Weekly E-news, Issue #267, June 3, 2008

Untitled DocumentSharper Image stores to close; e-commerce, catalog remain All of The Sharper Images' remaining stores will be shuttered, according to its new owners. The retailer will continue as a wholesale, direct-to-retail, e-commerce, and catalog bus

April 6, 2018

Sharper Image stores to close; e-commerce, catalog remain


All of The Sharper Images' remaining stores will be shuttered, according to its new owners. The retailer will continue as a wholesale, direct-to-retail, e-commerce, and catalog business.

The assets of the Sharper Image Corp, which recently put itself up for bankruptcy, had been purchased by a joint venture of private investment firms. The venture, made up of units of Hilco Consumer Capital Corp, Gordon Brothers Group, Windsong Brands LLC, and Crystal Capital, paid $49 million plus contingent recovery to purchase the assets.

The Sharper Image put itself up for auction this spring after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier in the year.

The firms issued a statement last month that they had developed a licensing strategy for The Sharper Image brand and planned to partner with several global institutions to continue development of the company.

Sears and LL Cool J Team Up for New In-Store Brand


Sears, Roebuck and Co are launching

a new line of streetwear clothing they will be producing in partnership with rapper and actor LL Cool J. The first rollout is expected in 450 Sears stores this fall, with more stores to follow by the holiday season.

Sears says the LL Cool J line represents "an ongoing commitment to increase our relevance in the apparel industry," and will include clothing in the juniors, kids, and young men's categories, with plans to expand into accessories.

Sony, Chorion Partner on “Mr. Men”


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Chorion have entered a global licensing partnership for “The Mr. Men Show” television property. SPHE will release all 52 episodes of the new sketch comedy show on DVD as part of SPHE’s global commitment to branded kids and family content.

Already a hit show on Cartoon Network in the United States, on Five’s Milkshake! in the United Kingdom, and on France 5 since April, “The Mr. Men Show” is based on the classic book series which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The show features a cast of 25 characters and redrawn and updated with a contemporary feel, depicting the new style of animation by Renegade Animation.

Eric Karp, executive vice president, global licensing and merchandising at Chorion added, “Partnering with SPHE is an exciting move for “The Mr. Men Show” and for Chorion. SPHE’s global platform will give the property a fantastic profile in all our key territories. We look forward to working with this industry leader in home entertainment to build on the success that the show is already evidencing.”

The partnership between Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Chorion marks a resurgence in the Mr. Men brand, which has further licensing agreements in place with Fisher Price, Unilever, Virgin Atlantic, Quantas, Zara, Jakks Pacific, American Greetings, Penguin Publishing, Nestlé and Sony Creative Products.



Disney Studios Launches Graphic Novel Program


The Walt Disney Studios has signed a multi-year deal with Ahmet Zappa, Harris Katleman, and Christian Beranek to oversee the newly christened Kingdom Comics, an innovative new venture of developing graphic novels to create new film projects for the studio as well as re-imagining and rejuvenating motion pictures from the Disney live-action vault.

Kingdom Comics will soon announce some of the top graphic novelists and artists in the genre who will collaborate on upcoming projects. Disney Publishing Worldwide, the largest distributor of comic books in the world, will have the first opportunity to distribute publications created by Kingdom Comics.

Commenting on the announcement, Oren Aviv, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Production, says, “We’re very excited to be working with Harris, Ahmet, and Christian in developing this new business devoted to creating stories and properties for the graphic novel audience, as well as for moviegoers. They are three of the top talents in their respective fields and together they have the knowledge, expertise, and instincts to create great publications and film properties. Some of these exciting publications will be inspired by films and characters in the vast and storied Disney library, while other original graphic novels are sure to spark great ideas for future Disney classics. Our vision for Kingdom Comics is to bring a fresh, contemporary approach to Disney properties that already have a strong connection with moviegoers and readers all over the world, and to add to that storytelling legacy.”

