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Weekly E-news, Issue #286, October 14, 2008

Top news______________________________________________________________China Next Stop for “Thomas & Friends”HIT Entertainment’s “Thomas & Friends” will debut on China’s CCTV soon, along with products and a boo

April 6, 2018

40 Min Read

Top news______________________________________________________________
China Next Stop for “Thomas & Friends”
HIT Entertainment’s “Thomas & Friends” will debut on China’s CCTV soon, along with products and a book deal.

The TV deal calls for four series of the preschool show.

In addition, Promotional Partners Group has signed on to create consumer products through TOMY and RC2 for 2009. Children’s Fun Publishing is expected to develop 12 TV tie-in story books for early 2009, followed by coloring and activity titles.

“Thomas & Friends” airs in more than 185 countries and in 45 languages. This is HIT Entertainment’s first distribution agreement in China.

Hot Wheels To Cruise with Nelvana for Series
Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana is developing a CGI-animated series for Mattel’s Hot Wheels toy brand to premiere in the U.S. and Canada in fall 2009.

The new “Hot Wheel: Battle Force 5” series (26x22) also has an expansive marketing and merchandising plan in the works which encompasses toy, licensing and online activities.

“Hot Wheels continues to be a top boys’ property year after year and the new series will deliver everything boys have loved about the brand—speed, power, performance and attitude—along with adrenaline-fueled action and new, never-before-seen vehicles and characters,” says Barry Waldo, vice president of Worldwide Entertainment & Consumer Products for Mattel. “This is an incredible milestone for the Hot Wheels brand.”

“Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5” is slated to air next year on Canada’s Teletoon during the Sunday morning block and on the U.S.’ Cartoon Network during its Saturday morning lineup. Mattel Entertainment and Nelvana are speaking with international broadcasters for foreign distribution of the series.

At MIPCOM, Nelvana announced other new properties, including:

-“Scaredy Squirrel” (26x30), aimed at children aged 6-11, which features a squirrel’s silly journey to become brave. The series is based on the book series by Canadian author Melanie Watt with Kids Can Press and will be produced in 2009.

- “Being Ian: an IAN-convenient truth” is a one-hour movie about Ian’s dreams of winning the Being Green Contest and targeted to kids ages 6-11. The movie will be released this fall.

- “Skull Kids,” “Sidekick” and “The Academy” are currently in development.

Special Edition Shaun White Snowboarding Game Only at Target
Ubisoft’s Shaun White Snowboarding video game will debut this winter. And, a special-edition version will also be available only at Target, including extended content and features not included in the mass-market version.

Olympic gold medalist Shaun White collaborated with Ubisoft for the game, which features worldwide mountain destinations and the ability for players to create their own tricks and riding styles. The exclusive Target version will have an additional mountain environment, called Target Mountain, more characters and a virtual version of White’s mountainside home, Target Chalet.

Target customers may purchase a $5 pre-sell card for Shaun White Snowboarding now. The Target edition is available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and the Wii.
White has been a Target-sponsored athlete since 2002. In July, he launched a young mens’ and boys’ clothing line with the retailer, featuring denim, shorts, woven tops, hooded sweatshirts and graphic tees.

The Sharper Image Brand To Return on Line of HoMedics Products, Signs $540M Deal
Former bankrupt specialty electronics retailer The Sharper Image will have its brand featured on a variety of HoMedics lifestyle products expected to be available in the summer or fall of next year.

The Sharper Image signed a $540-million, five-year licensing deal with HoMedics to offer products in categories including home environment, electronics, men’s personal care, men’s gifts, health and wellness, weather and concierge. Both Rob Ferber, HoMedics president, and Federico de Bellegarde, vice president of licensing at The Sharper Image, declined to give further details about the new line announced Monday, saying it’s in development.

“At the end of the day, we wanted to create a new line from scratch,” says Ferber. “We didn’t just want to slap a name on it. We understood The Sharper Image’s philosophy of leading with innovation. Our minds our equivalent.”

January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will be the first unveiling of the HoMedics line of Sharper Image-licensed products. The collection is also expected to be showcased at Chicago’s International Housewares Show in March. Products are slated to be available in summer or fall 2009 in wholesale clubs and retail stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond.

“It’s a tight schedule,” says Bellegarde. “But, we want to make sure we are featuring something to the customer that is well made and at the right price.”

The Sharper Image filed for bankruptcy in May and was acquired by Hilco Consumer Capital, Gordon Brothers and Bluestar Alliance. The retailer that once had 184 stores nationwide, is now actively seeking other license agreements in categories such as consumer electronics, bath and bedding, lawn and garden, cookware, pet and eyewear. Bellegarde says the company is in negotiations with more than 150 potential licensees. Plans are also in the works to relaunch The Sharper Image Web site for e-commerce in fall 2009.

Licensing Challenge Winners Announced
Rainbow S.p.A.’s “Huntik” and Renegade Animation’s “Funny Face” were both announced as winners of The Licensing Challenge at this week’s MIPCOM Junior in Cannes.

“Huntik,” an animated comedy adventure series targeted at boys 6-12 won most advanced property.

And, “Funny Face,” was named most promising property. The slapstick action and comic dialogue series is based on characters first introduced on drink packets made by Pillsbury in the 1960s.

In partnership with License! Global, MIPCOM Junior hosts The Licensing Challenge, a pitching session designed to showcase the TV property with the highest licensing potential. An international jury selects winners during the MIPCOM Junior show. The winners are offered advice on how to hit the international stores, plus receive prizes designed to establish the contestants’ global presence.

Editor’s note___________________________________________________________
Crisis, what crisis?
Walking along the Croisette in Cannes this week, watching television buyers and program makers sipping champagne at Mipcom beach parties, it could be hard to imagine that banking and the stock markets were in meltdown across the globe. However, between sips, the talk was of nothing else but the fallout for broadcasting, production companies and retailing.

