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Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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Happy Bloomin' Friday! 

The biggest buzz at the Licensing Show was not about a license, but that Greg Ahearn was named President and CEO of the Toy Association. I’m super excited as well! On a recent zoom, he shared a few of his ideas and a bit of his vision with me. He’s got what it takes to get us where we need to go and then some. It is the dawn of TA2.0.

 

I’ll be at DISTOY in London next week. Hope to see many of you at our POP Pub Event. RSVP HERE!  Thank you to our generous sponsors showcased on the invitation and hats off to the DISTOY Pub Committee: Lizzy MoodyEleanor BlackHannah Palfrey and yours truly

 

A few weeks ago. I offered to refund your tBR subscriptions, no questions asked, if you didn’t think this video was one of the best industry feel good videos you've seen. No one has asked to date and the offer stands!

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report here or on the Bloom Report 24/7 News FeedPlease support our work by advertising and/or setting up a POP profile.

Mary

  • "Congratulations on the outstanding job that you and your team are doing on producing The Bloom Report. It seems like it is getting better and better almost every week!!! Bravo!!!" -Ron Cantor, Rainbow Concepts, Inc.

  • If you are tired of these quotes, send me yours! 

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(POP's Julia deKorte) Thanks for taking the time to speak with me Mark! Let's get right into it... Why and how did you get into the toy industry?

I always loved toys, since I was a kid, and I have always wanted to be in the toy industry, but it’s very hard to get into it. It’s very closed, and sometimes secretive. So my way, finally, to get into it, was through my experience in video games. Hasbro was looking to get into video games, so they thought I would be a benefit to them.

 

What are your roles and responsibilities in the toy industry?

When I started at Hasbro, I started in research and development. It was a group of experienced toy creators and developers that worked with various teams at Hasbro as well as concepts that they came up with themselves. So that was a great start.

 

After a few years, that group broke up and people kind of dispersed into different areas. A few of us hung together, and one of my bosses started a group at Hasbro called CakeMix, which was an internal video production house. Matthew Malone, who was really an inspirational mentor to me, said, “Why don’t we do this on the inside, and save money, and be able to be present all the time when we’re making these videos or commercials and creating maybe even animations that could turn into television shows?” So, I was part of that group.

 

And then my boss, Matthew, he said, “You’ve got to create your own future!” Which is really rare, in any company, for a boss to say, “Find a place! Find something!”    READ MORE...

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Person of Week - Christian Braun: The Top 7 Mistakes Collectible Brands Make (and how you can avoid them)

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Over the years, collectors have always been a part of history. When the Franklin Mint was created in the 1960s, modern collectibles came onto the scene with a whole different set of characteristics including becoming fully dependent on the Franklin Mint for sales. Over the past few decades, the success of collectible brands has become dependent on a number of factors. And if not adhered to, it can lead to a Brand or even a business closing down as seen with Beanie Babies, David Winter Cottages, Herpa Miniaturmodelle, and even with Franklin Mint. 

 

At hobbyDB, our 690,000 Members have already added 53 million Collectibles to their collections. It is from my experience with our Community and my own studies in the Subject of Collectability including more than 20,000 conversations with collectors from postcards, model cars, action figures, corkscrews, and more that I have been able to distill 7 Must-Have Tenets that will keep your brand collectible.

One of the biggest mistakes that collectible brands can make is if they stop paying attention to the secondary markets. When it comes to purchasing patterns, buying a Hot Wheels Mainline for $1 requires no explanation. However, spending more than $10 for a “toy” like some of Mattel Creations' limited edition Hot Wheels that cost around $30, or the Transformer that just dropped for $80 needs further justification. Even more so for say a $1,200 Sideshow Collectibles statue.  The consumer must be able to tell themselves, and/or their better half...  READ MORE...

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Person of the Week - The Playmaker's Tim Walsh

Stories from the Young Inventor Challenge®

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Photo of Carol with Judge Julien Sharp, Asmodee.

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In celebration of our "MAY I help? Yes, you MAY" Campaign (DONATE HERE), we are encouraging everyone to share their favorite Young Inventor Challenge®. Here’s mine from last year!


On the Saturday morning of the Young Inventor Challenge International Championship, I noticed a young participant and her Mom talking. This poor kid was on the verge of tears and Mom looked exasperated. I introduced myself and found out her name was Carol. I shared with her that I had judged her game presentation online, and that I really liked her pitch and her game. I told her, “You’re going to do great today.”

The email exchange below tells the rest of the story. (I got permission from Carol’s mom, Maggie, to share this).

Hi Maggie,


Ahren Hoffman passed on your email to me. I was so glad to hear your daughter Carol won best game! I could tell she was a bit nervous at the beginning, so I hope my brief chat with her was encouraging. I remembered her and her game from judging it online and really did think it was great!


Thank you so much for participating in the YIC. We really do believe in the skills and confidence that this program instills in kids like Carol and we couldn’t do it without the support of parents like you. We appreciate you.


Seize the Play!

Tim
**********

Hi Tim,


I just wanted to thank you for those words of encouragement. It was an exhausting morning. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We barely made it on time. She wasn't prepared with her pitch. She lost her paper. It was a lot, and she's been stretched thin with the play she was in (We had no idea this was the same weekend when we signed up).  I think we were both about to cry when you walked up.     Read More...

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

Cartoon of the Week: Thank you, to the person wishing to remain anonymous for the funny cartoon this week! 

Paraprosdokian Lovers:  "Will glass coffins be a success? Remains to be seen."

Memorable Quotes:  "There's great value in being able to step back and laugh at yourself, at life, and at attitudes. Laughter helps you put everything into perspective." -Jim Henson

Toy Industry Word of Day:  Cross Marketing  If you can think of a toy/game industry word not in our POPDictionary, add it and we will connect it to you POP profile, feature it here in an upcoming week and on POP's homepage! 

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

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Financial and Legal

 

Epic Storyworlds has inked a deal to acquire Québec-based game developer Frima’s catalogue of more than 20 popular gaming titles, including a 14-year-old educational preschool brand called Cosmo Camp (pictured) that it’s putting into development as a TV series. Established in 2003, Frima has largely focused on producing multi-platform games for console, web and smartphone apps, as well as dabbling in...

 

IGN Entertainment announced that it has acquired a handful of ReedPop's Gamer Network's digital brands as well as other assets. This deal represents a further consolidation of games news companies into even larger news conglomerates. The digital brands acquired as part of this sale included the following publications: GamesIndustry.biz, Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, VG247, and Dicebreaker. IGN also acquired...

Anton Capital Ent, the UK indie producer behind Paddington 2, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon and HBO fantasy series His Dark Materials, has just locked down US$108 mill in investment funding to finance the production of new films and TV series. NY-based BlackRock—which managed a whopping US$10 trillion in assets in 2023—led the investment push and sees a lot of potential in the TV and film sector...

 

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on May 17th ***

 

Statement From Jochanan Golad, CEO, Goliath Group. Pressman, part of the Goliath Group, would like to address and correct certain statements made publicly in trade publications, and privately to various of our customers, regarding a purported transfer of the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell Rummikub in N.A. Please know that Pressman still holds the exclusive licensing rights to Rummikub in the United States and Canada, which it has held for over 45 years. 

Rummikub Rumble: Goliath strikes back on Hasbro, Lemada Light deal. Rights issues can be complicated. There’s a ripple in the game aisle this morning. Following yesterday’s news that Lemada Light Industries inked a deal with Hasbro Gaming for North American distribution of Rummikub, a statement from Goliath Group CEO Jochanan Golad claims that’s Rummikub rubbish. 

 

Lemada Light Industries, Hasbro Games partner for Rummikub distribution. Lemada Light Industries and Hasbro Games teamed up to expand Rummikub’s reach. Hasbro will have exclusive distribution rights to the game in North America, in addition to its already established Rummikub distribution rights within France. 

