Toys in the News: 02-28-11
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Pillow Pets Increases Online Presence. February 28, 2011 — Pillow Pets has launched a new interactive website, according to a press release. Pillow Pets already has a blog, where their "characters" post entries and answer readers' questions. The new website includes games that allow kids to interact with their Pillow Pets, giveaways, and a store. Pillow Pets are the most recent in a line of toy companies linking their products with online realms- Webkinz, for example, or the new Moshi Monsters, have been very successful at integrating their online presence with their toys. With Pillow Pets, the trend continues.
LeapFrog Names New CEO. February 28, 2011 — John Barbour, former president at Toys "R" Us and employee at Hasbro, has been named CEO of LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. He will begin March 7th, according to Reuters, with current CEO William Chaisson stepping down and becoming chairman of the company. These changes come just weeks after LeapFrog forecast a weak year ahead.
Discovery Bay Announces New Partners, Products. February 28, 2011 — According to a press release, Discovery Bay Games has announced new partnerships with Highlights for Children, the Smithsonian Institute, and the University of Oxford to create a variety of physical and digital games, and puzzles.
Mattel's New Management Structure. February 28, 2011 — Following the recent appointment of Bryan Stockton as COO of Mattel, the company has appointed several new people to prominent positions within the company, according to Benzinga. David Allmark, former SVP and GM of Mattel's UK and Canadian markets, has been named EVP for Fisher Price. Geoff Massingberd, former SVP of Corporate Responsibility, has been named EVP of International. Tim Kilpin is now the brand manager of Mattel Brands and Chris Schaaden will be the new lead of Mattel's domestic sales and marketing team.
Toy Story 3 Wins Oscar. February 28, 2011 — Last night Toy Story 3 won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. The film also got a nod when Randy Newman won an Oscar for Best Original Song, for "We Belong Together," which was written for Toy Story 3. The movie had 5 nominations in total, including Best Picture.
Toys "R" Us Plans IPO. February 28, 2011 — Toys R Us is gearing up to take itself public -- again. The giant toy chain, which twice delayed plans for an initial public offering last year, is now aiming to float upwards of $800 million in an IPO in April, sources told The Post.
Maine Governor Attempts to Repeal BPA Restrictions. February 28, 2011 — Governor LePage of Maine is looking to turn over the 2008 "Kid-Safe Products Act," in which the DEP and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention identify and regulate chemicals that have been scientifically proven to expose children to health risks, according to the Portland Press Herald. Though the act was voted in unanimously, LePage is seeking to overturn it on the grounds that "quite frankly, the science that I'm looking at says there's not been any science identifying that there's a problem." He is also quoted as saying that the worst thing that can happen from BPA is that when heated it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen, which can give women "little beards." LePage isn't the only one who is taking issue with this legislation. The Toy Industry Association has said that it is seeking reforms on the act, though not a complete repeal, in order to make sure that small companies and businesses can afford required testing and make sure they are operating within the law.
Fox Launches Multi-Player Rio Game. February 25, 2011 — THQ and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products announced the release of multi-player video game inspired by Fox’s upcoming animated 3D movie Rio in April.
Licensed Toys, Plush, Drive 2010 Toy Sales. February 25, 2011 — Market research company The NPD Group has released its 2010 Consumer Spending Trends. Toy sales were up 2% over 2009, helped by a strong fourth quarter. Bestselling categories included plush, up 18% from LY, building sets, up 13% from LY, and outdoor/sports, up 9% from last year. Categories with significant declines from 2009 included youth electronics, down 22%, and action figures/accessories/roleplay, down 15%. It was a big year for licensed toys, with 25% of all US toy sales coming from licensed products. Video game sales are estimated to have remained about even with 2009 sales. Concrete data for the games industry will be release in March.
KIDS Releases 4Q Spending Trends. February 25, 2011 — The Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS), a part of market research company The NPD Group which tracks purchases made for kids from birth through age 14, has released its 2010 fourth quarter results. According to the FINANCIAL, apparel/accessories topped the list of categories that captured the largest share of money spent on kids between Oct.-Dec, with 17% of purchases for kids coming from this category. Toys and board games followed with 14%, and Video Game Hardware/Software followed that with 11% and 10%, respectively. The brands that captured the most dollar share accross all categories included Microsoft, Nintendo, and Disney; two of Disney's properties, Disney Princess and Toy Story, were among the Top 5 licenses.
The Orb Factory Gets Curious. February 25, 2011 — Specialty brand Curiosity Kits has been acquired by Canadian educational toy manufacturer The Orb Factory Limited, according to a press release.
Pokémon Card Game Slated for April. February 25, 2011 — The Pokémon Company International announced the release of its new trading card game TCG: Black & White expansion April 6.
Bruce Raiffe to Head Gund...Again. February 25, 2011 — Bruce Raiffe has been appointed President of Gund, a subsidiary of gift/plush company Enesco, LLC, according to a press release. Raiffe's family owned Gund for three generations before selling to Enesco, according to a press release. Raiffe has worked at Gund for most of his life and has previously served as CEO, Chairman, and consultant.
