The Walt Disney Company has acquired the Disney Store chain in North America from subsidiaries of The Children’s Place Retail Stores Inc. As a result of the transaction, which consisted of an asset purchase by Disney’s subsidiaries through the bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings of Hoop Retail Stores LLC in Delaware and Hoop Canada Inc. in Canada, Disney acquired approximately 220 Disney Stores in the United States and Disney Stores in Canada, with actual number of acquired stores dependent upon the outcome of negotiations with landlords. Disney also obtained the right to conduct an orderly wind-down and closure of approximately 98 Disney Stores in the United States and two Disney Stores in Canada, but without assuming the leases for such stores.
“From Cars to High School Musical to Disney Fairies, Disney’s entertainment engines are producing multiple popular franchises,” says Andy Mooney, chairman of Disney Consumer Products.
Retail and Disney veteran James D. Fielding has accepted the position of president, Disney Stores Worldwide. Mr. Fielding will oversee merchandising and all other operations of the Disney Stores in North America and the 107 existing Disney Stores in Europe, as well as manage the relationship with Oriental Land Company, which operates the Disney Stores in Japan under a license arrangement.
Marvel Announces New Film Slate, Including ‘Iron Man’ Sequel, ‘Avengers’
Coming off a hugely successful opening weekend for
its first self-produced film, Marvel Entertainment updated its feature film slate strategy and plans for the next three years, locking in key release windows for its character franchises.
The company will not release a self- produced film in 2009 (Fox’s
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
will debut next May, however), but Marvel plans to launch its 2010 film slate with the release of the sequel
Iron Man 2
on April 30, 2010, followed by the launch of
on June 4, 2010.
Additionally, Marvel is planting its feature film stakes for summer 2011 with an Avengers-themed summer—a two-picture project that will debut on May 6, 2011 with
The First Avenger: Captain America
(working title), followed by
in July 2011.
Blockbuster to Step Up as Video Game Retailer
Blockbuster Inc. has rolled out retail video games and game hardware to all United States corporate-owned Blockbuster stores as part of a broader plan to significantly expand its game business. All the corporate-owned stores will carry video game titles, hardware and accessories for the Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS game systems. In addition to expanding its retail games offering, Blockbuster is adding more game titles for rental with more copies than before across all platforms.
Blockbuster is featuring its expanded game offerings on the new release wall in a specially designated game section.
"We're committed to offering a full assortment of everything gamers want in our stores— hardware, accessories and retail and rental games across all platforms," says Rod Murray, vice-president, games merchandising, Blockbuster Inc.
To further support expansion of its game business, Blockbuster will also be implementing a variety of special consumer game offers, such as an exclusive Sony PS3 movie and game bundle. The bundle includes a 40GB Sony PS3 game console that also plays Blu-ray DVDs, PS3/Blu-ray DVD remote, HDMI cable,
PS3 game and a Blockbuster 12-week PS3/Blu-ray rental card that entitles users to one free PS3 or Blu-ray rental per week for 12 consecutive weeks.
Penguin Group Enlists in ‘The Clone Wars’ For International Publishing
The Penguin Group will publish a series of books based on the upcoming feature film and television series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” The books will debut this summer, in advance of the August 15th theatrical release of
Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The license between Lucasfilm Ltd. and The Penguin Young Readers Group marks the first global licensed publishing program based on the action-packed, CG-animated “Clone Wars.” The program spans multiple imprints within Penguin Young Readers Group (United States), DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) and Penguin Group (UK).
The Clone Wars takes place between
of the Stars Wars Saga and will be released in the United States by Warner Bros. on August 15th. International release dates will be announced soon. In the fall, The Clone Wars will continue as a prime-time television series on the Cartoon Network and TNT.
Chorion Signs Raft Of US Deals
Chorion has signed a swath of new deals for its properties in the US, including a partnership with e-retailer Ty’s Toy Box.
Ty’s will create an online shopping destination for a number of its including Mr Men & Little Miss, Noddy and The World of Eric Carle.
