Sweet Suite 2016

COMMENTARY: Positive Outlook for 2016

After attending the TIA’s Fall Toy Preview in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, I feel confident that 2016 is going to be an even better year for the toy industry. While the show floor seemed quieter than in years past, the majority of companies I met with were upbeat and excited for holiday 2015 and the year ahead. A number of my meetings were cut short due to drop-ins by Walmart, Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us buyers, which is always a good sign.

The industry is expected to be up approximately 6 percent this year, and I expect this success to carry over to 2016. I saw a higher than usual number of new lines, and interesting expansions of successful products, proving that manufacturers are riding high on the wings of rising sales, leaving them willing and able to take some risks. [Read more...]

TIA and LeftField Media to Produce Consumer Event During New York Toy Fair

41c32aca-b41d-4455-b782-81f75339bc19Play Fair–“a celebration of play and entertainment for all ages”–will bring new and beloved toy and pop culture brands together under one roof this February for an interactive and fun-filled live event open to families, collectors, and media. Powered by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and LeftField Media, Play Fair will take place Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14 at New York City’s Javits Center North.

At the heart of Play Fair will be immersive, rewarding experiences, allowing the public to touch, feel, and interact with their favorite toys, games, and entertainment brands. Fans of all ages will experience toy reveals, photo ops, character interactions, stage performances, author readings, celebrity signings, live music, and giveaways. Retail areas will allow attendees to purchase show exclusives, limited-edition products, and rare variants of beloved toys and games. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: These Outdoor Toys Put a New Spin on Keeping Kids Active

Backyard Sports Mega Morph Super Hoop, from Day 6

Fresh air, sunlight, and exercise are all wonderful things. Unfortunately, many kids just aren’t getting enough of them. At the recent North American International Toy Fair, I encountered numerous toy makers who are trying to address this problem by developing new outdoor toys that encourage kids to get off the couch for some outdoor physical activity. Many feature novel tweaks to familiar play patterns, and the sheer breadth of items on-hand was impressive. Most surprisingly, not all of them try to pry kids away from their mobile devices or video screens.
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Toy Industry Donates Record-Breaking Amount of Toys for Children in Need at Toy Fair 2015

TF DonationA record-breaking 44,000 playthings were donated to The Toy Bank at the close of the 112th North American International Toy Fair in February, according to the Toy Industry Association. Two hundred and seventy companies donated the items, which were valued at $612,000. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: At Toy Fair 2015, Classic, Low-Tech Play Is Alive and Well

Crayola Cling Maker, from Crayola

Tech toys that make you feel cooler than Marty McFly were in abundance at the North American International Toy Fair this week, such as robots that imitate your movements and a Segway-like device that tracks your thoughts. But not all of the toys at the Jacob K. Javits Center were reminiscent of what Captain Kirk probably played with as a child. There were also some stellar construction sets, high-quality hand puppets, and wooden toys that make you say, “wow.” Classic play is not dead, and not all quality toys require a microchip. Some of the most innovative new products for kids feature little to no tech at all. Here are our favorite low-tech new toys from Toy Fair: [Read more...]

Laser Pegs’ iStory Animation Teams Up with DQ Entertainment for New TV Series

PegHeadsiStory Animation Studios, a spin-off of Laser Pegs Ventures LLC, announced that it signed an agreement with DQ Entertainment International to produce a 52-episode Peg Heads CGI-animated series that will be proposed to international broadcasters. The characters will also be available as a line of toys that are compatible with other Laser Pegs building sets. [Read more...]

Digital Kids Conference at Toy Fair to Teach Creative Digital Playthings for Kids

DigitalKidsConference2015The Digital Kids Conference, taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center alongside the North American International Toy Fair (hosted by the Toy Industry Association), will teach play professionals how to engage and educate kids through digital toys and games. [Read more...]

TIA to Host Programs and Events for Global Toy Fair Participants

TIAThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has created programs and events for exhibitors, retailers, and members of the media for the North American International Toy Fair. The agenda is as follows:

International Visitor’s Welcome Reception on February 14, 6 to 7:30 p.m. The TIA will encourage registered international Toy Fair exhibitors, buyers, members of the media, and invited trade officials to meet and mingle.

U.S. Market Research Presentation on February 15, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. International toy companies can receive help identifying potential expansion opportunities within the U.S. [Read more...]

Tickets Available for I Am Big Bird Screening During Toy Fair in NY

Feb4.BigBirdTickets are on sale for a special screening of the documentary I am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, which is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, February 16 during the North American International Toy Fair in New York City. Tickets may be purchased online for $25, including general admission to the movie, popcorn, soda, and a commemorative gift; VIP tickets may be purchased for $125, including a pre-screening reception.

The feature-length documentary chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street since 1969. The film contains footage of Spinney’s life and his collaboration with Jim Henson. The screening will take place at 8 p.m. at the AMC Theater on West 42 St., and there will be a Q&A session after the screening.

Blue Plate Media to Host its 8th Annual Media Lounge at Toy Fair

BluePlateMedialogoBlue Plate Media Services (BPM) will be hosting its 8th annual Media Lounge, featuring free presentations and workshops, on February 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Coinciding with North American International Toy Fair, the event is open to Toy Industry Association (TIA) members and Toy Fair participants. Along with providing competitive industry insights, BPM experts will present their toy industry media outlook for the year, delving into media spending, media mixes, and emerging trends across various toy categories from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. [Read more...]