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MGA Entertainment, Best Friends Animal Society Team for Rescue Tales

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MGA Entertainment has announced the launch of Rescue Tales, its new line of plush pets.

As part of the launch, MGAE has partnered with  Best Friends Animal Society, a animal welfare organization focused on finding a safe place to call home for dogs and cats in America’s shelters.

“Rescue Tales offers an opportunity for kids to play a role in rescuing and taking care of a new pet,” says Isaac Larian, chief executive officer and founder, MGA Entertainment.  “One of the greatest lessons a parent can teach a child is the importance of helping others. As we developed the Rescue Tales product line, we wanted to reflect this idea by helping real homeless pets who need saving, so we are proud to align with Best Friends Animal Society, an organization that works to provide a safe and loving place for homeless animals.

Rescue Tales come in four adoptable pets’ breeds:

  • Dalmatian;
  • Golden Retriever;
  • Rottweiler; and
  • German Shepherd. 

Each Rescue Tales includes a collar with an adoption certificate and customizable nametag, a customizable doghouse, and real sounds and movement.

“Best Friends is incredibly grateful to MGA Entertainment for their generosity towards our lifesaving efforts across the country,” adds Marc Peralta, chief programs officer, Best Friends Animal Society. “The awareness that Rescue Tales pets will generate with children and their families about pet adoption is also wonderful. Our motto is by working together, we can save them all, and this partnership is a fantastic illustration of that philosophy.”

Rescue Tales Adoptable Pets are available now at Walmart, Target and Amazon.

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Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Verlag Antje Kunstmann Expand Partnership

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Dr. Seuss Enterprises has announced new and renewed international licensing deals with German Publisher Verlag Antje Kunstmann for “The Lorax” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises granted Verlag Antje Kunstmann exclusive publishing rights to these titles in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Verlag Antje Kunstmann will begin to release these Dr. Seuss titles in September 2020, which coincides perfectly with the 50th anniversary of “The Lorax.” Both “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “The Lorax” will be translated by German graphic artist and children's book author Nadia Budde for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

Verlag Antje Kunstmann first published “The Lorax” eight years ago, but this will mark the first time they’re publishing “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

“Verlag Antje Kunstmann has been an excellent publisher for our titles and we’re looking forward to expanding this partnership as Dr. Seuss’s iconic library continues to perform outstandingly well in these European markets,” says Susan Brandt, president, Dr. Seuss Enterprises. 

Verlag Antje Kunstmann first published “The Lorax” eight years ago, but this will mark the first time they’re publishing “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

“We’re excited to expand our work with Dr. Seuss Enterprises as Dr. Seuss’s children’s books are timeless classics that deserve to be discovered, read and enjoyed by a broad young readership in our markets,” says Heike Bräutigam, illustrated books editor, Verlag Antje Kunstmann.

The expansion of the partnership with Verlag Antje Kunstmann marks only the latest growth for the Dr. Seuss portfolio globally. Recently, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced deals with European licensees Verbarium Publishing, Botart Publishing House and Thalia, and Australian licensees Amscan, Lake Press, MJM Australia and Zak Australia.

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Hallmark, Wines That Rock Toast to Holiday Wines Collection

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The Hallmark Channel has created a new way for people to enjoy the network’s signature holiday original movies with the debut of Hallmark Channel Wines.

Created in collaboration with lifestyle wine company Wines That Rock and their agent, Moxie &

Company, the exclusive offerings include two varietals:

  • “Jingle”, a full-bodied premium Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of cherry, dark chocolate and a hint of holiday spice; and
  • “Joy”, a Sauvignon Blanc featuring notes of tropical fruits, white peach and ripe pineapple.

“Over the last ten years, ’Countdown to Christmas’ has evolved into something more than a

collection of holiday movies, it has become a seasonal lifestyle experience,” says Danielle Mullin, senior vice president, marketing, Crown Media Family Networks. “Featuring two exclusive varietals that can be found nowhere else, our Hallmark Channel Wines collection is an exciting new extension of our brand and is designed to enhance our viewers’ enjoyment of the holidays – whether as an accompaniment to our signature movies, an offering at family gatherings, or a unique gift for Hallmark Channel fans.”

Hallmark Channel Wines are sold in several configurations, including a two-pack, four-pack, six-pack or a case of 12 bottles. Only a limited number of these wines will be bottled in time for the holiday season and will be shipped in time for the launch of “Countdown to Christmas.”

“Hallmark Channel has inspired our winemaking team to create a delicious holiday themed

collection that embodies Hallmark Channel’s passion for celebration,” adds Andrew Nelson, wine maker, Wines That Rock. “We thoroughly enjoyed bringing these wines to life. This unique Hallmark Channel Wine Collection really delivers on taste, value and most importantly – some holiday cheer.”

