboard characters that are made in the U.S. On the show, Albritton asks the duo about engineering the unique articulation of their Cubles figures and the challenges of creating an environmentally friendly business model. 

ZAG strengthens CP team with new leadership  Julian Zag, EVP of global operations for ZAG, will now also serve as the California-based company’s head of global consumer products. Effective immediately, Julian will lead a team of more than 60 executives focused on retail, licensing, digital and gaming, promotions, live events and experiences.

WildBrain reconfigures its executive ranks. Stephanie Betts and Deirdre Brennan move up to CCO and COO, Damon Berger joins as the company's first-ever CMO, and Jon Gisby is leaving. The company has also hired Damon Berger (pictured left) earlier this month as its first-ever CMO, with a focus on taking advantage of new business and revenue opportunities in media sales, social commerce and digital marketing.

The Gaming Goat president expelled from Gen Con. Jeff Bergren, President of The Gaming Goat retail chain and franchise operation (which also has a game publishing division, TGG Games), was expelled from Gen Con, the convention announced and Bergren confirmed in a Facebook post.  The move was taken after a number of allegations of bad behavior by Bergren were posted to the Gen Con blog, including the allegation....

The Point.1888 appoints Hornby’s Aurélie Dilain-Waclawski. The Point.1888, an agency which counts childrens’ entertainment giants CoComelon, Blippi, The Raccoons, Moomin and Tom Gates as clients, has taken the next step in its quest to position itself as a leader in toys with the appointment of Aurélie Dilain-Waclawski. Previously licensing contracts manager and brand licensing manager at Hornby Hobbies...

WB Games hires David Hewitt to be studio head of Monolith Productions. Warner Bros. Games has hired former Sony Santa Monica executive David Hewitt to run Monolith Productions. Hewitt will be directing studio strategy for the studio most recently responsible for the Lord of the Rings-inspired Middle-earth series. Both Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War saw critical and commercial success with the debut of the Nemesis system.

Companies, Brands . . .  

How Sesame is pivoting the Not-Too-Late Show.  With a wider focus, more predictability and real kids having fun with celeb guests, the show should be more engaging for preschoolers, says Ben Lehmann. Sesame Workshop is raising the curtain on season two of its live-action series The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo. And armed with lessons from the first batch of episodes...

FoxMind Expands Go Pop! Collection of Pop It! Toys.  The company that created the viral Pop It! craze is rolling out a new range of products this fall. FoxMind is expanding its Go Pop! collection with new toys and games, including fresh shapes, new sizes, family gameplay, and a range of collectible, limited-edition designs.

Basic Fun!, Timber Moose Lodge Attempt Lincoln Logs Guinness World Record.  An epic, 3-day play date is currently underway in Utah, where a group of builders is hard at work on constructing a massive building from Lincoln Logs. Basic Fun! and Timber Moose Lodge are collaborating on a Guinness World Record attempt for the “Largest Lincoln Logs Structure” — a 200-sq-ft log cabin utilizing more than 30,000 pieces.

Nintendo and Illumination announced a Super Mario Bros. animated movie is coming to theaters Dec 2022. Chris Pratt will star as the voice of Mario, along with Charlie Day (Luigi), Anya-Taylor Joy (Peach), Jack Black (Bowser), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek), Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike), and surprise cameos from Charles Martinet.

Wondery launches kids podcast subscription. To meet growing demand for screen-free, family-friendly content, Wondery+ Kids will feature originals and series from both Tinkercast and Audible. Amazon podcast studio Wondery is accelerating its growth plan in the kids space with a new subscription service. Launching exclusively on Apple Podcasts today, Wondery+ Kids (US$4.99 monthly) is aimed at 4-12-year-olds...

UK Indie Midco Toys announces Top 12 festive predictions. “Because stock is tight and some brands are performing extremely well, we have named some ranges nice and early,” Dave told Toy World. “Some big suppliers are already running low on stock and this year, it will be to everyone’s advantage to push smaller brands. This is a philosophy we often adopt at Midco anyway; we place huge emphasis on lines ...

Wizards of the Coast has launched a new games studio, the 1st project an action-adventure game set in the GI Joe universe. Wizards of the Coast has posted several job listings related to a new games development studio based out of the Raleigh-Durham area of NC. The game studio is led by "industry veterans" from WB Games, the studio behind the Hitman series and several of the Batman: Arkham games. 

