July 14, 2011

Laser Pegs

Global Bella Sara Rights Change

Bella SaraConceptcard, a Denmark-based game publisher, has recently announced an international licensing agreement with The Bella Sara Company, LLC. The rights to the Bella Sara brand have shifted from Hidden City Entertainment to the newly created The Bella Sara Company, headed by George Stetar, former senior vice president of international business and licensing of Hidden City Entertainment. Stetar will now serve as global rights manager at the new company.
The Bella Sara Company is owned by Henrik Heindorf and his wife, Gitte Braendgaard, creator and director of Conceptcard. Peter Adkison, the former leader in development of the Bella Sara brand at Hidden City Entertainment, will continue to consult with Conceptcard during the transition.
The Bella Sara Company plans to release the new Bella Sara Chibis, miniature collectibles, later this summer. The new Winter Festival trading card will still release in multiple countries this fall, as previously planned by Hidden City.

Lineup of Licensees for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2

Harry PotterWarner Bros. Consumer Products has announced that the last installment of the best-selling Harry Potter film franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2, will be ushered in with a wide array of merchandising products for fans of all ages. The movie hits theaters nationwide this Friday.
Lego has released a variety of play sets that feature locations and scenes from the films, including Hogwarts, The Forbidden Forest, and the Knight Bus. The Noble Collection will offer intricately crafted wands and other artifacts replicated from the series. Additional global licensees include NECA, Tomy, Panini, DeAgostini, Hasbro, Rubie’s Costume Co., Artbox Entertainment, Gentle Giant, Bioworld Merchandising Inc., Hallmark, Mead, Tonner Doll, and Jelly Belly Candy Company, which will re-release its 20-flavor collection of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. The new products can be found at retailers nationwide and online at www.WBshop.com.

DCP Announces Winnie the Pooh Merchandising Program

Winnie the PoohOn July 15, Winnie the Pooh will release in U.S. theaters, allowing fans to return to Hundred Acre Wood. To coincide with the release, Disney Consumer Products (DCP) has announced an assortment of Winnie the Pooh merchandise, spanning toys, publishing, infant, and food.
Kids can play with and feed Pooh with the Rumbly Tummy Pooh by Fisher-Price, available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide. Pooh’s empty tummy rumbles, and once he’s full from “eating,” Pooh will rock back and forth wiggling his ears and nose in delight.
Disney Store shelves offer collectible Winnie the Pooh plush, available in 11- to 16-inch sizes. MiYim is releasing Winnie the Pooh Organic Cotton Plush on Giggle.com.
In publishing, A Hundred Acre Wood Treasury book is the retelling of the new Pooh theatrical release. In the book, Pooh and his friends look for a proper tail for Eeyore, and then rescue Christopher Robin from a mysterious creature called the Backson.
Winnie the Pooh infant products will also be available.

Paramount Launches Animation Division

Paramount Pictures has announced it will launch an in-house animation division, Paramount Animation, with its first title slated for release in 2014. The new division will focus on high-quality animation with budgets per picture of up to $100 million.
Paramount Animation will aim to develop a broad range of family CGI-animated films, with a key piece being titles under the label of Viacom’s Nickelodeon. Paramount will also look to build on Viacom’s global consumer products business by seeking to capitalize on merchandising opportunities tied to all Paramount Animation releases.
The division will be part of the Paramount Motion Picture Group, reporting to the group’s president, Adam Goodman, and will initially target one release per year. Vice Chair Rob Moore, COO Frederick Huntsberry, and Goodman are now conducting a search for the leader of the division.

NPD Releases Report on Purchasing Decisions

The NPD Group has released the 2011 edition of its Brand Landscape Report, a syndicated market research report that takes an in-depth look at what goes into purchase decisions being made by today’s shoppers.
When purchasing toys, the first reason for women was kids. For women, reasons for purchasing toys included: (1) if the child was a fan of the character, movie, or TV show, (2) if the toy is growing in popularity, (3) if they collect the brand, (4) the toy has the features/benefits they want, (5) the toy is trendy or “in” right now, (6) the toy has a broad selection, (7) the toy has a latest trend feature, (8) the toy is on sale, (9) the toy is a good value, (10) the toy is a good gift idea.
Men reported that their No. 1 reason for purchasing a toy is because they collect them, followed by: (2) a child was a fan of the character, movie, or TV show, (3) if the toy is growing in popularity, (4) the toy is trendy or “in” right now, (5) there is a broad selection, (6) the toy has the features/benefits they want, (7) the toy has a latest trend feature, (8) the toy has the latest technology, (9) the toy is on sale, and (10) the toy is a good gift idea.

HTA Asks CPSC to Stay Enforcement of ASTM F-963 for Small Batch Manufacturers

In a letter dated July 3, the Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA) asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to delay the publication of lab certification standards for ASTM F-963 or to stay indefinitely the enforcement of the ASTM F-963 third-party testing requirement for small batch manufacturers.
Randy Hertzler, HTA vice president, said HTA has “received clear indications from the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties of their intention to modify the CPSIA in order to reduce its unintended consequences for small batch manufacturers.”
HTA also noted that ASTM F-963 will go into effect in mid-October, falling in the middle of holiday production runs. According to the organization, small batch manufacturers craft and create their holiday products right up until the holidays, unlike large companies who produce products six months prior to sale.

