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Weekly E-news, Issue #257, March 25, 2008

Disney Seeks to Re-Purchase Disney Store From The Children’s PlaceThe Walt Disney Company confirmed that it is in advanced discussions with The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. to explore terms under which Disney might acquire ownership of a

April 6, 2018

24 Min Read

Disney Seeks to Re-Purchase Disney Store From The Children’s Place
The Walt Disney Company confirmed that it is in advanced discussions with The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. to explore terms under which Disney might acquire ownership of a portion of the Disney Store chain in North America. The Children's Place acquired the Disney Store chain in 2004 in a licensing agreement.

“The Company believes the Disney Stores can be an important extension of the ‘Disney’ brand and, with the improved economics provided by a smaller store footprint, could add value to the Company in the promotion and monetization of its growing number of robust franchises,” Disney said in a statement.

In interviews, Gary Foster, senior vice president of Disney Consumer Products said that the new chain would be approximately 2/3 the size of the current chain of stores.

Disney, who still operates the Disney Store chain in Europe, would use the North American operation to bolster its growing consumer products business. "The company has done a phenomenal job of creating new franchises and has broadened our appeal to include boys and older kids," Foster said. "It's much easier to launch franchises in Europe from a retail perspective if you have complete control, over the timing of the entertainment content, timing of the merchandise launches, and a retail outlet where you can really focus on those.”

Disney has also announced plans to open over 100 new retail locations in India. "India is a high priority market for us," said Roshini Bakshi, Disney Consumer Products regional director. "We will open 150 stores for our consumer products across the country by 2011."

Marvel Cartoons Head to Nicktoons in 2009
Nicktoons Network, Nickelodeon's 24-hour animation channel, has joined forces with Marvel Entertainment Inc., to bring iconic heroes Wolverine and Iron Man from the page and big screen to television in two brand-new animated series, "Iron Man: The Animated Series" (a co-production with French based Method Films) and "Wolverine and the X-Men" (a co-production with Toonz Entertainment Pte Ltd., Singapore and First Serve International Ltd.), debuting exclusively on Nicktoons Network in first quarter 2009.

Each series is based on a character enjoying increased visibility due to a big-screen movie —Iron Man in 2008 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. "Nicktoons has a reputation for delivering some of the highest quality animation programming to the youth entertainment market, and Marvel is thrilled to be joining hands with such a dynamic channel," says Eric Rollman, executive vice president, animation and television for Marvel Studios. "Marvel is uniquely positioned to bring two shows with incredible brand momentum and awareness to this partnership, and we look forward to being in business with Nicktoons to launch this programming."

Lionsgate Inks Deal to Distribute HIT Home Entertainment
Lionsgate has acquired the home entertainment distribution rights to worldwide family entertainment leader HIT Entertainment’s extensive portfolio of award-winning children’s programming in the United States and Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lionsgate obtains the exclusive marketing, sales and distribution rights to HIT’s iconic franchises including Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Barney, Angelina Ballerina, and Fireman Sam; newly acquired brands such as Fifi & the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car from Chapman Entertainment; Aardman Animations’ award-winning Wallace & Gromit, which includes four TV half hour episodes, and Shaun the Sheep; as well as The Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock and additional family titles from the Henson library.

Lionsgate is scheduled to begin distributing HIT’s full slate of home entertainment releases in May 2008. Thomas and the Great Discovery, the brand’s first feature length direct to DVD movie since 2005, featuring Pierce Brosnan as the narrator, will be one of the first titles released in September 2008.

Lionsgate and HIT noted that, anticipating the emerging digital marketplace, the agreement encompasses electronic sell-through to the HIT owned titles as well as DVD distribution rights. Lionsgate currently has non-theatrical family home entertainment market share of approximately 9% and, with the new partnership with HIT, this non-theatrical family home entertainment market share is expected to grow to approximately 15%. 