Mr. Men & Little Miss and Noddy are already active shopping sites, while The World of EricCarle goes live later this summer, timed to a broad back-to-school campaign. The new online marketplace features a wide range of products from each property.
“Ty’s Toy Box is the premiere online retail destination for many classic and contemporary children’s brands and it is the perfect location for our properties,” said Pamela Ferris-Muller, vice president, licensing at Chorion. “This partnership is central to our strategic effort to build our brands in the coming months.”
Chorion has also partnered with Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar Restaurants in the US to feature The World of Eric Carle in an eight-page themed kids’ menu activity book, at nearly 1800 Applebee’s locations nationwide. The promotion starts on June 30.
“Summer is the ideal time to reach families and we are thrilled to partner with Applebee’s to help create an environment for kids that fosters creativity and curiosity,” said Joan Blanski, SVP, Global Brand Management at Chorion. “This promotion will get kids involved with Eric Carle’s books in a new, fun way.”
Finally, Armitron, part of the E Gluck Group, has entered into a licensing agreement with Chorion to produce watches for the Mr Men & Little Miss brand, which will hit retail this summer.
Other US licensed categories for the brand include headwear, jewelry, stationery, t-shirts, backpacks, slippers, pet accessories, apparel, underwear, bedding, active wear and sleepwear.
Dick’s Sporting Goods to Become Official Little League Sponsor
Dick's Sporting Goods and Little League Baseball announced that Dick's Sporting Goods has become the Official Sporting Goods Retailer of Little League Baseball and Softball. This sponsorship will give Dick's Sporting Goods the ability to work directly with leagues and coaches in a number of ways, including discount coupons for all Little League teams, equipment donations and a variety of in-store events, such as player registrations and instructional clinics.
"Dick's Sporting Goods represents our first and only sporting goods retailer as a national sponsor," says Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. "We are pleased to be working with Dick's Sporting Goods in order to provide added opportunities to our leagues and players, while helping us maintain the lowest league affiliation fee as possible. This collaboration with Dick's Sporting Goods is an excellent fit for local Little Leagues and the millions of families they serve." Officially licensed Little League merchandise, including in-game and training equipment, gifts, toys, and lifestyle apparel, from over 50 current licensees will continue to be broadly marketed across all channels of distribution.
SloaneVision Unlimited is the exclusive licensing agent for Little League Baseball and opportunities are available across many categories.
Linens ‘N Things Files for Bankruptcy
Linens Holding Co., owner of “Linens ‘n Things,” announced that the company and its United states subsidiaries have filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The national home furnishings chain will continue to operate its stores without interruption during the reorganization and the stores are open for business and expect to be well stocked with merchandise. The filing pertains only to LNT’s operations in the United States. The company’s Canadian stores, which are among the strongest performers in the chain, are not included in the filing and there are no plans for a similar filing in Canada.
The decision to file for Chapter 11 protection was driven largely by the impact of the current economic downturn on the company’s operating performance. The company also announced that as part of its financial restructuring it plans to close 120 underperforming stores.
iTunes Offering Major Movies Same Day as DVD Releases
Apple announced that new movie releases from major film studios and premier independent studios are now available for purchase on the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) on the same day as their DVD release. New releases and catalog titles will be available from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment, and First Look Studios. New releases will be priced at $14.99, and most catalog titles start at $9.99.
“We’re thrilled to bring iTues Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release,” says Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios.”
Wonder Woman Comes to Fashion Thanks to von Fustenberg
Fashion designed Diane von Furstenberg collaborating with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Comics, for Holiday 2008. von Furstenberg will launch a Wonder Woman-inspired collection, debuting in DVF boutiques and specialty stores worldwide in October.
“Wonder Woman is the ultimate symbol of female strength, independence and freedom. When Warner Bros. approached me to collaborate, I immediately thought it was a fun idea that would reinforce my belief in women and commitment to their empowerment. The collection will inspire every woman to be the Wonder Woman she wants to be,” says von Furstenberg.
