March 1, 2010

Toy Fair 2010 Closes with More Attendees Than Last Year

2010 Toy FairMore than 1,100 exhibitors from around the world gathered at the 107th American International Toy Fair, which was held February 14-17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. It’s estimated that exhibitors showcased 100,000 new toys and youth entertainment products during the event.
Attendance at Toy Fair 2010 (including buyers, retailers, trade guests, media, and exhibiting staff) totaled 25,030, a 4 percent increase compared to 2009. Nearly 285 of the exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents were first-time exhibitors.
More than 10,600 buyers, a 3 percent rise from last year, from 85 countries attended the show to look for trends and place orders. The number of retail outlets represented at Toy Fair 2010 increased 2 percent over 2009, with a total of 5,744 different companies in attendance.
The 108th American International Toy Fair will be held February 13-16, 2011, at the Javits Center.

Manhattan Toy Releases New Dr. Seuss Toys

Dr. Seuss ToysManhattan Toy has introduced six new Dr. Seuss toys, featuring the classic characters One Fish Two Fish and Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat Activity Cat includes a crinkle flap mirror, ribbons, teether paws, a squeaker in one foot, and a rattle in the other. The Cat in the Hat Wiggle Ball jiggles when the attached yellow star is pulled, and features Cat in the Hat prints and crinkle paper flaps.
Also for infants, Manhattan Toy debuts the Cat in the Hat Ring Rattle and the Cat in the Hat Thing 1 & Thing 2 Rattle. The rattles are made from soft materials and include colorful rings, ribbons, bungee, crinkle paper, and a bell.
The One Fish Water Pat Mat, for tummy time, has brightly colored floating pieces that move with the touch of a baby’s hand. The One Fish Fishbowl, for children 9 months and older, features five fish that each make a sound such as a rattle, crinkle, bell, or squeak.
In September, Cat in the Hat will star in its first animated series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, on PBS Kids.

Nintendo Announces New Products at Media Summit

Nintendo DSi XLNintendo of America issued a surge of new information about what consumers can expect from the company in the coming months. The new Nintendo DSi XL hand-held system launches March 28 at a suggested retail price of $189.99. The screens of the Nintendo DSi XL are 93 percent larger than those of the Nintendo DS Lite model, designed to provide a more vivid and engaging play experience. The screens of the Nintendo DSi XL also feature a wider viewing angle, letting friends and family members join the fun. The new system launches in both burgundy and bronze colors, and comes loaded with pre-installed premium software Brain Age Express: Arts & LettersBrain Age Express: Math, and Photo Clock, as well as two free applications: the Nintendo DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio. Nintendo DSi XL will also come with a larger pen-like stylus that allows for a more comfortable grip and enhanced ease of use when playing games that use the Nintendo DS touch screen. 
Among a slew of new software from Nintendo is 100 Classic Books, which transforms the Nintendo DS family of products into a library of literature when it launches on June 14 at a suggested retail price of $19.99, highlighted by 100 works from authors such as William Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and more. Readers can adjust the size of text, place bookmarks, and even download new content via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service (broadband Internet connection required).

Toys “R” Us Stops Selling Planet Frog

Planet FrogToys “R” Us has become the latest retailer to agree to stop selling the miniature aquarium, Planet Frog. Biologists, wildlife specialists, and PETA have warned that aquariums such as Planet Frog, which houses two frogs in crowded conditions, are too small and inhumane. Confining the energetic animals to cramped spaces can slowly poison the creatures by their own waste.
Target, JCPenney, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Albertsons have also discontinued sales of the tanks.

Grosset & Dunlap to Publish Classic Pooh Books

Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, has announced that it will publish Disney's Classic Pooh books, marking the first time that a U.S. publisher will create new stories based on the classic Pooh adventures, illustrated in the classic E.H. Shepard style. The deal was made between Penguin Young Readers Group and Disney Licensed Publishing, an imprint of Disney Book Group, a division of Disney Publishing Worldwide.
The new series will launch in April with four titles: Pooh's Bees, a board book based on A.A. Milne's first Winnie-the-Pooh story; Tigger's Breakfast, a board book that takes readers on a trip through the Hundred Acre Wood; Hooray for Friends! a paper-over-board picture book featuring Pooh and Rabbit; and Welcome to the Hundred Acre Wood, a sticker book that includes more than 75 reusable stickers. Three more books will debut this summer.