German toymaker says goodbye to Merkel with commemorative teddy bear. Angela Merkel has been called many things during her 16 years as German chancellor. Soft and cuddly were rarely in the mix. But now, as Merkel prepares to leave office, a German toy company has unveiled a commemorative teddy bear that’s exactly that. Hermann-Spielwaren, a century-old, family-owned toy manufacturer based in Coburg, Germany...

American Girl Celebrates 35 Years: It’s Not Child’s Play. In honor of its 35th anniversary, American Girl staged a fashion show at its Rockefeller Center flagship with help from designers Prabal Gurung and Carly Cushnie and Harlem’s Fashion Row. With a salon, doll hospital, café and other attractions, the 38,000-square-foot store is kaleidoscopic maze in itself. Building on the company’s inclusivity-driven heritage...

(the above posted after September 24th)

Puzzle company Wrebbit 3D is still going from strength to strength as it celebrates its 30th anniversary, and looks forward to some strong licensed releases for autumn/winter 21. Over the three decades, the Canadian company has been producing high quality, detailed 3D puzzles which feature some of the most iconic structures from around the world. It has also assembled a strong catalogue of licensed puzzles....

The brand new Smyths Toys winter catalogue has been released today, Friday the 24th September. Customers can pick up a free copy in all Smyths Toys stores across the UK, and enjoy 300 pages of inspiration for Christmas. Smyths Toys Superstores has 135 store locations throughout the UK and Ireland which offer a huge range of toys, video games, outdoor and baby products for Christmas 2021. 

Calm taps Hasbro & P!nk for new kids section  The app will feature brands and talent like Peppa Pig, Minions, Kung Fu Panda and Maya Rudolph in weekly content designed to improve kids' mental health. Mindfulness app Calm has launched a dedicated kids section filled with lullabies, bedtime stories and guided meditations to meet a growing demand from parents for content that improves the mental health of children.

Just Play has entered into a licensing agreement with edutainment company Kukua to create toys, including dolls and role-play sets, for the YouTube Originals series Super Sema. The show follows young African girl Sema and her twin brother MB who have STEAM superpowers.

Super Sema premiered on International Women’s Day this past March and has amassed millions of views since its launch. 

Social Media Stars Collaborate with Spin Master on Stylish P.Lushes Pets™ Plush. Spin Master unveils designer P.Lushes Pets™ plush collection in collaboration with six social media stars who have staked claim on their own P.Lushes Pets character.  Content creators Savannah Labrant, Jenna Davis and Loren Gray among the fashionable influencers to unveil their P.Lushes Pets characters as well as customized capsule...

McDonald's is not lovin' plastic.  The fast-food chain said it's working with toy companies to develop alternatives to plastic toys as part of the company's "ambition to drastically reduce plastics and offer sustainable Happy Meal toys globally by the end of 2025." The introduction of the toys will result in a roughly 90% reduction in virgin fossil fuel-based plastic compared to 2018 levels, the company said.

Girl Scouts of the USA and Hasbro are teaming up to promote the power of friendship and inclusivity in time for the release of the new "My Little Pony: A Next Generation" movie from eOne, Hasbro's global entertainment studio, available on Netflix starting September 24. "We are ecstatic to team up with Hasbro to support more girls in a way that meets them where they are and centers around the beloved My Little Pony...

FoxMind Gets Poppin’ with Canspan BMG as PR Partner.  The company behind the Go Pop! and Pop It! brands has a new public relations partner. FoxMind Group Ltd inked a deal with Canspan BMG Inc. under which Canspan will provide influencer marketing and editorial support to the company in addition to traditional PR services.

Pokémon TCG Heads to Smartphones for the First Time.  Fans of Pokémon trading cards can officially take the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) on the go with a new app. Pokémon TCG Live allows kids to play the Pokémon TCG on smartphones for the first time. The game is free to play and kids can also play it on tablets, PCs, and Macs.

UK Indie retailers have have been bringing in stock early this year in order to mitigate potential supply problems this year. And it would seem that the decision to be prepared is already paying off, as customers heed the ‘shop early’ messages promoted by the toy industry and have begun putting together their Christmas toy hauls. Many are also choosing to do Christmas shopping in physical stores...

