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September 2 - 9, 2022

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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin’ Friday! 

First, and from the heart, we offer our condolences to our friends and colleagues in the U.K. and Commonwealth of Nations on the passing of Queen Elizabeth. 

Click these links and join the events we have "constructed" for you  – now mere weeks away!

 

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 and Founder, Little Kids Inc. 

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

Not only do I read the Bloom Report every week, I make everyone important in the running of our company across the globe read it as well. -Dennis Callaghan, Tree Toys and Roo Games

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Person of the Week - Lev Nelson

DALL-E and How Artificial Intelligence Will Affect the Future of Toy Design

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Imagine a world where any toy idea or concept you could visualize in your mind could be instantly translated from text into a jpeg. Let’s say you envisioned a dancing plush hippo for a product or character but your sewing or illustration skills were sub-par. Still need a way to show your colleagues or customers what that hippo could look like? Enter DALL-E.

While still in development, DALL-E may ultimately revolutionize creative processes for many industries, but this technology has major potential for the toy industry. Small to enterprise companies, inventors and licensors can all benefit by adding this software to their R&D arsenal.

 

DALL-E is an artificial intelligence software created by OpenAI that can generate digital images from text descriptions. Its name stems from a word mashup of Pixar’s Wall-E and Salvador Dali, the famous artist known for his surrealist paintings.

While AI might conjure futuristic images of sentient robots serving you breakfast, this version of AI is available today and could make a profound impact in your toy business or career.

READ MORE...

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Book Reviews by POP's Julia DeKorte

The Puzzleman by Ivan Moscovich

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Ivan Moscovich’s memoir, The Puzzleman, is an unbelievable combination of gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. As he puts it, he tells the story of a life “well spent.” A Holocaust survivor, founder and director of the Museum of Science and Technology in Tel Aviv, creator of the Harmonograph, author of over 50 books, inventor of countless toys, games, and puzzles, to say he is an accomplished man is an understatement. 

 

Moscovich writes chronologically, beginning with his childhood in Navi Sad, Yugoslavia. He lived a relatively normal life up until 1942, when the Navi Sad Raid occurred. This marked the beginning of the extreme antisemitism Moscovich faced leading up to the Holocaust. He details his time in four different concentration camps, nearing death time and time again, accrediting this survival to his sheer will to survive, repeating to himself that survival is the best revenge. These sections of the memoir are horrific and heartbreaking as he describes the brutality he faced at the hands of Nazi Germany.

After liberation, Moscovich writes that he became a workaholic, attempting to constantly distract himself from reliving the nightmares of the Holocaust. He writes in depth about his work repairing the Yugoslavian railway, earning a degree in mechanical engineering, his creation of the harmonograph, and founding and director the Museum of Science and Technology in Tel Aviv before “retiring” and focusing more on creating toys, games, puzzles, and teaching aids.  READ MORE...

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Industry Commentary and Parody by Cassidy Smith

Support Small = Support ASTRA Toy Boat

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Toys exciting and New 🎶 🎵
Come aboard, were expecting you!
Love, life's sweetest reward,
Let it flow, it floats back to you
The Toy Boat soon will be making a run,
The Toy Boat promises something for everyone,
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new Toy Line?🎶 🎵

Besides reworking Love Boat Lyrics I wanted to mention the reasons I'm looking forward to the Toy Boat

1) Its a very economical show.  As a smaller vendor it's great to see a show where I don't have to spend several thousands of dollars just for a small booth space.. Toy Boat is only $300 - $500 for space!

2)No Drayage Fee!!
Drayage that averages $2500-3000 depending on the booth size so nice we do not have that additional cost.   READ MORE...

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3 Truths and a Lie - Barry McLaughlin (the one on the left)

To be part of the game, all you need is a POP profile with your Fun Facts completed and let us know! We'll do the rest! 

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Don't forget to add your skills and expertise on your POP profile...

if you don't have a POP profile, you're probably missing great opportunities!

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From a ​M​ajor ​C​able ​N​etwork​ Talent Booker​: ​"​We are working on a toy related docuseries. The series is focused on the entrepreneurial endeavors of our characters through interviews. Some of the topics we're interested in covering are the history of video games, action figures, toy designers, dolls/plush toys, building sets, puzzles and tech boosted toys. If any of these topics speak to you, please add the topics to your expertise in your POP Profile. We have discovered great contacts we are using in the series through POP and looking for more!​"​

"I highly recommend that if anyone in this industry wants to be found, they join POP and fill out the skills and expertise section of their POP Profiles. I've had companies and a major media network reach out to me for a show based on my skills and expertise after finding me on POP." - David Yakos, Founder of Streamline Design and Co-Owner of Salient Technologies

I recommend populating your skills and expertise as well as writing about subjects you love. People will discover you on POP - I was just asked to keynote for a big event! -Gert Garman 

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Financial and Legal

 

A recommended fine of €4.1B ($4.1B) has been imposed by the European Court of Justice on Google, upholding almost all of the European Commission’s recent ruling. In the past few minutes, the Court said it has confirmed the decision that Google imposed “unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine.”

 

California sues Amazon for preventing third-party sellers offering cheaper prices elsewhere. The state's antitrust lawsuit could force Amazon to change its policies. Amazon still can't avoid lawsuits over third-party prices. The New York Times reports California has filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing Amazon of violating both the Cartwright Act and state competition law through its pricing rules.

 

Unite has advised the UK Port of Felixstowe that workers including crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores, who load and unload ships, are planning further strike action during ongoing disagreements over pay. The port has been embroiled in a dispute over pay for some weeks. Unite, on behalf of workers, has requested a pay rise to match the rate of inflation, which is currently around 10%.

TEXAS JUDGE ISSUES SCATHING ORDER IN TOYS ‘R’ US COMPLAINT AGAINST INDEPENDENT TOY STORE. In the filing, Judge Eskridge denies a motion by Tru Kids to amend its complaint against TOYZ, stating that “the motion itself evinces undue delay and dilatory motive,” and that “the motion could also be considered abusive.” “Toys ‘R’ Us is trying to shutter a family-owned toy store in an attempt to set a precedent for shutting...

Toys R Us American operation comes under pressure to drop ‘frivolous’ lawsuit. Key figures within the US toy community have spoken out against the legal action taken by Toys R Us in the US.  Toyz, a family-owned toy store in Houston Texas, has been sued by Toys R Us for claims of trademark violations. Toyz has served Houston communities for almost 20 years, after its owner, Farida Afzal, immigrated there from Pakistan.

 

***The above posted after September 9th***

 

Banijay Kids and Family has acquired London-based Kindle Entertainment and Italian animation studio Movimenti Production. Kindle specializes in films for teen, YA and family audiences, while Movimenti largely produces animation, including family-friendly toons. Both companies will benefit from Banijay’s distribution division, and no changes are expected to either of their team and management structures...

 

The UK’s largest independent toy retailer, The Entertainer, is partnering with Tesco to open branded concessions in 35 Tesco stores across the country. The trial partnership will offer Tesco customers the chance to shop The Entertainer’s large range of products from leading brands such as Barbie, Lego, Marvel and Paw Patrol, as well as its exclusive range of great value Addo toys and products from the award-winning...

 

Ireland’s data privacy regulator has issued a record $402 million (€405 million) fine against social media powerhouse Instagram following an investigation that found it broke laws regulating the handling of children’s data online. Instagram parent Meta Platforms has said it will appeal the fine. The Irish investigation, which began in 2020, found that Instagram allowed child users aged between 13 and 17 to operate...