Kidtech startup SuperAwesome has raised an additional $17 million in funding, which includes a new strategic investment from Microsoft's venture fund, M12. Others participating in the round include existing investors Mayfair Equity, Hoxton Ventures and Ibis, along with other angels. To date, SuperAwesome has raised $37 million in outside investment. SuperAwesome has been tapping into the need for more...

Samko & Miko Toy Warehouse, formerly based in Ontario, has filed for bankruptcy. Dodick Landau has been appointed as Trustee for the bankruptcy proceedings. Samko & Miko got its start more than 60 years ago. The company was known for its seasonal warehouse sales and traveling pop-up stores offering discount toys to Canadian markets.

Shares of DreamWorks Animation surged in pre-market trading Thursday after news broke that the film studio and Hasbro are in talks to merge. DreamWorks Animation shares soared more than 20% to over $27. The company had closed trading Wednesday at $22.37. Hasbro’s stock took a hit, however, dropping 2.12% to $56.24 before markets opened. Under the proposed deal, Hasbro would pay roughly $35 a share...

KidKraft, the brand known for wooden playsets and outdoor play structures, has filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas. KidKraft made the value-maximizing move to effectuate its sale to Backyard Products, a company with several outdoor brands under its umbrella.

Steam suddenly banned in Vietnam. Days ago, Steam was banned entirely in Vietnam, and it's unclear as to why. Vietnamese players took to Steam forums, saying all of the country's internet providers blocked access to both Valve's app and browser. One commenter said they spoke to someone who claimed the order came "from above." 

 

Dutch fine Fortnite maker for ‘pressuring’ kids with ads. Dutch authorities slapped a 1.1-million-euro fine on Fortnite maker Epic Games on Tuesday, judging that vulnerable children were exploited and pressured into making purchases in the game’s Item Shop. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) hit Epic Games with two separate fines totalling the equivalent of $1.2 million...

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

Financial Reporting

 

VTech Announces FY2024 Annual Results. Group revenue declined by 4.3% to US$2,145.7 million. Gross profit margin improved from 28.3% to 29.6%. Profit attributable to shareholders of the Company rose by 11.7% to US$166.6 million

 

*** The above posted after May 17th ***

 

The Game Manufacturer’s Association showed profits for 2022 and 2021 after a big loss in 2020, despite ongoing pandemic impacts to revenues.  GAMA showed a $31,000 profit in 2022 on revenues of $849,000, with expenses of $818,000

Sega blames falling profits on 'challenging conditions' in Europe.  The Japanese company shared those sentiments in its fiscal report for the year ended March 31, 2024, where it revealed that net sales in its Entertainment Contents segment (home to its game business) increased by 12.4 percent year-on-year to 318 billion yen ($2.05 billion).

Capcom hits new record for sales and profits in 2023-2024 financials.  As of March 31, 2024, net sales hit ¥152.410 million (or $977M), up 21 percent from 2022-2023, and a new record high. It also marks the seventh year in a row of record-high profit and 11th year of operating income growth (¥57.08 million).

Ubisoft's full-year results for 2023-2024 show off strong financial performance for the company. The Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Just Dance publisher earned about $2.5 billion in net bookings, a new record. From 2022 through 2024, the company's total headcount declined by 1,700 workers.

 

 

Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

APRIL 2024 CIRCANA BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS

Global sales of licensed merchandise and services reached a groundbreaking $356.5 billion in 2023, a 4.6% increase compared to 2022.

 

Not Your Grandparents’ Mahjong Table. Green Tile Social Club hosted its first tournament, where a younger generation gathered to play an old game and meet new friends.

*** The above posted after May 17th ***

 

APRIL 2024 CIRCANA BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 ADULT AND KIDS GRAPHIC NOVELS

Streamers ad tiers reach 75% of US households. Due to rising prices for individual services, there's also a lot more demand brewing for SVOD bundling options, says Circana.

Aussie nets spent 74% less on kids content in 2022/2023. And these commercial channels invested zero dollars in children's drama programming, according to a new report from government agency ACMA.

Touching Base with Toymaster suppliers. With one week to go to the Toymaster May Show, Toy World speaks with suppliers to find out what support they provide for Toymaster members and independent toy retailers.

Adults are buying more toys as families cut back. Parents are buying fewer toys and games for their children, but adult collectors are still splurging on premium dolls, figurines and such, and toy and game companies are expanding their direct-to-consumer (D2C) offerings to meet this demand.

Major US retailers see increased spend/visits in Q1. Consumer spending at US retailers is up 2.5% for the first quarter of the year, according to a new report from the National Retail Federation.  Chief NRF economist Jack Kleinhenz attributes this increase to an improving job market...

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Stories, Comments, and Advice

TikTok tests 60-minute video uploads as it continues to take on YouTube. The feature is available to a limited group of users in select markets, and TikTok says it doesn’t have any immediate plans to make the feature available widely. The feature, which was first spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, marks a shift from TikTok’s original format. The app allowed users to upload 15-second videos at launch, but...

 

Scrabble, Anonymous. This morning, before breakfast, I played nineteen games of Scrabble on my phone. I won 13. It took less than an hour. Over the past 25 years, I’ve played Scrabble every day, predominantly on ISC.RO, a website hosted in Romania that allows for games that are no longer than 3 mins. On my phone, I use the Scrabble app and play a bot set to “expert.” I had meant to play only 2 or 3 games today, but...

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on May 17th ***

 

John Baulch, Toy World - The calm before the storm … it’s the Friday Blog! After writing and talking about them for the past few months, the Toymaster May Show and Las Vegas Licensing Expo are finally almost upon us. In fact, the month of May has somehow turned into the new January as far as shows are concerned. In addition to our trips to Harrogate and Vegas, the Toy World team is also going to be present at Distoy...

Jay’s Blog: LA on My Mind 24/7/365! After five of six weeks, the spring LA sales preview marathon is finally over! This process began the week of March 25th for many of us, with key Walmart buyers traveling to LA to preview Spring ’25 with essential vendor partners and finally ended May 3rd!  That first week was reserved exclusively for Walmart US and WM Canada, so, as you can imagine, most vendors had between 1 and 8... 

 

UK's Asha Bhalsod on Amazon advertising support. As we step into 2024, the dynamics of advertising on Amazon have reached a complexity and competitiveness that now, more than ever, needs the expertise of specialists, writes Asha Bhalsod of Etopia Consultancy. For brands looking to navigate this terrain successfully, partnering with specialised agencies has transitioned from a strategic advantage to an essential part of...

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure: Garbage Pail Kids, Gross Bears, and Trash Can Trolls. Back in 2019, Dr. Sami Schalk contributed a piece to Inside Higher Ed titled “Lowbrow Culture and Guilty Pleasures? The Performance and Harm of Academic Elitism.” The article was in response to Times Higher Education reporter Jack Grove’s tweet, which put out a call to “some scholars who would write for THE about their ...

 

Why a German publisher made a board game about Chicago's sewers. Raising Chicago introduces players to an underexplored part of Chicago's early history. The game's transatlantic journey reflects global shifts in the booming board gaming market. When Matt Wolfe first learned that wombats poop cubes, he thought it was the perfect premise for a board game – and it turns out he was right. 

One of China’s hottest toys sold millions. The inventor made $830. College student Zhou Wenhao studies marine engineering in the central Chinese city of Wuhan by day. By night, he tinkers with 3D printing machines. In the summer of 2022, he printed a green and white toy switchblade smaller than the palm of his hand. Zhou named it “carrot knife” because the blade was orange. 

 

 

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History and Nostalgia

 

7 of the Most Valuable Power Rangers Toys From the ‘90s. These old collectibles could morph your savings account into something much bigger than you ever expected. Power Rangers lasted for 30 years across several networks and streaming services—including Fox, ABC, The CW, Nickelodeon, and Netflix—but if you’re a child of the ’90s, chances are that’s the era of the series that you know and love best.