Zappa, son of the late rock musician/composer Frank Zappa, is currently writing the sequel to his novel

The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless

, and executive producing “Fraggle Rock” with The Jim Henson Company.

Katleman served as president and CEO of Twentieth Television from 1980 to 1992, and he remains active as a television producer.

Beranek formed his own comic publishing company, Silent Devil, in 1996, and has written several comics, as well as the screenplay to the film adaptation of the Silent Devil comic

Dracula vs. King Arthur

.

The deal was negotiated by Steve Katleman of Greenberg Traurig.

WowWee Gains License for Fox Sports Robot


WowWee Group Limited, an Optimal Group company, has been granted worldwide rights to market the Fox Sports Robot, which appears during NFL on Fox game broadcasts. Through a licensing agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising, a division of 20th Century Fox Television, WowWee, makers of the Robosapien robot, will develop and market robotic figures and electronic accessories based upon the Fox Sports Robot, the recognized and celebrated icon of America's favorite spectator sport. WowWee’s Fox Sports Robot merchandise will launch in 2009.



In 2007, FOX Sports and Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising launched a licensing program around the Fox Sports Robot, the first initiatives of which were an on-air “Name the Robot” promotion and an Emmy-nominated 3-D CGI show opener for the Fox’s Super Bowl XLII broadcast.



“The Fox Sports Robot has evolved into a fan-favorite that is resonating with avid sports fans of every demographic around the nation. We are excited about our alliance with WowWee Robotics who are industry innovators and who share our passion for our treasured mascot,” says Michael Peikoff, SVP, 20th Century Fox licensing and merchandising.



G.I. Joe Comic License Deploys to IDW


Hasbro has reached an agreement with IDW Publishing, current publishers of comics based on Hasbro’s Transformers, to launch an all-new line of G.I. Joe vs. Cobra comic books. As part of the agreement, IDW will produce a new monthly comic series, as well as deluxe reprints of the G.I. Joe property’s vast comic library, which helped catapult the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra phenomenon more than 25 years ago. IDW also has the rights for trade paperbacks and graphic novels.


 


The first products from this deal, a new monthly comic book series based on classic G.I. Joe vs. Cobra lore, will be launched with an introductory debut issue in October 2008. Featuring all-new storylines, the comics will portray the epic struggle of the G.I. Joe team against the evil forces of Cobra, while highlighting the brand’s favorite heroes and villains that made kids of the ‘80s today’s fans.


 


In 2009, IDW will also produce comic series both inspired by and based on the upcoming

G.I. Joe

live-action major motion picture from Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, slated for Aug. 7, 2009, as well as deluxe reprints from the vast G.I. Joe vs. Cobra comic history. The planned IDW comic book projects will be distributed to a wide audience through comic book outlets, trade bookstores and mass retailers.


 


“We are thrilled at the prospect of expanding our relationship with IDW. They’ve done an outstanding job with Transformers in the comic/hobby segment, national bookstores, and mass market chains,” says Matt Gildea, Publishing Director, Hasbro. “IDW would bring that same expertise to the G.I. Joe brand in both new content and the existing G.I. v vs. Cobra library. Together, Hasbro and IDW would continue to engage G.I. Joe fans of all ages with amazing graphics and storylines.”



VeggieTales Expands Licensing Program for 15th Anniversary


Big Idea, an Entertainment Rights group company, is celebrating VeggieTales’ 15th anniversary in 2008 with an expanded licensing and merchandising campaign. The anniversary program will be led by a commemorative DVD release of the brand’s first video,

Where’s God When I’m S-Scared?

, new licensed product, and an all-new VeggieTales Live Show beginning to roll out to consumers this summer.

 “It’s an exciting time at Big Idea and we are thrilled to be kicking-off VeggieTales 15th anniversary celebration at this year’s Licensing Show,” says Greg Fritz, SVP marketing, Big Idea. “Our expanded licensing and merchandising program provides us with a wonderful opportunity to bring the unique VeggieTales brand of humor and life lessons to an even wider audience.”

