United Media Pairs with Bandai
United Media will act as licensing agent for two of Bandai America Inc.
and Bandai Entertainment, Inc.’s properties. Effective immediately,
United Media will develop strategic programs in the U.S. for D.I.C.E.
and Tamagotchi Connection. D.I.C.E., an animated series, will air on Cartoon
Network this January with toys launching concurrently with the series
and a video game due in fall 2005. Tamagotchi Connection, the next-generation
original virtual pet, will be the subject of a ’tween-directed marketing
program in 2005.
Leon Upped to Executive Vice President Post
George Leon was promoted to executive vice president, worldwide consumer
marketing, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. The move comes as the
company consolidates theatrical licensing, merchandising, product placement,
consumer products, and worldwide promotions within one new division. Leon
also will be responsible for licensing, merchandising, and consumer products,
categories previously overseen by Al Ovadia, who will be leaving the company
to pursue other interests.
MTV Network Latin America Inks Deal with Televisa
Viacom’s MTV Networks Latin America and Televisa will expand their
existing relationship with a multi-year deal that allows each to grow
their operations. The deal will add MTV Networks Latin America’s
licensing, merchandising, and publishing businesses to the existing pay
TV and broadcast distribution agreements with Televisa. Televisa also
will be the exclusive licensing agent for Nickelodeon’s consumer
products in Mexico. This marks the first time MTV Networks has partnered
with a broadcaster in Mexico to manage its licensing and merchandising
On the publishing side, the Editorial Televisa division will be in charge
of the relaunch of Revista Nick due in December 2004.
Hasbro Teams with Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation
Hasbro aligned with the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation
on a program to raise funds for the organization and entertain the charity’s
children. As part of the effort, a new My Little Pony character named
Star Shimmer will be sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us. A dollar
from each sale of the limited-edition ponies will benefit the organization.
Hasbro also will hold a My Little Pony-themed morning for the children
at Loews theaters in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles November
13. Here, children will parade down a pink carpet, do face painting, hear
stories, and see the new My Little Pony video. The children also will
receive goody bags, courtesy of HarperCollins and American Greetings.
Play Along Toys also donated monies to the Starlight Starbright Children’s
Foundation from an eBay auction of one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids in
the likenesses of President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. Senator
Kerry raised $1,225, while President Bush raised $1,030 on the eve of
the election. Bush and Kerry are just two of the one-of-a-kind look-alikes
by Play Along Toys. To date, the series consists of all four hosts of
the TODAY Show, Ellen Degeneres, Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson, Bette Midler,
and many more.
Cruisin’ for Deals
Royal Caribbean International and Fisher-Price, Inc., partnered on a series
of programs and services for little cruisers and their families. The first
programs to head to sea will be a series of 45-minute educational sessions
called Aqua Babies (ages 6 months to 18 months) and Aqua Tots (ages 18
months to 3 years). The sessions are for children and their parents with
age-appropriate activities such as storytelling, creative arts, music,
and a variety of Fisher-Price learning toys and games. The Aqua Babies
and Aqua Tots programs debut on Explorer of the Seas this month and will
be available on all Royal Caribbean ships by the end of March 2005. Additional
programs and services are in development and will be announced in 2005.
In other Fisher-Price news, the company launched an integrated marketing
program to reach out to Latino parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
in Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. For the first time in its history,
Fisher-Price will buy neighborhood billboard space with the headline message:
“Juega con Ellos. Rie con Ellos. Crece con Ellos” (“Play
with Them. Laugh with Them. Grow with Them.”). The campaign also
will include print partnerships, TV and radio spots, a grassroots festival
program, and a sole sponsorship of new Spanish-language publication “Jugando
a Crecer” (“Playing to Grow”) created by Meredith Corp.’s
American Baby Group and distributed at OB/GYN offices and hospital birthing
units with high Hispanic birth rates.
Genius Products Inks Deal with Celluloid Distribution
Genius Products, Inc., signed an exclusive deal with Celluloid Distribution,
LLC, to create and distribute a new line of IFILM-branded DVDs based on
a collection of independent films in a variety of genres. Under the IFILM
banner, Genius Products will produce 24 DVDs yearly through its newly
established Branded Distribution Network, which comprises home entertainment
retailers of all sizes. First products are due in first quarter 2005.
Genius Products also will distribute original titles and content acquired
from third parties to the rental marketplace.
Cartoon Network Adds Series to Adult Swim Block
Cartoon Network acquired The Super Milk-Chan Show and will begin airing
episodes of the irreverent, politically incorrect anime series from ADV
Films on Adult Swim this month. The live-action series is mixed with animation
and features Milk, a selfish, foul-mouthed female superhero with no real
superpowers. Produced by Studio Pierrot (GTO and Saiyuki), The Super Milk-Chan
Show is currently available on DVD from ADV Films, a producer-distributor
of Japanese animation in the U.S.
Rossi Adds New Licensee
Peking Handicraft, Inc., signed artist Karen Rossi with plans to create
a line of kitchen- themed items including aprons, towels, cutting boards,
and two brand new products: mitts and potholders. Rossi is best known
for her ornamental angels.
Atomic Betty Goes Mobile
GlobalFun AB, a global wireless entertainment developer and publisher,
inked a deal with Breakthrough New Media, Inc., to develop and globally
publish a mobile game based on Atomic Betty. Atomic Betty is currently
sold to more than 100 territories worldwide including Cartoon Network
US; Teletoon Canada; M6 France; Cartoon Networks in the UK, Italy, Scandinavia,
Southeast Asia, and Australia; CITV UK; and ABC Australia.
Agent for Cal Ripkin, Jr.
New Jersey-based sports marketing firm 16W Marketing was selected to help
Ripken Baseball manage and coordinate the marketing activities of future
Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., and his baseball-related business interests.
The Ripken Baseball Group comprises youth camps and clinics, the Cal Ripken,
Sr., Foundation, the Aberdeen IronBirds (a minor league affiliate of the
Baltimore Orioles), and Ripken Management & Design. According to 16W
co-founders Steve Rosner and Frank Vuono, their charge will be to seek
strategic partners for Cal Ripken’s endorsement portfolio, as well
as for his baseball businesses in terms of sponsorship, marketing, and
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Sponsored by: United Media Pairs with Bandai United Media will act as licensing agent for two of Bandai America Inc. and Bandai Entertainment, Inc.’s properties. Effective immediately, United Media will develop strate