February 10, 2011


ThunderCats Toys to Be Showcased at Toy Fair

ThunderCatsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) is set to showcase a lineup of licensed toys and products in support of the new animated television series, ThunderCats. The new series from Warner. Bros. Animation (WBA) and Japanese animation studio Studio4°C is a 21st-century re-imagining of the 1980s version. ThunderCats will air on Cartoon Network this year.
The new products, to be showcased at American International Toy Fair, will include a toy line by global master toy licensee Bandai. The company’s lineup will include detailed ThunderCats four-inch figures, each to come with a weapon or accessory and an embedded magnet that allows the toy to interact with others; the Deluxe ThunderTank vehicle and four-inch Snarf figure; the highly articulated ThunderCats eight-inch Classic Figures, based on the classic 1980s animated series; and the ThunderCats Deluxe Sword of Omens. The products will launch this fall.
Additional licensees include Icon Hero, with six-inch statue collectibles; Hard Hero, with limited-edition porcelain statues; and Mezco, with vinyl figures.


In the Night Garden Toys to Come from Hasbro

In the Night GardenBBC Worldwide recently introduced In the Night Garden to American audiences via The Hub network. The show is produced by Ragdoll Productions, best known for the children’s program Teletubbies. The brand will also premiere a range of licensed products due to launch this year and next year, including an exclusive line of toys from Hasbro. The licensed toys from Hasbro will include plush, play sets, and bath toys. DVDs will also premiere from BBC Video.
To complement the television series on The Hub, the In the Night Garden website (www.inthenightgarden.co.uk) offers background on how the series was created and its developmental benefits for children. Additionally, viewers can learn more about the characters, take a tour of the Night Garden, play games, watch video clips, and more.

Sandstorm Productions Obtains Licenses for Marvel, Natural History Museum, and Henson Brands

According to ICV2.com, Sandstorm Productions, LLC has acquired the rights to produce games based on Marvel Entertainment’s characters, the Natural History Museum, and the Jim T. Henson Company’s The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock, and Wilson & Ditch. Three of Sandstorm’s game studios Giant Tree House, Closet Nerd, and Glowfly Games are developing games based on the Marvel and Henson properties.

Wild Creations to Release Dino Dan Toys

Dino DanWild Creations’ Geoworld is bringing Dino Dan toys to the U.S. market this fall. The Dino Dan-licensed products will include excavation kits, prehistoric play sets, fossil replica kits, action figures, and outdoor adventure gear.
Dino Dan debuted on Nick Jr. last October. In each episode of the Sinking Ship Entertainment-produced show, Dino Dan and his friends take viewers on a journey as they encounter computer-generated dinosaurs and learn about the prehistoric creatures, their surroundings, and the importance of the scientific method.




More Nuremburg Toy Fair Visitors This Year

The 2011 Nuremburg Toy Fair Spielwarenmesse closed Tuesday, and show organizers say 79,000 visitors attended the event, up from the 76,637 people who attended the fair last year. Next year’s Nuremburg Toy Fair will run from February 1-6. Organizers expect 87 percent of this year’s visitors to return, and 92 percent of this year’s exhibitors.

TÜV Rheinland to Open New Lab Next Month

TÜV Rheinland is opening a new laboratory in Bentonville, Ark. on March 2. The lab will focus on providing testing, assessment, and certification services for toys, children's products, and softlines, including apparel, costumes, upholstery, and home furnishings. Other testing capabilities offered by the new lab will include consumer electronics, appliances, household goods and decor, cosmetics, and more. The Bentonville facility will be TÜV Rheinland’s first North American laboratory for these market segments.
The lab will also offer chemical content testing of consumer products for lead, cadmium, heavy metals, phthalates, nickel release and flame retardant content, and more.
For more information call 1-TUV-RHEINLAND (888-743-4652) or email info@us.tuv.com.

Moonscoop Signs Licensees for Hero:108

Hero:108Moonscoop has signed new licensees in France for Hero:108, as production continues on a 52 x 11’ second season of the comedy/action adventure series. New licensees include a pan-European deal for costumes by Cesar. For France, Moonscoop has signed Blues Fillobranca for apparel, back-to-school bags by Maroquinerie Luc d’Arvillers , skates and inline rollers by D’Arpege, and costumed characters by Evasion Communication.
Licensees already on board include worldwide master toy licensee Playmates (distributed by Giochi Preziosi in France, Spain, and Italy), Atlantyca Entertainment for worldwide publishing, and Mad Engine for T-shirts in the U.S. and Canada, among others.

