Tamagotchi Celebrates 17 Years with New Tamagotchi Friends

TamagotchiFriendslogoBandai is set to relaunch Tamagotchi under the brand Tamagotchi Friends, supported by new devices, technology, and an immersive portfolio of interactive lifestyle products. Tamagotchi Friends will launch with animated webisodes debuting globally on November 23 to coincide with Tamagotchi’s 17th birthday, and supported by a phased rollout of a new website.

Since its debut, Tamagotchi has sold more than 79 million units in 44 versions worldwide, and remains the No. 1 character brand for girls ages 7 to 9 in Japan, as well as a top nostalgic brand in the U.S. The Tamagotchi Friends brand will include physical products, including Digital Friends, apparel, and apps; as well as a virtual world on social media at tamagotchifriends.com, where global visitors can connect to the characters and get to know them.

Bandai will introduce the Tamagotchi Friends portfolio of Digital Friends and other toys globally, with product reaching European retailers beginning in late December, followed by the U.S. market next fall.

Genius Partners with Pacific Digital to Launch Baby Genius Streaming Service

geniusGenius Brands International Inc., developer and marketer of entertainment products including the Baby Genius line of music and edutainment products and characters, has formed a strategic partnership with Pacific Media Technologies’ Pacific Digital Distribution (PDD) division to bring the entire catalog of Baby Genius video, music, and digital content to a global audience.

PDD, a digital video services company dedicated to the distribution of content to broadcast, cable, Internet, and mobile video platforms, will connect consumers to Baby Genius content through its proprietary Cloud Video On Demand WAVE platform. WAVE is an enabled content management system that includes an e-commerce model for online payment gateways and manages digital distribution to any end-points including all mobile and connected devices, and content models including VOD and subscription rentals.

The new Baby Genius streaming service will be available to consumers beginning in October at a monthly subscription rate for immediate access to 125 Baby Genius videos and 500 Baby Genius songs. Additional digital content including Baby Genius ebooks and Baby Genius apps will be added to the service next year.

Looski Pups Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Digital Puppies

looksipupsLooksi Pups, from Looksi, are described as a cross between Nintendogs and Tamagotchi. Looksi Pups transform a digital puppy into a physical puppy with the revolutionary 3-D Looksi Kennel. Download the free iPhone app, pop your iPhone into the Looksi Kennel, and the Looksi Pups comes to life in 3-D, tail wagging and ready to play.

The many features of Looksi Pups include seven different breeds of pups; 15 voice commands including fetch, boogie, and chase tail; voice recognition which responds only to the owner’s voice; a host of extra accessories, games, and tricks to be unlocked; interaction capabilities with other Looksi Pups, who can play in each others’ kennels; an alarm clock and “guard dog” function; games which use voice commands and the phone’s tilt sensors; and a protective tray to keep the phone safe and secure.

There is a campaign on Kickstarter to bring Looksi Pups to retail shelves that will run for 28 days. Would-be customers can pledge money towards the project in return for a variety of rewards.

NPD: Kids Spending More Money on Digital Content

According to Kids and Entertainment Content, 2011 Edition, the latest report from The NPD Group, kids are spending more of their entertainment dollars on digital content compared to last year. For every dollar kids (ages 2 to 14) spend on entertainment content, $0.79 goes to physical content (versus $0.85 in 2009) and $0.21 goes toward digital format content ($0.15 in 2009).

While the majority of kids’ entertainment content is still acquired in a physical format, NPD reports, digitally acquired content has grown substantially over the past two years—a 17 percent increase for games, a 14 percent increase for music, and a 13 percent increase for movies. The study reports that kids start downloading digital content at a young age; approximately 50 percent of kids have paid for their first form of digital content by the age of 7.

Report: 31 Percent of Kids Obtained Both Physical and Digital Content

According to Kids and Entertainment Content, a recent report from The NPD Group, 79 percent of kids ages 2-14 acquired some form of physical or digital content in the past year, with 31 percent acquiring both physical and digital content. In terms of money, $0.85 of every content dollar spent by kids went to physical items, while $0.15 went to digital.

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