In addition to the DVD and stage show, new initiatives include Random House, which will publish two new titles this summer, Blue Box, which will expand its toy line with new SKUs hitting retail shelves this fall, Pint Sized Productions, which is expanding its plush VeggieTales line with an assortment of new Bob and Larry plush items debuting in October, and a variety of new puzzles from Talicor.

Additionally, Dicksons will produce over 10 new Christmas items, and Crossroads Apparel will roll out new toddler and youth-sized The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything and Christmas-themed T-shirts this fall.

IMC Licensing to Represent Burpee Seeds


Agency IMC Licensing has entered into a representation agreement with W. Atlee Burpee Company, the largest supplier of seeds to home gardeners in the United States. IMC Licensing is developing a strategic licensing plan and a portfolio of new licensed products to expand upon the Burpee brand’s reputation for quality, home-grown vegetables.

According to Cara Bernosky, IMC Licensing president and co-founder, “With Burpee’s reputation as the undisputed leader in seeds known for resulting in the highest quality garden-grown products coupled with the consumer trend towards natural, fresh, and healthy products, we see great opportunity in expanding the Burpee brand into fresh, frozen, and canned fruit and vegetables. Many consumers recognize the quality products that Burpee seeds produce and would welcome the convenience of buying ready-to-eat Burpee product at their grocery.”

‘Geronimo Stilton’ Cartoon Pre-Sold on Canadian TV


Taffy Entertainment, the worldwide distribution, brand management, and entertainment company, has closed its first broadcast presales deal for the new animated kids’ TV series “Geronimo Stilton” with Radio-Canada. The animated series, now in production, is produced by Atlantyca Entertainment and Moonscoop Productions, in association with Mike Young Productions. The new show, based on the popular children’s chapter book series of the same name, is scheduled to air during the 2009-2010 season.

“The Geronimo Stilton books are loved by kids in Canada and around the world, so we wanted to bring this wonderful new TV series to our young audience,” said Cécile Bellemare, Director, Youth, Family and Lifestyle Programming for Radio-Canada. “We anticipate Geronimo and his friends will be welcomed in homes across the country for many years to come.”

Atlantyca Entertainment is the original rights holder of the Geronimo Stilton brand and all of its character spinoffs. The Geronimo Stilton books are published worldwide and are available in over 30 languages, including Italian, where they are published by Edizioni Piemme [Mondadori Group]; in English, published in the United States by Scholastic; in French, by Albin Michel Jeunesse; and in Spanish by Editorial Planeta.

DIC Signs Vivdendi for North American Digital Distribution


Vivendi Entertainment has partnered with leading Children’s media company DIC Entertainment to make DIC’s programs available to consumers via digital and mobile exploitation through a variety of digital channels, both on-line and mobile.

The agreement between the two companies covers all forms of electronic transmission including Video On Demand, electronic sell-through, and Mobile. DIC has one of the largest libraries of animation with approximately 3,000 half-hours of programming, including “Inspector Gadget,” “Madeline,” “Horseland,” and more.



CCI Entertainment to Bring 'Weekly Reader' to Entertainment


Weekly Reader Publishing Group and CCI Entertainment have agreed to jointly develop and produce a broad array of content and products for the consumer market based on the hugely successful Weekly Reader franchise. The venture will build on the 105-year track record of Weekly Reader, and will channel the credibility and expertise the franchise has developed within the school publishing market to create entertaining and educational products that will appeal to a broader audience around the world.

The exclusive development and production agreement is aimed at introducing a line-up of new concepts to the market over the next several years and producing audio-visual material that is targeted at commercial and public television, as well as DVD and Internet distribution. CCI will also be seeking manufacturing partners to create interactive merchandise that can extend the educational experience into leisure areas, including hobby play, home educational supplements, and quality time activities.

Nelvana's ‘Ruby Gloom’ Signs New Licensees

 


Ruby Gloom, the animated series from Nelvana Studios, Radar Cartoons, and Mighty Fine, has attracted several new global licensees with merchandise aimed at tweens and teens.