 

 

 

American Metals Specialties Corporation (AMSCO) – 1961 Catalog. During its hey-day, American Metal Specialties Corporation (AMSCO) of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, was one of the nation’s top ten toy manufacturers. The company’s guiding philosophy was that “kids like to play grown-up.” As exemplified in this catalog from 1961, the company developed realistic toys in every detail but scaled down to a size...

 

Can you remember the names of the toys that these vintage advertisements are promoting? Get ready to play around! Toys are one of life's sweet little gifts. What's a better way to spend your childhood than surrounded by toys? In that childlike spirit, we've collected a few vintage toy ads, and we'll see if you can remember their names! 1. What is the brand name of these crayons? …

Mr. Rembrandt from Ideal (1970). Artistry met robotics in Mr. Rembrandt from Ideal. Released in 1970, the battery-operated toy named after the Dutch Golden Age painter drew geometric patterns on paper. The toy was brightly colored in a mishmash of red, blue, and yellow — the company’s classic color palette. Mr. Rembrandt paraded and pirouetted over paper based on the design of one of six different palette discs.

The original Alien action figure is the creepiest kid toy ever made. I’ll fully admit, I was too young to be really paying attention to movies at all in 1979. And even if I had been, I’m quite certain my parents wouldn’t have let me sit through Alien at that tender age. The resulting therapy bills would have been a crippling financial burden. 

 

New exhibition in Tokyo celebrates 50 years of diecast robot toys. Starting today the Chogokin 50th Anniversary Exhibition in Akihabara, Tokyo celebrates the enduring popularity of diecast robot toys. Hosted at the Tamashii Nations Store in Akihabara, Tokyo, the exhibition starts to today and will run for the next few months. To understand all the fuss, you need to dial the clock back to 1972 and the release of Mazinger Z. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

Established just a few weeks ago by 3 seasoned industry execs, a brand-new toyco called Kidazzle has won the master toy license for Lion Forge Ent’s animated series Iyanu, which is set to premiere on Cartoon Network and Max in 2025. The Florida-based company will manufacture and distribute dolls, action figures, playsets and accessories based on the comic book adaptation about a Nigerian teenager...

 

French studio Xilam Animation is starting production on its latest 2D-animated series Submarine Jim on the heels of inking presales with France Télévisions (France) and Super RTL (Germany). This quirky adventure toon for the six to nine demo stars a young dolphin who’s part of a motley crew of sea creatures operating the world’s first submarine on wheels. They navigate both land and sea on an epic quest to find the...

 

Rebel Girls is still months away from the release of its first fiction book, but Lion Forge Entertainment has already locked it up for a screen adaptation. At the heart of the deal is a new coming-of-age fantasy book series called Secret Society of Rebel Girls—marking a key departure for the publisher from its biography genre focus. 

 

Uplift Games has teamed up with toyco WowWee to launch the first physical products based on its super-popular Adopt Me! Roblox game. The companies will release a range of Fingerlings—robotic toys that wrap around a finger and react to touch and motion—featuring a selection of the game’s 400-plus collectible animals. WowWee’s Adopt Me! x Fingerlings line will launch in North America this August...

 

LA-based MGA Entertainment has appointed Nelvana Enterprises to serve as its licensing agent in Canada, providing regional consumer products, marketing and retail support (excluding toys) for brands including L.O.L. Surprise!, Bratz, Rainbow High, Little Tikes and Miniverse. These MGA franchises have already built up strong sales and engagement, buoyed by a dual appeal to kids and kidults. 

BBC Studios is expanding Bluey’s global licensing program in a big way, signing new deals with more than 40 partners around the world, and renewing key US/Canada partnerships with Spin Master, Horizon Group and Jay Franco. TOMY International will also expand its Bluey line with a pop-up game for global distribution outside of Asia.

 

Paris Hilton’s media and lifestyle shingle 11:11 Media is developing a new animated series with Canada’s 9 Story Media Group and LA-based HappyNest Entertainment featuring canine characters inspired by her real-life pets. Creative details are still in the works, but the team is planning to roll out a package of Paris & Pups digital shorts first, followed by a longer-format series. 9 Story will lead production...

Aardman is expanding into the FAST market to reach US audiences, with a new Shaun the Sheep & Friends channel available now on Comcast-owned Xumo Play in the US and expanding to VIZIO WatchFree+ and Samsung TV Plus soon. Featuring episodes from proprietary Aardman series including Shaun the Sheep, Timmy Time and Morph, the channel also run third-party shows distributed by the studio...

 

With Wicked‘s theatrical release still six months away, Universal Products & Experiences has inked licensing deals with roughly 90 lead partners for a global fall program spanning categories including toys, apparel, collectibles and lifestyle products. Mattel and LEGO are on board as master toy partners, with support in the category from Hasbro, Jazwares and Spin Master. Harper Collins and Random House will take the...

 

Prime Video’s German series Maxton Hall – The World Between Us has been handed a swift recommission after becoming the streamer’s most-watched international show of all time in its first week. The YA series about a British boarding school from UFA Fiction “achieved the largest first week global viewership for an International Original in Prime Video history,” the streamer said today upon the Season 2 greenlight.

 

Nickelodeon Studios has ordered a new live-action spinoff based on The Thundermans, which aired for four seasons on Nickelodeon from 2013 to 2018, and then connected with a new streaming audience on Netflix and Apple TV+. The as-yet-untitled series will continue the story of a family of superheroes who have to hide their powers while simultaneously battling villains in their hometown. 

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on May 17th ***

 

WowWee® and Hasbro® continue their work together in 2024 with nostalgia-infused outdoor toys that will make a splash and inspire the whole family to join in the summer fun. In 2023, the two companies put a fresh spin on classic favorites – MONOPOLY SPLASH, under license from HASBRO GAMING, won Outdoor Toy of the Year (TOTY) in 2023 and was recently named a Finalist for Best Licensed Product – Toys, Games...

 

Build-A-Bear Workshop and Paramount Pictures teamed up in celebration of the upcoming feature film IF, directed by John Krasinski. IF fans will discover an array of exclusive merchandise and outfits inspired by the movie at workshops nationwide. From the IF Blue Plush, and the IF “We’re Always Here” T-Shirt, available both individually and as part of the Happy Hugs Teddy Bear IF Gift Set, to the cozy IF PJ Sleeper, also...

Murdle won Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2024, while a new Murdle, The Board Game is in the works from Vivid Goliath. Vivid Goliath Murdle is ramping up production, predicting Murdle, The Board Game to be a hit this Christmas as G.T. Karber’s murder mystery puzzle book Murdle was named Book of the Year at Monday night’s British Book Awards 2024. The book also topped the Non-Fiction...

Global entertainment company Boat Rocker has named Firefly Brand Management as its U.S. licensing agency. Firefly Brand Management will represent several of Boat Rocker’s scripted and classic brands, including Orphan Black, Orphan Black: Echoes, Beacon 23, Big Comfy Couch, Danger Mouse, Rainbow, and Count DuckulaI. 

Addo Play has agreed with Libertas Brands to hand over licensing rights of the ugly cute Fuggler plush brand to ZURU. The Fuggler brand has continued to evolve since Addo Play originally secured licensing rights in 2021. Addo Play has developed and launched more than 200 Fuggler monster variants, including licensed offerings such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants Fuggler toys...

BBC Studios, Moose Toys extend licensing deal for ‘Bluey’. BBC Studios, the company with global distribution and merchandise rights to the preschool series Bluey, has renewed its multiyear global licensing deal with Moose Toys. Moose Toys will remain the global master toy partner for Bluey in all territories. 