Hallmark Channel Wines arrive on the heels of Wines That Rock’s other recent collection with the WWE.

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New in Licensing: tonies Speaker Toys Launches in U.S.

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Currently the fastest growing toy company in Europe, tonies has made their U.S. debut

in time for the fall and holiday seasons.

tonies are an original, screen-free audio entertainment system designed specifically for children ages three and older. The toy was developed by two dads, Patric Faßbender and Marcus Stahl, who sought out to keep their kids entertained while limiting screen time. After three years in development, tonies launched in Europe in 2016 and is now the number three most popular toy in the region.

“When we created tonies years ago, we had one thing in mind: our kids,” says

Faßbender and Stahl. “We wanted to devise a way for children everywhere to experience storytelling in a fresh new way -- one that utilized the ease of modern technology, while stimulating the imagination without screens. We are so proud to bring our beloved tonies to the U.S. and delighted to welcome American families to our expanding global tonies family.”

The Toniebox is a soft, shockproof, five-inch cube made of durable fabric that contains no screens, sharp corners or edges, ads, camera or a microphone, making it super simple, safe and fun for kids to use. Kids can get their hands on individual tonies figurines, which they place on top of the box to either listen to content or create their own. All tonies content is managed through a secure cloud-based system via the app and website.

U.S. families can choose between 17 individual characters, including classic storybook fairy tales like Pinocchio and Rapunzel. Families will also find stories like Disney’s “The Lion King,” “Frozen” and “The Little Mermaid” and Pixar’s “Toy Story,” “Cars,” and “Finding Nemo.” Additional stories and songs are also expected to roll out in 2021 through collaborations with Penguin Random House, Disney, Pixar, Universal and many others.

tonies are now available for purchase online via tonies.com, Target.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and FAO.com. In-store, tonies can be found at FAO Schwarz in New York (tonies’ U.S. flagship in-store retailer), and at independent toy retailers nationwide.

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‘Sesame Street’ Debuts Canadian Collaborations

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Nelvana Enterprises, the exclusive licensing agent for Sesame Workshop in Canada, has announced a collaboration with “Sesame Street” and Hudson’s Bay for a limited-edition collection of apparel and accessories.

Set to launch this month, the collaboration celebrates both brands’ milestone anniversaries.

The first-ever collection featuring Sesame Street” characters alongside the classic HBC Stripes design will comprise eight limited edition SKUs including a baby onesie, baby pants, baby booties, sleep masks and PJ sets for both kids and adults.

“’Sesame Street’ and Hudson’s Bay are both timeless brands that each have their own long-standing legacy rich in history, making them the perfect pair to commemorate with a dedicated collection,” says Mellany Masterson, head, Nelvana Enterprises. “The fun and adorable collection featuring some of the most familiar faces in children’s television combined with Hudson’s Bay’s highly-coveted colorful stripes is perfect for every Canadian ‘Sesame Street’ fan to wear with pride.”

This marks the third Canadian-exclusive apparel collaboration for “Sesame Street” in the past year. Last fall, Nelvana launched two successful collaborations with homegrown fashion design houses, Smash + Tess and Peace Collective, to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary.

Both Smash + Tess and Peace Collective will continue their programs into 2020. Peace Collective launched their newest collection PC X ‘Sesame Street’ 002: Better Together in August and will launch additional products in time for the holidays.

Based on its successful first launch, Smash + Tess is re-releasing their Smash + Tess x “Sesame Street” collection this fall. Moreover, Nelvana also recently introduced a new “Sesame Street” petwear line to PetSmart in Canada earlier this month. The line includes hoodies and toys for cats and dogs.

“We’re pleased to team up with another premium Canadian fashion brand like Hudson’s Bay to create a stylish line of apparel that will resonate with multiple generations of ‘Sesame Street’ fans,” adds Gabriela Arenas, vice president, licensing, North America, Sesame Workshop. “Smash + Tess and Peace Collective’s new and exciting products gives our fans the opportunity to express themselves, and with the new line of petwear at PetSmart, now our furry friends can be a part of the fun.”

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Pokémon, Longchamp Team for Fashion

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French brand Longchamp has teamed with Pokémon for a new fashion collaboration.

The Pokémon Company is exhibiting at Festival of Licensing, a month-long large-scale digital gathering that unites the global licensing industry to connect, learn, strike deals and do business on an international stage. The event takes place Oct. 6-29. Register for free now!

