Weekly E-news, Issue #258, April 1, 2008

Untitled DocumentToys “R” Us Goes Green With New Branded Toy CollectionToys “R” Us will launch an exclusive line of environmentally friendly toys that will be marketed under the Toys “R” Us brand. This line of toys

April 6, 2018

Toys “R” Us Goes Green With New Branded Toy Collection


Toys “R” Us will launch an exclusive line of environmentally friendly toys that will be marketed under the Toys “R” Us brand. This line of toys is being introduced as more kids and families strive to make lifestyle changes that incorporate more organic and natural products. The first toys in the collection – Natural Wooden Toys, Natural Cotton plush animals and Organic Cotton Dolls – will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at

www.Toysrus.com

 by Earth Day, April 22. Additional items in the line will be introduced later this year.

The toys, which promote “Good Green Fun,” come packaged in earth-tone colored boxes that bear a special “R” seal. This seal consists of a green version of the iconic Toys “R” Us reversed “R” logo with a green leaf, encircled by the words “Recycle, Renew, Reuse, Re-think,” and signifies for parents that the toys are eco-friendly.

“We know that kids are becoming more environmentally

conscious and are curious about how they can do their part to help protect the planet,” says Karen Dodge, chief merchandising officer, Toys “R” Us, U.S. “Going green is more than just a trend. It’s becoming a lifestyle. This is just our first step in offering our customers the best selection of eco-friendly and organic products in all of our Toys “R” Us stores nationwide.”

Crafted from natural materials, these items come in packaging that is made from no less than 70% recycled material. The Natural Wooden Toys are decorated using a unique wood-burning technique, which offers a classic look. The Natural Cotton plush animals and Organic Cotton Dolls are colored using natural or water-based dyes and are made with unprocessed, unbleached and untreated cotton.

In addition, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified that the materials used to make the Natural Wooden Toys were sourced from well-managed forests, using a system of ten rules that define responsible forest management. Each wooden product in the collection is marked with an identifiable FSC logo.



JAKKS Secures Master Toy License for ‘American Gladiators’


JAKKS Pacific Inc. has signed an exclusive worldwide master toy license with MGM Consumer Products for “American Gladiators,” the hit competition-based television program that airs on NBC. JAKKS expects to launch a line of American Gladiators toys and related products in spring 2009, based on the characters and challenges seen on the show. American Gladiators is produced by MGM Television and Reveille in association with Flor-Jon Films, Inc.

The comprehensive American Gladiators Master Toy license agreement, brokered through licensing agent Joy Tashjian Marketing Group LLC on behalf of MGM Consumer Products, includes action figures and accessories, as well as outdoor sports, seasonal products, and role-play toys, all based on the new “American Gladiators” live action series and the classic television series.

“American Gladiators has all the qualities to make an exciting action figure and sports activity product line,” says Jennifer Richmond, senior vice-president of licensing and media, JAKKS Pacific. “JAKKS plans on capitalizing on the brands high energy, extreme action and electrifying line-up of talent to create a toy line to encapsulate the exciting American Gladiators experience for kids and adults at home.

“We’re delighted to bring together American Gladiators and JAKKS Pacific—two powerful forces—as they combine for one of today’s most exciting entertainment franchises,” says Joy Tashjian, principal of Joy Tashjian Marketing Group.

Marvel Gets its Kicks With New Reebok Sneaker Collection


Marvel Entertainment Inc. has partnered with Reebok to launch an exclusive collection of children’s sneakers featuring cinematic Marvel heroes Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. The partnership with Reebok expands Marvel’s presence into new consumer goods distribution channels, thereby extending the reach of its popular Super Hero franchises to new audiences. The new line of sneakers will be available exclusively at Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker stores this spring, coinciding with the releases of Marvel Studios’ event films

Iron Man

and

The Incredible Hulk

.

Designed exclusively for Foot Locker, the lines—which each include low and mid-style shoes—feature bold materials and design that capture the look and feel of these two larger-than-life Super Heroes. The retail price will range from $45 to $65. Reebok and Foot Locker are supporting the Marvel introduction with in-store signage and window displays.

“We are excited to partner with Reebok and launch an amazing collection of children’s sneakers around these two major event films,” says Paul Gitter, president of Consumer Products for North America, Marvel Entertainment. “The retail exclusive with Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker enables Marvel to further maximize the retail exposure for these two phenomenal properties. This partnership bolsters our overall strategy to elevate the stature of our character brands, and we anticipate expanding this relationship with other franchises in the coming year.”


