March 17, 2010

Alexander Doll Acquires Middleton Doll Company

Middleton DollAlexander Doll Company has purchased the Middleton Doll Company. The purchase was made official on March 11.
The Middleton Doll facility was not acquired as part of the business asset purchase and its future is yet to be determined. Robert Porell, CEO of Middleton Doll, has stated in reports that there is a possibility the doll shop and former factory in Belpre will be purchased by Alexander Doll Co. If this occurs, the Lee Middleton Doll store will remain open and Alexander Doll Co. shipping operations could move there. The building has been for sale since last fall. Middleton Doll production was moved to China in 2004.



Nickelodeon Announces 2010-2011 Programming

Planet SheenNickelodeon has announced its 2010-2011 slate of programming, including six new series. The new series to be added to Nickelodeon’s line-up are: House of Anubis (working title), a long-form, live-action mystery that follows eight teens trying to solve a hidden mystery at an English boarding school; Victorious, starring Victoria Justice (Tori Vega) who unexpectedly finds herself navigating life at an elite performing arts high school; Kung Fu Panda: The Series, which chronicles more adventures of Po; Planet Sheen, an intergalactic tale of Sheen Guevera Estevez (Jimmy Neutron), who crash lands on Zeenu and deals with bizarre customs and creatures as he tries to return home; T.U.F.F. Puppy, which follows the dim-witted dog named Dudley Puppy who is recruited by the super secret crime fighting organization, T.U.F.F., to protect his hometown against the evil animal organization, D.O.O.M.; and Bubble Guppies, a new interactive, animated variety show for preschoolers set in an underwater classroom. 

Disguise to Release Alice in Wonderland Costumes for Halloween

Alice in WonderlandNew Alice costumes will hit stores this Halloween, when Disguise debuts new Halloween wear based on Alice, The Mad Hatter, and the Red Queen from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The Alice Movie Poster Deluxe will include a dress with petticoat and glovettes; The Mad Hatter Prestige will come with a faux shirt front, jacket, bow, pants, and hat with attached hair; and the Red Queen Deluxe will include a dress, petticoat, crown, and collar.



Toysmith Named Exclusive Distributor for PinToy

PinToyToysmith is now the exclusive distributor of the PinToy brand of products for North America. The PinToy line covers a wide range of products, including toys, baby products, children’s games, and gift items. Toysmith will begin shipping the PinToy products, starting this June.
PinToy products are made in Thailand using rubberwood from latex plantations. Popular products in the line include: Rainbow Slope, Sorting Basket, 36-Piece Construction Set, Pull-Along Caterpillar, and Smile Rattle.




Target Entertainment Signs Deals for PlayStation IPs

Ratchet and ClankTarget Entertainment Group is expanding the licensing programs for its PlayStation IPs. Impact International has signed a deal for a range of products, including plush, beanies, key chains, and bobbleheads, based on the action adventure game Ratchet and Clank.  Impact will also develop figurines from Buzz!, an interactive, social quiz show game. The licenses for both IPs cover the UK, Ireland, and the Middle East.
Games Media, Ltd. will develop skills with prizes (SWP) games for digital entertainment terminals, also based on Buzz!. The deal covers the UK and Eire and terminals will be located exclusively in pubs, pool halls, and arcades. 
Additionally, DC Comics has signed a worldwide agreement to produce figurines based on the action combat game Killzone.

Walmart Issues Notice on Heavy Metals

As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Walmart Stores has published two new Product Safety and Regulatory Notices addressing its analysis of the impact of heavy metal restrictions in the referenced categories. The notices outline new product and audit requirements that will go into effect for products submitted for testing on or after April 9. More information can be found on the TIA website,

Chinese Factory Halts World Cup Toy Production

ZakumiAccording to AFP, a Chinese factory has halted production of World Cup 2010 mascot toys after an investigation into alleged sweatshop conditions, the merchandise company for world football body FIFA has said. Global Brands Group, master licensee for all FIFA World Cup 2010 merchandise, withdrew manufacturing approval after an audit of the factory showed standards had been flouted.
The group launched the probe after reports that the factory, which produced figures of the event's dreadlocked leopard mascot Zakumi, employed teenage workers, ran 13-hour shifts, and paid just $3 (2.2 euros) a day.
Conditions at the Chinese factory will be re-assessed after the suspension, with the South African licensee working to ensure compliance with ethical standards, the Global Brands Group said.

