Hasbro in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation

Hasbro logoAs initially reported by Deadline, Hasbro Inc. is in early talks to buy DreamWorks Animation SKG. The deal would give the toy maker, which has clout with major retailers, an animation studio that just recently began diversifying beyond the movies.

For each company, a deal could help accelerate movement beyond their core businesses. DreamWorks Animation has expanded into consumer products in recent years, but still lags behind Walt Disney Co., while Hasbro recently sold off some of its stake in the Hub cable network.

dreamworks_animation_logoThrough its relatively new film label, Allspark Pictures, Hasbro has movies in the works based on its toy brands, My Little Pony and Jem and the Holograms. It is also launching a new Transformers cartoon series on the Cartoon Network, having had trouble edging in on children’s networks Nickelodeon and Disney Channel.

Should a deal be reached, it would likely come during the next two to four weeks, and would result in a family entertainment powerhouse to be called DreamWorks-Hasbro, according to a source in the article. Hasbro could also have management of the new entity already in place: On Wednesday, the company appointed Stephen Davis, who has led Hasbro Studios since its launch in 2009, to the role of executive vice president, chief content officer.

In this new role, Davis will be responsible for developing content for Hasbro’s brands across multiple platforms. He will also work closely with Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer, Brian Goldner, to oversee Allspark Pictures (This aspect of Davis’ role was announced prior to news about the possible Hasbro-DreamWorks deal), as well as franchise films such as Transformers that are produced in partnership with major studios.

Wal-Mart’s Initial Holiday Offerings Include Discounts on Disney Frozen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and More

logo-walmartFor its first round of holiday promotions, Wal-Mart has expanded its digital shelves to include 7 million items, which is one million more than last holiday season. Shortly after midnight PT on November 3, deals typically reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will start on walmart.com, and will include discounts on toys and games, such as the Barbie Dreamhouse and Nintendo 2DS.

The retailer will also offer hundreds of weekly online specials on items that include toys and electronics, with same-day pickup at Wal-Mart stores available while supplies last at no additional charge, and free shipping to customers’ homes available for orders totaling $50 or more.

Wal-Mart has rolled out a new feature within its mobile app: Search My Store, through which customers can search for nearly any item carried in a Wal-Mart store and see that item’s availability, its aisle location, ratings, and reviews. Search My Store is available on Android devices and will expand to iPhones by mid-November. [Read more...]

ChiTAG Group Brings Largest Toy and Game Inventor Event to Chicago Toy & Game Week

CHITAGHosted by the Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG), the International Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon) is a networking and educational opportunity in which both industry leaders and those looking to get involved in the industry and/or have their product licensed can come together to share key insights and ideas.

The conference, scheduled to take place on November 20 and 21 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, also includes the International Summit for Professional Inventors (I-SPI), and the Inventor Relations Summit (IRS), which is part of I-SPI. Attendees will have the chance to meet top executives from Hasbro, Spin Master, Ravensburger, NASA, Patch Products, and more.

At T&GCon, new inventors will have opportunities to show their ideas to dozens of toy and game industry companies. Meanwhile, at I-SPI, aspiring inventors can meet colleagues from around the world, experience new technology, meet with manufacturers in private offices, and more. Finally, at IRS, attendees can discover new ideas, products, and innovation from different inventors and companies, as well as discuss ways to strengthen both the inventor community and the industry as a whole.

Registration includes a ticket to PlayCHIC, the toy, game and entertainment brand-inspired fashion show on the evening of November 20, as well as a ticket to the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards. Interested parties can visit the official T&GCon site to register.

XYZprinting Ships First All-in-One 3-D Printer Plus Scanner

AiO Image.copyToday, XYZprinting began shipping its da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3-D printer plus scanner, the first-to-market combo unit available for purchase in the U.S. market. The da Vinci 1.0 AiO boasts a simplified printing process and consumer-friendly price point, thereby reducing the barrier to entry to 3-D printing.

Features of the 3-D printer include built-in hi-res scanning that scans objects with an industrial grade 0.5mm resolution in minutes, a build size that prints items at 7.8 inches by 7.8 inches by 7.8 inches, and a minimal number of required steps to go from scanning to printing. In addition, any scanned item can instantly be saved as a design that can be replicated in the future or shared with others.

Toys printed by the da Vinci 1.0 AiO 3-D printer, from XYZprinting.

When objects are placed inside the da Vinci 1.0 AiO, XYZprinting’s proprietary software scans it, and provides a sandbox interface through which the object can be rotated or adjusted in size. Users can add more objects, and the scanner will automatically make all of them fit the printer space.

The past year has seen a number of toy innovations involving 3-D printing. [Read more...]

Angry Birds Transformers Rolls Out Worldwide

ABTransformersThe Angry Birds Transformers mobile game is now available on the Apple App Store, to be followed by the Android version on Google Play on October 30 and on Amazon on November 4. Also available is the Angry Birds Transformers Telepods product line from Hasbro, which allows players to teleport figures straight into the game and gain unique powers.