 

Pound falls to lowest level against dollar since 1985. The pound has plummeted to its lowest level against the US dollar since 1985. Sterling fell 0.64% to $1.145 on Wednesday afternoon - a level not seen in 37 years. The Bank of England said a weaker outlook for the UK economy as well as a stronger dollar were putting pressure on sterling. Governor Andrew Bailey also warned that little could be done to stop the UK...

 

Tencent Bets $297 Million On Assassin's Creed Machine. The Chinese company will indirectly become one of Ubisoft's biggest investors. Tencent has dumped another small fortune into one of gaming’s biggest companies. Ubisoft announced on Tuesday that the Chinese conglomerate would being increasing its investment in the Assassins’ Creed maker by nearly $300 million through an elaborate set of financial... 

 

TikTok owner ByteDance downsizing game business in China. TikTok owner ByteDance is reportedly downsizing its video game business in a move that has resulted in hundreds of layoffs. According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the Beijing-based company has laid off or transferred the majority of workers from its Wushuang Studio in Shanghai, with that move coming just months after the closure of its 101 Studio... 

 

China’s e-commerce giant Pinduoduo quietly launches U.S. shopping site in Amazon challenge. Pinduoduo launched its U.S. online shopping site as the Chinese e-commerce giant makes its first major push overseas. The website called Temu, which went online Thursday, lists items across a number of categories including clothing, jewelry, pet supplies and home and garden, and could mark a new challenge to U.S. e-commerce...

 

Microsoft pleads for its Activision Blizzard deal as UK regulator signals in-depth review. Microsoft is publicly pleading for its Activision Blizzard deal to go ahead, just as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has expressed concerns. Microsoft surprised the gaming world earlier this year with its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal, by far the biggest ever in gaming. Now regulators are starting...

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Financial Reporting

 

Nostalgic Brands Drive WildBrain’s 12% Full-Year Revenue Jump

IDW Publishing’s Direct Market sales were down $1.1 million in the co’s Q3 ended July 31, 2022, due to  distribution transition, fewer titles, and a tough comparison to the year-ago period,

 

***The above posted after tBR circulated September 9th***

 

GameStop reports second quarter fiscal year 2022 results

 

 

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

 

Kids Shifting From YouTube To TikTok At Age 10

 

AUGUST 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS

 

Sam Giltrow catches up with UK indie retailers to find out how their summer trading has been and what lies ahead in Q4.

As the cost-of-living crisis bites, pocket money toys and collectibles are in more demand than ever, as Toy World discovers.

 

***The above posted after tBR started sending***

 

Rory Partis, director UK Toys & EuroToys NPD, delves into the licensed toy category, which is having a stellar year.

 

KEY TRENDS IN AUDIO STREAMING AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT 

 

Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to a selection of leading suppliers about how they’re making the most of the Games & Puzzles market this year.

 

Netflix is the most popular SVOD for kids between two and 17, but its competitors aren’t too far behind, MTM finds.

August 2022 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Adult Graphic Novels

AUGUST 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS

TOP 20 GRAPHIC NOVELS - AUGUST 2022 Sales Rankings (Units and Dollars) Based on Comic Store POS Data

TOP 50 COMICS - AUGUST 2022

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

 

Toy World spoke to key suppliers to ask how sales of Games & Puzzles can be maximised and hear their advice to retailers on games events and promotions. Katy Fletcher, head of Marketing and Product Development at Ravensburger told us: “Innovation is key. This year we launched our first circular puzzle, while last year saw the launch of our Escape Puzzles for adults and children. 

 

Toy World's Nick Gibbs-McNeil looks at the raft of blockbuster movies that have hit screens this year and how successful the accompanying CP slate has been. Our columnist Nick Gibbs-McNeil has a particular interest in the kids’ space and the film industry, and is publisher/editor at Kidzcoolit.com and youthgottit.com. A prolific contributor to social media, Nick’s excitement at the return of cinema...

 

How do you cheat in live chess? Cheating allegations run rampant as world's top player loses. Magnus Carlsen achieved the rank of chess grandmaster — the highest rank achievable in chess — at the age of 13 years old. The 31-year-old Norwegian mastermind is a five-time World Chess Champion and widely regarded as the best chess player in the world. He rarely loses, and that made his loss in the third round at the...

 

At 6 years old, Wyatt Shield is already a published author with a message to children on how to love and accept others for their differences. The Kansas native was born with 12 fingers, six on each hand. The condition is called polydactyly. He detailed his own story and medical journey in "Wyatt’s Big Adventures with Shriners," which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

 

OPINION: Using The Metaverse To Support An IP Throughout Its Life Cycle. The metaverse has the potential to offer different types of viewing experiences, and Spin Master's Bakugan experiment in Roblox is just the beginning, says Dubit's David Kleeman. The other day, I settled in to watch an episode of Bakugan…in Roblox. As I give talks about children and the metaverse, one of the most frequent questions is what place TV

***the above posted after tBR posted on September 9th***

 

John Baulch, Toy World UK - Thank you Ma’am, for everything…it’s the Friday Blog. The Toy World team joins the nation in offering our respect and gratitude to Her Majesty the Queen. In the words of Paddington Bear: “Thank you Ma’am, for everything.” The next few weeks will be very different to what we had imagined before yesterday’s events. The Entertainer has announced that its stores, head office and warehouse...

 

Bob Iger Assesses the Streaming Services: “I Don’t Think They’ll All Make It”"Netflix is going to continue to thrive. They have some issues now, but they're not going away," the former Disney CEO said. Speaking at Vox Media’s Code Conference on Wednesday, Iger was optimistic about the future of Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon and, naturally, Disney+, but was decidedly less so for competitors like Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max and Discovery+.

 

Toy World Exclusive: Etopia asks ‘how profitable is Amazon for your business?’ As Amazon increases its focus on profitability, Asha Bhalsod talks to Toy World about how brands can adapt their strategies in response. “Over the past few years, we’ve seen most consumer brands experience fantastic growth with Amazon but lately, increasing commercial demands and volatile market conditions have created challenges...

 

A Genius Cartoonist Believes Child’s Play Is Anything But Frivolous. "For a lot of people, being creative and making things can be a helpful way to deal with uncertainty, and college students today have to deal with so much uncertainty. Not just about where their lives might go after they finish school but also about things like the future of our politics and our planet. How do you see your students  responding?

 

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History and Nostalgia

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of The Game of Life? As 1960 (and with it, Milton Bradley’s 100th anniversary) approached, the company hired independent inventor Reuben Klamer to come up with a game to commemorate the occasion. Klamer took the name “Life” from a game called The Checkered Game of Life, which was developed by Milton Bradley himself in 1860, but came up with an entirely new product. 

 

The Bizarre History of Risk. In 1957, a French filmmaker named Albert Lamorisse designed a board game called La Conquête du Monde (The Conquest of the World). It featured simple rules but complex interactions. In 1959, Parker Brothers purchased the rights and made a few small changes before publishing it as Risk in 1959. It became the first popular game that involved strategy, diplomacy, conflict, and conquest.