TIA to Sponsor May 2010 Sandbox Summit

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has signed on as a sponsor of the Sandbox Summit conference “iPlay, YouPlay, WiiPlay: How Play Is Changing Media & Media Is Changing Play.”
The event, to be held May 18-19 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., is being presented by the MIT Education Arcade, and will bring together leading innovators in children’s media, books, toys, virtual worlds, and education for an exploration of the impact that emerging media and technology platforms have on kids’ play––and to share their predictions on how the new playrooms will impact 21st century literacy.

Princess Tiana Crowned at the New York Palace

Princess TianaAt an event yesterday at the New York Palace in Manhattan, highlighted by a rare gathering of all eight Disney Princess characters, Princess Tiana (The Princess & The Frog) was officially welcomed and crowned as the ninth member of the Disney Princess Royal Court.
As the newest Disney Princess character, Tiana will be included in all Disney Princess merchandise programs that feature multiple Disney Princess characters, starting this July. The Princess and the Frog will arrive on Disney Blu-Ray on March 16.



Tenenbaum Speaks at Juvenile Products Industry Summit

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) invited the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Inez Tenenbaum to present the keynote address to leading juvenile products manufacturers last week in Washington, D.C.
JPMA recently redesigned its website to include a special section for parents to readily access safety information called “The ParentHood.” Parents and caregivers are invited to join this online community to find answers to frequently asked questions, a room-by-room safety guide, and a free monthly email with safety tips.

CPSC Warns about Risks of Infant Slings for Babies

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is advising parents and caregivers to be cautious when using infant slings for babies younger than four months, especially parents of preemies, twins, babies in fragile health, and those with low weight.
CPSC recommends that caregivers make sure the infant’s face is not covered and is visible at all times to the sling’s wearer.
Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. The sling’s fabric can press against an infant’s nose and mouth, blocking the baby’s breathing and suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, a sling that keeps the infant in a curled position, bending the chin toward the chest, can restrict airways, limiting the oxygen supply.
The CPSC has identified and is investigating at least 14 deaths (within the past 20 years) associated with sling-style infant carriers (three in 2009). Until a mandatory standard is developed, CPSC is working with ASTM International to develop an effective voluntary standard for infant sling carriers.

Playmates to Move U.S. Offices

Playmates Toys is moving its U.S. offices to Los Angeles from Costa Mesa, Calif. and expects to be settled into its new home by April 1. 
This move is a part of the company’s restructuring plan that aims to reduce overhead of the U.S. organization. Playmates’ key brands include Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & iCarly, Michael Jackson, Hero: 108, DreamWorks’ Shrek, and Rainbow Brite.

JPMA Announces 2010-2011 Board of Directors

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has elected a new board of directors for 2010-2011. Brenda Berg of Scandinavian Child, the newly elected chair, will succeed past chairman, Greg Mansker of Chicco USA. Tom Sparno of Evenflo Co., Inc was elected vice chairman, and Jason Macari of Summer Infant Products was elected treasurer.
Scott Doerstling of Sunshine Kids and Dave Taylor of Dorel Juvenile Group will join the board for this year. Kelly Neal Mariotti of Green Frog Art, who previously served as chair of JPMA from 2007-2008, has rejoined the board for the year.
Directors continuing to serve include: Luanne Lager of Regal Lager; Rick Rosati of Bureau Veritas; Keith Schneider of PEM America; Ken Waldman of Delta Children’s Products; Kerry Williams of Go-Go Babyz; and Alan Wolkin of Colgate Juvenile Products.

MGA Considers IPO

Bloomberg is reporting that MGA Entertainment, Inc., will consider selling shares in an initial public offering, according to CEO Isaac Larian. Larian, who controls more than 80 percent of MGA Entertainment, ruled out a share sale this year. The toymaker didn’t proceed with IPO plans in the past because of litigation with rival toymaker Mattel, Inc., he said.
Larian unveiled a distribution agreement for MGA’s Moxie Girlz fashion doll with Giochi Preziosi SpA, which CEO Dario Berte said may hold an IPO this fall. Giochi Preziosi will distribute the doll in Italy, France, Greece, and Turkey.

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