The limited edition collection will include a capsule of ready-to-wear, small leathergoods and footwear inspired by the motifs and symbols of the iconic superhero. Proceeds from select pieces will be contributed to Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the world, a cause to which von Furstenberg has been dedicated and serves on the board.
American Kennel Club and Dog.com Launch Online Retailer
The American Kennel Club has created a strategic alliance with the leading online destination for dog supplies, Dog.com, to launch the official American Kennel Club’s online marketplace. The deal was orchestrated by the AKC’s exclusive worldwide licensing, marketing and promotional agent, 4sight licensing solutions, a subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment Inc.
The AKC Store featured on Dog.com carries a comprehensive selection of officially licensed merchandise from popular purebred organization, including product from: Steiff (plush), JAKKS Pets (dog toys and treats), Jewett Cameron (luxury kennels), Sherpa Pet Trading Company (travel products), Paramount Chemical (pet cleaning products), and Eternal Image (memorial garden stones). Additionally, Dog.com will look to create an exclusive line of AKC products as well.
4sight recently expanded the AKC brand into such categories as pet cleaning products, pet safety products, collectibles, clothing and accessories, collectible artwork and memorial garden stones. In addition to its current roster of licensees, 4sight is looking to expand the AKC line into new categories, including video games and calendars.
Disney to Roll Out Programmable Toy Robots
Disney Consumer Products announced its entry into the robotic toy market with an innovative line of robotic toy products created in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, Thinkway Toys, and WowWee.
The robotic toys are inspired by WALL·E, the robotic lead character from the Disney·Pixar theatrical release of the same name set to debut this summer, and Tinker Bell, the beloved Disney Fairy. The iDance WALL·E dancing boombox will be available in June; the Ultimate WALL·E robotic toy and the remote control Tinker Bell flying toy will be available this fall.
The new line of WALL·E and Tinker Bell robotic toys seeks to bring its characters and their personalities to life through advanced movement and programming that entertains and delights kids by making them feel as if they are interacting with a real Disney character.
The WALL·E line of robotic toys was developed in collaboration with Toronto-based Thinkway Toys. In addition to the Ultimate WALL·E and iDance WALL·E, Thinkway will bring to market additional WALL·E-inspired robots, action figures, playsets, a role-play WALL·E robot arm, novelties and collectibles.Disney Consumer Products also collaborated with WowWee, a leading developer of innovative hi-tech consumer robotic and entertainment products, for the creation of an elegant flying toy wonder inspired by Tinker Bell. Due for release this fall, WowWee’s FlyTech technology, a vertical flyer allows users to control the height and speed of the Tinker Bell flyer with ease, allowing her to soar, dive and glide
SwimWays and Tony Hawk Team for Skateboarding Pool Toys
SwimWays, a leading manufacturer of pool toys, announced it will develop and manufacture the official Tony Hawk Subskate, taking skateboarding to a new level—under the water. SwimWays launched the Original Subskate in 2006 and it immediately became one of the top selling pool toys of 2006 and 2007. Designed for kids ages 8 and up, the Tony Hawk Subskate will feature exclusive Tony Hawk designs and launch in stores for the 2009 pool season.
“At the basic level of Subskate, kids like to see how long they can stand on the Subskate floating just above the bottom of the pool. Later they develop tricks, just like they do with a skateboard. The more extreme skaters use it to practice their skills before they head out on the streets or to the skate park,” says SwimWays’ president David Arias. “Subskate sales are already soaring. With Tony Hawk on board, Subskate is really going to take off next summer.”
“We have had Subskates since the first day we got our pool, so my boys and I are already big fans,” says Tony Hawk. ”I'm excited to team up with SwimWays and offer new models with authentic skate graphics.”
