June 10, 2011

Laser Pegs

Good Link’s Ballooniac Product in Store July 15

BallooniacGood Link International announces that its Ballooniac property will soon be available at Toys “R” Us and FAO Schwarz stores in New York City. The items will launch July 15 with a kiosk in the Toys “R” Us Times Square location, and on October 15 in the FAO Schwarz 5th Avenue location. Product is expected to roll out chain-wide following the debut launch.
Good Link is also planning to introduce a Ballooniac live action-animated series. The company is currently looking for a production partner.
Ming the Minibus, Good Link's 52 X 11’ show, is currently airing across the globe. This July, Korea Telecommunications Company will air Ming the Minibus on its iTV and OLEH networks, and will also beam the show into every public primary school in South Korea.
Empire International Media Company has been granted the licensing rights for all of Asia.
Creative Licensing Brasil has been appointed Ming the Minibus’ licensing agent for Brazil, while Tiga Entertainment Co., Ltd. of Thailand has been granted the licensing rights for DVDs and TV rights in Thailand.
Ming the Minibus will begin airing on Thailand TV during the first quarter of 2012.

Joester Loria Group Appointed Licensing Agency for The Annoying Orange

The Collective—a leading management, media, and production company—has named The Joester Loria Group as the exclusive licensing agency for the web series, The Annoying Orange. The series revolves around Orange as he sits on the kitchen counter and harasses the other fruit in a very aggravating way. His human features and edgy jokes appeal to children, teens, and adults, which was the driving factor behind the licensing program. A television series is also currently being developed with head writer Tom Sheppard (Shrek 2).
The Joester Loria Group will launch a primary line of trend merchandising geared towards teens and adults, including T-shirts, loungewear, novelty and plush toys, and costumes. Next year, a multi-category expansion of children’s merchandise is slated to premiere, including video games, home textiles, and apparel. 

Crayola and Warner Bros. Announce Partnership

Crayola is set to premiere a line inspired by Green Lantern, Looney Tunes, and Scooby-Doo as part of a new licensing partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products. The properties will be featured on Crayola’s Giant Coloring Pages, Color Explosion, and Mess-Free Color Wonder lines.
This summer, the Crayola Color Explosion Green Lantern Deluxe Set will launch followed by the premiere of the Crayola Looney Tunes Giant Coloring Pages in the fall. Additionally, next spring, the Crayola Scooby-Doo Giant Coloring Pages and the Crayola Scooby-Doo Mess-Free Color Wonder Coloring Book will be available at major retailers.
The partnership also gives Crayola the rights to develop products featuring Batman, Superman, DC Super Friends, and Happy Feet 2 for retailers in both the U.S. and Canada.

Toy Russia 2011 Breaks Visitor Record Again
Toy Russia 2011, which was held March 16-18, attracted 7,023 visitors, a 12 percent increase compared to last year. The number of exhibitors at the event for the Russian toy industry also grew to 246 exhibitors, which presented new products on the event floor that sprawled more than 10,000 m².
Spielwarenmesse eG supported the market entry of international companies for the second time with its World of Toys program; 14 manufacturers presented their products in the World of Toys pavilion. 
The World of Toys, by Spielwarenmesse eG, stops at Toy Russia in Moscow again next year from March 14-16, 2012. Exhibitors can send reservations to Sabine Liebscher,  at s.liebscher@spielwarenmesse.de.

Stone America Announces Licensing Agreement for New Science Toys

Stone America Licensing has announced a multiyear licensing agreement between educational science toy manufacturer Edu-Science (H.K.) Limited and Scientific American, an authoritative publication for science in the general media. Edu-Science will launch the collection of educational science toys at the Hong Kong Toy Presentation and Fall Toy Preview at Dallas in October. The Scientific American-branded toys range from “Science Fair Projects” to “How Things Work Today.”
Scientific American continues to seek licensees in categories including, but not limited to, consumer electronics, exploration equipment, publishing, gadgets, and desktop accessories.

Mega Brands Extends Deal with Halo

Mega Brands, Inc. has extended its multiyear global agreement with Microsoft Game Studios to develop construction sets based on video game franchise Halo. Under this new agreement, Mega Brands will work closely with 343 Industries, a division of Microsoft Games Studios, to further develop the Mega Bloks Halo Authentic Collector's Series. The Mega Bloks Halo construction toy line brings to life the vehicles, characters, and locations that appeal to collectors and construction fans alike.