Do you ever wonder who first thought of Raggedy Ann? In 1915, Johnny Gruelle’s daughter Marcella brought him an old rag doll. Gruelle drew a face on the doll and named her Raggedy Ann. Gruelle was a cartoonist and illustrator, so in 1918 he wrote a children’s book about his daughter’s doll. The book’s publisher, P. F. Volland, arranged to sell Raggedy Ann dolls along with the books, which helped catapult them both to fame.

***The above posted after tBR sent on September 9th***

 

Do you ever wonder who first thought of G.I. Joe? The first G.I. Joe action figure was initially referred to simply as an “action solider” and debuted in 1964. In 1975, the toy series was renamed the G.I. Joe Adventure Team to downplay associations with the Vietnam War, but for many children, G.I. Joe remained a soldier. The origins of G.I. Joe’s name have been debated, but the most commonly accepted explanation is that during World War I, American soldiers were referred to as “G.I.’s.” 

 

Ding-a-Lings from Topper Toys. In 1971, Topper Toys launched Ding-a-Lings, a line of robots from an imaginary universe. The tiny, 6-inch machines came in 16 different models, each with a distinct personality, colourful design, and fixed vocation. Topper developed an interchangeable power pack that could be used with any one of the Ding-A-Lings. 

 

Aurora 1967: the world’s largest collection of scale model hobby kits. After entering the burgeoning hobby market in 1950, New York-based Aurora Plastics Corporation became one of the most prolific manufacturers of plastic scale model kits for decades. This 44-page catalogue from 1967 showcased the diversity of the company’s toy lines, which included: Military and civilian aircraft, ships, and tanks; television ...

 

Lynx from Atari (1989). A revolutionary handheld that looked to take sales away from the Nintendo Game Boy, the Lynx was a truly exotic piece of gaming hardware. Featuring a rather futuristic look that put its brick-like competition to shame, it offered consumers everything from advanced graphics to a backlit screen and even an ambidextrous layout. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

 

Mighty Mojo Toys Aims for the Sky with New Angry Birds Collectible Plush. Mighty Mojo Toys has partnered with Rovio Entertainment to release a highly anticipated new plush line-up based on Angry Birds, one of the most downloaded mobile games ever,  in a deal facilitated by Angry Birds’ global licensing agency IMG.

 

Market Mashup: BBC, Beyond Rights, Random House. Critters from outer space nab the attention of distributors while an Australian preschool dino tale with a tasty twist heads to the Beeb. With Cartoon Forum and Brand Licensing Europe a week away and MIPCOM coming up in October, an array of deals for co-pros and sales rights kick off a busy fall season.

 

Collectibles giant Funko is making a move into the live-experience scene with a new retail store with rapper Snoop Dogg and a cross-country road trip for its Con exclusives. In 2023, the Washington-based company will open its first co-branded retail experience in California and run a 25-stop tour across America that starts on the US East Coast and ends at the San Diego Comic-Con.

 

Western Digital, Nintendo, and Epic Games have teamed up for a new addition to the Fortnite gaming experience: an officially licensed Fortnite SanDisk microSDXC card for Nintendo Switch owners. The SD cards depict characters from the game, including the 128GB Skull Trooper and 256GB Cuddle Team Leader. Each card includes a digital access code that can be redeemed for the in-game Angular Flow Wrap.

 

Super Impulse has officially launched Minis-in-Minis, a brand new collectible concept that evolves what miniature — and micro — collectibles can be.  “Super Impulse specializes in miniatures. It is our job to set the standard in the category and to create new experiences for fans of all ages,” says Super Impulse Founder and CEO Alan Dorfman. 

 

ZAG tapped WildBrain CPLG to serve as its licensing agency for the ZAG Heroez property throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The deal expands upon ZAG’s existing relationship with WildBrain CPLG, which also represents Miraculous — Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. “Since launching last summer, Ghostforce has been earning spectacular ratings which are translating to increased demand for branded...

 

Sony Pictures Consumer Products will arrive at Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) to spotlight the studio’s premiere entertainment and gaming franchises and key collaborations that deliver immersive fan experiences beyond the screen. Boasting a strong slate of classic IPs such as Ghostbusters, and new IPs with growing fanbases like The Boys and Cobra Kai, Sony Pictures Consumer Products has tapped...

 

WildBrain Announces ‘Teletubbies, Let’s Go!’ Plus Merchandizing Plans for ‘Strawberry Shortcake’, ‘Chip and Potato’, and ‘In the Night Garden’. WildBrain, a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment, will be presenting its beloved brands—Teletubbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Chip and Potato, and In the Night Garden—at Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) in London from September 20-22, as the properties continue...

 

Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, is gearing up to expand Richard Scarry’s iconic and beloved global franchise with new branded merchandise, new titles, and a fiftieth-anniversary celebration for the iconic bestseller Cars and Trucks and Things That Go in 2024. Random House Children’s Books has signed a roster of licensing partners across...

Darkstar Skateboards Announces the Official Madballs Collab for Fall 2022 Darkstar Skateboards and Madballs property owner, Cloudco Entertainment, have collaborated on a capsule of skateboards, including pro models with Dave Bachinsky, Cameo Wilson, and Ke’Chaud Johnson. The Darkstar x Madballs Fall 2022 capsule showcases the mid-80’s classic Madballs artwork, prominently showcasing characters...

 

Pokémon Center Exclusively Releases Pokémon Capsule Collection With FossilThe Pokémon Company International, in partnership with renowned lifestyle brand Fossil, has launched a new high-end collaboration featuring watches, bags and accessories. The collection’s premium products feature design inspiration from fan favorites within the Pokémon franchise including Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander...

 

John Baulch, Toyworld UK - And the winner is ….it’s the Licensing Blog! What can you say about the Licensing Awards which hasn’t been said before? It is always an entertaining night – the licensing community loves a party and as a networking event, you could argue that it is peerless. As much as any industry I have ever worked in, licensing revolves around relationships; perhaps even more so...

 

Mattel Licensing prepares for biggest year ever. To introduce this month’s Mattel feature, Jon Spalding talks Toy World through his first six months at the company. “As I write, this week marks six months since I joined Mattel, and what an incredibly exciting six months it’s been,” writes Jon Spalding head of consumer products UK, EMEA and HL. “First, we had the announcement of the return of Monster High with a live action...

Disney, Pixar Unveil New Animated Films At D23. Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation announced three upcoming pics at the event on Sept. 9, building on the momentum of Disney+ Day (Sept. 8). The announcement marks a return to musicals with Wish, an animated origin story of the wishing star that’s set to release in fall 2023. 

 

***the above posted after September 9th***

 

The Lego Group has announced the new Lego Marvel Black Panther set in celebration one of the greatest superheroes of all time. Based on the character from the award-nominated blockbuster, the new set lets kids immerse themselves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as they build Black Panther in brick form. The Lego Marvel Black Panther set, once finished, is a life-size bust of the iconic superhero and can be...

 

Venum & Rovio Team Up to Launch an Exclusive Angry Birds Collection.  Venum, the world’s leading manufacturer of combat sports equipment and apparel, have announced its collaboration with Rovio Entertainment Corporation, the creator of Angry Birds, one of the world’s most downloaded mobile games. The collaboration, facilitated by Angry Birds’ global licensing agency IMG, introduces an exclusive line of...

 

Klingon Bird-of-Prey From Star Trek Comes to Playmobil.  From October onwards, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey expands the Playmobil Star Trek universe and takes all fans on a journey through time. It is the authentic replica of the HMS Bounty, as she was christened by Dr. McCoy. On board: the notorious Klingon, Commander Kruge and his crew, Officer Maltz, Torg and other Klingons.

