June 06, 2013

Laser Pegs

China Toy Report: Construction Category Dominates Spending in 2012

China Toy & Juvenile Products Association has released its annual industry report on toy consumption last year. The newest report shows that construction and building toys became Chinese parents’ preference, making up 18 percent of the spending, the largest share among all toy categories.
Major highlights of the consumption reports include:
• Among all reasons for purchasing toys, child development continues to be the foremost reason with 34 percent, followed by rewards for children at 28 percent.
• Compared with other shopping places, purchasers buy more medium-to-high-priced toys from department stores.
• Following construction and building toys as the largest share of purchases, 13 percent of spending was on dolls and 12 percent of spending was on baby and infant toys.
• The Internet has become the top channel for purchasers to buy toys, making up 40 percent of the total, up 14 percent over 2011 and maintaining more than 10 percent growth for the second consecutive year.
• Barbie continues to be the most recognized brand, with 86 percent. Angry Birds and Monopoly are new among the list of top ten recognizable brands.
• A total of 72 percent of respondents indicated that the Internet was an information source for toy products and brands.
• Of total purchases of construction and building toys, 89 percent were from the Lego brand.
Visit the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association’s website for more findings from the 2012 toy consumption report.

Newzoo: Global Games Market Grows to $70.4 Billion this Year

According to Newzoo’s 2013 Global Games Market Report, game revenues will grow to $70.4 billion worldwide this year, representing a 6 percent year-on-year increase. The number of gamers is expected to surpass 1.2 billion by the end of the year. Regional growth in game spending is highest in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region at 11 percent. North America and Europe will show very modest growth. The market for smartphone and tablet games will grow 35 percent to $12.3 billion, easily outpacing any other segment. In terms of game spending per screen, the PC grosses the largest share with 39 percent or $27.6 billion.
The 2013 Global Games Market Report is a result of a continuous research effort combining transactional data, primary consumer research, and extensive analysis of reported revenues into Newzoo’s new global data model. This model calculates the absolute numbers of players, payers, and average spend per segment for more than 100 individual countries, representing more than 90 percent of the worldwide population and is continuously updated with new information.
For more information on the scope of the report please contact Wanda Meloni at wanda@m2research.com.

Walmart Partners with Warner Bros. for Man of Steel Screening, Promotion

Man of SteelWalmart has partnered with Warner Bros. for an advance screening of the Man of Steel film, which will take place in select local theaters nationwide at 7 p.m. on June 13. Tickets can be purchased at more than 3,700 Walmart locations nationwide. In addition to being the first to see Man of Steel, Walmart customers can also take advantage of special offers. Each ticket bought at Walmart will feature a code on the back that allows customers to pre-order their own Blu-ray Combo Pack or HD digital download of Man of Steel, which will contain exclusive film content.
Fans can bring Superman to life with the official Man of Steel Experience augmented reality app. The app allows customers to take photos with the superhero, as well as unlock special photo frames by pointing their phone at Man of Steel signage in their local Walmart. The app is available on the App Store and on Google Play.
Customers will receive a free original digital comic book written by Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer with every ticket.
For more information and to view the selected theaters visit walmart.com/ManofSteel.

Former Disney Toy Executives Launch New Company

Toy and consumer products industry veterans Vince Klaseus, Len Mazzocco, and Daniel Setton have launched Cartwheel Kids, an expanded proposition to Xcessory International. In addition to dress-up products that Xcessory International currently develops, Cartwheel will design and manufacture an array of toy products, including boys’ and girls’ role play, preschool toys, figures and play sets, plush, seasonal items, and novelty items that will debut next year.
Daniel Setton, founder and CEO of Xcessory International, serves as CEO of the new company. Vince Klaseus, former chief executive of Disney Consumer Products’ global toys division, is leading the team as president. Len Mazzocco, former senior vice president of creative at Disney Consumer Products, is chief creative officer.
Combined, the Cartwheel Kids team boasts decades of experience with iconic brands and has a proven track record of success in the toy and consumer products industries.

Rubie’s Partners with Warner Bros. for Man Of Steel Costumes
Rubie’s Costume Co. Inc. has partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, to produce officially licensed costumes and accessories inspired by the summer film Man of Steel from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures.
Available in infant, children, tween, and adult sizes, the Man of Steel costume collection includes Superman, his Kryptonian father Jor-el, the villainous General Zod, and his second in command Faora.
Directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, and Deborah Snyder, Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman. Making its theatrical debut on June 14, this action-packed film is based on the DC Comics character, Superman, who continues to be a global icon for adults and a role model for kids of all ages.