The new licensees include:

Japan:

Release of a CD single by Sony Music Entertainment featuring J-pop star Nana Kitade as Ruby Gloom. The CD single released late March in Japan includes two songs plus a DVD featuring an animated music video and behind-the-scenes footage.

Australia:

Launch of exclusive line of T-shirts in over 240 Jay Jays youth apparel stores across Australia in July 2008 developed by Designworks, plus bedding exclusively through Spotlight Stores in September 2008. Additional licensees include Impact Rock for posters.

Mexico:

Exclusive launch of an apparel line in Palacio de Hierro department stores in October 2008. New licensees include Carlton Cards (social expressions), Rhinox (bags), and Scribe (stationery).

Spain and Portugal:

Sportandem will launch back-to-school merchandise and bags at the end of 2008/early 2009.

Italy:

Dream Colours Srl will launch apparel and apparel accessories, ceramic mugs and plush for fall 2008. Edibas Srl for posters, stickers and calendars in spring and fall 2008.

Germany, Austria, and Switzerland:

The Cookie Company B.V. will launch apparel and accessories in Sept. 2008.

MGA's Little Tikes Coming to Animation Thanks to Lionsgate 


Film studio Lionsgate has entered into a distribution agreement with leading consumer entertainment products company MGA Entertainment for the Little Tikes brand. Under the terms of the multiyear deal, Lionsgate has secured the home entertainment distribution rights, including electronic sell-through and VOD, for the United States and Canada to product created under the all-new Animated Little Tikes Entertainment label. Consisting of four CGI-animated stories, the first release under the new label, Little Tikes Land, is scheduled to hit retail this fall.


 


The Little Tikes announcement significantly expands Lionsgate’s existing relationship with MGA Entertainment, which began in 2006 with the announcement that Lionsgate would be the exclusive home entertainment distributor of animated and direct-to-DVD features for the Bratz brand of fashion dolls, as well as the first live-action Bratz theatrical release. The deal was expanded in 2007 to all Bratz catalog features and extended Lionsgate’s rights to include video-on-demand and international distribution in the United Kingdom.


 


Furniture Brands Adds New Staff, Brands to its Licensing Program


Furniture Brands International has expanded its licensing program beyond the current Thomasville platform to include several of its other leading brands.

The new licensing program will be led by Shelley Peters, Furniture Brands' director of licensing. Peters was most recently the leader of Thomasville's brand licensing operations. Under Peters' direction, the Thomasville brand has expanded beyond home furniture into residential flooring, lighting, and kitchen cabinets. Peters will now coordinate licensing opportunities for not only Thomasville, but also Furniture Brands’ Lane, Broyhill, Drexel Heritage, and Henredon brand names.

"Expanding our licensing program helps deliver the 'Build our Brand Power' element of Furniture Brands' strategic plan," says chairman and chief executive officer Ralph P. Scozzafava. "A robust licensing program will focus on leveraging the power of our market-leading brands into new and adjacent home furnishings categories. This increases consumer awareness for our core furniture offerings and creates an additional income stream that provides a tangible return on our brand equity."

Playhouse Disney Signs DTR Partnership with Early Learning Centre


Playhouse Disney and Disney Consumer Products have signed a Little Einsteins deal with Mothercare-owned specialist retailer Early Learning Centre.

The preschool range will be supported with on-air sponsorship of allLittle Einsteins programming on the channel during May and June. As part of the deal, Early Learning Centre is promoting the Playhouse Disney brand in-store with a competition for parents and preschoolers to winLittle Einsteins goody bags including toys from the new range, DVDs and books. The competition is being promoted across all Early Learning Centre stores with leaflets, Playhouse Disney branding, Little Einsteins theme music playing in-store and brandedLittle Einsteins activity pages in the stores’ playtime.