 


Clothes About Nothing—Ripple Junction to Produce Seinfeld Apparel


Ripple Junction has entered into a partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to manufacture and distribute Seinfeld apparel in North America. Ripple Junction t-shirt designs will feature the main characters and timeless taglines from the classic sit-com, and products are slated to hit retailers’ shelves this April.

“Ripple Junction is incredibly excited about working with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create an apparel line for the show about nothing,” says Neil Hoynes, president of Ripple Junction. “There’s a seemingly inexhaustible supply of comedic gold that Seinfeld generated, and it seems everyone has a favorite scene or Seinfeld-ism.”

LeapFrog Partners With Lionsgate on Educational DVDs


Film studio Lionsgate has entered into an agreement with LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. and rights holder and producer Chris D’Angelo to develop, produce, and distribute multiple direct-to-DVD feature films. The multi-year deal provides Lionsgate with worldwide rights in all territories except China. In addition, Lionsgate has acquired the home entertainment distribution rights to LeapFrog’s valuable catalog, all of which were created and produced by Chris D’Angelo and have sold over 4 million units through just five DVD releases. The rights will begin to transition to Lionsgate in 2009 as they become available.

“The LeapFrog DVD line has been extremely successful because the well-known brand truly resonates with parents who feel that LeapFrog is a name they can trust,” says Lionsgate executive vice president of marketing and family entertainment Anne Parducci. “LeapFrog has been synonymous with education for parents and children since the company’s inception, and that educational message will be the focal point of all our releases. Creating new educational DVDs and acquiring the LeapFrog library supports our mission of delivering trusted product built on the twin themes of entertainment and education to families throughout North America."

Heap Exits Entertainment Rights as Sales Talks Continue


Former Warner Music boss Nick Phillips has joined Entertainment Rights as chief executive after the sudden departure of Mike Heap, as the business continues talks with two prospective buyers. ER said this week that the preliminary talks would not necessarily lead to an offer for the business, and that any offer made may not be at a level acceptable to shareholders.

Phillips, 44, was previously chairman and chief executive of Warner Music UK. Prior to that he was managing director and chairman of Universal Music UK.

ER will report preliminary results for the year ended December 31, 2007 during the week of April 7th.

Chairman Rod Bransgrove said: “There is no certainty that an acceptable offer will be made for the company and the board remains cognizant of its ongoing fiduciary responsibilities to the Company’s shareholders. The decision to appoint Nick Phillips as chief executive has been taken to ensure that the company maintains an absolute focus on delivering shareholder value, and in re-establishing shareholder confidence.”

In other news, Entertainment Rights has signed worldwide distribution rights (excluding Thailand and with shared representation in Japan and Korea) for the CGI-animated (26 x 30min) series “Shelldon”, produced by Shellhut Entertainment. The agreement covers worldwide rights across all forms of television, digital media, home entertainment, music, licensing, and merchandising and all other media.


 


Bot’s Entertainment—Robosapien Toy Headed for Big Screen


WowWee Group Limited, an Optimal Group company, has concluded an agreement that would give the producing team of Avi Arad (Arad Productions) and Steven Paul (Crystal Sky Pictures) the right to produce a feature-length motion picture inspired by WowWee's Robosapien robot. In collaboration with WowWee, Arad has developed the lead character for the film from graphic designs created by WowWee and Arad. The Robosapien robot is the recipient of over 30 national and international toy awards and recognitions.

The movie, titled

Robosapien: Rebooted

, is set to combine a compelling live action story with advanced computer-generated imagery (CGI). Under the agreement, WowWee will have the exclusive worldwide right to market toy merchandise associated with the film and its characters, and would receive a share of the income from all other merchandising associated with the film.



Paramount to Launch Video Game Division


Paramount will begin publishing its own slate of video games later this year, the company says. The studio is putting together a slate of games that it will partially or completely finance and for which it will more directly oversee development. Games will be based on Paramount’s catalogue titles, both current and classic.

"We are entering into deals now where we will be publishing games this year," Sandi Isaacs, Paramount’s senior VP of interactive and mobile told

Variety

. "There's going to be a slate where in some cases we're publishing, in some cases we're co-publishing, or in others we're funding development and another publisher buys it. It's important for us to have a flexible model."