SMC Entertainment Launches Digital Campaign for The Jungle Book

SMC Entertainment Group Inc. (SMC) has given the animated TV series The Jungle Book a complete digital makeover. The new strategy will focus on a comprehensive digital marketing and social media plan, a redesigned website, an official online shop, and the first mobile gaming app for the property. 
The restaged website was designed to enhance the overall user experience with increased functionality. Integrated into the new website is the official online shop, where consumers can purchase a host of Jungle Book merchandise, including toys, home entertainment, mobile apps, and party goods. The restaged website went live on June 1 and the e-commerce store will go live shortly after.
The brand’s first mobile gaming app, The Jungle Book—The Great Escape, will launch as part of a new BK Crown Kids Meal promotion in the U.S. Consumers can also download the new app on Google Play and later in the year on the App Store. The Jungle Book brand will also be supported with a comprehensive digital marketing and social media plan that includes Facebook and Twitter advertising and promotions, search engine marketing, email and mobile text campaigns, and an extensive mom blog campaign. 

Moose Toys to Open U.S. Office

Moose Toys, the Australian toy and collectibles company, is opening its U.S. office in El Segundo, Calif., this month. Moose’s domestic marketing and sales teams will operate from the flagship U.S. office, which has been established so that the company can continue to grow in the U.S. market.
Since entering the U.S. market with the Trash Pack brand in 2011, Moose has launched several additional brands in the U.S., including Micro Chargers and Blingles. This year, Moose will expand its existing brands and introduce several new brands, including the arts and crafts line Glitzi Globes.
The new office will be located at 400 Continental Blvd., Suite 118, 6th floor, in El Segundo, Calif. For more information about Moose Toys, visit: www.moosetoys.com.

Furby Set to Top Toy Charts in Europe
FurbyCrowned the best-selling Christmas toy in the UK last year, the reinvented toy pet, Furby, is set to take Europe’s top five markets by storm this year, according to The NPD Group. This is good news for Europe’s toy sector, which experienced a slight drop in sales of 1 percent last year, and so far this year has seen the bad weather result in fewer sales of outdoor toys, a category that usually sells well during the late spring.
Furby was launched in the UK in September this year and quickly achieved record sales, becoming the best-selling toy for the Christmas season in less than five weeks. Since launching in Spain, the interactive toy again achieved top position in the toy sales charts, and is No. 1 in the youth electronics category in Germany and France. The new version of the toy pet, first manufactured at the end of the 1990s, now features advanced interactive technology and can be connected to apps on users’ smartphones or tablets.
In the UK, sales in the outdoor toys category have declined 21 percent this year to the end of April. However, sales of indoor toys experienced a healthy 2 percent increase in the same timeframe.

Tek Recon Reaches Kickstarter Goal Ahead of Deadline

 Tek ReconTek Recon, the anticipated new live-action gaming product set to launch later this year, has surpassed its $50,000 funding goal on Kickstarter one week ahead of its June 10 deadline.
The campaign was designed to create awareness and to help fund the development of the Tek Recon app, which allows blaster fans and gamers to get in the action and experience Live Action Online Gaming. Tek Recon will be available for demonstration and sampling by fans and consumers for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles from June 11 to 13.
Tek Recon Blasters feature a first-of-its-kind design with real trigger action and specially designed, reusable NRG Rounds that blast up to 75 feet. To optimize the battle and team experience, Tek Recon developed a free “Real-Life Online Gaming” app. Kids can simply connect their mobile device to the blaster to experience video game-styled play through mobile and GPS technology. The free Tek Recon app will be available for iOS and Android devices, enhancing real battle experience through an interactive heads up display, live chat, vision modes, and more.
For more information on this product and the Kickstarter campaign, visit TekRecon.com.

TIF Partners with National CASA for Service Events Benefiting Foster Children

The Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) Toy Bank has brought 60,000 toys and games to foster children served by National Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) since launching a joint national partnership with the children’s organization in January, the TIF says in a news release.
In addition to providing the gift of play to children awaiting a safe and caring home, TIF’s financial aid to CASA has ensured the training of quality judge-appointed volunteer advocates who fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the safe embrace of a loving family.
TIF has planned two events for children in foster care at CASA sites this summer, for which toy donations are needed:
• On July 18, National CASA and TIF will host a Summer Fun & School Readiness Celebration at CASA of Essex County in Irvington, New Jersey. More than 900 children ages 6 to 17 will gather for a day of music, swimming, entertainment, picnic lunches, and play.
• On July 27, CASA and TIF will host the annual Kids Fair in Indianapolis. An estimated 4,000 children, tweens, and teens will enjoy bounce castles, game stations, as well as a backpack and toy distribution with their CASA volunteers.
Some 4,500 toys are still needed, including educational activities, crafts, toy cars, and school supplies. To make a donation, please complete and return the Toy Bank donation form with “National Partner: CASA” marked in Section 1. Shipping to New Jersey or Indiana is required; all donations are required on site by June 28. Questions may be directed to The Toy Bank (646) 520-4878.

