NantWorks and Jakks Pacific Enter Joint Venture
Jakks Pacific, Inc., and NantWorks, LLC, have entered into agreements to create a joint venture company, DreamPlay Toys, LLC, to develop, market and sell toys and consumer products incorporating NantWorks’ proprietary iD (iDream) image recognition technology.
This technology enables the consumer to instantly link the physical toy to video content, animation, and interactive game play. With the NantWorks’ downloaded iD Browser app, a consumer simply points to the DreamPlay toy or image to activate content on a smart phone or tablet device screen, instantaneously bringing the toy to life. Jakks Pacific plans to introduce a broad product line, which will combine this technology with new content.
The new line of toy products is expected to be introduced at next month’s Los Angeles Toy Fair and at the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Jakks Pacific will be responsible for the development, marketing, sales, and distribution of toy products using NantWorks’ iD image recognition platform.
Dallas Hosts Record-Breaking Fall Toy Preview
The Toy Industry Association’s annual Fall Toy Preview in Dallas has welcomed an estimated 850 buyers from all over the world to place their orders for toys, games, and youth entertainment products for next year’s holiday season, according to a TIA news release.
According to show organizers, a record-breaking 348 companies pre-registered for the event to privately exhibit their newest product lines to buyer delegations from international retail outlets—including 20 of the top 25 global toy sellers—more than a year in advance of in-store delivery.
AAFES, QVC, Costco, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Family Dollar Stores, CVS Drugs, Toys “R” Us, Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, and Target were among the powerhouse retailers expected to attend.
The Bridge Direct Releases The Hobbit Toy Collection
The Bridge Direct, co-master toy partner for the upcoming The Hobbit Trilogy, will bring its new product line to retail shelves this month. Fans can take home the authentic collection of toys, including 3.75-inch figures, 6-inch figures, collector packs, and role play accessories, inspired by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film in the trilogy from New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).
The toy collection includes 3.75-inch action figures available in Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Thorin Oakenshield, Grinnah the Goblin, and Legolas Greenleaf; action figure two-packs available with Bilbo and Gollum, Balin and Dwalin, Kili and Fili, and Legolas Greenleaf and Tauriel, with both Balin and Tauriel being exclusive; deluxe two-packs pairing a key hero with a key villain; an action figure box set with Bilbo, Thorin, Kili, Fili, and Dwalin; and a beast pack with Fimbul the Hunter and his Warg.
Other items include a 3.75-inch figure battle pack featuring the Goblin King and Thorin Oakenshield; 6-inch collector figures available in Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Thorin Oakenshield, Legolas Greenleaf, and Tauriel; Bilbo’s sword Sting, featuring motion-activated battle sounds and a glowing light; and a 6-inch Dwarven Battle Axe replicating the axe carried by Gloin the Dwarf. The entire collection is currently available in both mass and specialty retail chains nationwide.
Tomy and The Pokémon Company Sign Global Agreement
The Pokémon Company International has appointed Tomy International as the master toy partner for the brand outside of Asia. Beginning next year, Tomy International will be the exclusive licensee and distributor for categories including figures, figure accessories, and plush. Tomy International will be the first to market with themed toys based on video game sequels Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2.
Disguise Releases New Halloween Line
Disguise, Inc., the Halloween costume division of Jakks Pacific, Inc., will offer new costumes and masks based on movies, television shows, and popular culture, including masks of the U.S. presidential candidates.
Highlights from the Disguise 2012 Halloween costumes and accessories line include superheroes from the Marvel Universe, such as Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Spider-Girl; Disney characters from the TV series Shake it Up and Jake and the Neverland Pirates; characters from Disney Fairies, Disney Princess lines, and Pixar's Brave; My First Disney, a new collection of classic Disney character costumes designed for babies with soft, safe, and easy-to-wear fabrics; heroes and villains from the animated series Monsuno and Winx Club; and iconic characters from Masters of the Universe, including He-Man, Skeletor, and She Ra.
TIA Board Approves Strategic Plan, Election of New Members
The Toy Industry Association’s Strategic Plan for the next three years was approved by the association’s board of directors at its meeting in Dallas, according to a TIA news release.
The plan is focused on initiatives that enhance member value. It includes five strategies—along with related performance targets and a tactical work plan—to assure continuity and growth in key areas, including maintaining and strengthening the fiscal health of the association, while continuing to enhance TIA’s leadership in advocacy; launching new initiatives to support the global market access of North American toy companies, and providing new industry research and data capabilities; expanding and augmenting the value of TIA’s industry trade shows and events; and addressing the needs of all current and potential members.
The board also approved the election of Shirley Price, president and COO at Funrise Toy Corp., to fill an at-large position on the executive committee. Price has been active in both TIA and the Toy Industry Foundation and currently serves as vice chair of both the PlayCon and Toy of the Year committees. Additionally, David Allmark, executive vice president of Fisher-Price, was elected by the board to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Chuck Scothon. Allmark has been with Mattel for more than 15 years and has both branding and international experience.
Paul Lamond Gains Rights to Horrid Henry Games and Puzzles
Novel Entertainment and Caroline Mickler, Ltd., have signed a key licensing agreement for the Horrid Henry brand with Paul Lamond Games. The games producer has aquired the games and puzzles rights to the brand and will launch four new jigsaws early next year: two 100-piece puzzles and two 250-piece puzzles. In addition, Paul Lamond Games will produce a Horrid Henry board game.
The launch of the new puzzles follows the success of the Horrid Henry Nintendo computer games and the release of the iPhone app, Horrid Henry’s Horrid App, which reached No. 2 on the iPhone kids’ chart. Novel Entertainment holds worldwide rights to Horrid Henry, and Caroline Mickler is now representing all UK licensing rights to the brand.
SMC Entertainment Signs Master Toy Agreement with Sun-Mate Corp.
SMC Entertainment has signed a master toy agreement with Sun-Mate Corp. to launch action figures, play sets, collectibles, watches, adventure toys, youth electronics, walkie-talkies, and other novelty toys for The Jungle Book. Sun-Mate will hold design, manufacturing, and distribution rights to the new line of toys for The Jungle Book 3-D and CGI-animated series, which is being previewed at Fall Toy Preview. Other licensing partners for The Jungle Book include molded lollipops by My Idol Pops, costumes and Halloween accessories by Seasons USA, sleepwear and robes by Komar, and traditional playing cards by The United States Playing Cards Company.
The Hive to Launch in the U.S.
Bejuba! Entertainment, the distribution company for the preschool animation property The Hive, is set to launch the show on the Disney Junior channel in the U.S. this month. The launch completes the total global platform with The Walt Disney Company, which has acquired cable and satellite rights for the show in all territories except for Australia and Israel.
The Hive has sold terrestrially with TeleQuebec and Knowledge Network in Canada, YLE Finland, ABC Australia, and Hop in Israel, with more deals in the works. Space Enterprises, the marketing and licensing agent for the brand, has also reported that toys, plush, and apps for LeapFrog and iPad will launch soon.
Book to be Published Based on Secret Millionaire’s Club Animated Series
A2 Entertainment and John Wiley & Sons will publish a financial literacy book, inspired by Warren Buffett’s animated series, Secret Millionaire’s Club. The series, created with Buffett, has inspired in-school curriculum, national competitions, and a book to help people of all ages understand financial and business matters. The series airs on the TV cable network The Hub and online at smckids.com.
The book will explore concepts such as pursuing one’s dreams, learning to question and listen, the impact of one’s decisions, the importance of one’s reputation, and ultimately
understanding the best investment someone can make is an investment in oneself.