The Jim Henson Company’s Pajanimals Debut New Series

PajanimalsThe Jim Henson Company will introduce its newest preschool series, Pajanimals, to attendees at Licensing Show, opening June 14 in Las Vegas. Pajanimals is a global co-production between The Jim Henson Company, 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout, and Northern Ireland’s Sixteen South Television, with funding assistance from Northern Ireland Screen. The show will premiere this fall in the U.S., exclusively on Sprout. The show is based on the “Pajanimals” original musical interstitials that help ease kids into bedtime routines. 
The Jim Henson Company continues to develop a global licensing program for Pajanimals with an aim to launch new merchandise next year in categories such as toys, publishing, sleepwear, slippers, bedding, bath, personal care, and developmental. New DVD titles, music, and digital applications are also in development.
The Jim Henson Company is also continuing to develop licensing programs for Dinosaur Train, Fraggle Rock, The Possibility Shop, Sid the Science Kid, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and The Skrumps.

Cooney Center Releases New Report on Digital Technology and Families

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop released a new report, “Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age,” documenting how digital technology is changing family life.
The report, which draws data from a national survey of 800 parents of children ages 3-10, found that nearly two-thirds of parents limit media consumption on a case-by-case basis. Of parents surveyed, 57 percent recognize that digital media presents ways for children to converse and connect with friends and family, but two-thirds of parents may restrict their children from chatting online and visiting social networking sites. 
The study also revealed that only half of parents are playing with their kids on newer platforms, such as video game consoles, opting to spend more time with their children engaged in more traditional activities, including watching television, reading books, and playing board games. More than half of parents are concerned about the effect of media usage on their children’s health, but fewer than one in five parents think their kids spend too much time with digital media.
Researched and written by Lori M. Takeuchi Ph.D., the Cooney Center’s director of research, “Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age is available for download at http://joanganzcooneycenter.org/Reports.html.

HTA Asks House Committee to Support H.R. 1939

The Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA), representing small batch manufacturers and specialty toy retailers, called on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to support H.R. 1939 (Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011, ECADA) during the House Energy and Commerce Committee markup. ECADA addresses the unintended consequences of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was passed by Congress in 2008 in response to lead-in-paint toy recalls. The law's third-party testing requirements will be enacted at the end of this year, and HTA claims that the law will force many small crafters and retailers out of business.
According to HTA, ECADA would amend provisions of the CPSIA, providing relief to small and micro-businesses by requiring the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to implement rule-making to specify an alternative test or exemption as well as require a cost-benefit analysis to justify testing costs.

Big Idea Entertainment Adds New Partners to Veggie Tales Licensing Program

Big IdeaVeggie Tales will expand its presence in consumer products by forming new licensing partnerships with companies, including Box Creations, Primary Leisure Global, and Brewster Home Fashions. Build Your Imagination with Bob and Larry is a tabletop cardboard play set from Box Creations that is scheduled to hit stores this fall. Primary Leisure Global is bringing a new toy to the States—GigglePOD, which allows children to interact in a small video booth while parents are engaged through an external monitor. The VeggieTales GigglePOD will launch this summer. Brewster Home Fashions also partnered with the successful series to create VeggieTales Lessons Really Stick, a VeggieTales-themed assortment of wall stickers and appliques.

Blip Toys Inks Deal with Marvel for Super Hero Squinkies

Marvel SquinkiesMarvel Entertainment, LLC, has entered into a licensing agreement with Blip Toys, the maker of the collectible line of Squinkies toys. As part of the multiyear deal, Blip Toys has created an all-new collection of Squinkies for boys inspired by Marvel’s most popular Super Heroes and Super Villains, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Thing, Human Torch, Doctor Doom, and Green Goblin. Squinkies Marvel Universe Capsule Pack Series 1 and Series 2 each include 12 miniature figures and are currently available online at shop.squinkies.com and at major retailers across the country. Each miniature figure comes encased in a toy plastic bubble that kids pop open in order to discover the Super Hero “Surprize Inside.” 