Big deals are falling through as capital disappears, businesses are being restructured to eliminate redundancies and there is a palpable sense of unease in the air. But this is a time when fortunes will be made as canny businesses make deals at the best prices, and as investment shifts into the developing markets. One optimistic European children's television distributor and licensing rights holder said: "Difficult times are also ones of opportunity. We have to change and readjust—but that is a constant of business. Things will have to get much worse before we see consumers cut down on their kids."

Josephine Collins, European Editor

For complete coverage of BLE, please check out our show dailies on www.licensemag.com.

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MIPCOM news__________________________________________________________
MTVNI Ready with Multiple Deals
MTV Networks International has secured a raft of new deals and expanded its catalog to more than 4,000 hours of multi-platform content across all brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, BET, CMT and Spike TV.

New deals include 13 inked for Nickelodeon’s Asian-inspired animation, “Avatar,”including TV2 in Denmark, 2x2 in Russia and ETB in Spain. “Dora the Explorer” continues its global rollout with four first-ever signings with NRK Norway, TV2 Denmark and SABC South Africa. Comedy Central’s U.S. cult news program, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Global Edition,” has been picked up for the first time by Gulf Showtime in the Middle East, SBS in Sweden and Macedonia’s A1, in addition to multiple deal renewals, such as NRK in Norway and Portugal’s SIC Radical. 

New programming launching for international syndication at MIPCOM includes Nickelodeon’s new Mandarin language animated preschool series, “Ni-Hao, Kai Lan,” and “The Mighty B!,” created by, and starring, “Saturday Night Live’s” Amy Poehler.Other new cutting edge reality formats that push the boundaries and take a peak into some very unique lives include MTV’s hysterical male skewed-music series “Buzzin',” and “Gs to Gents,” hosted by Fonzworth Bentley and executive produced by Oscar-winning Jamie Foxx. VH1 showcases the life of Luther “Luke” Campbell in “Luke’s Parental Advisory,” while BET’s docu-drama, “Baldwin Hills,” and CMT’s absurdly funny, “My Big Red Neck Wedding,” also launch.

Entertainment Rights Debuts Mr. Magoo Movie
Entertainment Rights is debuting Kung Foo Magoo at this week’s MIPCOM event in Cannes.

Produced in conjunction with Mexico’s Anima Estudios, Motion Toons and Entertainment Rights (North America), Kung Foo Magoo (1x80) features voice talent from the U.S., including “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’s” Cole Sprouse and Dylan Sprouse, as well as Alyson Stoner from “Camp Rock.” The movie is set for a theatrical release in Mexico in 2009. Entertainment Rights in North America will release the feature direct-to-video through its distribution partner Genius Products.

“Geronimo Stilton” Gets Fall 2009 Air Date in Italy, France
Italy’s RAI and France’s M6 are set to debut “Geronimo Stilton” in fall 2009. This is the first time that the animated kids’ TV series will be aired in Europe, through the deal between MoonScoop Group’s Taffy Entertainment and Atlantyca.

The series (26x22) is based on a children’s chapter book series of the same name, centered on the life and adventures of a talking journalist mouse named Geronimo Stilton. The book series is published worldwide in 30 languages, including Italian by Edizioni Piemme (Mondadori Group); in English by Scholastic; in French by Albin Michel Jeunesse; and in Spanish by Editorial Planeta.

“Shelldon” To Air in U.S. Spring 2009
Children’s and family programming group Entertainment Rights has secured a U.S. broadcast deal for CGI-animated series “Shelldon.”

The show (13x30) will debut on qubo’s children’s programming block in the U.S. in spring 2009 on NBC, Telemundo and ION TV networks. Produced by Shellhut Entertainment, “Shelldon” educates and entertains children ages 4-8 about marine life and other sea creatures.

“‘Shelldon’ is a wonderful addition to qubo’s spring 2009 schedule,” says Rick Rodriguez, qubo president and general manager. “The series’ soft environmental and educational message delivers on our mission to provide kids and families with entertainment that focuses on promoting literacy and values.”

In March, Entertainment Rights acquired worldwide distribution rights (excluding Thailand and with shared representation in Japan and Korea) for the series in television, digital media, home entertainment, music and licensing and merchandising.

VIZ Media To Highlight Anime Shows
Japanese anime and manga content licensor, VIZ Media, will showcase several animated properties for teens and young adults at MIPCOM this week.

The list of shows include:

  • “Kilari” (156x30) is about a young girl, named Kilari who sets out to become a teen singing sensation to win the heart of her pop idol, Seiji.

  • “Mär” (156x30) is the adventure of a young boy named Ginta who is transported into a dream world where he acquires superhero strength, a traveling companion, Babbo, and a talking weapon, Ärm. Together they must save the World of Mär. Season three is available.

  • “Bleach” (109x30) features the escapades of young Ichigo, a 15-year-old boy who can see ghosts and has soul reaper powers.

  • “Naoki Urasawa’s Monster” (74x30) is a murder mystery series surrounding a famous surgeon and his acts to save a child destined for a terrible fate.

  • “Hunter X Hunter” (62x30) depicts young Gon’s quest to become a hunter like his father, which requires him to pass a long and dangerous exam that only one in thousands can pass.

Novel Sales for “Horrid Henry”
Independent producer Novel Entertainment and distribution partner Little Bird Rights have signed international sales deals for animated property “Horrid Henry” in the run up to MIPCOM, which opened in Cannes this week.

Little Bird has worldwide television rights to the show outside the U.K. and Germany and has recently secured broadcast deals for the first 52x11 series with MNet in South Africa, RTP Portugal, Digiturk in Turkey and SVT Sweden. A deal has also been secured with Polish production company Op Art. 

