Issue #109: May 10, 2005
Welcome to License! magazine?s weekly e-mail newsletter featuring the industry?s latest headlines.
Merger Strengthens Bandai?s Market Position
Bandai acquired video game maker Namco in a deal worth approximately $1.6billion. The deal creates Japan?s second largest toy and games company withSega Sammy Holdings being the largest. The two firms will form a holdingcompany September 29 in which Bandai will hold a 57 percent stake and Namco theremaining 43 percent. ?Amid severe market conditions, we decided a merger wasthe best way to focus our resources in an effort to boost corporate value,expand our business, and come out on top of the competition,? the two companiessaid in a joint statement.
Scholastic Acquires UK Publishing House
Scholastic purchased Chicken House Publishing Ltd., a UK publishing house whosetitles include ?Dragon Rider.? Chicken House and its founder, Barry Cunningham,have had a partnership with Scholastic in North America and Australia since2001. The Chicken House team, led by Cunningham and Deputy Managing DirectorRachel Hickman, will continue to operate from its headquarters in Somerset,England, and will be part of the Scholastic children?s trade book division.
In other news, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., signed on Scholastic Entertainmentas the first third-party publisher to create software for its LeapSter LearningGame System. As part of the deal, Scholastic will adapt its software titles, ISpy Challenger and Math Mission, for the system. Both titles (suggested retail,$24.99) will launch in the fall; additional titles are slated for 2006.
New ?Tween Boys? Site Monkeys Around
, the new online destination for?tween boys, is now live. Riotweb.com features areas such as MuSick, where boyscan create a uniquely gross song in minutes; the Chimp-o-Matic, where RIOT theChimp can be added to any photo; and the wonders of Monkey Pee, Monkey Do. Thesite also includes free downloads?pranks, printables, icons, and more for RIOTSquad members. The consumer product launch includes wireless media in May;apparel in June; a calendar in July; and, in late summer, the premiere issuesof RIOT magazine and the RIOT comic book, as well as RIOT trading cards,posters, and stickers. Additional content-based and branded products, includinga collectible card game, books, electronic toys, games, back-to-school items,bags, backpacks, and other accessories, are slated for release beginning in2006.
Spy Gear Inspires Book Series
Wild Planet signed a six-book deal to develop its Spy Gear brand beyond toysand into content. Aladdin Paperbacks is set to release the first two Spy Gearbooks in March 2006. The Spy Gear series, targeted at 8- to 12-year-old boys,is set in modern-day suburbia and focuses on the experiences of four averagekids who discover a secret worthy of investigation.
Who?s the Boss?
Cartoon Network and ConAgra partnered on the ?Big Wig Gig!,? an integratedmulti-brand promotion, which marks the first time ConAgra Foods has alignedwith a TV network. As part of the promotion, one winner will serve as ?theboss? of Cartoon Network, helping select the programming lineup for athree-hour cartoon marathon, enjoying VIP treatment for the day, and taking abehind-the-scenes tour. Kid Cuisine, Hunt?s Snack Pack pudding, ArmourLunchMakers, and Act II microwave popcorn each will feature on-pack messagingof the sweepstakes at
.Wal-Mart will kick off the sweepstakes in 1,000 supercenters Saturday, May 14,with greeters dressed in Cartoon Network T-shirts distributing ?Big Wig Gig!?Trivia Hunt Cards that feature questions about favorite Cartoon Networkcharacters (answers to be found on the participating ConAgra Foods skus), alongwith a unique code for an exclusive Cartoon Orbit cToon digital trading cardkids collect and trade on Cartoon Orbit, CartoonNetwork.com?s online tradingcommunity for kids. ConAgra Foods also will create in-store displays of itsmultiple kids? brands highlighting details of the ?Big Wig Gig!? sweepstakes,and sponsor free in-store sampling of Act II popcorn and Hunt?s Snack PackTriples pudding.
Publishing Program ?Kicked? into High Gear
HarperCollins Children?s Books will release three children?s book tie-ins forUniversal Studios? upcoming comedy, Kicking and Screaming. As part of its dealwith Universal Studios Consumer Products Group, the publisher will create amovie novel and two Festival early readers including ?My Dad, The Coach? and?The Comeback Kids.?
Iggy Arbuckle to Hit Airwaves in 2006
Blueprint Entertainment and National Geographic Kids? Programming andProduction concluded a production agreement on new animated series IggyArbuckle. Blueprint will collaborate with Teletoon on the creation of the newanimated series for the Canadian broadcaster for fall 2006. Blueprint alsoretains international distribution rights, while National Geographic holds U.S.distribution rights. The property, aimed at kids ages 6 to 11, follows themisadventures of a ?nature freak? pig and his faithful sidekick, Jiggers, abeaver.
