Navarre Corp. to Acquire FUNimation
Navarre Corporation, publisher and distributor of home entertainment and multimedia software products, is acquiring 100 percent of the general and limited partnership interests in FUNimation Productions, Ltd., and The FUNimation Store, Ltd. The cash and stock transaction will close before May 15, 2005. FUNimation titles include Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT, Yu Yu Hakusho, Case Closed, and Fullmetal Alchemist.
In other news, Atari will extend its existing exclusive licensing deal with FUNimation Productions, Ltd., for another five years for Dragon Ball in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Under the new agreement, Atari, which has exclusively held a Dragon Ball license in those territories since 1999, will have the rights to develop interactive video games based on the Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT animated series and characters for all current and future gaming consoles and portable gaming devices.
Changes to Strengthen International Focus
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products will fuel its international growth with the creation of two new positions and several executives gaining new responsibilities. Jim Davey was named senior vice president, Global Consumer Products marketing and planning. Tanya Haider was appointed vice president, Nickelodeon & Viacom International Consumer Products. As a result of the new strategy, several other executives gained new responsibilities. Sherice Guillory-Torres will become vice president, hard goods, while Harald (Hal) Snik will become vice president, soft goods.
Elwood Promoted to SVP Post
Cookie Jar Entertainment promoted Kelly Elwood to senior vice president of marketing from her previous position as vice president of marketing & licensing. Elwood will oversee the company’s expanding industry and consumer brand marketing, as well as provide strategic planning on behalf of Cookie Jar’s growing entertainment lineup.
Kornblum Launches New Branding Firm
Warren Kornblum, chairman and CEO of Shadow Entertainment Group, recently formed Shadow Branding. The company will work with “a select group of partners to bring entertainment, intellectual property content, major brands, and the marketing community together on specific initiatives,” says Kornblum, the former chief marketing officer for Toys “R” Us.
Cartoon Network Launches PSA
Cartoon Network created an integrated public service announcement program to educate and inspire young people to join in supporting global efforts to provide relief to tsunami victims. The program kicked off January 14 with a musical salute featuring the network’s characters set against “Give a Little Bit,” the classic anthem by Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp. Five for Fighting’s John Ondrasik and UNICEF Ambassadors Clay Aiken and India.Arie each will sing an all-new recording of the tune. Viewers will be directed to visit an independent Website designed specifically for this campaign,
, and to UNICEF for further information, to make contributions, and to learn how even kids can make a difference regardless of their ability to donate.
American Idol Goes Glossy
FremantleMedia Licensing Americas teamed with CSM Group, an American contract publisher, to create American Idol…the Magazine. On newsstands in February, the magazine ($5.99) will cover everything from the audition process to the final selected contestants with in-depth, behind-the-scenes interviews and photography. The March/April mid-season issue will follow with more features, behind-the-scenes interviews, and photos. Additionally, the magazine will include a set of interactive scorecards for each of the final 10 shows to assist viewers during the selection process that will name this year’s American Idol.
The American Red Cross Debuts Licensing Program
The American Red Cross has sought the help of cause-licensing specialist Campbell Associates LLC with the rollout of its licensing program. The officially licensed products will provide a tangible means for Americans to take a proactive role in keeping their families safe every day. In addition, select promotional licenses will give consumers the opportunity to demonstrate their affinity for one of America’s favorite charities.
Go Baby Interstitials Debut on Playhouse Disney
Go Baby three-minute interstitials created in photo collage animation by children’s television producer/writer Josh Selig (Sesame Street) premiered January 3 during Playhouse Disney. Go Baby is a series of interstitials in which preschoolers are encouraged to help baby complete simple tasks including building a sandcastle and banging a drum. Go Baby is a Little Airplane-Granada Kids production in association with Disney Channel.
Marathon Spies Opportunities for Property
Marathon appointed CopCorp Licensing to run the North American licensing program for its Totally Spies girls’ property. Current North American licensees include A.D. Sutton, Disguise Inc., Happy Kids, HYPnotic, IMT Accessories, Innovative Designs, Senario, Simon & Schuster, Tokyopop, Trau & Loevner, and Adorable Kids Inc. Totally Spies airs on Cartoon Network and stars three typical Beverly Hills girls who unwittingly become international secret agents.
Johnnie Walker Steps into Licensing Arena
Diageo Brands BV, based in the Netherlands, reached an agreement with
Franco Ziche S.p.A. to license a men’s apparel line under the Johnnie Walker name.
The collection of contemporary sportswear, which includes a distinctive golf
component, will launch in department and specialty stores in North America and Europe. The Johnnie Walker brand is licensed and fully owned by Diageo, a premium drinks company.
Diamond Select Inks Transformers Deal
Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles signed a licensing agreement with the Hasbro Properties Group for the Transformers brand. Plans are in the works for several product lines, including replicas, bookends, plaques, motion globes, and wall-mounted statues.
In other Hasbro news, the company will contribute $400,000 to assist with the short- and long-term needs of children affected by the tsunami disaster in southern Asia. Hasbro’s contribution includes financial gifts to World Vision and UNICEF to support various programs benefiting children and their families, as well as a large toy donation to children in some of the hardest hit regions.
Orsher Joins Rogar Studios
Rogar Studios named Glenn Orsher vice president and general manager. Orsher will oversee the company’s in-house licensing and marketing departments, as well as development of live entertainment projects.
New, Expanded TOY FAIR Education Program
License! subscribers receive an additional 20 percent discount off Early Bird pricing for TOY FAIR seminars (held February 21 and 22 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City)—that’s a savings of $90 off the regular price of the new and expanded education program.
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This year’s program is the most comprehensive ever, featuring eight subject tracks, including: Licensing and Legal, Manufacturing, Online Experience, Marketing and Promotion, Safety, Business Development, Business Innovation, and Retail. Plus, more than 40 information-packed panels and presentations on relevant, timely issues that are shaping the future of the industry and strategies that can save you time and money. Visit
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New Addition: License! Online Tracker
Every month, License! publishes the most up-to-date information on licenses currently available and licenses recently granted. This is one of the most widely read sections of the magazine, and now it’s available online. You can search by properties, products, licensees, licensors, licensing agents, categories, and dates. Click on the tracker logo on
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