Weekly E-News, Issue #224, August 7, 2007

Disney Acquires Children’s Online Provider The Walt Disney Company acquired Club Penguin, a virtual online community frequented by tweens in a deal that could total $700 million. The company will initially pay $350 million and another $350 millio

April 6, 2018

Disney Acquires Children’s Online Provider

The Walt Disney Company acquired Club Penguin, a virtual online community frequented by tweens in a deal that could total $700 million. The company will initially pay $350 million and another $350 million by the end of 2009 if the site meets growth targets. The move will enable Disney to gain a further stronghold on children’s entertainment on the internet. The site currently has more than 700,000 users who pay $5.95 a month to customize penguin characters and then chat and play games with other members.

Mattel Recall to Cost Company $30 Million

Mattel apologized last week to customers affected by a recall of nearly a million toys from its Fisher-Price division and said the move will cut pretax operating income at the world’s largest toymaker by $30 million.

“We apologize to everyone affected by this recall, especially those who bought the toys in question,” Robert A. Eckert, Mattel Inc.’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Included in the recall

were 83 types of toys based on the popular characters Big Bird, Elmo, and Dora, among others.

Mattel also said it was not aware of any additional issues related to lead in paints with its products, but cannot guarantee that more issues will not be identified.

The company said it was reviewing the procedures of all of its manufacturing partners in China.

ENE Travels with Sharper Image

Sharper Image Corp. signed a multiyear licensing agreement with The EnE Group, LLC, a manufacturer and marketer of luggage, computer cases, and related travel accessories. Under the agreement, The EnE Group will offer a wide range of luggage pieces, business cases, laptop computer cases, travel accessories, plus camera cases and backpacks under The Sharper Image brand name. The inaugural products will be launched in 2008 and will be available at department stores, electronics and computer stores, as well as at other upscale specialty retailers.

Raids Seek to Thwart Video Game Piracy

U.S. federal customs agents raided more than 30 businesses and homes in 16 states last week, looking for devices that allow pirated video games to play on Wiis, PlayStation 2s, and Xboxes.

Allegations about the sale and distribution of illegal modification chips and copyright circumvention devices for the popular consoles and others included 32 search warrants in 16 states, said the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The agency declined to release the names of those raided, but contended they were responsible for importing, installing, selling, and distributing foreign-made devices smuggled into the United States.

Illegal chips and other devices used on gaming consoles violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Sales of counterfeit or illegally obtained games costs the industry about $3 billion a year globally, not including Internet piracy, the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group, estimates.

Fat Face Signs £20 Million Licensing Deals

UK active lifestyle brand Fat Face has signed three licensing agreements worth a total of £20 million for Fat Face branded eyewear, watches, and luggage.

The watch collection, due to launch in September, is a £7m agreement with fashion and sports watch manufacturer Peers Hardy for 44 lines, with new colorways and styles introduced throughout the seasons. The new collection will be available for sale through the Fat Face Web site, catalog, and 90 Fat Face stores, as well as other retailers in the UK. This licensing deal offers Peers Hardy an international growth opportunity as the Fat Face ranges are being rolled out to its franchise stores in Dubai and Singapore.

Fat Face has also signed a £3.5m agreement with travel goods supplier St.C for 10 lines of Fat Face branded luggage that will be launched in November 2007. A second collection comprising four lines is planned for February 2008. The luggage collection will be available through Fat Face stores, in John Lewis department stores and through independent luggage retailers in the UK.

The eyewear collection is being produced by Fabris Lane, in a deal worth £9m. The men’s and women’s sunglasses collections will be launched in January 2008 and will comprise 25 styles, with new lines added each season. The optical collection is due to be launched in May 2008 at the MIDO eyewear exhibition. As well as Fat Face and John Lewis channels, Fat Face eyewear will also be sold through Boots the Chemist and airport stores in the UK.

Fat Face has 140 stores worldwide and already sells footwear, jewelry, accessories, tents, and beach kits beyond the core clothing collections for men, women, and children.


Bindi Irwin To Debut Children’s Apparel Line

Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, is coming to market with a kids’ apparel line inspired by her love of animals and concern for the environment. BiNDi Wear will be on shelves in February 2008 and feature clothing and accessories for babies and boys and girls, including daywear, sleepwear, swimwear, footwear, bags, and hats. A percentage of the proceeds will directly support Australia Zoo’s international conservation programs like Wildlife Warrior.

Licensing Course Set for

Golden Compass

Scholastic Media and New Line Cinema are putting the finishing touches on the licensing program for

The Golden Compass

(due Dec. 7, 2007), which has attracted 40 partners worldwide. Scholastic has recently signed on Sababa Toys and MEGA Brands in the board game and puzzle category. Each company will develop variations on board-game themes that take players through the fantasy adventure created in

The Golden Compass

mythology. Additional categories include apparel, home decor, card and DVD board game, food and candy, stationery, gift and novelty, and publishing. Scholastic is publishing the movie tie-in books throughout the world in English.  