The Lego Group has launched a playful new iteration of its global Rebuild the World brand campaign. Now in its third year, the 2021 campaign celebrates children as the masters of creative problem solving and shows what can be achieved when people work together to overcome differences or challenges. The main film is centered on the story of a knight whose attempts to cross a river ...

Penguin Random House Children’s has unveiled a brand refresh for Peter Rabbit, with a new world-building identity that it says places Peter front and centre of the world created by Beatrix Potter almost 120 yrs ago. The progressive brand identity has been rolled out across social channels and digital platforms, and will appear on publishing and licensed product packaging from autumn this year in the UK. The global launch...

Argosy Toys has been enjoying a major pre-Christmas sales boost following an impassioned sales plea its owner, Paul Wohl, posted on Facebook. The viral post, which on Friday afternoon had been shared over 16,000 times and seen over 1m times, read: “Hello world! This is my shop. Please remember us this year if you need toys for Christmas. Really swimming against the tide of Amazon these days. 

SPACE RACERS TOYS JOIN INSPIRATION4 FOR THE FIRST ALL-CIVILIAN MISSION TO ORBIT. Toys inspired by the Space Racers STEM-based animated series will blast off on Inspiration4, the first-ever all-civilian mission to orbit. Upon their return to Earth, Eagle, Robyn, Hawk, Raven, and Starling will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

American Girl celebrates unity and equality with ‘World by Us’ collection. Mattel‘s American Girl brand is continuing its 35th anniversary celebration with World by Us, a new collection of contemporary characters. Makena Williams, Evette Peeters, and Maritza Ochoa have overlapping stories that are designed to reflect important social issues, including racial equality, environmentalism, and immigration, and the value,,,

'Pokemon TCG' rules again, the trend is not standard 'Magic's' friend. TCGplayer released their August data for sealed product sales and price changes. This data set shed light on some new and continuing trends that have developed in the TCG sealed market. Pokemon TCG continues its general dominance of this chart which it had established early on in 2021. 

Looney Labs unveils two new 'Star Trek Fluxx' expansions. Looney Labs unveiled two new expansions for Star Trek Fluxx, Archer Expansion and Porthos Expansion, for release on October 15. The Archer Expansion revolves around Captain Archer and the Temporal Cold War from Star Trek: Enterprise. This pack includes Daniels, a Temporal Rift, and the Xindi as well as a new Meta Rule called Combined Decks.

Headstart Resoftables plush come to U.S. in October. Australian toy maker Headstart is bringing its products to the U.S. market. Next month, Walmart stores in the U.S. will begin carrying Headstart’s Resoftables, a range of plush toys made from recycled plastic bottles.

Additionally, Resoftables packaging is comprised of recycled cardboard. 

Become the king of the pirates in 'Glory Islands'. Rio Grande Games announced Glory Islands, an area control board game by Arve Fuhler, for release into retail in December. This game takes place in 1660 on the island of Tortuga, which was an infamous port for harboring all manner of marauders, pirates, and scallywags.

Floodgate Games unveils 'Decorum'. Floodgate Games unveiled Decorum, a new cooperative house decorating game, which will release in January 2022. In Decorum, players work together to decorate a house while trying to achieve secret goals without compromising other players' objectives. It is a scenario-based game featuring 30 scenarios where, in each scenario, the players’ home starts with certain...

Conquer the cheese moon in 'First Rat'. Pegasus Spiele will release First Rat, a new strategy board game, into U.S. retail in December. In this game, the rats are building a rocket to launch themselves to the Cheese Moon, and players must help their rat family earn a place of honor in junkyard history for their contributions to the first lunar-cheese landing. 

Rio Grande Games announces new 'Dominion' expansion. Rio Grande Games announced Dominion: Allies, a new expansion for the Dominion deck-building game, which will hit stores in December. Dominion: Allies is the 14th expansion to this long-standing, deck-building card game. In this expansion, the kingdom has finally appeased the barbarians to the north, and players look to expand their alliances. 

Disguise Enters the dojo with Cobra Kai costumes at Walmart. Disguise — the costumes and seasonal division of Jakks Pacific — inked a deal with Sony Pictures Consumer Products to create a new range of costumes and accessories inspired by the hit series Cobra Kai. Under the new deal, Disguise will design, market, manufacture, and distribute Cobra Kai costumes and accessories...