Chorion Signs Deals for Beatrix Potter, Mr. Men and Little Miss

Beatrix PotterChorion is launching a new range of products for Beatrix Potter. The new items debuted at Spring Fair, held in NEC Birmingham UK from February 6-9. The products include a new and refreshed plush range from Rainbow Designs, which will also be launching a new wood range of peg puzzles, dominoes, and bookends; a range of paper partyware from Meri Meri; new designs from Wedgwood to include refreshed classic and christening ranges; an expanded ceramics and gifting range from Enesco; new adult toiletries from Bayliss & Harding; new Beatrix Potter tea gift sets from New English Tea; new bag and apron designs from Shreds; and a new range of enamel boxes from Halycon Days.
Chorion has also unveiled a brand-new style guide for the brand. This will include new patterns, character poses, packaging, and seasonal artwork. Chorion is also partnering with publisher and brand owner Frederick Warne & Co. and Nickelodeon to produce a brand-new preschool animated series based on Beatrix Potter’s characters, slated to air in 2012 on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. Next year will mark the 110th anniversary of the first publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Frederick Warne.
Chorion has inked a deal with Posh Paws to produce an exclusive range of collectible plush for its property Mr. Men and Little Miss. The collection will launch in August/September as part of the brand’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
Initial product lines, currently in development for the gift and specialty markets, will include beanie toys for characters, including Mr. Bump, Mr. Naughty, Mr. Tickle, and Little Miss Sunshine. Large versions of Mr. Tickle and Little Miss Naughty will also be available, along with a giggling Mr. Tickle.

McNeill Designs Teams with NASA for Add-on You’ve Been Sentenced! Deck

NASA Sapce Terminology DeckGame development firm McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds has teamed with NASA for the new NASA Space Terminology Deck, an add-on deck designed for use with the language game You’ve Been Sentenced!.
Recently, McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds signed a Space Act Agreement to produce the new deck in conjunction with NASA’s Education Department. Together, the two chose words that reflected the history and future of NASA and space exploration. As an added learning tool, word definitions, individuals’ bios, and term definitions can now be found on the NASA websites.
The NASA Space Terminology Deck will be available nationwide through ACD, Alliance, Diamond Distribution, Borders Books, Barnes and Noble, and at independent retailers. McNeill Designs products are also distributed internationally in New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, and Canada.

Colorbök to Introduce National Geographic Arts and Crafts

National Geographic and Colorbök have announced a new licensing relationship to develop a line of kids’ arts and crafts activities. The products will be available at retail in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The National Geographic kids’ arts and crafts program by Colorbök is designed for boys and girls ages 6-11. Activities will range in content from wildlife and nature to world culture and exploration, and will include an educational bonus of National Geographic Fun Facts.
National Geographic’s net proceeds from the sale of the Colorbök line of products will support exploration, conservation, research, and education programs.

The Bridge Rolls Out Bieber Toy Line

Justin BieberThe Bridge Direct, Inc. and Bravado will be rolling out a new range of toys based on the likeness and persona of Justin Bieber at the American International Toy Fair, to be held from February 13-16.
The Bridge will showcase new versions of the Justin Bieber Singing Dolls, which “sing” clips of Justin’s hit songs, including “U Smile” and “Never Say Never.” The 2011 singing dolls each wear a different fashion inspired by Justin’s music videos and public appearances. Also new for this year are singing plush bears, collectible figures, lifestyle play sets, new versions of the Microphone Concert Kit, plus “Real Hairstyle” Dolls and the Rockin’ Tour Bus and Concert Stage play set, both due in stores by August.



Artist Partners with SupperTime to Bring Impossimal Characters to Kids

ImpossimalUK artist Peter Smith has partnered with SupperTime Entertainment to maximize the brand potential of his Impossimal characters, which were co-created with his wife, Jayne, in 2005. Smith and SupperTime will now bring the striped characters to children ages 3 to 6. The team already has plans for books, television, supporting mobile apps and merchandise, and stationery products.
Smith is experienced in children’s branding and entertainment. Prior to returning to painting, the artist worked with Disney, Fox, Universal, BBC, and Fox UK. 

New Zone Opens in Lego Universe

Crux PrimeThe Lego Group has released Crux Prime, the largest content zone ever to be discovered in Lego Universe. The new zone delivers new challenges within the Lego-original Ninjago storyline. In the game, players search the Ninjago Monastery Ruins on Crux Prime to meet Sensei Wu, who knows the secrets to the powerful skill of Spinjitzu, the only skill that can destroy the nefarious Skeleton enemies. The Lego Ninjago toy line was released last month, and includes new Lego bricks and minifigures.

Hit Signs Deals with KidKraft and Kids Only for Thomas & Friends

Hit Entertainment has entered into two first-time licensing deals with KidKraft and Kids Only, Inc. for Thomas & Friends children’s room décor and furniture lines. Both lines will be available at leading mass retailers throughout the United States and Canada this spring. KidKraft plans to develop a line of Thomas & Friends wood furniture including a toy box, toddler bed, table and chair set, and a step ’n store. Kids Only, Inc. will produce a variety of metal and plastic room décor and patio furniture products. The Kids Only deal is the first time a line of patio furniture has been developed for Thomas & Friends.

