October 26, 2009

The Toy Insider Hits Newsstands and the Web

The Toy Insider, an annual consumer holiday toy guide published by Adventure
Publishing Group, Inc., is now available both online at
www.thetoyinsider.com and on newsstands in the November issue of Redbook
magazine. The guide features the hottest toys and gifts for the holiday
season and is designed to help readers get a jump on their holiday shopping.
The Toy Insider website features detailed descriptions of more than 100 toys
as well as links to the manufacturer’s websites. The guide is divided into
five sections: Hot 20, 0-2 years old, 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9+
years old, and includes the description and a toy skill key.

Nickelodeon Acquires Global Rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesNickelodeon has acquired global intellectual property rights to the television, film, and video game property Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The company purchased the rights from the Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. for approximately $60 million. Nickelodeon will develop a new CG-animated television series, as well as a feature film, based on the franchise. The film, as part of a partnership with Paramount Pictures, and the series are slated to premiere in 2012.
Nickelodeon has also acquired all merchandising rights to the property and will continue to work with the property’s partner, Playmates Toys. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated television series, produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios, will continue to air on The CW’s Saturday morning programming block through Aug. 31, 2010.

Survey: Most Online Retailers to Offer Free Shipping This Holiday Season

In a new survey by Shop.org, four out of five online retailers said they will offer free shipping with conditions this holiday season, meaning a customer must purchase a certain item or a certain dollar amount to qualify. More than half of online retailers, 57.4 percent, plan to offer free shipping without conditions, and 30 percent of the retailers said free shipping offers will start earlier than they did last year.
According to Shop.org’s eHoliday Study, conducted by BIGresearch, online retailers are expecting an increase in holiday sales compared to last year, and holiday shoppers are planning to spend more of their budget online. Almost half of online retailers, 45.8 percent, expect their holiday sales to increase at least 15 percent over last year, and just one in five online retailers (20.3 percent) expect sales to be flat or decline. More than one-fourth of online shoppers (26.7 percent) said they plan to spend more of their holiday budget online this year, with reasons ranging from the ability to shop anytime (41.9 percent) to shoppers feeling it’s easier to compare prices (34 percent) to convenience (32.4 percent).
To gear up for the increase in holiday sales, 47.1 percent of online retailers surveyed will be increasing their use of social media this holiday season. This year, retailers are adding or improving their Facebook page (60.3 percent), Twitter pages (58.7 percent), and adding or enhancing blogs and RSS feeds (65.6 percent). Retailers are also adding or revamping their websites’ shopping cart (45.2 percent), search capabilities (44.3 percent), suggested items (42.9 percent), customer ratings and reviews (40.6 percent), and featured sale pages (37.1 percent).

Lionel Trains to Open Holiday Pop-up Store in Rockefeller Center

LionelLionel will debut its first solo store, scheduled to open November 1 through January 4. The pop-up store will be located in New York City, across from Radio City Music Hall. The shop will feature new kid-friendly trains and train products, such as the new 49-piece plastic train set by the company’s new kid line, Lionel Little Lines. The new store will also auction off trains autographed by celebrities, including part owner Neil Young, with the proceeds going to charity.



Mattel Launches New Online Shopping Website

Mattel has premiered a new website that allows shoppers to buy its products directly. MattelShop.com features over 40 of the company’s brands including Matchbox, Polly Pocket, and High School Musical. Visitors to the website can shop by age, gender, brand, category, and play pattern to find a desirable product. The website also has links to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, allowing customers to invite friends and family to the website in order to shop together or to share their findings.  The website also allows visitors to “watch others shop” by displaying the most viewed products, which update every 15 seconds.

Spin Master Wins Business Visionary Award at Dreams and Promise Gala

LIMAThe International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) and the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) presented the first-ever Business Visionary Award to Spin Master, Ltd. at the annual Dreams and Promise Gala in Los Angeles. The award was presented to the toy and entertainment company at the event last week for its financial support toward a cure for pediatric cancer.
LIMA and its member companies, including Spin Master, have raised more than $2 million for research that will help find a cure for pediatric brain and spinal tumors, the leading cause of cancer death in people under the age of 20.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.cbtf.org and click on the LIMA logo, or contact Christina Attardo at cattardo@licensing.org or (646) 744-3741.

