Weekly E-news, Issue #242, December 11, 2007

TRU Opens First Store in South KoreaToys “R” Us opened its first store in South Korea last week at the Lotte Mart in Guro. The 37,000-square-foot store will be the largest toy store in the country and is being opened through a license by

April 6, 2018

TRU Opens First Store in South Korea


Toys “R” Us opened its first store in South Korea last week at the Lotte Mart in Guro. The 37,000-square-foot store will be the largest toy store in the country and is being opened through a license by the Lotte Group, one of the premier retailers in South Korea. The store will offer a unique product mix, including toys from around the world, unlike its retail counterparts that have traditionally only offered toys based on local characters. The store will also provide an interactive environment offering a Thomas the Train display, LegoLand displays and play tables, Play-Doh craft tables, LeapPad computer stations, train-style checkout and service counters, and an outdoor play space. The retailer currently operates stores in 36 global markets.

“The addition of South Korea to our store portfolio extends our global reach to 36 countries and we look forward to future expansion as we continue to strengthen our international toy authority position,” says Jerry

Storch, chairman and CEO, Toys “R” Us.  

The store will commemorate its grand opening with a celebration for parents and children featuring a variety of in-store activities, special contests, prizes, and giveaways throughout the weekend. Customers will also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the iconic Geoffrey the Giraffe. To kick off the festivities, a special branded bus with costumed characters will visit local elementary schools to generate excitement for the grand-opening celebration. The bus will be at the store on the morning of the grand opening for an exciting musical performance.

In 1984, Toys “R” Us opened its first international locations in Canada and Singapore. Since that time, the company’s global operations have grown to include 712 international toy stores, which include licensed and franchised outfits. The company currently operates in 35 countries outside of the United States.

Nickelodeon Drives Brand Exposure with Hertz Deal


Nickelodeon will bring its programming to traveling families across the United States via a new deal with The Hertz Corporation beginning Dec. 15. In an industry first, the company will launch Nick on the Go, a fully portable touchscreen media player that will be preloaded with more than 40 hours of programming from Nickelodeon and Nick. Jr. series. Programming and content will be regularly refreshed to meet the needs of frequent renters. Future units will roll out to 25 additional Hertz markets by early 2008. The pair will add new features next year, including Nickelodeon video games and Internet access to Nick’s family of Web sites.

Delivery Agent Named Exclusive Online Retailer for CBS


CBS signed an agreement for an exclusive online retail partnership with Delivery Agent, a leader in shopping-enabled entertainment for television shows, motion pictures, sports, and music videos. Delivery Agent will make it possible for fans of CBS’s popular daytime, primetime, and late-night series to easily find and purchase exclusive fan gear as well as products worn or used by their favorite characters. Official fan gear now available at

www.cbsstore.com

includes show-branded apparel, toys and games, gift items, and DVDs. 

HIT Founder Peter Orton Dies


Peter Orton, founder and chairman of HIT Entertainment, passed away December 6 after a long and courageous fight against cancer. Orton began his career at what was then known as Children’s Television Workshop where, in partnership with Lou Horne, he pioneered the “Sesame Street” co-production, a process that adapted the iconic children’s show to the cultural and linguistic demands of regions as diverse as Scandinavia, Mexico, and the Middle East.

It was at CTW that Orton formed a firm friendship with another unique television talent, Jim Henson, eventually leaving CTW to head up Henson International Television. Following Henson’s untimely death in 1990, Orton took over the existing business and founded the company today known as HIT.

Orton took HIT to the very top of the children’s television and licensing business. Developing iconic brands such as Bob the Builder, Barney, Pingu, and Angelina Ballerina.

Orton’s success was not confined to the kids’ arena. He and his wife, Sue, were both great National Hunt Racing Fans, and together bred many successful horses.

In addition to his wife, Orton leaves behind a son, James.

Lionsgate, MGA Entertainment Broaden Deal


Lionsgate and MGA Entertainment have significantly extended their relationship in an effort to grow the Bratz brand. Lionsgate has become the sole U.S. distributor for the entire Bratz DVD catalog, including the five titles previously distributed in the U.S. market. In addition, Lionsgate will distribute two new Bratz animated DVD titles in 2008 in the United States, Canadac and the UK. Lionsgate has also gained the North American VOD/EST rights for the Bratz catalog and VOD/EST UK/Eire rights for two new titles in 2008. Later this year, Lionsgate will release new Bratz interactive DVDs based on an agreement with Bratz licensee XLT.