A total of 104 episodes are now available, as CITV has commissioned a second series of the 2D-animated show. Novel Entertainment is currently in production on the 52 new episodes with delivery due in spring 2009.

“Horrid Henry” already has deals with Disney Channel in France, ZDF Germany, RTE Eire, RUV Iceland, NRK Norway and YLE Finland.

Recent licensing and merchandising deals signed by Copyright Promotions include a master toy license with Re:creation. Novel has also just signed a DVD distribution deal for the second series of “Horrid Henry” with Abbey Home Media Group and Henry is currently on the road for the first time in the U.K. with a new stage show produced by Novel Entertainment and Watershed Productions in association with Sheffield Theatres.

Toy-Maker Spin Master Expands into Content, Promotes Within
Children’s consumer products manufacturer Spin Master will unveil its new content division, Spin Master Entertainment at MIPCOM Jr.

Spin Master Entertainment will center its attention on development and production of new entertainment properties based on original content, co-production and development of its own brands.

“This is a new business channel for us and we’re looking to create fresh, original entertainment content, not toy commercials,” says Matt Wexler, newly promoted executive producer, Spin Master Entertainment. “We are looking for projects with unique creative vision, global appeal, and as always, different is best.”

Wexler was the former director of global licensing and business development for the toy division. Spin Master’s vice president of global licensing Adam Beber and chairman and co-chief executive officer Ronnen Harary will join Wexler to lead the new content division.

Spin Master’s popular toy brands include Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Air Hogs Aquadoodle, Tech Deck and Moon Sand.

MarVista Lands European and Asian Deals for TV
Just in time for MIPCOM, MarVista Entertainment scooped up a slew of international broadcasting deals for several of its properties.

A six-movie package agreement was made with Poland’s public broadcaster Telewizja Polska. The package includes “Hidden Camera” starring Dean Cain, “NYC Tornado Terror,” “Deadly Pledge” featuring “Gossip Girl’s” Leighton Meester and “Behind The Wall.”

HBO Asia has also acquired “Behind The Wall” and “Hidden Camera.” And, South Korea’s Orion Cinema Network’s Catch ON and OCN cable networks has picked up “Absolute Zero,” “NYC Tornado Terror” and “Hidden Camera.”

TV rights were also garnered to Romania’s Kanal D for the series “Beyond the Break,” a MarVista co-production with MTV Networks’ The N and Brookwell McNamara Entertainment.

Shaftesbury Medical Drama Inks Worldwide Distribution Deal
ITV Global Entertainment has partnered with Shaftesbury Films to distribute the drama Series, “Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures” worldwide (excluding Canada).

The one-hour series based on the novel by Vincent Lam features the lives of four young doctors and their experiences from medical school to emergency room doctors. “Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures” is produced by Astral Media’s The Movie Network and Corus Entertainment Company’s Movie Central. Jason Sherman is developing and writing the series.

Canada’s Shaftesbury Films’ other properties include TV’s “Murdoch Mysteries,” TV movie “Gemini” starring Mary-Louise Parker and kids’ series “Life with Derek.”

Payless To Create First Green Footwear Line
An affordable green footwear line is on its way to Payless stores for the first time, early next year.

Discover Network’s Planet Green fashion host beauty editor Summer Rayne Oakes has signed on as the new brand’s eco consultant.

The new collection is expected to include fashionable footwear and accessory items created with organic cottons and linens, natural hemp and recycled outer soles. The initial launch is a women’s line, but will expand to kids’ and mens’ later. Footwear and accessories will retail for under $30 and will be available online.

Oakes also has a book coming out in February 2009, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty from Chronicle Books.

Charlotte Ronson to Design Collection for JCPenney
An exclusive I “Heart” Ronson collection will arrive in JCPenney stores in spring 2009.

The line will feature fashion designer Charlotte Ronson’s flair for combining femininity, vintage aesthetic and downtown style in mix-and-match pieces, including tees, knit tops, blouses, sweaters, jeans, skirts, dresses and jackets. I “Heart” Ronson targets women 21-35 and ranges in price from $15 for layering tees to $40-$65 for dresses and jackets. When available in stores, customers will get to experience the line in a closet design concept to make them feel as is they are shopping in Ronson’s closet.

In addition to stores, the new collection will also be available on JCPenney’s Web site and catalog.

New Best Buy Store Embraces Feminine Side
Months before a new Best Buy in Colorado opened, 40 local women were consulted for ideas on how the store could better fit their needs, according to published reports.

The new Aurora, Colo., store opened Oct. 4, featuring Apple products arranged on dark wood cabinets, a home theater section titled “family room” and bathrooms with lotion, a rocking chair and free diapers, reported The Star Tribune.

Besides the new feminine touches, store tags are labeled in both Spanish and English, and kids can enjoy shopping carts shaped like cars.

“Pink Panther” To Return Internationally in New Cartoon Network Series
Production has begun on a new animated “Pink Panther & Pals” series to debut worldwide fall 2009 on Cartoon Network.

Twenty-six half-hour episodes are in the works through Turner Broadcasting, MGM Worldwide Television and Amman, Jordan-based Rubicon.

“The character is drawn a little younger to depict the Pink Panther as a teenager, although he will be instantly recognizable with his signature walk and devil-may-care attitude,” says David Corbett, executive producer.

The Pink Panther’s pals will include Ant and Aardvark from the original series and new characters, Hoarse and Dog.

MGM also has a licensing project planned for the series, which includes licensed apparel, stationery and back to school, toys, publishing and interactive games.

Canada’s “Jibber Jabber” Gets Int’l Deals
Bejuba! Entertainment has sealed new overseas broadcast deals for YTV Original Series “Jibber Jabber.”