Big Deals for Big Tent’s Wiggles
In support of the hugely successful preschool band The Wiggles, New York-based branded entertainment company Big Tent Entertainment has expanded its licensing portfolio for the property with an array of new North American deals. Leading partners Just Me Music (music), Kelly Toys USA (plush and sporting goods), SmileMakers (stationery), Ty’s Toy Box (apparel), and Walman Optical (eyewear) have signed on to develop product lines that encourage the property’s learning-through-music motto.
Greetings from the King
Fast-food giant Burger King Corp. has chosen Andrews McMeel Publishing to develop a line of branded greeting cards featuring the King, the company’s notable brand icon. Debuting with six different greeting cards, the line will be available at select retailers beginning in summer 2008. Carole Francesca, president of Broad Street Licensing, which brokered the deal, says, “It’s especially exciting when a license is both strategic and fun. Using the King on greeting cards will give consumers a fun way to express themselves.”

“We’re always looking for clever ways for the King to surprise his fans,” says Russ Klein, president, global marketing, strategy and innovation, Burger King Corp. “Now special occasions will be even more memorable thanks to the King.” The King’s line of cards will be produced and distributed through Recycled Paper Greetings, Inc. of Chicago.

Phillips-Van Heusen Brings IZOD to India
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation has announced a new licensing agreement with Arvind Brands Ltd., a division of Arvind Mills Ltd., to design and distribute apparel under its well-known IZOD sport-inspired lifestyle brand. This strategic licensing arrangement provides Arvind with the right to distribute apparel under this iconic American brand both at wholesale and through its own IZOD flagship stores in India.

“PVH is represented in India through the presence of several of its brands, including Arrow, which Arvind has distributed for more than 15 years,” says Kenneth Wyse, president–licensing, PVH. “We have been impressed by Arvind’s management team and the growth of our Arrow brand in India, as well as the number of other prominent international brands Arvind manages in India. We believe that Arvind has the skill, business acumen, experience and infrastructure to introduce and develop successfully the IZOD brand in India.”

Video Game Company Ubisoft Buys Tom Clancy’s Name
Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, has concluded an agreement with bestselling author Tom Clancy to acquire all intellectual property rights to the Tom Clancy name, on a perpetual basis and free of all related future royalty payments, for use in video games and ancillary products including related books, movies and merchandising products.

The price of this all-cash acquisition is not currently disclosed.

On the basis of past performance of Tom Clancy branded video games, and excluding any potential contribution coming from sales of ancillary products, the royalty savings generated by this acquisition are estimated to have an average positive impact on Ubisoft's operating income of a minimum of five million Euros per year.

"After ten years of a highly successful collaboration which has seen the creation of blockbusters that set standards in the videogame industry, such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, today, acquiring the perpetual property rights of the Tom Clancy name for video games and related projects is a major event,” says Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at Ubisoft. “The future of our industry lies in our capacity to create and develop brands that captivate consumers and that present myriad of opportunities for the full spectrum of entertainment, be it video games, books, movies or other media. The Tom Clancy brand is recognized around the world for offering exciting video games, films and books. Capitalizing on the strong franchises that we’ve built over the past 10 years, we will take the Tom Clancy game brand to the next level of the global entertainment industry."

4Kids Kicks Off ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! GX’ Promotion at Subway Restaurants
4Kids Entertainment Inc. has entered into an international promotional partnership with Subway Restaurants for the animated television series “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.” Running now through May 11, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX branded premiums will be available exclusively with purchase of any Subway Fresh Fit Kids Meal at participating restaurants in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX promotion will launch at Subway restaurants in the UK and Ireland April 7-May 18.

Each Subway Fresh Fit Kids Meal will include one of two collectible Yu-Gi-Oh! GX premiums, including a Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Monster Spinning Top and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Monster Etching Plates enclosed in a themed meal bag.

