WWE Slam City Launches with Mattel Toy Line

WWESlamCityMattel Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently launched WWE Slam City, a new kids property that includes a complete line of WWE Slam City merchandise as well as an original animated short-form series co-produced by WWE and Mattel’s Playground Productions. WWE Slam City toys, including action figures, ring sets and more, are currently available at major retail stores. In addition to toys, books and graphic novels will be available by year’s end, while a WWE Slam City mobile game will be in stores next year.

Episodes will be aired on WWESlamCity.com, Cartoonium, and YouTube in addition to TV broadcasts, live events, digital version, and social media. Other platforms include Hulu, Mattel.com, iTunes, and Playstation.

The series was filmed in the next generation of stop-motion animation. A new WWE animated character will fire all of the WWE Superstars and send them to Slam City to find day jobs. The characters, including John Cena, Randy Orton, and Sheamus will have a new lifestyle outside of the ring but will stay true to their personas.

Big Tent Entertainment Develops Marketing Campaign for Komaneko

March12.KomanekoBig Tent Entertainment will launch a retail and marketing campaign with Domo creator Tsuneo Goda for Komaneko, a cartoon cat, based on the animated short film Komaneko: The First Step. Big Tent Entertainment will kick off the campaign with the launch of an eBook based on the original animated story.

The eBook will feature a Movie Maker tool, games, and puzzles in addition to helping develop reading, learning, and language skills. Kids will also be able to personalize the eBook with their own voice and picture. Komaneko will be part of the educational Kideo eTales series and will be available on iTunes and Google Play in English, Malay, and Mandarin.

JumpStart Releases School of Dragons for Mobile Devices

dragonJumpStart has launched School of Dragons on mobile, featuring simultaneous, 3-D cross-platform multiplayer gameplay. The mobile game, based on the company’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) School of Dragons, provides fans of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon franchise a way to immerse themselves in the brand through seamless online browser and mobile gameplay. School of Dragons mobile is now available in the iTunes store for iPad 2, 3, 4, iPad mini, and iPad Air.

Since its free-to-play web browser launch in July, School of Dragons has garnered a wide fan base. Now, the game is adding a mobile app component, allowing players to dive into a 3-D MMORPG world seamlessly either through their mobile device, Facebook, or web browser. This interactive technology is one of the first of its kind in the educational MMORPG space.

As the How to Train Your Dragon world develops, so does School of Dragons. JumpStart plans for the game to integrate this popular animated franchise into various features, such as the educational and adventurous quests. The unique element to School of Dragons’ gameplay is its successful integration of education and a popular entertainment franchise. Players learn skills in Earth, Life, and Physical sciences, and other educational concepts while interacting with the characters they love, such as Hiccup, his dragon Toothless, and others.

Zact Introduces Smartphone for Kids Featuring Disney Mobile Entertainment

ZactDisney.smartphoneZact Mobile brings kid-friendly smartphone service with preloaded Disney apps and content to families across the U.S. The Zact Mobile service will come preloaded with the hit Disney apps, Toy Story: Smash It!, and, Disney Infinity: Action! It will also feature access to family-friendly content such as Disney Video, Disney Music, and Disney’s Spanish-language destination, Disney ¡Ajá!

Zact also lets parents manage their kid’s smartphone use, and helps parents remotely control when their child uses the phone, which apps they can use, and who they can contact. Parents can either use a Zact-enabled phone to control their kids phone or they can download a free app, Zact Control, from iTunes or Google Play.

The Disney-themed Zact phone is available on the ZTE Awe, an Android 4.1 device with a 4-inch display and 5.0 megapixel camera. A free 4-month child starter plan is included with purchase.

The Beatrix Girls Debuts Five Track EP Across Major Music Channels

The Beatrix Girls BandThe Beatrix Girls, a collectible line of pop-star dolls with their own original music, has developed a digital music platform to coincide with the dolls’ Toys “R” Us launch this holiday season. Their five-track EP, Meet The Beatrix, will be available everywhere music is consumed, including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, Muve Music, iHeart Radio, and Pandora.

Additionally, fans can receive an exclusive CD on Cyber Monday, December 2, at ToysRUs.com with the purchase of a doll. The age-appropriate tracks have been engineered by a talented team that promotes girl empowerment through the songs, “Just Bein’ Beatrix,” “Bend the Rules,” “Go Extreme,” “Doin’ My Thing,” and “Nice Try.”

The line was conceived by Sherry Gunther Shugerman, a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and studio executive who has experience in producing The Simpsons, Rugrats, and Family Guy.

Fans can sing and dance along with The Beatrix Girls on its branded Pandora station, launching through December 31 on Pandora Internet Radio.

The Toy Book Chats with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO, Popstar Club

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sherry Gunther-Shugarman, CEO of Popstar Club, which is the manufacturer of the fresh, new doll line, The Beatrix Girls. Sherry gave me an overview of what makes her doll line so unique, and why girls are going to be clamoring for them this holiday season.

SherryGunther.BeatrixCEO

 

Where did you get the idea for Beatrix Girls?

The Beatrix Girls came out of the idea of tying music and dolls together. Ultimately the approach to this was to create a multiplatform brand that really reaches kids everywhere that they are, recognizing that kids are not just watching TV and they’re not just playing with dolls or toys, they’re not just online playing games or being social, they’re doing all of the above. A forward-thinking property really needed to have presence in all of those mediums and to have an integration between all of those formats ingrained in its DNA.

The webisodes are done in a very unique way. How did you come about using that style?

