MGA Entertainment Marvels at New Deal
MGA Entertainment has been given the green light by Marvel Entertainment, Inc., to create a range of Marvel Superhero products in the die-cast and remote-control vehicle categories. The agreement covers the classic comic book look of the characters; upcoming Marvel-inspired films, including Ghost Rider and Spider-Man 3; and Marvel?s preschool property, Spider-Man & Friends. Initial products in the RC category will begin hitting retail immediately.
USCPG Seeks Partners for Two Properties
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is pursuing apparel licensees for the new animated television series, The Land Before Time, and the classic book property, ?The Little Engine That Could.? The Land Before Time will air on Cartoon Network in 2007 in a combination of 2-D animation and 3-D backgrounds. In September 2005, Philomel books, an imprint of the Penguin Young Readers Group, published a new edition of ?The Little Engine That Could,? illustrated by painter Loren Long. The new edition continues to be on The New York Times Book Review Children?s Best Sellers List. Other categories up for grabs include: preschool toys, apparel, accessories, interactive games, collectibles, fine art, home furnishings, health and beauty aids, food and beverages, gifts, stationery products, and wireless communication devices and accessories.
Children?s Apparel Network to Support Angelina Ballerina
HIT Entertainment is expanding Angelina Ballerina?s dance card, signing on Children?s Apparel Network for a line of apparel sets and separates due in third quarter 2006. Currently Children?s Apparel Network serves as apparel partner for HIT?s Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, and The Wiggles properties.
New Video Series Aimed at Female Anime Fans
VIZ Media, LLC, expanded its Shojo Beat imprint with the launch of Shojo Beat Home Video, an anime series aimed at female fans in North America. The first title will be Full Moon, a bittersweet tale of puppy love, tragedy, and aspirations to pop star fame. The first DVD volume of the new series, ?I Want to Sing,? will contain four episodes (suggested retail, $24.98) and will be on shelves June 27 with future volumes to be released quarterly. A special preview disk containing the first episode of Full Moon will be included as a free premium in the June 2006 issue of Shojo Beat magazine on sale May 16.
Mighty Fine Extends Reach for Hot Properties
Mighty Fine signed several new license deals for Bad Cat, taking the property into the New Zealand, Australian, and UK markets and providing an aggressive push with mass retailers. Domestic expansion includes deals with MeadWestvaco Corp. for back-to-school stationery; Trends International for posters and wall calendars; and American Greetings for cards, bags, and wrapping paper for launch in the third and fourth quarters. The company also plans to expand its watch and clocks business with Wal-Mart, eyeing other departments such as accessories, sleepwear, and apparel. Licensees are being sought for sleepwear, intimates, hosiery, loungewear, knit tops, and bags in both domestic and international markets.
Mighty Fine also has big plans for French Kitty, securing partnerships with two international consulting firms to extend the franchise into new markets. The company tapped Red Star Asia Pte Ltd. to focus on opportunities in Greater China and Southeast Asia, while Jane Evans Licensing Consultancy will manage the brand for the UK.
WPT Enterprises Raises Licensee Roster
WPT Enterprises, Inc., is raising the stakes on its licensing push, adding 14 licensees with products due in the U.S. in time for Father?s Day. Among the new partners: PixelPlay with interactive set-top box TV games; Oakley with poker sunglasses; AMF Billiards with poker tables; Bev Key with aluminum key chain/bottle openers; Die Cast Promotions with die-cast trucks; Head West with decorative mirrors for bar or game rooms; Imperial Rubber Holdings with a rolled, rubber-backed washable poker play mat; Notra Trading with bedding, towels, and housewares; Nostalgia Art with limited-edition artwork; Pacific Sportswear with wristbands, headbands, and rubber bracelets for charity; Stern Pinball with pinball machines; Talexia with cell phone charms; and Two Dog Designs with barbecue covers.
New Deal Fortifies Apparel Presence for AND 1
AND 1 entered into a long-term apparel licensing agreement with High Life Apparel LLC with first on-shelf presence in late 2006. High Life will handle AND 1 men?s apparel for domestic accounts, as well as key accounts in Canada. The partnership is a multimillion-dollar deal that will enhance AND 1?s apparel division.
Ubisoft Builds Portfolio with New Deals
Ubisoft inked a deal with 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., and Mirage Group to develop and publish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a video game based on the new CG feature-length film due in early 2007. The company also signed an agreement with Capcom to distribute Resident Evil 4, Onimusha 3, and Devil May Cry 3: Dante?s Awakening Special Edition video games for the PC, as well as with Shaun White, gold medal winner in the Winter Olympics for video games inspired by White?s snowboarding style. The signature video game is expected in 2007.
Ink Is Drying on Towel Deal
Ocean Pacific will partner with Franco Manufacturing Co., Inc., to produce and sell beach towels under the ?Op? moniker in the U.S.
Advance Group Changes Its Moniker
Advance Group, Inc., changed its name to Geneva Watch Group and redesigned its logo and Website to reflect the historical background of its signature products. The company designs, manufactures, and distributes watches and clocks, including in-house brand Freestyle. The company?s licensed portfolio includes Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Tommy Bahama, BCBG Max Azria, Betsey Johnson, Mudd, and XGames.
Execs on the Move
Betts FitzGerald comes to American Greetings as vice president, outbound licensing, and Lindsay Martinez joins the company as brand manager. Tanya Haider was promoted to senior vice president at Nickelodeon & Viacom International Consumer Products. Geoff Reiss will move into the role of senior vice president, programming, for ESPN Original Entertainment,and Rick Alessandri will become senior vice president, consumer products. Over at 20th Century Fox Television, Dan Shapiro was promoted to executive director, licensing, while The Summit Media Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., named Lee Ravdin president.
Licensing 2006 International Show and Conference Registration Is Open
Save $100 on exhibit hall registration by registering in advance for the most important licensing event of the year taking place June 20 to 22 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. Or save hundreds of dollars on early Licensing University Conference registration. For updates, conference details, up-to-date exhibitor listings, hotel information, and online registration, visit http://www.licensingshow.com/reg.
Upcoming Industry Events
International Licensing Industry Merchandisers? Association (LIMA) Licensing Seminars, March 15 and 16 at the Williams Club in New York City; and March 27 and 28 at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, http://www.licensing.org/
Youth Marketing Mega-Event 2006, March 27-29, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, Huntington Beach, CA, http://www.youthmarketingmegaevent.com/
LIMA UK Introduction to Licensing Spring Seminar and LIMA and Friends Spring Fling, May 25, No. 4 Hamilton Place, London, http://www.brandlicensingexpo.com/
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MGA Entertainment Marvels at New Deal