New Digs for Toy Industry
Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA), selected 100 Church Street in New YorkCity as the future home of the North American toy industry. The toy industryplans to occupy in excess of 400,000 square feet at the location, a 1million-square-foot office building one block north of the World Trade Centersite. This move was necessitated by the recent sale of the currentInternational Toy Center, 200 Fifth Avenue and 1107 Broadway, to new owners whoplan to use it differently. The new location was selected by a RelocationCommittee that includes officials of TIA and the 200 Fifth Avenue TenantsAssociation. It then was unanimously ratified by the TIA Board during a conferencecall last Thursday evening.
Omnicom Group Joins with The Beanstalk Group
Omnicom Group and senior management of The Beanstalk Group joined together toacquire Beanstalk from the Ford Motor Company. The Beanstalk Group will operateas part of Omnicom?s Diversified Agency Services group and maintain itsexisting offices in the U.S. and UK. Beanstalk will draw upon Omnicom?sworldwide resources and global relationships to offer clients strategic counselon the use of licensing to leverage brand image. The Beanstalk Group willcontinue to represent many of Ford Motor Company?s key brands.
Chorion secured increased television exposure of its Noddy preschool brand inthe UK and U.S. In the UK, Five extended its commitment to Make Way for Noddy, agreeingto air the show for a minimum of 30 weeks per year until 2012. The programcurrently is broadcast seven mornings a week in preschool programming blocMilkshake!. In the U.S., Make Way for Noddy was selected as a key programmingcomponent for Sprout, the new American preschool television network jointlyowned by Comcast, PBS, Sesame Workshop, and HIT Entertainment. Chorion?s 100original 10-minute episodes are airing four times a day initially to 20 millionU.S. television households via digital satellite platform DirecTV and Comcast?sand Insight Communications? digital cable networks. The Sprout carriage deal isin addition to Make Way for Noddy's exposure on public broadcaster PBS Kids.
Barbie Film Franchise Grows
Entertainment Rights Plc is dolling up its portfolio, signing on with MattelInc., for the home entertainment and TV distribution rights to the next threeanimated Barbie feature-length movies due in 2006. The first title, BarbieDiaries, is a new phase in the film franchise as Barbie plays herself as asuburban high school teenager for the first time. Barbie Mermaidia follows, asdoes a third title from the Barbie Princess series of movies. EntertainmentRights also secured certain international television rights (excluding U.S.) tothe films.
Handleman Acquires Crave Entertainment
Handleman Company acquired Crave Entertainment Group, Inc., a distributor ofvideo game software, hardware, and accessories. Products distributed by CEGsupport all Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft video game platforms. The transactionis expected to close in the next 45 days.
Virgin Megastore Takes Exclusive on Playboy Property
Playboy Enterprises, Inc., launched ?The Girls Next Door? fashion collectionexclusively at Virgin Megastores nationwide. The line, based on E!Entertainment Television?s reality show, includes baby Ts, tank tops, camisolesets, underwear, and trucker caps that reflect the styles of Hugh Hefner?sgirlfriends: Holly ?The Sweet One? Madison, Bridget ?The Beauty and Brains?Marquardt, and Kendra ?The Wild One? Wilkinson. Virgin Megastores also willoffer men?s boxer shorts and T-shirts. The line also can be found at thePlayboy Concept Boutique at The Forum Shops in Las Vegas.
Partnership Expands Nelvana?s Portfolio
Nelvana and Cartoon Network Latin America signed a two-show deal giving CartoonNetwork the rights to The Magic School Bus (episodes 1-52) and Being Ian(episodes 1-52). The move will help facilitate Nelvana?s goal of balancing itsprogramming slate with animation for preschoolers, kids, and ?tweens.
Manga Properties Come to Home Video
VIZ Media, LLC, will launch the Shonen Jump home video line with first titlesto include Hikaru No Go in December 2005 and Naruto in March 2006. Hikaru No Goincludes more than 75 episodes and an established licensing program in Japan,while Naruto debuted on Cartoon Network in September.
Platinum Disc Takes on New Moniker
Platinum Disc is assuming the name of its corporate parent, Echo Bridge HomeEntertainment, with President Tim Clott at the helm of the home entertainmentgroup and Dan Gant joining the company as head of sales. In spring 2005,Platinum Disc merged with Echo Bridge Entertainment, which is an independentacquirer and distributor of premium original programming for global film, TV, cable,satellite, and video markets.
Teen Titans Bow First Video Game
Majesco Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment joined forceson the release of Teen Titans for Nintendo Game Boy Advance. The game(suggested retail, $29.99) is the first for the Cartoon Network series withconsole versions planned for early 2006. Developed by Artificial Mind &Movement, Teen Titans lets players switch control in real time between Robin,Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven so they can capitalize on each TeenTitan?s trademark moves and abilities.
Feature Film Attracts Licensees Worldwide
Sony Pictures Consumer Products inked deals with a roster of domestic andinternational licensees for Columbia Pictures? upcoming feature film, Zathura:A Space Adventure, due November 11, 2005. Pressman Toy Corp. is coming tomarket with a game, as well as three puzzles. Schylling Associates, Inc.,created a wind-up walking Robot, a wind-up collectible tin Zorgon Rocket Ship,and a tin pinball game. 2K Games will debut video games for PlayStation 2 andXbox, while Houghton Mifflin will create a tie-in book program, and JEMSportswear will make boys? T-shirts. International partners include Hong JinP&M with a movie storybook, activity book, puzzles, diaries, stickers, memopads, and notebooks, and Ta-Ke Shobo with a novelization in Japanese.
Cantar Cleans Up with Dirt Devil
Cantar Pool Products licensed the Dirt Devil brand from Royal ApplianceManufacturing Company. Cantar?s first Dirt Devil product will be an automaticpool vacuum that will be launched at the International Pool and Spa Expo nextmonth. Follow-on products will include additional swimming pool care andmaintenance products with retail price points ranging from $139.99 to $399.99.The products will be distributed through specialty stores, mail-order catalogs,and select big-box outlets. Levin M&A Consulting served as agent to thelicensor.
Trio Partners on Original Series
Kids? WB!, Cartoon Network, and Italian animation production company RainbowS.r.l. are joining forces on original series Monster Allergy. The jointacquisition includes 26 episodes that follow the daily adventures of10-year-old Zick, who has an eye for the supernatural and a sixth sense thatallows him to see the ghosts and monsters that invisibly walk and live amongus.
A Monster of a New Property
Meteor the Monster Truck Company, LLC?a joint venture between Endgame
Entertainment, Brandissimo! Inc., and RC2 Corporation?appointed CCI Releasingthe international distributor for Meteor the Monster Truck, a computer-animatedcartoon for preschool-aged children. Under the terms of the agreement, CCIReleasing will distribute the initial 52 11-minute episodes and 26 32-minuteepisodes to air in fall 2006.
Upcoming Industry Events
Brand Licensing 2005,
October25-26, Earls Court, London,
SEMA Show and AAPEX,
November1-4, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV,
November 9-11, LasVegas, NV,
International Halloween Show,
December 5-8, 200 Fifth Avenue, 1107 Broadway, and other toy districtshowrooms, New York, NY,
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