VTech InnoTab 3 Available for Pre-order
VTech has introduced its latest, lower-priced Learning App Tablet for kids, the InnoTab 3. On the heels of the popular InnoTab 2S, one of the first children’s learning tablets with Wi-Fi, InnoTab 3 delivers a powerful punch, in a compact size and at an affordable price. InnoTab 3 introduces children to a world of age-appropriate educational content on VTech’s comprehensive app store, the Learning Lodge, where they can explore hundreds of games, e-books, videos, and music across the widest variety of curriculums. The new tablet is available for pre-order on www.vtechkids.com, Amazon.com, Target.com, Toysrus.com, and Walmart.com.
InnoTab 3 key features include compact and lightweight design with a 4.3-inch touch screen, a new directional pad, and a tilt sensor; 2.0 megapixel, 180 degree rotating camera with more than 55 photo features and special effects; 2 GB onboard memory; 15 on-board apps, and one free download redeemable on the Learning Lodge; built-in microphone and headphone jack add versatility; and pop-up onscreen keyboard and stylus with storage slot.
Disney Rides into Retail with The Lone Ranger Merchandise
Disney Consumer Products has rounded up an assortment of products based on the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ The Lone Ranger, releasing in theaters today. Designed for Western fans of all ages, the new product line includes apparel, construction sets, detailed action figures, role-play items, designer accessories, and hand-crafted leather goods that capture the action and adventure of the film and its iconic characters, including the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
Toy and role-play partners include Lego (construction sets), NECA (7-inch action figures and prop replica Lone Ranger mask), and Disney Store (the Lone Ranger Hat). The Lone Ranger collection of products is available now at Disney Store locations nationwide, as well as boutiques, national retailers, and at DisneyStore.com.
Sofia the First Merchandise Launches at Retailers Nationwide
Disney Consumer Products has launched Sofia the First products at retailers nationwide for the first time. The expanded product offering features an assortment of items inspired by cable TV’s No. 1 series among kids ages 2 to 5. The line includes items from key licensees, including Mattel, Jakks Pacific, and Jay Franco, and includes Sofia’s iconic dress and amulet necklace, home décor, bedding and bath accessories, apparel, dolls, plush, a castle, and more.
In addition, Disney Publishing will introduce a Sofia the First Digital Magazine and Story Theater app this summer, as well as second storybook Sofia the First: the Floating Palace (the first storybook—Sofia the First—is currently on The New York Times Bestsellers list).
SMC Entertainment Group Appointed Licensing Agent for Poppy Cat
SMC Entertainment Group Inc. (SMC) has been appointed the exclusive licensing agent in North America for the TV series Poppy Cat. SMC will launch a licensing and merchandising program based on the colorful Poppy Cat characters, focusing on toys, plush, apparel, accessories, room décor, bedding, games, and more. The program will target girls and boys ages 2 to 5.
Poppy Cat is co-produced by Coolabi’s TV production arm, Coolabi Productions, and King Rollo Films, and was commissioned by Nick Jr. in the UK.
NPD Group: Parents Demanding Balance in Children’s Play Experiences
The Evolution of Play, the latest report from The NPD Group, examines a variety of factors in a changing environment for play, toy purchasing, and shopping habits. At the top of most people’s minds is the impact electronic devices have had on children’s playtime with traditional play items. NPD noted that almost 40 percent of parents felt their child is spending less time with traditional toys, while slightly more than half (51 percent) said the devices had no impact at all.
Not surprisingly, as kids get older, the impact of technology becomes more important in terms of time spent with more traditional playtime items. In fact, younger children who use technology are still more likely to request traditional toys, and their use of devices is perceived to have little effect on playtime with toys.
Among the parents who say they spent less money on any type of play item for their kids over the past year, 54 percent cited the economy and less disposable income, compared with only 24 percent who called out a shift to technology.
According to the report, heavy spenders on technology products—those spending $200 or more a year—are actually the most engaged traditional toy buyers, and are more likely to shop most toy categories and spend more when they do make a purchase. For example, heavy tech buyers are nearly 40 percent more likely to also buy action figures, and when they do, they spend 60 percent more per capita. This pattern held for most toy categories.