The animated children’s show (13x30) has been sold to KIKA (Germany), Jetix (Latin America), TRT (Turkey), E-Vision (Middle East), RTP (Portugal), Noga (Israel), ABC (Australia) and Al Jazeera Children’s Channel.

In addition to Canada’s YTV Original Series, “Jibber Jabber” is produced by Northwest Imaging & FX and Jibber Jabber Toons.

Bejuba! Entertainment also represents “Ricky Sprocket,” “Adrenalini Brothers” and “The Zimmer Twins.”

Marvel To Produce “The Avengers” Animated Series
Twenty-six half-hour episodes are in development through Marvel Animation for a new animated series, “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

The new series will include a wide variety of notorious Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Giant Man and Wasp.  “Simpsons” and “King of the Hill” producer Film Roman has signed on for the project, which is expected to air in 2011.

“The addition of ‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ to our quickly expanding animation slate continues our plan to complement each of our tentpole live-action features with an animated series,” says Eric Rollman, president of Marvel Animation. “This new ensemble series tracks perfectly with our highly anticipated ‘road to the Avengers’ strategy which includes some of Marvel’s biggest and most beloved characters, and which kicks off with two Avengers’ themed feature films in summer 2011.”

Marvel Animation is a division of Marvel Entertainment. The company already has an expansive list of TV series, including the upcoming releases of “Wolverine and the X-Men” and “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” for Nicktoons in 2009. Other expected debuts are “Marvel Super Hero Squad” and “The Black Panther.”

Dolphin Takes “Roxy Hunter” International
Children’s and young adult live-action producer Dolphin Entertainment has signed a raft of international distribution deals in Europe and Latin America for its “Roxy Hunter” TV mystery-movie franchise.

New broadcast partners include Mediaset’s Italia Uno (Italy), Venevision (Venezuela), Canal 11 (Honduras) and Canal 19 and 2 (Nicaragua). The deals give the broadcasters rights to the first two movies in the franchise, “Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost” and “Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman.” The third and fourth titles in the series have been completed, and are scheduled to premiere on Nickelodeon in the U.S. later this year.

Zak Designs To Cook Up Mealtime Products for “Yo Gabba Gabba”
Characters from W!ldBrain Entertainment’s children series “Yo Gabba Gabba” will soon be available on preschool-sized plates and more through a deal with Zak Designs.

The Spokane, Wash.-based children’s dinnerware manufacturer plans to create bowls, divided plates, flatware, 9-ounce tumblers, sport tumblers, Sip ‘N Snacks and Fun Floats Sippers featuring a floating figure of Brobee, the green-striped monster.

“Yo Gabba Gabba” debuted on August 2007 on Nick Jr. The live-action preschool series aims to get kids active through music and dance, and has featured guest appearances by actors Jack Black and Elijah Wood, as well as professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.

CITV and ITV1 U.K. Pick Up TV-Loonland’s “Pat&Stan”
CITV, owned by U.K.’s ITV, has acquired U.K. broadcast and online rights for TV-Loonland’s “Pat&Stan” in all formats—350 shorts, a half-hour Treasure Hunt special as well the new 39x7 series set for delivery in spring 2009. The short formats will be premiering on CITV’s Web site as a lead up to the TV launch scheduled for Christmas.

Already sold into more than 80 territories, CGI-animated “Pat&Stan” is a co-production between French animation producer MacGuff, TF1 in France and TV-Loonland.

The core target group is children aged between 6 and 9 years.

CPGL Wins National Geographic’s “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies”
National Geographic Kids has signed CPLG as the rights agency for “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” in the U.K., France and Benelux. The children’s program airs twice daily on CBeebies and is shown on VRT in Belgium, Tiji in France and will launch on Gulli France early in 2009.

Celebrating the comedy, drama and gentle wisdom of the animal kingdom, the show combines 2D animation with live-action footage from the National Geographic and the BBC archives.

“Mama Mirabelle and her cast of adorable animals will appeal to a wide audience,” says Vickie O’Malley, managing director of CPLG. "With CBeebies’ backing and National Geographic Kids’ commitment to exciting kids about their world, we cannot wait to initiate licensing and merchandising opportunities for ‘Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies.’”

“Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” has been created as a National Geographic Kids Entertainment, CBeebies and King Rollo Films co-production. Worldwide distribution is being handled by National Geographic Television International, the wholly-owned subsidiary of National Geographic, which to date has sold “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” in 142 territories.

MC Licensing is the New Kid on the Block
California has gained a new boutique agency for emerging brands, MC Licensing.

Already the firm has signed on Femsa Brands of Mexico, a beverage producer of Dos Equis, Tecate, Sol Bohemia and Carta Blanca; 10VOX Entertainment’s virtual world Kookeys and online game Tracksters; and Wendy L’Belle, a female empowerment character artist.

Marlene Cuesta is the founder of MC Licensing, headquartered in Pasadena, Calif. Cuesta was previously vice president of licensing for Jada Toys, where she oversaw automotive brands and development for entertainment properties, such as Chub City and Speed Racer.

Chapman Launches Fifi Toddler Teaching Campaign
Chapman Entertainment has launched a campaign to teach preschoolers throughout the U.K. how to be creative and build teamwork skills in the classroom through the launch of a nationwide nursery promotion during October.

The promotion includes the distribution of 180,000 free DVDs to parents across 3,000 U.K. nurseries—including two episodes from “Fifi and the Flowertots,” plus sing-a-long songs for children and families.

Posters, bunting and headbands are available for all nurseries to download via the “Fifi and the Flowertots” Web site.

BLE Enjoys Over 40% Rebooking for 2009
Brand Licensing Europe, owned by Advanstar Communications, celebrated its 10th birthday last week with attendance figures holding up and in line with the record-breaking 2007 event, which pulled in 4,301 visitors.

