Corus Entertainment Announces New Structure
Corus Entertainment Inc. created a new organizational structure for itstelevision and content divisions, focusing on two strategic portfolios. NelvanaStudios will be integrated into the new kids' portfolio with Scott Dyer namedexecutive vice president, general manager, kids', and responsible foroverseeing YTV, Treehouse, Discovery Kids Canada, and Nelvana Studios. Inaddition, newly created Nelvana Enterprises, a separate business unit, willfocus on leveraging Corus' intellectual property internationally with DougMurphy taking on the role of president. A new lifestyle, drama, and moviesportfolio for the television division also was created, with Movie Central, WNetwork, CMT, and Scream integrated into one portfolio, and the consolidationof Movie Central's operations into Corus' Toronto broadcast center. Heading upthe new portfolio are Susan Ross as executive vice president, general manager,and Andrew Eddy as vice president, program strategy and investment. As a resultof this new structure, Movie Central operations in Edmonton will be integratedinto the Corus facilities in Toronto. Corus expects all changes resulting fromthe new organizational structure to be completed by January 2007, as well asthe elimination of 83 jobs. Other executive changes for Corus Kids: Phil Piazzabecomes vice president, programming and business development; Jocelyn Hamilton becomesvice president, creative; Irene Weibel becomes vice president, international;and Helen Lebeau becomes vice president, studio operations.
New TRU Campaign Is a Big Deal
Toys "R" Us launches its first-ever integrated marketing campaign supportingNBC show Deal or No Deal with newspaper circulars, TV ads, in-store displays,and a contest. Howie Mandel will be at the TRU Times Square store Thursday,September 28, at 1 p.m. to kick off the national promotion and officially openthe store's Deal or No Deal game boutique, which includes a board game fromPressman; The Interactive DVD Game Show from Imagination; an electronic gameand electronic handheld game from Irwin Toy; and a card game from CardinalIndustries. Starting October 1 and continuing through October 28, customers canparticipate in a retail version of the game using a game piece found innewspaper circulars that features two suitcases: one for "Deal" and one for "NoDeal." Each week, customers can bring their circular to any location to selecteither the "Deal"–an automatic 10 percent off any one item–or take theirchances and choose "No Deal"–trying their luck to win $1 million or hundreds ofthousands of other prizes, including an Xbox 360, MP3 player, and Toys "R" Usgift cards. If the briefcase comes up empty, customers still receive anin-store discount.
Long-Time Partners Form Joint Venture
Ragdoll formed a joint venture company with its broadcast partner, BBCWorldwide, called Ragdoll Worldwide Ltd. The new company will permit bothRagdoll and BBC Worldwide to collaborate and capitalize on their respectivestrengths around the world to maximize the potential of Ragdoll's properties.The pair will work together to take advantage of Ragdoll's current catalog andlaunch two new properties, In the Night Garden and Tronji. Ragdoll now is inthe final stages of completing both series, which will air in the UK on BBC in2007. BBC Worldwide will manage the international broadcast sales and the UKand international licensing of all Ragdoll properties including: Blips,Boohbah, Brum, Tots TV, Rosie and Jim, and the Open a Door series on behalf ofthe new joint venture. Ragdoll retains all UK broadcast rights, and Ragdoll USAInc., part of the new joint venture, will manage the Ragdoll portfolio in NorthAmerica.
Nickelodeon Connects with Parents via Online Initiative
Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group are launching ParentConnect, an onlinecommunity where parents and caregivers can share advice and activities by theirkids' ages and stages, city/location, and personal interests. Each parent candevelop a unique, customized home page, as well as discussion boards. TheParentsConnect communities are led by Host Parents, a team of 20 trainedmoderators who are parents, chosen for their backgrounds, life experiences, andwriting abilities. In addition, ParentsConnect members may set up their ownblogs and profile pages, as well as search member profiles and recommendarticles or links to information they consider useful to other parents. Infourth quarter 2006, ParentsConnect will launch ParentsConnect TV, and willbecome one of the first sites of its kind to include broadband video withuser-submitted content. It also will roll out local discussion boards,user-created polls and clubs, newsletters based on specific communityinterests, and enhanced social networking features.
Disney Brings Consumer Electronics Offerings to the Max
Disney will amp up its consumer electronics offerings next month with theDisney Mix Max personal digital media player. The Disney Mix Max (suggestedretail, less than $100) plays movies on Disney Max Clips, tiny plug 'n playmemory cards containing full-length movies from Buena Vista Home Entertainment,as well as plays digital music, TV shows, and digital photos. Disney alsoexpands its Mix line with the Disney Mix Micro player, as well as 10 new musictitles on Disney Mix Clips including the High School Musical soundtrack andmusic from Hollywood Records. The Disney Mix Stick Player
also has been enhanced and now has upgraded storage of 512 MB, on-demand"MixIt!" playlists, and new designs.
MODA Takes on Electronics Brand
Audiovox Corporation appointed MODA International Marketing, Inc., exclusiveworldwide licensing agency for its electronics brands: Audiovox, AcousticResearch, Jensen, Advent, and Terk. MODA will seek licensees in a variety ofelectronics, appliances, and lifestyle-related categories.