“Project Runway” a Runaway Licensing Success
The Weinstein Company has completed five multi-year licensing agreements with category partners to coincide with the airing of the fourth season of the Emmy-nominated hit fashion design competition series, “Project Runway.” This marks the first time “Project Runway” has extended the brand with a series of licensing partners in consumer products. The licensees include Aaron Company, Brother International, Prym Consumer, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, and Simplicity Pattern Co. The partners are currently developing collateral, for both in store and online that will expand the “Project Runway” brand into retail channels globally.

The “Project Runway” licensing program was structured by ACI Licensing on behalf of The Weinstein Company.

Lucky Brands Goes “Under” Cover
Lucky Brand Jeans, known for their great-fitting, vintage-inspired jeans, is introducing Lucky Brand Underwear and Loungewear. Directly inspired by the individual style of Lucky Brand Jeans’ men’s and women’s apparel lines, Lucky Brand Underwear and Loungewear reflects the brand’s strong rock ‘n’ roll roots, signature sense of humor, and vintage feel. Lucky Brand Underwear and Loungewear is being produced under license with wonderbrand, a San Francisco-based company established by Joe Boxer Founder, Nick Graham, and will be distributed through Lucky Brand Jeans current sales channels. The Men’s premiere Lucky Brand Underwear and Loungewear collection hits stores in August 2008, and  Women’s will follow in October. 

Marvel Expands Footwear and Costume Programs With BBC and Disguise
Marvel Entertainment Inc. announced that it has extended its licensing agreements with BBC for the children’s footwear category and Disguise for Halloween costumes. The deals with these industry leaders reflect Marvel’s licensing strategy to consolidate key merchandise segments with “best in class” partners who can best support the brand with creative product development, extensive marketing and strong retail programs.

 “We are excited to expand our broad-reaching strategic relationships with both BBC and Disguise as they have been integral partners in helping significantly increase Marvel’s impact in the marketplace in their respective categories,” says Paul Gitter, president of consumer products for North America, Marvel Entertainment. “As industry leaders, they continue to produce high quality product lines that successfully translate Marvel’s extensive character portfolio and provide a strong presence for our licensed products in the mass market.”

Through their recently extended multi-year license agreements, BBC and Disguise will expand their offerings of Marvel-branded products this year to include merchandise based on this summer’s Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk films, Spider-Man, X-Men and many others

CBS’ ‘CSI’ to Become Interactive Stage Show at Six Flags
Mad Science Productions and CBS Consumer Products are teaming up to create a live, interactive stage show based on CBS’s #1 hit show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”  CSI: Live! will make its worldwide debut on June 14 at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles.

CSI: Live! invites audience members to become part of the adventure by incorporating cutting-edge forensic science, audience interaction and amazing visual effects into a fast-paced, entertaining “whodunit.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Mad Science in further expanding CSI’s themed entertainment portfolio,” says Liz Kalodner, executive vice president and general manager of CBS Consumer Products. “CSI: Live translates the weekly television experience into an interactive and educational event.”

After its initial run at Six Flags Magic Mountain, CSI: LIVE! will hit the road and travel throughout the United States and Canada through 2010.

‘Guitar Hero’ Goes Portable on the Nintendo DS
For the first time, handheld gamers will have the freedom to unleash their inner rock star anywhere with Activision Inc.’s upcoming Guitar Hero: On Tour for Nintendo DS. The game will include master tracks of classic rock, alternative and pop favorites such as Nirvana, OK Go and No Doubt.

The game will be packaged with a Guitar Hero Guitar Grip peripheral that fits snugly into the DS, and a unique Guitar Hero pick-stylus that brings a new dimension to handheld gaming and the core gameplay that defines Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero: On Tour has been designed specifically for the DS platform.

