Weekly E-News, Issue #225, August 14, 2007

Untitled DocumentSony Captures ‘Philly Soul’Sony BMG Music Entertainment has joined forces with the soul music powerhouse that catapulted the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and Billy Paul to worldwide stardom in the 1970

April 6, 2018

Sony Captures ‘Philly Soul’

Sony BMG Music Entertainment has joined forces with the soul music powerhouse that catapulted the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and Billy Paul to worldwide stardom in the 1970s. The label has licensed the complete music catalog of Philadelphia International Records (PIR), which was founded by producer/songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971.

Under the multiyear deal, Sony’s catalog arms will delve into the PIR vaults to reissue classic albums, live and unreleased material, and “many more secret finds and rarities,” according to a statement.

The reissue project begins in October with two double-disc compilations: “The Essential Lou Rawls” and “The Essential Teddy Pendergrass.” Gamble and Huff will be closely involved with the entire undertaking.

Universal Music To Sell Songs without Copy Protection

Signaling another departure from the music industry’s longtime anti-piracy strategy, the Universal Music Group will sell a significant portion of its catalog

without the customary copy protection software for at least the next few months, the company announced.

Universal will offer albums and songs without the software, known as digital rights management, through existing digital music retail services like




, nascent services from




, and some artists’ Web sites.

The offer of Universal’s music under the new terms is being framed as a test, to run into January, allowing executives to study consumer demand and any effect on online piracy. A Universal decision to adopt the practice permanently would put pressure on other record companies to follow suit. That could stoke a wider debate about how to treat intellectual property in the digital era.

Hasbro, EA Form Strategic Alliance

Hasbro and Electronic Arts Inc. will create the next generation of fun for kids and families via a new strategic licensing agreement. The alliance grants EA the exclusive worldwide rights to create mobile, online, handheld, PC, and console games based on properties including Monopoly, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Nerf, Tonka, and Littlest Pet Shop. The first games are scheduled to launch in calendar year 2008. EA veteran Chip Lange will lead the overall Hasbro business initiative as vice president and general manager while Hasbro senior vice president Mark Blecher will head up digital gaming initiatives.

Roary Roars into International Toy Deals

A raft of master toy deals has been signed for Chapman Entertainment’s preschool animation series “Roary the Racing Car,” following TV agreements in 50 territories. Deals include Bandai for France, Benelux, Spain and Portugal. In Scandinavia KE Mathiasan and Top Toys share distribution in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, and Amo has picked up Finland. SF Norge has signed for home entertainment for the whole of Scandinavia.

In the UK, Gosh International has signed for a range of outdoor toys including Frisbees, hoppers, playballs, and buckets and spades, and Marks & Spencer is taking an exclusive range of clothing, cards, and gift wrap and puzzles and games. The total number of UK licensees for Roary is now 24.

Toys ‘R’ Us Adds New Departments

Toys ‘R’ Us hopes to solidify its place in the hearts of toy lovers and collectors alike with several new departments in its Times Square store. Tourists can commemorate their trip to the Big Apple at Geoffrey’s Universal, a floor full of souvenir products such as sweatshirts, hats, mugs, and tote bags to personalized items and New York-branded versions of licensed items, including Hello Kitty and SpongeBob SquarePants. Sports fans can visit its Sports Memorabilia & Collectibles Shop on the lower level, which features glass display cases filled with autographed balls, jerseys, helmets, bats, and gloves.

On the second level, shoppers will find the Science Fiction and Character Collectibles Shops stocked with miniature versions of Star Trek spaceships, die-cast statues of classic Marvel Comics superheroes, numbered versions of Star Wars props as well as unique items from the Walt Disney Showcase Collection as well as Barbie Collectibles Shop. A new 2,200-square-foot children’s apparel department will also be on the second level featuring licensed and non-licensed clothing as well as mix-and match separates from the company’s exclusive labels, including Little Legends and Koala Kids.


