May 17, 2012

Licensed Toy Sales See Q1 Growth

According to market research company The NPD Group, U.S. first quarter 2012 licensed toy sales grew by one percent, and added one share point of total toy industry revenue. The top five traditional toy licenses for Q1 were (in alphabetical order) Cars: The Movie, Disney Princess, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends, and Toy Story, each generating anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent of total licensed product sales. The first quarter’s top five growth licenses were (in alphabetical order) Angry Birds, Cars: The Movie, Hello Kitty & Friends, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Star Wars.
“The average retail selling price of a licensed toy was nearly 50 percent larger than that of unlicensed toys in the first quarter, showing the premium a toy can generate by being associated with a child’s favorite character or property,” says Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.

Sakar International Unveils Line of Marvel’s The Avengers Products

The AvengersSakar International has launched a line of consumer electronics products and accessories to commemorate Marvel Studio’s release of Marvel’s The Avengers. The products include digital cameras with and without preview screens, a digital music player with a variety of superhero-depicting faceplates, LED headlights, night vision goggles, a clock radio, walkie talkies, iPhone ear buds, twin speakers, a CD boom box, mouse pads, and laptop sleeves. The products are currently available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide.




Moose Toys Expands Trash Pack Line

Trash PackMoose Toys has signed on several licensees for the Trash Pack-licensed merchandise program in the U.S. market. The new deals, brokered by The Licensing Shop, Inc., include Pressman Toys with U.S. and Canadian rights for board games and puzzles; Accessory Innovations with U.S. rights for back packs, bags, hosiery, cold weather accessories, lunch bags, and headwear; Mad Engine with U.S. rights for T-shirts and fashion tops; and Bulls I Toys with U.S. and Canadian rights for impulse novelty toys.
In addition to expanding its list of licensees, Moose Toys will expand the Trash Pack line this year to include apparel, publishing, backpacks, and more.


Mezco Toyz to Release Domo Collectibles

DomoBig Tent Entertainment and Mezco Toyz have announced a licensing agreement for a new line of collectibles featuring iconic character Domo. The new line will include bobbleheads, clip-on figures, action figures, and wind-up walking toys. The new Domo collectibles will be available at specialty stores later this year.





Comic Images Inks Plush Deal with Vamplet
Gloom BabiesComic Images, the manufacturer of Star Wars, Marvel, and Moshi Monsters plush, has signed a licensing agreement with Vamplet, LLC to produce a full line of designer plush characters from The Nightmare Nursery of Gloomvania. The line will feature a cast of fashionable un-human babies and their pets, including vampires, zombies, and werewolves wearing stylish diapers and trendy hair accessories.

TÜV Rheinland Celebrates 140th Anniversary 

TUV RheinlandTÜV Rheinland celebrates 140 years of delivering premier independent certification, testing, and assessment services to businesses around the world.
What began in 1872 as a tiny business in Germany has grown into a network of acknowledged laboratories and test and training centers with 500 locations in more than 60 countries. The oldest testing and certification company in the world, TÜV Rheinland tests and certifies technical systems, products, and services; supports projects; and designs processes for companies in nearly all industrial sectors and areas of life and business.



Big Idea Entertainment Signs with Rukus Media Group

Big Idea Entertainment and Ruckus Media Group have announced a digital partnership under which Ruckus has been granted worldwide rights to develop interactive storybook applications (iReaders) based on VeggieTales. Powered by the Ruckus Reader, iReaders are designed to match age-appropriate standards determined by the Common Core State Standards and reinforce national educational standards for preschool through second grade. Ruckus plans to release three VeggieTales iReaders in varying reading levels worldwide, with English language distribution via the App store in June.