Licensing Works! Appointed Global Licensing Agent for Hearts for Hearts Girls

Hearts for Hearst  GirlsPlaymates Toys has selected Licensing Works! as the global licensing agent for the Hearts for Hearts Girls brand. Hearts for Hearts Girls is a doll line and fashion collection with a charitable side. The line features six dolls from all over the world that are brought to life via an interactive website that teaches kids to discover different cultures. Additionally, as part of a partnership with World Vision, a portion of each Hearts to Hearts Girls doll sale is donated to a non-profit organization that helps children from that doll’s country. Licensing Works! will aim to expand the brand into other product categories, including publishing, interactive, apparel, accessory, and home décor.



GreenLight Inks Deal for Movie- and TV-Licensed Die-Cast

GreenLight has obtained select licensing rights from both NBC Universal Studios and CBS Broadcasting to produce official merchandise and replicated cars from famous movies and television shows.
The new series, 1:64 GL Hollywood, will consist of six cars, including Blues Brothers (1980) 1974 Dodge Monaco, Blues Brothers (1980) 1975 Dodge Monaco Chicago Police, CSI Miami (2002-2010) 2008 Dodge Charger, 2Fast2Furious (2003) 1970 Dodge Challenger, Fast Five (2011) 1970 Dodge Charger “Rio Charger,” and Smokey and the Bandit (1977) 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.
The die-cast replicas feature detailed engines, real rubber tires, a metal body and chassis, detailed graphics, and custom license plates. Officially licensed by the respective auto manufacturers, the cars will release in July.

DBG Expands Client Services

Dimensional Branding Group (DBG) has unveiled a new and expanded suite of client services, focusing on promotion and business development. In conjunction with this new initiative, DBG now represents Angry Birds for promotional programs (not licensing) in North America and Miniclip (global game publisher) for business development. Additionally, DBG is launching a new motto (“taking brands to new dimensions”), an updated logo, and website on June 12 to further illustrate the changing licensing industry. DBG’s licensing clients include Skee-Ball, Jenga, and PlayStation. 

Zodiak Kids Secures Raft Of Little Princess Licensing Deals

Little PrincessZodiak Kids has signed a number of licensing deals for the preschool property Little Princess. Aurora World UK has acquired the rights to develop a Little Princess plush range, to launch early next year. Additionally, this summer, Neon Play will launch the first Little Princess app for iPad, iPhone, and Android platforms. The app will include six Little Princess games featuring all the favorite characters.
Zodiak Kids recently appointed two new agents. Empire will represent the brand in Asia across all categories, excluding publishing and DVD, while Merchantwise is the appointed licensing partner in Australia and New Zealand.

The Juno Company Partners for TV Show
The Juno Company and CCI Entertainment will produce a television show based on the Juno property. Under the deal, CCI Entertainment will play help develop the brand and be responsible for financing the production and distribution of the series globally, as well as create and execute the broadcast strategy and the rollout internationally.

ZhuZhu Pets Gets Two Animated Movies

Cepia LLC, the maker of ZhuZhu Pets, has partnered with Universal Pictures for a worldwide television rights and home entertainment deal that will see the release of two feature-length, animated films, Quest for Zhu and Power of Zhu. The films will debut exclusively on DVD this year and next year, respectively.
Los Angeles-based Moonscoop (Jakers, Clifford, The Big Red Dog, and Chloe's Closet) will produce the film, while Sean Catherine Derek (Smurfs, Spiderman, and Mortal Combat) will serve as the writer. 3-D animation studio Prana Animation Studios, Inc. (TRON: Legacy and Tinker Bell) will bring the Zhu-niverse to life in 3-D stereoscopic animation. Both movies star the four original ZhuZhu Pets characters (Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, NumNums, and Chunk), who explore the Zhu-niverse through adventurous, heartwarming, and heroic tales.

Parragon to Release E-Books for Discovery Kids

Discovery Communication, Inc. is expanding its Discovery Kids deal with Parragon Publishing. As part of the long-term renewal agreement, Parragon will release a new line of Discovery Kids-branded books, including coloring books, activity kits, and reference books. Also, for the first time, Parragon will release Discovery Kids e-books. The new titles will release this summer. The deal was brokered on behalf of Discovery Communications by Big Tent Entertainment, the North American licensing agent for the Discovery Kids brand. There are currently more than 150 titles in the popular Paragon’s Discovery Kids brand.