Schleich Announces New Infrastructure. February 25, 2011 — Schliech North America has announced several changes to their infrastructure. Don Rothwell, Sales Manager U.S., will now have complete responsibilities for the U.S. Market and Marc Ethier, Sales Manager Canada, will have complete responsibilities for the Canadian Market. Both Rothwell and Ethier will report directly to Walter Haack, President of Schleich North America Inc. and Schleich Head of Global Sales, according to a press release. “We have made these organizational changes to better increase our market share in North America,” said Haack. “Our German headquarters strongly believes in the continuing growth of North America and with these new changes we know this will provide Schleich great opportunities to achieve its objectives there.”
RC2 4Q Net Up 22% On Higher Sales; Results Miss Street View. February 25, 2011 — RC2 Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings jumped 22% as the toy and infant-product maker posted strong international sales, although top- and bottom-line growth missed analysts' expectations, and margins suffered due to higher input costs.
LEGO Group purchases rights to LEGO Universe from Gazillion. February 25, 2011 — After reports earlier today that NetDevil's staff had been significantly reduced, Gazillion Entertainment announced that it had sold its rights to LEGO Universe to the LEGO Group.
Stardoll Unveils Licensing Program. February 24, 2011 — Innovative Artists has launched a multi-year, multi-partner licensing program for Stardoll, the world’s largest tween and teen online fashion and social community.
Toy Manufacturers Seek to Change CPSIA. February 24, 2011 — Some republicans in the House of Representatives are working with toy manufacturers to make changes to the CPSIA, according to the New York Times. One proposed initiative, a database for the public that lists injury reports on products, is controversial, as manufacturers worry that it would be too easy for people to post bogus complaints and create fodder for lawsuits. Some are also seeking to lessen the requirements for third-party testing for lead in products such as bikes and children's books, which are unlikely to be ingested by children. However, many parents and consumer rights groups oppose weakening the act, on the grounds that one can never be too careful when it comes to safety in children's products.
Jogging Strollers Recalled by B.O.B. Trailers Due to Strangulation Hazard. February 23,2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 337,000 in the United States and 20,000 in Canada of B.O.B.® single and double strollers, sold at REI, buy buy Baby and other stores nationwide and on the Web at Babiesrus.com, Target.com and Amazon.com between April 2002 and February 2011 for between $300 and $600. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and remove the drawstring. If using a separately purchased Weather Shield or Sun Shield accessory with the recalled stroller, contact B.O.B. Trailers for a free canopy retrofit kit.
Toy Fair Attendance Surge. February 23, 2011 — The 2011 American Internation Toy Fair saw attendance increases across the board, with a 2% rise in overall attendance, a 17% increase in international attendance, an 8% increase in international buyers, and a 19% increase in manufacturers reps, according to a press release. Perhaps most notable was the 10% increase in trade guests including a 8% increase in licensors, a 31% increase in entertainment executives, and a 26% increase of internation trade guests.
New Enid Blyton Novel Discovered. February 22, 2011 — Popular children's author Enid Blyton, who passed away in 1968, apparently completed the manuscript for a novel, according to the BBC. The book, Mr. Tumpy's Caravan, is a 180 page unpublished novel about a magical caravan going on an adventure. Though Blyton did publish a picture book of the same name, this novel seems to be about a different Mr. Tumpy entirely.
Video Game Death. February 22, 2011 — A Chinese man died in an internet cafe after playing online video games for three days with out breaking to eat or sleep, according to the BBC. Video game addiction is a problem for tens of millions of people in China, despite government attempts to intervene. The 30-year old man was said to have spent more than $1,500 on online gaming in the month before his death.
Moshi Monsters Presents Moshi TV. February 22, 2011 — Moshi Monsters announced the development of Moshi TV, a new online viewing platform. Moshi TV will combine elements of user generated content, in-house production and animated content from partners.
Team17 Signs AT New Media for Worms. February 22, 2011 — U.K.-based brand owner Team17 signed AT New Media as its worldwide licensing agent for the videogames franchise Worms.
Toy Fair Not So Successful For Publishers. February 21, 2011 — This year at the American International Toy Fair, only 25 book purveyors exhibited their products, according to Publisher's Weekly. Though toy sales were up last year, things haven't been so easy for activity and coloring book publishers. Some of the reasons for this include a rise in publishing costs and CPSIA testing costs. However, one trend noticed was that some toy companies, like Manhattan Toy and and Learning Curve Toys, have been publishing new books themselves. Alternately, books' presence was felt through licensed products at Toy Fair, mostly in the form of games and puzzles.
TDmonthly Releases Toy Fair 2011 Top-10 Lists. February 18, 2011— TDmonthly Magazine has made its picks for the Top-10 most talked about toys at the American International Toy Fair in New York this year. The Top-10 Girls, Boys, and Overall toy lists include pictures and product descriptions of the most notable toys at Toy Fair.
SpongeBob SquarePants on Wii uDraw. February 18, 2011 — Wii's uDraw Game Tablet, which turns any TV into a virtual art studio, is getting more than 100 SpongeBob nano games this April. Featuring never before seen SpongeBob artwork, The "SpongeBob SquigglePants" games will be exclusive to the the uDraw Game Tablet, according to Licensemag.com.