Imax is going big for 2025, unveiling that it will release at least 14 titles in its “filmed for Imax” slate, features shot on Imax film or Imax-certified cameras, more than double that of any previous year. Among the highlights going out on the wide-screen format will be Disney’s Captain America: Brave New World, The Fantastic Four, and Tron: Ares; Warner Bros.’ still-untitled Ryan Coogler/Michael B. Jordan feature and...

Oni Press will launch a new four-issue Sesame Street comic series in August.  This will be the first release under the new license for Oni.  APE Entertainment was the most recent comics licensee for Sesame Street; a handful of comics were released in late 2015 and early 2016. Sesame Street #1 will be a 24-page comic written by Joey Esposito, with art by Austin Baechle.

Uplift Games and WowWee are announcing a new global licensing partnership to bring digital pets to life in the real world with the all new Adopt Me! x Fingerlings. Debuting at Licensing Expo in the Uplift Games booth, the line features 2 pets from the “Adopt Me!” game.  “We’re thrilled to offer ‘Adopt Me!’ fans an all new way to play with their pets,” says Andrew Yanofsky, head, marketing and operations, WowWee. 

American Licorice Company has appointed Perpetual Licensing to create brand licensing programs for its Sour Punch and Red Vines candy brands. The American Licorice Company was founded in Chicago more than a century ago, tantalizing the tastebuds of licorice fans since 1914, and known for developing fun and innovative new products.

 

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Kids is aging down the Charlie’s Angels franchise with a new Portuguese-language series for tweens in development. The studio will co-produce this live-actioner with Floresta, an SPT-owned outfit based in São Paulo that’s behind regional Brazilian kids shows like Use Sua Voz (Max/Cartoon Network) and Bugados (Gloob).

 

Dan Dee International has acquired global master toy rights to tween lifestyle brand SMOKO, which revolves around taking small breaks in the day to relax and have fun with its plush characters. The companies will collaborate on the design of a new consumer products range spanning plush, collectibles, home decor and seasonal gift items.

BBC Studios Kids & Family has announced a raft of international sales for leading titles Popularity Papers, Hey Duggee and the global TV sensation, Bluey. Multiple BAFTA and International Emmy award-winning pre-school animation, Hey Duggee, continues to develop in the FAST space with episodes landing on BBC Kids channel on The Roku Channel, with additional VOD sales to The Roku Channel, Tubi and Peacock.

From screen to store: WildBrain strikes new deals for iconic brands ahead of Licensing Expo. New products in multiple categories will begin rolling out this summer. WildBrain is expanding its iconic franchises — Teletubbies, Strawberry Shortcake, and In the Night Garden — with new consumer product partnerships ahead of Licensing Expo.

 

Character Arts, Ruz partner for ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ plush. The collection will be available in 2025. Character Arts, the exclusive licensor for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has expanded its licensing partnership with Ruz USA. Under the new agreement, Ruz will release a range of Rudolph-themed plush products for the 2025 holiday season, including standard and animatronic plush.

Mojang Studios’ ‘Minecraft’ secures new licensing deals, celebrates 15 years. Minecraft has a whole portfolio of new licensing partners, with products from home decor to oral care.  The brand is expanding its global licensing plans with new partners across various product categories. Mojang Studios’ hit video game Minecraft is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. 

 

Neopets selects PhatMojo as master toy licensee. Neopets has inked a master toy licensing deal with PhatMojo, brokered by Mix Licensing Group and Carlin West Agency. The partnership will result in plush, figures, collectibles, and other nostalgic favorites from the online game. At Licensing Expo, taking place from May 21-23 in Las Vegas, attendees can look forward to an immersive journey through the World of Neopets. 

 

Fans spot Powerpuff Girls in new MultiVersus trailer. Last week, WB Games announced that The Joker—voiced by Mark Hamill—is going to appear in its franchise-mash-up platform fighter, MultiVersus, when it re-launches later this month. And now, via a new gameplay trailer for The Joker, it seems the Powerpuff Girls could also be a part of WB’s fighting game. 

 

McFarlane Toys releases Superman, Green Arrow and more "Phygital" figures. McFarlane Toys has offered a first look at some exciting new figures. The Atom (DC: The Silver Age), Superman (Our Worlds at War), and Green Arrow (Longbow Hunter) phygital figures will launch pre-orders on May 23, 2024. McFarlane Toys unveiled the phygital 7" scale figures on its official X account. 

 

The Disney and Warner Bros Streaming partnership spells trouble for curation on Disney Plus, Hulu and Max. Recently, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery made the announcement that they would be teaming up to create a bundle that brings viewers Disney+, Hulu, and Max. They shined it up real pretty to ensure consumers would feel like it was a big win, and made sure to highlight that both ad and ad-free options...

PBR names Leaf Trading Cards as exclusive licensee. The Professional Bull Riding trading cards will feature autographs of the riders, special chaser cards, and more. Retailers, saddle up: Professional Bull Riding (PBR) will release its first licensed trading cards in 20 years. Leaf Trading Cards is the exclusive licensee for PBR trading cards, a deal that was brokered through global licensing agency IMG. 

 

Uplift Games and WowWee Partner on ‘Adopt Me!’ Fingerlings. Digital pets to be released into the real world at Licensing Expo. Uplift Games and WowWee are announcing a new global licensing partnership to bring digital pets to life in the real world with the all new Adopt Me! x Fingerlings. Debuting at Licensing Expo in the Uplift Games booth (M246), the line features two pets from the “Adopt Me!” game. 

 

Bluey x CAMP, the smash hit immersive adventure, comes to Boston summer 2024. CAMP, the Family Experience Company, announced that it will bring its hit new immersive adventure, Bluey x CAMP, to Boston this summer as the third stop on its US tour. Starting July 19th, 2024, at the CAMP store in Burlington Mall, Boston families can explore Bluey and Bingo’s house in a funny and heartwarming immersive...

 

People watched more Fallout than Bluey and Grey's Anatomy combined. New data shows Amazon’s live-action adaptation of Bethesda’s RPG series was a massive hit. Amazon’s Fallout TV show, which premiered last month, was a big success and has already been greenlit for a second season. 

 

Hidden Pigeon Co. selects Retail Monster as global licensing agent. Hidden Pigeon Co. (HPC) has officially signed on Retail Monster as its global licensing agent, just in time for Licensing Expo, taking place May 21-23 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Retail Monster will develop comprehensive licensing programs for author Mo Willems’ character brands, including Elephant & Piggie...

 

Disguise to launch new ‘CoComelon’ and ‘Blippi’ costumes. New costumes inspired by the preschool series are coming this fall. Disguise, JAKKS Pacific’s costume division, will continue to design, market, manufacture, and distribute CoComelon and Blippi Halloween costumes and costume accessories in the U.S. and Canada per an extended licensing agreement with Moonbug Entertainment. 

ABC Kids Expo: Dr. Lisa brands brings ‘Love You Forever’ magic to everyday baby essentials. The Dr. Lisa Brands Co. has been named the master licensee for McGraw Studios’ Love You Forever brand, based on the children’s book from author Robert Munsch and illustrator Sheila McGraw that has sold more than 36 million copies. 

McFarlane Toys, UFC team up for new collectibles. The collection is expected to be available online this fall. Iconic athletes and moments from UFC history are joining McFarlane Toys’ latest lineup of licensed collectibles. The line will include 6-inch, ultra-detailed, and posed physical and digital action figures. “UF

 

Jakks Pacific partners with Dav Pilkey to create ‘Dog Man’ toys, costumes. JAKKS Pacific and its costume division, Disguise, have partnered with Dav Pilkey to create a line of toys and costumes based on Pilkey’s bestselling Dog Man graphic novel series and the upcoming Dog Man theatrical release from DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures. 

