Weekly E-News, Issue #133, October 25, 2005

 

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New Digs for Toy Industry
Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA), selected 100 Church Street in New York City as the future home of the North American toy industry. The toy industry plans to occupy in excess of 400,000 square feet at the location, a 1 million-square-foot office building one block north of the World Trade Center site. This move was necessitated by the recent sale of the current International Toy Center, 200 Fifth Avenue and 1107 Broadway, to new owners who plan to use it differently. The new location was selected by a Relocation Committee that includes officials of TIA and the 200 Fifth Avenue Tenants Association. It then was unanimously ratified by the TIA Board during a conference call last Thursday evening.

Omnicom Group Joins with The Beanstalk Group
Omnicom Group and senior management of The Beanstalk Group joined together to acquire Beanstalk from the Ford Motor Company. The Beanstalk Group will operate as part of Omnicom?s Diversified Agency Services group and maintain its existing offices in the U.S. and UK. Beanstalk will draw upon Omnicom?s worldwide resources and global relationships to offer clients strategic counsel on the use of licensing to leverage brand image. The Beanstalk Group will continue to represent many of Ford Motor Company?s key brands.

Noddy News
Chorion secured increased television exposure of its Noddy preschool brand in the UK and U.S. In the UK, Five extended its commitment to Make Way for Noddy, agreeing to air the show for a minimum of 30 weeks per year until 2012. The program currently is broadcast seven mornings a week in preschool programming bloc Milkshake!. In the U.S., Make Way for Noddy was selected as a key programming component for Sprout, the new American preschool television network jointly owned by Comcast, PBS, Sesame Workshop, and HIT Entertainment. Chorion?s 100 original 10-minute episodes are airing four times a day initially to 20 million U.S. television households via digital satellite platform DirecTV and Comcast?s and Insight Communications? digital cable networks. The Sprout carriage deal is in addition to Make Way for Noddy's exposure on public broadcaster PBS Kids.

Barbie Film Franchise Grows
Entertainment Rights Plc is dolling up its portfolio, signing on with Mattel Inc., for the home entertainment and TV distribution rights to the next three animated Barbie feature-length movies due in 2006. The first title, Barbie Diaries, is a new phase in the film franchise as Barbie plays herself as a suburban high school teenager for the first time. Barbie Mermaidia follows, as does a third title from the Barbie Princess series of movies. Entertainment Rights also secured certain international television rights (excluding U.S.) to the films.

Handleman Acquires Crave Entertainment
Handleman Company acquired Crave Entertainment Group, Inc., a distributor of video game software, hardware, and accessories. Products distributed by CEG support all Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft video game platforms. The transaction is expected to close in the next 45 days.

Virgin Megastore Takes Exclusive on Playboy Property
Playboy Enterprises, Inc., launched ?The Girls Next Door? fashion collection exclusively at Virgin Megastores nationwide. The line, based on E! Entertainment Television?s reality show, includes baby Ts, tank tops, camisole sets, underwear, and trucker caps that reflect the styles of Hugh Hefner?s girlfriends: Holly ?The Sweet One? Madison, Bridget ?The Beauty and Brains? Marquardt, and Kendra ?The Wild One? Wilkinson. Virgin Megastores also will offer men?s boxer shorts and T-shirts. The line also can be found at the Playboy Concept Boutique at The Forum Shops in Las Vegas.

Partnership Expands Nelvana?s Portfolio
Nelvana and Cartoon Network Latin America signed a two-show deal giving Cartoon Network the rights to The Magic School Bus (episodes 1-52) and Being Ian (episodes 1-52). The move will help facilitate Nelvana?s goal of balancing its programming slate with animation for preschoolers, kids, and ?tweens.

Manga Properties Come to Home Video
VIZ Media, LLC, will launch the Shonen Jump home video line with first titles to include Hikaru No Go in December 2005 and Naruto in March 2006. Hikaru No Go includes more than 75 episodes and an established licensing program in Japan, while Naruto debuted on Cartoon Network in September.