In anticipation of the Cobra Kai fifth season release on September 9, Sony Pictures Consumer Products (SPCP) announces a robust expansion to its Cobra Kai consumer products and licensing program, with new offerings from licensees including Vans, Hasbro, Century Martial Arts, Harper Collins and more. 

 

PMI Ltd. inked a deal with SEGA and WildBrain to create a new range of novelty toys and games inspired by Sonic Prime, the new CG-animated Sonic the Hedgehog adventure series that’s set to debut on Netflix later this year. WildBrain CPLG brokered the deal on behalf of WildBrain and SEGA of America, the producers of the series, while Big Picture Licensing repped PMI.

 

Jakks Pacific is teaming up with Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story Brands to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Emmy-winning PBS Kids show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with a special edition plush toy. The 12-inch Cuddle Up Daniel Tiger 10th Anniversary Plush sports the character’s iconic red hoodie and a smile on his face. 

 

On the heels of inking deals with Disney, Universal and Hasbro, interactive toy manufacturer tonies is building out its licensed portfolio with more preschool properties, courtesy of Moonbug Entertainment.  The two companies have partnered up to launch a CoComelon sing-along toy for the Toniebox, a screen-free entertainment device that’s the backbone of tonies’ business. Based on CoComelon’s protagonist JJ...

 

London-based distributor Serious Kids has acquired worldwide sales rights to Doodle Productions’ preschool series Messy Goes to Okido ahead of its season three launch. The CG-animated series (104 x 11 minutes) relates the adventures of a curious monster and his friends as they try to answer science and art questions, like why the sky is blue and how images get on TV. 

 

Classic preschool series Teletubbies is the latest kids IP getting a reboot treatment. Netflix has greenlit a 26 x 12-minute same-name live-actioner, with Andrew Davenport (co-creator and writer of the original series) attached. Production got underway this spring in Toronto at WildBrain, which owns the Teletubbies IP.

 

Cartoon Forum is saying “Hola!” to Spain this year, spotlighting the region at its annual pitchfest. Eight Spanish projects have been selected to present, all of them aimed at kids. Why Spain? With a population of around 50 million people who watch linear TV for four hours a day on average, it offers an opportunity to reach a lot of eyeballs, according to regional trade org Animation from Spain. 

 

Paramount Global’s UK consumer products division has inked a licensing deal that will see London-based apparel company Unhidden produce its first-ever adaptive clothing collections for kids with and without disabilities. The first range will launch through the company’s e-commerce site on December 3 and is inspired by Spin Master’s CG-animated preschool series PAW Patrol. This will be followed by a second...

 

John Baulch, Toy World - Deliciously unpredictable …. it’s the Licensing Blog! One of the things I like most about the licensing arena is its delicious unpredictability: while it is inevitable that the big budget, heavily backed properties often triumph, the favourites don’t always win – and every year there are curveballs which many licensors, licensees and retailers just didn’t see coming.

 

As BLE approaches, the great and the good in the field of Licensing share the latest news and look ahead to upcoming developments for their properties. Andrew Carley, director of Global Licensing, BBC Studios believes the licensing landscape changed about three to four years ago. “The challenge for us now is working with partners and stakeholders to offer a more diverse experience than simply going shopping to buy...

 

The iconic U.S. Army soldier, Private Beetle Bailey, has made his way from Mort Walker’s legendary comic book and onto the reels in Lady Luck Games’ first-ever branded slot release Beetle Bailey, available now, in partnership with King Features Syndicate. This 4-reel, 81 ways to win slot transports players to Camp Swampy where Beetle Bailey is joined by a host of famous faces including Platoon Sergeant Orville...

 

Kirsty Guthrie of KJG Ltd, and Maggy Harris of BlueSkye Licensing are readying for their return to Brand Licensing Europe at ExCeL London from 20 – 22 Sept., where they will form part of The Independents’ Lounge. The BLE spotlight for the duo showcases their wide portfolio of well-established and successful brands covering a range of categories from preschool to food, movie icons to Kawaii, and authors to art.

 

Rocket Licensing Heads to BLE with Blockbuster Portfolio. As the licensing industry prepares to return to ExCeL London from 20th – 22nd Sept, for Brand Licensing Europe, Rocket Licensing is putting the finishing touches to its exciting offering of properties including iconic children’s brands like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Beano, The Elf on the Shelf and Little People, Big Dreams, along with pop culture kawaii brand Fuzzballs...

Caroline Mickler Limited will be at BLE 2022 with a range of brands that underline the diversity and originality of its portfolio. They include The Beatles, Yellow Submarine, Stanley Kubrick’s iconic films The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer, Fifty Shades of Grey, Horrid Henry, Toxic Waste Hazardously Sour Candy and...

 

Cool New Shows: Cartoon Forum Edition.  What will this unique generation of kids want to watch in the next few years? Is it pasta delivery with a side of grit? Or a dog’s day in paradise turned upside down? From surreal to IRL, these six series are aiming to engage coming out of Toulouse.

 

Bulldog Licensing is readying its hand-picked portfolio of brands as the industry prepares to return to Brand Licensing Europe at ExCeL London, from the 20th – 22nd Sept. Consisting of iconic evergreen properties such as Care Bears, Popeye and Sesame Street, as well as British institution, the Royal Astronomical Society, new and exciting brands like Odo, Magic Mixies and Gus the Itsy Bitsy Knight, and key lifestyle names...

 

Hasbro and PlayMonster are excited to announce Spirograph is taking its classic spiral-design sets to new heights of creativity with a suite of exciting new launches this fall, including Spirograph 3D, the Spirograph Mandala Maker, Spirograph Cyclex Clips and Spirograph Cyclex Studio bringing much-anticipated licensed characters into the line for the first time!

 

Wilder Launches the Clueless Party Game. Take a spin down memory lane with the all-new Clueless Party Game by Wilder! The game let’s fans revisit key movie moments, with 4 themed mini-games and iconic pink fluffy pen. Take a trip to the mall in would you rather Life or Death type questions, answer Party Questions at the Valley Party, Debate your friends on hot topics in high school class, and play around...

 

UK Animation studio 3D Sparrow Group recently appointed licensing agency IMG to extend its pre-school property Booba. The agreement will see IMG further expand Booba’s global footprint across wider lifestyle categories for fans of the show to enjoy. Booba is broadcast worldwide on some of the biggest digital platforms, and IMG is looking for top tier partners to rollout toys, plush, collectibles, publishing and apparel, plus...

WWE Clash at the Castle hailed a success. From the moment I stepped off the train, it was obvious that the WWE juggernaut had rolled into town – literally and metaphorically. My first stop was Cardiff Castle, to experience the Smyths Toys pop-up activation, which featured a life-size version of Mattel’s Wrekkin’ Rig truck, along with activations involving other licensees including a Funko photo op and WWE2K22 gaming stations. 

 

Moose Toys’ Heroes of Goo Jit Zu are venturing out of the toy aisle. In a new partnership with The Licensing Shop, the toy line will be extending into an array of consumer products, including publishing, apparel, confectionery, sleepwear and accessories.   “It’s been incredible to see the growth in Heroes of Goo Jit Zu since launch,” says Menal McGrath, vice president, global licensing, Moose Toys. 