'Marvel Champions: The Card Game' finds its 'Vision'. Fantasy Flight Games has announced the Marvel Champions: The Card Game - The Vision Hero Pack for release in Q1 2022. The Vision Hero Pack is the final Hero Pack of the Mad Titan’s Shadow wave of releases. The pack includes a pre-built Protection deck, which features mechanics revolving around the ultimate android’s unique density manipulation.

New 'Black Templars Army Set for 'Warhammer 40,000'. Games Workshop revealed the Black Templars Army Set at Gen Con, a miniatures kit featuring the crusading Space Marine Chapter which comes with an exclusive codex supplement. The Black Templars Army Set offers players an easy way to jump into a Black Templars force.  

Fantasy Flight Games announces 'Lotr: The Card Game - Revised Core Set'. Fantasy Flight Games announced The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - Revised Core Set, a new edition of the LCG, and Dark of Mirkwood scenario pack for release in early 2022. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is FFG's longest-running LCG, and it is getting a new core set. 

Lookout Games heads for 'Llamaland'. Llama farming is the theme for Lookout Games’ new family-friendly game Llamaland, created by Barenpark designer Phil Walker-Harding.  It will be available in North America through Asmodee. In Llamaland, players try to operate their farms located precariously on the slopes of mountains and hills, attracting llamas to help with the task.  

Little Tikes launches Rescue Tales for autumn/winter. Part of Little Tikes‘ new autumn/winter product line-up, Rescue Tales plush pets offer a new way for kids to learn what it is like to adopt a real rescue animal, helping them develop their empathy and caring skills. The wearable Rescue Tales Groom ‘n Go Pet Backpack lets adopters take canine style with them wherever they go.

Solve mysteries with Lucky Duck's 'Crime Zoom'. Lucky Duck Games is launching Crime Zoom, a series of card-based cooperative mystery games, with two titles releasing in October:  His Last Card and A Bird of Ill Omen. Crime Zoom uses illustrated cards to create a crime scene, then challenges the players to solve the mystery.  

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

Every big game coming out in fall 2021. The leaves are changing color, the wind is getting chilly, and all your favorite beverages are required by law to be flavored with pumpkin. Goodbye, hot and gross summer, and hello fall. And while this fall might not be as stacked as previous autumns, with plenty of games delayed into 2022, it’s still packed with some big titles including Far Cry 6, Metroid Dread, Age of Empires IV, ...

Japanese esports team is filled with senior citizens. Meet the Matagi Snipers. Based in Akita, the eight-person team is Japan’s first senior esports professional team, complete with a sponsor and everything. The team was established as a way to show the health benefits of esports for older adults, as well as to impress the grandkids. NHK reports that twenty-one people applied to join the team, but only eight made the cut. 

There's a new (and free) digital Pokémon card game coming. It’s actually happening: The Pokémon Company is finally giving the world a straightforward way to play the Pokémon trading card game digitally, online, and on your smartphone. Announced today, the new app is called Pokémon TCG Live and it couldn’t be coming at a better time with the Pokémon card game once again exploding in popularity.

League of Legends will now discipline AFK players more harshly. League of Legends players, particularly those who regularly leave their keyboards or an in-progress game, are about to get a harsh sentencing, as specified by an update headed to the popular MOBA. Developer Riot Games outlined the issue with AFK players (colloquially called “leavers”), a segment of the gaming population that regularly leave or outright...

The new gaming console that's become a giant car crash, explained. On October 22, 2018, Intellivision unveiled the Amico, a family-friendly retro console. The pitch: The games would be simple to play and cost no more than $8. The console itself would retail at about $180 with all games being exclusive to the console. In that initial trailer, the Amico was given a release date of October 10, 2020. 

Ikea’s gaming range launches globally next monthIkea’s lineup of gaming-themed furniture and accessories now has official pricing and a global release date: October. The lineup first came to China earlier this year as a collaboration with Asus and its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand. Pricing for the lineup ranges from cheap desk accessories like a $10 cup holder or $12.99 mouse bungee, all the way up to gaming chairs costing...

