Sweet Suite 2016

Rovio Entertainment Launches Angry Birds Movie Licensing and Merchandising Program

AngryBirdsThe Angry Birds Movie, from Rovio Entertainment, arrives in theaters May 20, and is supported by a roster of licensees across multiple categories, including toys, games, costumes, publishing, and more.

Among the licensees are Lego with six building sets; Spin Master for collectible figures; Hasbro with The Angry Birds Movie-branded version of board game Chutes and Ladders; Rubie’s Costume Co. with costumes for kids and adults; and Painting Lulu for paper-to-digital coloring packs for kids.

Disney Discontinues Disney Infinity

DisneyInfinityDisney will discontinue Disney Infinity, John Blackburn, senior vice president and general manager at Disney Infinity, announced in a blog post.

“By now you may have heard the news that we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Disney Infinity. From the beginning, Disney Infinity was built for you—our fans—and I wanted to take a moment to thank you not just for your support over the years, but for creating a community that made Disney Infinity more than just a game,” Blackburn wrote in the post.

There will be two final retail releases, including three new characters from Alice Through the Looking Glass later this month and the Finding Dory Play Set launching in June.

The announcement comes two months after Disney laid out the video game’s plans for the year, including a focus on developing play sets and characters based on events coming from Disney this year, instead of a new edition of the game. Disney Infinity came out for holiday 2014, and the franchise was the No. 1 game in the toys-to-life category in 2014 and 2015.

Zimpli Kids Raises Funds for National Children’s Charity

SBC Press PicZimpli Kids Inc. has launched a fundraising campaign using Slime Baff for The Slime Bucket Challenge. Participants can visit www.Slime-Bucket.com to receive a packet of slime powder to mix with water and pour over their heads—similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. The company has pledged to donate 100 percent of the profits to Action for Children.

Participants are encouraged to take photos and record their ‘sliming’ to post on their own social media pages and nominate friends, family members, and celebrities to also take up the challenge.

Ludorum Appoints Jazwares as Global Master Toy Partner for Chuggington

JazwaresChuggingtonLudorum has appointed Jazwares as its new global master toy partner for its pre-school property Chuggington.

Jazwares’ Chuggington line will be unveiled to retailers this month and will feature characters from the series. Products ill include collectible characters, play sets, and feature toys. The line will also move away from traditional track systems of train play and will focus on the destinations in the show to allow young fans to build their own world of Chuggington and recreate adventures. The line will launch at retail next spring.

Sesame Workshop Launches Sesame Studios

SesameStudiosSesame Workshop has launched Sesame Studios, a YouTube channel from the creators of Sesame Street. The channel will showcase new non-Muppet characters, short form series, and original stories. It will build off the success of the Sesame Street YouTube Channel, which has two million subscribers and almost 3 billion views.  [Read more...]

Disney is the Most Desirable Toy Brand in China

npd-group copyThe NPD Group’s Asia Pacific team released its China Toy Usage and Attitude Study, which reports China as the most desirable toy brand in China. [Read more...]

Moose Toys Becomes No. 4 Largest Toy Company in U.S.

ShopkinsLifestyleMoose Toys ranks fourth among toy manufacturers in the U.S., according to data from The NPD Group Retail Tracking Service. The data is based on dollar sales of toys from January through March of this year. The company’s growth is boosted by sales of its Shopkins collectible brand. [Read more...]

TIA Elects New Leadership at Annual General Meeting

TIA LogoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has elected eight new members to the TIA Board of Directors for two-year terms of office expiring in 2018. David Hargreaves of Hasbro Inc. has been elected chairman, taking over the position from retiring Board Chairman John Gessert of American Plastic Toys. [Read more...]

Playmobil USA Names Freeman Public Relations as Agency of Record

Playmobil USA has named Freeman Public Relations as its agency of record (AOR). As AOR, Freeman Public Relations will increase awareness of the Playmobil brand through an integrated mix of special events, influencer outreach, and strategic media relations.

“We selected a PR agency to help continue to build our brand and gain visibility for our vast array of figures and imaginative playsets,” said Mark Cohen, vice president of sales and marketing for Playmobil USA. “Freeman Public Relations brings strong industry knowledge of toy and licensing PR, as well as an extensive proven track record of growing major brands. They will be a strategic partner in guiding our communication efforts as we further cultivate our brand portfolio as well as our licensed product lines.”

Toy Industry Grows 6 Percent During First Quarter

The U.S. toy industry grew 6 percent, or $206 million, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015, according to The NPD Group. Out of the 11 supercategories within toys, eight of them posted gains, with Action Figures and Dolls experiencing the highest dollar growth.  [Read more...]