Before the show closed, over 40 percent of companies exhibiting at the show, which took place at London’s Olympia on Oct. 1 and 2, rebooked for next year. These include Aardman Animations, Beanstalk Group, Chapman Entertainment, Dorna Sports, Entertainment Rights, Jetix, Manchester United, Target Entertainment and Vooz Media, as well as decade-long show supporters BBC Worldwide Licensing and HIT Entertainment. First-time exhibitors Cartoon Network and Ludorum, and European companies TV Loonland and VipoLand also re-booked for 2009.

“The show was a resounding success for Chorion,” says John Collins, senior marketing manager, Europe, Chorion. “Not only were our brands top-of-mind with everyone attending the show, in particular ‘Olivia,’ but our stand was extremely busy at all times. As ever, Brand Licensing Europe proved an excellent event at which to meet key—both existing and potential.”

“HIT Entertainment has had a great year at Brand Licensing Europe 2008—it provided us with a great opportunity to catch up with both current and new partners and showcase our new developments,” says Lori Heiss, senior marketing director for HIT Entertainment. “Our enhanced presence at this year's show through our sponsorship of the Thomas & Friends: The Great Discovery-themed reception and the Bob the Builder 10th anniversary party ensured that our brands really stood out and resulted in more walk-up traffic than ever before.”

“Yet again, the Advanstar team excelled itself with a show, which from my aspect as an exhibitor, was a total triumph,” says Janet Woodward, managing director, Coolabi. “In an atmosphere of universal doom and gloom, Brand Licensing Europe was vibrant and buzzing. Deals were being done and the licensing industry appeared to be incredibly buoyant. The hard work of the last 10 years is bearing fruit with an increased presence of retailers and European attendees.”

“Brand Licensing Europe provided the perfect platform for us to launch Big and Small into the trade market,” says Ian Downes, Start Licensing director. “We had a lot of interesting meetings at Brand Licensing Europe and I am looking forward to progressing these and continuing to roll out the licensing program for the property.”

“BLE was an incredible show for us… in all my time in licensing I have never witnessed such positive reactions to the brands I was working on,” says Rob Corney, managing director, Bulldog Licensing. “Goochicoo and Gogo’s were brilliantly received by licensees and retailers—we even did a deal on the spot and then confirmed retail listings for that licensee’s product the same day.”

“Advanstar has invested heavily into Brand Licensing Europe over its 10 years, determined to create a trade event that fulfils all of the licensing industry’s requirements, whether that’s a platform to be educated, a place to network or as a facilitator for striking new business deals,” says Jessica Blue, event director of Brand Licensing Europe. “When more than 4,000 visitors poured through the doors of Olympia last week, and more than 40 percent of exhibitors rebooked on site, we can be confident that all of that hard work has paid off.”

Brand Licensing Europe 2009 takes place on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Olympia’s Grand Hall in London.

CBeebies and RDF Renew “Big Barn Farm” and Land Book Deal
Preschool series ”Big Barn Farm” will continue on CBeebies, through a recent deal between the U.K. Station and RDF Kids & Family.

The TV renewal has brought on a slew of other licensing deals for the RDF property, including a book deal with Penguin Books for spring 2009 and a DVD release with 2entertain. BBC Magazines has also signed on to regularly feature “Big Barn Farm” in their preschool publications.

The live-action and animated series about farm animals debuted on CBeebies in March 2008.

Thinkwell Opens Doors in Dubai
Theme park and destination developer Thinkwell has opened an office in Media City, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

Thinkwell’s first project in Dubai began in 2003 to collaborate on Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort featuring toboggan runs and ice caves. The developer has since been chosen as the lead for a Warner Bros. theme park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

The new Dubai office will serve as Thinkwell’s Middle Eastern base, while Thinkwell Europa in Barcelona, Spain, will service Europe and Africa.

Thinkwell Group is a private company that started in the U.S. and is headquartered in Burbank, Calif.

LIMA Launches Wednesday Webinars for Fall
Beginning Oct. 22, LIMA will offer its first of three fall webinars for license professionals to keep up on industry trends: celebrity, overseas and the makings of a winning partnership.

“Star Power: Making a Celebrity Licensing Program Work” will feature Icon Licensing Group’s Bob Levin on Oct. 22. Levin, who’s developed licensing efforts for Usher, Jessica Simpson and others, will cover such topics as personal appearances, lifestyles, endorsements and product placement.

On Nov. 12, InterAsia Licensing’s Louis Lee  will lead “How to Penetrate Emerging Markets in India and China.”

“Best Practices in Administering a Licensing Agreement” with Danny Simon of The Licensing Group and Val Formica of Gateway Licensing is scheduled for on Dec. 3.

The presentations are two hours and start at noon EST. Sessions are free for LIMA members and $99 per webinar for non-members.

Other webinars from LIMA are expected on opportunities in sports and art licensing, anatomy of an entertainment license agreement, case studies in corporate brand licensing and more. Additional dates have not yet been released.

4Kids Takes TMNT to French Fashion School as Gould Departs
To mark the 25th anniversary of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 4Kids Entertainment International has tied up with French fashion school, the Ecole Supérieure des Arts et techniques de la Mode (ESMOD), to create a collection of apparel and accessories inspired by characters.

ESMOD is running a competition for third-year students at its schools in Paris and Roubaix to design a streetwear collection that captures the unconventional spirit of the pop-culture icons. The competition is the first time the school has run a contest to design a licensed menswear range. Each collection will include a long and short sleeve T-shirt, a sweatshirt, a pair of trousers, a bag, a pair of shoes and the choice between a belt, a hat, or an underwear item. The designs will be created to target men between 17 and 35 years of age. The top three collections will be announced in December.

