November 01, 2013

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Mattel’s Ever After High Launches Globally

Ever After HighMattel has launched its newest intellectual property, Ever After High. Based on the everyday lives of the teenage sons and daughters of well-known fairytale legends, Ever After High leverages multiple platforms to reach consumers.
The new tween property is available in 14 countries and will continue to roll out to more than 30 territories next year. In addition to the initial collection of six fashion dolls, the property is supported by an immersive digital experience including a website,, a global Facebook page, and a YouTube channel. The digital ecosystem also includes animated webisodes, character bios, games, avatars, and an interactive music video.

Skylanders Swap Force Included in New Wii U Bundle

Skylanders Swap ForceA new Wii U bundle will feature Activision Publishing Inc.’s Skylanders Swap Force. The bundle launches November 15 and includes everything needed to start new adventures, plus an assortment of Skylanders extras. The bundle includes a Skylanders Swap Force starter pack with three Skylanders figures, including Ninja Stealth Elf and Swap Force characters Blast-Zone and an exclusive color shift Washbuckler.




Patch Products to Distribute Classic Board Game Stratego

StrategoPatch Products has signed a licensing and distribution agreement with Royal Jumbo, which grants Patch the exclusive right to market and distribute Stratego products in the U.S. and Canada, effective next year.
Stratego, a game of battlefield strategy, has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Over the years, it has been released under different themes, looks, and rules, although the goal remains capturing the opponent’s flag.




American Girl Expands to Canada

American GirlAmerican Girl, a division of Mattel Inc., is expanding into Canada. Opening next spring, new American Girl retail stores will be located in Indigo’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and Robson Street in Vancouver. Visitors to Indigo's new American Girl store-in-store boutiques will find the company's popular doll brands, including Girl of the Year, My American Girl, and Bitty Baby.
The store-in-store boutiques will also carry Dress Like Your Doll girl-sized clothing and American Girl Books, and will feature a Doll Hair Salon.



Asia Toy Shows End Successful Three-Day Run

China Toy Expo, China Kids Expo, and Brand Licensing Hall successfully closed their three-day run at Shanghai New International Expo Centre on October 17. More than 73,670 visitors from 114 countries and regions and 1,102 global exhibitors participated in the event.
The shows welcomed 60 percent more international exhibitors and brands than last year, and the large number of manufacturers and factories drew a 24 percent increase in overseas buyers, attributed to an increase in buyers from Asian countries, including Korea, Japan, and India. At China Kids Expo, the baby products show welcomed 76 percent more visitors than last year, while at Brand Licensing Hall, licensees and retailers doubled year-over-year.

The Orb Factory Refreshes Its Logo for New Product Lines

The Orb Factory is introducing updated packaging designs as well as a colorful new logo that uses a more kid-friendly font, but maintains the same overall look. Imaginista kits will feature whimsical swirling patterns, intended to convey that the crafts inspire open-ended play and free thinking. Alternatively, new PlushCraft packaging uses warm, bold colors that reflect how beautiful the completed projects will look. Craft kits from The Orb Factory play on both current trends and classic best-sellers.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Schleich Team Up for DC Comics Figurines

On behalf of DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products is partnering with figurine manufacturer Schleich on a new line of non-articulated figurines based on DC Comics’ superheroes. The global partnership was brokered by Schleich’s licensing agency, All American Licensing & Management Group.
The figures will feature detailed character representations of beloved DC Comics icons, including Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and more. The first line will be launched in January 2015, and will contain single, roughly 4.33-inch figurines in impressive and heroic poses, as well as special scenery packs with Batman and Superman villains The Joker and Darkseid.

Chicago Toy & Game Group Unveils Keynote Speakers for Its 2013 Toy & Game Innovation Conference

The seventh annual Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon), designed by Chicago Toy & Game Group, will feature three keynote speakers to headline the sessions on November 21 and 22: Adi Golad, founder of Goliath Games; Dan Klitsner, founder of KID Group; and Philip Sheppard, acclaimed film and event composer. Sheppard will present Thursday morning, and Golad and Klitsner on Friday. The two-day event will take place at Chicago’s Navy Pier, and will cover informational topics including prototype presentation, global trends, sales distribution, and the changing nature of the play-scape.

Fisher-Price Launches Share the Joy! Campaign

Share the JoyFisher-Price has launched a new holiday digital advertising campaign called “Share the Joy,” which moves away from traditional product features to original video vignette-ads. Each of three videos has its own distinct story line, and the ads feature holiday carols, including, “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Carol of the Bells,” with re-written lyrics from a child’s point of view.
The brands and products highlighted in the videos include Laugh & Learn, Little People, and Imaginext.

Nominations Open for 2014 “Wonder Women” Awards

Women in Toys (WIT) is accepting nominations for the 10th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment Awards. Winners will be announced at an awards dinner on February 17 during Toy Fair Week in New York City. The awards program recognizes and celebrates leaders, innovators, and other powerful women who have made lasting contributions to the toy and entertainment industries.
Industry stakeholders are invited to nominate a co-worker, client, associate, family member, or acquaintance for consideration in one or more of the following categories: designer/inventor, licensing and entertainment, manufacturer, rising star, marketing PR, and retailer. Nominations may be submitted online, and tickets are currently available for purchase.