Wild Planet Expands Movement-Based Toys, Premieres New Packaging

Hyper GamesWild Planet Entertainment, Inc. continues to expand its line of toys that promote physical fun with 67 percent of the company’s new-for-2011 toys being movement based. Wild Planet has also designed the packaging for its new Hyper Games products to include messaging that aligns with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Ad Council, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, an initiative to defeat childhood obesity. Wild Planet’s Hyper Games now feature icons that depict the type of active play each game offers, such as “Healthy Heart” or “Strong Body.”
In addition to expanding its Hyper Games brand, Wild Planet has created a new line of high-energy products for tween boys, called Torx. The Torx brand will launch with five different games. The new toys will debut at retail between June and September.

WBCP Extends Games Workshop Licensing Deal

Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has extended its six-year licensing agreement with Games Workshop, giving Games Workshop exclusive, worldwide, all-language rights to produce tabletop games based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings properties.
The extension allows Games Workshop to expand on its battle games and model soldiers. Under the agreement, Games Workshop will continue to develop and increase its offerings from Middle-earth, allowing fans to realistically recreate action from the books and movies.

MGA Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Mattel

According to the Associated Press, MGA Entertainment Inc. filed an antitrust lawsuit against Mattel Inc, continuing the ongoing dispute between the companies over the Bratz line of dolls. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accuses Mattel of unfair business practices and anticompetitive conduct. MGA alleges that Mattel infilitrated confidential showrooms at trade events to copy new Bratz products, rearranged Barbie and Bratz displays at retailers, intimidated licensees, and paid retailers not to buy MGA products.

Konami to Distribute Super Heat Card Games

Super Heat GamesSuper Heat Games has finalized a multi-year distribution agreement with Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. Under the deal, Super Heat Games will be featured in Konami's Toy Fair 2011 product catalog and will be shown to buyers at the Konami Toy Fair booth (No. 5423). The first release will be the Super Heat Skateboard Card Game starter decks and booster sets, to hit stores in early May. In the game, players are pitted against one another, using their favorite professional skaters to pull off tricks and outplay their opponents. The card game features more than 30 of the top professional street skaters, as well as legends.



Big Idea Signs New Licensees for VeggieTales

VeggieTalesBig Idea Entertainment is expanding its licensing program for VeggieTales by introducing a new crop of merchandise. The company has inked deals with several new licensing partners across multiple categories, including kids’ meal promotions with Chick-fil-A; shaped Mylar and latex balloons from CTI Industries; wooden puzzles and trains from the American Puzzle Company; plush pillow and blanket combinations from Zoobies; children’s guitars from Victory Designs; and index tabs, stickers, temporary tattoos, and wall clings from Tabbies.

Big Balloon Named Master Toy Licensee for Little Charley Bear

Little Charley BearChapman Entertainment and Haven Licensing have named Australian toy company Big Balloon as the master toy licensee for Little Charley Bear. Big Balloon will distribute a line of preschool toys, including plush, puzzles, play sets, and games, set to hit retail stores in Australia this spring and summer. Little Charley Bear airs on CBeebies in the UK and will premiere on ABC2 in Australia next month.



Tomy Inks Deal for New Canimals Property

Tomy has obtained the European master toy license for Aardman Rights’ new property, Canimals. Canimals is a CGI-animated and live action series by Voozclub and BRB. Tomy will distribute toy and gift lines including plush, figures, electronics, and arts and crafts for the UK, France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Tomy will also distribute Gacha, the company’s capsule toys, for all of Europe.

Jakks Appoints Exclusive European Marketing and Distribution Partner for Monsuno

MonsunoJakks Pacific, Inc. has appointed Giochi Preziosi Group as the exclusive marketing and distribution partner in several major European markets for toys based on Monsuno. The markets include the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Jakks Pacific, creator of the Monsuno boys’ action property, is the master toymaker for the Monsuno toy line. Toys based on the series are expected to hit U.S. retail stores this fall or next spring, coinciding with the U.S. TV series premiere. Monsuno is being produced by Pacific Animation Partners, LLC in conjunction with Dentsu, Inc.’s Tokyo-based animation production subsidiary, Dentsu Tec.

Penguin to Publish Puppy Bowl Books Next Year

Puppy BowlDiscovery Communications is partnering with Penguin Young Readers Group to publish two children’s books based on Animal Planet’s popular “Puppy Bowl” event. The books are scheduled for publication in February 2012, to coincide with the airing of Puppy
Bowl on next year’s Super Bowl Sunday. The deal is for North America only.
One of the books is full color and will cover all aspects of “Puppy Bowl,” including the players, main event, cheerleaders, and the half-time show. The other is a full-story sticker activity book for children ages 5 to 8.
The deal was brokered on behalf of Animal Planet by their licensing agent, The Joester Loria Group. Puppy Bowl has been airing every Super Bowl Sunday since 2005.

