Merger Strengthens Bandai?s Market Position
Bandai acquired video game maker Namco in a deal worth approximately $1.6
billion. The deal creates Japan?s second largest toy and games company with
Sega Sammy Holdings being the largest. The two firms will form a holding
company September 29 in which Bandai will hold a 57 percent stake and Namco the
remaining 43 percent. ?Amid severe market conditions, we decided a merger was
the best way to focus our resources in an effort to boost corporate value,
expand our business, and come out on top of the competition,? the two companies
said in a joint statement.
Scholastic Acquires UK Publishing House
Scholastic purchased Chicken House Publishing Ltd., a UK publishing house whose
titles include ?Dragon Rider.? Chicken House and its founder, Barry Cunningham,
have had a partnership with Scholastic in North America and Australia since
2001. The Chicken House team, led by Cunningham and Deputy Managing Director
Rachel Hickman, will continue to operate from its headquarters in Somerset,
England, and will be part of the Scholastic children?s trade book division.
In other news, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., signed on Scholastic Entertainment
as the first third-party publisher to create software for its LeapSter Learning
Game System. As part of the deal, Scholastic will adapt its software titles, I
Spy Challenger and Math Mission, for the system. Both titles (suggested retail,
$24.99) will launch in the fall; additional titles are slated for 2006.
New ?Tween Boys? Site Monkeys Around
Riotweb.com, the new online destination for
?tween boys, is now live. Riotweb.com features areas such as MuSick, where boys
can create a uniquely gross song in minutes; the Chimp-o-Matic, where RIOT the
Chimp can be added to any photo; and the wonders of Monkey Pee, Monkey Do. The
site also includes free downloads?pranks, printables, icons, and more for RIOT
Squad members. The consumer product launch includes wireless media in May;
apparel in June; a calendar in July; and, in late summer, the premiere issues
of RIOT magazine and the RIOT comic book, as well as RIOT trading cards,
posters, and stickers. Additional content-based and branded products, including
a collectible card game, books, electronic toys, games, back-to-school items,
bags, backpacks, and other accessories, are slated for release beginning in
Spy Gear Inspires Book Series
Wild Planet signed a six-book deal to develop its Spy Gear brand beyond toys
and into content. Aladdin Paperbacks is set to release the first two Spy Gear
books in March 2006. The Spy Gear series, targeted at 8- to 12-year-old boys,
is set in modern-day suburbia and focuses on the experiences of four average
kids who discover a secret worthy of investigation.
Who?s the Boss?
Cartoon Network and ConAgra partnered on the ?Big Wig Gig!,? an integrated
multi-brand promotion, which marks the first time ConAgra Foods has aligned
with a TV network. As part of the promotion, one winner will serve as ?the
boss? of Cartoon Network, helping select the programming lineup for a
three-hour cartoon marathon, enjoying VIP treatment for the day, and taking a
behind-the-scenes tour. Kid Cuisine, Hunt?s Snack Pack pudding, Armour
LunchMakers, and Act II microwave popcorn each will feature on-pack messaging
of the sweepstakes at http://www.CartoonNetwork.com/BigWigGig.
Wal-Mart will kick off the sweepstakes in 1,000 supercenters Saturday, May 14,
with greeters dressed in Cartoon Network T-shirts distributing ?Big Wig Gig!?
Trivia Hunt Cards that feature questions about favorite Cartoon Network
characters (answers to be found on the participating ConAgra Foods skus), along
with a unique code for an exclusive Cartoon Orbit cToon digital trading card
kids collect and trade on Cartoon Orbit, CartoonNetwork.com?s online trading
community for kids. ConAgra Foods also will create in-store displays of its
multiple kids? brands highlighting details of the ?Big Wig Gig!? sweepstakes,
and sponsor free in-store sampling of Act II popcorn and Hunt?s Snack Pack
Publishing Program ?Kicked? into High Gear
HarperCollins Children?s Books will release three children?s book tie-ins for
Universal Studios? upcoming comedy, Kicking and Screaming. As part of its deal
with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group, the publisher will create a
movie novel and two Festival early readers including ?My Dad, The Coach? and
?The Comeback Kids.?