Mom Talk Radio Host Named ABC Spring Conference Speaker

Maria T. Bailey, author and talk show host of “Mom Talk Radio,” has been named the keynote speaker for this year’s All Baby & Child, Inc. Spring Educational Conference. The event will be held in Louisville, Kentucky this May.
Bailey is CEO of BSM Media, a full-service marketing and media firm that specializes in marketing to mothers. Bailey is the author of The Ultimate Mom Book, Marketing to Moms: Getting Your Share of the Trillion Dollar Market, and Trillion Dollar Moms: Marketing to a New Generation of Mothers. Her latest book, Mom 3.0, examines how to reach moms with new technologies, such as blogs, podcasts, and social networking.

Burger King to Launch “Pinktastic” Promotion

PinkaliciousBurger King restaurants across America will turn "Pinkalicious" this spring in a new partnership with Harper Collins and Pinkalicious, the children's book property that celebrates the love of pink and the magical world of its heroine. The national Burger King Kids Meal promotion kicked off today.
With the purchase of a Burger King Kids Meal, customers will receive one of four pinkatastic toys: a Pinkalicious figurine with ring comb, a Pinkalicious Star Bright Wand, a Pinkalicious tiara, or Pinkalicious hair play barrettes. 
The Joester Loria Group is the exclusive worldwide licensing agency for Pinkalicious.

Step2 CEO Resigns, Vresics Takes Helm

Step2 CEO Scott Levin, who joined the company in 2007, has resigned. Jack Vresics, who was general manager of Infantino, has been named to the position. Infantino was purchased by Step2 in 2007. 
Before Infantino/Step2, Vresics was CEO/President of Technical Concepts LLC and the Component Hardware Group, both owned by Liberty Partners.
Levin's departure comes on the heels of other reductions at Step2. In January, the company closed its manufacturing plant in Georgia, cutting 104 jobs, and moved production to Ohio. The company also cut management and administrative staff at the Streetsboro headquarters in January.

Marketing Veteran Launches Communications Firm

Ron Antonette, former Fleishman-Hillard consumer marketing practice group lead, has launched R.Antonette Communications, a micro-agency specializing in supporting family and parenting brands, green marketing and CSR campaigns, and professional services firms.
Recent clients for R. Antonette Communications include GP Toys, the U.S. division of Italian manufacturer Giochi Preziosi, and Solatube International, the worldwide leader in daylighting systems.
Antonette spent 14 years at GolinHarris and held director roles at Mattel and ConAgra Food. He previously led agency PR accounts and projects for Disney, Nestle, Playmates Toys, and Cold Stone Creamery, among others.

New SVP Named at Copyright Promotions Licensing Group

Cindy Davis has been named SVP, licensing of Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) U.S., Cookie Jar Group’s licensing division. Davis will be reporting to Kirk Bloomgarden, EVP Worldwide Consumer Products, and oversee the development and implementation of the division’s licensing and merchandising programs.
Prior to joining CPLG U.S., Davis was a partner at Bomes Davis Branding, working with clients such as Sony Pictures and IDT Entertainment. She has also served as VP of licensing at DIC Entertainment, and director of licensing and merchandising at Fox Family Worldwide/Saban.

Scripps Considers Sale of United Media Licensing 

The EW Scripps Company has announced that it is exploring strategic options for United Media Licensing, the wholly owned character licensing operation of United Media. Among the possible outcomes of the exploratory process are a sale or joint venture involving all or part of United Media Licensing. Another option is to keep operating the business if the exploratory process leads management to determine that more long-term value can be created for company shareholders by retaining the property.
"Scripps is proud to have United Media Licensing in its portfolio, but the recent interest and activity in the market for character-based properties make this an appropriate time to determine if more long-term value will be created for our shareholders by continuing to operate the business or finding another alternative," said Rich Boehne, president and CEO of Scripps. "We recognize that ‘exploring strategic options' often is a euphemism for ‘sale,' but this truly is an exercise to determine if these properties would be more valuable with another owner. If not, we'll continue to nurture the characters as we have for decades."

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