Moshi Monsters Get Magazine. February 18, 2011 — The popular UK toy and website, Moshi Monsters, which launched it's line of toys in the US this week at New York Toy Fair, has announced the launch of a monthly magazine. Each magazine will have giveaways and codes that unlock online content, comic strips, puzzles, Moshi hints and tips, and more, according to Licensemag.com.
HIT Announces New Thomas Movie. February 18, 2011 — Thomas & Friends will star in a new movie, Day of the Diesels, this fall. HIT Entertainment's global partners will be releasing more than 75 tie-in products for the movie, including toys, books, apparel, bedding, and more. According to Licensemag.com, Day of the Diesels will be shown on PBS Kids in the US before its release.
Shocker Toys Expands Action Figure Series. February 18, 2011 — Shocker Toys announced additional figures in its Indie Spotlight action figure series, a new Anime Spotlight action figure line and a Mallow line, all of which debuted at Toy Fair last week.
Toy Story is Back. February 18, 2011 — This year Pixar will release two new short films featuring the Toy Story cast, according to the New York Times. The first short film, Hawaiian Vacation, will be shown with Cars 2, and the second will run with The Muppets movie coming out this December.
Toy Fair Licensing Wrap-Up. February 17, 2011 — This year Toy Fair had one of the most dramatic increases in licensed products in past years. You can read a re-cap here.
Time Magazine Announces All-Time 100 Greatest Toys. February 17, 2011 — Time Magazine has created a list of the 100 most influential toys of all time, ranging from the 1920's to the present. From the 1920's Radio Flyer wagon to the modern hit Zhu-Zhu pets, the list explores what made these toys popular in their time. You can read the full list here.
Kristi G, SwimWays Corporation Recall Child Chairs Due To Fall Hazard. February 17, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 5,200 of the Kristi G Go & Grow Chair, sold Online via national mass merchandisers and retailers from March 2010 to January 2011 for $34.99 to $89.99. The chair can tip over, posing a fall hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact SwimWays Corp. to receive reimbursement of the purchase price.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Recalls Children’s Watches Due to Risk of Skin Irritation. February 17, 2011 — U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 1,200 Children’s Light-up Watches from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, of Lake Buena Vista, Fla., sold at DISNEYLAND® Resort stores in California, WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort stores in Florida, The Treasure Ketch and Cast Member shops on the Disney Cruise Ship, and Disney’s Earport Shop and The Magic of Disney Shop located at the Orlando International Airport in Florida from November 2010 through January 2011 for about $30. Watch battery current interacting with nickel in the watch’s stainless steel back can cause skin irritation and/or burning sensations to children who are allergic to nickel. Consumers should immediately take the recalled watch away from children and contact Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for instructions on returning the watch for a $40 refund.
IKEA Recalls to Repair Cribs Due to Mattress Support Collapse; Cribs Pose Entrapment and Suffocation Hazards. February 17, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 20,000 in the United States and 6,000 in Canada of SNIGLAR cribs, sold in IKEA stores nationwide from October 2005 through June 2010 for about $80. The four bolts provided with some SNIGLAR cribs to secure the mattress support are not long enough. This can cause the mattress support to detach and collapse, creating a risk of entrapment and suffocation to a child in the crib. Consumers should stop using the crib immediately and check the crib. If the mattress support bolts extend through the nut, the bolts are the proper length and the crib is not included in the recall. If the bolt does not extend through the nut, the crib is included in the recall. Contact IKEA for a free repair kit for recalled cribs.
HIT Adds Retro Barney Products. February 16, 2011 — Entertainment signed a deal with Classic Imports for a full line of retro Barney products. Launching under the Toon Labs Ink label, the nostalgic line of gifts and accessories will be designed for tween, teen and adult Barney fans that watched “Barney & Friends” on TV as children.
Jakks Brings Back Cabbage Patch Kids. February 16, 2011 — This fall, Jakks Pacific will launch a new line of Cabbage Patch Kids, Toddlers and Newborns with a contemporary look and interactive play, while remaining true to the original brand.
Chorion Brings Octonauts, Gaspard to U.S. February 16, 2011 — Chorion has sold two of its animated series for preschoolers, “Octonauts” and “Gaspard and Lisa” to Disney Channel U.S. for premiere on Disney Junior next year.
Nickelodeon Signs Victorious Toy Partner. February 15, 2011 — Nickelodeon Consumer Products signed Spin Master to be master toy licensee for the new Nickelodeon show “Victorious.” Spin Master’s new line of products, including fashion dolls and play sets, debuted at New York Toy Fair 2011.
Saban Brings Out New Power Rangers Toys. February 15, 2011 — Saban Brands announced 11 new agreements for the new “Power Rangers Samurai” TV series at Toy Fair. Partners include LF USA, Jem Sportswear and Mighty Fine (apparel); MEGA Brands (construction toys); Jay Franco and Sons, Inc. (bedding); Disguise (costumes); Brown Shoe (footwear), and Berkshire and MZ Berger (accessories).
