FAO Schwarz Launches Baby Line
FAO Schwarz has announced the launch of an upscale line of baby items marketed under its brand name. The Baby Collection from FAO Schwarz offers an assortment of merchandise ranging from theme-inspired nursery décor and matching bedding sets to keepsakes, apparel, and baby food gadgets. The new line is available now at FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue, in specialty boutiques in Babies “R” Us locations nationwide, and online at FAO.com and Babiesrus.com.
Barnes & Noble Adds Toy Boutiques
With hopes of driving more traffic to its stores this holiday season, Barnes & Noble, Inc. has announced that it is experimenting with 3,000-square-foot educational toy boutiques in five test stores in the Northeast. The toy areas will offer items from Lego, LeapFrog, Crayola, American Girl, and more. The boutique areas will also include a station to let kids play with Barnes & Noble’s new Nook color electronic book reader and its children's books. Barnes & Noble has also expanded smaller toy departments in stores nationwide.
This comes on the heels of Borders Group’s announcement, in September, that it is expanding its assortment of educational toys and games and will start to sell Build-A-Bear craft kits.
Disney Store Times Square Opens with Grand Celebration
Last week, Disney Store celebrated the grand opening of its Times Square location with appearances by New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Walt Disney Co. President and CEO Robert Iger, and more. The celebration kicked off with a colorful parade of Disney characters—including Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and Buzz Lightyear—as they arrived by horse-drawn carriages and classic cars and traveled down a trail of Pixie dust.
Hosted by Robin Roberts from ABC's Good Morning America, celebrity appearances included Melissa Joan Hart of ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey; Anika Noni Rose, voice of Princess Tiana from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog; ESPN’s Jesse Palmer; and actress Brooke Shields.
The two-level, 20,000-plus square foot Disney Store in Times Square boasts a 2,250-square-foot digital billboard, a two-story Disney Princess castle with a “talking” Magic Mirror, colorful Lucite trees throughout the store that showcase custom Disney content, and a 350-square-foot Disney Store Theatre that features a 12-foot screen, playing Disney film clips, videos, and more. Kids can also build a customized Disney·Pixar Cars-branded Ridemarkerz car or purchase exclusive New York City-inspired Disney merchandise.
Disney Store Times Square will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight every day. As one of the newly designed stores, a unique opening ceremony will take place every morning. Every day one child will “unlock magic” at the Disney Store with an oversized lock and key. The child will also receive their own replica key to take home as a keepsake.
Counterfeit Toys Seized in Italy
According to Sify News and other sources, almost 400,000 counterfeit children's toys and holiday decorations valued at two million euros have been seized in Italy over the past 15 days. According to the police, the items recently arrived in Italy from China via three separate import export businesses registered to three Chinese nationals. Charges were brought against all for allegedly importing and selling unsafe counterfeit products.
In total, the raid uncovered 370,000 toys and Christmas decorations made with uncertified parts, as well as 30,000 counterfeit Rubik's cubes. The items were intercepted as they were being transported to warehouses in Rome's periphery.
According to reports, Italy has an ongoing counterfeit problem with unauthorized goods bearing internationally known Italian brand names produced in China.
Zodiak Rights Inks Deal for Little Princess Property
Zodiak Rights, the former rights divisions of RDF Media Group and Zodiak Entertainment, has signed a deal with The Illuminated Film Company for the rights to the preschool property Little Princess. Zodiak Rights now holds all future international broadcast rights, excluding Japan and Korea, and all licensing and merchandising rights, excluding publishing, for the property.
Little Princess, the television series, is based on the children’s picture books by author and illustrator Tony Ross. Three seasons of Little Princess have been made at The Illuminated Film Company’s studio in Hammersmith, totaling 104 episodes. The series currently airs on Five’s Milkshake! slot in the U.K., and on other channels internationally. Zodiak Rights will announce international TV sales of the new season (season 3) and new licensees for the property at a later date.
Playmobil to Celebrate National Day of Play November 20
On November 20, Playmobil will launch its first National Day of Play at retailers across the country. The day will be a celebration of play as the company aims to encourage children to play together and re-introduce families to the benefits of classic playtime. Playmobil is inviting families to visit participating retailers for hands-on play with a variety of Playmobil sets. For participating retailers, visit www.playmobilusa.com, www.facebook.com/playmobil, or www.twitter.com/playmobilusa.