Iggy Arbuckle to Hit Airwaves in 2006
Blueprint Entertainment and National Geographic Kids? Programming and
Production concluded a production agreement on new animated series Iggy
Arbuckle. Blueprint will collaborate with Teletoon on the creation of the new
animated series for the Canadian broadcaster for fall 2006. Blueprint also
retains international distribution rights, while National Geographic holds U.S.
distribution rights. The property, aimed at kids ages 6 to 11, follows the
misadventures of a ?nature freak? pig and his faithful sidekick, Jiggers, a
Online Show Signs Reps in New Territories
Mondo Media expands the reach of Happy Tree Friends by closing licensing agency
representation in Australia, South America, and Asia. The deals for the online
show were brokered by Signatures Network, Inc. (SNI), which also handles U.S.
licensing for Happy Tree Friends. Celebrities Entertainment handles the
characters in Western Europe, and EEMC is the company?s agent in Eastern
Europe. Australian licensing will be handled by Gaffney International
Licensing. Tycoon Enterprises will handle licensing in Latin America in all
countries except Brazil, which will be handled by Redibra. In addition to being
the licensing agent, Tycoon also will distribute Happy Tree Friends DVDs. In
Asia, the show will be represented by Asian Licensing Partners Ltd., which
handles opportunities through its offices in Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi,
Seoul, and China.
Mega Bloks Constructs New Deals
Mega Bloks Inc. reached an agreement with Original Appalachian Artworks Inc. to
create a line of Cabbage Patch-branded construction toy products. As part of
the multi-year agreement, Mega Bloks will develop an assortment of building and
construction playsets for girls ages 3 to 5. First products are due on shelves
In other news, the company partnered with Bardel Entertainment on the launch of
the Dragons Metal Ages movie, the sequel to the Dragons Fire & Ice movie
adventure. Lions Gate, Paramount, and Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture
Distribution LP are onboard for the global home entertainment distribution of
the movie. Dragons Metal Ages is licensed by YTV Canada and will premiere in
Canada in fall 2005. A U.S. partner is being confirmed.
Baker Lends Expertise in Consultant Role
The Muppets Holding Company, LLC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company,
hired Martin G. Baker as a consultant for the organization?s new entertainment
endeavors. Baker?s duties will include searching for ways to expand the
Muppets? talent base, as well as leading a search for more multitalented
performers in the world of puppeteering who will serve as understudies to core
Muppets performers and help the company develop new characters and service the
growing international demands for the classic characters.
Submit Licenses Granted & Available Now Online
This week, License! unveils the new online
License! Finder, allowing you to submit licenses granted and available now,
which will be published online on a weekly basis once approved by an editor. Go
to fill out the verification form and submit your licenses granted or available
now. Highlights from each month?s online submissions will be published in
License! magazine. Any questions, contact Alyson Grala at (212) 951-6743 or via
Announcing New Licensing Show Development
Licensing 2005 International, in
conjunction with iHollywood Forum, will present the Mobile & Digital
Licensing Summit Monday, June 20, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jacob Javits
Convention Center. The summit will explore consumers? rapid adoption of
wireless entertainment?focusing on strategies for creating and licensing
content for mobile distribution, including games, graphics, multimedia,
marketing and promotions, video, messaging, and other cutting-edge wireless and
digital applications. The Mobile & Digital Summit complements L!censing
University, which delivers four days of high-impact educational seminars in a
35-session lineup. From art and brands to publishing and entertainment, there
are sessions covering every aspect of the licensing industry. Registration for
the Mobile & Digital Summit is expected to open this week. For more
information, go to http://www.ihollywoodforum.com/. To register for L!censing University,
and click on ?Attend,? or call Sylvester Jones at (212) 951-6764.
Licensing Fact: Gartner Research estimates Americans spent $2.6
billion last year on cell phone games, entertainment, and other handset
personalization services such as ringtones and wallpaper.
Advertising Deadline for June License! and Show Dailies Is Quickly
The June issue of License! broadcasts your ad message loud and clear to 25,000
retailers, licensees, agents, promotional partners, and other subscribers of
the magazine. In addition, your ad will be seen by more than 20,000 Licensing
2005 International show attendees, each of whom is personally handed a copy of
the June issue and Show Daily at the show floor entrances. Make sure your
property is seen along with all the other hot new properties and brands
advertising in June. And complement your presence in our must-read Licensing
Show issue by getting your advertising message in each issue of the License!
Show Dailies. Act quickly to make the deadlines: Space: 5/16,
Materials: 5/20. To find out more about
our June issue and Show Dailies, visit http://www.licensemag.com/
or contact Steven Ekstract at (212) 951-6684 or mailto:email@example.com.
LINK Las Vegas ? Get Linked to Licensing, Sports, Fashion, and Entertainment
LINK Las Vegas, August 31-September 1, 2005, Bellagio. Running concurrently
with the last 1 1/2 days of MAGIC Marketplace, LINK Las Vegas will focus on the
challenges and opportunities of brand licensing in the fashion, entertainment,
and sports worlds. To register and for information on sponsorship, speaking,
and attending, visit http://www.linkconference.com/.
For more licensing news and features, visit http://www.licensemag.com/.
For more information on Licensing 2005 International, visit http://www.licensingshow.com/.
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