October 24, 2013

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The Big Toy Book Hosts Biggest Day of Holiday Play

Sweet Suite Holiday 2013Yesterday, The Big Toy Book held its annual Holiday Event at the Hearst Tower in New York City in partnership with the Toy Insider and Woman’s Day magazine. Overlooking Central Park and the New York City skyline, close to 100 prominent journalists and bloggers were invited to get a sneak peek at this year’s hottest toys and have some fun testing out new dart-slinging crossbows from Zing Toys, battling robots from Tomy, a learning tablet from LeapFrog, and tons of Doc McStuffins toys from Just Play.

Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht and her good friend Big Hugs Elmo greeted guests while they enjoyed a gourmet lunch. Schacht gave the guests a brief overview of all the companies exhibiting this year’s hottest toys while also stressing the importance of a “well-balanced toy box.” She explained that choosing just the right toys helps children gain a full play experience. To demonstrate this idea, the Toy Insider also displayed its picks from the Hot 20 and Top Tech 12, which help shoppers effortlessly find the perfect toy for every kid on their list.

Social media was abuzz with bloggers posting tweets, photos, and more using #HotToys13. Trending on Twitter during and after the event, #HotToys13 has amassed more than 5 million impressions and counting. All of the lucky guests left with swag bags overflowing with the hottest toys from the sponsors to review and share with their families.

 

 

 

Hasbro’s Telepods Figures Hits One Million Sold Mark

TelepodsHasbro Inc. has reached the milestone of one million Telepods figures in worldwide consumers’ hands. Telepods, the digital gaming platform for mobile users, had launched with the Angry Birds Star Wars II game from Rovio Entertainment and Lucasfilm, which became available during the past month.
Each copy of the Angry Birds Star Wars II app includes a Telepods mode for smart device users with front-facing cameras. Fans download the app, place one of the more than 30 Angry Birds Star Wars figures on the included Telepods base, and then place the base on a smart device to “teleport” that figure into the game.
Angry Birds Go!, an upcoming app franchise by Rovio, will also feature Telepods technology, and a full line of Telepods enhanced figures and play sets are currently at retail in anticipation of the Angry Birds Go! app on December 11.

Toys “R” Us Unwraps Make All Their Wishes Come True Marketing Campaign

On Monday, Toys “R” Us unwrapped its holiday marketing plans, including a new TV campaign that allows parents and gift-givers to experience Toys “R” Us through children’s eyes. The commercial, which began airing on October 20, takes viewers on an amusing journey, as a group of children who think they’re going on a field trip wind up at Toys “R” Us instead, with free reign over the aisles.
The new TV ads are the centerpiece of a fully integrated marketing campaign encompassing digital, radio, and print advertising. Created in partnership with The Escape Pod Agency, the spots will air on all major networks and cable stations. Top national morning and syndicated talk shows will also air the commercials, which feature the hashtag #WishinAccomplished, throughout the holiday season.

Disney Infinity Releases Toy Story in Space Play Set

Disney Interactive has released the Toy Story in Space Play Set for Disney Infinity. It is the first play set to be released since the game’s launch in August, and invites gamers to take on the role of space rangers Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, or Woody as they try to help relocate the Pizza Planet Aliens to a new world.
The Toy Story in Space Play Set features Buzz Lightyear and Jessie in the pack, with Woody sold separately. In Toy Box mode, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and Woody are able to interact with a vast array of Disney and Pixar characters from movies including Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles.

Mega Brands and Activision Introduce Call of Duty Construction Sets

Call of DutyMega Brands Inc. and Activision Publishing Inc. are introducing a new premium line of Mega Bloks Collector Construction Sets, based on the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty Collector Construction Sets are part of a multi-year, global license with Activision. The sets offer a range that includes buildable vehicles, themed locations, and collectable micro action figures. The action figures feature an unprecedented level of articulation, including unique joint design and pose-ability.

Angry Birds Star Wars Tops New Toy Licenses in Europe

Based on data from The NPD Group, Angry Birds Star Wars is the best new toy license in the big five European toy markets so far this year. Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period were £5.3m, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4m, and third place Monsters University at £2.9m. Angry Birds Star Wars is also the No. 1 license in the board games category.
According to NPD Group data, across the first seven months of this year, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK. Just one year ago, Angry Birds alone was ranked a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.

Scottish Island Teams Up With Skylanders Swap Force

Isle of SkyeThe Isle of Skye in Scotland has been virtually twinned with Skylands, the home of Skylanders Swap Force, to celebrate the month of Swaptober and the launch of Skylanders Swap Force. This marks the first time that a video game world has twinned with a real destination. Skylanders Swap Force is available now at retail stores in North America.
Activision and VisitScotland brought the virtual world of Skylands to the Scottish Highlands through a visit to the Isle of Skye by Wash Buckler, one of the new Skylanders Swap Force characters. Wash Buckler toured some of the island’s most famous landmarks and visited children at Portree Primary School. There was also a Swap takeover of the Isle of Skye website.