Actavision Blizzard

Epic confirms massive L: Fortnite not returning to Apple any time soon. Today, Tim Sweeney confirmed on Twitter just how massive of an “L” Epic took in its recent trial against Apple. Apple has effectively “blacklisted” Fortnite from all Apple products until the legal clash between the two massive corporations reaches its conclusion, which could take as long as five years. (It’s even longer in Peely years.) 

U.S. government now investigating Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick subpoenaed. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly launched a wide-reaching investigation into Activision Blizzard, with the government agency looking into how the embattled publisher handled the multiple allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and toxic behavior that became public The SEC has subpoenaed Activision...

Overwatch 2's boss is quitting Blizzard for "some time off". With Overwatch 2 still in development, the series’ executive producer has quit Blizzard for what the company says is “some time off. Chacko Sonny, who has been at Blizzard since 2016 and has worked on both Overwatch games, announced his departure to colleagues on Friday, Bloomberg reports. 

Blizzard Entertainment's chief legal officer departs as lawsuits stack up. Blizzard Entertainment's chief legal officer Claire Hart has left the company, which is currently dealing with lawsuits related to a number of serious misconduct allegations.  Hart spent over three years at Blizzard and in a post on Linkedin said her tenure was "full of unexpected twists and turns." 

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick says publisher is complying with misconduct investigations. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claims the publisher is "deeply committed" to reforming its company culture, and is working with regulators to address a number of workplace complaints it has received.

U.S. Government now investigating Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick subpoenaed. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly launched a wide-reaching investigation into Activision Blizzard, with the government agency looking into how the embattled publisher handled the multiple allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and toxic behavior that became public following a California Department of Fair...

Blizzard reduces titty in World of Warcraft, but not sexism at the company. The newest World of Warcraft update reduces the amount of titty that can be seen in the game. Unfortunately, no restitution for its gender-marginalized developers is in sight. The latest 9.1.5 patch for World of Warcraft updates some in-game paintings of women to be less revealing, while others have been removed altogether.

Epic vs Apple

The Epic vs Apple judgement leaves much undecided | Opinion. After many months and endless dissection of the various revelations which emerged from the evidence made public in the legal battle between Apple and Epic, we have a judgement. Much and more has been written about that judgement, which largely speaking does not uphold the bulk of Epic's claims against Apple, while also being careful not to fully exonerate Apple either, but one thing that seems increasingly clear as lawyers and commentators analyze the ruling is that far from being ….

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Small toy magnets recalled again after a rise in ER visitsThe Consumer Product Safety Commission is again recalling small toy magnets and recommending parents remove them from their homes after a growing number of instances of kids ingesting them and needing emergency medical treatment, NBC 5 Responds has learned. Witten Williams and his twin brother Walker, age 4, keep their family on their toes. But a fun day of play turned the family upside down. “I just looked over and saw that he was holding something shiny, to his lips,” …

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

A GIFT OF MOONLITE GIVES CHILDREN DAYS AND NIGHTS THAT ARE MERRY AND BRIGHT. Eric Carle And Fairy Tales Gift Packs In Stock Now For Kids At Every Stage Who Love To Read And See Storybook Pages!  – Family togetherness and lots of snuggles are part of the charm of the holiday season. So is the importance of a good night’s sleep. Get everyone in bed, eager for a story with Moonlite. This fun gadget bridges the gap between traditional and digital books and foster a magical, immersive storytelling experience that fuels your child’s imagination. With a restful sleep, days are merry and bright, and bedtime becomes a delight!

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

VOTING NOW OPEN FOR THE 2021 TOY & GAME INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS - the TAGIEs.  People of Play (POP) are now accepting votes for the innovative and inspiring TAGIE nominees. Vote for your favorites HERE through October 31st. Chicago, IL - September 24 - Finalists for the prestigious TAGIE Awards have been announced by People of Play (POP). The TAGIEs honor the best and brightest innovators, designers and marketers in the toy and game industry. The 2021 TAGIE Awards are presented by Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products with sponsors Mattel, Oxford Games, The Michael Kohner Corporation,  Goliath, Radio Flyer, PlayMonster, Nextoy, and Kite and Rocket.