Access Licensing Group Sets Goals for New Clients


Access Licensing Group is the new agency of record for Mexico’s top four fútbol (soccer) clubs in the United States and Canada. The agency will license, market, and promote club-branded non-game-day merchandise for Chivas de Guadalajara, Club América, Cruz Azul, and Pumas UNAM to millions of U.S. Hispanic soccer fans. Initial categories of interest include a vast range of products and services in key categories, such as leisure apparel and accessories, toys and games, food and beverage, and stationery.

Tesco Sales Up with Strong International Growth


Tesco turned in an 11.8 percent growth in group sales in its third quarter, the 13 weeks ending November 24.

In a trading statement, chief executive Terry Leahy said, “Overall sales growth has strengthened in the period, with international delivering a particularly strong performance, and the UK has again done well, with good growth in our core food categories. Our first Fresh & Easy stores in the United States have been very well-received by customers.”

Leahy highlighted the launch of the online Tesco Direct as helping the performance of its non-food ranges. He said that international sales were up 25.7 percent at actual exchange rates and by 21.4 percent at constant rates. This included a strong performance in Asia, where sales grew by 29 percent at constant rates, and in central Europe. In the UK, total sales grew by 7.6 percent in the quarter and like-for-like sales by 4.8 percent, including petrol, and by 4.1 percent excluding petrol.

HIT Takes Shows to U.S., Latin America


HIT Entertainment has signed deals in the United States and in Latin America for its Chapman Entertainment properties.

It has joined forces with PBS Kids Sprout in the United States, the only 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand, and online for kids aged 2 to 5 with “Fifi and the Flowertots.” The show will premiere Jan. 14 and will show daily during The Sunny Side Up Show live morning show block. Clips, games, and printouts will be available at

SproutOnline.com

.   

In Latin America, HIT has teamed up with Discovery Kids, which has acquired the new seasons of “Barney,” “Bob the Builder,” and “Thomas & Friends.”

The shows will be aired in both the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. The deal also includes the Thomas special, “Calling All Engines.”

DHX Media Acquires Studio B


DHX Media, parent company of distributor Decode Enterprises and production houses Decode Entertainment and Halifax Film, has acquired Vancouver-based Studio B Productions.

The deal sees Decode Enterprises handling international sales of Studio B’s properties. Studio B has a library of 400 half hours of children’s programming. Decode Enterprises currently handles distribution for DHX businesses as well as third party producers.

Studio B is a privately owned producer of children’s programming specializing in digital and classical animation. It has a current production slate of seven shows including “Kid vs. Kat” for YTV, “Ricky Sprocket—Showbiz Boy” for Teletoon and Nickelodeon Networks, and “Martha Speaks,” co-produced with WGBH Boston. Production will continue under the Studio B brand following the DHX acquisition.

Jamba, Nestle in Beverage Deal


Jamba Inc. and Nestle USA announced an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement to produce and distribute a line of healthy ready-to-drink beverages under the Jamba brand name. The products would be launched in the United States during the second quarter of 2008 and would include two distinct product offerings, namely smoothies and juices.

These products, which have been under development for more than a year, would include Jamba's signature line of healthy vitamin and mineral boosts and meet both companies’ high standards for healthiness, taste, and quality.

MIPTV Calling for Content


The BBC, the National Film Board of Canada, the Korean Broadcasting Commission, and Ogilvy Interactive are calling for new media content ideas as part of the Content 360 pitching competition at MIPTV featuring MILIA 2008.

IPTV, mobile, and branded content feature strongly in this third Content 360 competition. Digital creators, interactive agencies, and producers will have until Jan. 21, 2008, to apply for the opportunity to share in more than 100,000 euros of development funding, which will be awarded at MIPTV featuring MILIA April 7–11, 2008, in Cannes.

Content 360 competition categories and rules are available at

www.miptv.com/content360

.