 

Minecraft signs new licensing partners across multiple categories. What started as a game and platform for creative expression has evolved into an evergreen entertainment franchise, delivering new products and partners, entertainment content, games and more each year. This year, Minecraft celebrates 15 years of gripping adventures, mind-blowing creations, and a community that has left its mark on every block. 

 

Heathside Trading signs licensing agreement with Ubisoft. Heathside Trading has entered into a licensing agreement with Ubisoft to officially develop, market and sell a range of blind-packed licensed Rabbids toys and collectibles through selected retail partners. The Rabbids are a mysterious breed of playful, curious and whacky creatures that seek constant fun throughout different worlds and dimensions. 

 

Mantic and River Horse to collaborate on 'Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game'. Mantic Games and River Horse have reached an agreement to collaborate on a special 40th Anniversary Collection of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Board Game, the companies announced.  The new collection will add new content, all-new rules, and new miniatures to the original River Horse game. 

Archon to release 'Masters of the Universe: Battleground' to retailers in North America. Archon Studio, which released Masters of the Universe: Battleground in Europe in 2022, will release the Masters of the Universe skirmish game to retailers in North America after crowdfunding on Gamefound. In Masters of the Universe: Battleground, played with miniatures on battle maps with terrain...

 

'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' opens large; 'Lord of The Rings' film in 2026; Marvel cuts slate; 'Fantastic Four' casting; Sony may buy, break up Paramount; 'Batman: Caped Crusader' news. Geek Showbiz Round-Up. From the corporate world to movie and streamer news, Hollywood is cranking up, and we round up the news here. 20th Century Studio’s Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes opened...

 

Mob Entertainment makes ‘Poppy Playtime’ deals with Legendary Entertainment, Scholastic. Transmedia entertainment company Mob Entertainment, known for its horror game franchise Poppy Playtime, has forged a deal for kids’ entertainment content with Legendary Entertainment and Scholastic. 

 

Scalextric reveals full new range of racing and pop culture icons. From Formula 1 cars to legendary movie vehicles, Scalextric’s new collection offers something for every racing enthusiast and collector. Scalextric has announced the launch of its latest range, featuring an eclectic mix of iconic racing legends and beloved pop culture icons. 

The international licensing agency Brands with Influence (BWI) has agreed a deal to represent worldwide merchandise and licensing rights for the new series Stan & Gran. The animated series (52 x 11 mins) is being co-produced by Jellyfish Originals, Jollywise Media and Xentrix Studios and is due to premiere on Channel 5’s Milkshake! in 2025.

WizKids will release a range of Magic: The Gathering 3” plush charms by Kidrobot, the company announced.  The charms will depict three companions from Magic: The Gathering Arena, and one from the upcoming Bloomburrow TCG set.  The three companions from Arena are Fbithp, Rainbow Koi, and The Fisherman; the companion from Bloomburrow is Mabel. Each charm will come with an Arena unlock code that...

The new range of collectible display jigsaw puzzles from Click Europe will include a 500-piece Round Puzzle featuring Piapro characters Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, Megurine Luka, Meiko and Kaito. There will also be four different designs of 150-piece Portrait Micro Puzzles with a fold out frame and stand to display the completed puzzle in. Soon to follow will be 150-piece Shaped Micro Puzzles of...

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People of Play


The Executive Who Revived Barbie Has a New Long-Shot Mission: Save Gap. CEO Richard Dickson is trying to make the clothing company cool again—one hoodie at a time. Gap Inc.’s new CEO was on the hunt for a hoodie. In March, he called one of his stores and got a recording, which reeled off the location and hours, but didn’t provide an option to connect with a human being. 

 

*** The above posted after May 17th ***

 

Hasbro names Casey Collins President, Global Licensed Consumer Products and Partnerships/Alliances. Hasbro has announced the promotion of Casey Collins as president, global licensed consumer products (LCP) and partnerships/alliances, effective immediately. In his elevated position, Collins will focus on managing Hasbro’s key, high-level strategic partnerships, such as with Frito-Lay, LEGO, McDonald’s, Mattel...

The Playground Podcast: Christopher Byrne with Dan Klitsner. Listen in as Chris talks to iconic toy inventor Dan Klitsner–father of Bop-It–about his new product, his decision to manufacture the product himself, and the wonderful (crazy, hilarious) narrative he and his team cooked up to get consumers into the fun!

Alex Parker has been appointed as Organised Play co-ordinator for Ravensburger’s Disney Lorcana, while Emma Arthur has been appointed PR manager. As part of a company-wide strategy to further grow and develop the brand in the UK, Ravensburger has announced the appointment of Alex Parker in the newly created position of Organised Play co-ordinator for Disney Lorcana.

Spanish toy industry mainstay Santiago Guerra Lopez has been tapped to manage Jazware's first Southern European facility, which will begin rolling out toys regionally next year. The house of Squishmallows is looking to significantly expand its European business by opening a new office and factory in Bilbao, Spain, joining existing regional facilities in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands. 

 

Hidden Pigeon Company makes two more hires. Former Spin Master/Mattel exec Tori Cook has joined as SVP of franchise management to spearhead a licensing push, while Paula Allen comes in to consult on publishing. On the heels of bringing in new CEO Karen Miller in January and creative SVP Kristofer Updike last month, LA-based Hidden Pigeon Company is apparently still on a hiring spree to build a team...

As it gears up to deliver fantasy musical pic Spellbound to Netflix later this year, Skydance Animation has hired former Blue Sky Studios GM Bruce Anderson as head of production. Chronicling a young girl’s quest to break a spell that has divided her kingdom, Spellbound will be the first Skydance movie to come out of its multiyear deal with Netflix, which also gained exclusive access to the studio’s full catalogue of...

 

A licensing industry stalwart, Paul Bufton brings his decades of experience with Rovio, Warner Bros. and, most recently, Universal to bear in the formation of Licensed Ltd. The respected licensing professional Paul Bufton has announced the formation of Licensed Ltd, a new consultancy that aims to bring beloved brands to their committed fans in new and meaningful ways.

PlayStation names joint CEOs after Jim Ryan’s retirement. Hermen Hulst and Hideaki Nishino have been named as the joint CEOs of Sony's gaming division PlayStation following Jim Ryan's retirement. In an unusual move, the role has been split into two separate top jobs, with Mr Hulst mostly overseeing software while Mr Nishino will mainly look after hardware.

Lisa Streff appointed as Global Merchandising’s SVP of Licensing & Brand Development for North America. Global Merchandising Services, a leading music, celebrity, and lifestyle merchandising company, appointed Lisa Streff as Senior Vice President of Licensing & Brand Development for North America. Streff joins the Global team with an extensive background in music merchandising and brand development.

Sambro appoints Chris Hylton as CFO. Hylton joins with more than 20 years of financial experience under his belt. Sambro International, a global licensed toy supplier, has named Chris Hylton its CFO. In his role, Hylton will lead Sambro’s UK-based financial operations. He will work closely with Paul Blackaby, CEO of Sambro, and the senior leadership teams to support company growth. 

 

Moonbug appoints Ashley Maidy Managing Director of consumer products, expands to Latin America. Moonbug Entertainment, a division of Candle Media, has named Ashley Maidy its Managing Director of Consumer Products. In the role, Maidy will lead Global Consumer Products for CoComelon, Blippi, and other Moonbug franchises. 

 

ZipString names Chandler Wilkins director of sales. ZipString, the brand behind a gravity-defying gadget of the same name seen on Shark Tank, has named Chandler Wilkins its Director of Sales. Wilkins most recently held sales management positions in the software industry. Before that, he served as a Latter-day Saint missionary in Brazil and earned a degree in Supply Chain Management from Brigham Young University..

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Companies and Brands

 

The long-expected layoffs at Pixar Animation Studios have begun. Today, leadership at the storied company that traces it origins to the late Steve Jobs and was bought by Disney in 2006 will notify employees of the reductions, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. It is the biggest restructuring in Pixar’s history, although top leadership isn’t impacted. Approx. 14 percent of Pixar’s workforce, or around 175 employees...