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People of Play

 

There’s another new monster joining Beloit, Wisconsin-based PlayMonster. The company hired Steve Adolph to serve as president while Sharon Fosbery has been promoted to chief brands and strategy officer. Adolph will report to and work alongside CEO Tim Kilpin with a focus on global operations and crafting strategic initiatives to fuel growth for the company.

 

After spending 30 yrs at Paramount Advertising, Jo Ann Ross has stepped into a new advisory role as chairman while John Halley will succeed her as president. “As the world of entertainment has evolved, Jo Ann has been on the forefront of advertising innovations that have been instrumental to establishing Paramount as a trusted partner and must-buy for advertisers everywhere,” says Bob Bakish, president and CEO.

 

Jazwares announced that Sam Ferguson has been elevated to SVP of Global Licensing. In his newly expanded role, Ferguson will oversee the company’s global inbound and outbound licensing efforts reporting to Judd Karofsky, EVP, Jazwares. Since joining Jazwares in 2016, Ferguson has been instrumental in growing the company’s vast licensed portfolio and homegrown intellectual properties (IP) consisting of the world’s hottest...

 

Zigazoo is making a push into consumer products. The kid-focused social network and NFT education platform hired Ashley Mady to serve as its president of consumer products. In her new role, Mady will lead physical and digital consumer product initiatives, including NFTs and other digital assets, physical merchandise, and products that are a blend of the two. 

 

In an effort to support social emotional learning (SEL), including mindful play, active listening, and encouraging reading, PlayMonster tapped parenting influencer Desiree Fortin to share her expertise with other parents as the company’s chief parenting officer. Fortin joins PlayMonster as the company launches Playskool Glo Friends, a new product line created in partnership with Hasbro.

 

Fun In Motion Toys welcomes Kenneth Morrell to the crew in the newly created position of vice president of operations. Morrell joins Fun In Motion Toys from the Seminole Tribe of Florida where he served as general manager and director of operations. He previously held roles at the Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser-Busch, Unilever, and others.

 

Interview with Karri Bean! It’s an exciting time for the inventor community, the 2022 People of Play Inventor Conference is not only back in person but has had a total overhaul in location.  Karri Bean, a Senior Licensing Manager for Disney and People of Play Advisory Board Member was kind enough to answer some questions about the upcoming event.

 

The National Book Foundation (NBF) will award its 2022 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL) to Maus creator Art Spiegelman. This is the first time the foundation has recognized a comics creator with the medal. Neil Gaiman will present the award to Spiegelman at the National Book Awards ceremony on Nov. 16.

 

NY’s Trustbridge Global Media has recruited former Boat Rocker EVP of kids & family content Bob Higgins to head up a new children’s entertainment company it’s launching. Run by Shanghai-based parentco and private equity firm Trustbridge Partners, TGM was founded in 2016 and manages approximately US$8 billion in investment capital. Starting immediately and reporting to TGM MD John String, Higgins will...

 

***the above posted after tBR was sent Sept 9th***

 

PLAYMONSTER EXPANDS SALES TEAM TO GROW MASS, SPECIALTY, AND E-COMMERCE BUSINESS. “Our sales team is deeply committed to our partnership across all of our diverse retail channels,” says Tim Kilpin, CEO at PlayMonster. “We’re incredibly pleased to welcome the new team members and their added strengths to help maximize opportunity and growth across key accounts.” 

 

G EDITIONS UNWRAPS BRIAN LEVANT’S ‘MY LIFE AND TOYS’. My Life and Toys is a compelling time capsule that shows off Levant’s museum-worthy collections, plus his autobiographical anecdotes convey decades of collecting passion through a career that has been influenced by pop culture and, in turn, gone on to influence pop culture itself.

 

Penguin Ventures, the licensing and consumer products team within Penguin Random House Children’s, has appointed Kelly Ball in a newly created role of head of Retail. Kelly will report to David Sprei, commercial director at Penguin Ventures, and will be responsible for driving commercial growth and brand presence across online and offline retail environments, securing opportunities for Ventures’ portfolio of iconic...

 

Eric Schrier has been named president of Disney Television Studios & business operations, Disney General Entertainment, as part of a senior exec reshuffle under Dana Walden.  In her first exec changes since being appointed as DGE chairman in June, Walden has also promoted Craig Erwich to president of ABC Entertainment, Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals and Shannon Ryan to president of marketing for DGE.

 

Moonbug has named Gina Costelloe as its head of distribution and originals for EMEA, Kidscreen has confirmed. She’s now in charge of the company’s sales and original content production in the region, managing a growing lineup of kids brands that includes CoCoMelon (pictured), Blippi and Oddbods.

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Companies and Brands

 

The LEGO Group is going green with its new factory in southern VietnamConstruction of the factory begins in Binh Duong province this November, and 25,000 trees will be cleared in the process. In response to the trees that will be removed. The LEGO Group is planting 50,000 trees over a period of three years. In addition to the newly planted trees, the factory is set to be the company’s first carbon-neutral site.

 

Last year, Funko hit a major milestone as the company hit $1 billion in annual sales. Now, the Washington-based purveyor of products for every fandom is setting its sights on doubling that organically by 2026.  This week, Funko held its first-ever investor event in New York City where it outlined plans to double its business by growing its collectibles assortment, expanding into new categories, growing its direct...

 

Baker & Taylor Publisher Services is pleased to announce the signing of a full-service sales and distribution agreement with Brain Tree Games, effective immediately. this Agreement between BTPS and Brain Tree Games pertains to US sales and fulfillment only. Brain Tree Games is one of the leading jigsaw puzzle manufacturers worldwide.

 

In honor of National Afro Day, DeeDee Wright-Ward, creator of viral Naturalistas Fashion Doll line and CEO of one of the largest Black-owned toy start-ups, Purpose Toys, announced the expansion of the Naturalistas brand with the release of the Amazon Exclusive “Crown and Coils” Natural Hair Styling-Head set. A celebration of coils and curls, the popular Naturalistas fashion doll line features 7 unique ...

 

Atari Reveals Sunnyvale, A Massive New Experience in The Sandbox. Atari — one of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers — has announced the launch of Atari Sunnyvale, a massive social and gaming experience in The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands.

NERF Unveils All-New LMTD Star Trek and Retro Blasters at NERF Fest, Launches NERF Island on Roblox. Following this week’s exciting NERF collaboration announcement with mega sci-fi franchise Star Trek, fans were treated to an in-depth look at the NERF LMTD Star Trek Starfleet Type 3 Phaser and Starfleet Type 2 Phaser. The NERF team also revealed the all-new NERF LMTD SHARP92 Blaster, a retro throwback...

 

New Gigantosaurus Toy Line Gets the Magic Touch from Toy Designer Darren Lee PhillipsonCyber Group Studios, a leading producer and distributor of animated programs for kids and families, best known for its award-winning preschool show Gigantosaurus, will introduce a new line of series-inspired toys from master toy licensee United Smile that is being created by multi-award-winning toy designer Darren Lee Phillipson of... 

 

Funko Games has unveiled a new line of Pop!-inspired puzzles, in time for the holidays. Featuring Funko’s iconic Pop! style, the first three puzzles feature Elf, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “The Funko Pop! is legendary, with millions of fans and millions of Pop! figures sold worldwide,” said Deirdre Cross, general manager of Funko Games. “Over the years, more than 16,000 Pop! figures have...