Phillips-Van Heusen Acquires Mulberry Thai Silks and Obtains Rights to Neckwear Category
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation has acquired certain assets of privately held Mulberry Thai Silks Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of neckwear in the United States. As a result, PVH will produce neckwear under the Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, J. Garcia, Liz Claiborne, Sean John, BCBG Max Azria, BCBG Attitude, U.S. Polo Assn., Axcess, and Henry Jacobson brands. Neckwear sales for these brands are currently approximately $20 to $25 million. PVH also acquired the rights to the Henry Jacobson lifestyle brand for all menswear classifications worldwide.
Dimensional Branding Group Inks New Art Deals
Dimensional Branding Group announces new deals for three contemporary designer clients—Rich Evans, Masha D’yans, and Undoboy. Rich Evans, preeminent custom car designer, builder, painter, and founder of Huntington Beach Bodyworks, extends his unique style to a line of apparel and accessories. Rich inked several new deals, including JR SportsPromotion for apparel in Europe, Goboxes for automotive toolboxes, Shootsuits for automotive mechanic suits, and Airbrush Action for electronic clip art.
Masha D’yans Designs, featuring whimsical watercolors bursting with energy and color, has been selected by Sunrise Greetings for an extensive line of high-end greeting cards in the United States and Canada. Adding to her growing product list, Masha’s designs will also be featured on textiles for wall canvases, pillows, and blankets exclusively through specialty retail chain Urban Outfitters.
Undoboy bases his sharp and bright graphic style on the simple philosophy “design brings happiness”...and the happiness will now be available on t-shirts and hoodies throughout North America through apparel leader, Ripple Junction.
Burger King and Mobliss Dial into Mobile Gaming
Burger King Corp. announces the release of
, a new mobile multi-level game with three distinct worlds and 12 dynamic, progressively challenging mini-games developed and released by Mobliss.
The downloadable game features an engaging range of gameplay, from one-of-a-kind mobile concepts integrating the King, to clever variations of classic puzzle favorites reminiscent of Concentration and Space Invaders. Players vie to earn a place in the King’s exclusive entourage by progressing through a series of challenges within each virtual world. From recalling Whopper sandwich builds to squirting ketchup through the air, gamers navigate through the King’s three favorite hangouts—a Burger King restaurant, the King’s mansion, and BK City—to earn points and unlock advanced levels.
Designed to appeal to casual gamers, the
game is supported by a variety of national carriers and is available exclusively for download by texting “KING” to 90210 for a monthly subscription fee of $2.99. The deal was brokered by Broad Street Licensing Group.
Payless and Nickelodeon Step into Footwear Partnership for ‘Blue’s Clues’
Payless ShoeSource and Nickelodeon entered into a multi-year licensing agreement, enabling a more direct creative collaboration between Payless and Nickelodeon. The agreement will result in a new line of Blues Clues footwear with certain styles featuring the Blue’s Clues characters offered only at Payless. The new Blue’s Clues collection, including styles for both boys and girls, will be available at Payless stores this November.
“Payless is on a mission to democratize fashion and design in footwear and that means delivering shoe lines featuring the characters kids love, such as Blue’s Clues,” says Matt Rubel, chief executive officer and president of Payless ShoeSource.
Field & Stream to Create Licensing Platform
Field & Stream Licenses Co. has secured Graj + Gustavsen (G+G), a strategic/creative branding firm, to develop an updated brand platform for the 137-year old brand. The platform G+G created helped Field & Stream conclude a major license agreement with Dick’s Sporting Goods for fishing, camping, and hunting gear for 309 stores and its e-commerce site. The Dick’s agreement also covers fishing, hunting, and camping gear, as well as technical apparel.
“G+G’s experience with heritage lifestyle brands along with their licensing and retail experience made them ideal candidates for this project,” says Mike Tewey of Field & Stream Licenses Co.