Rocky Initiative Off to a Smooth Start
Amid a flurry of official "Rocky Week" events, including a look-alike contest,a boxing match, and the Rocky statue rededication ceremony in its new permanenthome at the Philadelphia Art Museum, Jakks Pacific, Inc., unveiled itslimited-edition bronze Rocky statue action figure last week in Philadelphia tohelp support the City's Hero Scholarship Fund, Ronald McDonald House Charities,and Children's Hospitals. Jakks Pacific plans to distribute 1,000 statuefigures to the people of Philadelphia, including patients at Children'sHospitals in Philadelphia, children of fallen police officers and firefightersthrough the Hero Scholarship Fund, and families staying at local RonaldMcDonald Houses. Fans and collectors also can register to win the figures throughCBS radio station 1250 AM, The Big Talker. A toy line, based on existing filmsand the upcoming Rocky Balboa, launches in December and will include more than50 action figures, playsets, accessories, role-play items, and sports toys.
Coelho to Pen Five Books
Susie Coelho and Cool Springs Press partnered on a five-book series on personalstyle in a deal brokered by The Beanstalk Group. The first book by thelifestyle expert, HGTV host, and best-selling author, "Secrets of a Style Diva:A Get-Inspired Guide to Your Creative Side," recently hit shelves. A line ofgarden gloves and accessories under the name Susie Coelho Outdoor is due inspring 2007.
Marc Ecko Puts Callanen on Watch List
Marc Ecko Enterprises signed a multi-year extension of its licensing agreementwith Callanen International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Timex Inc., forwatches and the completion of an agreement for a new line of Avirex-brandedwatches. Callanen will develop, market, and distribute the fashion watchesthrough various domestic and international retail and specialty stores, whilethe Avirex line will be offered exclusively in the U.S.
PorchLight Entertainment Secures Partner in Mexico
PorchLight Entertainment signed the Tycoon Entertainment Group as the licensingagent for Jay Jay the Jet Plane throughout Mexico. Tycoon also secured thevideo rights to the Jay Jay 90-episode library and anticipates releasing thefirst two videos regionally in the first quarter of 2007.
Mattel Consolidates Barbie Oral-Care Portfolio
Mattel is consolidating all of its Barbie oral health-care business as part ofa new licensing partnership with Procter & Gamble. As part of the alliance,the pair will produce Barbie-branded oral health-care products, including Crestbrand toothpaste. The co-branded Crest/Barbie oral-care product line will beavailable spring 2007. In other news, the Mattel Children's Foundation awardeddomestic grants of $400,000 to 37 nonprofit children's organizations in 21states.
Comic Strip Inspires Toy Line
Dark Horse Deluxe joined forces with Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell, KingFeatures Syndicate, and Yoe! Studio on a four-piece set of PVC figures from thecomic strip. Earl, Mooch, Shtinky, and Guard Dog will appear in the initialset, while Earl and Mooch will appear again later this year as larger roto-castvinyl figures.
LeapFrog Extends Brand with New Relationships
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., created an outbound licensing strategy to extendits brand into a variety of retail channels. First products are already on shelvesand include games from Cardinal Industries, puzzles from MasterPieces,educational supplements including workbooks from Learning Horizons, books fromScholastic, infant and developmental products from Sassy, and apparel from KidsHeadquarters. Brandgenuity LLC negotiated the licensing relationship betweenLeapFrog and its licensees.
Cartoon Network Fans Treated to DVDs
Warner Home Video is ringing in the holidays with the release of CartoonNetwork Christmas: Vol. 3, as well as Ed, Edd 'n Eddy: The Complete FirstSeason (suggested retail, $19.98) on DVD due on shelves October 10. New onshelves this month are Cartoon Network Halloween: Volume 3 and Cartoon NetworkFridays: Volume 1. The holiday DVDs retail for $14.97 and will be supported byan on-air and online campaign.
MobileSidewalk Mobilizes Deals
MobileSidewalk secured mobile content deals with TheSportsPage andRestaurantRow.com. For TheSportsPage, the company will provide sportsinformation directly to the cell phones of sports fans, while foodies willreceive menus, photos of restaurant interiors, reviews, and door-to-doordriving directions as subscribers of Restaurantrow.com when the servicelaunches in the third quarter.
Donald Beefs Up Licensed Portfolio
The Trump Organization beefed up its licensing portfolio, signing deals withBuckhead Beef and Badanco Enterprises. A line of Trump Steaks will be availablevia an exclusive Website, some specialty stores located in Trump properties,and some exposure in the premium market. The company's deal with BadancoEnterprises Inc. will add luggage and travel goods to the Donald J. TrumpSignature Collection. Badanco will manufacture and market luggage, includingbusiness cases, garment bags, and travel accessories. Luggage and businesscases will launch at Macy's during the upcoming holiday season.
Execs on the Move
FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide promoted Keith Hindle to executive vicepresident, FLW, North America. David Luner moves up to senior vice president,consumer products, FLW, North America, while James Ngo was named director oflicensing, FLW, North America. Missy Farren & Associates, Ltd., namedLucille Grippo account supervisor for the Williamsburg Products Group.Dependable Solutions, Inc., named Holly Royer director of client services.
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