Playmobil Brings Summer to the Construction Aisle

Construction toy company Playmobil has a number of new offerings that will enhance any kid’s summer play experience. Growing up in Hawaii, my summers (or any season, for that matter) were spent outdoors—on the beach, hiking a valley trail, or in a park. I was also into construction toys, so I’m stoked to see Playmobil combining outdoor play with my favorite play pattern. The new Fire Flyer and the Deep Sea Submarine with Underwater Motor will take kids from the air to the water. Read more.

Wall Street Magnate Offers Fantasy Trading to “Investors” of All Ages

I don’t know about you, but to me, the concept of trading stocks is one big, complicated, web of confusion, reserved for professionals, the wealthy, or older people. I’ve felt little left out in the past, when I’ve heard of friends of mine buying stocks, and thought, “I should do that!” The problem is, I have no idea what I’m doing, let alone where to start. That is, until I was introduced to Wall Street Magnate (WSM), a groundbreaking new fantasy trading community that lets people learn the ins and outs of the capital markets. The site uses real-world financial information to offer a realistic and fun fantasy trading experience online, with up-to-the-minute data from all of the major U.S. Stock Exchanges. Read more.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Appoints Sharon Price John as CEO

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc.’s board of directors has appointed Sharon Price John as CEO and president, effective immediately. John joins Build-A-Bear Workshop from her role as president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group, a division of Wolverine Worldwide. As reported earlier this year, Maxine Clark announced she planned to retire from her CEO position and will remain a member of the Build-A-Bear Workshop Board of Directors.
John joins Build-A-Bear Workshop with more than 20 years of experience and a track record of positioning children’s brands and businesses at companies including Hasbro, Mattel, and Stride Rite. Most recently, Sharon served as president of the Stride Rite Children’s Group.
At Hasbro, Sharon held roles of increasing responsibility during her seven year tenure, including general manager and senior vice president of the global preschool division in charge of global strategy and marketing for Playskool and Play-Doh and general manager and senior and of the U.S. toy division, where she managed a variety of brands including My Little Pony, Nerf, and Transformers.

Safari Ltd. Announces New Vice President

Safari Ltd. has promoted Christina Pariente to vice president. Pariente joined the Safari Ltd. team as a sales specialist in February 2011, where her strong work ethic and gift for leadership earned her a swift promotion to sales manager within the year, the company says. Pariente achieved her promotion to vice president after proving an invaluable asset to reaching company goals. Combined with her marriage to company President Alexandre Pariente last December, Christina’s success strengthens the Safari Ltd. legacy as the only American family-owned manufacturer and worldwide distributor of hand-painted, authentic replicas.

NBCUniversal Appoints Executive Vice President for Franchise Management

Russell Hampton has joined NBCUniversal in the newly created role of executive vice president of franchise management and global consumer products for the Media Innovation and Cross Company Initiatives Group.  
Hampton is charged with developing an overarching strategy around the company’s licensing and merchandising efforts, working across NBCUniversal’s portfolio, which includes film, theme parks, two broadcast networks (English and Spanish), 18 cable channels, and more than 50 digital properties. He will also identify new potential growth opportunities, such as the kids and families space, where initiatives will include driving digital product and intellectual property development. 
For the past six years, Hampton was president of Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW). Hampton also led DPW’s evolution into digital publishing, making it the No. 1 children’s publisher in the new media arena.  
Hampton was executive vice president and general manager of The Baby Einstein Co. after it was acquired by Disney in 2001. He also assumed management of The Muppets brand when it was acquired by Disney in 2004. He joined Disney in 1995 in the company’s strategic planning and corporate development division. Prior to Disney, he was at J.P. Morgan & Co.

China Toy Exports in April Up 17.17 Percent to $1.21 Billion        

According to the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, toy exports from China amounted to $1.21 billion in April, up 17.17 percent over the prior month. It is the second consecutive month of toy export growth this year.
Among the toys exported, traditional toys (dolls, educational toys, puzzles, electric trains, and toy musical instruments) reached $780.42 million, up 21.87 percent over the prior month and 3.32 percent over last year, accounting for 64.26 percent of China’s total toys export this month. Baby strollers and bicycles reached $ 230.47 million, up 15.9 percent month-over-month and 5.03 percent year-over-year, accounting for 18.98 percent of China’s total toys exported. Video games (not coin or disc-operated) amounted to $ 178.14 million, down 8.9 percent month-over-month, accounting for 14.67 percent of China’s total toys exported. Festive articles totaled $96.06 million, up 54.24 percent month-over-month and 7.51 percent year-over-year, accounting for 7.91 percent of China’s total toys exported.
Among all the export destinations, the U.S. and Japan were the top two, with  $346.59 million in the U.S. and $107.71 million in Japan, an increase of 24.76 percent and 3.93 percent respectively compared the previous month.

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