January 23, 2014

China Toy Fair

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NPD Reports Slight Decline in U.S. Toy Industry Retail Sales
According to retail sales data from The NPD Group, U.S. retail dollar sales of toys last year experienced a decline of 1 percent when compared to the prior year.
Retail sales appear to have been impacted by a shorter holiday shopping season. While the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw year-over-year sales increases of 4 percent and 24 percent, respectively, the remaining weeks experienced softer sales versus the prior year. Fourth quarter sales for the months of October to December were down 1 percent.
By category, youth electronics and arts & crafts experienced the most significant increases at 18 percent and 8 percent, respectively, while building sets and plush saw respective revenue increases of 1 percent and 2 percent. Action figures and infant/preschool toys experienced the largest dollar sales declines when compared to last year at 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Licensed toys, which experienced an increase of 3 percent last year, represented 31 percent of total industry sales, comparable to the previous year.

Blue Plate Media Lounge Welcomes Toy Fair Attendees

Blue Plate Media’s 7th Annual Blue Plate Media Lounge is a one-day Toy Fair event for educating youth and toy marketers about relevant media platforms that reach and connect with today’s techno-savvy kids and their parents. The event was created to serve as an educational bridge, a conduit to better understanding the shifting media mindscape.
This year’s media lounge is scheduled for February 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. Guests will include Nickelodeon and its plethora of kid’s platforms, ranging across television and web and covering its iconic Nickelodeon, Teen Nick, Nick Jr., and Nick@Nite properties. Session topics include Cross Device Targeting, From PC to Mobile, Online Video, and In-App Advertising. The educational forum rotates hour-to-hour and partner-to-partner, with one-on-one, 15-minute sessions arranged between marketers and media partners in the kid and mom space.
For information or to schedule a face-to-face meeting, call (908) 918-0202 or email info@blueplatemedia.net.  

Toys “R” Us Great Trade-In Event Reaches One Million Milestone

The “Great Trade-In” event by Toys “R” Us has resulted in the removal of more than one million pieces of used and potentially unsafe cribs, car seats, and other products since the program began in 2009. The company’s ninth “Great Trade-In” event will begin on January 24 and run through February 17 in Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us stores nationwide. This year, Toys “R” Us has issued a call for action for customers to rid their homes of unsafe and old baby products and exchange them for savings on new items.
During the event, stores will accept any used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems, play yards, high chairs, toddler/twin beds, swings, walkers, bouncers, and entertainers in exchange for a 25 percent savings on the purchase of a new baby item in any of these categories. This program gives customers an opportunity to remove or replace old and hazardous products from their homes.
In addition to the event, Toys “R” Us offers supplementary resources to help parents and caregivers keep children safe, such as the company’s dedicated safety website.

TIA and Other Industry Associations Joining Forces for SEC Compliance Initiative

Seven of the world’s largest industry associations are collaborating with Source Intelligence, a provider of conflict minerals compliance programs, and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. Their shared goal is to launch the first cross-industry training and resource center addressing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Conflict Minerals compliance regulation.
Source Intelligence has developed the Conflict Minerals Resource Center (CMRC) to support more than 15,000 member companies that collectively generate more than $3 trillion (USD) in GDP and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. 
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is among the seven associations that worked with Source Intelligence and Schulte Roth & Zabel to align training and resource center priorities to provide member companies with the easy-to-use information to comply with the SEC regulation. The CMRC can be accessed online at a site hosted by Source Intelligence and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.

Activision Publishing’s Call of Duty and Skylanders Top NPD Charts for 2013

SkylandersCall of Duty: Ghosts was the No. 1 best selling title overall in December, as well as the No. 1 best-selling next generation console title of last year on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Call of Duty sustained its spot as the top franchise for the fifth year in a row in the U.S. in both software units and dollars.
Skylanders Swap Force was the No. 2 best-selling title overall in December and No. 1 best-selling kids video game franchise in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. It was also the No. 3 video game franchise overall for the third year in the U.S. Skylanders Giants and Skylanders Swap Force, the latest two Skylanders games, both ranked in the top 5 kids’ video games last year.

Discovery Kids Partners with Cypher, Tek Nek for New Lines of Adventure Products

Discovery Kids has partnered with Cypher Entertainment and Tek Nek Toys to develop new lines of children’s products. Cypher Entertainment will debut a line of 3-D Jurassic Action toys, which will use augmented reality technology to trigger an interactive dinosaur using any smartphone. The kits include the Dino Excavation Kit and Interactive Dinosaur Kit, and come with digging tools and protective glasses.
Tek Nek Toys will also introduce a line of outdoor adventure and role-play products that include a ride-on vehicle, bug vacuum, light-up viewing scope, and big pocket vest. The line will also come with an electronic talking puzzle map of the U.S. and a number of play sets designed to let kids step into the roles of firefighters, police officers, soldiers, and handymen.
The products will be available across retail this year.

Toys “R” Us and Barnes & Noble Celebrate The Lego Movie

The Lego MovieToys “R” Us has created nearly 20 movie-inspired products in anticipation of the first feature length Lego film, The Lego Movie, which opens February 7. These new items, coming to Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and toysrus.com/LEGO, will be available from January 30 through March. The products—including play sets that replicate adventures from the movie, minifigures, and vehicles—will be showcased in feature shops at Toys “R” Us stores.
Toys “R” Us will host an in-store event and offer additional gifts with Lego product purchases. On February 8, stores nationwide will host an event from noon to 2 p.m., where participants can construct and take home the car of Emmet, the main character from the film. Customers can also try out the new The Lego Movie Nintendo 2DS video game.
Barnes & Noble will host free activities for Lego fans to build excitement for the upcoming The Lego Movie. Kicking off this event series is a free Hands-On Learning, “Count Down to the Movie” event on Saturday, January 25, at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. It is the first part of a three-month long series, which includes a limited movie ticket giveaway in select stores, and culminates with a Lego-build event on March 1, where fans can recreate favorite scenes from the movie.

Celessence Technologies Adds Scent to Plush, Puzzles, and More

CelessenceCelessence Technologies, a micro-encapsulation company, has acquired several new licenses across several categories. Micro-encapsulation is an innovative delivery system that allows brands to import fragrances, freshness, or skincare actives onto multiple surfaces such as textiles and print.
Art + Science has been retained by Celessence Technologies to institute licensing arrangements between Celessence and top Fortune 500 companies around the world, including Who-Rae, Delta Galil, Calendar Club, Russ Berrie, and Travelpro. These companies will co-brand with Disney, Hello Kitty and other brands for plush, puzzles, and children’s apparel that will be available in top retailers.


Ubisoft to Bring Tetris to Next-Generation Consoles

Ubisoft has partnered with The Tetris Company to develop the Tetris franchise for Microsoft’s Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4. As the Tetris franchise celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, the brand has sold hundreds of millions of units worldwide, has products available in more than 50 languages, and is available in 185 countries.

Kathryn Klingler Named New Director of Licensing and Marketing at Creata USA Inc.

Kathryn KinglerKathryn Klingler has been added to the Creata USA Inc. team as director of licensing and marketing for the company. Klingler will further develop Creata’s worldwide licensing activities for its new properties.
Klingler has more than 17 years of consumer products and licensing experience from her positions at Mattel, Primedia, Tokyopop, and most recently, G.A. Gertmenian.

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