Pikachu electrifies the Le Pliage bags with four exclusive versions in black and white LGP canvas, embossed leather, a numbered, limited edition or in black canvas. Each item features a Pikachu specially designed for the fashion house and wearing a jockey’s helmet that pays homage to the Longchamp logo.

“Our Le Pliage bag has become a platform where all the different aspects of Longchamp can be expressed and can also take us to unknown places,” says Sophie Delafontaine, artistic director, Masison Longchamp. “We hadn’t explored entertainment and gaming before. It’s a very inspiring world, particularly with Pokémon and its iconic mascot, Pikachu. Our two worlds, real and virtual, blend perfectly in this collaboration.”

To help celebrate the collaboration between Longchamp and The Pokémon Company, Pokémon GO players will also be able to show off their fashion with a new Longchamp x Pokémon avatar backpack accessory item available in-game between Oc. 2 and Nov. 17. Pokémon GO will also be celebrating the collaboration with a special in-game event for all trainers that is timed during Paris Fashion Week. The event will see Pokémon appearing in the wild, challenging trainers in raids.

“This partnership sees two iconic brands renowned for their creativity and design collaborating on a range of products that uphold Longchamp’s tradition for quality and luxury but add a fun and playful twist that is sure to appeal to fans of both companies,” adds Kenji Okubo, president, The Pokémon Company International.

The bags will be available beginning Oct. 13 on Longchamp.com and other Longchamp points of sales.

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Crayola, Agency 808 Launch Museum Exhibition

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Crayola has announced a new, state-of-the-art museum experience called the Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition.

The exhibition is produced byAgency808 in collaboration with The Franklin Institute, a science museum and leader in science and technology learning. IDEAworks, an acronym for Identify, Define, Explore and Assess, will challenge visitors with activities meant to hone problem-solving skills and empower their own unique creativity.

“Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition pushes the boundaries on every industry norm,” says Clayton Ferguson, principal and executive producer, Agency808. “We’ve pulled together a team of the brightest and most experienced minds in the business to design an exhibition that fosters creative problem-solving skills through interactive challenges in a way that has never been done before.”

The Franklin Institute will present the exhibition in the Nicholas and Athena Karabbots Pavilion and in the Mandell Center. PECO, a corporate partner for the institute, will act as presenting sponsor and Liberty Coca-Cola is the associate sponsor.

“The Franklin Institute is thrilled to host the world premiere of this state-of-the-art exhibition, Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition,” adds Larry Dubinski, president and chief executive officer, The Franklin Institute. “Success in science requires a creative mind, and this Crayola experience brings the art of scientific thinking to the forefront – sparking curiosity, asking the ‘what-if’ questions and continually evaluating and re-imagining problems to find innovative solutions.”

The opening space, the workshop, has a section dedicated to each letter of the IDEAworks acronym and features questions and puzzles. Next, guests will enter the Colorverse, where they will travel to the fictional City of Crayopolis, a thriving Mars colony and a sea base to create solutions to complex scientific issues. Then, during the finale, guests will receive a summary of their unique strengths during the adventure.

"Crayola believes everyone has creativity innately inside of them, and we continue to look for new ways to ignite it,” reports Warren Schorr, vice president business development and global licensing, Crayola. “This exhibition highlights the spirit of innovation and invention that flows throughout the company with the omnipresence of ‘What If?' that is at the heart of the brand's true north. Everyone at Crayola could not be more excited to partner with Agency808, who has assembled the best in class creative and development team to bring this vision to life!"

The world-premiere of the U.S. tour launches at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA on Feb. 13, and tickets are now on sale to the public. The exhibition is planning on embarking on a multi-city U.S. tour.

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Tik, Tok, Boom: How the U.S.’s Battle with TikTok Could Affect the Licensing Industry

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The social media app TikTok, formerly Musical.ly, has taken off in recent years. It has birthed dance trends, popularized a slew of radio hits, changed the way Millennials and Gen Z communicate with one another and birthed a whole new slate of influencers that have burst on to the licensing scene.

Now, however, the clock is ticking. The White House recently announced the possible shutdown of the popular platform, citing national security threats. The solution, the president says, is for the app to be sold to an American company. If the higher-ups of the app refuse or don’t sell in time, then the app will cease to be available in the U.S., a huge blow for not only TikTok, but possibly for the licensing industry.

 

The Fate of TikTok

TikTok is on the rocks. On Sept.24, the company, a U.S. subsidiary of Chinese corporation ByteDance, requested an injunction against its looming ban. TikTok previously sued the Trump administration for its decision regarding the app.

