April 6, 2018
New Global Division for HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment created a new global consumer products group, to be headed by current executive vice president, international, Peter Byrne. Byrne takes over as executive vice president, worldwide consumer products, with responsibility for worldwide licensing, promotions, brand and retail marketing, and creative services. In addition, he is responsible for the company’s live events strategy and its theme park ventures. He will be based in the London headquarters and will report to CEO Bruce Steinberg. Jamie Cygielman, who will report to Byrne, will expand her current responsibilities as senior vice president, general manager, North America to include HIT’s Canadian operations and the creative resources group in North America.
Byrne joined HIT in September 2005, following the acquisition of the company by Apax Partners. As executive vice president, international, he led the restructuring of the division and was key to the rapid expansion of the company’spresence in world markets. He also spearheaded the recent acquisition of the Rainbow Magic brand from Working Partners Ltd. Prior to HIT, Byrne headed the worldwide licensing group at Twentieth Century Fox, and before that, worked in the toy business with Kenner and Matchbox.
The news follows last week’s announcement of Patricia Wyatt stepping down as the president of HIT Entertainment’s North American operations.
Former Disney Exec To Entertainment Rights
Entertainment Rights Plc appointed Deborah Dugan to the position of CEO and president of Entertainment Rights North America. Dugan, the former president of Disney Worldwide Publishing, will report directly to Mike Heap, CEO, Entertainment Rights Plc, and be based at the company’s U.S. headquarters in New York.
In her new role, Dugan will have overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of U.S. operations and Canada, which encompasses Entertainment Rights US, Classic Media, and Big Idea. Dugan’s main role will focus on further building and maximizing the revenue streams for the group’s entire brand portfolio across TV, licensing & merchandising, DVD/video, and digital & music. Dugan will also work closely with the executive management team based in London to formulate the strategic direction of the business as well as exploiting new business development opportunities.
Clash Expands Role at Sesame Workshop
Kevin Clash, the Muppeteer behind Elmo, will expand his role at Sesame Workshop to senior creative advisor. Clash will provide his expertise to many of the Workshop’s projects, including domestic and international productions of “Sesame Street” and outreach projects on multiple media platforms. In addition, he will work to nurture ideas for new properties and foster broader distribution for all projects, while continuing his responsibilities as Muppet Captain for the “Sesame Street” production team and performing as Elmo.
Toys “R” Us Selects Ad Agency
Toys “R” Us, U.S. appointed Hill, Holliday as lead creative advertising agency for its 586-store division. The account team will be based in Boston and will oversee strategic planning and creative development for television and radio advertising. Mediaedge:cia will continue to handle media buying responsibilities for Toys “R” Us, U.S. In other news, Toys “R” Us and the Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund raised $1.1 million as part of the company’s nationwide campaign to benefit Autism Speaks.
DST Acquires Assets of Long-Term Partner
After a long and prosperous relationship, Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles LLC acquired select assets of Art Asylum Inc., effective immediately. DST has contracted Art Asylum in the past for their Star Trek and Marvel lines, but will now have the full breadth of talent in-house and available for upcoming releases—including the new Battlestar Galactica line and future projects. Moving over to join the DST team as part of the deal are Donna Soldano, founding partner of Art Asylum and Robert Yee.
Fisher-Price, Mayfair Partner on Collection
Fisher-Price and Mayfair are teaming up for a new line of Fisher-Price-branded layette and playwear for newborns, infants, and toddlers due in September at select Sears stores. The line will feature layette for newborns, including onesies, bibs, booties, and hats. For infants and toddlers, the collection will include playwear such as sweaters, pants, coveralls, and more. The full apparel line will utilize the Fisher-Price “Animals of the Rainforest” design, which is also a popular theme across the brand’s sleepwear, bedding, and Baby Gear product lines.
WWE Steps in the Ring with Bliss
World Wrestling Entertainment and Bliss Beverages launched WWE branded drinks at nearly all Wal-Mart stores nationwide. The branded beverages are part of Bliss’ “Socko Energy” flagship product line, which includes “WWE Slammin’ Citrus Powered by Socko” and “WWE Raw Attitude Powered by Socko.” The rollout is supported by an integrated marketing campaign that will leverage Socko’s and WWE’s existing licensing and promotional partnership. WWE RAW Attitude marketing initiatives include sponsorship of a WWE pay-per-view, as well as online, print, and broadcast advertising throughout WWE channels including wwe.com and
. In other news, WWE appointed Jennifer McIntosh as vice president of publicity and George Cabico as publicity director.
Preschool Brand Gains Support of JAKKS
JAKKS Pacific Inc. signed on as worldwide master toy licensee for Shushybye with plans to create a line of toys and plush under its Child Guidance brand. “Shushybye Baby” will premiere on BabyFirstTV May 28, where the program will air twice daily.
ACT III Licensing to Support DVD Series
ACT III Licensing was appointed exclusive licensing agency for Juno Baby, a DVD series that stimulates young learning through interactive music education. The DVD series received two Northern California Emmy nominations, recently winning for “Best Original Music.” It has also been awarded the 2006 and 2007 Parent’s Choice Awards, 2006 iParenting Media Award, Dr. Toy’s Best 100 award for 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Ford Mustang Inspires Men’s Fragrance
The Beanstalk Group developed a strategic brand license agreement between its client Ford Mustang and Estée Lauder’s Aramis and Designer Fragrances. Together, they will introduce Mustang, a new men’s fragrance due in July in retailers including Sears and at mass merchants and chain drugstores in August.
Licensing Show Seminar to Explore Hispanic Market
Televisa, in conjunction with its exclusive licensing agencies in the U.S. —Brandsplanet LLC, Exim Licensing Group Inc., and United Media—will give insight into the opportunities and trends in the U.S. Hispanic market in three seminars at this year’s Licensing Show. The events take place June 19, 20, and 21 in Room #1E01 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Javits Convention Center.
The Hispanic market is projected to reach as much as $1 trillion by 2010, according to estimates by HispanTelligence, based on analysis of U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis figures. The seminars will also showcase Televisa’s new licenses including RBD-Rebelde, El Chavo, and Lola.
Tintin Readied for Trio of Films
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are teaming to direct and produce three back-to-back features based on Georges Remi's Belgian comic-strip hero “Tintin” for DreamWorks. The two filmmakers will each direct at least one of the movies; no confirmation has been given as to the director for the third film.
Halo 3 Aims to Make History
The makers of Halo 3, the final chapter in the groundbreaking Halo video game trilogy, expect to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released worldwide beginning on Sept. 25. Created by Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360T video game and entertainment system, Halo 3 will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in Master Chief's epic battle to save humankind.
Execs on the Move
BabyFirstTV appointed Jeffrey Quinn senior vice president of marketing.
Taffy Entertainment hired David Di Lorenzo as vice president, retail marketing.
ZULA USA LLC named Todd M. Nisbet vice president of business development.
Renee Young joined Child’s Play Communications as vice president. Van Scott was promoted to account executive and Erika Sanchez has also joined the company as account coordinator.
TV-Loonland appointed Damien Tromel head of creative affairs and development.
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