Reality Producer to Develop Lego Reality Shows

According to Variety, Lego reality shows are in the works. The magazine has reported that reality producer Scott Messick is partnering with the Lego Group to develop “nonscripted programming” based on the franchise. The reality shows will include a docuseries on the Lego Masters, a kids game show based on a new line of Lego board games, and a competition show that may be held in the Legoland theme park. Messick’s previous credits include ABC’s Shaq Vs. and Oxygen’s Fight Girls.

Random House to Publish Dinosaur Train Books

Random House has been granted the rights to publish coloring and activity books and illustrated Little Golden Books based on The Jim Henson Company’s Dinosaur Train. The licensing agreement is for North America. Dinosaur Train is an animated preschool show on PBS Kids that premiered last month. The show is designed to spark kids’ interest in life science, natural history, and paleontology.
The publishing program by Random House is slated to launch in fall 2010. The initial program will feature aLittle Golden Book called Triceratops for Lunch, in reusable sticker book and super coloring book with stickers formats. Triceratops for Lunch is scheduled to be on sale on August 10, 2010.

Toys “R” Us Drafts Shaq for Toys for Tots Campaign

Toys for TotsToys “R” Us has teamed up with NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal for the annual Toys for Tots Campaign. The fundraising campaign for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation began last week in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, as well as at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots.
Earning the name “Shaq-A-Claus,” the basketball player will make surprise visits to Toys “R” Us stores in the coming months to shop for needy children and encourage customers to give back. For nine weeks, through December 6, new, unwrapped toys will be collected at the company’s stores. The collected toys will be distributed to children in the community where they were donated. Monetary donations will also be accepted.
Facebook members can also participate by becoming fans of Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us. For every new fan through Christmas Eve, $1 worth of toys will be donated to Toys for Tots. For more information on Toys “R” Us’ participation in Toys for Tots, visit Toysrus.com/ToysforTots.

Cookie Jar Group to Create Licensing Program for Harlem Globetrotters

Cookie Jar EntertainmentCookie Jar Group has been named the exclusive global licensing agent for the Harlem Globetrotters. Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG), Cookie Jar’s licensing division, will create and oversee a multi-tiered licensing program featuring vintage apparel, collectibles, sporting goods, trading cards, and interactive games. The Globetrotters will also return to animated television for the first time in 30 years as Cookie Jar Entertainment develops an animated kids’ television program based on the brand.
The Harlem Globetrotters have been entertaining the masses with their unique style of basketball for over 80 years. Recently, The Harlem Globetrotters have appeared on primetime television shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, John & Kate Plus 8, The Bachelorette, and The Amazing Race.

CPLG Canada Appoints New Licensing Director

CPLG Canada has named licensing industry veteran Andrew Kamondy the new senior licensing director. Formerly, Kamondy served as director of marketing/licensing sales for Segal Communications, director of marketing for Dynatech Action, Inc., and international marketing manager for Spin Master.
CPLG Canada’s client list include Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, (Not So) Scary Monsters, The Latest Buzz, Pink Cookie, and It’s Happy Bunny.

JAKKS Pacific Reports Third Quarter Results

JAKKS Pacific, Inc. has reported its third quarter and first nine months results, ending September 30, 2009. Net sales for the third quarter were $351.4 million, compared to $357.8 million in the third quarter of last year. Net sales for the first nine months of 2009 were $604.9 million, compared to $634.1 million for the first nine months of 2008. Net income for the third quarter of 2009 was $33.7 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, compared to net income of $54.1 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, reported in the same quarter last year. For the nine-month period had a net loss of $383.7 million, or $14.11 per diluted share, compared to earnings for the first nine months of 2008 of $59.2 million, or $1.88 per diluted share.

RC2 Corporation Announces Third Quarter Results

RC2 Corporation has reported its fiscal results for the third quarter and nine months ending September 30, 2009. Net income for the third quarter 2009 was $13.6 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, compared to $11.1 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, for the third quarter in 2008.
Net sales for the third quarter 2009 decreased by 4.8 percent to $126.5 million compared to the net sales of $132.9 million for the third quarter in 2008. Net sales for the 2009 nine months decreased by 4.9 percent to $299.8 million compared with net sales of $315.3 million for the 2008 nine months. Foreign currency exchange rates reduced the 2009 third quarter and nine months consolidated net sales by approximately 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

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The Toy Report

Jonathan Samet

Editor in Chief:
Jackie Breyer

Assistant Editor:
Elizabeth A. Reid

Production Director:
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