 

Fabacus, a pioneering data-as-a-service technology company specialising in licensing and retail, has announced its agreement with Hasbro. The collaboration sees Hasbro adopting Fabacus’ cutting-edge technology, Xelacore, to enhance its data management capabilities worldwide, starting with a phased regional rollout across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The strategic integration of Fabacus’s Xelacore...

*** The above posted after May17th ***

 

Hasbro Named One of the Civic 50 Most Community-Minded Companies for 12th Consecutive Year. Hasbro makes a social impact in communities by providing Access to Play to underserved and historically marginalized communities, delivering Play Relief in times of crisis and uncertainty, and upskilling the next gen of Play Makers. In 2023, Hasbro's initiatives positively impacted over 3.9 million individuals worldwide.

 

Fisher-Price is expanding its portfolio with a new wooden toy line, featuring a range of products for children aged from six months to five years, designed to inspire creativity and promote healthy development. Affordably priced for every family, the new toys are made with wood from FSC-certified sources and offer a wide range of play patterns, from colorful puzzles and blocks to role play, music-making and more.

The Good Game Company, known for games like Not It!, Cowpie Catapults, and Fuzzy Logic, announced today that the Djubi line of outdoor items will be joining the Good Game catalog effective June 1st. After several years of distributing through Blue Orange Games, Dave Yearick, the inventor and founder of both Djubi and The Good Game Company, will be bringing Djubi back to The Good Game Company.

Gray Matters Releases Slip It In party game. Gray Matters Games’ newest game engages players in some strange conversations. In the game, Slip It In, players each get five slips featuring random phrases, including “pocket jerky,” “Man glitter,” “I don’t trust people who eat candy corn,” and more. As the players have conversations, they must find ways to slip their random phrases into the conversation without getting caught. 

Toysmith, the leading distributor of toys and gifts in the US, is thrilled to announce a dynamic new partnership with Anne McGilvray & Company (AMCI). This strategic collaboration brings together two industry leaders to further expand market reach and enhance customer experience. Toysmith serves over 15,000 independent retailers and over 150 key accounts nationwide with its extensive portfolio...

Sambro International has announced a major range extension in its own brand stationery and collectibles Puzzle Palz range following continued success and demand. With over 50m units sold since its launch in 2016, and 3m units sold in the last year alone, these novelty collectible stationery toys have proven to be firm favourites with licensors, retailers, children and parents across the UK and EU

Magna-Tiles has a new studio space in the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The STEM-forward kids museum houses the studio, which is complete with five stations offering little visitors different opportunities for educational fun. The Magnetic Marvels station introduces the concept of magnetism, while the Colorful Discoveries station...

Marvin’s Magic, has announced its most recent distribution partnership with ZipString. Created by two young entrepreneurs, Stephen Fazio and Austin Hillam, ZipString is a mesmerising toy that floats a seemingly standard loop of string in the air. In the US it has become a viral sensation, gaining visibility from over 200m people across various social media platforms.

FAO Schwarz opens first Paris location. FAO Schwarz has opened its first store in Paris, located on the fifth floor of Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann. Parisian locals and tourists will be greeted by the diverse range of products at the 7,000-square-foot FAO Schwarz, from plush toys in all sizes to a wide selection of educational and creative toys spanning 24 major toy brands, including Steiff, LEGO, Corolle, and more. 

Hasbro unveils BEYBLADE X Transformers line. Hasbro has launched Transformers-themed BEYBLADE XTREME tops. The BEYBLADE x Transformers collaboration, available exclusively on Amazon, comes during BEYBLADE’s 25th anniversary. There are currently two mulitpack sets in the collection: the BEYBLADE x Transformers Optimus Primal 3-60F vs. Starscream 3-80N Multipack Set and...

 

Mediawan and ZAG announce the birth of Miraculous Corp. Mediawan, Europe’s premier independent production powerhouse led by Pierre-Antoine Capton, and ZAG, the innovative independent animation studio renowned for crafting original tales and IPs led by Jeremy Zag, proudly unveil the inception of Miraculous Corp. 

 

Hasbro to launch ‘Transformers One’ figures at Target. The new line will include characters from the upcoming film. Hasbro will release new Transformers One figures at Target this summer. We previously covered some of Hasbro’s new figure offerings inspired by the upcoming Transformers One movie. Now, the company has unveiled a full collection of additional figures.

Jellycat extends offerings with new Baby Jellycat range. Baby Jellycat brings the social media-friendly plush to infants and newborns. Jellycat, the popular London-based plush brand, has introduced its newborn and infant line, Baby Jellycat. Baby Jellycat is divided into two product lines: “core” and “luxe.” Eight core characters comprise the new range, including the “Bashful” characters, the Amusables Sun and...

Sanrio releases adorable Hello Kitty plush toys just in time for America's graduation season. Graduation season is now upon the U.S. as well as many other countries worldwide, with Sanrio celebrating the occasion with a collection of appropriately themed Hello Kitty plushie toys in three different colors. 

 

Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America is headed to American Dream. Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America (BNTCA) is proud to announce the opening of a dedicated retail store at American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This historic moment marks the company's first long-term retail location in the western hemisphere, providing an incredible opportunity to connect with fans on another level...

 

Pudgy Penguins NFT collection dominates toy market with over 1m plush toys sold. The sales activity for the collection surged around mid-February, with the number of sales per day hitting 439. Pudgy Penguins, a popular NFT collection created in 2021, has attained the top ten ranking in terms of volume traded. 

 

TOYMAK3RS unveils exclusive deadmau5 keychain plush toys: A fusion of collectibles and digital delights. In a groundbreaking collaboration that merges the worlds of music, collectibles, and digital innovation, TOYMAK3RS has teamed up with iconic electronic music producer deadmau5 to create a line of exclusive keychain plush toys.

Tamagotchi Connection makes a comeback for kids to raise virtual pets with their besties. You might recall the Tamagotchi Connection — a Tamagotchi device first released in 2004 — and now your kids can participate in the virtual fun! Bandai Namco Toys & Collectibles America’s Tamagotchi Connection returns for a new generation to raise virtual pets with their friends, siblings, and classmates. 

 

Search for animals in the frozen north in 'Arctic' by Ludonaute. Ludonaute will release Arctic, a new animal observation card game, in October 2024. In Arctic, designed by Ludonaute co-founder Cedric Lefebvre (see "Yggdrasil"), players assume the roles of explorers that are observing animals as they make their way across the frozen tundra. 

 

Toys R Us announces new locations as brand returns. The locations of 17 WH Smith stores which will host Toys R Us concessions have been announced. A total of 39 Toys R Us shops will open inside the stationer’s stores by the end of August, the retailers said – nine of which are already open. Toys R Us went bust in February 2018, closing all of its 100 shops with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs. 

 

At-home Parisian museum: LEGO reveals Mona Lisa and Notre-Dame de Paris sets. Both sets are available to preorder now. The LEGO Group has revealed two sets inspired by famous art and architecture in Paris. The 1,503-piece LEGO Art Mona Lisa set and 4,383-piece LEGO Architecture Notre-Dame de Paris set are available to preorder today. Both sets are for builders ages 18 and up. 

'Trails of Tucana' sequel migrates to retail: 'Tucana Builders'. Aporta Games will release Tucana Builders, a sequel to Trails of Tucana, into retail on June 28, 2024. The sequel to Trails of Tucana is a tile-laying puzzle game. It challenges players to connect animals to their corresponding huts as they place the tiles. Players score points in two rounds, which makes strategic placement of tiles crucial.

'Munchkin Shadowrun' heads to preorder: Combines the satirical fantasy fun with cyberpunk dystopia. Steve Jackson Games will release Munchkin Shadowrun, a new Munchkin game, that will hit stores in September 2024. This new installment of Munchkin, which was first announced last year,  stays true to the standard gameplay while adding the flavor of the Sixth World to gameplay. 