Disney Release Cars 2 Merch and Announces Video Game. February 15, 2011 — Actor Michael Caine, who voices one of the characters in the upcoming Cars 2 movie, was there to help unveil Disney Consumer Products’ new Cars 2 line of toys, according to the Huffington Post. There will be over 300 toys associated with the movie, including die-cast, radio-controller cars, and playsets. Disney has also announced a video game for the movie, developed by Avalanche Software, the company behind the Toy Story 3 video game.
Hasbro’s Verrecchia Makes Hall of Fame. February 14, 2011 — Alfred J. Verrecchia, chairman of the board of directors of Hasbro, was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place during the Toy of the Year Awards Feb. 12, which opened the 108th American International Toy Fair.
Hasbro Partners with Sesame Workshop. February 14, 2011 — Hasbro’s Playskool announced its partnership with Sesame Workshop with the launch a dazzling line of all new toys and games featuring favorite “Sesame Street” characters including Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and Elmo.
Barbie and Ken, Together Again. February 14, 2011 — It’s official; one of America’s favorite couples is back together. After a 7 year hiatus and extensive social media marketing campaign, the couple has reunited. You can read retailing tips for this story here.
Classic Media Signs Tinga Tinga Partners. February 11, 2011 — Classic Media announced new licenses for “Tinga Tinga Tales,” with Ravensburger (puzzles), Pressman Toy Corporation (games) and University Games (Colorforms activity products). The new partners join master toy partner Bandai and master publishing partner Grosset & Dunlap for the U.S. launch of the preschool brand.
Chuggington Adds Apparel, Décor. February 11, 2011 — Ludorum announced its partnership with several prominent soft goods licensees to develop the first-ever lifestyle products for its preschool property Chuggington. Merchandise will be available throughout the U.S. next year in several categories including apparel, footwear, accessories and room décor to support Chuggington’s debut on Disney Junior Feb. 14.
Chorion Expands Olivia Offerings. February 11, 2011 — Chorion announced new licensing partners for its preschool property Olivia, developing its program in all major categories across the U.S. this year.
Rechargeable Batteries in Video Baby Monitors Recalled to Replace by Summer Infant Due to Burn Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Babies R Us. February 11, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 58,000 rechargeable batteries sold with certain Slim and Secure™ Video Monitors imported by Summer Infant, sold exclusively at Babies R Us from September 2009 to May 2010 for about $200. The battery in the handheld video monitor can overheat and rupture, posing a burn hazard to consumers. Consumers should immediately stop using the video baby monitors with the recalled batteries and contact Summer Infant to receive a postage paid envelope to return the defective battery in exchange for a free replacement battery. The monitor can continue to be used on AC power with power cord.
Two Strangulation Deaths Prompt Summer Infant to Recall Video Baby Monitors with Cords; Firm to Provide New On-Product Label & Instructions. February 11, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Summer Infant Inc., of Woonsocket, R.I., is announcing the voluntary recall to provide new on product label and instructions for about 1.7 million video baby monitors with electrical cords. The cords can present a strangulation hazard to infants and toddlers if placed too close to a crib. Because of this serious strangulation risk, parents and caregivers should never place these and other corded cameras within three feet of a crib. Over the past year CPSC and the firm have received reports of two strangulation deaths of infants with the electrical cords of Summer Infant video baby monitors. CPSC and Summer Infant urge parents to immediately check the location of the video monitors, including cameras mounted on the wall, and all electric cords to make sure the cords are out of arm’s reach of their child. Consumers should contact Summer Infant toll-free at (800) 426-8627 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.summerinfant.com/Home/Product-Recall.aspx to receive a new permanent electric cord warning label about the strangulation risk and revised instructions about how to safely mount camera and keep cords out of child’s reach.
Blip Toys Expands Squinkies Licensing. February 10, 2011 — Blip Toys has announced a partnership with Cardinal Industries, Inc., according to a press release. Cardinal has been granted the exclusive rights to bring Squinkies into the puzzle and game world, and will be manufacturing and distributing Squinkies licensed games, card games, action games, and puzzles to North and Central America.
Big Idea Grows VeggieTales Brand. February 10, 2011 — Big Idea Entertainment announced the expansion of its popular VeggieTales brand with several new partners. The first new products hit stores in January, and will continue to roll out this year.
Disney and miYim Partner to Made Eco-Friendly Plush. February 10, 2011 — This July, eco-friendly plush manufacturers miYim, in collaboration with Disney, will be releasing Winnie the Pooh characters in My Natural eco-plush. Serah Chae, president of miYim, said "This Disney collaboration will allow miYim to have a bigger voice in the green movement. Popular, relevant characters such as Winnie the Pooh help us involve more parents in our quest to keep children healthy and chemical free." miYim is the only company making licensed eco-toys. They are currently working with Disney, Dr. Seuss and Jane Goodall.
Warner Bros. Continues Hobbit Games. February 10, 2011 — Warner Bros. Consumer Products has extended its six-year agreement with Games Workshop, continuing its exclusive, worldwide rights to produce tabletop games based on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.”
