July 11, 2012

 Top Trumps

ABC Kids Expo

Spielwarenmesse eG to Organize Indian Toy Fair

Fair organizer and toy sector marketing service provider Spielwarenmesse eG is set to organize its own fair in India in 2013.
The fair, Kids India, will take place in the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre in Mumbai. The new fair is intended as a platform for Indian and international exhibitors to present products such as toys, baby articles, licensed products, sport articles, and leisure and hobby articles.
In addition, Spielwarenmesse eG will organize a World of Toys Pavilion so that small and medium enterprises can also showcase their products. The pavilion will make it easier for companies from all over the world to enter the Indian market.

ABC Kids Expo 2012 Gaining Steam

ABC Kids Expo 2012 will take place this October at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center. The expo hosts more than 1,000 exhibitors showing new and innovative products and services. Many significant U.S.-based manufacturers or distributors of products for maternity, infants, and small children will show their latest products. Exhibitors may reach more than 14,000 qualified retail stores, importer and exporters, distributors, online retailers, mail order businesses, and interior designers and decorators.
The U.S. juvenile products industry, comprised of companies manufacturing goods for children from infancy to age 5, is expected to grow 4.4 percent per year through 2015, primarily driven by the expansion of the baby accessories segment, expected to grow 5.9 percent annually. The other major segments—toys and furnishings—are expected to grow 3.5 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. The ABC Kids Expo will include the following specialty areas: New Product Showcase, Naturally Kids Pavilion, Modern Child Pavilion, and Maternity Square.
Special this year is The Very Important Badge (VIP) Program, a discount program for show participants to use while in Louisville. It provides special offers and discounts from the city’s most popular sites. For more information on how to exhibit or register, visit the ABC Show website.

ASTRA’s 2012 Marketplace & Academy Breaks Attendance Records

ASTRAASTRA’s 2012 Marketplace & Academy, held last month in Baltimore, broke all previous attendance records. The number of attendees, not including exhibitors, increased nearly 10 percent. The number of retail stores represented increased 15 percent over last year. More than 1,700 members of the specialty toy industry participated. Next year’s ASTRA Marketplace & Academy will be held June 16-19 in Nashville, Tenn.






New Media Company to Develop Touchable Television

Television and technology industry veterans Alex Kay, Scott Webb, and Tinsley Galyeanthe have launched New York-based PlaySquare, LLC, a new company that will develop tablet-based Touchable Television.
The Touchable Television transforms television into an adventure in which children are able to watch, think, and act. Touchable Television is the combination of existing television episodes with interactive content that allows a child to step into and participate in the actual story of a television property.
PlaySquare has signed an agreement with children’s media specialist Tina Peel to serve as advisor and executive producer. Peel has more than 30 years of experience in creating, producing, managing, and evaluating television and media products for children and families.

KRE-O Unveils Star Trek Building Sets at Comic-Con

Star TrekThe Kre-O brand from Hasbro, Inc., will showcase new figures at Comic-Con International based on the upcoming Star Trek sequel from Paramount Pictures. The Star Trek line, under license from CBS Consumer Products, features a variety of vehicles from the movie along with Kreon figures based on Star Trek characters. This week fans saw the Kre-O Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise set and Kirk, Spock, and Bones Kreon figures at the Hasbro Comic-Con booth.
To read more about the Kre-O Star Trek line, as well as the company’s new Transformers sets, visit The Toy Book Blog.

Ceaco Launches Brainwright Brand

BrainwrightCeaco has launched its new division: Brainwright–For Curious Minds. In addition to the Gamewright family games division, Brainwright will feature brainteasers, mind benders, and other unique items that aim to inspire right- and left-brain thinking, improve memory, and exercise logic skills in a fun way. Some of the Brainwright-branded items will include The Baffler, Flexi Puzzle, Hexus, and Puzzle Blox.








Mind Candy Acquires Games Studio Origami Blue

Mind Candy, the entertainment company behind Moshi Monsters, has acquired Brighton-based games studio Origami Blue to launch its new innovation center Candy Labs.
Origami Blue is a small studio set up by ex-Disney Black Rock Studio creatives Edd Smith, Mark Knowles-Lee, and James Ovnik. Following the acquisition, the team will become full-time Mind Candy employees.
Candy Labs will be a research and development studio that experiments with new ideas and the next wave of ground-breaking entertainment for children. The ideas will be a mix of digital and non-digital entertainment. Some of the new concepts will be acquired from third parties, but most ideas will originate in-house.

AT&T Hires IMC to Rethink Possible in Electronic Learning Toys

AT&T has entered into a representation agreement with IMC, a global agency specializing in strategic partnerships, to develop licensing relationships for the growing e-learning market. 
As part of the agreement, IMC will represent AT&T in exploring relationships to create innovative new products. AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T, Inc. under the AT&T brand, and not by AT&T, Inc.

The Bridge Direct Releases Exclusive Comic-Con Hobbit Figures

The HobbitIn anticipation for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two films adapting the novel The Hobbit, The Bridge Direct will unveil a collection of toys at retailers this October. The Bridge Direct released the limited edition Bilbo Baggins Figure, which was only available for this year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego. The detailed 6-inch scale figure presents Bilbo wearing the Ring in his “invisible” state and will be presented in a numbered collector’s edition box.
Other items in the line include 3.75-inch basic figures from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and 6-inch collectable figures, including a battle axe.
Characters featured in the line include Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield.