 

Arcane Wonders bringing Arclight Game to English: 'ito' this Fall. Arcane Wonders will release Arclight Games’ ito to English, for release this fall.  Arclight’s ito, designed by Mitsuru Nakamura, is a cooperative party game that’s been wildly popular in Japan. In ito, each of the players draws a secret number.  The goal is to put the numbers in sequence without disclosing what they are.  

 

'Final Fantasy TCG: Hidden Legends' from 'Final Fantasy XVI.' Square Enix will release Final Fantasy TCG: Hidden Legends, a new set that includes cards from Final Fantasy XVI and introduces a new mechanic, this fall.  The set is the third in the Final Fantasy “Hidden” series; Final Fantasy TCG: Hidden Trials will be released in August. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

 

Rolling Stone is expanding its coverage of the video game industry with the launch of a dedicated gaming vertical. The new section has been launched in partnership with ESL FACEIT Group and will be helmed by senior gaming editor Christopher Cruz. The media co. said it will report on the world of video games with a "hyperfocus on art, technology, and cultural impact." "Gaming isn't informed by pop culture; it is pop...

 

Mattel has teamed up with Outright Games in the UK to make kids video games based on some of its most iconic toy brands. The first three console/PC titles lined up to come out of this multi-year partnership before year’s end are Matchbox Driving Adventures, Monster High: Skulltimate Secrets and Barbie Project Friendship.

 

Formula E and UEFA get into Roblox with kids entertainment partners. Net-zero racing team Envision and football league UEFA are respectively teaming up with Cartoon Network and Toikido to reach kid gamers on the popular platform. Envision Racing—a world champion net-zero team on the Formula E circuit for electric cars that built the world’s first fully drivable race car made entirely of e-waste—has partnered...

 

*** The above posted after tBR circulated on May 17th ***

 

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge to produce Tomb Raider show at Amazon. A new Tomb Raider TV series is on the way thanks to a partnership between Embracer-owned Crystal Dynamics and Amazon MGM Studios. Amazon Prime's foray into the iconic gaming property comes hot on the heels of its success with the Fallout series, and today's announcement only noted one talent signed to the project...

 

Netflix has unveiled a digital theme park on Roblox. Featuring IPs such as Stranger Things, One Piece and Miraculous, Nextworld is lining up games, easter eggs and viewing parties to attract fans. Fans can collect in-game currency and wearables/items (like a Demogorgon plushie or a One Piece flag) for decorating their fan pods and inviting friends to come hang out virtually.

Andre Rebelo, better known as “Typical Gamer” to his millions of fans on “Fortnite” and YouTube, has launched gaming company JOGO, described as “super studio” that is set to investment more than $2 million into gaming development through Unreal Engine for “Fortnite.”

Rebelo will serve as CEO of the company, guiding the company’s direction, alongside Chad Mustard as the studio’s COO and Mark Price as CTO.

 

Lightforge Games laying off 'majority' of development team. Lightforge Games is laying off the majority of its team and pausing development on Project ORCS. The fully-remote studio was formed in 2021 by a group of Blizzard and Epic Games veterans and quickly secured $15 million to finance its debut project. 

CI Games sanctions another 30 layoffs in 'final, targeted round of redundancies'. The Lords of the Fallen developer just amassed $60 million in annual revenue to achieve its 'best year' on record. Lords of the Fallen developer CI Games just delivered its "best year" in terms of revenue but is now laying off another 30 workers—having previously laid off 10 percent of its workforce in January. 

Sony champions live service titles, claims PS5 hardware sales have peaked. Sony believes PlayStation 5 hardware sales have peaked and will now begin to "gradually decline." The company shared that appraisal in its fiscal report for the year ended March 31, 2024, and explained PlayStation 5 sales over the past 12 months totaled 20.8 million units. That brings lifetime PlayStation 5 hardware sales to 59.2 million units.

 

Square Enix to lay off employees in American, European offices. Square Enix is reportedly preparing to lay off employees in its American and United Kingdom offices. According to Video Games Chronicle's Andy Robinson, who spoke with sources familiar with the plans, Square Enix President Takashi Kiryu shared the news with employees earlier today. 

 

Australian studio Mighty Kingdom laying off 28 percent of staff. Australian studio Mighty Kingdom is laying off 28 percent of its workforce. Mighty Kingdom CEO David Yin shared the news in a statement posted on X and claimed the studio needs to pursue a "strategic rightsizing to streamline our operations and prioritize core business to align with our vision of the future." 

Toys For Bob might be teasing a new Crash Bandicoot game. A new update on the Toys For Bob website has Crash Bandicoot fans in a frenzy, as the site has shed its former appearance and is now displaying a purple tiki mask on a black background.Ever since Crash Bandicoot and Spyro developer Toys for Bob announced that it would be splitting Activision Blizzard and Xbox and going independent...

 

Little Kitty, Big City tops 100,000 sales in two days. Little Kitty, Big City has topped 100,000 sales in two days, according to developer Double Dagger Studios. The team broke the news on X and thanked players for diving into its wholesome adventure. The indie title burst out the gates after launching on Steam, Switch, and Xbox on May 9, 2024, and seemingly didn't take long to win over players. .

 

Marvel Rivals apologizes after banning negative reviews. Developers of an upcoming Marvel game have apologised after content creators were told they could not give it negative reviews. Marvel Rivals faced criticism after some people playing a test version of the game were asked to sign a "non-disparagement" clause in a contract with the developers. .

 

Microsoft launching web-based mobile game storefront in July. Microsoft will launch its own dedicated mobile game store in July 2024. Xbox president Sarah Bond shared the news with Bloomberg and said the marketplace will initially house Microsoft's own first-party titles. The company will eventually open the store to other publishers, providing an alternative to Apple and Google's app stores...

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Highlighted Press Releases

HERE’S THE STORY: DISCOVER MAGICAL AUDIO MOMENTS AT ABC KIDS EXPO® BOOTH 571 (SCREEN FREE!)  Storypod Has The A For Audio, B For Bedtime Bliss And C For Curated Content At THE Trade Show For The Juvenile Products Industry. The hunt is on in Las Vegas from May 15 to 17 to uncover something so special for tots that customers will say thank you! We know the story (https://www.storypod.com/pages/reviews) and have the happy ending from thousands of consumers! Discover Storypod at Booth 571 at ABC Kids Expo®. Here specialty retailers, sales reps and baby store owners can play with the palm-size wonder that engages kids with multisensory stories, music, and skill-building at every stage...

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Safety and Counterfeiting

 

New EU rules on toy safety move a step closer. The Council of the EU has adopted its position (negotiating mandate) on the toy safety regulation that updates the rules to protect children from risks related to the use of toys. While the current legislation makes EU toy safety rules among the strictest in the world, the proposed legislation aims to increase protection from harmful chemicals (e.g. endocrine disruptors)...

Bill aims to ban potentially hazardous water beads sold as children's toys. The colorful products were linked to nearly 7,000 emergency room visits from 2018 to 2022. Water beads are colorful and squishy, so they’re often sold as children’s toys or sensory tools. But they can easily scatter across a home and become hidden in carpets or other areas.

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

 

On the 25th anniversary year of SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob himself (voiced by Tom Kenny) and Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) will host the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2024. The slime-filled, immersive broadcast will air live from the pair’s undersea home of Bikini Bottom on Sat., July 13, 8 pm ET/(PT) on Nick. This marks the first time the animated characters will host a full-length awards show.

 

Kicking off a busy Licensing Expo week, the 2024 Licensing International Excellence Awards honored top kids brands such as Bluey, Barbie, Peanuts and Moomin at last night’s annual awards ceremony. A field of 197 finalists were competing in 32 categories, after making the cut from more than 800 submissions received this year. Bluey emerged victorious in the Best Licensed Animated Brand category, beating...