Early Learning Centre stores will also be giving away 300,000 Playhouse Disney sampler DVDs featuring episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and My Friends Tigger & Pooh. The sampler DVD is part of a wider marketing initiative to promote key Playhouse Disney properties to 5 million U.Kk households. To date, 2 million DVDs have been distributed through key retailers such as Toys R Us, Asda, Woolworths, and Disney Store.

Mike Connolly, vice president, retail sales and marketing, Disney Consumer Products says: “Product innovation and quality is core to Disney Consumer Products and this new range offers compelling products that really capture the key learning elements of the program.”

Early Learning Centre commercial director Caroline Lee says: “We are all very excited about the partnership with Playhouse Disney and the launch of Little Einsteins products in our stores. At Early Learning Centre we create fantastic toys – toys that help develop vital skills and help kids get off to the best possible start, and toys that are tremendous fun. Our passion for learning through play and our commitment to quality make Early Learning Centre a destination store for families nationwide.”

U.K. High Street Sales Fall as Prices Rise


U.K. high street activity dropped for a second consecutive month in May at the same time as retailers put prices up at the fastest rate since 1992, the Confederation of British Industry reported last week.

In its monthly Distributive Trades Survey, the CBI did predict, however, that high street sales would improve in June.

Of retailers surveyed, 28 percent said sales had increased in May, while 42 percent said they had fallen. The 14 percent drop was in line with retailers’ expectations and less severe than the 26 percent decrease reported last month. Sales are expected to recover by about 6 percent in June.

The prices of goods in the year to May increased at their fastest rate in 16 years, the CBO reported, as many retailers passed on rising energy, food, and raw material costs. About 56 percent of firms said that average selling prices had increased, which is the strongest since May 1992. 

Grocers, including the major supermarkets, had a strong month, with over 51 percent reporting year-on-year growth. Clothing sales stabilized following a poor April, and footwear and leather retailers had a positive month.

Retailers selling big-ticket items linked to the housing market had a difficult May. Business in the furniture and carpet sector was particularly weak, the CBI said. Retailers of durable household goods, hardware, china, and DIY all reported falls in sales volumes compared to a year ago.

Timmy Signs Up First Licensing Partners


Aardman has signed its first licensing partners for stop-motion pre-school property Timmy,including Vivid Imaginations as master toy partner and Egmont as master publisher.

Vivid Imaginations has acquired master toy rights and worldwide manufacturing rights for Timmy and will be launching products across plush, playsets, games, puzzles and outdoor toys for autumn/winter 2009.

Sean Clarke, head of marketing and licensing at Aardman, said: “It is fantastic that we already have three world class licensing partners on board for Timm

y

, and we will be actively looking to find partners in all other open categories for the United Kingdom and appoint international agents at the New York Licensing Show in June.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Aardman on such an exciting preschool show,” Emma Sherski, marketing and licensing director at Vivid Imaginations, says. “The charming characters and creative story telling effortlessly translate into a great toy line with world wide appeal.”

Egmont U.K. has picked up United Kingdom and Commonwealth publishing rights and in a separate deal, Titan Magazines will be producing a monthly comic for the United kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

David Riley, Director of Egmont Publishing, says: “Timmy is a wonderful addition to our Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit portfolio. Timmy is already a huge star and we are thrilled to be launching an exciting range of books to support this brand.”

Currently in production, Timmy will air in 2009. The 52 x 10-minute animated series has been pre-bought by Disney Channels Worldwide, including the United States, and has also been pre-bought by CBeebies in the United Kingdom.

Delicious New Licensees for Ben 10


Cartoon Network’s action-adventure animation series, Ben 10 has signed three new food and beverage licensees. Kinnerton Confectionery, Lightbody Cakes and Corinthian Marketing join over two dozen other U.K. licensees bringing Ben 10 products to market this year. There are now 30 Ben 10 licensees in the U.K.

Ozie Boo! Takes Off


French preschool animation Ozie Boo! has signed a deal with international brand Bebe Confort for baby care products, following on from a deal with Universal Pictures for the DVD of the second season in August.