Ease Your Walking Dead #zombiebrain with Licensed Products

Along with more than 8 million other Americans, I’ve taken to spending my Sunday nights biting my nails watching Rick, Carl, Daryl, and Michonne slice through zombie skulls on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Needless to say, thoughts of the zombie apocalypse have now pretty much overrun my life. I’m dubbing this obsession #zombiebrain. If, like me, you or someone you love suffers from #zombiebrain, here are some awesome toys and games to feed your addiction. Read more…

GeoSafari Laptop Is Fun and Challenging

Growing up, we’d pack up the car and take the 8+ hour road trip from Rhode Island to Virginia to visit my mom’s side of the family several times a year. In those days, before the commercialized Internet (much less wireless Internet), tablets, apps, and before most people even had a basic cell phone, my sister and I entertained ourselves with books, magazines, car games, audio books, and my favorite of all: GeoSafari. Read more…

Tech Toys That Extend Beyond the Screen

This year, for the first time ever, the Toy Insider released a list of top tech toys for the holiday season in its gift guide, called the Top Tech 12. This list promotes the belief that we have here about a “well-balanced toy box.” In a world that has new technology each day—and tons of digital, innovative toys for kids—it’s easy to get caught up in buying the newest, most glamorous toys out there without really knowing if it’s the right toy for your kid. The Toy Insider’s goal with this list is to help shoppers sift through all of the options out there for forward-thinking and impressive tech-based toys that incorporate the latest in digital play, creativity, and innovation. Read more…

Boo! Halloween Toys That Outlast the Season

Last year was a pretty tough Halloween on the east coast. Just a few days before the holiday, Hurricane Sandy shut off our lights, devastated our coasts, and in my neck of the woods, pretty much canceled parties and trick-or-treating. So this year, I hope to see all our favorite ghosts and goblins make a big comeback. Read more…

Memory Games: I Can’t Remember When I’ve Had This Much Fun!

I’ll admit that my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. Part of that might just be the hectic nature of modern life: With so much going on around us and so many things to keep track of, forgetting becomes all too easy. It’s also a totally natural consequence of aging, says that article that I read, in, uh… some website or other. The point is, nowadays I write a lot of stuff down on a pad, or I email myself reminders. I’ve also started playing memory games, which, even if they don’t re-forge my brain into a sharp instrument of information-retention, are a whole lot of fun. Read more…

CPSC Staff Vacancies for Chairman and Republican Commissioner

Nancy Nord wrapped up her eight-year tenure as commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on October 26, and chairman Inez Tenenbaum will begin a new position at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP on December 1. The departures of Tenenbaum and Nord create vacancies for chairman and Republican commissioner; replacements have not yet been announced.
During her tenure as commissioner, Nord’s priorities included increasing the effectiveness of product safety recalls. As acting chairman from July 2006 through May 2009, she led the agency as it expanded its efforts to address import safety. Chairman Tenenbaum, who was nominated by President Obama in June 2009, enforced federal safety laws and focused on injury prevention. She also strengthened the CPSC’s relationship with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

David Leers Joins TÜV Rheinland as Chief Financial Officer, North America

TÜV Rheinland has named David Leers chief financial officer (CFO) for North America. Leers will offer insights to guide the company’s financial decisions and will work closely with TÜV Rheinland’s executive leadership to develop, monitor, and evaluate corporate strategy, with an emphasis on financial performance.
Leers brings more than 20 years of experience in both financial development and in building partnerships between operations and finance. Prior to his current position, Leers served as CFO and controller, North America, for SDL International. He also held a number of management positions at CompuCom Systems Inc.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. Reports Strong Results for Fiscal Second Quarter

On Tuesday, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. reported financial results for the fiscal quarter ended September 30. For the quarter, GAAP net revenue was $148.8 million, as compared to $273.1 million for last year’s fiscal second quarter. GAAP net loss from continuing operations was $124.1 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, as compared to $12.4 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, for the same period last year. As of September 30, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $661.9 million.
For the fiscal quarter ended September 30, non-GAAP net revenue, which includes sell-in of Grand Theft Auto V, grew to $1.27 billion, as compared to $288.0 million for the year-ago period. Take-Two is increasing its financial outlook for the next fiscal year to reflect its strong fiscal second quarter results and positive outlook for the remainder of the year.

Electronic Arts Reports Q2 FY14 Financial Results

Electronic Arts Inc. has released preliminary financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended September 30. On a non-GAAP basis, EA raised its fiscal year earnings per share guidance from $1.20 to $1.25 per share, and trailing 12-month non-GAAP digital net revenue was up 22 percent versus last year to a record $1.75 billion. For the quarter, the non-GAAP net revenue of $1,040 million was above the guidance of $975 million, and the non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.33 was above the guidance of $0.12.
For fiscal year 2014, GAAP net revenue is expected to be approximately $3.55 billion, non-GAAP net revenue is expected to be approximately $4.00 billion, GAAP diluted loss per share is expected to be approximately $(0.72), and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share is expected to be approximately $1.25.

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