Paramount is reportedly mostly interested in developing for handheld and mobile platforms. It will continue licensing some of its properties to other developers.

The Backyardigans Goes Worldwide with DVDs


Nelvana Enterprises announces an agreement that provides worldwide home entertainment rights for “The Backyardigans” to FremantleMedia Enterprises for all territories, excluding Canada and the US. This landmark deal will see up to 60 episodes of the popular CGI series available internationally on DVD for the first time. Season 1 will be available in Japan, with seasons 2 and 3 to be offered in many global territories except for Canada and the US., where they are already available.

Marilyn Monroe Case Sets Precedent for Celeb Publicity Rights


Judge Margaret M. Morrow of United States District Court, Central District of California, ruled on March 17, 2008 that Marilyn Monroe LLC (MMLLC) and CMG Worldwide Inc. (CMG) do not own rights of publicity of the famous actress Marilyn Monroe. For years, the Archives of Milton H. Greene and Tom Kelley Studios attempted to market and license images of Monroe, only to be blocked by MMLLC and CMG’s claims that they owned Monroe’s rights of publicity.

This ruling clears the way for the Milton H. Greene Archives and Tom Kelley Studios to license their extraordinary images of Marilyn Monroe to be used for commercial uses, including merchandise and promotions. The Greene and Kelley photographic collections include some of the most amazing, alluring and high quality images of Marilyn Monroe.

In related news, Greene and Kelley announced that their content will be available through the Marilyn Monroe Licensing Group, a division of Legends Licensing, LLC. Legends Licensing, LLC will serve as a “one stop shop” for Marilyn Monroe images and will represent other content providers with notable and commercially usable photographic images of Marilyn Monroe.

Kelley is famous for his provocative 1949 shots of the aspiring 21 year old model and actress. He posed a nude Marilyn on a red velvet cloth and snapped artistic photos of her that became known as the “Red Velvet Collection.” Later, in 1953, Hugh Hefner used one of those photos to help launch the pilot issue of

Playboy Magazine

. Another appeared on a calendar known as “Golden Dreams.” These photographs of Marilyn Monroe are what some consider as having catapulted her into super-stardom. Milton H. Greene's extensive photo collection also includes iconic images of Marilyn Monroe. Greene had occasion to photograph her more than any other photographer because of his close personal relationship with Monroe. Greene captured a more mature Monroe, who was now a famous actress, and his photographs depicted Marilyn in a variety of glamorous, environmental, and artistic poses.

The recent litigation focused on the fact when Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962, none of the states where she was possibly domiciled, New York or California, recognized a descendible postmortem publicity right. The Court initially ruled in May 2007 that when Marilyn Monroe died she had no publicity rights to her images and therefore could not pass it on to her heirs or beneficiaries, but MMLLC secured an amendment to the California law in October of 2007 which gives the right of publicity of persons who died before 1985 to the residuary beneficiaries under their will. The Amendment, however, only applies to Marilyn Monroe if she died “domiciled” in California. A person’s domicile is the one place that person considers a permanent home.

In the motion just decided, MMLLC tried to convince the Court that Marilyn Monroe was domiciled in California when she died. Greene and Kelley maintained that this claim is inconsistent with the claims made for nearly 40 years by MMLLC’s predecessors in interest, the representatives of Marilyn Monroe’s Estate, including Anna Strasberg who is the majority owner and manager of MMLLC. The Court found that the statements made by the representatives of the Estate, including the affidavits of Marilyn Monroe’s friends and employees, all claimed that Marilyn died domiciled in New York.

HarperCollins, Codemasters Join Sababa as Bella Sara Licensees


Granada Ventures, the merchandise, licensing and publishing division of the UK’s commercial broadcaster, ITVplc, has secured three key global licensing partners for Bella Sara, the award-winning trading cards and online world for girls. HarperCollins has been appointed as the company’s worldwide master publishing licensee; Codemasters has been appointed as video games publisher for the world excluding Scandinavia; and Sababa Toys has been appointed as the master toy licensee in all English-speaking world territories.