 

Zuru is celebrating X-Shot being ranked as the No.1 UK property in the range of blasters and shooter toys YTD July by NPD. X-Shot was launched as a competitor in the largely unchallenged blaster category and has made no secret of its desires to overtake the brand-leader. New results from July show that X-Shot property is now number one in volume in the blaster/shooter subclass in year-to-date July. 

 

This Clever App Tells You What to Build With Your LEGO Pile. LEGO appeals to every kind of builder. Type-A architects may like to purchase sets and follow the instructions to the letter, while more free-form designers may prefer to amass random pieces and see what inspires them. If you fall somewhere between these two categories, Brickit may be the app for you. As Fast Company reports, Brickit is a free app that tells you...

 

Panini enters world of NFTs with Megacracks de LaLiga collection.  The Megacracks de LaLiga Santander 2022-23 trading card collection welcomes added value in the form of 9,460 cards from the Elite NFT series. Megacracks de LaLigaOne of the most iconic card collections in Spain, the Megacracks de LaLiga Santander 2022-23, enters the world of NFTs with very limited cards.

 

The Power of Peppa Pig Comes to the Fore as Hasbro Begins 24-Month Brand Campaign. The first phase, beginning in the UK, features children's drawings of the character. The long-running preschool children’s TV series Peppa Pig has become a cultural phenomenon in the two decades since the first episode aired. The titular Peppa, along with her family and friends, go beyond the expected young audience however...

 

Hasbro Campaign Explains Why Monopoly Is Good for Kids' Anger Issues. The poster and online campaign has been developed for the Dutch and Belgian markets. According to research run by games maker Hasbro, eight out of 10 people fight while playing the board game Monopoly, an insight which has led to the creation of a brand campaign in Belgium. After commissioning research, manufacturer Hasbro’s Benelux...

 

Holiday toy list season continues with Amazon checking in with its annual Toys We Love list. This year, Amazon’s Toys We Love list features more than 200 toys and games, including 100 priced under $50, and more than 60 that are exclusive to Amazon. Small businesses and growing toymakers on the list this year include Thames & Kosmos, Orijin Bees, Magna-Tiles, MEandMine, and TeeTurtle, among others.

 

CLASSIC TOY BRANDS COLLIDE AS RADIO FLYER WAGON ROADSTER ROLLS INTO VICTORY LANE AT THE HOT WHEELS LEGENDS TOUR. At the Phoenix stop this weekend, builder Mitchell Elsberry of San Tan Valley, Arizona scored a local win with his 2017 Radio Flyer Wagon Roadster. The street legal, steel-bodied roadster features a custom-built chassis and LS-1 engine with 700R4 transmission. Elsberry is a plumber by trade...

 

The most popular YouTube channel in the United States is embarking on a massive tour of its home country. This fall, CoComelon will travel to 62 cities across the U.S. to put on CoComelon Live! JJ’s Journey, a show that features the cartoonish characters from the brand’s kid-friendly content empire. The fun begins in Baltimore, Maryland on September 16. 

 

TARGET, FAO SCHWARZ INK MULTIYEAR PARTNERSHIP DEAL, UNVEIL BULLSEYE’S TOP TOY LIST. Beginning in mid-Oct., FAO Schwarz toys will be available exclusively at Target stores, Target.com, and FAO Schwarz stores. The news arrives alongside the 10th annual edition of Bullseye’s Top Toys List, now presented by FAO Schwarz. As part of the arrangement, visitors to the FAO Schwarz flagship store in NYC’s Rockefeller Center...

 

Moonbug has enjoyed a meteroic rise to fame with some of its properties quickly becoming among the biggest and most successful in the world.Moonbug Entertainment‘s Simon Philips, MD Global Consumer Products, and Francesca Romana Gianesin, head of Consumer Products EMEA/ANZ, spoke to Toy World’s Rachael Simpson-Jones ahead of Moonbug’s debut BLE appearance, about the company’s CP strategy, growth...

Chicago-area sixth grader is the face of America’s new girl. On a recent visit to New York City, 11-year-old Rio Lewis walked into the American Girl doll store with her family and was shocked to see her face on the brand’s newest character banners throughout the store. “A mom and a girl, they’re like, ‘Hey, you know what? You look like Claudie. And I was like, ‘I’m Claudie!'” Lewis told the Tribune.

 

***The above posted after tBR sent on September 9th***

 

YouTube ditches algorithm and ads for new education platform.  Announced in a blog post by Jonathan Katzman, director of product management YouTube Learning, Player for Education is a new embedded player that shows content on commonly used education apps without ‘distractions’ such as ads, external links or recommendations – i.e. users will be safe from YouTube’s algorithm that has been widely criticised...

 

Peppa Pig: First same-sex couple for children's show. Loved by pre-school audiences in the UK, US, Australia and Latin America, Peppa Pig is arguably one of the most recognizable - and popular - cartoon animals in the world. It is perhaps no wonder, then, that the program’s decision to introduce its first same-sex couple has made waves. 

 

Care Bears Celebrate their 40th Anniversary and Annual Day of Giving “Share Your Care Day” on September 9th.  Cloudco Entertainment are celebrating the Care Bears 40th Anniversary and another year of sharing and caring on the brand’s nationally recognized “Share Your Care Day”, a Care Bears-inspired nationally recognized holiday that encourages all Care Bears fans to engage in actions that showcase love, friendship...

 

The Loyal Subjects Introduces Fashion Dolls With Purpose in ‘For Keeps Universe’.  The Loyal Subjects is taking fashion dolls to the next level with For Keeps Universe as they promote acceptance, love, diversity and self-empowerment. Did you know one out of every five students report being bullied in America? With a statistic like that, there is no better time to promote kindness both at home and on the playground. 

 

Melissa & Doug has made several improvements to its website to create a streamlined shopping experience for consumers. With a heavy focus on brand story and consumer experience, the enhanced website was redesigned in partnership with Tomorrow, on the Shopify platform.  Improvements include a user-friendly mobile experience, increased user generated content and reviews, optimized site search...

 

Peppa Pig and her friends have arrived in Hangzhou to bring kids and families an immersive play experience with the introduction of the Peppa Pig Play Café. Hasbro and the China Leisure Development Co. partnered to open the café on the third floor of Hall B in the Binjiang Yintai Shopping Center. The café consists of six different Peppa Pig-themed locations that kids will recognize from the show, including Potato...

 

The Pokémon Company International has taken over Harrods’ toy floor for six weeks of summer fun which began on 17th August. With a host of exciting activities on offer for visitors to the world-famous department store in Knightsbridge, London, the Pokémon space has taken inspiration from the Pokémon World Championships, which were held in London for the very first time from 18th-21st August.

 

Business is purring along nicely for Exploding Kittens, with consumers keen to get on board with the company’s quirky party games. Joeri Hoste says that while the games market is currently “quite challenged”, with NPD showing it down around 5%, 2022 has been a very positive year for Exploding Kittens, with the company delivering a credible 25% growth year on year for bricks and mortar sales. 

 

Basic Fun! inked a product development and distribution partnership with Golden Bear to bring Curlimals interactive plush pet toys to retailers in North America next year. “Basic Fun! is excited about this collaboration with the Golden Bear team to bring Curlimals to the North American market — we think the innovation in Curlimals will be a great addition to our expansive plush portfolio,” says Hugh Kennedy, SVP... 