Online Show Signs Reps in New Territories
Mondo Media expands the reach of Happy Tree Friends by closing licensing agencyrepresentation in Australia, South America, and Asia. The deals for the onlineshow were brokered by Signatures Network, Inc. (SNI), which also handles U.S.licensing for Happy Tree Friends. Celebrities Entertainment handles thecharacters in Western Europe, and EEMC is the company?s agent in EasternEurope. Australian licensing will be handled by Gaffney InternationalLicensing. Tycoon Enterprises will handle licensing in Latin America in allcountries except Brazil, which will be handled by Redibra. In addition to beingthe licensing agent, Tycoon also will distribute Happy Tree Friends DVDs. InAsia, the show will be represented by Asian Licensing Partners Ltd., whichhandles opportunities through its offices in Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi,Seoul, and China.
Mega Bloks Constructs New Deals
Mega Bloks Inc. reached an agreement with Original Appalachian Artworks Inc. tocreate a line of Cabbage Patch-branded construction toy products. As part ofthe multi-year agreement, Mega Bloks will develop an assortment of building andconstruction playsets for girls ages 3 to 5. First products are due on shelvesin fall.
In other news, the company partnered with Bardel Entertainment on the launch ofthe Dragons Metal Ages movie, the sequel to the Dragons Fire & Ice movieadventure. Lions Gate, Paramount, and Alliance Atlantis Motion PictureDistribution LP are onboard for the global home entertainment distribution ofthe movie. Dragons Metal Ages is licensed by YTV Canada and will premiere inCanada in fall 2005. A U.S. partner is being confirmed.
Baker Lends Expertise in Consultant Role
The Muppets Holding Company, LLC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company,hired Martin G. Baker as a consultant for the organization?s new entertainmentendeavors. Baker?s duties will include searching for ways to expand theMuppets? talent base, as well as leading a search for more multitalentedperformers in the world of puppeteering who will serve as understudies to coreMuppets performers and help the company develop new characters and service thegrowing international demands for the classic characters.
Submit Licenses Granted & Available Now Online
This week, License! unveils the new onlineLicense! Finder, allowing you to submit licenses granted and available now,which will be published online on a weekly basis once approved by an editor. Goto
to fill out the verification form and submit your licenses granted or availablenow. Highlights from each month?s online submissions will be published inLicense! magazine. Any questions, contact Alyson Grala at (212) 951-6743 or viae-mail:
Announcing New Licensing Show Development
Licensing 2005 International, inconjunction with iHollywood Forum, will present the Mobile & DigitalLicensing Summit Monday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jacob JavitsConvention Center. The summit will explore consumers? rapid adoption ofwireless entertainment?focusing on strategies for creating and licensingcontent for mobile distribution, including games, graphics, multimedia,marketing and promotions, video, messaging, and other cutting-edge wireless anddigital applications. The Mobile & Digital Summit complements L!censingUniversity, which delivers four days of high-impact educational seminars in a35-session lineup. From art and brands to publishing and entertainment, thereare sessions covering every aspect of the licensing industry. Registration forthe Mobile & Digital Summit is expected to open this week. For moreinformation, go to
. To register for L!censing University,visit
and click on ?Attend,? or call Sylvester Jones at (212) 951-6764.
Gartner Research estimates Americans spent $2.6billion last year on cell phone games, entertainment, and other handsetpersonalization services such as ringtones and wallpaper.
Advertising Deadline for June License! and Show Dailies Is QuicklyApproaching
The June issue of License! broadcasts your ad message loud and clear to 25,000retailers, licensees, agents, promotional partners, and other subscribers ofthe magazine. In addition, your ad will be seen by more than 20,000 Licensing2005 International show attendees, each of whom is personally handed a copy ofthe June issue and Show Daily at the show floor entrances. Make sure yourproperty is seen along with all the other hot new properties and brandsadvertising in June. And complement your presence in our must-read LicensingShow issue by getting your advertising message in each issue of the License!Show Dailies.
Act quickly to make the deadlines: Space: 5/16,Materials: 5/20.
To find out more aboutour June issue and Show Dailies, visit
or contact Steven Ekstract at (212) 951-6684 or
LINK Las Vegas ? Get Linked to Licensing, Sports, Fashion, and Entertainment
LINK Las Vegas, August 31-September 1, 2005, Bellagio. Running concurrentlywith the last 1 1/2 days of MAGIC Marketplace, LINK Las Vegas will focus on thechallenges and opportunities of brand licensing in the fashion, entertainment,and sports worlds. To register and for information on sponsorship, speaking,and attending, visit
For more licensing news and features, visit
.For more information on Licensing 2005 International, visit
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