Q&A with Simha Kumar, President, Sports and Fitness, Children’s Entertainment, Sears Holdings

Sears.Kumar,SimhaThe Toy Book (TTB): How are you engaging consumers in-store to drive sales?

Simha Kumar (SK): Kmart is focused on offering the most-desired toys, affordably and conveniently. We feature top licensed toys and hundreds of Kmart exclusives—whether purchasing in-store, buying online and picking up in-store, or having them shipped directly home. [Read more...]

PlayDate Digital Launches New My Little Pony Storybook App

PlayDate Digital launches MY LITTLE PONY Cutie Pox Storybook AppPlayDate Digital has created its eighth My Little Pony interactive storybook app, My Little Pony: Cutie Pox, available now from the App Store for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The app features interactive action and voices on every page, read to me and read along modes for different reading levels, advanced vocabulary, and a sight word practice session. It is designed for kids to expand vocabulary, enrich reading skills, and increase reading comprehension. [Read more...]

Aurora Expands My Little Pony Plush Collection to Include Brushable, Sparkling Hair

AuroraMyLittlePonyAurora World Inc. is adding to its My Little Pony plush collection with 12 new ponies featuring styled, brushable hair with glistening, mylar accents. These 12 new styles feature characters Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Princess Twilight Sparkle in both 6.5-inch and new 13-inch, medium sizes.

Aurora will showcase its latest products at both The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market on January 6 to 13, and North American International Toy Fair on February 14 to 17.

My Little Pony Gets the Deluxe Treatment in New Storybook App

PlayDate Digital MY LITLLE PONYPlayDate Digital, under license from Hasbro Inc., has released a new deluxe interactive storybook app, My Little Pony: Twilight’s Kingdom, based on the two-part fourth season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. [Read more...]

USAopoly Celebrates 20 Years with 13 Days of Giving Games

USAopolyUSAopoly is currently giving away a themed gaming package each day for 13 days through December 20. With every game a fan wins, one will also be donated to Toys for Tots. For every day that there are over 500 entries, an additional winner will be chosen and will match the number of games given to fans to the Toys for Tots donation. Prize packages include The Walking Dead Day, Nintendo Day, My Little Pony Day, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Day.

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.

Bubbles, Little Green Army Men, and Rubik’s Cube Inducted into National Toy Hall of Fame

NationalToyHallofFameInducteesThe 2014 National Toy Hall of Fame inductees are bubbles, little green army men, and Rubik’s Cube. The inductees were revealed at a public ceremony, which took place at the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play this morning.

The honorees were selected from a field of 12 finalists that also included American Girl dolls, Fisher-Price Little People, Hess Toy Trucks, My Little Pony, Operation Skill Game, paper airplanes, pots and pans, Slip-N-Slide, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Hasbro Franchise Brands Show Strength in Third Quarter

Hasbro logoToday, Hasbro Inc. reported financial results for the third quarter, in which net revenues increased 7 percent to $1.47 billion, compared to $1.37 billion last year. Foreign exchange had an unfavorable $10.8 million impact on third quarter revenues.

Reported net earnings for the third quarter were $180.5 million, or $1.40 per diluted share, compared to $126.6 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, last year. Adjusted net earnings for the third quarter were $187.8 million, or $1.46 per diluted share, excluding a pre-tax charge of $11.6 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, related to the restructuring of the company’s investment in the Hub Network joint venture. By comparison, adjusted net earnings for the third quarter last year were $172.5 million, or $1.31 per diluted share.

U.S. and Canada segment net revenues increased 4 percent to $764.3 million compared to $735.6 million last year. International segment net revenues increased 11 percent to $649.3 million compared to $582.7 million last year, reflecting 7 percent growth in Europe, 24 percent growth in Latin America, and 11 percent growth in the Asia Pacific region, as well as growth in the Boys, Girls, and Preschool categories. In total, Emerging Markets revenues increased 29 percent. [Read more...]

Discovery Family Channel to Air Latest My Little Pony Equestria Girls Film

Discovery Family Equestria GirlsDiscovery Family Channel (formerly Hub Network) has obtained exclusive broadcast rights to Hasbro StudiosMy Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks film. It will air on October 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT.

This is the second film featuring the My Little Pony characters that are magically transformed into teenage girls in high school. The first movie premiered last June.

Disguise Celebrates Halloween with Popular Licenses

DisguiselogoDisguise Inc.’s Halloween costume line-up for this year includes popular characters for the entire family based on theatrical blockbusters, popular television shows, pop culture, and more.

This year’s line-up includes toddler and children’s costumes for Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, as well as an adult Elsa costume. From Disney’s Maleficent, Maleficent and Aurora costumes are available in sizes for children and adults. Disney Junior properties such as Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins have costumes in baby, toddler, and child sizes.

The classic Minnie Mouse costume is available in sizes ranging from baby to adult. Super Mario Bros fans can dress up as their favorite characters including Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Costumes for Bumblebee and Optimus Prime from Hasbro’s Transformers are available in baby to adult sizes.

Children and adult fans of Hasbro’s My Little Pony can dress up as their favorite characters, including Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. Accessories and costumes for Saban’s Power Rangers span from baby, to child, to adult.

The costumes are available at mass market, specialty, and online retail outlets including Target, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Spirit, Buy Seasons, and more.