Plaza Sésamo, the Spanish-language version of Sesame Street, will gain exposure with a retail launch at five retailers. Mervyn's will be the first to launch the line in early March followed by Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Kohl's, and Sears in mid-March. Lending support is Children's Apparel Network with apparel, L'Egent with bags, Berkshire with accessories, AME with sleepwear, and BBC with footwear. Products will feature characters Lola, Pancho, and Abelardo along with popular favorites Elmo, Ernie, and Cookie Monster. Sesame Workshop is also in the first stages of relaunching The Electric Company with Junk Food on board with T-shirts and accessories for men and juniors. The assortment includes apparel and accessories featuring images (such as the show logo) and catchphrases (such as, "Can you dig it?") from the program. Discussions are underway with additional licensees, and retail outlets will be announced shortly. Products are due on shelves in February.
Marvel Enterprises named David Maisel president and COO of Marvel Studios. In his new role, Maisel will work on expanding the studios' presence in new entertainment venues as well as maximizing the commercial success of its future feature film releases. Four feature films based on Marvel characters will be released in 2004: The Punisher (April 16), Spider-Man 2 (July 2), Blade 3: Trinity (August), and Man-Thing (October).
Warner Bros. Widens International Appeal
Warner Bros. Consumer Products will raise its international profile with the appointment of PMW Agency Ltd., a joint venture between Hutchison Harbour Ring Ltd. and Global Brands Group Plc., as the exclusive consumer products licensing agent for Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The deal also enables HHR to operate Warner Bros. Studio Stores and Warner Bros. Studios Presents retail formats within the same markets. Additionally, HHR has been awarded non-exclusive licensing rights to manufacture and distribute merchandise based on the studio's brands for sale in authorized licensed retailers outside the U.S. and Canada. The first flagship Studio Store is scheduled to open in Shanghai no later than 2005. In other news, WBCP partnered with Flik Flak on a line of watches based on The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The watches are scheduled to hit stores in March 2004.
Fisher-Price Partners with ESPN
Fisher-Price teamed up with ESPN on the ESPN GameStation and in the process courted an older audience for the first time. The Fisher-Price ESPN GameStation lets kids ages 5 and up play 21 electronic, arcade-style games featuring baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, and soccer. The product (suggested retail, $179.99) includes two footballs, two basketballs, and two baseballs, as well as a golf ball, soccer ball, hockey puck, golf putter, and hockey stick and hits shelves in August. SportsCenter theme music and commentary from Stuart Scott, including his signature phrase "Boo-yah," enhance the experience and bring kids into the game.
Nickelodeon, Lego Construct New Deal
Nickelodeon signed a two-year partnership with Lego Systems for a line of Dora the Explorer construction sets. The deal is a win-win for both companies as Nick hopes to extend the off-air experience with girls and boys and Lego hopes to grow both its preschool business and the construction toy category. In other Nick news, Nickelodeon Consumer Products announced a series of promotions and appointments. Nancy Wolpert was promoted to senior director, video; Margaret Milnes was upped to senior director, books; Victoria Bush was promoted to director, stationery, social expressions, and activity toys; and Dara Rosen got the nod as manager, toys. Javier Farfan joins Nickelodeon Promotions Marketing as director, and Thomas Markert joins Nicktoons as creative director.
Haddad Sports New Jordan License
Jordan, a division of Nike, Inc., tapped the Haddad Apparel Group to design, market, and manufacture a line of Jordan apparel and accessories for boys and girls sizes 0 to 20. The collection of apparel, accessories, headwear, hosiery, and underwear will ship to sports specialty retailers and better department stores in spring 2005. Haddad has been the children's licensee for Nike Team Sports since August 2000.
Huffy Corp. Inks New Deals
Huffy Corp. is sporting three new licensing partnerships. The company recently aligned with HYI on a line of Tommy Armour-branded golf footwear throughout North America. The footwear will be available at green grass, off-course specialty, and sporting goods specialty shops in fall 2004. Huffy Corp. also partnered with Holmont Industries, Ltd., on an assortment of Hespeler-branded hockey accessories already shipping to retailers in Canada, and with HD Brown Enterprises Ltd. on a line of Hespeler-branded street hockey equipment in North America due in spring 2004.
Bradford to Mold Ironwear Program
Bradford Licensing Associates will work with Ironwear to launch a line of work pants, work shirts, jackets, vests, one-piece suits, footwear, gloves, headwear, thermal underwear, hosiery, and protective eyewear. Materials and fabrics used to develop the Ironwear line will be durable, protective, and waterproof. Products will be available at mass retailers, workwear retailers, and specialty stores in late 2004. Bradford Licensing Associates also is working with Aspen Licensing International on a worldwide licensing program for Aspen. Initial product categories will include apparel and outerwear, leather goods, luggage, travel goods, and footwear. Product is due in late 2004.
Tokyopop Readies New Manga Titles
Tokyopop will release new manga "Saiyuki" in March. Joining "Saiyuki" in July are five other manga releases including "Culdcept," "Doll," "Eternity," "Evil's Return," and "Passion Fruit."
Steinberg Named VP at Sega of America
Sega of America named Scott A. Steinberg vice president of entertainment marketing. The Sega veteran rejoins the company and is charged with all aspects of product marketing, creative services, interactive marketing, Web development, and public relations. Steinberg will work with sales and participate in the company's product planning group designed to evaluate development and licensed properties.
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