Max & Ruby to Come to Chick-fil-A Kid’s Meals

Max & RubyNelvana Enterprises’ bunny siblings, Max & Ruby, will be featured in a Chick-fil-A Kid’s Meals in the U.S. this summer. As part of the premium promotion, one of five Max & Ruby storybooks will be included in Kid’s Meals for children ages 3 and younger. Nelvana recently announced the production of 26 new television episodes of Max & Ruby in association with Chorion. Koba Entertainment is touring a Max & Ruby stage show in the U.S. later this year.


Former Chairman of Rose Art Passes Away

The toy industry lost a much-respected veteran when Sydney Rosen, former chairman of Rose Art Industries, died June 2, nearly 1.5 years ago after suffering a major stroke. Rosen, 94, dedicated more than 65 years of his life to the toy industry and received an award in 2003 from the Toy Manufacturers of America in recognition for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitments.
Rosen’s father, Isidor, started Rose Art Industries, which was originally named Rosebud Art Company. When Isidor retired, Rosen and his brother took over the company. Rosen also served as chairman emeritus of La Rose Industries in Randolph, N.J., also known as Cra-Z-Art.

Shuffling of Officers at Safari, Ltd
Alexandre Pariente, former vice president of sales at Safari, Ltd., is now the president of the company. Former president, Ramona Pariente, is now CEO. Safari, Ltd. manufactures hand-painted educational toys. Since the late 1980s Safari, Ltd. has held license agreements with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Kid Brands Names New President of Sassy

Kid Brands, Inc. has appointed Dean F. Robinson as president of Sassy, Inc., a company that designs, markets, and distributes infant developmental toys, as well as feeding, bath, and baby care products. Robinson has significant experience in new product development and design within the infant and juvenile products industry, as well as expertise in licensing, marketing, and sourcing on a global basis. Most recently, Robinson was business leader at Summer Infant, Inc., where he led efforts for toy and licensed product lines.

New VP of Sales at International Playthings

International Playthings has announced that Bryan Bendavid will take on the role of vice president of sales. Bendavid has more than 20 years of consumer product sales experience. Most recently, Bendavid was vice president of sales at Dimensional Merchandising, Inc., a contract manufacturer of personal care and packaging products for leading brands. He previously served as senior vice president of sales and marketing for Gund.  

NPD Names New Head of Toys Business Unit

The NPD Group, Inc. has appointed Juli Lennett as the president of NPD’s U.S. toys business. Lennett replaces Amy Hyland who moved from the U.S. toys business unit to NPD’s U.S. fashion apparel business. Most recently, Lennett served as an executive director of client development for toys and KIDS (Kids Industry Data Service).

Quick Hit Development Team Joins Majesco

Majesco Entertainment Company has made several key acquisitions from Quick Hit, Inc., furthering the company’s commitment to its social games business. Specifically, Majesco acquired key operating assets as well as the Quick Hit development team to execute its social games strategy. 
As part of the transaction, Jeffrey Anderson, founder and CEO of Quick Hit, will join Majesco as its senior vice president of social games. Anderson will be responsible for Majesco’s current and future online titles, including Cooking Mama Friends’ Café, Parking Wars 2, and Bananagrams, as well as several unannounced social and mobile products currently in development.

Alloy Entertainment Appoints New Director of Licensing

Alloy Entertainment (AE) has added Sarah DuBois Miller as director of licensing.
Miller will lead licensing efforts on behalf of existing and future AE properties in addition to outside clients. Miller brings AE clients such as WEtv/Wedding Central and Jumpstart, a 3-D virtual adventure learning game for children. She will also seek strategic partners and licensees for the AE’s upcoming and existing library properties.
Prior to this position, Miller held management roles at 360ep and NEO Art & Logic. In addition, she worked with the Weinstein Company and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Target Reports May Financial Results

Target Corporation reported that its net retail sales for the four weeks ended May 28 were $4.8 billion, an increase of 3.8 percent from $4.6 billion for the same four weeks in May 2010. On this same basis, May comparable-store sales increased 2.8 percent. Year-to-date sales totaled 20.379 billion, a 3 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

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