 

Big Lots is adding some Disney magic to its stores this month. The discount retailer struck a deal with The Walt Disney Co. for pop-up shops in each of its more than 1,440 stores. Now through Oct. 14, consumers can shop an array of toys, home décor, apparel, and accessories featuring popular characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm properties. 

 

Hauck is repositioning itself in the baby and toy market with a new modern brand strategy and a changed logo. The rebranding positions the company as an appealing brand for first-time parents with ‘care’ not just being the brand essence, but a promise. The company’s website has been showing the new corporate design since the beginning of September, and the English and French sites will be adapted soon.

 

Mattel has announced the introduction of Bruno, the first autistic character in the Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go series and franchise. Mattel Television has developed Bruno in collaboration with organisations including the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Easterseals Southern California, as well as autistic writers and spokespeople. Voiced by nine-year-old actor Elliott Garcia, who is himself autistic...

 

Ultra Power Battle Game Trending Among Kids and CollectorsJust a couple of months ago, Expand Your Mind LLC launched its Ultra Power Battle Game, proclaiming its new product as the best flippin’ game of the year, a play on words for the fun token collecting challenge strategy game. The lofty claim wasn’t just playing with phrases. 

 

Trend Lab, LLC Introduces New My Tiny Moments Four-Piece Gift Baskets. Trend Lab, LLC is excited to announce the addition of two new four-piece gift baskets under their My Tiny Moments Brand, available for immediate delivery. The My Tiny Moments brand features a variety of great gifting sets that are trend-influenced and value priced.

 

Gibsons is relaunching Andrew McNeil’s classic tabletop strategy game Kingmaker with a Kickstarter campaign which starts this week. Although Kingmaker had been enjoyed by many for decades, the original game had some shortcomings and fans requested a new and improved version. Gibsons, along with Alan Paull of Surprised Stare Games, worked to resolve these issues, yet still retain the essence of ...

 

Toy World's Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to Big Potato to find out what’s next for the fast-growing company and how it continues to chip away at the games market. The indie games company Big Potato has earned a reputation for developing decidedly different, family-friendly party games that are quick to learn and easy to play. 

 

UK's PMI’s Omer Dekel outlines how the company is faring and how retailers can sustain interest in collectibles in the run up to Christmas. Keeping collectibles affordable is key to ensuring they remain protected from the cost-of-living crisis, according to PMI’s Omer Dekel. He tells Toy World that despite the challenging economic environment, PMI is doing well with the entry level price point for the majority of...

 

Moonbug has enjoyed a meteroic rise to fame with some of its properties quickly becoming among the biggest and most successful in the world. Moonbug's Simon Philips, MD Global Consumer Products, and Francesca Romana Gianesin, head of Consumer Products EMEA/ANZ, spoke to Toy World’s Rachael Simpson-Jones ahead of Moonbug’s debut BLE appearance, about the company’s CP strategy, growth plans and...

 

Toy World catches up with CEO of Maxx Group Michael Kwan to hear about the company’s ongoing bid to raise its profile in the toys marketMaxx Marketing has been around for 25 years now, establishing YuMe Toys in 2018 to develop its presence in the mainstream toy market, as well as its licensing agency, Licensing Matters Global (LMG), to leverage its licensing expertise.

 

Rachael Simpson-Jones caught up with Alex Green of Asmodee UK, to find out what’s driving sales and the impact of economic challenges on the Games market. Asmodee continues to expand on its already vast offering with new launches and distribution partnerships that offer retailers fresh new opportunities at every turn. However, the company is mindful of current market conditions.

 

The UK’s No. 1 nurturing doll brand, Baby Annabell, has announced a partnership with Zoe Blaskey, host of family podcast Motherkind, to launch a special series, Toddler Milestone Moments, as part of its annual Ask the Experts campaign. Now in its third year, Ask the Experts follows on from two previous campaigns which saw the brand team up with experts from the parenting space to share advice on important ...

 

Walt Disney Co. is exploring a membership program that could offer discounts or special perks to encourage customers to spend more on its streaming services, theme parks, resorts and merchandise. The program would be somewhat akin to Amazon Prime, which offers advantages such as free shipping, discounts at Whole Foods and a complementary streaming video service for a monthly or annual fee, the people said. Internally, some executives have referred to Disney’s initiative as “Disney Prime,” although that won’t be the name of the program...

 

Netflix has launched its third Animation Foundation program, this time in partnership with LA-based nonprofit Black N’ Animated to support creatives looking to break into the animation industry. The four-month program will launch on October 10 and will pair 50 participants with 20 to 25 mentors from Netflix Animation Studio. 

Portal Games will release 'Basilica 2e'. Portal Games will release Basilica 2E, a refreshed version of the classic board game, into U.S. retail on October 20, 2022. Basilica was originally released back in 2010, and was designed by Lukasz M. Pogoda. It is a game where two rival architects are constructing the same basilica, one working for the queen and the other working for the bishop. 

Ares brings back 'Inkognito'. Ares Games will release a reprint of Inkognito, the classic deduction game, into stores by the end of 2022. Inkognito was first released by Milton Bradley in 1988, and was designed by Alex Randolph and Leo Colovini. Ares released a new edition of the game in 2013, after acquiring the rights.Now, to mark what would be Alex Randolph's 100th birthday, they are re-releasing the game after...

 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Global hit show Cocomelon’s first video game ‘Cocomelon: Play with JJ’ set to launch this Autumn. Moonbug Entertainment and Outright Games have announced the first ever video game from global hit kids’ show, CoComelon. The video game, titled CoComelon: Play with JJ, will launch on Nintendo Switch on 28 October 2022.

 

Nintendo announces a new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet-flavored Switch OLED. Seems like whenever a new flagship Nintendo game is about to release, it gets a special edition Switch to go with it. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are no exception, as today, Nintendo has revealed the orange and grape-flavored OLED Switch that will accompany the release of the next major Pokémon title. 

 

Cyberpunk 2077 getting first expansion next year, Keanu Reeves to return. Better late than never, Cyberpunk 2077 is getting its first major expansion, CD Projekt Red announced in a Twitch livestream today. It’s called Phantom Liberty, it’s out next year, and it will feature the return of Keanu Reeves’ Johnny Silverhand. It won’t, however, be available on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. 

 

Snapchat owner to lay off 20 percent of workforce, will no longer invest in games The news comes with year-on-year revenue growth at the company falling "well below" expectations. Snapchat owner Snap Inc. has confirmed it plans to lay off roughly 20 percent of its workforce and stop investing in video games. The news comes with year-on-year revenue growth at the company falling "well below" expectations. 

 

Microsoft confirms the existence of an Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family plan. Microsoft has officially confirmed the existence of an Xbox Game Pass Friends & Family tier. The news comes a few weeks after the company began testing a new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate plan that could be shared with up to four other users. 

 

Microsoft will keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for ‘several more years’ beyond existing deal. Microsoft is committing to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond the existing marketing deal Sony has with Activision. Microsoft Gaming CEO and Xbox chief Phil Spencer made the commitment in a written letter to PlayStation head Jim Ryan earlier this year, and it’s the clearest sign yet that ..

Highlighted Press Releases

 

ENTICE BUDDING ARTISTS TO SCRIBBLE, DOODLE, PAINT & SCULPT WITH iHeartArt JR. Bright Stripes Introduces a Full Range of Premium, Perfectly-Proportioned Art Supplies For Preschoolers Featuring Caregivers’ Guides and A Rainbow Array of Materials For The Youngest Artists

Bloomfield, NJ – Bright Stripes believes there is no right or wrong way to create art. With the right tools, the benefits are extraordinary! Art encourages creativity and imaginative thinking, two skills that are increasingly linked with long-term professional success. Bright Stripes introduces a full range of iHeartArtJR creative kits for preschoolers blessed with chubby little fingers and big ideas! 