“ESMOD has a very talented pool of students who will undoubtedly create a number of unique and impressive designs inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” says Sandra Vauthier-Cellier, co-managing director of 4Kids Entertainment International.

The ESMOD partnership runs alongside a program of products for 2009 to celebrate the turtle’s 25th anniversary. A retro style guide has been produced and the first retro t-shirts by licensees Vacant Designs, Trademark Products and Chunk are in store in the U.K.

Meanwhile, Stephen Gould, co-managing director of 4Kids Entertainment International, is leaving the company, following his resignation last week.

Toys & Video Games____________________________________________________
Toy Deals Align for Nelvana’s “Grossology” and “Max & Ruby”
Nelvana Entertainment has scored toy lines for its two children’s properties—“Grossology” and “Max & Ruby,” following fall’s Dallas Toy Fair.

Planet Toys has signed on to develop science kits and distribute the Anjar line of role-play items and action figures in North America for “Grossology.” The science-based comedy series is aimed at kids aged 6-11, and airs on Discovery Kids in the U.S. and YTV in Canada.

Preschool property “Max & Ruby” has 12 new episodes ready and a bunch of new toys lines in the works, including Jakks Pacific/Play Along for beanies, JV Apparel for apparel and sleepwear, SG Footwear for U.S. footwear, The Canadian Group for games and puzzles and Penguin Young Readers Group for books. The TV series airs on Nick Jr. and Noggin in the U.S. and Treehouse TV in Canada. Recently, “Max & Ruby” is featured in a U.S. musical stage tour by TheatreworksUSA.

Nelvana Enterprises, owned by Corus Entertainment, is also known for children’s properties such as “Babar” and “Franklin.”

NBA Live 09 Available in U.S. Today, Game Data Syncs with Live Season
The all-new NBA Live 09, released today in North America by Electronic Arts, features NBA statistics for more than 20 teams and Dynamic DNA, where NBA players are emulated.

Synergy Sports Technology, the analytics for the game’s DNA concept breaks down how a player scores, how the players on the floor play as a team unit and reflects tendencies on how a player drives left, right or shoots from every spot on the floor. The Dynamic DNA component also updates every single day of the season using NBA Live 365, powered by T-Mobile.

NBA Live 09 will debut internationally on Friday. The game is available on Xbox360 from Microsoft, Playstation3, Playstation2 and PlayStationPortable. There’s a also a version for Nintento’s Wii, NBA Live 09 All-Play. NBA Live 09 was developed by EA Canada under the EA Sports brand.

Toys To Debut for Spanish Kids Series “El Chavo”
Plush, DVDs and more based on Grupo Televisa and United Media’s Spanish-speaking children’s property “El Chavo” are on track for December.

Fundex Games is creating a 4-foot toy end-cap for 350 Spanish-speaking U.S. retailers which will include plush, games and puzzles based on the series. Xenon has also been tapped for DVDs of the first season of “El Chavo.” Licensees are also being sought for pre-paid phone cards by KARE and health and beauty products by The Stephen Company.

The animated “El Chavo” series is adapted from Mexico’s longest running TV live-action show of the same name. The new “El Chavo” debuted in the U.S. on Galavision in January. The second season began in the U.S. last month.

New Brand Performance to Provide Character ECommerce
Two independent online toy stores, TysToyBox.com and AllAboardToys.com, launched a new brand management and development partner for licensed character products called Brand Performance.

The new operation focuses on getting companies to connect their brands to the consumer and to increase sales through search engine marketing and e-mail campaigns.

“Our newly launched direct-to-retail apparel program has proved very successful in its first year,” says Ty Simpson, Brand Performance chief executive officer, “and the online environment is rapidly changing the way that industry thinks about how product is manufactured and sold.”

Brand Performance is now the parent company of TysToyBox.com and AllAboardToys.com and operates official online stores for HIT Entertainment, VIZ Media, Cookie Jar Entertainment, Universal, Big Tent Entertainment and Chorion.

McFarlane Debuts Guitar Hero III Slash Action Figure
An action figure of the iconic guitarist Slash is being created by McFarlane Toys for release in February 2009.

Based on Slash’s Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock in-game character, the hirsute and top-hat sporting shredder of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver fame will be featured as a 6-inch figure with more than 15 moving parts. Also included with the figure is a removable guitar that is interchangeable with other Guitar Hero figures and a sculpted Guitar Hero logo base.

Next month, Guitar Hero is releasing action figures of Johnny Napalm, Axel Steel, Lars Umlaut and God of Rock.

Clone Wars Trading Cards From WizKids Arrive This November
Topps Company’s WizKids will release its next Star Wars PocketModel trading card game, Clone Wars: Tactics, next month.

The new theme deck’s fall debut follows this week’s first broadcast of the animated series “Clone Wars: Tactics” on Cartoon Network. The deck captures the style of the TV series and comes after WizKids’ summer theme deck release, called Clone Wars.

Each Clone Wars: Tactics theme deck includes one Clone Wars Tactics PocketModel, 10 additional PocketModels, one 30-card pre-constructed deck, rule and play mat. The decks retail for $12.99 each and will be available Nov. 12 at hobby shops and major retailers, such as Target, Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

TOMY Expands with Video Games Based on its Toy Brands
TOMY plans to create multiplatform video game titles based on its popular toy brands and licensed characters as well as developing original IP tailored for the North American and European markets.  

The publisher of the Naruto video games for the Nintendo platforms, TOMY will launch its first two titles under the new initiative in North America later this month—Lovely Lisa for Nintendo DS and Penny Racers Party: Turbo-Q Speedway for the Nintendo Wii.

U.K.’s Best Toy Shop Nominations Mailed Out
London’s Toy of the Year Awards organizer The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) sent out its nomination forms to members and agents for the Best Toy Shop awards this week. Deadline is Oct. 31.