Marvel Unveils Lineup of Exclusive Collectibles at San Diego Comic-Con
Marvel Entertainment LLC will unveil a lineup of one-of-a-kind exclusives at Comic-Con International: San Diego that will be available at the show for the first time. Marvel, along with partners Hasbro, Diamond Select, Gentle Giant, and Huckleberry have created a lineup of limited-edition collectibles featuring some of Marvel’s biggest icons. A few of the key Comic-Con product unveilings include the Marvel Universe Deadpool Corps Special Edition figure set, three variant editions of the Iron Man 3 Iron Man Chara-Bricks 7-inch vinyl, and the Marvel Minimates Wolverine Saga box set. Some of the Comic-Con exclusives will be available in limited supply following the four-day event.
Other exclusive items include the Metallic Iron Patriot Wacky Wobbler and Metallic Deadpool Pop Bobblehead, from Funko; the Galactus with Silver Surfer Collectible Statue, from Gentle Giant; Marvel Legends Special Edition Marvel’s Thunderbolts Collector Pack and the Marvel Universe 3.75-inch Deadpool Corps Special Edition Figure Set, from Hasbro; and the Black Spider-Man Chara-Bricks 7-inch Vinyl, from Huckleberry.
JPMA Enhances Product Certification Program
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has announced enhancements to its ongoing JPMA Certification Program.
The JPMA Certification Program was initiated in 1976 with a program for high chairs and has grown to cover 23 product categories. The program continues to verify that a product sample has been laboratory tested and meets ASTM and mandatory government testing requirements.
JPMA has enhanced the certification program by now also requiring state, retailer, and CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) testing requirements, culminating in the most comprehensive program in the baby product industry.
Look for the JPMA Certification seal on product packaging to ensure products meet the latest safety standards.
Digital Kids Education Summit Scheduled for September 18 in San Francisco
The Digital Kids Education Summit, a one-day summit covering the innovations in the rapidly growing market for children’s digital media education solutions, will be held on September 18 in San Francisco. The event focuses on consumer-oriented children’s learning products and services that are democratizing education and redefining what it means to educate children today. It will take place the day prior to the Digital Kids Summit on September 19. The Community Summit will be held on September 17.
The education summit is the first event of its type, designed to bring together forward-thinking entrepreneurs and kid experts to talk about strategies, market evolution, operational technique, and how to grow the market by meeting the needs of children today and tomorrow.
For more information or to register for the event, visit the Digital Kids Summit website.
Maple Landmark Expands Deal With RJM Licensing
Maple Landmark has expanded its licensing agreement with RJM Licensing for the use of images created by naturalist Roger Tory Peterson and Peterson’s Field Guide, a registered trademark of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. The original agreement allowed Maple Landmark Woodcraft to have all access to the Peterson images but for use on only a limited number of products. Maple Landmark created a memory tile game using 12 of Peterson’s images of regionally recognized backyard birds.
The success of Maple Landmark’s memory tile game has given Maple Landmark the opportunity to expand the agreement to offer new products this summer. A soft introduction is planned for early June and a hard release is planned for NY Now Gift Show in New York City in August.
The Backyard Bird Lift & Learn puzzle is a brightly colored 8-piece puzzle measuring 11 inches by 15 inches. Eight of Peterson’s backyard birds are featured in this puzzle. Not only are the birds named on the puzzle frame, the Lift & Learn engraved under each bird provides a little known fact about that particular bird.
Amtrak and The Jim Henson Co. Partner for Pajanimals Sweepstakes
Amtrak and The Jim Henson Co. have joined for the Pajanimals Pack Your Pajamas Sweepstakes. The new promotion and the company’s ongoing partnership with Amtrak were announced by Melissa Segal, executive vice president of global consumer products for The Jim Henson Co.
Families can enter the Pajanimals Pack Your Pajamas Sweepstakes now through July 31 by logging onto www.henson.com/PJsweepstakes and following the sweepstakes entry directions. The sweepstakes will award one grand prize of four round-trip coach tickets on Amtrak, a Flip video camera, and a four-piece large plush set of Pajanimals from Tomy. Five first prize winners will receive HeysUSA Amtrak luggage and a Pajanimals Adventure Game, from Briarpatch. Ten second prize winners will receive an Amtrak-branded hoodie and the Pajanimals Playdate DVD from NCircle Entertainment.
Amtrak will promote the Pajanimals Pack Your Pajamas Sweepstakes and entry details through counter cards and seatbacks in more than 100 Amtrak stations nationwide. Amtrak will also distribute free Pajanimals-themed activity booklets to young travelers and Pajanimals will be featured on placemats for use in Amtrak’s dining cars.