DBG Launches Creative Licensing Program for Kindermusik
Dimensional Branding Group has been selected to represent Kindermusik International, —a music and movement program for young children. “Kindermusik licensed products will help expose children to music and movement, which will help prepare them for preschool and kindergarten, and cognitive, social, and emotional life learning,” says Michael Dougherty, CEO of Kindermusik International. The Kindermusik licensing strategy will focus on product for kids in the specialty, mid-tier, department store, and mass channels in the following categories: toys and games, musical instruments, bath, paper and party goods, furniture, room and wall decor, children’s apparel, and interactive.
Steve & Barry’s Gets Carried Away
Following the launch of fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker’s Bitten collection at Steve & Barry’s, the retailer debuts a collection of Sex and the City: The Movie apparel—the result of an agreement between HBO and New Line Cinema. A series of t-shirts and tank tops arrived May 1st in participating locations. The line, which features classic Sex and the City phrases such as “I’m with Mr. Big” and “I (Heart) Sex and the City,” are debuting in advance of New Line Cinema’s upcoming
Sex and the City: The Movie
, which is opening nationwide on May 30th. Suggested retails are $8.98 and less. A portion of proceeds from the sale apparel will benefit the Children’s Defense Fund.
Act III Licensing to Rep Environmental Media Association
Act III Licensing has been named as the exclusive licensing agency for the Environmental Media Association, the non-profit organization targeting environmental awareness through celebrity and the power of the media. EMA seeks to mobilize the entertainment industry in a global effort to educate people about environmental issues and inspire them into action.
By shifting into licensing, EMA seeks to broaden their green message by offering environmentally friendly products through the use of celebrity green “tips” and powerful imagery. “We want to work with retailers and manufacturers to bring about sustainable, eco-friendly products that offer quality and style,” says Debbie Levin, president of EMA. “In turn, we want to help get our celebrities and industry friends to promote and use these great products.”
Act III Licensing will target initial categories such as apparel and accessories for adults and kids, publishing, office supplies, and housewares and domestics.
Game Turns In Market Busting Results
UK-based Game Group turned in incredible full year results last week, attributing the performance to the increasing range of formats available including Nintendo Wii and DS Lite. Sales rose to £1,491.9 billion from £801.3 for the year ended January 31 2008. Like for like sales were up by 41.2 percent and profit before tax was up to £68 million from £29.5 million in the previous year.
Other highlights included an increase in store numbers from 817 to 1161 internationally, including franchise operations, and online sales up by 147%.
Game acquired the Gamestation business in 2007, which was cleared by the Competition Commission earlier this year.
Current trading was also strong with like for likes up by 20.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26 April, despite the strong comparatives – Playstation 3 launched in the same period last year. The group plans to open some 100 stores this year, focussing on France, Spain and Australia.
Chairman Peter Lewis said: “This is a record set of results and clearly demonstrates that we’ve taken the right steps to expand the scale and geographic reach of our specialist offer to benefit from the broadening appeal of pc and video games products.
“This performance marks a transformational year with a significant improvement in a number of core business operations, further enhanced by the acquisition of Gamestation in the UK. In addition we more than doubled international operating profits and increased e-commerce operating profits by over 60 per cent, both of which continue to be a focus for growth.
“The unprecedented range of popular products has broadened the demographic appeal to new customers of all generations. It has also favourably altered the short and medium term outlook for our industry. With a large and growing installed base of hardware in the market, a strong line-up of new software launches and the benefits of full year ownership of Gamestation in prospect, the board remains very confident in the outlook for the 53 weeks to 31 January 2009.”
UK Retail Sales Suffer Sharp Drop in April
UK year-on-year retail sales fell markedly in April as poor weather and the early Easter dented spending, the Confederation of British Industry’s Distributive Trades Survey reports.
Sales of big-ticket items, particularly those tied to the housing market, saw some of the biggest falls.
The monthly snapshot of the high street showed that 52 percent of UK retailers surveyed said sales volumes were down on a year ago compared to 25 percent who said they were up. The rounded balance of -26 was the weakest response since November 2005 and is only expected to improve to -15 in May, signalling further falls in sales volumes.