According to the suit, TikTok has “made extraordinary efforts to try to satisfy the government’s ever-shifting demands and purported national security concerns, including through changes in the ownership and structure of their business, and they are continuing to do so.” However, the company claims that the president is overreaching his power in demanding the company switch ownership in order to operate. According to TikTok, the executive order violates the company’s right to due process and freedom of speech.

Trump originally gave ByteDance until Sept. 15 to sell TikTok, ordering the Apple and Google app stores to remove it by Sept. 20. It was then granted a last-minute extension after Trump approved a tentative deal with Oracle and Walmart to sell a 20 percent stake of the company. If ByteDance refuses to sell and give up control of TikTok, then the app will be removed from the app stores on Sept. 27. It is unclear if the deal will be approved by ByteDance, and if China will approve the transfer of the company to the U.S. According to Forbes, the Chinese firm broke rank and announced a deal that would have TikTok remain a ByteDance subsidiary, even though earlier that week the company had told treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin it would divest its U.S. operation labeling. Oracle and Walmart raced to provide a statement outlining the partnership, while ByteDance created a blog post contradicting them, saying they were “debunking false rumors.”

It goes without saying that the fate of TikTok is up in the air, and creators and companies alike are preparing for TikTok to tank. If it does, what will happen to TikTok and its blooming licensing partnerships?
 

TikTok and Licensing

TikTok stardom has resulted in a ton of licensing deals. Sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, the first and ninth most followed creators on the platform, recently struck a successful deal with Morphe to launch a sub-brand for the makeup company. Addison Rae, the second most followed creator on TikTok, also ventured into the beauty space and launched her own makeup line, ITEM Beauty.

Kid influencers on the platform such as WeWearCute have announced a slew of licensing deals in recent months. The brand recently inked a beauty deal with Taste Beauty, along with partnerships with Mad Engine for apparel and accessories, Jay Franco for home décor and CultureFly for subscription boxes.

Skincare influencer Hyram Yarbro also signed a licensing deal with Semaphore Licensing.

Needless to say, the success of TikTok stars has paid off for licensing agencies. Products backed by an influencer with millions of supporters pretty much guarantees good sales. But what happens if that influence is at risk and suddenly disappears?
 

Goodbye TikTok, Goodbye Influence?

If the president moves forward with shutting down the app, many things will change for the influencers who currently thrive on it. They will have to scramble to keep their fan base engaged by switching them all to a new app with similar features. With TikTok creators taking their fans to multiple different apps, it’s entirely possible that TikTok users will only choose one or two new apps to download, choosing only their favorite creators to continue their social media journey with.

In essence, the removal of TikTok could result in these influencers losing part of their influence. However, apps like Instagram, where popular creators have already garnered plenty of followers, are already on phones everywhere. Video influence could also easily switch over to YouTube, where there is an abundance of licensing superstars.

If the star power of TikTok doesn’t transfer to long-form video content or Instagram videos, that could mean Tik Tok stars are only living their 15 minutes of fame. Alternatively, the TikTok ban could also mean that they blow up even more. Depending on how popular and influential a TikTok creator already is, they very well could gain even more star power.

If traction gains for these stars, more licensing deals will result. If their stardom plummets due to a TikTok shutdown, it will mean the decline in sales for licensing programs as their fame fades away.

 

Licensing Without Tik Tok

Charli D’Amelio has nearly 88 million followers on TikTok, nearly 30 million followers on Instagram and more than seven million subscribers on YouTube. Hyram Yarbro boasts more than six million TikTok followers, one million followers on Instagram and more than 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube. Influencers like these will continue to have influence because they reach beyond just a TikTok audience.

When it comes to TikTok stars, licensing deals that will survive are deals that cover multiple social media platforms and multiple audiences. Licensing agencies and companies looking to expand their licensed deals should keep this in mind when bringing on a new influencer. A large range of influence, more than just TikTok followers, is ideal.

TikTok may very well be temporary, but those who have already reached superstar status on the app are worth giving a chance, nonetheless. If they have millions of followers on other apps already, then their transition from TikTok to another app is more likely to be successful, regardless if the app is already a staple in popular culture or is up-and-coming.

 

Is This The End?

Regardless of what happens to TikTok, the stars that the app has created are undeniable in popular culture. If the president moves forward with the ban, it will definitely affect some creators, their livelihoods, and the possibilities of licensing deals. For others, it will be nothing but a bump in the road.

For companies that do licensing, the zeitgeist of TikTok can live on through licensed deals regardless of the apps existence within the U.S. The cultural shift has already happened, and the creators who are lucky enough to have made a name for themselves in the short time the app was around will still be a hot commodity in the licensing world.