Smart/Tangoes USA Releases Titanic App

Smart/Tangoes USA has released Titanic by SmartGames, an app based on its best-selling puzzle-game, Titanic. The app, released to honor this year’s centennial anniversary of the Titanic’s voyage, includes a free sneak peek of 21 of the game’s total 100 challenges ranging from “easy” to “extreme.”
As players move lifeboats across the game space and passengers “climb in,” they must determine which passenger should be picked up by which particular lifeboat and in what order this should happen. Once the lifeboat is full it may not be moved, making fully boarded boats an obstacle for other possible rescue work. The challenge has been solved once all passengers have been successfully saved. The special preview edition of Titanic, the app, is now available for free at It is also available in the Google Play Store for the Android platform.

50 Fifty Partners with Daron World Wide Trading

Chuckle Buddies50 Fifty HK, known for the Original Chuckle Buddies Electronic Rollover Plush and Unique Novelty Toys & Gag Gifts, has transferred U.S. domestic distribution from Jumpin Banana to Daron World Wide Trading, Inc. of Fairfield, N.J. Daron, a leader in collectible and toy replica airplanes, has a strong presence in the toy, hobby, and gift channels. The lines naturally complement each other, allowing greater offerings to the specialty and independent retailers. Jumpin Banana, the former U.S. distributor, has closed its doors.




Cloud b Selects Freeman PR as U.S. Agency

Freeman Public Relations has been named as a strategic partner in the campaign to advance the Cloud b brand as it expands beyond the crib to include a wider range of interactive toys that build upon the company’s reputation for innovation. The comprehensive program will feature a multi-tiered approach that incorporates all touch points of traditional and social media to build consumer awareness, with particular focus on parents, both moms and dads. The strategy will also maximize the valuable resource the Cloud b advisory board of pediatricians and child development experts provides for consumers.

Howie Davis Joins Sakar

Sakar International, Inc., announces that Howie Davis has joined the company as vice president of retail development. In this newly created role, Davis will be working closely with Sakar's sales force and licensors to maximize and create retail opportunities across the board. Davis comes to Sakar with 20 years of buying experience, including six years at his most recent position with Toys “R” Us.

Target Reports Strong First Quarter Earnings

Target Corporation has reported first quarter net earnings of $697 million, or $1.04 per share. Adjusted earnings per share, a measure the company believes is useful in providing period-to-period comparisons of the results of its U.S. operations, were $1.11 in first quarter 2012, up 11.5 percent from $0.99 in 2011.
First quarter 2012 U.S. Retail Segment EBITDA and EBIT margin rates were 10.3 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, compared with 10.1 percent and 6.8 percent in 2011. First quarter gross margin rate declined to 30.2 percent in 2012 from 30.4 percent in 2011, reflecting downward pressure from the company’s integrated growth strategies partially offset by a mix of higher-margin sales and underlying rate improvements within categories. U.S. Retail Segment first quarter selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense rate was 19.9 percent in 2012 compared with 20.4 percent in 2011.

Genius Brands Reports First Quarter Results

Genius Brands International, Inc. developer and marketer of the Baby Genius line of music and education-based products and characters, has announced financial results for its first quarter of fiscal 2012, ended March 31.
Revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2012, were $1,030,947, as compared to $1,307,177 in the same period of the prior year, a decline of $276,230, or 21 percent, resulting from a decline in licensing and royalty revenues, partially offset by an increase in product sales. Licensing and royalty revenues decreased $384,189, or 93 percent, from $413,885 in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 to $29,696 in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 due to the termination of a toy licensing deal with Battat Incorporated. Per the termination, Genius Brands has not received royalty payments from Battat since the three months ended March 31, 2011. The company has signed a new toy licensing agreement with Jakks Pacific’s Tollytots division, which is scheduled to launch a line of 20 toys by the third quarter of 2012. Due to this gap in licensed toy sales, Genius Brands expects licensing and royalty revenues will remain at a reduced rate compared to the same periods in the prior year through the first two quarters of fiscal 2012, and then show increases in late 2012 and in subsequent years with the introduction of the new toy line. The decline in licensing and royalty revenues was partially offset by a $107,959, or 12 percent, increase in product sales, which grew to $1,001,251 in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, as compared to $893,292 in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

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