The Breast Milk Baby Doll Comes to the U.S.

Berjuan Toys, known for its doll lines, is introducing The Breast Milk Baby Doll to the U.S. The news is being met with a mixture of controversy and endorsements due to the doll’s primary feature that allows young girls to simulate the breast-feeding process.
The Breast Milk Baby Doll comes with a halter-top that girls wear as a vest with flower decorations positioned over where the nipples would be. When the doll’s face is brought near the embedded sensors in the flowers, the baby doll emits a series of soft, suckling sounds and makes motions. According to Dennis Lewis, U.S. representative for Berjuan, the doll has sold millions in Europe.
Initially, The Breast Milk Baby Doll will be available in the U.S. at www.thebreastmilkbaby.com and other various e-tailers. Berjuan is currently meeting with several specialty retail chains and stores for wider distribution, and will be meeting with companies at the ASD Las Vegas trade show, held July 31 to August 3, for future retail opportunities.

Allegory, LLC Announces Speed Racer Books, Games, Digital Products

Allegory, LLC has joined forces with Speed Racer Enterprises to produce a new line of comics, graphic novels, games, and digital products based on the Speed Racer animated series. The cast of writers and artists who are working on the first series of books include Tommy Yune (Speed Racer, Robotech), Robby Musso (Transformers), and Lee Kohse (Star Wars, Kindergoth).
Speed Racer: Circle of Vengeance #1 of four will ship to stores in September. A special edition of Speed Racer #1 will launch at Comic-Con International in July. News related to a new line of products will also be announced.




Hearts for Hearts Doll Brand Joins UN Youth Celebration

Playmates Toys’ Hearts for Hearts Girls brand is joining the UN International Year of Youth Culmination Celebration, held August 11. This event, hosted by actress and UN Youth Champion Monique Coleman and powered by AllyKatzz.com, is designed to allow girls to speak out and to be heard on important issues in the world.
The UN International Year of Youth Culmination Celebration will begin at the UN with a morning summit session featuring 192 female delegates ages 11-24, reflecting the number of members of the General Assembly at the UN. The morning schedule features keynote speakers and members of the press who will listen to and discuss issues that are important to girls and young women. The afternoon program, The International Year of Youth Changemakers Sessions, will continue at French Institute Alliance Francaise. Here the girls will engage with Hearts For Hearts Girls and its charitable partner World Vision by assembling Promise Packs for needy children, including a personal note from the girls. The session will be featured on Comcast’s Kabillion GirlsRule! TV on Demand.
For more information about the event, visit www.allykatzz.com and click on “Summits.”

Growums and WNBA Partner for Camp Days

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Growums have formed a new partnership, WNBA Camp Days, which celebrates the league’s youngest and most passionate fans. WNBA Camp Days will take place at select WNBA games, during which local youth will be invited to participate in a variety of in-arena activities that highlight the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Kids will be treated to positive messaging and interactive contests, including the opportunity to meet Growums characters. In addition, fans will receive free samples of the company’s garden kits.
Growums garden kits help kids grow vegetables and herbs from seed to harvest with help from an animated cast of herb and vegetable characters at www.growums.com, enhancing the gardening experience.

Brainy Brands Launches Apps

The Brainy Brands Company, Inc. is developing Brainy Baby iPhone/iPad applications that will serve as an alternative learning tool to the company’s line of DVD-based products. Brainy Baby’s iPhone/iPad multi-player applications allow children to learn numbers and animals, and the newly launched Tap Tap Elephant app features an exclusive, new multi-player technology in which animals can float off the screen of one iPhone or iPad and onto the screen of another, allowing two to four children to play the game with one another. The apps are available at www.brainybaby.com and on the iTunes App Store.


New Digital Media SVP at Marvel

Marvel Entertainment, LLC has appointed Peter Phillips as senior vice president and general manager, digital media group. In this new role, Phillips will work alongside Dan Buckley, publisher and president of the print, animation, and digital divisions, Marvel Worldwide, Inc., to build on Marvel’s success in digital publishing, social networking, and its online presence, Marvel.com. Phillips’ most recent position was executive vice president of LivePerson, a public software-as-a-service (SaaS) company based in New York.

FME Hires New Children’s and Family Entertainment Exec

FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), the brand extension arm of FremantleMedia, has appointed Andrew Berman as vice president, international distribution for children’s and family entertainment, a newly created role. Based in Los Angeles, Berman now reports directly to Sander Schwartz, head of children’s and family entertainment. He will work with executives to identify properties that fit into FME’s portfolio as well as implement strategies to distribute content and formats to media outlets globally.
Berman has more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and distribution of entertainment properties worldwide. Most recently, he oversaw media consultancy firm ARB International.

TRU IPO Expected in 2012

Reuters has reported that while Toys “R” Us has gone through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission review process, it is expected to delay the offering until next year, according to an unnamed source. According to Reuters, a decision to wait likely “boils down to basic concerns about the markets and the travails of being a retailer with more than 40 percent of its annual sales coming from the holiday season.”

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