China Toy Fair


TIA to Host Young Professionals Cocktail Party in Dallas

TIA.YoungProfessionalsNetworkThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) Young Professionals Network (YPN), which supports the growth, development, and retention of young professionals in the toy industry, will host a networking cocktail party on October 8 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. The event will take place following the close of the second day of Fall Toy Preview.

All young toy industry professionals ages 35 and under are invited to attend the party, to be held at the Hilton Anatole Gossip Bar. Admission is free for both TIA members and non-members; TIA member company representatives will receive one complimentary drink.

RSVP for the cocktail party is requested by October 2. Questions and suggestions for expanding or improving upon the YPN—formerly known as Toy Industry Next Generation (TING)—may be directed to TIA’s Bernadette Boyle, membership manager, at (646) 454-5585.

VTech Go! Go! Smart Friends Line Available Exclusively at Toys “R” Us

VTech.GoGoSmartFriendsBusySoundsVTech has launched Go! Go! Smart Friends, available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and online at toysrus.com.

The Go! Go! Smart Friends line features colorful play sets and characters that infuse traditional role-play with modern technology. MagicPoint locations bring the characters and play sets to life with lights, sounds, and music.

The Go! Go! Smart Friends Busy Sounds Discovery Home is an interactive house featuring nine MagicPoint locations that encourage imaginative play and emphasize cause and effect relationships. Additionally, it includes VTech’s new MagicChat feature, which allows two figures to chat and sing songs together.

The Go! Go! Smart Friends Spin-Around Sounds Carnival features five MagicPoint locations and five play pieces that can be used together to encourage creative play. [Read more...]

Greater China Business Forum to Take Place in New York City

TIAThe U.S. Commercial Service is hosting a two-day conference on export opportunities in Greater China, which will take place on October 7 to 8 at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

The Global Markets: Greater China Business Forum program will cover export opportunities and challenges related to the major cities of Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as offer participants the chance to meet one-on-one with visiting U.S. Commercial Service diplomats from Beijing, Chengdu, Macau, Ulan Bator (Mongolia), Shanghai, Shenyang, Taipei, Singapore, and more. Additionally, subject matter experts will be on-hand to consult individually with companies interested in learning about intellectual property rights (IPR), standards and certifications, e-commerce, trade finance, export controls, government procurement, and additional topics.

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is a supporting organization for this event, and TIA members receive a discounted rate ($100 off the regular rate) when they register. More information is available online at the U.S. Commercial Service web site. Representatives of TIA member companies may contact Anne McConnell at amcconnell@toyassociation.org to obtain the online registration code for the discounted rate.

Funrise Rounding Out Global Program for Madballs

MadballsMadballs, the bouncing balls from the 1980s with grotesque faces, protruding eyeballs, and zany names, are back in a new line from Funrise Toys. AG Properties, the intellectual property and outbound licensing division of American Greetings Corporation, announced the news.

The Funrise Madballs line will include plush and feature plush sports balls and soft accessories, including baseball bats and basketball hoops based on the brand’s satirical and gutter humor. Products are scheduled to hit retail in the fall of next year.

“We are thrilled to partner with Funrise on this new line for Madballs,” said Lindsay Martinez, vice president of licensing and business development for AG Properties.  “The addition of this plush sports ball program gives the franchise a unique position in the toy aisle and allows for a new generation of kids to experience the Madballs brand.”

Funrise’s plush toys will extend the property’s consumer products program, which includes comics with Lion Forge. Madballs were first introduced by AmToy, a subsidiary of American Greetings, in 1986.

Women in Toys (WIT) Kicks Off New Initiatives in Dallas on October 6

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys (WIT) has launched its new Empowerment Program with three exciting initiatives that provide members with opportunities for professional support, career development, and a roadmap to success.

The Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop gives entrepreneurs, inventors, and manufacturers the opportunity to pitch products to retail giant Wal-Mart as well as top toy and game companies including Hasbro, Spin Master, and Winning Moves Games. The event takes place on October 6 at Dallas Market Center at 1:00 pm, the day before the Toy Industry Association‘s Fall Toy Preview begins. It also features panel discussions, one-on-one speed mentoring, and networking opportunities such as a cocktail party open to women, men, members, and non-members.

