Weekly E-news, Issue #81, October 19, 2004


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Children’s Place to Acquire Disney Stores
Children’s Place has agreed to acquire Disney’s 313 stores
with plans to invest $100 million in store upgrades. While the price wasn’t
revealed, Children’s Place will acquire the chain in exchange for
a payment to Disney for inventory, cash, and other assets to be determined
at the close of the year, probably by year-end. In 2006, Children’s
Place will pay unspecific royalties to Disney as part of a 15-year licensing
deal, plus three 10-year renewal options contingent on achieving certain
unspecific financial milestones. Children’s Place also intends to
expand the chain to 600 stores with an emphasis on Metropolitan New York
and Houston.

Foursome Partner on Preschool Cable Channel
Comcast Corporation, HIT Entertainment PLC, PBS, and Sesame Workshop joined
forces on a 24-hour digital cable television channel for preschool-aged
children and companion video-on-demand (VOD) service. The channel will
feature a library of more than 4,000 episodes from shows such as Bob the
Builder, Barney, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, and additional
PBS KIDS titles. Beginning in early 2005, the companion VOD package will
be available to cable companies in the U.S. and will include more than
50 hours of programming for preschoolers and their families. The 24x7
digital cable channel is expected to launch in fall 2005.

Bandai Games for Zatch! Bell
ShoPro Entertainment named Bandai America master licensee for Zatch Bell!
video games and trading card games in the U.S. and Canada. The TV series
aimed at boys ages 8 to 14 will debut on Cartoon Network in spring 2005.
The video games will be available on all major platforms.

New AOL Deals
America Online and 4Kids Entertainment launched an all-new world on AOL’s
KOL service for kids. This new area gives kids access to customized content,
video games, and interactive features from properties such as Yu-Gi-Oh!,
Winx Club, One Piece, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, F-Zero, Kirby, and
Shaman King. In the 4Kids World, kids can access special programming and
interactive features on these TV shows, including information about upcoming
episodes, buddy icons, games, printables, and new toys. 4Kids World also
will have special content on Cabbage Patch Kids, Artlist Collection: The
Dog/The Cat, the Incredible Crash Dummies, American

Kennel Club, and Monster Jam
In other news, America Online and VIZ, LLC, a publisher and distributor
of manga and anime for North American audiences, are partnering on AOL’s
RED service access to 13 flash manga episodes of Shonen Jump’s Dragon
Ball. Each Friday for the next 13 weeks, AOL’s RED service for teens
will offer an exclusive premiere of a new episode of the fantasy action
series at 3:00 p.m. EST. Teens on the RED service will have exclusive
access to the episode for 48 hours before it becomes available to all
Internet users at www.shonenjump.com

Forbes.com Reveals Hot Characters in Annual Survey
Ten hot fictional characters topped Forbes.com’s annual Top Earning
Fictional Character List, while five others were included in the Near
Misses list. The Walt Disney Co. made a respectable showing with Mickey
Mouse and Winnie the Pooh & Friends, Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and
Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Just missing the mark were Disney’s
Power Rangers and Disney/Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear. Rounding out the
list of top earning characters were Frodo Baggins of Lord of the Rings,
Harry Potter, Yu-Gi-Oh!, SpongeBob SquarePants, Spider-Man, Wolverine
of X-Men, and Pikachu of Pokémon. The Near Misses listing also
included The Simpsons, Dora the Explorer, and The Hulk. To qualify for
the list, a character needed to be both “fictional” and a
“character” translated as having debuted in a book, film,
or video game. To calculate the earnings, Forbes.com tallied worldwide
toy/merchandise sales, video game sales, publishing and box-office revenue,
as well as DVD/VHS sales and rental revenue.

Atari Expands
Children’s Offerings

Atari, Inc., will create three new games for children including Dora the
Explorer: Fairytale Adventure, My Little Pony, and Tonka Construction
PC Play Packs. Priced at $19.99, the three new titles feature innovative
packaging that shows off a premium item in the front of a clear plastic
box and the CD in the back.

MODA Launches International Division
MODA International Marketing launched a new company, MODA Marketing &
Licensing. The Geneva, Switzerland-based company will be headed by Michelle
Alfandari and Julien Born, who started this new venture in part to “respond
to an increasing demand among European companies to optimize the management
and maximize the returns of their intangible assets, namely brands and
patents.” MODA International Marketing, a brand licensing agency
based in New York, established an exclusive strategic alliance with the
newly formed European entity.

Stone America Licensing Camps out with New Client
Stone America Licensing will create a licensing program for Kampgrounds
of America after being named exclusive licensing agent. The KOA name and
logo is synonymous with camping all across North America and has hosted
nearly 500 million campers in 40-plus years of doing business.

Sesame Workshop Takes Fresh Approach
Sesame Workshop is partnering with Produce for Better Health Foundation
on a new retail promotion, “Building Blocks for a Colorful Future.”
The promotion was kicked off at the recently held Product Marketing Association’s
Fresh Summit as a means of educating parents and children on the benefits
of eating more fruits and vegetables. A key component of the initiative
is 5 A Day The Color Way-themed retail events starting next year. One
event is a national FSI in January and September, and the others are quarterly,
retail promotions featuring the Sesame Street characters.
In other company news, Sesame Workshop promoted Risa Nelson to assistant
vice president of international licensing.

Aylwin Named Kmart President, CEO
Kmart Holding hired Aylwin Lewis as president and CEO to replace outgoing
CEO Julian Day. Lewis also will join the Kmart board of directors. Lewis
joins Kmart from YUM! Brands, Inc., where he was president and chief multi-branding
and operating officer.

Execs on the Move
Nancy Bailey and Associates, Inc., announced additional promotions and
new staff members to the organization. Connie Billett was promoted to
executive vice president. Pat Denman was promoted to manager, graphics
and product approvals. Lynne Fox joined the company as contract and royalty
administrator. Lynn Moran was appointed to lead the sales organization
at Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., as executive vice president of sales.
Patricia Rosati was named director of school and library marketing at
HarperCollins Children’s Books.

LINK—Licensing International Networking Conference, Miami,
FL November 2-4, 2004

Warren Kornblum, president and CEO of Shadow Entertainment Group and former
CMO of Toys “R” Us, is a LINK keynote speaker. Latin American
Roundtable panelists include David Diesendruk, Redibra; Elias Fasja, Tycoon
Enterprises; Elias Hofman, Exim Licensing Group; and Lisa Weger, Cartoon
Network Latin America. This is in addition to a full roster of speakers,
which can be viewed at www.linkconference.com Attendees of this executive-level educational and networking event presented
by License! include: FAB/Starpoint, General Motors, Hot Topic, The Joester
Loria Group, Mervyn’s, and Claire’s Stores. A full list is
available on our Website. LINK takes place at the Doral Golf Resort &
Spa in Miami from November 2-4, 2004. WHERE WILL YOU BE? Only one week
left to register at www.linkconference.com

For more licensing
news and features, visit www.licensemag.com For more information on Action Performance Companies’ latest licensing
efforts, visit www.action-performance.com