“We are continuing to introduce new and exciting ways to bring music to audiences with Guitar Hero,” says Dusty Welch, head of publishing for Activision/RedOctane. “The Guitar Hero Guitar Grip redefines how games can be played on handheld systems and the integration of the microphone and touch screen gameplay on the DS, further illustrates Guitar Hero’s leadership in delivering the most unique and creative quality hardware and software on the market.”
Abboud Looks to UK Expansion
U.S. menswear brand Joseph Abboud has signed up London-based ML Marketing to seek licensees to supply the UK market. The UK move is part of an international expansion for the fashion brand that includes tailoring to denim collections.

Eddie Bauer’s New Strategy—Cut Costs
Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. has announced that the company’s current economic plan involves cutting costs, regardless what is going on in the larger economy.

"The actions that we're taking are the same actions we should be taking whether we're in a recession or we're in a period of growth," chief executive officer Neil Fiske said in an earnings call. "We obviously need to get this brand turned around and have had for eight months an aggressive focus on getting our costs in line."

The sportswear retailer is focusing on five areas: rebuilding its brand, upgrading products, marketing, cutting costs and growing talent.

Speed Racer Featured on Topps Candy, Topps Featured in ‘Speed Racer’
In conjunction with the release of the Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures’ live-action film Speed Racer, Topps candy is launching a merchandising program for their top-selling candy lines. Topps candy brands are featured in the film, opening in theatres everywhere on May 9.

The Topps Speed Racer program will include special multi-brand merchandisers, featuring the “Speed Racer” car and logos, and will be available at retailers beginning in March. The “Speed Racer” units will include such candy items as Baby Bottle Pop, Push Pop, Juicy Drop Pop, and Bazooka Bubble Juice.

Additionally, retail initiatives will be supported by extensive television advertising throughout April and May. The commercials will contain footage from “Speed Racer” tied to the Topps candy brands.

Topps has also developed a new branded website based on Speed Racer, Candytracks.com, which combines movie footage and new imagery to create a candy-based racing environment.

Linguaphone Signs Up Pingu Master Licensees
Language training group Linguaphone has signed up its first master licensees for Pingu’s English branded preschool English language courses.

babyArt, a specialist in developing young children’s creativity through art, will open the first Pingu’s English School in Shanghai in May. Launched in 2005, babyArt has 35 franchises across China.

Rutledge Joblink, an international recruitment and training provider, has secured the rights to Pingu’s English in Bangladesh, Philippines, and Poland and in June will launch the first Pingu’s English School in Manila. In Portugal, American Station will roll out Pingu’s English to a network of kindergartens leaders this year.

Pingu’s English is a three-level course and teaches English to young children of 3 to 7-plus years. It is based on the HIT Entertainment children’s property, Pingu.

Meredith Strike Deal to Bring ‘More’ to French-speaking Canada
Meredith Corporation has announced a multi-year licensing agreement to publish More magazine for Canada’s French-speaking audience. Under terms of the licensing agreement with Transcontinental Inc., one of Canada’s leading media companies, a French-language version of the brand is expected to launch in print and online in Fall 2008. The first Canadian edition of More, published under license in the English language by Transcontinental, was introduced in Spring 2007.

More speaks to sophisticated women over 40 who are accomplished and confident, featuring topics such as health, beauty, fashion, food and lifestyle, finance, the arts, and travel.

‘One Piece’ DVDs Go to Kana Home
Toei Animation Co has awarded Kana Home Video, part of Dargaud-Lombard, the DVD distribution rights to pirate animé series “One Piece.”

Kana Home Video has acquired DVD distribution rights for the first 143 episodes for France, French-speaking territories (Luxemburg, Switzerland, Monaco, Andorra, French Dom-Tom and dependences), Belgium, and the Netherlands.

This series currently airs in more than 13 counties all over the world.

Bo on the Go! Hits France 5
Decode Enterprises, the distribution subsidiary of DHX Media, is taking new episodes of preschool series “Bo on the GO!” to MIPTV. The series now has 40 episodes available— and has already sold both seasons to France 5.

“Bo on the GO!” is produced by Decode Enterprises’ sister company at DHX, Halifax Film.