This new mash-up combines the Angry Birds world with the iconic Transformers franchise. With an edgy ’80s vibe, Angry Birds Transformers brings a humorous twist to the beloved Transformers characters. Angry Birds are disguised as robots in disguise when Eggspark plunges to Piggy Island changing the pigs and the eggs in its wake. The Autobirds and the Deceptihogs will have to join forces to prevent the rioting EggBots from wreaking havoc.

Developed in collaboration with Hasbro, the Angry Birds Transformers Telepods gaming platform will allow fans to teleport their favorite characters directly into the game, bridging the digital and the physical play experience. The toys change form, like the original Transformers.

Lego Joins the Adventure as Jurassic World Toy Licensee

Image converted using ifftoanyUniversal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) has announced that The Lego Group will create original products in conjunction with the film, Jurassic World, scheduled for release on June 12. The Lego Group rounds out a branded toy campaign that includes global master toy licensee Hasbro, which will introduce action figures, role-play items, and games. The new Lego toys will be available next May.

Additional Jurassic World toy and game licensees include Bulls-i-Toy for trading cards and stickers; Cardinal Games for puzzles; Jada Toys for R/C and die-cast vehicles; KidDesigns for electronics; Rubie’s Costume Co. for costumes; and Ludia, which will create a mobile and social game in partnership with UP&L.

Hasbro and PEZ International Strike Sweet Deal for My Little Pony Branded PEZ Dispensers and Candy

MyLittlePony.PEZHasbro Inc. has signed a global licensing agreement with PEZ International to develop a My Little Pony-branded line of PEZ dispensers, PEZ dextrose fizzy candy, and fizzy rolls. The new dispensers and candy are on display at Hasbro’s booth at Brand Licensing Europe in London, and will be available beginning in early 2015 in Germany, France, and Austria, followed by additional markets worldwide.

The My Little Pony line of PEZ dispensers will be based on Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, and Rainbow Dash, and the assorted fruit candy range will include lemon, strawberry, orange, and cherry flavors.

Women in Toys (WIT) Kicks Off New Initiatives in Dallas on October 6

WITWinningMovesWomen in Toys (WIT) has launched its new Empowerment Program with three exciting initiatives that provide members with opportunities for professional support, career development, and a roadmap to success.

The Winning Moves Empowerment Workshop gives entrepreneurs, inventors, and manufacturers the opportunity to pitch products to retail giant Wal-Mart as well as top toy and game companies including Hasbro, Spin Master, and Winning Moves Games. The event takes place on October 6 at Dallas Market Center at 1:00 pm, the day before the Toy Industry Association‘s Fall Toy Preview begins. It also features panel discussions, one-on-one speed mentoring, and networking opportunities such as a cocktail party open to women, men, members, and non-members.

One-on-One Mentoring pairs industry expert mentors with up-and-coming WIT members as well as those looking to change their career path. Volunteer mentors include manufacturers, retailers, marketing/PR agencies, and licensors. Members interested in becoming a mentor or mentee can sign up at www.womenintoys.com or contact Nancy Zwiers at nancy@funosophy.com

Learn-the-Ropes Webinars are hosted by industry experts and will provide information, insights, education, and support on a wide variety of topics. These are designed to help members with their career goals and professional development. Webinars will begin in December on Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Anyone looking for more information can visit www.womenintoys.com or contact Deb de Sherbinin at deb@kidsmartusa.com.

The Hub Network to Become Discovery Family Channel on October 13

HasbroStudios.logoThe Hub Network will become the Discovery Family Channel effective October 13. While the network will broaden its programming focus to serve families in primetime, it will continue to showcase Hasbro Studios children’s content in daytime.

During the daytime, the channel will offer a line-up of brand new Hasbro Studios’ series, as well as such library programming as My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Transformers Rescue Bots.

Discovery Family Channel will continue as a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Hasbro, with Discovery Communications taking a 60 percent ownership position in the new channel and Hasbro’s stake decreasing to 40 percent. The network will be consolidated and managed under the Discovery portfolio of networks. [Read more...]

Hasbro and Disney Enter New Strategic Merchandising Relationship for Disney Princess and Frozen

DisneyPrincessesHasbro Inc. has entered a new strategic merchandising relationship with Disney Consumer Products for the Disney Princess and Frozen properties. The agreement gives Hasbro global rights, excluding Japan, to develop dolls based on Disney Princess stories and characters including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Frozen beginning in 2016.

“We are delighted to have been selected by Disney Consumer Products to develop dolls for the Disney Princess and Frozen franchises,” said Hasbro President & CEO Brian Goldner. “Our strategic thought leadership and innovation has led to the steady growth of our girls business over the past several years, demonstrating that we have a true understanding of girls globally and how today’s girls want to play. [Read more...]