Platinum Disc Takes on New Moniker
Platinum Disc is assuming the name of its corporate parent, Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, with President Tim Clott at the helm of the home entertainment group and Dan Gant joining the company as head of sales. In spring 2005, Platinum Disc merged with Echo Bridge Entertainment, which is an independent acquirer and distributor of premium original programming for global film, TV, cable, satellite, and video markets.

Teen Titans Bow First Video Game
Majesco Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment joined forces on the release of Teen Titans for Nintendo Game Boy Advance. The game (suggested retail, $29.99) is the first for the Cartoon Network series with console versions planned for early 2006. Developed by Artificial Mind & Movement, Teen Titans lets players switch control in real time between Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven so they can capitalize on each Teen Titan?s trademark moves and abilities.

Feature Film Attracts Licensees Worldwide
Sony Pictures Consumer Products inked deals with a roster of domestic and international licensees for Columbia Pictures? upcoming feature film, Zathura: A Space Adventure, due November 11, 2005. Pressman Toy Corp. is coming to market with a game, as well as three puzzles. Schylling Associates, Inc., created a wind-up walking Robot, a wind-up collectible tin Zorgon Rocket Ship, and a tin pinball game. 2K Games will debut video games for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, while Houghton Mifflin will create a tie-in book program, and JEM Sportswear will make boys? T-shirts. International partners include Hong Jin P&M with a movie storybook, activity book, puzzles, diaries, stickers, memo pads, and notebooks, and Ta-Ke Shobo with a novelization in Japanese.

Cantar Cleans Up with Dirt Devil
Cantar Pool Products licensed the Dirt Devil brand from Royal Appliance Manufacturing Company. Cantar?s first Dirt Devil product will be an automatic pool vacuum that will be launched at the International Pool and Spa Expo next month. Follow-on products will include additional swimming pool care and maintenance products with retail price points ranging from $139.99 to $399.99. The products will be distributed through specialty stores, mail-order catalogs, and select big-box outlets. Levin M&A Consulting served as agent to the licensor.

Trio Partners on Original Series
Kids? WB!, Cartoon Network, and Italian animation production company Rainbow S.r.l. are joining forces on original series Monster Allergy. The joint acquisition includes 26 episodes that follow the daily adventures of 10-year-old Zick, who has an eye for the supernatural and a sixth sense that allows him to see the ghosts and monsters that invisibly walk and live among us.

A Monster of a New Property
Meteor the Monster Truck Company, LLC?a joint venture between Endgame
Entertainment, Brandissimo! Inc., and RC2 Corporation?appointed CCI Releasing the international distributor for Meteor the Monster Truck, a computer-animated cartoon for preschool-aged children. Under the terms of the agreement, CCI Releasing will distribute the initial 52 11-minute episodes and 26 32-minute episodes to air in fall 2006.

Upcoming Industry Events
Brand Licensing 2005, October 25-26, Earls Court, London, http://www.brandlicensingexpo.com/
SEMA Show and AAPEX, November 1-4, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV, http://www.sema.org/
Paperworld, November 9-11, Las Vegas, NV, http://www.shopa.org/
International Halloween Show, December 5-8, 200 Fifth Avenue, 1107 Broadway, and other toy district showrooms, New York, NY, http://www.toy-tia.org/

Submit Licenses Granted & Available Now Online
License!?s License! Finder allows you to submit licenses granted and available now online, which will be published on the License! Website (http://www.licensemag.com/) on a weekly basis once approved by an editor. Go to http://www.finder.licensemag.com/ to fill out the verification form and submit your licenses granted or available now. Highlights from each month?s online submissions will be published in License! magazine. Any questions, contact Alyson Grala at (212) 951-6743 or via e-mail: mailto:agrala@advanstar.com.

For more information on licensing news and features, visit License! magazine?s Website, http://www.licensemag.com.

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