 “France 5 is a really important partner for our preschool series. This agreement for ‘Bo on the GO!’ follows our earlier sales for ‘The Save-Ums!’ and ‘Franny’s Feet,’ so we are looking forward to working with France 5 on another successful launch of one of our shows,” says Neil Court, president of Decode Enterprises.

Imira Signs Deals in Spanish-Language Territories
Spanish youth programming producer and distributor Imira Entertainment has sold the first season of Iconix’s preschool series “Pororo” and ZDF Enterprises’ “Wicked Science” to Cartoon Network Spain. 

Also in Spain, Catalonian broadcaster TV3 has bought “64 Zoo Lane” and “Lazy Lucy,” and in Portugal, Imira has scored a hat trick of deals with RTP, which has seen the public channel take Millimages’ “Hydronauts” and “Pitt & Kantrop” and Stranemani’s “Rat Man.”

Imira is also extending its Latin American presence with Colombia public broadcaster RTVC acquiring “Vitaminix,” Millimage’s “Pablo the Little Red Fox,” Millimages/Method Films’ “Skyland,” as well as Telescreen’s “Miffy The Classics” and “Miffy and Friends.”

Big Picture has picked up the home-video rights of international preschool show “Bali” from producer Planet Nemo for the Spanish market.

At MipTV, Imira’s slate of new programming includes “Tangerine & Cow,” the Olympic-themed “Go! Go! Pig” from Italian producer Maga Animation, and “Rat-Man,” an animated comedy from RAI and Italian production company Stranemani.

Anthrax’s Scott Ian Signs Merch Deal With Bif Bang Pow!
Scott Ian, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the seminal heavy metal group Anthrax, has signed a licensing deal with toy company Bif Bang Pow! to produce action figures and bobble heads in his image.

"I'm really excited to be working with Bif Bang Pow! on what is to be my first action figure," says Ian. "No desk will be complete without one!"

Working closely together, Bif Bang Pow! and Scott Ian have announced their first product, a bobble head, which can be pre-ordered now. The Scott Ian Bobble Head is scheduled to ship sometime this summer.

Eebee’s Adventures Comes to Target as a ‘Parents’ DVD
Every Baby Company, creators of the award-winning infant/toddler brand Eebee’s Adventures, and Compass Productions, the producer and distributor of Parents magazine’s brand-licensed CDs and DVDs at national retailer Target, have partnered to create Eebee’s Adventures’ first-ever customized developmental play DVD.

The "Eebee's Adventures: Developmental Play For You And Baby” DVD, in Target stores nationwide now, features an exclusive collection of interactive learning adventures and discovery games, as well as all original songs and music, designed to engage baby with new ideas through play and provide parents with a resource for new ideas about play and development.

Sondra Newkirk, Account Director Brand Licensing for the Parents magazine brand says, "Eebee's Adventures’ practical, hands-on and research-based approach makes perfect sense for the Parents brand. While the adventures‚ engage babies, even more importantly, they also serve as a real-time resource and catalyst for real-world play and interaction for today's active and involved parents. We are very pleased to welcome Eebee to the Parents family."

Bandai America Debuts New Dragon Ball Collectible Card Game
In association with the return of original toy manufacturer Bandai America Inc. to the Dragon Ball Z franchise, Bandai Collectible Games will debut an all-new Dragon Ball collectible card game this Summer. For the first time ever, characters from all three Dragon Ball sagas (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT) will be incorporated, as well as exclusive and dynamic artwork.

“Bandai’s Dragon Ball card game has already seen huge success throughout Asia and Europe, and we’re finally thrilled to introduce our new CCG to North America, along with a lineup of action figures and other toys throughout the year,” says Danny Satyapan, director of Bandai America’s cards division. “Fans everywhere have definitely been responding to the stunning new Dragon Ball images that are exclusive to our cards, and our game system has been getting rave reviews from U.S. players.”