One-on-One Mentoring pairs industry expert mentors with up-and-coming WIT members as well as those looking to change their career path. Volunteer mentors include manufacturers, retailers, marketing/PR agencies, and licensors. Members interested in becoming a mentor or mentee can sign up at www.womenintoys.com or contact Nancy Zwiers at nancy@funosophy.com

Learn-the-Ropes Webinars are hosted by industry experts and will provide information, insights, education, and support on a wide variety of topics. These are designed to help members with their career goals and professional development. Webinars will begin in December on Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Anyone looking for more information can visit www.womenintoys.com or contact Deb de Sherbinin at deb@kidsmartusa.com.

Kids’ Usage of Smartphones and Tablets Outpaces Other Electronics, Says NPD

NPDGrouplogoAccording to Kids and CE: 2014, the latest report from The NPD Group, kids’ usage of smartphones and media tablets outpaces their usage of all other consumer electronic devices in U.S. households.

Seventy-one percent of households with a child ages 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone this year, up from 55 percent two years ago. Furthermore, incidence of ownership of media tablets doubled between 2012 and this year, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. Among those with kids in the household, 35 percent said that their child uses a smartphone, up from 21 percent two years ago. For media tablets, the figure was 31 percent, up from 13 percent two years ago.

As far as personal ownership of consumer electronic devices among children ages 4 to 14, portable devices were the only device group to exhibit steady increases in ownership among the children themselves. Incidence of personal ownership of cell phones—including traditional cell phones and smartphones—held steady at 19 percent this year. [Read more...]

The Hub Network to Become Discovery Family Channel on October 13

HasbroStudios.logoThe Hub Network will become the Discovery Family Channel effective October 13. While the network will broaden its programming focus to serve families in primetime, it will continue to showcase Hasbro Studios children’s content in daytime.

During the daytime, the channel will offer a line-up of brand new Hasbro Studios’ series, as well as such library programming as My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Transformers Rescue Bots.

Discovery Family Channel will continue as a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Hasbro, with Discovery Communications taking a 60 percent ownership position in the new channel and Hasbro’s stake decreasing to 40 percent. The network will be consolidated and managed under the Discovery portfolio of networks. [Read more...]

WBCP Introduces Halloween Costumes Inspired by Godzilla, DC Comics, Dumb & Dumber, and More

RUBIEíS COSTUME CO.  ñ Godzillaô Inflatable CostumeThis Halloween, Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) will introduce adult, children, and pet costumes including a fully inflatable Godzilla costume, Dumb & Dumber-inspired dog costumes, and DC Comics superheroes and villain-inspired masks and costumes.

Adults will also be able to dress up as an infamous supervillain from Rubie’s Costume Co.’s Batman Classic TV Series Costume and Mask Collection, as well as characters from the Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit trilogy.

New York Legislation Expands Ban on Child Products with Toxic Retardant

Last Thursday, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that expands the ban on the sale of products containing TRIS, a cancer-causing chemical used as a flame retardant.

“No parent should have to second guess whether the toy or car seat they buy for their child is safe,” Governor Cuomo says. “This new law will not only provide additional protections for young children, it gives peace of mind to parents who will now know that common childcare products purchased in New York will not contain this dangerous chemical.”

This new law, A4741/S3703-B, expands the definition of TRIS to include an additional chemical, TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate), from being used in toys, baby products, and other consumer child care products, including items intended for children under three years of age. Alternative flame retardants are available as a substitute for TRIS.

The new law builds upon legislation Governor Cuomo signed in 2011, which expanded the number of prohibited flame retardant chemicals.

2014 National Toy Hall of Fame Finalists Revealed

American-girlThe 12 finalists for induction into The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame this year include American Girl dolls, My Little Pony, Rubik’s Cube, and more.

Here is the full list of finalists:

The Hall of Fame at The Strong museum in Rochester, N.Y., announced the finalists on Monday. A ceremony at The Strong on November 6 will reveal this year’s inductees.