Coolabi Signs Deal for

Scarlett and Crimson

Simon and Schuster acquired the publishing rights for Coolabi’s new girls’ property

Scarlett and Crimson

. It will publish

Scarlett and Crimson

titles in the United States, the UK, Canada, and other English-language territories. The first titles should be in stores for summer 2008. The property is a joint venture between Coolabi and The Ged Backland Studio. Additional products will include blogs and graphic novels to appeal to the target audience of 8- to 12-year-old girls. A greeting card license has been signed with Danilo.

Hit Entertainment Signs Orchard Books for Rainbow Magic

Hit Entertainment has signed Orchard Books as its UK publishing partner for the girls’ property Rainbow Magic for a five-year deal and will publish all English-language releases in the UK and Commonwealth territories.

HIT acquired Rainbow Magic earlier this year and unveiled plans for developing an animated television series based on the books, which have sold more than 15 million copies in over 20 countries. It is aimed at girls aged 5 to 9 and is based on two ordinary girls and their fairy friends. 

First published in 2003, there are 60 existing books in the Rainbow Magic series with the eighth series,

Dance Fairies

, due for release in September. Orchard will publish all new and existing chapter books and plans to launch new formats in 2008 including novelty, coloring and activity books, and an annual.

Judges Announced for Licensing Challenge

This year’s judges for the Licensing Challenge at MIPCOM Junior are Anna Hewitt, head of international licensing, BBC; Andrew Lane, Hasbro UK; Stan Clutton, senior vice president, licensing, Fisher-Price; Richard Woolf, director of international licensing, Jetix Consumer Products International; and John Lee, chairman and co-founder, Ready-to-Learn Partnership. Leigh Anne Brodsky, president, Nickelodeon Consumer Products, will be president of the License Challenge jury.

In partnership with License! Global, MIPCOM Junior hosts the Licensing Challenge, a pitching session designed to showcase the TV property with the highest licensing potential. The jury will select a winner during the MIPCOM Junior show, to be held in Cannes Oct. 6 and 7, from a shortlist of five entrants. The winner will be offered advice on how to hit the international stores, plus receive prizes designed to establish the contestants’ global presence. For more information and to enter a submission, go to

http://www.mipcomjunior.com/ licensing.htm


Toonami Jetstream Adds Programming

Toonami Jetstream, the online extension of Cartoon Network’s Toonami franchise, kicked off a new slate of programming to commemorate the first anniversary of the 24/7 broadband partnership between Cartoon Network and VIZ Media. Seven programs, including “Star Wars: Clone Wars,” “Dragon Ball,” and “MegaMan Star Force,” are debuting throughout the summer and fall.

Obituary: Robert Leffler, Sega America

Robert Kent Leffler, licensing manager for Sega America, passed away Aug. 5 after battling cancer. He was 50 years old. Leffler left Sega in March without disclosing his illness.

“Robert's solid work ethic, patient diplomatic negotiations, and easygoing spirit are some of the long list of rare and genuine qualities that made him a very special and unique person. He was a patient mentor, a true friend, an all-around kind of guy,” Dyna Lopez, licensing and character development at Sega, said in a statement. “He will be deeply missed, as he has formed many friendships over the years and contributed so much and more to our licensing department and to Sega as a whole.”

Funeral services were held Sat., Aug. 11, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fennimore, Wisc. Memorials may be made to the Robert Kent Leffler Scholarship Fund, Fennimore Scholarship Foundation, Attn: Steve Lendosky, 1140 Grant St., Fennimore, WI 53809.


Code Lyoko Gains Exposure

Taffy Entertainment is building the licensing program for Code Lyoko, inking deals with EMI/Caroline Records for a music CD, software publisher Mindscape for a PC and PS2, and T-shirts from Headline Entertainment. The “Code Lyoko—Featuring The Subdigitals” CD has music from, and inspired by, the animated series. Mindscape pays homage to the show’s heroes for the PC and PS2 in 2008 in the United States, UK, and France. In the apparel category, Headline Entertainment readies T-shirts this month at specialty retailers in the United States.