The property, produced by Cyber Group Animation, now has some 30 pan-European licensees.

CGA produces 3D and 2D animation for television, Internet and mobile phones. It is also distributor for third-party properties.

Ozie Boo! has sold to broadcasters in more than 100 countries, and has some 300 licensed consumer products sold across Europe.

Cartoon Forum Kicks Off in September


Over 700 professionals from the animation sector are expected at this year’s Cartoon Forum, held in Ludwigsburg, Germany, from Sept 16 to 19. The event support the co-production, financing, and distribution of cartoon series for television and new media platforms within Europe.

Cartoon Forum will show 60 projects from 14 countries to broadcasters, investors, and co-producers, representing some 360 hours of animation with a total budget of over €190 million.

France will show 15 projects, Germany 11 and the United Kigsom with show 10 projects.

Since its creation in 1990, Cartoon Forum

has developed as a springboard for the production of European animation series. Organized by the European Association of Animation Film, the event has helped support European animation both within Europe’s borders and abroad. It is partly funded through the EU’s Media Program.  

TV-Loonland Signs Green Kids Deal for Pettson and Findus


TV-Loonland has signed DH Konzept for green children’s textiles for Pettson and Findus. The autumn 2008 collection will be produced by SKAL accredited cotton, which is produced without pesticides, insecticide, or fertilizer.

Bernd Conrad, head of licensing and merchandising at TV-Loonland, says: ”Parents choose Pettson and Findus for their little ones, both as a TV series and licensing brand for the values that it represents. We aim to meet this leap of faith by now offering Pettson and Findus textiles that are ecologically proven, so that neither nature nor the children’s health are affected.”

EM.Sport Media Sells Entertainment Division to Studio100


German EM.Sport Media has sold its entertainment division to the Belgian media company Studio 100, the largest provider of children’s and youth entertainment in the Benelux region, for €41 million.

The deal, subject to anti-trust approval in Germany, Austria and the Bavarian and German broadcast authorities, is part of EM.Sport’s divestment progam first announced in April 2007.

At the same time, EM.Sport has acquired all the shares in Constantin Film and launched an online marketing agency, ADImpulse Media, to market product for the group and for third parties, with a focus on 14- to 49-year-old boys and men.

The group’s first quarter sales came in below the same period last year with earnings after tax at a loss of €4.6 million, compared to a profit of € 3.1 million in the first quarter 2007.

Spellbound Signs Plush Licensee for The Koala Brothers


U.K. children’s rights owner and producer Spellbound Entertainment has signed Aurora World as plush toy licensee for The Koala Brothers.

Under the multi-year deal, Aurora World has rights to develop, manufacture and distribute products across the plush category in the U.K. and Korea.

As part of the deal Aurora World has exclusive manufacturing rights to supply Australia and Poland. It is anticipated that the deal will expand into other markets.


The initial product line is expected to debut in the U.K. in the autumn, with rollout to Korea and other markets expected in autumn 2009.

Aurora, whose licenses include Pink Panther and Looney Toons, is headquartered in Korea, with showrooms in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the United States and factories in Indonesia and China.

Peter Curtis, joint managing director, Spellbound Entertainment, says: “

Aurora World has an incredibly strong pedigree in creating beautiful plush products and we are confident that they will help us build The Koala Brothers into a leading global children’s brand.”

Aurora World U.K. sales director Nigel Layton-Hill, comments: “We are huge fans of The Koala Brothers. It’s a truly enchanting property with characters that will translate beautifully into a fun and engaging plush product line.”

The Koala Brothers was originally commissioned by CBBC in the United Kingdom. It has also been acquired by Disney Channel in the United States and Japan; Treehouse and Tele-Quebec in Canada; Discovery Kids in Latin America; Super RTL in Germany; France 5 and Tiji in France; RTP and Canal Panda in Portugal; ABC and Nickelodeon in Australia; Jetix in Holland; EBS in Korea; Cartoon Network in India; TV 12 in Singapore; Denmark's TV2; Norway’s TV2; Sweden’s TV4; and Finland’s TV4 Nelonen.