Spielwarenmesse adds new Sustainability category to ToyAward event.  Online entries for the ToyAward event launch on 1st October and the winners will be announced during Spielwarenmesse PressPreview in January.  As sustainability and climate protection increasingly edge into focus in the toy industry, and demand for toys made from ecological materials or that encourage environmentally friendly behaviour ...

More than 150 exhibitors now confirmed for BLE 2021. Brand Licensing Europe returns in-person from 17th-19th November at Excel, London.

152 companies are already confirmed to exhibit at Brand Licensing Europe 2021 and more are expected to sign shortly, with seven weeks still to go till the event starts. The announcement coincides with the launch of the event’s online platform. 

BTHA welcomes Kerri Atherton as head of Public Affairs.  Kerri will take up her new role at the  BTHA from 4th October as Natasha Crookes departs the organisation after 19 years. Following the previous announcement, that Natasha Crookes would be leaving the association on 12th October to set up her own business, the British Toy and Hobby Association is delighted to announce that Kerri Atherton...

Play for Change Awards finalists announced. Eight toy companies and one initiative are in the running to scoop the top awards at the online ceremony next week. The finalists for the 2021 Play for Change Awards have been announced by Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) with entries from Adventerra Games, BioBuddi, Dantoy, The Lego Group, Franckh-Kosmos Verlags, Mattel and Miniland selected as contenders...

Experts dwell on future of toys and gaming industry.  They may look like playthings for toddlers and children, but the new-age toys and games try to infuse educational philsophies and develop cognitire and motor skill among the players. The ongoing International Toy Desing and Innovation e-Symposium organized by the National Insititute of of design has brought together national and int'l experts to elaborate on the ...

Gloworm Festival secures 2-year partnership with Playmobil UK.  The signing of an additional 2-year deal with the family festival means Playmobil will have been a Gloworm sponsor for a total of six years. After the 2020 Gloworm festival was postponed due to the pandemic, Playmobil UK brought some much-needed creative play to the 20,000 people who attended the event in 2021. 

HKTDC unveils new December event.  HKTDC has revealed the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair is to be held together with other fairs in hybrid physical-digital format. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has contacted companies which would traditionally exhibit at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair in January, to inform them of a new event which is being held in December.

(the above posted after September 24th)

Gen Con Attendance Down 50%  Gen Con, the largest U.S. tabletop game show, drew 35,000 attendees, around half the nearly 70,000 that attended the last time the show was held, in 2019.  This is an early indicator of the slow road back for large geek culture shows as they return to operation after a long shutdown. Around 200 Pop-Up Gen Con events in retail stores were also held in conjunction....

Meet the Toy Experts.  Join the Wisconsin School of Business for The Business of a new virtual event series that gives you a sneak peek at the business side of your favorite things. Tom Kalinske (BS ’66), David Kosnoff (MBA ’06), and Shawn Dennis will share their experiences in the toy industry, give perspectives on current trends, and answer audience questions. Sign up now and get excited to tap into your inner child.

Who is going to MIPCOM this year?  From Super RTL to Nelvana—producers and broadcasters from the kids industry sound off on their plans for this year's market. Kidscreen touched base with producers and broadcasters to see who’s planning to go to the event in person. The majority of our inquiries were declined or went unanswered, but here’s a sampling of the responses we did get that outlines how people are...

Breaking News: UK Toy Fair 2022 exhibition space nearly sold out ahead of January return.  After a year away due to restrictions surrounding Covid-19, Toy Fair is back for 2022 and is shaping up to be another busy and lively show.

2021 Mensa Select® Winners Announced. Abstract strategy, fantasy, and family-friendly titles score highest marks. After nearly four days of nonstop gameplay at Mensa’s 2021 World Gathering, American Mensa and Mensa members have recognized 10 tabletop games with the coveted Mensa Select award. The latest titles to receive the Mensa Select seal of approval include . . .

IGDA group chair steps down over allegations of abuse. IGDA claimed there was no "compelling evidence of wrongdoing" despite victims submitting a report totalling over 120 pages. Victims claimed that “multiple informal complaints” had been filed to IGDA regarding Jennifer Scheurle (also lead game designer at Black Bird Interactive) following by formal complaints being lodged in 2019 and 2020. 