Sesame Workshop to Find Permanent Museum Home in D.C.

The National Children’s Museum (NCM) is teaming up with Sesame Workshop in a new partnership that will give Sesame Workshop a permanent museum home in the nation’s capital. As part of the partnership, Sesame Street and its characters—through interactive exhibits, educational video segments, and books—will be integrated into elements of the NCM’s “Early Learners” gallery and incorporated in select museum events and programming. Additionally, Sesame Workshop will collaborate with NCM on content development, exhibits, and program creation for the museum’s “Our World” gallery, which will focus on diverse cultures and places around the globe.
NCM, founded in 1974 as Capital Children’s Museum, will open in 2013 at National Harbor, Md.

10 States Introduce Cadmium-Related Laws

According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), so far 10 states have introduced cadmium-related laws this year. TIA says it is working in each of these states to ensure that state cadmium legislation is consistent and does not undermine cadmium in toys regulations at the federal level.
TIA is also planning to continue to educate legislators on the Association’s safety messages, as this year will see the largest influx of new legislators in a generation, many of whom might not be familiar with the numerous federal environmental and safety regulations.


Playmates Toys Appoints New Sales Executive

Playmates Toys, Inc. has appointed William W. Beebe III as senior vice president of U.S. sales, effective immediately. Beebe will be based at the company's El Segundo office, and report to Thomas Chan, chairman and group CEO.
Beebe has more than 30 years of experience in the toy industry in a variety of sales, marketing, licensing, and senior management positions. His former positions include vice president of sales at Hasbro, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Bandai America, president of North America for Senario, and more.

FME Adds to Kids & Family Executive Roster

Alyssa Cooper Sapire has been appointed as vice president of programming for children and family entertainment at FremantleMedia Enterprises, a newly created role. Sapire will be based in Los Angeles and will report directly to Bob Higgins, senior vice president of children and family entertainment. Higgins is based in New York.
Sapire has more than 16 years of television industry experience. Most recently, she spent 10 years with Nickelodeon Kids and Family Networks, helping to launch Noggin, The N, and TeenNick networks.

Uncle Milton Appoints Top Sales Positions

Uncle Milton Industries, Inc. has appointed Don Hicks and Jonathan Johannessen to top sales positions. Hicks has been named vice president, national and international sales, and Johannessen has been named vice president, regional accounts and specialty sales channels. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Mind Candy Names Nicola Duarte As Head of PR

Mind Candy, publisher of moshimonsters.com, has appointed former Classic Media executive Nicola Duarte as its head of public relations. Duarte will establish and head up the company’s internal global public relations division, aiming to raise the global profile of Mind Candy and Moshi Monsters, and focusing on the company’s key territories of the UK, U.S., and Australia.
Previously, Duarte was director of public relations for Classic Media, where she oversaw
the company's family entertainment brands, including Postman Pat, Rupert Bear, Where’s Wally?, Basil Brush, Casper, and She-Ra.

Pam Abrams Joins Sesame Workshop’s Cooney Center as Director

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop announced that Pam Abrams has joined the Cooney Center as director, partnership development and strategy. In this role, Abrams will develop and manage relationships with businesses, academic institutions, and philanthropies that are crucial to the Cooney Center’s mission in harnessing digital media technologies to advance children’s learning. Her responsibilities will also include overseeing the implementation of the Cooney Center’s industry and market research projects, the Cooney Center Prizes, and the annual leadership forum. Abrams will report to Dr. Michael H. Levine, the Cooney Center’s executive director.

Hasbro Reports Financial Results for Fourth Quarter, Full Year

Hasbro, Inc. reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2010. For the full-year 2010, the company reported revenues of $4 billion compared to $4.07 billion in 2009. Net earnings for the full year were $397.8 million, or $2.74 per diluted share, up $22.8 million or 6 percent versus $374.9 million, or $2.48 per diluted share, in 2009. For the fourth quarter 2010, the company reported net revenues of $1.28 billion, compared to $1.38 billion a year ago. The company reported net earnings for the quarter of $140 million or $0.99 per diluted share compared to $165.6 million or $1.09 per diluted share in 2009.

Disney Reports Net Income Up 54 Percent

The Walt Disney Company has reported earnings for the first fiscal quarter, which ended January 1. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter were $0.68 compared to $0.44 for the first quarter last year. The growth, says the company, was driven by growth in media networks, studio entertainment, parks and resorts, and consumer products. Net income was up 54 percent.
Consumer products revenues for the quarter increased 24 percent to $922 million and segment operating income increased 28 percent to $312 million. The company attributes the increase in income to higher licensing revenue, driven by Toy Story and Marvel.

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