But, the CBI says, while high street activity has dipped as the economy has slowed, these results, surveying the first half of April, need to be put into context – in 2007, Easter fell in April and there was a mini-heatwave in the UK, contrasting with this year’s March holiday in wet, windy weather.
Licensed to Give—The Light Fund Splashes Out On Malta Swim
Brand Licensing Europe
owner Advanstar Communications
and Smiffys are among the headline sponsors for the UK licensing industry’s Maltese Islands sponsored swim in aid of The Light Fund charity.
A team of swimmers is taking on the challenge later this month, which, according to organiser Stephen Gould, co-managing director of 4Kids Entertainment: “Is the biggest single fund raising project that The Light Fund has ever taken on.” Apart from sponsorships of individuals, some £25,000 has already been pledged to the event.
Among swimmers taking part are Stephen Gould (4Kids Entertainment); Ian Downes (Start Licensing); Craig Rowell (CPLG); Ian Down (Hamlins); Richard Flook (Elemis); Rob Corney (Bulldog Licensing); Jane Kennedy (BKN New Media); Cassie Allen (BBC Worldwide); Angela Cullinan (AWE) and Sarah Turley (Zurich Professional).
The Light Fund supports several children’s and cancer charities in the UK. For more information on the swim contact Stephen Gould at
Liverpool Football Club Signs With ITV DVD
ITV DVD, the publishing division of Granada Ventures has been signed as Liverpool Football Club’s DVD publisher in the UK and Eire, continuing a nine-year relationship.
Kevin Morgan, content director at Granada Ventures, negotiated the new agreement. He says: “Liverpool FC is Britain’s most successful club and the biggest selling club brand on DVD.” The first release under the new deal will be Liverpool FC: 2007/2008 Official Season Review.
Parthenon Signs Tomy for The Magic Roundabout
Global entertainment rights business Parthenon Entertainment Group has signed Tomy as the European master toy licensee for The Magic Roundabout. The new CGI version of the classic property premiered on Nickelodeon UK last October. Tomy is planning a series of product launches for retail rollout in spring 2009.
Caroline Mickler, brand and licensing consultant for Parthenon Entertainment Group commented: “This appointment forms a major part of our on-going strategy to develop this iconic property through a dynamic licensing and marketing programme that will appeal to the preschool audience. We look forward to working closely with Tomy in developing innovative products that we are confident will add even more magic and keep kids and their parents spellbound.”
Ellipsanime, Film Action, M6 and Disney Channel France joined forces to produce the 3D pre-school animation series (52x11’). The series is directed by Graham Ralph of Silver Fox Films, and executive produced by Theresa Plummer-Andrews, who has worked in children’s TV for 20 years, producing children’s TV shows including Bob the Builder, Noddy, Pingu and Postman Pat.
Rugby Gets Football Mania
Copyright Promotions Sport (CPS) has signed Football Mania to develop and produce a range of licensed merchandise for the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
This four-year deal strengthens the RFU’s licensing portfolio. Commenting on the deal, Jane Barron, the RFU’s Licensing & Marketing Manager says: “We are excited about building a strong retail range of England Rugby licensed souvenirs with Football Mania; they already have a number of strong licenses and England Rugby fits well within this portfolio. Football Mania will be a key RFU licensee, making England Rugby's visibility even greater on the high street.”
The licensing programme will focus on a wide range of categories including stationery, partyware, ceramics, glassware, key rings and pin badges, car products, flags and pennants and household textiles.
A Hard Day’s Night
Character world and Powerplay Textiles have been signed up by Caroline Mickler, on behalf of apple Corps, in license deals for Beatles branded sleepwear and bedding.
Powerplay Textiles will be offer five styles of Beatles nightwear, three styles of underwear and three styles of socks. The first phase of the rollout will target the 18-35 year-old men’s market. The Powerplay Beatles nightwear range launch in stores in September.