The Simpsons Picks up 23rd Season
Fox has announced that The Simpsons has been renewed for a 23rd season, bringing it up to and beyond 500 episodes, and ensuring that The Simpsons will remain on air through spring 2012. At the end of this season, it will be the third-longest running show of all time, behind Gunsmoke (635 episodes) and Lassie (588 episodes).
The Simpsons is considered to be one of the top brands of all time, with creator Matt Groening having earned more than $8 billion from sales of DVDs and merchandising, including toys and games. The Simpsons has been named "the most successfully licensed TV show" in history, according to a survey of 450 global licensing experts, conducted by the Brand Licensing Europe 2010 conference.
October Retail Sales Increase Slightly
According to the National Retail Federation, October retail industry sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over September and 2.6 percent unadjusted over last year. Data released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales for October (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants), increased 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted over September and 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over September and 1.4 percent unadjusted over last year. Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores increased 1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
eOne to Bring Peppa Pig to the U.S. in Half-Hour Series
Entertainment One (eOne) has finalized an agreement with Nick Jr. to bring its Peppa Pig animated shorts to the U.S. in a new half-hour TV series. Peppa Pig currently airs as an interstitial series on Nick Jr. in the U.S.
Peppa Pig lives with her little brother George, Mummy Pig, and Daddy Pig. Her favorite things include playing games, dressing up, days out, and jumping in muddy puddles. The series has been broadcast on Nick Jr. in the UK since 2004 and has a catalog of 156 episodes, with an additional 52 commissioned and in production for delivery over the next two years. eOne controls worldwide distribution rights for the series.
Hasbro Signs Programming Deal with Corus Entertainment
Hasbro Studios, the production and distribution division of Hasbro, Inc., has reached a comprehensive programming and marketing agreement with Canada’s Corus Entertainment. The agreement covers a broad range of Hasbro Studios-produced series on Corus Entertainment’s kids services: YTV, Treehouse, Nickelodeon Canada, Teletoon, and Teletoon Retro. The agreement includes Transformers Prime, My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, G.I. Joe Renegades, The Adventures of Chuck and Friends,and Pound Puppies.
Giochi Preziosi Signs on for PopPixie in Southern Europe
Rainbow SpA has signed new licenses throughout Southern Europe for its latest girls property, PopPixie. The licenses include Giochi Preziosi for toys—including arts and crafts, outdoor, and electronic toys—in its key territories of Italy, Spain, and Greece. In Italy, GA Ombrelli will develop “Pixiefied” umbrellas and Hachette has obtained the publishing rights in France. Additionally, Big Picture has signed a VOD, DVD, and Blu-ray deal for home entertainment in Spain, and Lusomundo has picked up DVD rights in Portugal.
PopPixie (52 x 13 min) takes place in a fantastic dimension called Pixieville where gnomes and magical animals live happily together with Pixies, and peace and tranquility are often upset by rabble-rousing Elves.
Toy State Premieres Webisode Series, Relaunches Site and Online World
Toy State is revving up its online presence with the premiere of season one of Road Rippers’ Rippisodes, and the relaunch of ToyState.com and MyMotorIsland.com.
The animated series Rippisodes stars Ripp—a teenage custom car designer, spokesman for the Road Rippers brand, and host of Road Rippers Motor Island—as he takes kids on adventures in his custom-car garage on Motor Island. The cast of characters includes Ripp’s friends, parents, classmates, and his sidekick and pet monkey, Grease. Each custom-designed car in the episodes can be found in the Road Rippers toy line, in stores now. The premiere of the series can be viewed on www.mymotorisland.com and the Toy State YouTube channel.
Additionally, Toy State has updated its website with a Top Toy Spotlight and a full online catalog showcasing Toy State’s product line, and its online world, Road Rippers Motor Island, with more than 20 new games and missions.
Gayle King to Host K.I.D.S. 25th Anniversary Gala
Gayle King, editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine and host of The Gayle King Show, has been picked to serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Kids In Distressed Situations’ (K.I.D.S.) 25th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser, to be held December 1 at Cipriani Dolci in New York City.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker will be featured as the keynote speaker and honorees will include John Goodman, executive vice president of Sears Holding Corporation; Oscar Feldenkreis, president & COO of Perry Ellis Corporation; and Wayne Elsey, founder & CEO of footwear charity Soles4Souls.
Proceeds from the gala will benefit millions of children in need. For information about tickets and sponsorships, contact K.I.D.S. at firstname.lastname@example.org or (845) 758-6403.