4Kids Launches Division; Adds New Client 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., formed a new subsidiary, 4sight licensing solutions, inc., to specialize in the marketing and licensing of brands geared primarily to adults, teens, and 'tweens. The new subsidiary will focus on existing brands such as the Royal Air Force, the American Kennel Club, and the Cat Fanciers' Association with an eye toward adding more brands targeted at an older demographic in the future.
In other 4Kids news, the company was appointed the exclusive worldwide licensing agent for Animation Collective's preschool television series, Ellen's Acres, due on Cartoon Network in September 2006. The series, which features 5-year-old Ellen and her antics in her parents' Emerald Acres Hotel, will enable 4Kids to strengthen its presence in the girls' market. The company also plans a merchandise program for the animated series in 2007.
TBS Just Wild About New Exhibit
The Zoo Atlanta partnered with Turner Broadcasting System Inc. on Wild Like Me, an interactive exhibit featuring characters from Cartoon Network's Boomerang. The exhibit gives kids an opportunity to star in a mock documentary film production complete with Yogi Bear as the director and classic Boomerang characters such as Snagglepuss, Magilla Gorilla, Huckleberry Hound, and Quick Draw McGraw. Yogi encourages kids to make their best animal sounds, which then are captured on cameras and shown on TV monitors throughout the room. Kids also can measure their height, weight, and strength to see how they stack up in the animal kingdom; decorate animal habitats using a variety of props and backgrounds depicting natural ecosystems; and watch some classic cartoons.
The Wild Like Me exhibit was funded through a portion of a $5 million donation from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Scholastic Media Teams with Major League Soccer Scholastic Media has extended its one-year relationship with Major League Soccer with a cross-promotional program to support Maya & Miguel. The alliance kicks off at the start of the 2006 MLS season this spring and involves the characters' participation at MLS' Futbolito events with costumed character appearances and on-field poster and banner signage. It also will include an extensive grassroots program with Maya & Miguel appearing at community-based family tournaments in 16 key markets to provide prizes to the winning soccer teams.
Burger King Taps New Licensing Agency
The Broad Street Licensing Group was named licensing agency for Burger King. The company plans to roll out a focused brand extension program across targeted categories.
TLC Sweetens Jelly Belly Licensee Portfolio Jelly Belly will have consumers asking, "Where have you bean all my life?" with a range of new licensed products. The Licensing Company North America has signed deals with Senario for home fashions (due in fall '06), Jerry Leigh for branded apparel (spring 2007), Penguin Young Readers Group for infant board books (Valentine's Day 2007), and Shonfeld's for food and beverage gift baskets (spring 2007). Additional licensed deals currently under development by TLC include loungewear, plush, fashion bags and backpacks, crafts, stationery, and an array of products in the lifestyle and food and beverage categories.
Furniture Maker to Bear New Product Line Pulaski Furniture Corporation signed a master licensing agreement with Build-A-Bear Workshop to develop the nation's first line of furniture, as well as a full complement of home items, that will be designed by kids for kids. Working with Build-A-Bear Workshop and select furniture retail partners, Pulaski began recruiting an official Build-A-Bear Workshop children's furniture Cub Advisory Board.
360ep to Rep New League
The International Fight League signed an exclusive agreement with 360ep to handle licensing, merchandising, and retail opportunities for the new league. The company will seek strategic opportunities for the brand, its fighters, and its four teams: Anacondas, Pitbulls, Silverbacks, and Tigersharks. The league mixes martial arts with boxing and comprises five fighters each in the lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions. The event is held in a ring (not in a cage). The IFL hopes to finalize a DVD distribution deal shortly, and actively seeks partners across licensing categories, including video games, trading cards, apparel and accessories, fitness equipment, and nutritional supplements.
United Media Cooks Up New Deals
United Media signed deals with Columbian Home Products and Master Cutlery to create cookware and cutlery lines for Iron Chef America. Initial products due at specialty stores in fall include cookware and wood product lines for Iron Chef America, as well as for the original Iron Chef series, with a wide range of items including saucepans, skillets, woks, casseroles, and cutting boards. As the program continues to unfold, United Media will expand strategically into other categories such as appliances, textiles, and dinnerware. Master Cutlery will launch the cutlery collection for Iron Chef America, as well as for the original Iron Chef series with an array of knife sets and individual blades.
The Weinstein Co. Names New Rep
Brand Central LLC signed on as the new licensing agency for The Weinstein Company, a new film studio created by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who founded Miramax Film Corporation in 1979. Brand Central will develop merchandise programs at retail around several tentpole releases already in the works over the next several years.
Execs on the Move
Rachel Lusted joined Al Ovadia & Associates, Inc., as licensing director with responsibility for properties such as TWF (Thumb Wrestling Federation), Crazy Frog, ZIXX, and Khudayana. Kara LaReau will join Scholastic as executive editor, Scholastic Press, while Stacey Lellos has rejoined the company as director of licensed publishing, and Julie Amitie has joined as director of retail marketing and brand management. David Ellender was appointed CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises and also joins the company's operating board, while FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide, Americas, named Nora Wong licensing manager, Americas. Ramsey A. Naito was named vice president of long-form development for Cartoon Network. HIT Entertainment appointed Jorge Ferreiro senior vice president, creative resources. Appointments at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing include Nicole Russo promoted to publicity manager, Samantha Wolfert promoted to publicist, and Katherine Devendorf promoted to senior pro duction editor, Simon Pulse and Simon Spotlight Entertainment.
Licensing International Early Bird Discounts Expire May 1 If you're planning to attend Licensing International, June 20-22, at New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, NOW is the time to register. Registration for exhibits is free until May 1, 2006. Discounted conference rates for Licensing University and iMPACT! Digital and Mobile Licensing Summit also expire May 1, so register today by visiting http://www.licensingshow.com/.
Upcoming Industry Events
LIMA UK Introduction to Licensing Spring Seminar and LIMA and Friends Spring Fling, May 25, No. 4 Hamilton Place, London, http://www.brandlicensingexpo.com/
Licensing International 2006 Show, June 20-22, Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, NY, http://www.licensingshow.com/
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