Origins Awards delayed. The Origins Awards will not be announced at this year’s Origins Game Fair, GAMA announced.  The Hall of Fame inductions and In Memorium sections of the awards ceremony will proceed as planned.  The Origins Awards that would have normally been announced in June 2021, which were then delayed until Origins Game Fair’s new dates of September 30 - October 3, 2021...

Women in Toys gets a new look and members weigh in. Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) is sporting a new look and logo that reflects the vibrancy, inspiration, and energy of its global community as the nonprofit organization turns 30 years young. What started as a small group of women casually meeting up in New York City during Toy Fair has evolved into the industry’s...

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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.

David Watt  passed away earlier this month (Sept). Born in Ballymena in Northern Ireland in 1944, David worked for Lego from 1975 until 1999 as area sales manager in Northern Ireland, calling on independent retailers as well as some national accounts. Over his 24 years at Lego, David achieved the accolade of Top Salesman multiple times, winning the coveted Silver Lego Brick trophy with his name engraved. David will be remembered fondly by customers and colleagues alike, who describe him as full of passion and integrity for his work, with a great sense of humour. He lived for ‘the brick’ and was incredibly proud to work for Lego, taking great pride in what he achieved working for the group. Many of his customers knew him as the ‘Lego Man’.

Sir Clive Sinclair. Sir Clive Sinclair, the inventor and entrepreneur who was instrumental in bringing home computers to the masses, has died on Thursday 16th after a long illness at the age of 81. Sir Clive Sinclair's contributions to the world extend beyond gaming, so prolific were his inventions. But as games professionals and enthusiasts alike expressed their sadness at news of his passing last week, it's clear the impact he had on the industry -- especially in the UK -- was profound and a key pillar to his legacy. Best known in the gaming world for his ZX consoles -- the ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum -- Sir Clive Sinclair provided the platform for many a developer to start their career. It wasn't just their capabilities, but also their affordability, with a ZX80 priced at less than £100. Sinclair believed in a future where every household was home to a computer, and his games consoles helped prove that could become a reality. Tributes have already been paid across social media, but we reached out to notable developers from the time, industry veterans familiar with his work, and other games professionals to share their thoughts on the life and legacy of Sir Clive Sinclair

Robby Kanoff, former executive vice president of sales at Galoob Toys, died Sept. 16, 2021. A toy industry veteran with legendary ties to the world of wrestling action figures has died. “We lost a real legend yesterday,” says Graham Mottram, an industry vet and current sales lead at Story Time Chess. The Philadelphia-born Kanoff began his career in the toy industry in 1978 as national sales manager at Lewis Galoob Toys. In the season three Wrestling Figures episode of The Nacelle Co.‘s The Toys That Made Us, Kanoff recalled being perhaps the youngest sales manager in the toy business at the time at age 23. His efforts to guide Galoob from an importer of toys to a maker of toys led to licensed products inspired by Universal’s The A-Team, WCW, the Spice Girls, and more alongside original brands, including Micro Machines, Baby Face Dolls, and more.  

Following his departure from Galoob, Kanoff — dubbed “Jewish Lightning” for his wrestling-inspired sales tactics — was one of the founders of The Original San Francisco Toymakers and re-acquired the license to produce WCW action figures followed by a deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling for a line of ECW toys. “Robby was a great salesman and an even better friend,” says Robert Weinberg, former executive vice president at Toys “R” Us and senior vice president of merchandising at KB Toys.

For the past 20 years, Kanoff lived in Massachusetts with his partner, Josie Persichino. Kanoff was 66.