New USA Today Book Series Kicks Off


Nolo, a publisher of legal information for consumers, and USA Today, the top-circulation newspaper in the United States, are teaming up to produce at least 12 books over the next two years. The first three, to be released in February, are

The Busy Family's Guide to Money

by USA Today journalists Sandra Block, Kathy Chu, and John Waggoner;

Retire Happy: What You Can Do NOW to Guarantee a Great Retirement

, by Nolo co-founder Ralph Warner and Nolo editor Rich Stim; and

The Work From Home Handbook: Flex Your Time, Improve Your Life

by Nolo editor Diana Fitzpatrick and Stephen Fishman.

Artificial Life, Paramount Enter into Mobile Licensing Deal


Hong Kong-based Artificial Life Inc. signed a worldwide licensing deal with Paramount Digital Entertainment, a division of Paramount Pictures Corp., to release two exclusive mobile games based on the Academy Award-winning movie

Braveheart

and the recent box-office hit

Shooter

.

These two titles were selected based on their strong brand recognition, solid fan base, and adaptability to the mobile game format. The advanced mobile games, using the latest in technology will be of the action genre with real-time strategy features and enhanced 3D graphics. The games are scheduled for release and sale globally in early 2008 via on-deck telecom carriers and off-deck resellers. 

Barney To Help Kids Celebrate Birthdays


HIT Entertainment will work with PixFusion on customized Barney DVDs in celebration of Barney’s 20th anniversary. PixFusion will use its patented technology to digitally insert a child's photograph into a customized “My Party with Barney” DVD helping to make each child’s video unique and special. Barney even calls out the child by name and packaging is personalized with their name as well.



360ep To Support Sanctify Brand


360ep Inc. will be representing the Sanctify brand, which blends fashion with religious imagery. Created by American Classics Inc., the line of Ts is already on shelves at Kitson, Macy’s, Journeys, Hot Topic, Against All Odds, Bon Ton, C-28, and Filene’s. 360ep will be working with Sanctify to seek licensing partners in a variety of categories, including sleepwear, headwear, stationery, calendars, collectibles, and jewelry.


 


JTMG Aligns with WGBH Enterprises on Properties


Joy Tashjian Marketing Group LLC added WGBH Enterprises to its client roster with plans to represent “Antiques Roadshow”; preschool series “PEEP and the Big Wide World,” and “Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman,” a new reality game show for kids ages 6 to 10 that poses wild and wacky math and science challenges to kid contestants.



Moleskine Inks Deal with Chronicle Books


Moleskine, publisher of the “little black notebook,” signed a distribution deal with Chronicle Books, effective Jan. 1. In addition to its current collection of notebooks, journals, planners, and guidebooks, Moleskine will launch soft-cover notebooks in February and will expand its City Notebook series in March, launching new titles for Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Montreal, Florence, and Venice.


 


IMC Licensing Tunes Up Client Portfolio


IMC Licensing will create a licensing plan and a portfolio of new brand-building products for Valvoline in a deal with Ashland Inc. Valvoline products, found in more than 100 countries around the world, include automotive lubricants, transmission fluids, gear oils, hydraulic lubricants, automotive chemicals, specialty products, greases, and cooling-system products. Valvoline also offers Eagle One car-care products for automotive cleaning and maintenance and operates Valvoline Instant Oil Change.


 


Digimon Enters German Marketplace


Toei Animation’s animated series “Digimon Data Squad” recently launched on RTL2 in Germany. Toei Animation is looking to develop a licensing program for the series, now in its fifth season.  



John David Group Adds Focus


UK-based sports and leisurewear retailer the John David Group has bought a 49 percent stake in apparel and footwear brand house and licensee Focus Group. Focus supplies and distributes branded and private-label footwear, clothing, and accessories. Its portfolio includes Marc Ecko, Zoo York, Jack Purcell, and Sergio Tacchini.

Start Licensing Signs Virgin Books for Quiz Book


Start Licensing has signed Virgin Books for a paperback quiz book for TV property “Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old?,” which airs on Sky One TV. In a fast turnaround, Virgin Books took six weeks from signing to publish on Nov. 29.

