National Geographic has named Christine Kelly as its director of licensing, toys, and games for National Geographic’s Brand Licensing division. In this new role, she has been tasked with National Geographic’s toy business—both licensing and strategic retail partnerships. She will oversee marketing, retail strategy and product development, including new franchises. [Read more...]
Fisher-Price Inc. has appointed Vinnie D’Alleva as senior vice president (SVP) at Fisher-Price Friends. D’Alleva will be responsible for the Thomas & Friends brand, as well as other HIT Entertainment properties such as Bob the Builder. He has more than 25 years of marketing experience, a majority of it spent in the toy and juvenile product space.
In addition, Steve LaBella, who currently seves as senior vice president of Fisher-Price Preschool, will also assume the additional role of being responsible for product development for licensed properties, including Dora and Friends: Into the City! and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
Vincent Mai, chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Dunn as president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, effective September 29. Dunn, formerly the president and CEO of Hit Entertainment, will succeed Mel Ming, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
Dunn currently serves as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University with a focus on media and education. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Hit Entertainment from 2008 until 2012. Before joining Hit, Dunn served as group COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and the president of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, where, among other things, he built Nickelodeon’s international networks business and oversaw the growth of Blue’s Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer into three of the world’s largest licensed property brands.
A full-scale Thomas & Friends attraction is set to debut in South Carver, MA next summer. This marks the largest permanent Thomas & Friends attraction in North America.
This family amusement park – which is currently in development with HIT Entertainment, a division of Fisher-Price – will be conveniently located within Edaville USA, near the greater Boston and Providence areas.
Thomas Land will cover 11.5 acres and feature 14 rides based on the Thomas & Friends Island of Sodor. The rides will feature iconic characters Thomas, Diesel, Toby, Cranky the Crane, and Harold the Helicopter.
HIT Entertainment, in collaboration with Fisher-Price, has announced that a new CG-animated series, Little People, is now in pre-production and is set to launch late next year. The new series is based on Fisher-Price’s Little People brand, and is being produced out of HIT’s UK content hub.
This is the first collaboration between HIT and Fisher-Price since Mattel acquired HIT in 2012.
The Little People line encourages open-ended, imaginative play among preschoolers, with environments built around familiar people and favorite places such as the zoo and farm. The Little People brand has been the No. 1 property in preschool playsets in the U.S. for the past two years, according to NPD Group data.
The world’s most popular blue engine is rolling out on a 10-year North American traveling exhibit tour, which emphasizes the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning. Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails is an interactive exhibit created by Minnesota Children’s Museum that is inspired by the children’s series on PBS Kids. The tour will be in St. Paul beginning on June 14 for three months.
The STEM-focused exhibit was designed to engage children and families in foundation skills that encourage thinking mathematically, making comparisons, experimenting to solve problems, thinking creatively, and reflecting on actions and results. Visitors to the 1,500 square foot exhibit will enter iconic Thomas & Friends locations. Children will help Thomas and his friends solve challenges to test their abilities.
Fireman Sam, a HIT Entertainment product, will now be sold exclusively at amazon.com. Episodic content, apps, and eBooks launched on June 3, while the physical products will launch in October of this year.
“This new agreement takes Fireman Sam fans through the entire consumer journey from first engaging with the brand through content on their Kindle Fire or Amazon Fire TV to fulfilling the demand for a deeper brand experience via books, toys and more,” said Sid Mathur, vice-president of HIT Entertainment, the Americas.
In 1944, a young Les Berger, the founder of Cardinal Industries, started the company in Brooklyn. With his knowledge of plastics, Berger began manufacturing dominoes poker chip racks, hula hoops, and Mah Jongg sets.
Seventy years later, Cardinal has grown to become one of America’s top signature board game and puzzle companies offering more than 400 items including traditional games such as dominoes, checkers, and poker sets, as well as an extensive line of licensed games and lenticular, wood, and basic puzzles. With a worldwide reach Cardinal products can be found throughout North America, Europe, and Austraila. Cardinal has excelled in the licensed puzzle and game arena working with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Sanrio, Twentieth Century Fox, NBS, Warner Bros, Sesame Street, HIT Entertainment, Lucas, Mattel, and Hasbro, among others.
The second season, comprising 52 x 12-minute episodes, is in production and is set to begin delivery to broadcasters in late Spring. HIT Entertainment and Nelvana Studio will produce the series jointly. In the second season, viewers will be introduced to Mike’s father and role model, the King of Glendragon, who has been away exploring faraway lands.
Season 2 will also see additional product rollout. For more information, visit www.miketheknight.com.
HIT Entertainment and Fisher-Price have announced that Thomas & Friends embarks on a new adventure as Fisher-Price launches its new Thomas Wooden Railway line at toy retailers. The new product line marks a return to Fisher-Price’s heritage in wooden toys.
The Thomas Wooden Railway debuts with 108 SKUs launching in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, and Italy. Additional products will be released in the fall. [Read more...]