Dino Dan and Wild Creations Pair Up. February 10, 2011 — Popular Nick Jr. show "Dino Dan" has partnered with Wild Creations to produce a line of toys. The new Dino Dan licensed products will include excavation kits, play sets, fossil replica kits, action figures, and more.
Toys"R"Us Rolls Out Wood Car Line. February 10, 2011 — Toys"R"Us announced its first-ever collection of wood vehicles, track and play sets based on the popular Disney-Pixar movie Cars. Available exclusively at Toys"R"Us, the collection was created and designed in collaboration with Disney Consumer Products.
Fisher-Price and DreamWorks Announce Partnership. February 10, 2011 — Mattel, Inc.'s subsidiary, Fisher-Price®, Inc., and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. today announced that Fisher-Price will serve as the worldwide master toy licensee for a number of DreamWorks Animation's feature films and television series, including Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Penguins of Madagascar, whose lines will be shown at Toy Fair 2011 this weekend. According to a press release, additional films Fisher-Price will produce toys for are Puss In Boots, The Croods, Madagascar 3 and Legend of the Guardians; television properties include Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.
HIT Adds Thomas Furniture, Décor. February 9, 2011 — HIT Entertainment has entered into two first-time licensing deals with KidKraft and Kids Only for Thomas & Friends children’s room décor and furniture lines. Both lines will be available throughout the U.S. and Canada this spring.
Allied Integrated Marketing and Mattel Announce Partnership. February 9, 2011 — Allied Integrated Marketing and Mattel announced today that Allied Integrated Marketing will manage national promotions, product placement, marketing partnerships and strategic alliances for Mattel’s Games Division, according to a press release. Mattel's Games Division, whose notable games include UNO, Pictionary, and Apples to Apples, will be utilizing an agency of record for promotions and product placement for the first time. Allied Integrated Marketing executives have worked in the past with Warner Bros. on the "Harry Potter" and "Matrix" franchises, among others, before joining Allied’s Strategic Marketing & Branded Entertainment team.
Gyrobike Appoints Consumer-Products Veteran Chief Executive Officer. February 9, 2011 — Gyrobike, the sole manufacturer of patented gyroscopic-stabilizing technology for bicycles, announced today it has hired Rick Malagodi as its chief executive officer.
Snow Bikes Recalled by Tech 4 Kids Due to Fall Hazard. February 9, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 2,100 OUTER EDGE Snow Bikes, manufactured by Tech 4 Kids Inc., of Canada, and sold at Costco, sporting goods stores and other retailers nationwide and online at Amazon.com and Walmart.com from September 2010 through January 2011 for about $150. The front ski can crack or break, causing the snow bike to stop suddenly and posing a fall hazard to consumers. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled snow bikes and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund.
AmerTac Recalls Night Lights Due to Fire and Burn Hazard. February 9, 2011 — U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 261,000 LED Night Lights, imported by American Tack & Hardware Co. Inc. (AmerTac), of Saddle River, N.J., and sold at hardware stores, lighting showrooms and home centers nationwide from March 2009 through January 2011 for about $7. An electrical short circuit in the night light can cause it to overheat and smolder or melt, which can burn consumers or result in fire. Consumers should stop using the recalled night lights immediately and unplug them from the wall. Contact the firm for instructions on receiving a full refund.
CBeebies Orders Third Chuggington Series. February 9, 2011 — Ludorum announced today that it ordered 26 more ten-minute episodes of the pre-school series “Chuggington” for the BBC’s CBeebies channel. The new series will launch early next year.
Chorion Grows Mr. Men and Little Miss. February 8, 2011 — Chorion has signed Posh Paws to produce a line of collectible plush to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its brand Mr. Men and Little Miss. In addition, Chorion will launch its new character, “Little Miss Princess,” with a Little Miss Princess book published by Edgmont on March 7.
Jay Franco and Kidzworld Get Pinkalicious. February 8, 2011 — The Joester Loria Group brokered a deal for its property Pinkalicious with Jay Franco and Kidzworld to launch a collection of bedding, room décor and furniture inspired by the New York Times best-selling children's book series “Pinkalicious.”
New Bieber Dolls Released. February 8, 2011 — A new line of Justin Bieber dolls will be released at New York Toy Fair, according to a press release. The Bridge Direct, Inc. and Bravado are showcasing new versions of their Justin Bieber singing dolls, now featuring soft, easy-to-comb hair reminiscent of Bieber's famous coiffure. The line also includes several playsets such as a tour bus and a performance stage.
Escalade Sports Recalls Oasis Playsets Due to Fall Hazard. February 8, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 4,600 Outdoor Playsets from Escalade Sports of Evansville, Ind. This recall involves belt-style swing seats on four models of Oasis Playsets: PG01W, PG02W, PG03W and PG04W. Model numbers are located on a plate on the swing's horizontal beam. The green plastic seats are about 26 inches long and are hung from green, plastic-coated chains. The swing seats have rounded ends with black grommets on each end. The sets were sold by Oasis distributors and dealers nationwide from April 2008 to December 2010 for between $1,500 and $2,200. Consumers should immediately stop using these swing seats and contact Escalade Sports for free replacement swing seats.