Melanie Beer, head of licensing at Granada Ventures, says, "Due to the phenomenal success of this unique brand, we’ve managed to attract high-caliber licensees to form the cornerstone of our licensing program. We’re delighted to be working with HarperCollins, Codemasters, and Sababa Toys and will work together to maximize the huge global sales potential for Bella Sara branded products at retail."

In a global deal, world publishing rights have been acquired by HarperCollins. The deal covers all publishing formats, to include story, activity, and illustrated novels.


Codemasters has a worldwide licensing agreement with Granada Ventures and Hidden City Games to introduce Bella Sara to the video gaming market. As part of its family entertainment portfolio, Codemasters, a leading creator and publisher of video games, will be launching games for the Nintendo DS and PC in time for Christmas 2008. The Bella Sara gaming titles will immerse players in an interactive world of fantasy horses. Players will be able to ride, care for, accessorize and trade the horses with friends while discovering secret items and exclusive cards to activate on the official Bella Sara web site.

Sababa Toys will develop a comprehensive toy line, including collectable miniature horses, 5-inch figurines, plush and games anticipated to hit the shelves in Autumn 2008.

Cuddl Duds Long Underwear Brand Licensed for Socks


Hosiery supplier Mountain High Knitwear, has acquired the sock and slipper license for Cuddl Duds, a popular long underwear brand. The Cuddl Duds women’s sock collection will launch for fall ’09, and will feature eco-friendly and technically advanced fabrications.

Cuddl Duds’ newest innovation is “Ecosoft,” a family of products created from sustainable resources. Elements of the Cuddl Duds "Ecosoft" collection will be incorporated into the launch of socks. In addition, the brand’s ‘feel good’ tagline will be displayed on all sock and slipper packaging.

“We are thrilled to be working with Cuddl Duds, a company whose mission statement is so closely aligned with our own,” says Mountain High Knitwear CEO Gerald Birin. “The Cuddl Duds name is well-respected in the industry and well-distributed, and we look forward to creating a line of socks and slippers that match the quality, comfort, and fashion for which Cuddl Duds is known.”

Cuddl Duds is carried at JCPenney’s, Bon Ton, Macy’s, Belk, and Gottschalks, among others. Branching into socks and slippers was a logical brand extension for the company, according to Mark Sandler, senior vice president of sales and marketing.


 


Creativity International Signs Deal for Mister Maker Craft Kits


Creativity International has signed a deal with RDF Rights, part of the RDF Media Group to produce craft kits for kids for the new CBeebies “Mister Maker” series, aimed at introducing art and craft to pre-school and primary school children through fun and educational on screen activities.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with RDF Rights,” says Clive Bailey, chairman of Creativity International. “Our innovative and bright Mister Maker arts and craft kits will complement the lively contemporary TV production and will encourage children and their families to share and develop the creative ideas from the ‘Mister Maker’ show.”

CBeebies have commissioned independent production company The Foundation, part of the RDF Media Group, to create two new series of Mister Maker.

FremantleMedia Makes New Announcements


FremantleMedia Enterprises has entered into a partnership with The Travel Channel, making it the exclusive international distributor for the network’s original programming. The agreement provides access to a catalogue of more than 200 hours of top-tier programming from the United States ’ Travel Channel, as well as a first-look at new productions for possible co-financing for international distribution. FME will make The Travel Channel library available for international sale at MIPTV in Cannes this April.

In other news, Interactive entertainment company Ludia announced that their The Price Is Right downloadable game, based on the highly successful television show is currently available. Players can now “come on down” for their shot in Contestant’s Row, bid on items in 16 different pricing games, test their luck with spinning The Big Wheel, and experience the winner-takes-all tension of the Showcase Showdown—all with a simple download.

Hugh Jackman to Launch Comic With Virgin 


Hugh Jackman and "Eli Stone" co-creator Marc Guggenheim are teaming up to create a title for Virgin Comics.

Nowhere Man

, an original comic book series created by the duo, is designed to be eventually adapted to the big screen as a Jackman vehicle.

"I've had so much fun in the graphic novel world with the 'X-Men' franchise that I wanted to get even more involved,” says Jackman. “I'm excited to work with Virgin and Marc and create a compelling character and story that hopefully will also make it to the big screen."

Nowhere Man

will be published under the Virgin Voices line, which also includes Nic and Weston Cage’s

Voodoo Child

.