Blues Takes on Transformers Animated


U.K.-based Blues Clothing has signed a deal with Hasbro for Transformers Animated for leisurewear until 2010.

The Transformers Animated series of 29 x 30 minute episodes is airing on Nick Toons in the United Kingdom.

Blues licensing director Suzanne George says: “Transformers was the No. 1 boys brand action figure in 2007 and we are confident that the Transformers Animated license will be a success for Blues Clothing in 2008. We are very excited to be working with Hasbro for the next two years and look forward to producing compelling garments for our retailers”.

Kingston joins up with TLA


Kingston Technology has joined forces with The Licensing Agency to launch a content license from European football’s Destination Vienna 2008 – Road to the Finals.

Customers will receive free football video content when they buy the DataTraveler Vienna 2GB USB drive from Kingston Technology.

The Licensing Agency (TLA) is providing Kingston Technology, with localized video content from the qualification games of the nations that will compete in Austria and Switzerland this summer. The USB drive will also include interviews with coaches and players, as well as features on the cities that will be hosting the football matches.

Gustavo Antonioni joins ITV as brand chief


Gustavo Antonioni will join the recently merged Granada Ventures and Granada International in the newly created role of commercial brand director responsible for driving the global marketing and licensing strategy. 

The former Marvel Entertainment and Warner Bros executive will manage the global marketing team, as well as the brand management and merchandising and licensing teams. He will also be working closely with ITV’s marketing and commercial teams.

Antonioni’s appointment follows the recent merger of Granada International and Granada Ventures, ITV’s worldwide distribution and licensing arms. Led by Peter Iacono, president and managing director of ITV Worldwide, the newly merged division includes the global distribution operations for ITV’s theatrical, video, TV, publishing, consumer products and international networks.

Antonioni has also worked for Sony Pictures, Time Warner and The Walt Disney Company.

Peter Iacono said: “Gustavo Antonioni has a proven track record of managing high profile consumer brands for some of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet. His expertise and international outlook will play a vital role in driving ITV’s global marketing and licensing strategy forward.”

Olivia Gets Animated on Nickelodeon


Nickelodeon has partnered with media content company Chorion to bring the bestselling Simon & Schuster Olivia books to life in a new animated television series. The debut of this preschool series is planned for 2009.

Nickelodeon plans to launch the 3D CGI series of 26 half-hour episodes during the first quarter 2009. Academy Award-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films will be animating the project. Teri Weiss will be the executive in charge together with Chorion’s Diana Manson, executive vice president creative, and Megan Laughton, director creative.

The Simon Spotlight and Simon Scribbles imprints of Simon and Schuster will be developing a television tie-in multi-format program from storybooks to novelty and coloring books set to launch in late 2009.

The Olivia book series is translated into more then 20 languages, “Olivia is one of Simon & Schuster’s most important franchise series and we are both excited and confident that the Chorion and Nickelodeon collaboration will result in a first class show that is on par with the level of excellence that readers and fans associate with Olivia,” said Rick Richter, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. 

EXECUTIVE MOVES


Siegel+Gale, one of the world’s premier strategic branding firms, has appointed David Keefe as global director, media and entertainment. In his new role, he will work across Siegel+Gale’s offices worldwide to continue to increase the visibility and reach of the firm’s media and entertainment offering.

Nelvana has promoted Lily Yan to director, licensing international, based in the Toronto office. Additionally, Sarah Sakr is being promoted to marketing and licensing coordinator, Europe, based in the Paris office.

OBITUARY


Pineapple Squared Entertainment’s creative director David Mitton died suddenly last week. A television industry veteran, he worked for Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson in the 1960s and went on to direct and later to write more than 180 episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine through Clearwater. He was currently working on Adventures on Orsum Island.

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