Star Wars Toys Are Top. February 7, 2011 — Star Wars was the bestselling US boys' toy license in 2010, boasting more than $510 million in sales, their biggest year since 2005. According to Licensemag.com, 2010 was also the property's biggest sales year without a movie release in their history. They attribute to their success the popularity of the Cartoon Network series "Clone Wars," as well as to strong licensing partnerships with LEGO and Hasbro.
Hasbro sales miss in holidays. February 11, 2011 — Hasbro Inc reported weaker-than-expected revenue in the fourth-quarter on tepid U.S. demand for games and puzzles in the biggest selling season of the year. The results came less than a week after industry leader Mattel In handily beat Wall Street estimates in its fourth quarter covering the holidays.
Aardman Signs Tomy for Canimals Toys. February 7, 2011 — Aardman Rights has signed Tomy as the European Master toy partner for Canimals, on behalf of VOOZClub. Tomy will produce and distribute toy and gift lines including plush, toy figures, electronics, arts and crafts for the U.K., France, Benelux, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as capsule toys for all of Europe.
National Geographic Arts and Crafts Line. February 7, 2011 — National Geographic, in conjunction with Colorbök, will be developing a line of children's arts and crafts products, to be available later this year. According to Licensemag.com, the activities will broach topics such as conservation, world cultures, wildlife and nature, and will include National Geographic Fun Facts.
MGA Files Antitrust Suit Against Mattel. February 4, 2011 — As MGA and Mattel fight it out in court over a copyright infringement lawsuit, MGA has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Mattel claiming they used unfair business practices and anticompetitve conduct, according to the Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit alleges that after Bratz dolls began hurting the sales of Barbie, Mattel resorted to extreme behavior such as infiltrating MGA's showrooms, threatening licensees who might work with MGA, rearranging retail displays of Barbie and Bratz dolls, and paying retailers not to buy Bratz dolls or any other MGA products. In a statement made late last night, Mattel lawyer Mike Zeller countered MGA's claims, saying "These same arguments have been repeatedly rejected as irresponsible by the Court. This is nothing more than an end run against these prior decisions."
Beatrix Potter Gets New Releases. February 4, 2011 — Chorion and Warne are launching a new Beatrix Potter line of merchandise this spring, according to Licensemag.com. The brand, nearly 110 years old, is also undergoing stylistic changes, including new patterns, packaging, and seasonal artwork. Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. will be airing a new Peter Rabbit animated series next year, and, to honor 110th anniversary of the brand, special edition books of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" will be sold.
Penguin Children's Books Adds New Media Group. February 4, 2011 — Penguin Children’s Books created a new media and entertainment group in its children's division to combine the BBC, Sunbird and Ladybird Licensing teams.
Retail Comp Sales Higher in January. February 4, 2011 — Same-store sales continued to climb in January with a 4.9 percent gain versus a 3.2 percent gain In December for 31 retailers reporting, according to Kantar Retail. This was a strong performance over January 2010 when same store sales posted a 3.3 percent gain.
ThunderCats Debut At Toy Fair. February 4, 2011 — Warner Bros. Consumer Products will launch a new line of toys to support the reboot of "ThunderCats," a popular animated series that will air on Cartoon Network. According to Licensemag.com, the line will debut at the American International Toy Fair. Bandai America is the global master toy licensee, and will release products such as ThunderCats figures, vehicles, and weapons. Other licensees include Icon Hero, Hard Hero, and Mezco.
WARNING: Generation 2 Worldwide "SafetyCraft" Brand Drop-Side Cribs Pose Risks of Strangulation, Suffocation; Hardware Linked to Deaths and Injuries. Feburary 4, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers that "SafetyCraft" brand full-size and portable drop-side cribs manufactured or distributed by Generation 2 Worldwide of Dothan, Alabama, contain drop-side hardware that appears to be identical to Generation 2 Worldwide ChildESIGNS brand drop-side cribs recalled in February 2010. This hardware found on SafetyCraft drop-side cribs can fail and place infants and toddlers at risk of strangulation and suffocation. CPSC staff urges parents and caregivers to stop using these cribs immediately and find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby.
Entertainment One Signs First Humf Toy Partner. February 3, 2011 — Entertainment One announced that Aurora World will join the Humf licensing program as the brand’s first toy partner. Aurora World will develop a line of Humf soft toys for release in the U.K. this September.
Planeta Junior To Represent Noddy in Italy. February 3, 2011 — Planeta Junior Italy signed an agreement with Chorion to be the exclusive licensing agent in Italy for the preschool brand, Noddy. Planeta Junior will be responsible for all licensing categories including apparel, back-to-school, toys, gifts, novelty items and more.
Farrah Fawcett Doll Enshrined in Smithsonian. February 3, 2011— The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington yesterday received a treasure trove of 1970s memorabilia associated with poster-girl and actress Farrah Fawcett. Included in the gift by her long-time partner, actor Ryan O'Neal, are a Fawcett swimsuit jigsaw puzzle, an original 1977 Farrah Fawcett doll and a 'Farrah's Glamour Center' hairstyling toy, reported the Los Angeles Times. Fawcett was best known for her role in the TV series "Charlie's Angels." She died of cancer in 2009.
