4Kids Rebrands Children’s Programming Block
4Kids Entertainment, Inc., rebranded its four-hour Fox Box children’s programming block to 4KIDS TV. The change also will be reflected in a new 4KIDS TV Website (
) and a new color corporate logo. A marketing program will support the launch with cable and broadcast advertising, local TV spots, online, print, onsite marketing, and consumer promotion tie-ins.
Marvel Enterprises Signs New Deals
Marvel Enterprises, Inc., will increase its publishing presence in various mass-market formats, signing deals with DK Publishing, HarperCollins, Meredith Books, and Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books. DK Publishing will develop children’s and all-age nonfiction titles under its “Ultimate Guides” series. HarperCollins will create movie tie-in books for upcoming theatrical releases including this summer’s Fantastic Four, X-Men 3 (May 2006), and Spider-Man 3 (May 2007). Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books will launch adult paperback novels, and Meredith Books will create children’s book products. First products will be on shelves in the first quarter of 2005.
In other news, Marvel granted Corbis the rights to license the company’s digital content for editorial and commercial use on a global basis.
Russ Berrie Is Master Licensee for Raggedy Ann & Andy
United Media named Russ Berrie and Co. master licensee for Raggedy Ann & Andy. As part of the deal granted by rights owners Hasbro, Inc., and Simon & Schuster, Inc., Russ will take on worldwide rights (excluding Japan) for soft dolls, giftware, and infant gift and developmental toys for the mass, mid-tier, and specialty channels. Product will begin rolling out to stores this spring in time for Raggedy Ann’s 90th birthday.
McFarlane Toys Takes Toy Lead for Corpse Bride
Warner Bros. Consumer Products tapped McFarlane Toys as master toy licensee for Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion, animated feature film, Corpse Bride, due from Warner Bros. Pictures in fall 2005. McFarlane Toys will produce a line of collectible action figures, bendable figures, PVC and plush toys to coincide with the release of the film. This agreement marks the first time McFarlane Toys has expanded its categories to include fashion dolls; bobbleheads; novelties; and gifts such as candles, glassware mugs, pewter pieces, and ornaments. Retailer-specific programs will be announced in spring 2005.
Mattel Relaunches Nonprofit Arm
Mattel, Inc., relaunched its nonprofit philanthropic arm, the Mattel Children’s Foundation. The foundation expects to donate more than $5 million in 2005 to address the following priorities: education and learning, health and well-being, girls’ empowerment, and bringing joy to children. The foundation’s new programs include partnerships with Special Olympics, Save the Children, the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation (CAAF). Grants of $25,000 each will be made available to local charities directly serving children in need in countries where Mattel has operations. International applications will be available by invitation only.
Sesame Workshop Creates Program for India
Sesame Workshop will enter India with the creation of Sesame India in conjunction with Turner. The program will air in 2006 on Turner’s Cartoon Network and POGO and will feature new Indian Muppet characters; locally produced live-action and animation segments; and classic Sesame Street moments with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the gang. The series will be distributed on multiple platforms across India. The program will be in Hindi for the first season with some English words and simple phrases. Going forward, the series will be available in other languages. A Sesame India radio program and outreach materials, including posters and flashcards, also will be distributed in both urban and rural areas.
New Partners Sign on for Atomic Betty
Breakthrough Animation secured new partners for Atomic Betty including Adorable Kids for girls’ sleepwear; The Betesh Group for slumber bags, character pillows, lighting, wall scrolls, etc.; Disguise, Inc., for costumes and costume accessories; Happy Kids for girls’ sportswear, swimwear, and fashion bottoms; Innovative Designs for portfolios, wire-bound binder paper, theme books, composition notebooks, paper diaries, memo pads, assignment books, agendas, and memos; MeadWestvaco for Atomic Betty 2006 and 2007 calendars; World Trend, Inc., for oral care and hair care; Armitron for watches and clocks; and Nanco for amusement and theme park toys. Atomic Betty currently is licensed to more than 100 territories worldwide.
Napster Program Celebrates Music Lifestyle
Napster plans a new line of fashion apparel and collectibles that will be unveiled at MAGIC Marketplace and Toy Fair. Thunder Creek will showcase a line of fashion tops, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and tank tops at MAGIC, while Daystone will feature baseball caps, trucker hats, and beanies. At Toy Fair, collectibles of the Napster “Kitty” will be on display from Art Asylum including mini-mates, plush, and PVC figures. Napster’s exclusive licensing agency, Brand Central LLC, brokered the deals.
HarperCollins Children’s Books Inks Two Deals
HarperCollins Children’s Books acquired world rights to publish 12 books in the “Rotten School” book series by best-selling author R.L. Stine. The first two books are due July 5, 2005, and will be supported by a national publicity campaign and author tour, as well as direct mailings, radio giveaway campaign, national consumer print advertising, and extensively rotten Website
In other news, the company created a new series of children’s books based on Build-A-Bear Workshop. The first seven books are available in bookstores, in select Build-A-Bear Workshop stores, and at
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