Cartoon Digital Names Key Speakers
Cartoon Digital, the European event aimed at animators, has pulled together key players in from Internet, mobile, and broadband platforms as well as producers, publishers, and consultants for the forthcoming event to be held in Murcia, Spain, April 22 to 24.

Among confirmed speakers are: Axel Dauchez, CEO, MOONSCOOP; Anne-Carole Nourisson, VP Licensing, VIVENDI MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT; Tim Rottach, Director of Content Strategy and Acquisition, JOOST; Bruno Bucher, Developer, MOBILE TV SCHWEIZ; Jean-Emmanuel Casalta, Managing Director, NPA CONSEIL; Marc Goodchild, Head of Interactive and On-demand production, and Gill Pritchard, director, BBC CHILDREN’S; Didier Bailleux, President, ZOOLOO KIDS; Marco Nadotti, Director of Content Acquisition, BLINKX; Jacob Møller, CEO, KILOO; and Isabelle Denis, Director, MEDIATOON INTERACTIVE.

Iris Signs Deal for Disney Storage Products
Home goods company Iris USA has signed a licensing arrangement with Disney for a new line of products inspired by Disney characters. The license will enable Iris to launch three product lines—Hannah Montana, Disney Princess, and Cars. The lines debuted at the International Housewares Show in Chicago.

“The brand name Iris stands for quality and excellence, and we are excited to partner with Disney Consumer Products to create a product line that appeals to tweens and children alike,” says Chet Keizer, Iris USA president. “We are thrilled to bring our consumers a collection that helps them relive Disney memories while adding a bit of fun to their families’ storage and organizational solutions.”

Greystone Signs Deal for Oneida-Branded Kitchen Electronics
Oneida Ltd., a leading source of flatware, dinnerware, drinkware, cookware, bakeware, and kitchen gadgets for both the consumer and food service industries worldwide, announced it has signed a licensing agreement with Greystone Brands Ltd. Under the terms of the agreement, Greystone will license the Oneida brand for use in marketing a wide range of small electrics products for home kitchen use.

"The agreement with Greystone is a great opportunity for Oneida to extend its brand into a new consumer category, which is an important element of our growth plan," says James E. Joseph, president and chief executive officer of Oneida. "We will continue to look for opportunities to expand Oneida's brand."

Greystone Brands is a marketer of kitchen and personal care electrics. The company recently entered into a licensing agreement with Bugatti brands. The Oneida-branded products are expected to be available in the market in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Avon Licenses Marimekko Designs
Avon Products Inc. has announced an exclusive collaboration with the legendary Finnish textile and clothing design company Marimekko. Marimekko will license its Unikko pattern to create a limited-edition cosmetics collection. The Marimekko for Avon Color Collection will launch globally in 2008, debuting in the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Asia in the fourth quarter of 2008

West Coast Choppers Launches New Online Store
SureSource LLC has launched the new online store for West Coast Choppers, the high-end motorcycle customization garage. Featuring the full range of officially licensed WCC merchandise, the customized store, www.shopwestcoastchoppers.com, was developed in tandem with a redesigned West Coast Choppers website.

Working closely together, SureSource and West Coast Choppers were able to retain the strong brand integrity of the enterprise. Graphics, navigation, and copy were developed to appeal to the avid Chopperdog fans and provide a seamless transition between the WCC site and their online store. SureSource will handle all site operations including marketing, fulfillment, and customer service.

“From start to finish we worked together to create a store that's not just customized, it's personalized. Just like our bikes," says Jesse James of West Coast Choppers.

Perfume Inspired by Artist Ed Hardy Created by Christian Audigier
Fragrance maker Christian Audigier is unveiling “Ed Hardy,” a new women’s fragrance based on the imagery of Ed Hardy’s tattoo art.

The artist-designed bottles are sold in several sizes and are available at Macy’s and Dillard’s.

