TIA Partners with Adventure Publishing for Licensing Showcase Co-Located at Toy Fair
New York City is slated to become the next stop on the global licensing circuit as the Toy Industry Association (TIA) launches its new Brand & Entertainment Showcase in February. Co-located with the 109th American International Toy Fair, to be held February 12-15 in New York, the showcase offers an impactful and convenient content connection for entertainment licensors and brand owners alike. The event provides opportunities for exclusive access to top-tier media, marketing agencies, and an audience of 30,000+ tradeshow guests from more than 90 countries. Adventure Publishing Group is the exclusive media partner of the Brand & Entertainment Showcase.
For more information, click here. For more information about participating in TIA’s Brand and Entertainment Showcase, contact Jennifer Coleman, sales executive and producer (973.760.8181, email@example.com); for information about advertising opportunities, please contact Jonathan Samet at Adventure Publishing (212.575.4510, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Report: Toys Imported into U.S. Dropped 9 Percent in September
Toy imports into the United States dropped 9 percent in September year-over-year, according to figures from The Journal of Commerce/PIERS. September was the eighth straight drop for toys coming into the U.S. The drop in container volume is attributed mostly to China.
The 60,616 20-foot-equivalent units arriving at ports in September, according to measurements by PIERS, marked a 7.6 percent year-to-date drop—or 30,430 fewer containers—from the same period last year. To date, 89 percent of overall inbound toy shipments this year have originated in China (including Hong Kong). China’s market share is down 2 percent compared to 2010, while toy shipments from Vietnam have grown 82 percent between 2001 and 2010. A full analysis of the JOC/PIERS findings is available online at www.joc.com.
Updates from TIA: COPPA and the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a set of major changes to the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). The amendments were proposed to ensure that the privacy of children online remains protected as technologies evolve. The Toy Industry Association (TIA) will submit comments on the COPPA revisions. To assist in developing an initial draft, TIA is asking for input in the form of a questionnaire found here. Responses to the questions (any or all) are requested by November 4.
On October 11, the U.S. Senate passed the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act, a bipartisan bill that is intended to pressure China to accelerate the appreciation of its currency against the dollar. According to TIA, if approved by both the Senate and House, and signed into law by the president, the Administration would be required to take specific actions including ramification against China, which could have a negative impact on companies that manufacture in China. TIA is urging lawmakers to oppose currency legislation. For more information on the act and TIA’s views, click here.
MemBrain Licensing and Boo2Yoo Partner for ZombieZoo Licensing Program
ZombieZoo and its owner Boo2Yoo, Inc., have announced a ZombieZoo multi-platform licensing and media program led by brand marketing and licensing firm memBrain Licensing, LLC. Together with ZombieZoo creator Neecy Twinem, memBrain Licensing will develop new multi-platform licensing, media, and promotional opportunities for the brand. memBrain Licensing is actively seeking new strategic licensing partnerships for ZombieZoo, and will be spearheading the brand’s creative strategy and development to create a compelling consumer products collection at retail. memBrain Licensing plans to launch a multi-platform program to support the current plush range including toys, games, publishing, mobile apps and ebooks, video games, apparel, accessories, and more.
Rokenbok Toy Company Debuts Children’s Series
Rokenbok Toy Company has debuted the first episode of its new children’s series in an official move to becoming a children’s media company. The first episode of Rokenbok’s Go Team Adventure Series released November 1. The new series offers kids a chance to connect with the company’s remote-controlled vehicles, figurines, and building toy pieces, and brings life and personality to iconic Rokenbok figurines. The show is built around the Rokenbok Go Team, a group dedicated to helping when things go wrong. The show will be released first on Rokenbok's Video Center every two weeks, and will be available for viewing later on Rokenbok's YouTube channel.
ASTRA’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day Set for November 12
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA) Neighborhood Toy Store Day is less than two weeks away and ASTRA has announced that hundreds of independent toy retailers in the U.S. and Canada will be participating. Neighborhood Toy Store Day, to be held this year on Saturday, November 12, is modeled after the successful Record Store Day, and it is designed to show consumers the advantages of shopping at locally owned toy stores. ASTRA’s 2011 Best Toys for Kids list will be announced to customers at many of the participating stores. For more information, visit www.neighborhoodtoystoreday.com.
Dragon-i Toys Signs Deal for Talking Friends Toys
Hong Kong-based Dragon-i Toys has signed a global licensing deal to sell products based on popular free apps by Outfit 7, Talking Tom Cat and Talking Ben the Dog. The exclusive license is for all plush and animation and will use the patented “Talk Back” feature as seen on the apps. The actual sounds featured on the app will be replicated. The products will launch in the spring, and will be presented at the January previews in Hong Kong.