Wild Planet Signs Toysmith as Exclusive Distributor

Wild Planet signed Toysmith to be the exclusive distributor of the Wild Planet Entertainment, Inc., product line to U.S. specialty toy retailers. Products featured in Toysmith’s catalog are sold to specialty toy stores, catalog, and Internet retailers in the educational, craft and hobby, museum, zoo, aquarium, national park, and gift store markets. Toysmith begins shipping Wild Planet Entertainment products on July 20. 

Toon Googles Partners with Techno Source on Kurio7

Toon GogglesToon Goggles partnered with Techno Source to pre-load the Toon Goggles app on the new Kurio7, launching nationwide this month. Toon Goggles will be embedded on every Kurio7 Android Tablet sold in the U.S., providing instant access to the Toon Goggles library of safe, child- and parent-friendly video content, currently featuring more than 1,200 hours of entertainment and educational programming.
The Kurio7 solves problems with tablets passed from parent to child, allowing for safe web surfing through customizable controls, while prohibiting the accidental purchase of apps. Toon Goggles iOS app is also available for download in the iTunes App Store.

Scholastic to Publish Book Featuring Twilight Turtle

TwilightCloud b, creators of products and programs designed to help children sleep, and Scholastic, publisher and distributor of children’s books and children’s media, have teamed up to feature Cloud b’s award-winning Twilight Turtle in a new children’s book to be published in September.
My Turtle and Me, by Owen Bernstein will be published by the Cartwheel Books imprint and will retail for $9.99. Scholastic will publish and distribute the title through its distribution channels both domestically and internationally. Cloud b will offer a book and toy bundle exclusively through www.Cloudb.com.


Shoot to the Top this Summer with Kidz Star USA

KidzStarKidz Bop, RCA Records, Electus and Vevo are launching Kidz Star USA 2012, a talent search for kids, this summer. Recording artist Gavin DeGraw will act as a celebrity mentor. The grand prize winner will have the opportunity to sign a recording contract with RCA records. Electus is producing a reality web series for the online talent search, while VEVO will act as worldwide distribution partner.
Beginning this month, aspiring young singers from across the country will be able upload a 90-second performance video to Kidzbop.com to compete for a chance to win.
Contestants’ audition videos and their progress will be posted on Kidzbop.com, where fans will help determine the semi-finalists and the winner. Ten Kidz Star semi-finalists will be announced in September and flown to Los Angeles to compete in a series of musical challenges filmed in front of a live studio audience. Webisodes will be available on VEVO in October.

VIZ Media to Publish Winx Club Graphic Novels

Winx ClubVIZ Media, LLC, has released Winx Club, a new graphic novel series inspired by the animated TV series currently airing on Nickelodeon. Winx Club Volumes 1 and 2, published under VIZ Kids, are available now in stores; a third volume will be available on September 4. Each volume is appropriate for all ages. The Winx Club graphic novels follow fairies Bloom, Stella, Musa, Tecna, and Flora at their school Alfea in the dimension of Magix, where the girls learn and battle their rivals, the Trix.





Redakai to Launch Trading Cards and TV Series in Italy

RedakaiMarathon Media and Spin Master plan to roll out the Redakai TV series and trading card game in Italy. The Redakaigame will hit Italian shelves this October, supported by Spin Master’s in-store demonstrations and game sessions, designed to teach kids to play the game. A TV campaign, in-store material, and the new Italian website will also support the launch.
Another major outlet for the sale of the trading card game will be through kiosks by RCS MediaGroup SpA in partnership with their publication, La Gazzetta dello Sport. Based on an original concept, Redakai is a co-production between Marathon Media, part of Zodiak Kids, and Spin Master.

Warner Music Group Expands Consumer Products and Brand Licensing Team

Warner Music Group appointed Jasen Wright as director of licensing. Wright will report to Sara Nemerov, senior vice president of consumer products and brand licensing, and will be based in New York. Wright will focus on helping expand the company’s activities in non-traditional areas of business and guiding the marketing of new products created in co-operation with WMG’s roster of up-and-coming talent, as well as established talent. In addition, he will be responsible for growing relationships with domestic and international licensees and identifying new merchandising and retail opportunities with existing partners.
Prior to joining WMG, Wright served as director of licensing at The Beanstalk Group.
WMG’s Consumer Products and Brand Licensing Department also recently promoted Kaitlyn Curran to licensing manager. Curran joined the team in 2009.

Target Reports June Sales Results

Target Corporation reported that net retail sales for the five weeks ended June 30, 2012 were $6.4 million, an increase of 2.6 percent from $6.3 million for the five weeks ended July 2, 2011. On this same basis, June comparable-store sales increased 2.1 percent.
“Following better-than-expected performance in May, our June comparable-store sales were near the low end of our expected range,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president, and CEO of Target Corporation. “We believe these results, combined with our outlook for July, keep us on-track to deliver second quarter sales and adjusted EPS in line with the guidance we provided at the time of our first quarter earnings release.”
Due to the potential favorable resolution of state income tax matters, the difference between Target’s second quarter 2012 adjusted EPS and GAAP EPS may be somewhat narrower than the 10 cents specified in the company’s first quarter earnings release.

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