 

The Toy Association Protects Industry Interests During California EPR Program Rulemaking. A coalition group organized by the California Chamber of Commerce, of which The Toy Association is a member, submitted comments to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery regarding California’s SB 54, the largest comprehensive packaging EPR (extended producer responsibility) program in the country. 

 

The Game Manufacturers Association Board of Directors recently elected its four officers for the 2024-25 business year, yielding a historic moment in the organizations’ history. Women currently hold all four leadership roles for the first time in the organization’s history. Nicole Brady is the newest president of the organization. She had served as the board’s treasurer since the end of 2022, after her...

The Museum of the Moving Image will honor Rosie Perez, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz and former AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan at its 2024 Spring Moving Image Awards benefit. Kreiz is the chairman and CEO of Mattel, the toy and family entertainment company behind iconic brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels. Prior to his time at Mattel, Kreiz was chairman and CEO of shortform video company Maker Studios and...

*** The above posted after tBR started circulating on May 17th ***

Calling all toy industry thought leaders: The Toy Association™ is now accepting presentation applications for Toy Fair® University, taking place throughout the show from March 1 to 4, 2025 at the Javits Center in New York City. Experts are invited to submit their application for a chance to transform their research, ideas, case studies, and best practices into an enriching session for show attendees.

 

The toy industry’s year-round product donations to The Toy Bank, a key program of The Toy Foundation (TTF), allowed the team to gather warehoused product and send truckloads of toys and emergency response supplies within 48 hrs to Omaha, Nebraska and Sulphur, Oklahoma to impact thousands of children and families in each location ravaged by dozens of tornadoes, leaving communities destroyed.

Nuremberg Toy Fair to expand with more floor space in 2025. Nuremburg International Toy Fair, Europe’s biggest toy industry gathering of the year, is expanding the layout of its 2025 event in order to attract more exhibitors. Event organizer Spielwarenmesse will use Hall 3C in the Messe Nürnberg venue for the first time, adding almost 10,000 square meters of floor space to its footprint for the event...

This year the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) is celebrating its 80th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the BTHA – which was setup in 1944 to represent the interests of toy manufacturers – has produced a short celebratory video reflecting on the past 80 years of service to its members and the wider toy industry, and to showcase the work of the association today.

Vivid Goliath is returning to the Games Expo later this month to showcase a breadth of games and play experiences from its 2024 range. The event held at the NEC in Birmingham over the late May Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June, is the UK’s largest dedicated expo for tabletop games, attracting 50,000 people over three days.

Pat Avenue UK will showcase Eolo’s hottest new electronic pet Pixel Hugs at the Toymaster May show next week for its autumn/winter 2024 portfolio. Described by Eolo as the ultimate revolution in electronic pets, Pixel Hugs will be available from July. Pixel Hugs combines the latest technology with the timeless appeal of plush, making it more than just an ordinary puppy toy.

“Bluey,” “The Bear,” “Reservation Dogs,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “The Last of Us” and “Jury Duty” are among the series set to receive this year’s Peabody Award, the org was set to announce on Thursday morning. The Peabody Awards’ board of 32 jurors have selected 34 winners, all of which received unanimous vote from TV, podcast/radio and web/digital nominees in entertainment, children’s/youth...

 

The winners of the industry awards were announced yesterday at the two-day Stationery Show where Eugy won in a hotly contested category, Arts & Crafts Product of the Year. The eco-friendly Eugy brand continues to grow exponentially, both in terms of product ranges and industry recognition. Accepting the award on behalf of Brainstorm, Leanne Perry, UK account manager, said: “We are passionate about...

The Squish Tour from Squishmallows comes to seven Smyths Toys Superstores locations from 25th May to 2nd June, providing half-term joy for kids and families. The Squish Tour, from global plush sensation Squishmallows, is coming to the UK for the first time during May half term. Following the huge success of the North American Squish Tour, the Squish Tour Bus is making its way to the UK in May, with further stops...

AdeptiCon moving to Milwaukee after rapid growth. Organizers for AdeptiCon, the rapidly growing Chicago-area gaming miniatures convention, have announced that the event will be moved to Milwaukee for the 2025 and subsequent shows.  The move is being made because the show has outgrown its recent space at the Schaumberg Convention Center in the northwest Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois. 

 

New MagicCon Las Vegas deets unveiled: Dates, new 'Secret Lair' drop, and more. Wizards of the Coast unveiled details on their MagicCon Las Vegas event, which will happen at the Las Vegas Convention Center from October 25-27, 2024. This event was previously announced back in November 2023 as the last stop on the MagicCon tour. 

 

The Strong Museum names World Video Game Hall of Fame 2024 inductees. Five video games are joining the 10th class of the World Video Game Hall of Fame. The Strong National Museum of Play has inducted Asteroids, Myst, Resident Evil, SimCity, and Ultima into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. 

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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 readers. Archives can be found HERE

 

Salvatore Anthony Mucaro of Fernandina Beach FL passed away peacefully on May 16, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of love, strength, and cherished memories. Salvatore was born in The Bronx, NY to Nicola Mucciacciaro and Christina Mucciacciaro (Nee DiMangano) on December 13th, 1934. He was the middle child of the family, and loved his two siblings, older sister Maria (McGuckin)and younger brother Mario Mucaro and their families dearly. Some of Salvatore's favorite childhood hobbies included building balsa wood model airplanes, playing street hockey and stick ball and racing pigeons. 

Salvatore worked in the toy industry from 1967 until his semi-retirement in 2010. He worked for such noteworthy companies as Remco Toys, Aurora Products Corporation, Mego Toy Corp., Ideal Toy Corp. and Coleco Toys, before starting his own development company Studio Geppetto with longtime friend and coworker John MacNett. He has several toy design patents and designed several successful toys in his long career as a package designer and toy designer. 

 

Shelly Morick - former Mattel sales executive. December 21st, 1937 - May 7th, 2024.

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Some Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

 

Toyworld (UK)

  1. The calm before the storm … it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. Mattel and Hasbro partner on Hot Wheels Transformers range

  3. Toymaster May Show 2024 kicks off

  4. The Toy Association names new president & CEO

  5. Obituary: Clive Wooster

  6. Bruno Gallone honoured with Toymaster Special Recognition Award

  7. Toymaster Awards Dinner sees industry stalwarts recognised

  8. BTHA presents Golden Teddy to Epoch’s Jon Ward

  9. Jazwares named master toy licensee for Five Nights at Freddy’s

  10. Learning Express opens new store in Naperville, Illinois

Licensing.biz Powered by Toyworld

  1. Zuru takes over Fuggler plush licensing rights from Addo Play

  2. Adopt Me! x Fingerlings partnership to unleash physical pets

  3. Former senior director at Paramount in search for new role

  4. Squishmallows boosts EMEA licensing programme

  5. Libertas Brands reveals agency reps for Fuggler

  6. Hasbro shares vast portfolio at Las Vegas Licensing Expo

  7. New Beyblade X Series previews at Licensing Expo

  8. The Elf on the Shelf and Piñata Smashlings team up on Roblox

  9. Moonbug celebrates ten years of Blippi with new collaborations

  10. Jazwares named master toy licensee for Five Nights at Freddy’s

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

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

Global Toy News

The Bugg Report (Australia)

The Toy Universe (Australia)

hobbyDB

Casual Game Revolution

Video of the Week 

Dan Klitsner, renowned inventor of Bop It, is launching a Kickstarter for a new yard game... Sling It! Is it medieval cornhole with a sausage-slinging twist? Find out in this special episode, where Dan discusses the storied history of sausage tossing and the secret to inventing a fun and satisfying game! 

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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

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

Do you have news to share? Send us a note! mary@chitag.com 

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