Nominated stores are then required to complete an entry form and submit images to be considered for the award judged by the BTHA.

The winners will be announced at the industry awards dinner on Jan. 29 at the annual Toy Fair. A shortlist release is expected in December.

U.K.’s annual toy, game and hobby exhibition Toy Fair will take place from Jan. 28-31 at London’s ExCeL.

Toys “R” Us Rolls Out Disney- and Superhero-inspired Halloween Costumes
Toys “R” Us is bringing out several popular kids’ favorites for this Halloween.  For girls, Toys “R” Us is featuring Disney Princesses and Fairies, as well as Disney’s “Hannah Montana” and High School Musical.  Other popular costumes for girls include superheroes like Batgirl and Supergirl.  For boys, featured costumes are largely based on characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Batman, “Ben 10,” “Power Rangers,” Transformers, and The Incredible Hulk. 

Toys “R” Us is also offering costumes for pets and promoting Halloween safety accessories including glowsticks, reflective goodie bags, glow in the dark pails and flashlights.

Nuremberg Toy Fair Celebrates 60 Years in 2009
The International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, which takes place in the city from Feb. 5-10, celebrates 60 years with a series of events during the show, including an opening ceremony with German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel as guest of honor.

Firework displays and an exhibition of toys over six decades are included and the event closes with a party in the city for Nuremberg residents.

Barbie Cares For Animals, New Plush Debut
Mattel and KIDdesigns have released the 2008 Barbie Care N’ Cure Wildlife Doctor plush line to support young animal lovers and veterinarians-to-be.

The toy includes a plush animal patient with realistic sounds that change based on its state of health and comes with a stethoscope, thermometer, milk bottle, syringe and bandages. Each package retails for $29.99 and is available at Kmart, Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

Mattel has also made a donation to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Shocker Toys To Release Indie Comic Book Action Figure Line
Shocker Toys have teamed up with major independent comic book publishers to create a line of independent comic book action figures, available now and ready to ship in December.

Indie Spotlight Comic Book Heroes: Series 1 will feature 6-inch tall characters from Jim Valentino’s ShadowHawk ($13.95), Rob Schrab’s Scud the disposable assassin ($13.95), Terry Moore’s Katchoo of Strangers in Paradise ($13.95), David Mack’s Kabuki ($13.95) and an 8-inch tall MTV’s The Maxx ($14.95). Each comes with additional accessories, comics or posters. There’s also a mail-in incentive if all seven with UPC codes are collected, where the consumer will receive a Mr. Gone figure, The Maxx’s rival.

Series 2 is expected to include The Tick, Dick Tracy, Ignacia, Jack Staff and Zombie King.

Figures are available for preorder on shockertoys.com, bigbadtoystore.com or Diamond Comics.

Santoro Extends Its Jeli Deli Brand to North America
Santoro will add six new mini plush animal characters with a hidden magnet and individual tin homes, called Tinami, to its Jeli Deli brand.  

Tinami will hit the U.S. and Canada at Dallas Toy Fair Oct. 14-17 through a distribution agreement with Animal Adventure.  

The Jeli Deli brand is active in 48 countries and products include apparel, backpacks, accessories, stationery and novelties.

Macy’s Gets Home Line from Calvin Klein, Celebrates 150 Years
Two Calvin Klein furniture collections—Calvin Klein and The curator collection by Calvin Klein Home—are expected to land in select U.S. Macy stores in January, reports Philips-Van Heusen.

The Calvin Klein line features living room, dining room and bedroom furnishings inspired by city, weekend and destination themes. Products will range in price from $850 for a glass end table to $2,600 for a canopy bed.

The curator collection by Calvin Klein Home includes more detailed offerings, including multi-functional items—a tall chest of drawers with valet doors, a parchment-front dresser and a hand-rubbed walnut day bed with all-natural linen cushion and pillows. Costs for the line vary with a cocktail table for $1,100 or a walnut sleigh bed for $5,000. The collection is also expected to debut at High Point Market in Thomasville, N.C., on Oct. 20.

Distribution of both lines will be led by Alexandre International and Shayne Industries.

Calvin Klein is a subsidiary of Philips-Van Heusen which also owns the Izod, Kenneth Cole, BCBG Max Azria, Tommy Hilfiger brands and more.

In other Macy’s news, the fashion retailer will mark its 150 birthday on Oct. 28 with events that include

  1. a NBC-televised celebrity catwalk challenge hosted by actress Tori Spelling on Oct. 11,

  2. “Macy’s Passport: Fashion Cinema” screenings in 27 major U.S. cities to benefit local HIV/AIDS organizations,

  3. two new grand openings in New Orleans

  4. and a cocktail reception with live entertainment at Gotham Hall in Manhattan to celebrate Macy’s Herald Square flagship store.

High Point Market Welcomes Trump Home Lines
Three home collections inspired by Donald Trump’s properties and estates will be showcased at High Point Market, next week.

The lines—Westchester, Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago—will all include furniture, lighting, floor fashion, room décor and home fragrance. Mar-a-Lago is the newest addition, which features designs based on the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach with Spanish, Portuguese and Venetian influences.

Trump Home is available at U.S. retailers and showrooms. The furniture collection is sold in more than 18 international territories.

High Point Market is an international furnishings industry trade show that takes place in Thomasville, N.C., twice a year.

Citi To Tee Off with PGA at Next Three Presidents Cups
The PGA Tour has chosen Citi as the first-ever global partner of The Presidents Cup from now through 2013.

The event, which takes place every two years, features players from both the United States and non-European countries in a team, match-play competition. Through the agreement, Citi will have a strong presence in PGA Tour media and marketing campaigns, including advertising on Golf Channel and BNC during coverage of The Presidents Cup as well as on the Tour’s Web sites.

