Hasbro Signs Licensing Deal for Sesame Street Toys
Hasbro, Inc. has been granted the rights to make and market toys and games based on Sesame Street characters, such as Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster. The agreement takes the licensing rights away from Mattel’s Fisher-Price brand, who holds the rights until 2010. Hasbro will start manufacturing Sesame Street products in 2011, which is the same year that the first products will launch in stores. The Hasbro-Sesame Street agreement covers all Sesame Street toys and will last 10 years.
Haywire Group Develops Guinness World Records Games
The Haywire Group will launch a new line of games and puzzles based on the Guinness World Records book at the 2010 Toy Fair in New York City. The board game will include trivia questions, learning activities, and physical challenges that require players to make and break their own records. Haywire will also release a travel game and a 300-piece puzzle that will allow users to decode records on the puzzle. All products will be available for sale in the U.S. and Canada after the Toy Fair launch in February.
F.A.B./Starpoint Signs Deal for MGA’s Doll Lines
F.A.B./Starpoint has inked a licensing deal with MGA Entertainment for the Moxie Girlz and BFC, Ink. doll brands. As a part of the agreements, which take effect immediately, F.A.B./Starpoint will develop a line of stationery, backpacks, school supplies, and lunch kits that will be launched in time for back-to-school 2010.
JAKKS to Release More Taylor Swift Dolls and Accessories
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. is expanding its Taylor Swift fashion and doll lines to include two new doll collections and other toys that will release in stores nationwide next spring. The Taylor Swift Performance Collection Doll Assortment will feature dolls in the singer’s likeness that plays 30-second highlights of Swift’s songs and are fashioned in clothes from the performer’s music videos. The Taylor Swift Fashion Collection Doll Assortment features dolls in the singer’s outfits from award shows, TV appearances, and concerts.
The new products from JAKKS will also include the Taylor Swift Fashion Packs, outfits based on Swift’s real attire; the Taylor Swift Fashion Wardrobe Set, a storage case to keep all of the dolls’ clothes; and the Song Recording Studio, a doll toy set of a recording chair, microphone, head set, laptop, picture frame, and rug.
Aurora World Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Ty
Aurora World, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Ty, Inc. for copyright infringement regarding Aurora’s plush line YooHoo & Friends and Ty’s Beanie Boos. The lawsuit, which is filed in federal court, also claims four other violations based on the Lanham Act, California Business and Professions Code, and common law for misappropriation and unfair competition.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP, on behalf of Aurora, has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on December 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Aurora’s papers in support of its motion include comparison images, such as the one above, of YooHoo & Friends and Beanie Boos characters.
Survey: More Cyber Monday Shoppers Purchased from Home
According to the National Retail Federation, this year’s Cyber Monday traffic shifted from mid-day hours to early morning and evening hours. The NRF reports that CyberMonday.com, a website by Shop.org that features holiday promotions and sales, had 15.8 million visits on Cyber Monday, increasing 8 percent from Cyber Monday 2008.
According to Mall Networks, which powers CyberMonday.com, the hour with the largest traffic was 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. EST with 1.2 million hits. Traffic surged again from 5 p.m. to midnight with a 19 percent increase from 2008 as shoppers searched for deals from home.
A survey by Shop.org before Cyber Monday reported that 96.5 million Americans planned to shop on the day, compared to 85 million in 2008. The survey also reported that most shoppers (91.5 percent) planned to shop from home rather than work.
Shop.org reports that nearly nine in ten (87.1 percent) retailers offered a special promotion for the Monday event, compared to 83.7 percent in 2008 and 72.7 percent in 2007. The organization expects another increase in online shopping the week of December 14, when many free shipping offers begin to expire.
Action Products International Liquidates Toy Business
Warren Kaplan, principal restructuring officer of Action Products International, Inc., has announced that the company is going to liquidate its failing toy business and “seek a new venture.” In a press release, Kaplan explained that the company has experienced enormous financial problems that included falling sales, sales representatives that were not paid commission, phone bills that were not paid, as well as the sudden resignations of the CFO/COO and CEO/chairman. The company has a tax loss in excess of $11.5 million. Kaplan says in order to salvage the company’s value for shareholders, management will seek a new venture.
JPMA Unveils New Logo and Seal
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has debuted its new certification product seal and logo. The redesign is the organization’s first logo revamp since the program’s start in 1976. JPMA is a trade organization of more than 250 companies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Member companies manufacture or import infant products such as cribs, strollers, and car seats.
Bandai Appointed as Master Toy Licensee for Pocoyo
ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Zinkia have signed a master toy licensing agreement with Bandai for the preschool series Pocoyo. The deal is for the U.S. and Canada. Toy products by Bandai will be available to U.S. and Canadian shoppers starting fall 2010. Bandai also currently operates as Pocoyo’s European master toy licensee.
ITV Studios recently announced television deals with Univision for a Spanish-language broadcast of Pocoyo in the U.S. and WGBH Boston for an English-speaking syndication to the American Public Television (APT) market. Both deals are for the show’s first and second seasons.
CPLG Appointed Licensing Agent for Tween Fashion Brand
Cookie Jar’s licensing division, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG), has been appointed as the exclusive international licensing agent for tween girl fashion brand Bobby Jack. CPLG will create and oversee a licensing program for the fashion brand that will expand art programs and exclusive designs for partners and retailers, as well as introduce new categories such as HBA, fashion accessories, toys, games, and publishing.
CPLG will also create a licensing program to introduce the brand to other markets around the world, and Cookie Jar’s digital media division will aim to increase Bobby Jack’s website traffic by offering new content and downloads.
Consumer Group Alleged Zhu Zhu Pets are Hazardous, Tests Show Toys are Safe
A consumer group based in California, Good Guide, alleged last week that one of the Zhu Zhu pet hamsters has a high level of a chemical called antimony, which the group claimed can lead to cancer, reproductive health issues, and other health hazards. The group said that the Zhu Zhu pet had 93 parts per million of antimony in the fur, and 103 parts in the nose, while the federal limit is 60 parts per million. Cepia, LLC, the manufacturer for Zhu Zhu Pets, released a statement saying the toy is “absolutely safe and has passed the most rigorous testing in the toy industry for consumer health and safety.” The manufacturer later released its independent laboratory tests that showed that the electronic hamsters did not exceed federal limits for the toxic chemical.
The Good Guide posted a statement on its website that stated that the group had tested the toys using a different X-ray than federal standards. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the claims. Good Guide partners with companies to rate the social, environmental, and health impacts of products. The St. Louis Business Journal recently reported that Zhu Zhu Pets are on track to make $300 million in sales.
Jim Henson Company Signs Licensing Agreement for Dinosaur Train Books
The Jim Henson Company and Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, have signed a licensing agreement in which the imprint will publish a series of books based on Dinosaur Train. The publishing program will launch next September with a board book and a paperback picture book featuring full-color images from the show. Grosset & Dunlap will serve as the exclusive publisher for 8x8 paperback storybooks, paperback leveled readers, and board books.
Target Appointed as Consumer Products Agent for PlayStation Brand
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) has appointed Target Entertainment Group as the consumer products agent for the PlayStation brand in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Australiasia (EMEA). Target will develop a strategic licensing plan with SCEE, which will primarily target adult males ages 18 to 40. Product categories for the will include a range of high spec/high fashion items including apparel, accessories, and gifts. Target and SCEE will also target boys ages 7 to 14 for a range of licensed high street fashion products.