Turning 50 Made Barbie All Better. February 3, 2011 — According to the Los Angeles Times, Barbie, American Girl and the new Monster High dolls all sold strongly for Mattel during 4Q 2010, raising revenue by 9 percent. Barbie revenue rose 8 percent. The Barbie brand was revitalized in 2009, when the doll celebrated its 50th birthday, and Mattel received attention for innovative versions of the tiny icon, including Barbie Video Girl, which features a mini video camera in the doll's body.
Snow White Sucks Blood. February 3, 2011 — "Twilight" movie star and object of desire for vampires everywhere, Kristin Stewart, is in negotiations to play the lead in Universal's upcoming flick, "Snow White." Co-stars could include Viggo Mortenson and Charlize Theron, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Disney is also planning its own Snow White live-action film, "Snow and the Seven," which takes place in 19th Century China. Michael Arndt, Oscar-nominated scribe for "Toy Story 3," is set to pen the fairy-tale-inspired film, said the Hollywood Reporter.
CPSC Extends Stay of Enforcement for Testing and Certification of Lead Content in Children’s Products Until December 31, 2011. February 3, 2011 — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 4-1 on January 31, 2011 to extend the stay of enforcement for testing and certification of lead content in children’s products (except for metal components of children’s metal jewelry) until December 31, 2011. Starting on December 31, 2011, manufacturers and importers of children’s products that are subject to the lead content limit must have the appropriate certificates that indicate that their products have been tested by a CPSC-approved third party laboratory, in order for their products to be sold in the United States.
CPLG Names New Caillou Licensee. February 2, 2011 — CPLG has signed ID Toys, of Montreal, as the master toy licensee for Caillou in North America, according to Licensemag.com. The popular PBS television show will get a full range of products, including figures, puzzle, plush, bath sets, and more.
Franklin Celebrates 25th. February 2, 2011 — The popular television turtle Franklin will celebrate his 25th anniversary this year, according to Licensemag.com. Corus Entertainment's Kids Can Press will release a special edition of the very first Franklin book, "Franklin in th Dark;" and, in conjunction with Nelvana Studio and PBS Treehouse there will be a launch of a new CGI-animated series, "Franklin and Friends," on March 4.
Google Accuses Bing of 'Copying' its Search Results. February 2, 2011 — Google has accused Microsoft of cheating, following an investigation known as the 'Bing Sting'. Google engineers created 100 nonsensical queries such as "hiybbprqag" and inserted a fake result for each. Within weeks, the same results began to appear on its rival Microsoft's Bing search engine.
Fox's Rio Takes Off as "Angry Birds" Game. February 2, 2011 — Fox Film Entertainment announced a joint venture with Swedish game-maker Rovio to create a special edition of “Angry Birds,” the popular mobile game app, for the upcoming release of Rio, an animated 3D motion picture from Fox.
Barbie powers Mattel to holiday sales spike. February 2, 2011 — Barbie, American Girl and new Monster High dolls all sold strongly for the nation's largest toy maker during the quarter, sending revenue up 9 percent. The growth outpaced the industry and likely its chief rival Hasbro, which earlier forecast a revenue decline for the quarter.
Power Up for Kid Power Conference. February 2, 2011— The next Kid, Youth & Parent Power Conference takes place on April 26-28, 2011 in Lake Buena Vista, FL. This event brings together the leading brands, agencies, media and strategists for discussions on how to reach and engage kids, tweens, teens and parents through the ever-changing landscape of media, internet and advertising. Early registration discounts are available when using the code 1-3384858268. Register at www.kidparentpower.com and receive up to $1,898 off the standard all access price.
Worry Woo Woos Portland. February 2, 2011— Nola, one of the Worry Woo Monsters — plush toys with books designed to help boost children's self esteem and help them understand their emotions — will appear on KATU-TV ABC in Portland Oregon, Thursday, February 3. The cute, pink plush Woo will be featured in a segment on Valentine's Gifts.
ICM Teams Up With Wham-O. February 1, 2011 — ICM, the agency which brought classic Atari games Asteroids and Roller Coaster Tycoon to the big screen, is partnering with Wham-O toys, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Wham-O has introduced numerous iconic toys to the market in the past 50 years, including Frisbee, Hula Hoops, Slip 'N Slide, Hacky Sack and Boogie body boards. ICM is now working to bring the Wham-O brand into the entertainment industry. Movies, television, and music are all possible venues for the brand.
Yu-Gi Oh On Tour. February 1, 2011 — Yu-Gi Oh is embarking on a mall tour of 10 major cities in the US, according to Licensemag.com. There, kids will be taught how to play Yu-Gi Oh. There will be special dueling tables set up for more advanced players. About this hands-on marketing strategy, Yumi Hoashi, vice president of the Konami Card Business, said “The face-to-face interaction is a perfect way to introduce the game to budding Duelists around the country.”