Viz Secures License for ‘Bleach’ Feature Film


Entertainment company VIZ Media LLC has secured the license from TV Tokyo Corporation, Shueisha Inc. and Dentsu Inc. for

Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody

in the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. The feature film, which will be aimed primarily at teens, will have a limited theatrical release in major cities throughout North America this summer with the DVD release to follow winter 2008. Subsequent details will be released in coming weeks.

Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody

is inspired by the successful animated television series “Bleach,” airing on Adult Swim, which is based on the best-selling manga series by Tite Kubo, also published in North America by VIZ Media.

Auri Shoes License Outlast Technologies


Outlast Technologies, a pioneer in temperature regulating technology, has secured a new licensee—Auri Footwear, who have launched an innovative line of men's contemporary footwear with Outlast temperature regulation. The Auri collection of men's contemporary footwear includes boots, sport fusion, and dress shoes with Outlast quarter and vamp lining for temperature regulation.

"What makes Auri Footwear unique is our unification of chic style and next level technologies,” says Ori Rosenbaum, president of Auri Footwear. “By incorporating the Outlast temperature regulation technology into our multi-zoned linings, we can offer unmatched comfort to complement the contemporary materials and designs.”

DIC Entertainment’s New Site Offers Music to TV and Film Studios


DIC Music LLC, a subsidiary of global brand management company DIC Entertainment, is launching a new online production music business, www.cuetunes.com. The new venture will serve as a one-stop, royalty-free music source for film and television professionals, independent film producers, instructors and/or students to purchase quality, affordable production music for all premium media productions, including station themes, news and commercial music, animation, live action, home video, webisodes, demo reels, video games, student projects, and temp tracks.

“DIC owns literally thousands of music cues, and cuetunes.com provides a vehicle to monetize the valuable asset,” says Deb Clark, vice president of royalty and music publishing administration for DIC. “One of our most important goals is to make the user’s experience as simple and enjoyable as possible by providing myriad searchable song criteria, user-friendly customer service support and through our Preferred Patron Program.“

The launch serves as another step in DIC’s overall new media business strategy and follows the Company’s recent announcement of the launch of its first online video channel,

www.kewlcartoons.com

, dedicated to new and classic cartoons for families and children.



Karen Cole Design Makes its Licensing Debut


Karen Bullard’s artwork, which presents a range of styles from clean graphics and stylized designs to playful and sweet themes, gained recognition through the debut of Karen Cole Paper, a stationery company founded by the artist in 2004. Elegant note cards, invitations, announcements, and more are a focus for the company. With the success of Bullard’s handcrafted designs, she began to license her artwork. Bullard officially announces the debut of karen cole design, a licensing division. She aims to extend the brand into home decor, gift and other stationery items—from greeting cards and giftwrap to tabletop, giftware, fabrics, and wall coverings.

Woolworth Cuts Up To 60 Jobs


As part of a reorganization of its head office, buyers and licensing team members are thought to be subject to redundancy at Woolworth. The UK retailer said that between 50 and 60 employees are to lose their jobs, but would not clarify which roles were involved. Consultations are underway.

BBC Worldwide Makes Grab for Preschool Series ‘3rd & Bird’


BBC Worldwide has won the global distribution rights for animated pre-school series “3rd & Bird”. Produced by Little Airplane Productions, creators of “The Wonder Pets”, 52 episodes of “3rd & Bird” will launch on CBeebies in the autumn. Merchandise for the series will launch commercially later this year and BBC Worldwide aims to reproduce the success of “In The Night Garden”.

Director of children’s, BBC Worldwide Gill Pritchard said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Little Airplane on this project. 3rd & Bird is an enchanting property packed with entertaining stories, songs, and cute characters. Our expertise of the pre-school market gives us confidence that 3rd & Bird will resonate across the world.”

Majesco Licenses Humongous Properties for Video Games


Majesco Entertainment Company

has signed a deal with children’s entertainment company

Humongous

. Under terms of this agreement, the game publisher will bring Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam, and SPY Fox to the Wii system. These three popular children's properties will release on Nintendo's console in mid-2008.

"For more than a decade, Humongous has continued to create some of the most memorable and successful interactive entertainment properties for children," says Jesse Sutton, CEO of Majesco. "Their characters have demonstrated both tremendous staying power and widespread consumer appeal, and we think this kind of family-friendly content is well-suited to the Wii system."