Ian Downes, director, Start Licensing, says, “A quiz book was the most natural product development to support this TV show and we are confident that the Virgin Book will be a big hit this Christmas with the whole family. Further product launches are planned that will extend this property beyond the TV screens and assist in making ‘Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old?’ an even bigger hit.”


Products already released include a board game produced by Hasbro, chosen as a Top 10 toy for Christmas by the Toy Retailers Association and featured in the Dream Toys List for Christmas 2007.

BKN Goes Back to the ‘Stone Age’


BKN New Media, part of the German/British BKN International, has signed a 1.3-million euro deal with Italy’s Cartoon One for the co-production of “The Stone Age.” In return for the rights to the Italian market and a profit share, Cartoon One has agreed to a nonrefundable payment of 1.3 million euros or 25 percent of the production budget. The property, comprising 52 11-minute episodes, will be co-produced with BKN’s digital and high-definition studios in London and Barcelona, and Cartoon One’s studio in Rome.

Jetix Europe Steps Forward with ‘Jimmy Two Shoes’


Jetix Europe has commissioned animated comedy series “Jimmy Two Shoes” from Canada’s Breakthrough Animation. The co-production also includes kids’ broadcaster Teletoon Canada.

“Jimmy Two Shoes” is scheduled to air across Jetix’s channels in early 2009. Jetix Europe holds TV distribution rights for the series across Europe and the Middle East, including pay TV and free TV distribution, as well as home video and consumer product rights.

Disney-ABC International Television will service the distribution of the television rights to “Jimmy Two Shoes” on behalf of Jetix Europe.

Coolabi, Britannia Join Forces Again


Following the launch of board game Forbidden Terrortory, Britannia Games has extended its Hammer Horror range with UK-based Coolabi to launch an interactive DVD game.

Vampire Terrortory allows fans to assist Professor Van Helsing on the quest to find Dracula. The game contains film clips of famous Hammer Vampire classics and draws heavily on Hammer Horror’s vampire lore.

Cartoon Network Puts Deals on Wheels for Ben 10


Cartoon Network Enterprises signed MV Sports and Leisure to produce a range of Ben 10 bicycles, wheeled toys, and accessories for the UK, and Spearmark International to produce a range of Ben 10 lunchboxes, drinkware, and tableware, and bedroom accessories.

TAG Heuer Moves into Mobile


TAG Heuer, a world leader in prestigious sports watches and chronographs, and ModeLabs Group, originator of the “Mobile On Demand” offer, have signed an exclusive international licensing agreement to design, produce, and market mobile phones under the TAG Heuer label.

This is a world-first agreement between the field of mobile phones and that of luxury watchmaking. The first communication instruments bearing the TAG Heuer signature will reflect the functional excellence and advanced design characteristic of the Swiss watch brand. The latter has assigned its teams of designers and watch developers to this project for a full three years, thereby creating a full range of entirely tailor-made mobile phones and related accessories.

The commercial launch of the first TAG Heuer mobile phone is scheduled for the second half of 2008.

Executive Moves


Stockholm-based Alicom Licensing appointed two brand managers, Christian Wallin and Fuad Khan. Both join the Alicom team following master’s degree studies.

Alicom’s properties include “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and

Ice Age

from Fox Licensing, “The Godfather” and other movies from Paramount Licensing, Strawberry Shortcake from DIC Entertainment, and

The Golden Compass

from New Line.

UK department store chain Debenhams appointed Angela Spindler to the newly created role of managing director. Spindler was previously global managing director of Wal-Mart/Asda’s George, the clothing division, where she was responsible for all aspects of business, including the international development of the brand. Spindler joins Debenhams in February 2008 and will report to chief executive Rob Templeman. Her responsibilities will be for the future development of the Debenhams brand and for marketing, visual and creative, and the company’s online business.

Michael Greenberg, former CEO of Matrix Holdings Ltd., has established Brand New Marketing & Design, a full-service strategic sales, marketing, and consulting firm. The new company has offices in New York, Los Angeles, and New Jersey, and provides a full range of services from strategic sales and business planning to new product design and development including sales representation and graphic design. The management team includes Oscar Diaz, who brings 20-plus years of international sales and marketing experience, and Jim Patella, an established designer with more than 15 years of experience.

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