The next Presidents Cup will take place Oct. 8-11, 2009, at the Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco.

Character Options Goes Royal with Peppa Pig
U.K.-based toy licensee Character Options is extending its award-winning Peppa Pig range in 2009 with new Peppa Pig lines, including a Royal theme. The new Princess Peppa collection launches in spring 2009.

Ch-ch-ch-Chia Pet and The Clapper Are Back
The Dimensional Branding Group has scooped up an exclusive representation deal with Joseph Enterprises, owner of the Chia Pet and The Clapper brands.

A third party product licensing program is in the works for both iconic products.  Joseph Enterprises recently developed The Clapper Plus for Christmas, which allows consumers to turn on lights or appliances through a key chain or wall-mounted control by clapping.

Both the Chia Pet and The Clapper debuted in the early ’80s and became household names through their advertisement jingles—”Ch-ch-ch-Chia Pet!” and “Clap On! Clap Off! The Clapper.”

O Organics Debuts Line of Organic Supplements
O Organics, a large organic brand retailer, has added its name to a line of USDA certified organic supplements, featuring popular supplements including vitamin C, calcium and St. John's wort.

The supplements are now available in Safeway supermarkets and plans are in place to extend the line to additional retailers nationwide throughout 2009.  

Furstenberg and DC Comics To Publish Limited Edition Wonder Woman
A limited edition comic book, Be The Wonder Woman You Can Be: The Adventure of Diva, Viva and Fifa, written by Diane von Furstenberg and published by DC Comics is in the works to benefit the non-profit, Vital Voices.

The new comic series features stories by Furstenberg centered around three characters—Diva, Viva and Fifa—as well as previously published material by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston, comic historian Les Daniels, TV Wonder Woman’s Linda Carter and women’s rights advocate Gloria Steinem. It will be available in large-format and is illustrated by artist Konstantin Kakanias. The exclusive comic book will be available next week in Diane Von Furstenberg boutiques and on its Web site.

“The collection and stories that I have created are really about empowerment and finding our inner strength,” says Furstenberg. “The truth is that there is a little bit of Wonder Woman inside each of us.”

The publishing partnership coincides with the launch of Furstenberg’s Wonder Woman-inspired Holiday 2008 collection, which features ready-to-wear dresses based on the super heroine.

Vital Voices is a non-profit organization that trains and empowers young women leaders and social entrepreneurs worldwide.

Taffy Expands Book Licensing for “Hero:108” with Atlantyca
The MoonScoop Group’s Taffy Entertainment, has secured deal with Italy-based Atlantyca Entertainment’s content publishing division to produce novelty books based on the new animated TV series “Hero:108.”

The deal also marks the latest publishing pact between Taffy and the new Atlantyca division, which is already developing a series of books loosely-based on Taffy Entertainment's popular “Code Lyoko” TV series. 

The “Hero:108” series of books will target the tween and early teens, with in-depth tales that extend the stories found in the series.

“This book series has enormous breakout potential with its intended audience,” says Cynthia Money, president, worldwide consumer products and marketing for Taffy Entertainment. “The initial concepts we’ve seen from Atlantyca are very innovative; truly unlike anything else that now exists in the category. The TV series is poised for success when it hits the airwaves next year and we’re looking forward to continuing the momentum when these books go on sale.”

Scheduled to debut worldwide in 2009, “Hero:108,” is a 2D Flash-animated series, co-produced by Mike Young Productions, Gamania Digital Entertainment and Cartoon Network International. 

More news_____________________________________________________________
Executive moves
Global branding firm Siegel+Gale has hired Matthias Mencke as creative director of its Los Angeles office. Previously, Mencke was a design director for Interbrand in New York. He was also an independent communications designer and branding consultant in Los Angeles. Mencke’s former clients include eBay Marketplace, Outdoor Life Network, British Telecom and Deloitte Consulting.

Elastic Rights has appointed Elena Picco as general manager of Elastic Rights Italy based in Milan. Picco was formerly at Mediaset where she was responsible for the home video and merchandising and licensing division for over 12 years.

Elastic is expanding its brand management operation across southern Europe, and has recently opened offices in Italy and Greece. In Italy, the business has won deals for properties such as Ideas del Sur and Televisa’s  “Il, Mondo di Patty” on Disney Channel; National Geographic’s “Mamma Mirabelle” expected to premiere on Playhouse Disney; Echo Bridge Entertainment’s “Lunar Jim” currently on Boomerang and Entertainment Rights’ “Basil Brush” on Rai Sat.

Jim Giller has recently been promoted from vice president to president at Applejack Art Partners. He joined the company in January and had previously been president of Wild Apple Graphics. Giller is currently a former board member of the Art Publishers Association and Art Copyright Coalition.

Manchester, Vt.-based Applejack Art Partners has a database of more than 400 artists and over 300,000 images.

Marathon Projects Joins Kids In Need Charity
National non-profit Kids In Need Foundation has signed up Marathon Projects to help create co-branded relationships with family-oriented companies.

Kids In Need Foundation was founded in 1995 and provides school supplies to poor children and under-funded teachers. Through the partnership, Marathon Projects will seek out licensing relationships with companies that market food, beverages, toys, video games, school supplies, apparel, accessories, personal care, computers, electronics and more.

“Through corporate sponsorships and in-kind donations, Kids In Need Foundation has been able to distribute $300 million in free school supplies and $1 million in teacher grants,” says David Smith, executive director of Kids In Need Foundation. “With these new co-branded licensing partnerships created by Marathon Projects, the Kids In Need Foundation will be able to help more students and more teachers receive the resources they need.”

Marathon Projects’ client list includes Carnival, Sally Hansen, Modigliani, Bosley and PDA Dominoes.

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