Contender Takes ‘It’s a Big Big World’


The Contender Entertainment Group has won the worldwide distribution rights (excluding the US and Canada) for the environmentally focused pre-school show “It’s A Big Big World”. The deal covers international TV sales, home entertainment, and merchandising.

Emmy nominated “It’s a Big Big World”, is created by Mitchell Kriegman and is produced at Wainscott Studios, which is Kriegman’s digital production studio complex in the Hamptons, New York. Season one is complete and consists of 40 episodes, while season two is in production with 15 episodes, which will be ready by October 2008. A DVD special and 25 additional episodes will be delivered by September 2009.

VizWoz Teen Virtual Community Launches in UK


Teen virtual community, VizWoz (

www.vizwoz.com

) has launched in the UK offering entertainment, interaction, and game play. Aimed at girls and boys aged 11 to 14, VizWoz is the brainchild of Daniel Laurence who also founded the UK’s School Stickers and MyStickers, a school incentive and reward initiative. VizWoz includes imaginary worlds in a theme park style using flash animation with no download.

Two types of registration enable access—basic membership is free and allows users to enter and explore with others, send messages to friends, play games, and earn the site currency; Viz Dolla. VIP membership, from £2.95 a month, includes access to additional rooms and games, clothes and accessories for avatars plus additional memory on the VizWoz servers.

Paddington Bear Arrives at Heathrow’s Terminal 5


As part of Copyrights Paddington Bear’s 50th birthday celebrations, Rainbow Designs has launched a limited edition Paddington Bear collectible to be available exclusively from World Duty Free at London Heathrow airport’s new Terminal 5.

Only 2008 Paddingtons will be manufactured with the commemorative bear wearing a black velveteen coat with a leatherette suitcase embossed with the Terminal 5 logo. Each Paddington will feature an individually numbered ‘Limited Edition’ hang tag.

In the summer, Paddington’s birthday will be celebrated with parties at two of London’s most famous locations—Hamleys toy store and Paddington Station.

Teshkeel takes The 99 to South Asia


Teshkeel Media Group is to partner with Indian publisher Chandamama to license its comic book series, “The 99”, throughout India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Chandamama plans to publish an English-language version for all markets, with other local language editions planned to follow.

TV-Loonland Greenlights Little Princess Specials


Two seasonal specials of TV-Loonland’s award-winning “Little Princess” are set to debut this year at Halloween and Christmas. The 22-minute specials, produced by The Illuminated Film Company, are due for completion in August.

“Little Princess” launched on air with the UK’s Five in September 2006 and has been sold in over 160 countries to date. It’s first licensed toy collection was launched by Martin Yaffe International’s Born to Play marque this spring.

Jetix Europe Strikes Deal with Orange


Jetix Europe closed a deal with France Telecom to deliver its channels and other non-linear video content across its Orange network. Jetix will be available to Orange customers in the UK, Portugal, Romania, Poland, and Moldova.

This deal is the first of its kind for Jetix and marks its move into the digital space as part of its strategy to make content available across multiple media outlets. The deal will see localized Jetix channels streamed for Orange customers in Poland, Romania, and Moldova. The deal also includes a tailored loop of Jetix content available to Orange users in the UK and a bespoke package of VoD content for Optimus customers in Portugal.

In Poland, Orange will include both Jetix and Jetix Play channels as part of their offering in order to appeal to both older and younger kids. Other territories are also in discussion and may be included as part of the deal for rollout in 2008.

Orange currently has over 3.2 million mobile broadband customers who will be able to use the new Jetix service.

Target Gets Fluffy in South America


Global rights manager Target Entertainment has signed up PRO Entertainment as licensing agent to represent its preschool brand “Fluffy Gardens” in Brazil and Argentina.

PRO Entertainment develops licenses in the entertainment and sports businesses from its offices in Argentina, Brazil, and China. It represents licensors such as MGM and Nickelodeon, and entertainment brands such as Peanuts, Hi-5, and Miffy.

The “Fluffy Gardens” 2D digital cell animation series launched in 2007 and currently airs on Discovery Kids.

“Fluffy Gardens” was created, written and directed by Jason Tammemagi of Monster Animation & Design, which is based near Dublin in the Irish Republic. Target Entertainment, which co-financed the production, represents the global licensing and home video rights in addition to the TV series rights.