Marvel Characters Inspire DVD Game

Brighter Minds Media LLC and Marvel Entertainment partnered on Marvel Heroes Breakout, which combines the traditional board game with DVD challenges and activities. The game features footage from Marvel TV shows as well as hours of brand-new animation, hundreds of trivia questions, and seven interactive DVD activities.

‘Storm Hawks’ Spreads Its Wings

German terrestrial RTL II is the latest broadcaster to land Nerd Corps Entertainment’s “Storm Hawks.“ Spearheading the deal was rights management company m4e, which recently acquired all rights for the series in German-speaking territories. The comedy/action-adventure series currently airs on Cartoon Network in the United States, as well as terrestrial broadcaster France 3 in France, and will launch this year on YTV in Canada; Cartoon Network in the UK, France, and Latin America; as well as terrestrial broadcaster France 3 in France. Canadian French-language broadcaster VRAK has also acquired “Storm Hawks,” and MGM Worldwide Television Distribution has picked up the rights to distribute it in all territories excluding North America and Western Europe. Spin Master has signed on as the series’ master toy licensee and is planning to launch its first wave of products this fall.

Global Design Concepts Signs on Bongo

Global Design Concepts Inc. will create a line of Bongo handbags, small leather goods, luggage, and cosmetic bags targeting the junior set. The handbags and accessories will launch at mid-tier department and specialty stores with an assortment of 10 groups for the holiday season 2007, and will be refreshed seasonally.

Team Baby Entertainment Sports New Agent

Team Baby Entertainment, the children’s sports production company majority owned by Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company, retained licensing agency 206 to develop and implement a promotional and retail partnership strategy. The company currently has licenses with Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, NASCAR, and the NCAA. The initial DVD series currently features more than 25 titles, ranging from the college-themed Baby Irish (Notre Dame), Baby Longhorn (University of Texas), and Baby Wolverine (University of Michigan), to professional sports-focused releases including New York Yankees Baby, Red Sox Baby, NASCAR Baby, and Dallas Mavericks Baby. Team Baby is currently in development on an animated television series as well as a music CD collection.

IFL Secures Asian Partner

The International Fight League and Alfred Haber Distribution added Star TV as the IFL’s first television partner in Asia. Star will carry IFL programming on its Star Sports platform, available in over 50 countries to a viewership of more than 300 million.


Executive Moves

Marvel Entertainment appointed Gustavo Antonioni head of UK licensing, to oversee all sales, marketing, retail activity and promotions in the UK and Ireland.

Melanie Humberstone-Garley joined Mattel Brands Consumer Products as softlines licensing manager. Humberstone-Garley joins from Copyright where she worked on Jacqueline Wilson and Beatrix Potter licensing businesses.

4Kids Entertainment International, the London-based subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment, has expanded its team. Camilla Tylka and Emily French Ullah joined as UK licensing managers. Tylka joined 4Kids from HIT Entertainment and previously worked with Gaffney in Australia. French Ullah joined came from Jetix and before that Fox Kids.

Nicola Elliott has also recently joined the team from Kroll as UK licensing coordinator. Co-managing director Stephen Gould continues to oversee UK sales, and UK marketing manager Victoria Charles maintains responsibility for UK marketing and communications across all brands. Victoria Ramirez has taken up the newly created post of marketing assistant working across both the UK and international teams. Fée Bradshaw has been appointed international licensing coordinator. Charlotte Hill has also joined as manager, international marketing and communications working with international marketing director Jane Kennedy. They will divide the international territories between them. Hill is responsible for Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Greece, while Kennedy is responsible for all other markets outside the UK and Ireland. Hill was formerly European marketing supervisor for Walt Disney TV International (Disney Channel and Disney Branded Programs in EMEA), with responsibility for pan-European marketing and communication activities.

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