Now, the torch is being passed to these companies to bring the spirit of TikTok to Gen Z and Millennials in whole new ways. TikTok has already made its impact. The jumping point will be there regardless of is continued existence. The question is, what will you do with it?

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SEGA at 60

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For gamers, SEGA is as ubiquitous as water. For many, the “SEEGAAA!” intro chime is ingrained into people’s memories in a way few brands can hope to achieve. No matter when you played video games, you’ve most likely enjoyed hours playing a game developed by SEGA.

From “Sonic the Hedgehog” to “Jet Set Radio,” SEGA has built an empire on inspired games and video game consoles. If you’ve spent any amount of time grasping a video game controller, you’ve more than likely held a memory entrenched with SEGA at the forefront. Now celebrating its 60th anniversary, SEGA looks to continue to make memories in licensing

Originally named Nihon Goraku Bussan Company, SEGA’s journey started with the launch of a jukebox. Launched in 1960, the SEGA 1000 was Japan’s first domestically produced jukebox. Five years later, the Nihon Goraku Bussan Company merged with Rosen Enterprises, began operating arcade facilities and changed its name to SEGA Enterprises. By 1983, the newly named company started to move past its arcade roots and launched its first at-home consumer game console, the SG-1000. Considered a proto-forefather to the consoles that would become fashionable a few years later, the SG-1000 provided the start of SEGA’s move into gamers’ homes. The SG-1000 was followed by its successor the SG-1000 II in 1984 and the Sega Master System in 1986. A trio of eight-bit systems, each console had its fans, but SEGA wouldn’t truly take off until the launch of the SEGA Mega Drive. Known to U.S. consumers as the SEGA Genesis, the SEGA MegaDrive proved a gamechanger for at-home video games.

A beloved console, it was responsible for the debut of such well known video games such as “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Toejam and Earl,” “Earthworm Jim” and “Contra: Hard Corps.” Ever since the Mega Drive’s launch, SEGA has continued to launch new products and properties. Following the Mega Drive release, SEGA would continue to make consoles until the debut of the Dreamcast in 1998. While the company left the home console business in the late ‘90s, SEGA continued to make games and leverage the popularity of its video game portfolio for licensing

Whether it’s “Shenmue,” “Jet Set Radio” or the “Yakuza” series, SEGA has continued to bring products and titles to its global fan base for 60 years. The company has established a strong brand that highlights the peaks and valleys of a company that has found sustained success over six decades. Speaking with License Global, Chris Asano, licensing coordinator, SEGA of America, who works with SEGA subsidiary ATLUS, highlighted how the company has been able to leverage the love fans have built up with its brands to develop creative products.

“With the growing popularity of our titles, we are graced with many creative takes that show the passion for the titles and have been fortunate for the opportunity to give back to our fans,” says Asano.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF LICENSE GLOBAL MAGAZINE! 

OneTeam Partners Adds SVP Licensing

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OneTeam Partners has announced the hiring of longtime sports licensing executive Malaika Underwood as its new senior vice president of licensing.

In her role, Underwood will draw upon her incomparable collegiate athletics business experience to spearhead growth opportunities in the space. She joins OneTeam from The Brandr Group where she worked on the forefront of the college name, image and likeness vertical. She also managed partnerships with player associations to develop business on behalf of professional athletes in the college licensing and marketing space. 

“This is an exciting time at OneTeam and having an accomplished leader in Malaika join us will certainly push us even further,” says Ahmad Nassar, chief executive officer, OneTeam. “We are especially excited to welcome Malaika given her pivotal role in developing the business of collegiate NIL.”

Underwood will provide oversight to OneTeam’s growing licensing business and position the company to deliver value to college athletes as the landscape changes. OneTeam launched as a joint venture between the NFLPA, MLBPA and RedBird Capital Partners to maximize the value of athletes’ rights. The collective aims to transform the way in which athletes interact in business across group licensing, marketing, media and investing. 

OneTeam represents a range of commercial business interests on behalf of the NFLPA, MLBPA, Major League Soccer Players Association, U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association, Women’s National Basketball Players Association and U.S. Rugby Players Association. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to join OneTeam as we continue building innovative licensing, marketing, media and venture opportunities for all athletes,” says Underwood. “With name, image and likeness rights finally coming to the forefront in college, I look forward to working closely with partners throughout the industry as we help a broad base of college athletes recognize and maximize their value. The experience we have representing groups of athletes at OneTeam is unparalleled and immediately applicable in the college landscape.” 

OneTeam has had a growing list of new projects in 2020. The group most recently announced the debut of the YouTube Channel “The Gronks” just last month.

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