It is estimated that Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben the Dog, and the other Talking Friends apps will be downloaded nearly 700 million times by the end of next year. For more information, contact Dave Cave, Dragon-i Toys owner, at dave@dragon-Itoys.com.
Playworld Middle East to Run March 6-8
Playworld Middle East, the Middle East’s international event dedicated to kids’ products, including toys, hobby, baby products, sports equipment, children’s furniture, and more, is set to run March 6-8. The event will run concurrently with Paperworld Middle East at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
According to recent numbers released by Euromonitor International, the toy market for the Middle East and Africa is valued at $17 billion this year. Key players in this region will showcase their products at Playworld Middle East, including Gulf Greetings, Playwell International, Simba Middle East, Glory Horizons, White Heart, Party Centre, and Ravissant. For more information, visit www.playworldme.com.
Nominations Now Open for 8th Annual Wonder Women Awards Dinner
Nominations are now open for the 8th Annual Wonder Women of Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Awards, celebrating the most “Make it Happen” women in the industry.
This year’s Wonder Women Awards Dinner (February 12) will be held at a brand-new location, The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. Nomination categories that will recognize the powerhouse movers and shakers in the toy, licensing, and entertainment industries include designer/inventor, digital and gaming, entertainment, entrepreneur, journalism/social media, licensee, licensing agents, licensor, lifetime achievement, manufacturer, marketing/advertising/branding, public relations/communications, publishing, retailer, rising star, sales, and social responsibility.
Nominations received through November 31 will cost $75 per nomination, per category. Nominations received December 1-31 will cost $100 per nomination, per category. Nominations received January 1-25 will cost $150 per nomination, per category.
Sponsorships and tables for the event are also available. To date, the 2012 list of sponsors include The Toy Book, Brandberry, Imperial Toy, Jakks Pacific, Serenata Group, The Bridge Direct, Toy Industry Association, and Toys “R” Us.
To nominate, for dinner reservations or sponsorships, or to join Women in Toys, visit www.womenintoys.com.
Spin Master to Purchase Quelf and Quelf Jr.
Wiggity Bang Games, LLC, has announced that Spin Master, Ltd. has exercised a licensing agreement purchase option to acquire the party games Quelf and Quelf Jr. Spin Master acquired the licensing agreement for Quelf-branded products last year. The company tested the games through a licensing period, which ends at the end of this year. After a successful year, Spin Master exercised the purchase option and will now own the products.
Diamond Select Toys Signs Deal for Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl
Diamond Select Toys (DST) has secured the license for “Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl,” from creator/writer/artist Roman Dirge. Lenore, who has been the star of her own comic book and animated series, is celebrating her 20th anniversary next year. Soon she will be the star of a diverse product line from DST, including action figures, MiniMates, PVC figurines, banks, bottle openers, and ice cube trays. For licensing inquiries, contact TK Brand Group at email@example.com.
Target, Disney, and Julie Andrews Announce National Princess Week
Target and The Walt Disney Company is partnering with Julie Andrews (actress, singer, and children’s author) for the inaugural launch of National Princess Week, beginning April 22. National Princess Week will celebrate the sparkle and imagination of every princess—real, aspiring, or imagined.
The event coincides with the 10-year anniversary of The Princess Diaries, starring Andrews and Anne Hathaway. Target and Target.com will feature an array of Disney Princess merchandise, from apparel, toys, and books, to CDs, movies, personal care items, and stationery. The week will also highlight the newest release in the “The Very Fairy Princess” children’s book franchise, The Very Fairy Princess Here Comes the Flower Girl!, co-authored by Andrew’s daughter and writing partner, Emma Walton Hamilton, and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Warner Bros. Extends DC Comics Deal with Mattel
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has signed a multiyear deal with Mattel, allowing Mattel to continue as the master toy licensee for DC Comics. Under the deal, Mattel is granted access to the entire DC Comics vault of characters. Mattel is set to develop toy lines for two upcoming Warner Bros. releases, The Dark Knight Rises (July 20) and Man of Steel (June 14, 2013).
Richard Scarry Toys Launch at Toys “R” Us and FAO Schwarz
The first-ever Richard Scarry’s Busytown toys, based on the animal characters and whimsical vehicles from the busy world of Richard Scarry, are now available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide, at www.Toysrus.com, at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue in New York City, and at www.FAO.com. Cookie Jar Entertainment and its licensing division, CPLG, launched the new Richard Scarry’s Busytown toy line in partnership with The Bridge Direct, Inc.
CHA Winter Show to Focus on “Building Creative Community”
The Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) has announced that its 71st Winter Conference & Trade Show will be January 29 through February 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The show will focus on “the power of building creative community.”