New GoldieBlox Set Available Now for Pre-Order

GoldieBlox and the Parade Float is available now for pre-order at www.goldieblox.com for delivery by December 1, and will roll into Toys “R” Us stores across the country this holiday season. The new set features nine design ideas as well as a do-it-yourself project, and is compatible with all other GoldieBlox toys. There’s also a new Blox + Bits Expansion Pack that fits both the original GoldieBlox and The Spinning Machine and GoldieBlox and The Parade Float sets, and allows kids to create even larger projects.
In addition, GoldieBlox has launched an online play gallery with stop-motion how-to videos starring little girl inventors. Fans can submit their own videos to be featured on GoldieBlox.com and the GoldieBlox YouTube channel.

The Walking Dead Monopoly Now Available

Exclusively from Skybound and Diamond Comic Distributor, Monopoly: The Walking Dead Survival Edition game is now available to purchase in comic book specialty stores. Based on The Walking Dead comic from Robert Kirkman, it puts a post-apocalyptic spin on the traditional Monopoly, giving fans the opportunity to live out the comic.
The properties all correspond with series landmarks, and game tokens include Rick’s sheriff hat, a bucket of body parts, the telephone, and the R.V. Instead of using money to purchase property, players must trade in essential supplies such as food, ammo, and fuel to gain more territory on the board or secure their properties from invading zombies. 

Target Unveils Holiday 2013 Initiatives
 

This past Thursday, Target Corporation revealed its holiday marketing campaign and outlined key initiatives. The theme for the cohesive campaign is, “My kind of holiday,” and will extend across all channels, including broadcast, radio, in-store, catalogs, digital, and social media.
For the second year, Target is extending the timeframe of its price match policy for the holiday season beyond the typical seven-day window. Additionally, throughout the season, guests will find one-day-only deals of 30 to 50 percent off items through Cartwheel, Target’s online savings app.
For added convenience, Target is unveiling a new store pickup service where, guests will be able to buy items online and pick them up the same day at a Target store where the item is in stock.

And You Thought Your Family Was Awkward?

Family game night is a big hit among a lot of families. It’s their time to bond through games everyone enjoys. I love game night, spending time with my family, and engaging in fun games. Now I have a new addition to the occasional event. Family game night calls for family-friendly games, and Awkward Family Photos, from All Things Equal, has definitely struck gold. Read more…

Skylanders Swap Force Takes Over Times Square

On October 10, Skylanders fanatics united in New York City for Skylanders SWAPtoberfest. A life-sized world of Skylands was created right in the middle of Times Square. I joined hundreds of kids as they checked out all-things-new at Skylanders and prepared for the highly anticipated release of the new Skylanders Swap Force video game. Kiosks were set up, alongside a Skylands ship, for fans to play the new game in advance of its official launch. Skylanders Swap Force game footage was also featured on the Times Square jumbotron, so fans and passersby were able to watch the action! Read more…

Hasbro Reports Growth in Revenues and Earnings for the Third Quarter

On October 21, Hasbro Inc. reported financial results for the third quarter. Net revenues increased 2 percent to $1.37 billion, compared to $1.35 billion in the prior year. Third quarter net revenues include a favorable $3.8 million impact from foreign exchange.
As adjusted, net earnings for the third quarter increased 5 percent to $172.5 million, or $1.31 per diluted share, versus $164.9 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, last year. As reported, net earnings for the third quarter were $193.0 million, or $1.46 per diluted share. These include a favorable tax adjustment of $23.6 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, as well as pre-tax restructuring and partial pension settlement charges of $4.1 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, associated with the company’s cost savings initiative.

Mattel Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

On October 16, Mattel Inc. reported third quarter financial results. For the quarter, the company reported net income of $422.8 million, or $1.21 per share, compared to last year’s third quarter net income of $365.9 million, or $1.04 per share.
For the quarter, net sales were $2.21 billion, up 6 percent, including an unfavorable change in currency exchange rates of 1 percentage point. On a regional basis, third quarter gross sales increased 3 percent in the North American region, with no impact from changes in currency exchange rates. For the international region, gross sales increased 9 percent, including an unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates of 2 percentage points. Operating income for the quarter was $528.2 million, compared to the prior year’s operating income of $487.4 million.
The company’s board of directors declared a fourth quarter cash dividend of $0.36 per share on the company's common stock. The dividend is the final of four quarterly dividends the company will have paid this year, reflecting an annualized dividend of $1.44 per share, which represents a 16 percent increase to last year’s total dividends.

Jakks Pacific Reports Third Quarter Financial Results
 

On Wednesday, Jakks Pacific Inc. reported results for the company’s third quarter ended September 30. Net sales for the third quarter were $310.9 million compared to net sales of $314.5 million reported in the comparable period last year. The reported net income for the third quarter was $36.6 million, or $1.11 per diluted share, which reflects the net dilutive impact of $0.21 per diluted share associated with the common shares underlying the $100.0 million convertible senior notes recently issued and repurchased in July. This compares to net income of $30.4 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, reported in the comparable period last year.

Net sales for the nine months ending September 30 were $495.2 million compared to $533.3 million last year. The reported net loss for the nine-month period was $37.8 million, or $1.73 per diluted share, which includes charges for license minimum guarantee shortfalls of $14.4 million and inventory impairment of $14.9 million. The company currently anticipates net sales for the full year of approximately $620.0 million, with a loss per share, as previously announced, of approximately $56.1 million, or $2.56 per diluted share.

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