Author: James Zahn

Future Today, NCircle Partner for BusyBee TV OTT Channel

Future Today and NCircle Entertainment Entertainment partnered to launch BusyBee TV, a new free OTT channel to distribute age-appropriate content from the NCircle library. The channel is available on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and more. At launch, BusyBee TV includes series such as The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Gumby, ABC Monsters, Munki & Trunk, The Snowman, The Snowman and the Snowdog, and others. “Future Today is well-established as a leading provider in the OTT media landscape, and we are excited to showcase NCircle’s premier branded content under the new BusyBee TV brand,” says Mary Flynn, vice president, sales, content...

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‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’ Makes Impact as ‘MK11,’ ‘Days Gone’ Top NPD Group’s May Video Games Sales Report

Mortal Kombat 11, the latest entry in Warner Bros.’ long-running fighting franchise, held onto the top spot on the game charts for a second consecutive month, dethroning Kingdom Hearts III to become the best-selling video game of 2019 so far. The news comes courtesy of the NPD Group‘s May video game sales report, which highlights a relatively dismal month overall. With just a week on the charts, Sega’s Total War: Three Kingdoms was able to secure the No. 3 spot on this month’s top 20, with Bethesda Softworks’ Rage 2 the only other new release to crack the top...

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Kano, Microsoft Team Up for Kano PC, A New Build-Your-Own Computer Kit for Kids

Kano partnered with Microsoft to launch the Kano PC — a new kit for kids to build their own Windows-based computer. The 11.6-inch touch-enabled, Intel Atom powered tablet/laptop comes with a step-by-step storybook to guide kids through the process of connecting the parts. Kids will see the LEDs on the printed circuit board light up and explore labeled components, which will be housed in a transparent case. Once completed, Kano’s How Computers Work app will guide kids through fun activities that will teach them how various functions work and interact. “We should all have a guide, the opportunity to...

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Monopoly Voice Banking Puts Mr. Monopoly in Charge

For the first time ever, Mr. Monopoly has a voice that will guide players on their quest for real estate riches. Hasbro‘s Monopoly Voice Banking Game places the iconic Mr. Monopoly into the role of banker, allowing him to control the game through an electronic lights and sounds banking unit housed in a replica of his famed top hat. Buttons on the unit represent player tokens, and Mr. Monopoly will keep tabs on all the action. The game is said to be faster-moving than traditional Monopoly since there’s no cash or bank cards for players to keep track of....

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Collabsco Levels Up with Expanded Connected Play Landscape

Collabsco is ready to “power up play.” The Texas-based strategy and innovation firm unveiled its second annual Connected Play Landscape — a digital road map that shows the different companies and products that are connecting to merge the worlds of physical and digital play in a single view. For 2019, the Connected Play Landscape highlights 262 companies, products, and emerging technologies — a 150% increase over last year. Categories include internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robots, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), wearables, near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), voice assistants, and data over sound. The Landscape...

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Winning the Retail Toy Market: New Profitero Report Details the Latest in E-Commerce Toy Stats, Practices

One year ago this week, Toys “R” Us closed its doors in the U.S., ending a 70-year run as “The World’s Biggest Toy Store.” While the company continues to live on in Canada and other territories, most toymakers and consumers in the States have moved on. Even when Tru Kids Brands gets its U.S. Toys “R” Us revival off the ground (it just relaunched e-commerce in Australia), they’ll be joining everyone else in trying to capture a piece of the nearly $12 billion pie that was left behind when Geoffrey locked the doors for the last time. The eCommerce...

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Nickelodeon, Imagine Kids + Family Blast Off for Live-Action Space Show

Nickelodeon and Imagine Kids + Family are blasting off for their first co-production: a new live-action series about a group of kids who mistakenly launch into space on an almost-finished spaceship designed to investigate a mysterious asteroid. Writer/showrunner Daniel Knauf (Carnivàle, The Blacklist) is on board for the series, which is starting production under the working title of Untitled Space Show. The series will be executive produced by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, Imagine Kids + Family President Stephanie Sperber, and Knauf. Shauna Phelan, senior vice president, scripted content for Nickelodeon, and Imagine Kids + Family’s Creative Executive Will Davis...

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Licensing International Adds Seven New Execs to Board of Directors

Members of Licensing International (formerly LIMA) elected seven new executives to join the Licensing International Board of Directors. Sol Armada, Warner Bros.; Juli Boylan, Spin Master Ltd.; David Diesendruck, Redibra; Omar Fajer, Univision Communications Inc.; Elias Fasja, Tycoon Enterprises S.A. de C.V.; Simo Hamalainen, Rovio Entertainment Corp.; and Ed LaBay, Hot Topic Inc. will begin terms effective July 1. “Our seven new Board members were selected from among the biggest pool of candidates ever in Licensing International history. It was incredibly difficult to choose from among so many qualified, passionate executives,” says Licensing International President Maura Regan. “Each of these new members will bring unique expertise and perspective to the...

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Mongoose Collaborates with Netflix for ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Bikes

The kids from Hawkins, Indiana will have some new rides when season three of the Netflix Original Series Stranger Things debuts on July 4. Mongoose, a brand of Dorel Industries Inc., collaborated with Netflix to create period-accurate bicycles for the series, including a character-specific model for Maxine ‘Max’ Mayfield (portrayed by actress Sadie Sink). Aside from appearing on screen, a replica of the bike will be available to purchase exclusively at Target beginning June 30. To create the bikes for the series, the Mongoose team in Madison, Wisconsin sourced period-specific bike parts from local thrift stores and garage sales to...

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Hasbro Readies Next Round of Fortnite x Nerf Blasters

Hasbro’s collaboration with Epic Games for Fortnite-inspired Nerf Blasters is a hit, and the next wave is being prepped for fall. Following the first wave in March and the TS earlier this month, the fall Nerf Fortnite lineup will include the new Fortnite HC-E Mega Blaster, the Fortnite RL Blaster, and a second series of Fortnite Microshots. All will be available at most major toy retailers nationwide, and will allow combatants ages 8 and up to engage in unlimited battle — no batteries required. NERF FORTNITE HC-E MEGA Blaster With this single-shot Nerf Mega blaster, kids can load 1...

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