June 07, 2012

Nerd Corps Brings Slugterra to Retail

SlugterraJakks Pacific, Inc., has signed a licensing agreement with Nerd Corps Entertainment, Inc., to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of toys based on the animated series Slugterra. The sci-fi action-comedy adventure series is set to air on Disney XD this fall with 39 half-hour episodes, plus 39 one-minute online “Slugisodes.”
The new toy line includes action figures and accessories, vehicles, playsets, role-play, novelties, and plush items. Jakks expects to launch the Slugterra-branded product line in North America beginning next spring, targeting kids ages 6 to 11.

Sakar & Kidz Bop Partner to Launch Line of Youth Electronics

Kidz BopSakar International will develop, market, and manufacture a new line of audio/video youth electronics with Kidz Bop. Merchandise will include karaoke machines, headphones, earbuds, speakers, and docking stations. Additional product will include DVRs and digital cameras tied to the Kidz Bop music series, which features today’s most popular songs, sung by kids for kids. Initial product is expected to hit shelves in the U.S. and Canada during the fourth quarter of this year.
On July 17, Kidz Bop will release Kidz Bop 22, the latest installment of the audio series. Kidz Bop will also launch its annual Kidz Star USA Talent Search, a national talent competition for kids 15 and under, which is hosted on KidzBop.com.

Pressman to Release The Lord of the Rings Games

The Lord of the RingsWarner Bros. Consumer Products and Pressman Toy announced two new games based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the motion picture The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, both to hit store shelves this fall.
The Lord of the Rings Board Game Deluxe Version incorporates story elements from all three films—The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyBoard Game is based on the upcoming film directed by Peter Jackson and produced by New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), set to be released on December 14.
Both games will be available for purchase at mass and specialty retail locations this fall.

Record-Breaking Attendance Expected at ASTRA Event

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association will host a record number of specialty toy retailers, sales representatives, and manufacturers at its annual Marketplace & Academy, making this the sixth consecutive year of record-breaking attendance at the event.
Attendance is expected to increase nearly 10 percent from 2011, and the number of retail stores shopping for products on the exhibit floor is projected to increase up to 25 percent.
Marketplace & Academy takes place June 10-13 in Baltimore, Md. ASTRA will also accept walk-in registrations. For more information, visit www.astramarketplace.org.

Henson Secures New Licensing Agent in Russia; Roster of International Licensees Expands

Dinosaur TrainThe animated children’s series Dinosaur Train, produced by The Jim Henson Company, is expanding with new international licensees, as well as a new licensing agent in Russia.  Tomy will launch its Dinosaur Train product line into the UK and German retail markets next spring. The line will include Dinosaur Train InterAction Figures that utilize Smart Talk Technology to bring dinosaur characters to life. New European licensees recently signed for Dinosaur Train include Puffin in the UK (publishing); Evasion Communications (costumes) and Shok ID (soft toys) in France; and Junior Productions (promos and character appearances) in Sweden.
The company has appointed Megalicense, one of Russia’s leading licensing agencies, to represent the brand in Russia. C-Trade Ltd., has been appointed as the toy licensee for the region. In Latin America, Exim Licensing added several new Dinosaur Train licensees—including Editorial Artemisa for activity, coloring, and sticker books, along with story books in Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile; Flash Toys for toys, cushions, and plush in Venezuela; Grafiart S.R.L., for party goods in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay; and Photo Pack for stationery, backpacks, pencil cases, lunch boxes, and melamine plates, bowls, and cups in Mexico.

Scan2Go to Hit U.S. Television and Toy Aisles

Scan2GoCartoon Network and MGA Entertainment will bring the galactic racing series Scan2Go to U.S. cable television and toy aisles this fall, under a new agreement with Cookie Jar Group, programming distributor for Scan2Go North and South America and licensing agent in North America, and d-rights, Inc.
Scan2Go is a space-racing action adventure anime series targeted to boys. It currently airs on Clan TV in Spain, Panda TV in Portugal, and K2 in Italy. Cartoon Network will broadcast the first 52 30-minute episodes of Scan2Go in the U.S. Scan2Go is a Japanese-Korean-Middle East co-produced anime TV series by d-rights Inc., NewBoy FZCO, SBS Contents Hub, and Stonebridge Capital, Inc.
Toy manufacturer MGA Entertainment will go to market this fall, as exclusive master toy licensee for North and Latin America, with Scan2Go toys such as vehicles, figures and accessories, racing tracks and sets, and cards under a distribution and license agreement with NewBoy FZCO, the master toy licensee. MGA will also offer Scan2Go play sets, games, role-play toys, arts and crafts, plush, and novelty items.

YOTTOY to Create Babar Plush

New York-based toy design company YOTTOY Products, Inc., will develop soft toys inspired by the Babar literary character, under a new agreement with Nelvana Enterprises and The Clifford Ross Company.
The initial launch, set for fall, will feature vintage plush designs of King Babar and his wife Celeste. A second phase launch will include a line based on the CGI-animated TV series Babar and the Adventures of Badou, featuring Babar’s grandson Badou.
To celebrate Babar’s 80th anniversary, YOTTOY and a major luxury U.S. retailer will make vintage Barbar the focus for the holiday season, including vintage plush designs (some 5-feet tall) in-store and online, a holiday window presentation, and special in-store activities. Details for that initiative will be announced soon.

Sanrio Names New Licensing Executives

Laura Takaragawa has been named senior director of licensing for hard lines, while Linh Forse has been promoted to senior director of licensing for soft lines, Sanrio, Inc., announced.
Takaragawa will oversee the categories of toys, consumables, sporting goods, HBA, stationery, housewares, and seasonal for North America. She will also focus on building emerging properties and the continued expansion of its flagship character Hello Kitty. Takaragawa is returning to Sanrio, where she previously managed licensed marketing for the division.
Forse has been with Sanrio since 2008, most recently as director of licensing for soft lines. She will be responsible for the management of the company’s licensing partner in North America and development of soft lines including the categories of apparel, accessories, footwear, and domestics. She will oversee interactive and publishing.

American Greetings Properties Announces Executive Promotions

American Greetings Properties, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corp., has announced three executive promotions. Megan Buettner has been elevated to vice president of global brands, Carla Neves has been promoted to senior manager of international licensing, and Lauren Sutton has advanced to associate licensing manager of international licensing.
As vice president of global brands, Buettner will be responsible for the creative direction and production of all creative materials as related to AGP’s legacy brands, including Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. As senior manager of international licensing, Neves will be responsible for maintaining and growing merchandise, promotions, publishing, and retail programs with AGP’s licensed properties in Asia Pacific and Latin America. She will also play a key role in managing all aspects of brand development and strategies for Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and new properties. As the associate licensing manager, Sutton will be responsible for managing AGP’s licensing business across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Sutton will continue to expand the presence of Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and Holly Hobbie in European markets.

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