Character World is planning a range of bedding that will include single and double duvet covers, curtains, printed cushions, a towel and a fleece blanket. Two designs are planned for the duvets, with matching accessories for both. The range, aimed at students and adults, will be launched in August 2008.
VIP Expands With Marilyn Monroe in Asia
The Hamburg-based VIP Entertainment & Merchandising is expanding the portfolio of Hollywood greats available for licensing in Asia. Appointed by the new licensor Legends Licensing, VIP will now represent photography by Milton H. Greene, Tom Kelley, Harold Lloyd and others who snapped Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Sophia Loren, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, and John F. Kennedy. The deal is for the Far East, Australia and New Zealand and India and is likely to tidy up some unlicensed use of images.
VIP has appointed sub-agents in Thailand and Singapore and will name subagents in Japan, South Korea, Australia and India during the Hong Kong Licensing Show.
HarperCollins, Sky Digital Media and Mykindaplace Join Forces For Tween Girls
HarperCollins’ Lola’s Land interactive world for tween girls launched last week. The site is based on the character Lola Love, created by teen magazine writer Lisa Clark, who has a publishing deal with HarperCollins. Jane Evans is handling the licensing programme for the property in the UK.
Designed and built by Mykindaplace and with Sky Digital Media handling advertising sales, Lola is the first HarperCollins fictional character to be given an online world.
Lola’s Land will reinforce themanifesto of the feisty Lola Love character that encourages girls to feel good about themselves.
Clark will be editorial director for the site. It will be the first site aimed at girls in the tween bracket and will combine editorial content, games, safe social networking and a virtual world. The site will cover pop star interviews, fashion, beauty, make’n’do, a pet’s gallery and inspirational articles to promote positive thinking.
Christmas Comes Early For Molly and Macy
Double Trouble Publishing has signed Kirsty Guthrie as European licensing agent for its Molly and Macy property, which is appearing on Christmas cards for the first time later this year.
Other products in the pipeline include fine art prints and posters from Dutch company Hole in the Wall, jigsaw puzzles from German manufacturer Schmidtspiele, watch and clock faces from British company Hendersons and a range of children’s calendars, diaries and posters from Spain’s Grupo Erik. The plan is also to take the property into the US with gift books, greetings cards, gift bags and stationery in the United States.
Game Factory Signs For Rubik’s Puzzle
International videogame publisher The Game Factory has signed a licensing agreement with Seven Towns to publish Rubik’s Puzzle World, a 3D puzzle game for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems, both inspired by the Rubik’s Cube.
Kidz Entertainment/EEMC Takes BKN’s Heroes to Russia
BKN New Media has signed Kidz Entertainment/EEMC to represent its two new animated children’s shows, Zorro-Generation Z and Dork Hunters, in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Kidz entertainment chairman Morten Geschwendtner said: “We look forward to introducing Dork Hunters and Zorro-Generation Z to potential partners in Central and Eastern Europe. We start in Russia where both shows are sold to CTC for broadcast later this year and then roll out across Eastern Europe.”
Nicola Andrews, managing director at BKN’s London office, says, “We have high expectations for our brands in Central and Eastern Europe. We’ve secured strong TV platforms, but recognise that in today’s competitive market, a quality series and good TV placement is not enough to ensure a brand’s success. Appointing the right agent is also imperative.”
Born To Play Launches High School Musical and Hannah Montana Furniture
Born to Play, part of the Martin Yaffe business, is launching Disney’s High School Musical and Hannah Montana furniture ranges include fold up chairs, shelf units, mirrors and CD storage units. The ranges roll out to retail in autumn this year.
MTV Networks International, which is owned by Viacom Inc., has promoted Bhavneet Singh to executive vice president and managing director of its Emerging Markets group. Singh will continue to oversee all aspects of MTVNI’s businesses across its portfolio of music, kids and comedy brands in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as Russia, a new addition to his remit. Key priorities for 2008 include further strengthening the company’s digital media offering in the region and building greater scale and presence with the Nickelodeon and Comedy Central channel brands.
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