V-me Adds ‘7Pets’ to Kids’ Lineup
Spanish-language block V-me has added another U.S. premiere to its lineup with the launch in April of education-based “7Pets,” which uses puppets, 3-D animation, and live-action sequences and is aimed at 2- to 8-year-olds. 

“7Pets” is made by Pets Entertainment and is distributed worldwide by Ypsilon Films. “In bringing ‘7Pets’ to the U.S., our aim was to establish partnerships with the strongest children’s television platform to build the brand,” says Roberto Mitrani, managing director of Ypsilon Films. “Through this partnership with V-me, we will develop strong nationwide promotional strategies.”

Blues Clothing Signs Another European Strategic Partnership
As part of its European growth strategy, UK licensed apparel supplier Blues Clothing has renewed a five-year distribution deal for France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg with Sodirep.

With offices in Brussels, Paris and Lille, and a 15-million euro turnover, Sodirep is one of the largest clothing suppliers to retailers in France and Benelux, supplying stores such as Carrefour, Makro, 3 Suisses, Auchan, and Kiabi.

Blues has worked with Sodirep for the past five years, but the renewed exclusive agreement will strengthen Blues’ position in the European licensed apparel market and increase sales and distribution within mainland Europe, the company said.

‘Famous Five’ Find New Life with Disney in Europe
A new animated series of Enid Blyton's Famous Five debuts on Disney Channel in the UK in May. The series is from Disney Global Original Programming and is co-produced with Chorion, which owns the brand, and French animation studio Marathon.

“Famous Five: On the Case” is a contemporary take on the classic stories as a new set of kids, imagined as the children of the original group, embark on adventures on the Devon coast. The series rolls out to Disney Channels across mainland Europe, Poland, and South Africa beginning in June. International dates are yet to be set.

The 12-book series that accompanies the program, published by Hodder, launches in July.

Chorion brand development director Jeff Norton says, "’Famous Five: On the Case’ is a great example of how we, as the brand guardian, celebrate the heritage of a property while making it fresh and relevant for new generations of fans."

Lima UK Gets Ready for Spring Fling
Lima UK’s annual Licensing Essentials conference and Spring Fling networking event, organized in association with Brand Licensing Europe, has pulled in some of the UK’s top licensing names.

Seminar topics include making the most of digital media in licensing, licensing without terrestial TV, and a case study of the Dr. Who licensing program.

Speakers and panelists include BBC Worldwide’s Richard Hollis, Graham Saltmarsh, Louise O’Toole from Marvel Entertainment International, Vickie O’Malley from CPLG, and Trevor Jones of Danillo.

The event takes place at Montague on the Gardens in London on May 15. Tickets are £330 + VAT (with discounts for Lima members) for the whole day or £65 + VAT for the evening event alone. To book cal + 44 (0) 1244 393 499 or go to www.brandlicesningeurope.com/lima, where the full program is also available.

Executive Moves
Former Warner Music head Nick Philips has joined Entertainment Rights as chief executive after the sudden departure of Mike Heap, as the business continues talks with two prospective buyers. ER said this week that the preliminary talks would not necessarily lead to an offer for the business, and that any offer made may not be at a level acceptable to shareholders. Phillips was previously chairman and chief executive of Warner Music UK. Prior to that he was managing director and chairman of Universal Music UK.

Randy Klein has joined Zuffa LLC as the new vice president of licensing and merchandising. Klein will be responsible for building and maintaining the brand image of The Ultimate Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting, PRIDE, and other company-owned brands. Before joining Zuffa, LLC, Klein was head of domestic licensing for DreamWorks Animation.

cmi (Colonial Mills Inc.), a leading manufacturer of braided-texture area rugs, has appointed Roy Evans to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Evans will be responsible for the company’s entire sales and marketing function.

Scholastic has named Joanne Ruelos senior editor, licensed publishing. She was previously with McGraw Hill.

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