Reuben Klamer - Toy industry icon and inventor of the classic board game The Game of Life, died at home in La Jolla, CA on September 14, 2021. He was 99 and left this world reluctantly, telling a recent visitor “I don’t have a reservation!” The Game of Life was inducted into the permanent Archives of Family Life at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1981 and is second only to Monopoly in board game popularity. Produced by Hasbro, the game has been marketed in 59 countries and in 26 languages since its introduction in 1960. Although the exact number is probably much higher, it is estimated that more than 70 million Games of Life have been sold to date. (The Japanese edition, called Jinsei, has been the best-selling game in that country for more than 50 years.) Mr. Klamer’s colleagues, friends and neighbors described him as warm, kind, generous, intensely curious and a fabulous storyteller. He was known for his crackling sense of humor, his sartorial splendor (he had a huge collection of hats and dressed up in costume every Halloween), the mischievous twinkle in his eyes, and showing up to parties with the Pink Panther. Reuben loved good food, from the finest oysters to milkshakes, and would go anywhere for a great hot dog. He adored chocolate in any form,” one said, reminiscing that among Mr. Klamer’s favorite places was Serendipity 3 in New York City. “His joy was contagious and he was always bursting with ideas — an eight-year-old boy in a grown man’s body,” another added. “I think Reuben’s greatest accomplishment was how he managed to stay relevant to the very end,” said George Burtch, retired Vice President of Marketing for Hasbro and a longtime friend. “He was the most cheerfully persistent person I’ve ever met and he inspired so many, in and out of the toy industry.” Mr. Klamer had a gift for anticipating and capitalizing on trends, a talent for developing consumer "must-haves" across a broad spectrum of categories and the ability to work in a variety of media. While the bulk of his most successful products were in the field of toys and games, he also held design, development and invention credits in industries as diverse as textiles, plastics, aviation, publishing, music, television and film. Among his approximately 200 other toy credits are the classic Fisher-Price Preschool Trainer Skates, on the market for nearly 35 years; the Art Linkletter Hoop; Gaylord the Walking Dog (Ideal); Moon Rocks (Hasbro); Dolly Darlings (Hasbro); Erector-Constructor Sets (A.C. Gilbert), and Busy Blocks and Zoo-It-Yourself (Tupperware). Read More...

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

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

  1. TTPM Unveils Holiday 2021 Most Wanted Toys

  2. Jazwares' Do, Re & Mi Toys Hit Retail

  3. WiT Unveils Rebrand & New Logo

  4. Headstart Resoftables Plush Come to U.S. in October

  5. Socially Twisted Games Appoints Hahn/Solo as Consulting Partner

  6. Bluey Names Licensing Agents for Canada & Mexico

  7. PlayMonster Will Introduce Star Wars Products in 2022

  8. FoxMind Taps Canspan BMG as Public Relations Partner

  9. Pocket.watch Names Xavier Kochar its First COO/CFO

  10. Super Sema Taps Just Play for Toy Line

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Christmas is NOT cancelled…it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Toy Fair 2022 exhibition space nearly sold out ahead of January return

  3. Toymaster unveils catalogue as Christmas shopping surge begins

  4. Magic Box shares next stage of UK & Ireland development

  5. Smyths Toys releases winter catalogue

  6. MGA celebrates return of Lalaloopsy after 10 years

  7. BargainMax.co.uk reveals its top 10 Christmas toys

  8. New Hornby model show steams onto TV

  9. Overseas BLE attendees to benefit from simplified travel rules

  10. Birthday celebrations for Baby born at The Entertainer

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

The Gaming Goat President Expelled from Gen Con
Rio Grande Games Announces New 'Dominion' Expansion
WizKids Will Release New 'D&D' 'Ravenloft' Miniatures
Gen Con Preview: 'D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures: Gargantuan Tiamat'
Fantasy Flight Games Announces 'LotR: The Card Game - Revised Core Set'
Gatherers' Tavern Unveils New 'Magic: The Gathering' Statues
Rolling for Initiative -- 'Midnight Hunt' and Peak 'Pokemon TCG?'
Mighty Mutants Join 'Marvel Crisis Protocol'
40 Years Later, 'Blade Runner' Becomes an RPG
'The Goonies: Never Say Die' with Funko Games

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

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution
News Flash: Décorum Announced, Gen Con Recap
Floodgate Games has announced a new cooperative game, Board Game Quest has posted their recap of this year’s Gen Con, and Blue Orange Games has released Zoom in Barcelona.

 

News Flash: Patchwork Halloween Edition, Glory Islands Announced
A new Halloween edition of Patchwork is coming soon, Rio Grande has announced a new game, and Paste Magazine posts a roundup of their favorite games at this year’s Gen Con.

Video of the Week! 

 

Hidden Role: The Brains Behind your Favorite Games

When inspiration strikes, how  does someone take it from an idea to a success story? Learn from the extraordinary journey of Leslie Scott, from a childhood in East and West Africa to the inspiration for and development of Jenga and beyond. You can find Leslie Scott's games at: https://oxfordgames.co.uk/

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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

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

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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