Lawless Entertainment Announces New Director of Marketing. February 1, 2011 — Live-action and animation entertainment company Lawless Entertainment has named Sondra Contino as their new Director of Marketing, according to a press release. “It’s a privilege to be appointed Director of Marketing of this amazing company as we embark on a new year,” said Ms. Contino. “In partnership with the President and Vice President, I look forward to building upon the already strong foundation of Lawless Entertainment; I am very fortunate to work with such a tremendous team.” Contino brings 10 years of marketing experience to her new position.
Sony Unveils New Playstation Network Games. February 1, 2011 — Sony Online Entertainment announced its new titles for the PlayStation Network, including “Plants vs. Zombies,” “Acceleration of Suguri X Edition,” “Slam Bolt Scrappers,” Akimi Village,” “Sideway” and “Rochard.” The games will roll out throughout 2011.
Gap Inc. Announces Departure of Marka Hansen, President of Gap Brand for North America. February 1, 2011 — Gap Inc. today announced that Marka Hansen will step down as president of Gap North America and will leave the company, effective February 4.
US Consumer Spending Soars. January 31, 2011 — In 2010, consumer spending grew by 3.5% from 2009, and was the largest growth since 2007- before the recession. According to the BBC, a strong December boosted the spending rate; if the job market continues to slowly improve, experts say that spending and savings could be boosted even further in 2011.
Peppa Pig Doubles U.K. Retail Sales. January 31, 2011 — Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig doubled its U.K. sales last year, and, for the first time in the brand’s history, jumped four places to rank number one in U.K. pre-school property in the total toy market, according to the NPD Group.
Sassy Inc. Recalls Refreshing Rings Infant Teethers/Rattles Due to an Ingestion Hazard. January 31, 2011 —The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product: About 37,000 Refreshing Rings Infant Teethers/Rattles. The product has a red, water-filled ring on one end and a black and white polka dot ball on the other end. The two ends of the rattles/teethers are connected by a black and white, flexible plastic rod with three floating rings. Style number 80026 is printed on the packaging. The product was sold at mass merchandise and baby specialty stores nationwide between July 2009 and January 2011 for about $5. Consumers should immediately take the teethers/rattles from children and contact Sassy Inc. for instructions on how to return the product for a free replacement toy.
Flair Introduces Horrid Henry Toys. January 31, 2011 — Flair unveiled a new toy line based on the children’s property “Horrid Henry.” The multi-media property has global traction, with books published in 27 countries, TV sales in 17 countries and a 3D live-action film set to hit cinemas this summer starring Anjelica Huston, Richard E. Grant, Kimberley Walsh and Dick & Dom.
Carter Bryant, Creator of Bratz, Takes the Stand. January 31, 2011 — On Thursday, Carter Bryant took to the stand for the first of several days of testimony, according to the Los Angeles Times. At the federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., Bryant answered many questions about his time working at Mattel with "I don't know" and "I don't remember." When asked about the inventions contract he had while working at Mattel, Bryant said “I don’t think I had a real clear concept of this contract during my employment. I don’t think it was ever explained to me fully.... I think I thought that the thoughts that I had on my own time were my thoughts and didn’t necessarily belong to anyone else.” The trial is expected to last three to four months.
U.S. Toy Industry Grows 2% in 2010, Generating $21.87 Billion in Sales, Reports The NPD Group. January 31, 2011 — U.S. retail sales of toys brought in $21.87 billion in 2010, compared to $21.46 billion in 2009, according to leading market research company The NPD Group. Significant increases in sales were seen in the Plush (18%), Building Sets (13%), Outdoor & Sports Toys (9%), Dolls (6%) and Infant/Preschool (6%) categories.
Toy Events Encourage Thought. January 31, 2011 — The National Museum of Play at the Strong Museum in Rochester, N.Y., will open a new exhibit called Tinkertoys: Build Your Imagination on February 6. The exhibit will feature nine activity stations that allow families to build on themes such as renewable energy, according to the New York Post. On Tuesday, February 8, 12 pm, UWS will present a lecture by Laura Schacht on Toys and Their Educational Value at the Amsterdam Ale House, 340 Amsterdam Ave at 76th St., New York City.
MAC Cosmetics to Launch Wonder Woman Line. 1/28/2011 — Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics have partnered with MAC Cosmetics to produce a line of Wonder Woman themed makeup, according to Licensemag.com. Featuring eye shadow, eye liner, nail polish, mascara, lipstick and more, the line will represent the bold and fearless style of the iconic superhero. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with MAC, a cosmetics institution that is known for empowering women through their own iconic brand," said Karen McTier, executive vice president of domestic licensing and worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Thomas Tops Charts in US. 1/28/2011 — Earlier this month, we reported that Thomas & Friends was the number one preschool property in the UK. Now, according to Licensemag.com, The NPD Group has ranked Thomas & Friends the number one preschool property in the US for the tenth year in a row. The property also made it into the top 10 overall for the toy industry. According the The NPD Group, Thomas& Friends actually increased sales by 47% last year, as opposed to the rest of the toy industry, whose sales increased 1.9%. Pam Westman, executive vice president for the Americas at HIT Entertainment, attributed the success of the brand to strong licensing partnerships and "continued delivery of rich content, characters and stories."
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