DECODE Ties Up with Neptuno for Preschool Series


DECODE Entertainment, a subsidiary of DHX Media, is to co-produce a new preschool series with Spain’s Neptuno Films. The 2D animated “Poppets Town” will be co-produced in association with OLC/Rights Entertainment in Japan, and has already been pre-sold to France’s Canal J and to Disney International for its channels in the UK, Spain, Scandinavia, Italy, Australasia, and Taiwan. TeleQuebec has also come on board as Canadian broadcast partner.

Neptuno will handle international sales for Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, and OLC will handle the rights in Japan. The rest of the world will be handled by DHX Media’s distribution subsidiary, DECODE Enterprises.

Neil Court, president of DECODE Enterprises said: “This is a major co-production and we’re looking forward to working with Neptuno Films and continuing our relationship with ORE in Japan. To have Disney and Canal J on board at this early stage is a fantastic commitment and underscores the potential of this series.”

Skelanimals: Dead Popular with New Licensees


Skelanimals UK licensing agent Rocket Licensing has signed three new deals for the property created by artist and designer Mitchell Bernal.

Bravado has won a licence to produce Skelanimal fashion apparel and accessories, including purses, bags, and jewelry. Pyramid Posters is planning a range of Skelanimals posters and a badge pack that comprises four badges that depict individual animals. The first poster, a collage poster of Skelanimals-related words and images, will be introduced to the market, alongside the badge pack, through music retailers before entering non specialists. More posters will roll out in the coming months.

Underground Toys is distributing a range of small soft toys, keychains, and vinyl figures. A range of plush backpacks is also planned and will be distributed in the near future.

Meanwhile, all Skelanimals product is available online through a Web site operated by UK-based Digital Stores, which launched at the end of 2007.

H&M Experiences 18 Percent Sales Increase


International retailer H&M increased sales by 18 percent in the first three months of its financial year to February 29.  Sales moved to SEK19.742 million. It’s like-for-like sales rose by three percent for the same period.

Alphanim Pens Deal with CPLG for ‘Hairy Scary’


Alphanim has signed up Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) as the rights agency in France for the comic children’s animated series “Hairy Scary”. The show airs on France 3 and The Disney Channel Italy and is scheduled to premiere on Super RTL (Germany) in Q3 of this year.

Aimed at 6-8 year olds, this 3D, CGI animation follows the adventures of Willow and Constance—a Hairy Boy and a Scary Girl—on their fantastical planet. There are currently 52 x13-minute episodes. Alphanim is responsible for worldwide distribution and marketing for the series. Commenting on the deal, Cédric Petitpas, vp marketing and licensing at Alphanim says: “We believe that “Hairy Scary” has all the ingredients of a successful brand, mixing edgy and modern designs with a broad character line-up.” We are eager to be working with CPLG’s team of experts on a fresh and exciting licensing program.”

Co-winner of

License! Global

’s 2007 Licensing Challenge at MIPCOM, the series is co-produced by Alphanim, France 3, Super RTL, and Europool.

Managing director of CPLG France Marina Narishkin says: “We are very proud to represent “Hairy Scary”, a French production based on Alphanim’s innovative concepts. We look forward to unlocking the fantastic licensing potential for this property, which we hope can be developed by CPLG in other European countries.”

EXECUTIVE MOVES


Spain’s Imira Entertainment is boosting its team with the appointment of Laura Navarro to spearhead its merchandising push in Spain and Portugal. Navarro was previously sales manager based in Spain at TBZ, one of Iberia’s leading companies specializing in the management of integrated merchandising programs for national and international brands in sports, entertainment, TV, and film.

Online TV network Kontraband has just appointed Simon Guild, former CEO of MTV Networks Europe, as non executive chairman and Al Gosling, CEO of The Extreme Group and founder of the Extreme Sports Channel, as non executive director to build on Kontraband’s expansion.

UK licensed household textile company Character World has appointed Gareth Davies as head of sales. Davies was sales director at Zak! Designs, which supplies children’s character dinnerware. Character World produces licensed product for brands including High School Musical, Disney Princess, Roary the Racing Car, Barbie, and The Simpsons.

Karen McNally has taken up the newly created role of head of international marketing at Copyright Promotions Licensing Group. Working with CPLG mds across all territories, McNally will liaise with international licensors to develop and synergize existing business at the same time as sourcing new business.

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