Safety and Counterfeiting

 

Old toys: What danger do they hide? Allowing children to play with old toys may pose a risk to their health, writes “Science Daily”, citing a Swedish study. Its authors from the University of Gothenburg have found that more than 80 percent of old toys and items contain toxins that can damage children’s growth, development and reproductive abilities, as well as cause cancer. The analysis carried out shows that up to 84 percent of the old products contain phthalates and short-chain chlorinated paraffins in concentrations significantly exceeding the norm.

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Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, revealed this year’s finalists for induction into the Hall. A dozen classic toys are vying for position this year, including bingo, Breyer Horses, Catan, Lite-Brite, NERF, Masters of the Universe, piñata, Phase 10, Pound Puppies, Rack-O, Spirograph, and the spinning top.

 

Chefclub, the world’s leading food-themed entertainment brand, and 10 French malls from the Klépierre Group, the European leader in shopping centers, will host a series of live events called “Playfood” – aimed at offering gourmet, accessible, fun, and shareable culinary experiences to kids and families.

Warner Bros Discovery Announces New York Comic Con ’22 Panels, Activations and More! Warner Bros Discovery is back in New York City for NYCC, with fan-favorite shows, comics and more from an incredibly wide line-up across the combined divisions of the company, with a series of can’t-miss panels, activations and more, from Thursday, October 6, through Sunday, October 9.

 

The Game Manufacturers Association has made changes to the Origins Awards for the 2022 cycle. The Origins Awards return after a stint of being delayed by the pandemic and other issues (see "Origins Awards Delayed"). Now, the awards for 2022 will be announced in at GAMA Expo 2023, and will include new categories to better reflect the makeup of the new board structure and the membership. The categories are...

 

UK Licensing Awards winners revealed. The winners of this year’s Licensing Awards were unveiled at last night’s event, which saw around 1,200 industry people from the licensing community head to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane. In addition to the award presentations, the members of The Light Fund English Channel Relay Swim team were thanked for their incredible efforts in raising £268,000...

 

The DreamToys committee has decided to continue the format of the last two years, with a press day held the day before the official announcement. The Toy Retailers Association has announced the annual DreamToys list will be unveiled on Wednesday 9th Nov. at 00:01.

The list showcases the most exciting toys and games available this festive season, as chosen by a panel of retailers and industry experts...

 

BLE announces revised build-up schedule and new opening hours.  The event will still take place from Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd Sept., although the show will not now open until midday on the Tuesday. Show organiser Informa has announced a series of minor revisions to the timetable for next week’s BLE event, having been working throughout the weekend to liaise with exhibitors to finalise the new arrangements.

 

***The above posted after tBR sent on September 9th***

 

The wheels are turning for ToyFest 2023. Following the conclusion of its most well-attended show in two decades, the Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) repositioned ToyFest (formerly ToyFest West) as a national trade show set to take place from Feb. 27 to March 3, 2023, at The Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas.

 

Two leading figures from within the UK toy and licensing communities are hoping the auction of some Top Gun: Maverick movie memorabilia will help industry charity The Light Fund achieve its £250k English Channel Relay Swim Race 2022 fundraising goal. The Top Gun jacket bundle, which Mark Kingston and Wow Stuff’s Richard North hope to auction for around £5,000, comprises a Maverick Avirex Leather...

 

The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) has announced that Toy Fair 2023 has sold out four months ahead of the show opening, with all exhibition spaces including the Greenhouse, now with waiting lists. The prestigious annual show, which is back for its 69th year, is taking place from the 24th-26th January 2023 at Olympia London. With 250 exhibiting companies in attendance, occupying the Grand and...

 

Germany’s KiKA, France’s TF1 and Denmark’s DR Sales figure among the best-known of contenders for the 2022 Cartoon Tributes, awarded for outstanding achievement in Europe’s TV animation industry. France, followed by Spain, dominates Cartoon’s three categories of broadcaster, investor/distributor and producer of the year, which will be voted on by the about 1,000 delegates at this year’s Cartoon Forum,...

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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.

Arnold Thaler, former Chairman of Viewmaster-Ideal, passed away on September 12th, 2022. He was 99 years. Here is an old video of Arnold Thaler talking about View-Master International old.   

 

Michael John Lyden, of Greendale, Wisconsin passed away Friday, August 26, 2022 peacefully at the age of 80. Born in Fall River, Massachusetts he spent his youth along the eastern corridor from Rhode Island to Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The toy industry was his heart and soul, along with the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle (done proudly only in pen) and endless books loaned from the library. He adored visiting zoos around the world, fascinated by Snowflake, the albino gorilla at the Barcelona zoo and Tandi & Khanya, the rare white lion cubs (along with generally most animals).
He adored long evenings at restaurants, discos, bars around the world, making new friends wherever he frequented. From Carlos & Charlie's in Hollywood to TJ's Piano Bar in Westport Connecticut, to most recently his daughter's wine bar in Greendale, Wisconsin, he was one to charm the socks off of anyone he met. Given the opportunity he'd gladly take you up on a well-made steak tartare with the perfect frites. He adored gushing stories about the golf courses he'd played or flying the Concord all while extending the evening with a sambuca and coffee, with exactly three beans for good fortune in life.
He loved regaling new friends and old with stories of his time spent in the toy industry, starting as a teenager as a stock clerk in the first Toys "R" Us in Virginia. From there he worked tirelessly and steadfastly to rise the ranks at Toys R Us, then to Mattel. At Mattel he led the development of Hot Wheels as Vice President of Boys Brands in El Segundo, California. At Tyco Toys in Mount Laurel, New Jersey he rose to President of Tyco US where along his journey he was instrumental in the creation of the legendary Garfield telephone of the 80s, and Tickle me Elmo of the 90s. His favorite times were spent at Toy Fair every year in New York City, and with his many dear colleagues he made over 50+ years in the industry.
He was the ultimate perfectionist, with a lust for life that is rarely encountered. He endeared himself to many throughout his broad and unique life around the world.

He was the proud father of daughters Kelly (Jeff), Megan and Jennifer (Jason); Grandfather of Russell, Jessica (Steve), Rachel (Brett), Elle, Sadie and Uma; Great-Grandfather of Zachary, Emilie, Madelyn, Nikolai, Hazel and Theo. He is survived by his sisters Frances (George) and Colleen. He is preceeded by his parents Francis and Evelyn (nee Lassonde) Lyden. 

 

Ralph Eggleston,  Longtime Pixar animator  and the Oscar-winning director behind the 2000 short film For the Birds who also worked in the art departments of films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles — has died. Eggleston died in San Rafael, Calif., on Monday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, according to Variety. Pixar Animation Studios confirmed Eggleston's death in a statement released on Twitter Monday. "In memory of Ralph Eggleston — animator, director, art director, storyboard artist, writer, production designer, and our dear friend. Pixar and the world will be forever grateful," the studio tweeted. Among his colleagues, Jorge R. Gutierrez, director of The Book of Life, also honored the moviemaker with a tribute.

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News Flash: Harry Potter Stupefy Announced, New Card Game from Z-Man Games
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