In support of the Winter Show’s focus, CHA has opened the exhibition floor to non-member exhibitors for the first time. The Winter Show will debut new features including an experts program, a matchmaking program, an appointment-scheduling tool, and smartphone applications. Events also include workshops, seminars, and “demo-nars.”
To learn more about the CHA 2012 Winter Conference & Trade Show, visit www.craftandhobby.org.
Redakai DVD to Release February 28
This February, Cartoon Network Enterprises will release its first DVD, The Journey Begins, based on the television series Redakai: Conquer the Kairu. The series is based on Spin Master, Ltd.’s new trading card game of the same name. The two-disc DVD debut, arriving at U.S. retailers on February 28, will include 13 episodes, two special feature episodes, and an exclusive Blast3D trading card. The card features a never-before-released version of Harrier, the signature monster for Team Stax’s Maya.
Little, Brown Books Plans Publishing Program for ParaNorman
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has acquired world print and electronic rights for a publishing program based on ParaNorman, animation studio Laika’s anticipated stop-motion animated 3-D feature film. The deal is for key movie tie-ins and an original middle-grade novel, based on the film about 11-year-old Norman Babcock who can see and talk to ghosts.
Little, Brown Book for Young Readers will launch the publishing program in June, prior to ParaNorman’s release by Focus Features on August 17. Books in the UK will also be released next fall from sister company Hodder Children’s Books. Laika garnered Oscar and BAFTA nominations for “Outstanding Animated Film” for its first feature film, Coraline.
Kidlandia Announces Online Game, Plush, and Mobile App
Kidlandia has announced the launch of its first online game, plush toys, and a mobile app. Kidlandia Kingdoms Digital Playground, the online game, is filled with whimsical Kreechurs and their environments. While creating their own world, players can earn Kaploons, which allows them to buy objects and characters to enhance the game.
Also new this month are the Kidlandia plush toys, which have a hang tag with a unique online code. The code allows consumers to connect directly to the online game in which the Kreechurs come to life in the online world.
The online game also connects to the new mobile app, Spikanunk’s Run. This arcade-style scrolling game extends the Kidlandia experience on the go. Players help Spikanunk avoid obstacles and can earn rewards along the way. The app is available on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.
The Walking Dead Board Game Now Available on Shelves
The Walking Dead Board Game, developed by Cryptozoic Entertainment in partnership with AMC, has now shipped and is available in retail hobby stores. The board game allows players to take on the role of iconic characters from the series and scrounge for weapons to overcome dangerous encounters as they make their way to the Center for Disease Control in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. The board game is for one to four players, ages 15 and up. AMC’s The Walking Dead has been crowned the most-watched drama series in basic cable history for adults ages 18-49.
Hasbro Details New Paper and Forest Procurement Policy
Hasbro, Inc. unveiled a new Paper and Forest Procurement Policy (PFPP) that reiterates the company’s goal of having 90 percent of its paper packaging and in-box game content derived from recycled material or sources that practice sustainable forest management by 2015. The policy also sets stringent vendor requirements for credible third-party certification (such as the Forest Stewardship Council) of fiber. In addition, the company is requiring that no sources of Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH) virgin fiber be used in products, including packaging. Earlier this year, Hasbro directed suppliers to stop using paper coming from unsustainably managed forests. The PFPP builds upon the company’s November 2010 announcement of new environmental sustainability goals.
My Keepon Stars in Bloomberg Businessweek Brand Ads
New interactive robotic toy My Keepon has been selected by Bloomberg Businessweek to lead the magazine’s brand advertising campaign this fall. The campaign, which was developed internally, uses the words “Disruptive,” “Charged,” “Viral,” and “Worldly” to reference the magazine’s editorial content, its vibrant look, and its unique audience. Out-of-home advertisements will be placed in the New York City and San Francisco metro areas, with additional print ads in national and regional publications.
To kick off the advertising campaign, on November 4, Toys “R” Us Times Square visitors will see a giant inflatable Keepon storefront window dressed with the My Keepon “Disruptive” ad. My Keepon is designed and developed by UK-based toymaker Wow! Stuff, in conjunction with U.S.-based robot designer BeatBots, LLC.
Kids Wish Network Calls for Donations
Kids Wish Network is asking toy manufacturers and distributors to help send truckloads of toys to children in need. Donations will help Kids Wish Network, which works all year round as well as through its gift giving programs, the Holiday of Hope Gift Bank program and Kids Wish Network On Tour. Kids Wish Network is currently working on the following events: CSX Santa Train; 2011 Operation Toy Drop in Ft. Bragg, N.C.;
Kids Wish Network On Tour in Los Angeles; and Kids Wish Network On Tour in Brownfield, Tex. If you would like to donate, please call (727) 937-3600 or toll-free at (888) 918-9004. All donated items will be shipped via freight for free. For more information, visit kidswishnetwork.org.