It’s interesting because the natural for me was to go with animation as I spent over 20 years in animation, but there were a lot of things that attracted me to doing it this way, creating webisodes that have the dolls featured interacting in real life. It comes out of the fact that the concept itself has the girls as real. So they’re real and they interact in our world. They’re a real pop star band, we9’re creating real music, not composed music like we would for a toy property or an animated show, but real, credible, pop music written by a platinum-winning writer/producer, mixed by a Grammy-winning engineer, so this is really relevant, today, great music and so we really want to sell them as true pop stars.

Animation oftentimes, especially when doing them based on a product or especially dolls, skews a little bit younger, and we really wanted to have the cool factor and have these be edgier. The medium that we used felt so much more current and fresh and innovative and YouTube generation-like and it felt much more fitting to the brand itself. It gives the dolls the credibility of being real in our world. They have a real human manager, they perform in real venues, so it allows us to play up that real factor for them. And then the scale gives us a lot of humor opportunities for 12-inch dolls interacting in a life-size world.

The really nice side effect that we found is that girls are really responding to the fact that they can relate to the way it was done because it was shot on purpose with hands showing and manipulating the dolls. The idea was that kids could really relate to it and feel like I can do that, I can get four dolls and with my friends create a scene and a scenario.

 

For some reason it reminds me of Mr. Bill, the old SNL skit.

That’s kind of what we were going for. We were going for rather than just sort of just straight, weak, almost too young-skewing animation. We wanted it to be edgier and quirky and fun and hilarious and this medium allowed us to do that, to have that feel to it.

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Cupcake Digital Develops Yo Gabba Gabba! App Series for Preschoolers

yogabbagabba

DHX Media has selected Cupcake Digital Inc. to develop a new series of kids’ apps featuring the characters from Yo Gabba Gabba!. Cupcake Digital will create deluxe activity apps designed for kids ages 5 and under.

The first Cupcake Digital Yo Gabba Gabba! app will launch this winter, as part of DHX Media’s comprehensive Yo Gabba Gabba! marketing and licensing strategy, which kicks off with the first live holiday tour and A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba! Christmas DVD, featuring two original episodes, “A Very Awesome Christmas Special” and “Christmas.”

The app is inspired by the tune “There’s a Party in My Tummy.” The app will feature DJ Lance Rock and Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex, and Toodee. The activities within the app offer a variety of creative and imaginative ways for kids to learn about healthy foods and encourage kids to try them. The app will be available day-and-date on iTunes, AmazonGoogle Play, and the Barnes & Noble for Nook store.

The Jim Henson Co. Debuts New Preschool Property

Jim-Hensons-Chatter-Zoo-300x137The Jim Henson Co. is launching Jim Henson’s Chatter Zoo, its first preschool property to be released “digital first” for mobile platforms. The new app is a collaboration with Mindshapes, the creator of mobile learning applications for kids. Chatter Zoo aims to teach early language acquisition as young preschoolers interact with four baby animals.  

Chatter Zoo, which was created by Alex Rockwell (Pajanimals, Bear in the Big Blue House), will premiere as a digital property prior to any other platform, and will be available in iTunes for iPhone and iPad on August 8. The Amazon Kindle Fire launch will follow in September. The Jim Henson Co. is simultaneously developing the property for television and ancillary products.

Mindshapes’ Chatter Zoo appisode includes two “Learn & Play” activities, two interactive stories, animations, and music content. Mindshapes’ Livebook format allows users to interact with the characters through touchscreen interactions. Users will experience four different activities in the Chatter Zoo house: Playtime, Mealtime, Bathtime, and Bedtime, all relatively time-appropriate (“day” or “night”). The app also features adaptive experiences like cause and effect, care giving, and responsibility, all taught by the Chatter Zoo characters, demonstrating positive social and intrapersonal values.

My Beastly ABC’s Now Available for iPhone

gI_130197_title_treatment_007-IG_csDuncan Studio has released its popular storybook app, My Beastly ABC’s, for the iPhone. Previously available only on the iPad, My Beastly ABC’s has been highly rated and ranked as one of the top ten iPad apps for kids.

Through the use of interactive animation and an imaginative plot, My Beastly ABC’s tells the story of a young boy as he encounters mythical creatures from around the world. Each page is filled with artwork and invites readers to interact with characters from the scene. Narrated by actor Jim Dale, of Harry Potter audio book fame, the app is an experience that the entire family will appreciate.

My Beastly ABC’s encourages children to strengthen their reading skills with the read-aloud feature while also learning a positive way to confront everyday apprehension. Additionally, the app includes an index where kids can find more information about each of the creatures within the story. My Beastly ABC’s for both iPad and iPhone is now available in the App Store on the iPhone and iPad or on iTunes.

Michael Janisch Offers Acoustic Jazz For Babies

Picture 4Musician Michael Janisch has produced an array of slow and acoustic musical covers as part of five albums called Jazz For Babies. In favor of real acoustic instruments performed by world class musicians, the albums are titled: The Saxophone Album, The Guitar Album, The Piano Album, The Trumpet Album, and The Vibraphone Album. The song lists on these albums are intended to appeal to every generation and cover a wide array of the classics, such as the Jackson 5′s “I’ll Be There,” played with a mix of double bass and grand piano. On the same album, “Moon River” and “Just The Way You Are” round out the 15-track playlist.

Jazz For Babies currently consists of five 15-track albums that gift givers and parents-to-be can sample online. Parents can order direct from www.JazzForBabies.org, Amazon, or the iTunes store.