HIT Favourites Books Time on Family Vacations

HIT Entertainment will bring its most popular characters to First Choice Kids’ Academies via a new deal. HIT Favourites is a multibrand licensing strategy launched by HIT at the British Toy Fair in January 2007. The umbrella approach is designed to create a new premium product range and create new licensing opportunities across all categories. The new Families brochure, which features the HIT characters and further details on the family offering, is now available at all First Choice travel shops. The Kids Academies will be up and running May 2008. Themed family rooms at Holiday Villages and selected properties will include a Kids Den, a dedicated partitioned area complete with characters as well as bunk beds, television, and Playstation. In addition, First Choice Retail will be renovating and redesigning select Holiday Hypermarket units in the UK with branded play areas.  

Designer Signs with Boots

The UK’s Boots the Chemist has added designer name Jonathan Saunders to its 17 cosmetics brand with a collection called “17 by Jonathan Saunders” in distinctive patterned packaging. Saunders debuts his first beauty collection with two capsule ranges for the autumn. The first focuses on lips and eyes in key autumn trend colors and the second is a beauty palette. The innovative Scottish designer is known for his use of bold prints and this is reflected in the line’s packaging.

Entertainment Rights, Compedia Pair Up for Lassie Games

“Edutainment” games supplier Compedia and UK-based Entertainment Rights have joined to develop and launch an educational Lassie CD-Rom aimed at children aged 4 to 9 years. The CD features six interactive games designed to develop cognitive skills including, memory, spatial relationships, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving. Each game features high-quality graphics and includes activities, songs, and rewards that will challenge and motivate children, aiming to make the learning experience fun. The release is set to roll out globally this autumn. Entertainment Rights and Compedia already partner on the Casper CD-Rom.


Kabillion Targets Preschoolers

Kabillion, the new multi-platform children’s program service, launched Kabillion Jr, a new preschool-focused programming block available on both Kabillion On-Demand (on Comcast Cable systems nationwide) and Kabillion’s broadband site,


. New programming includes the 3D CGI-animated “Dive Olly Dive!” and the animated series based on America’s favorite dolphin and his young human friend, “Flipper & Lopaka.” Additional shows will be added to the schedule in the coming months.

Aardman Expands Mobile Content

Aardman Animations, creator of “Wallace & Gromit” and

Chicken Run

, is expanding its mobile content lineup. The content will be added to operator 3’s ad-supported video service, which is operated by Rhythm NewMedia. Aardman has enjoyed a lot of success with video shorts adapted to mobile such as Angry Kid, which at its peak sold more than 10,000 video clips a day over mobile networks. Aardman will be adding on to the ad-supported video service clips from Creature Comforts, A Town Called Panic, Purple and Brown, and Morph.


Good Stuff Planned for PEZ Brand

PEZ Candy Inc. signed a deal with Good Stuff/Win Stuff for a line of products such as plush/soft novelties, decorative pillows in various sizes, rubber balls, towels, headwear, and plush toys with squeakers for pets. The products are due to launch in the United States in spring 2008, with plans to hit various food and drugstores, pet retailers, and the amusement sector. The deal was brokered by Bradford Licensing Associates.

Koala Brothers Seek Helping Hands

UK-based Spellbound Entertainment has launched a search to find Britain’s most helpful preschooler through its The Koala Brothers characters, in association with the Pre-School Learning Alliance and UK multiple bookseller Waterstones. The autumn competition will encourage children to help others in their homes, in their nursery schools, or in the wide community. The Koala Brothers is set in the Australian Outback and in each episode of the show they look for friends in need of help. The winners will attend a pre-Christmas tea party with The Koala Bothers and will also receive tickets to CBeebies Live!, a subscription to CBeebies Weekly, books and Koala Brothers toys, games, books and DVDs.


Jewelry Line to Benefit Girls’ Charity

High IntenCity Corp. created a line of jewelry to support Girls Inc., a national non-profit youth organization dedicated to the mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. The collection features necklaces and bracelets in styles ranging from sporty to glam in vibrant colors that reflect the joy of being a girl. High IntenCity will donate 10 percent of the proceeds received from the jewelry to Girls Inc. The first collection will be available in specialty and department stores this summer.

Shelcore Taps Cundari to Refresh Brand

Shelcore tapped Cundari to launch a marketing and global advertising campaign with a goal of rebuilding the brand. Plans include a $4 million print, broadcast, and online campaign slated for the fourth quarter. Cundari will also play an active role in evaluating and potentially redesigning Shelcore product packaging while also assisting in the development of a new Web site.

BKN Gets Animated about New Facility

BKN has created a new facility that will produce animation in digital high definition as the company strives to become a leader in providing terrestrial, cable, broadband, and satellite broadcasters and DVD distributors with high-definition series or films. “Stone Age,” a new comedy project consisting of 26 half-hour episodes plus an 80-minute film, will be the first project in the new style. The project is due to be delivered in late 2008.


Execs on the Move 

Paramount Licensing has named Lynda Cevallos vice president, licensing.

Joel Ward joined DreamWorks Animation Consumer Products and will head up all the new theme park and location-based entertainment for the studio.

Sean Gorman joins American Greetings Properties as vice president of production and development.

Simon Hawkins has joined Global Brands Group as vice president of licensing and sales for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

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