Weekly E-News, Issue #147, February 7, 2006

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TIA Faces Big Decisions
Toys may not be the only things generating strong reactions at next week?s Toy Fair as a series of meetings and presentations will be made regarding the search for a new permanent home for the trade shows. Failing to locate a site during its yearlong search, the Toy Industry Association is revisiting relocating the show outside of New York. A February 9 TIA board of directors meeting will consider alternate venues such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Also on the agenda is reconsidering the controversial 100 Church Street locale, which the TIA shelved in October. A pro forma presentation by Jay Foreman, president of Play Along, will propose a 33rd Street ?toy district? option. Seeking input about the future home of the toy industry and the October and February trade shows, the TIA will hold an Industry Forum Friday, February 10, at 8:30 a.m. at 1107 Broadway, 6th floor.

BBC Worldwide Inks Multiple Deals
BBC Worldwide chose Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as the video distributor for Little Robots in the U.S. and Canada. The first two releases in the seven-year deal are planned for the second half of 2006. Fox also joined forces with HIT Entertainment and will begin distributing its children?s titles in fall 2006. The company also will distribute all of The Jim Henson Company?s Henson Family Classics, including Fraggle Rock and Animal Jam. HIT Entertainment serves as U.S. agent for home entertainment, licensing, and merchandising.
In other BBC news, the company unveiled the branding program/strategy for Tiger Aspect?s Charlie and Lola, the preschool show based on the books of Lauren Child, which airs on Playhouse Disney in the U.S. Penguin Young Readers Group launched a selection of Charlie and Lola books based on the TV show last month, with a full publishing rollout scheduled for July 2006. The Charlie and Lola books will be published by two imprints and formats, including hardcover from Dial and paperback from Grosset & Dunlap. BBC Video will release two Charlie and Lola DVDs in August 2006. BBC Video is distributed by Warner Home Video in the U.S. and Canada. BBC Worldwide?s licensing agent, The Wildflower Group, also signed several new licensees, including Roger la Borde (greetings cards and stationery, due in spring at upstairs retailers and specialty stores), Worldwide Dreams LLC (backpacks, handbags, and luggage, due in fall), and Dan River Inc. (bedding and bath products, due in spring 2007).

Taffy Entertainment Takes Sales and Marketing Reins
Taffy Entertainment will handle the marketing and sales efforts for MoonScoop and Mike Young Productions as the pair is consolidating distribution and licensing initiatives. The move follows the recent acquisition by MoonScoop of a 51 percent majority stake in Mike Young Productions. Taffy Entertainment will be based in Europe, and the U.S. Distribution will be handled by Lionel Marty and Marie Conge for all MoonScoop programming and Regis Brown for MYP. Marketing and licensing of MoonScoop properties will be managed by Axel Dauchez with Eric Stein for MYP. Production activity will continue to be under the separate MoonScoop and MYP banners.

New Book Deal Is a Real Marvel
Reader?s Digest Children?s Publishing will bring Marvel Heroes to life in a series of interactive books in the U.S., Canada, and UK in fall 2006. The first line will include hardcover books, storybooks with DVDs, and the Movie Theater Storybook format featuring characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, and the Avengers. Distributed in all channels by Simon & Schuster, the books will retail between $9.99 and $24.99.

The Turtles Fast-Forward to Season Five
4Kids Entertainment, Inc., is putting a new twist on the fifth season of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles slated for fall 2006 on 4Kids TV. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?Fast-Forward catapults Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael 99 years into the future where they emerge from the sewers and no longer have to hide. The year is 2105, and the action heroes sport a whole new look as they square off against new foes in a world of cutting-edge technology. A licensing and marketing campaign is due in July with action figures and role-play toys from master toy licensee Playmates Toys.

Quattro Consumer Products Gets Comfy with New Client
Amity Entertainment, Inc., holder of worldwide merchandising and licensing rights to The Big Comfy Couch, tapped Quattro Consumer Products (formerly J.A. Roth & Associates) to represent the preschool property. The licensing agreement follows on the heels of Amity?s recent partnership with Weekly Reader Corporation to bring the property?s new emphasis on healthy living into 65,000 kindergarten classrooms reaching more than 1 million children daily in 2006-2007. Twenty-two new episodes currently are in production and due in spring and summer.

Hot Properties Star in QSR Promotion
Fans of Strawberry Shortcake and Dragon Booster will be heading to their favorite McDonald?s as the properties are the stars of a new QSR promotion through February 27. Young guests will receive one of eight ?berry fun? Strawberry Shortcake characters or one of eight Dragon Booster action figures with the purchase of a Happy Meal or Mighty Kids Meal. The Strawberry Shortcake McDonald?s Happy Meal collection is the first scented collection in Happy Meal history.

National Trust Inks Floorcoverings Deal
The National Trust for Historic Preservation partnered with Karastan, a division of Mohawk Industries, on a collection of eight patterned carpets and two coordinates inspired by Design in America, the National Trust?s licensing program. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the organization?s preservation work. The license between Mohawk Industries and The National Trust was initiated, facilitated, and will be managed by MODA International Marketing, the licensing agency representing the Trust.

New Deal in Play for New Motion
New Motion, Inc., the operator of MobileSidewalk?a consumer Internet portal for cell phone content?and AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, Inc., signed a multi-year, multifaceted sponsorship agreement that makes MobileSidewalk the official sponsor of the AVP Tour. The AVP Tour is a national touring series featuring more than 150 of the nation?s top professional beach volleyball players. As part of the deal, MobileSidewalk will be the primary provider of an official mobile fan club for AVP and its tour, with a mix of mobile entertainment products, news, interactive features, on-site promotions, and television tie-ins.

Execs Get the Nod
HIT Entertainment named Chris Taday to the newly created role of director of promotions and sponsorship. Ocean Pacific named Gary Hunt president of Op Apparel USA. IMG Worldwide, Inc., named former NASCAR COO George Pyne president of its sports and entertainment business. 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., promoted Gia DeLaney to director of international program sales. Vertis named Bill Tyson vice president of sales, and San Francisco Network appointed Donna Trizzino Nocco vice president of design for the KN Karen Neuburger-branded family of sleepwear.

LIMA Seminar Program
The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers? Association (LIMA) will hold seminars for licensing, financial, and accounting professionals; attorneys; and business executives March 15 and 16 at the Williams Club in New York City and March 27 and 28 at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The same classes will be offered on both coasts with different moderators. The seminars are co-sponsored by LICENSE magazine and Aspen Publishers. Visit http://www.licensing.org/ for fee information and a registration form.

Upcoming Industry Events
American International Toy Fair, February 12-15, Toy District and Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, NY, http://www.toy-tia.org/AITF
New York Comic-Con, February 24-26, Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, NY, http://www.nycomiccon.com/
Youth Marketing Mega-Event 2006, March 27-29, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, Huntington Beach, CA, http://www.youthmarketingmegaevent.com/

Are You on the List?
Submissions for LICENSE?s Leading Licensors list are due February 10. Licensors with $25-plus million in 2005 worldwide sales of licensed merchandise are eligible for the list. You must submit your 2005 sales figure (can be estimated); licensing executive contact name, title, and phone number; and a 100-word blurb about 2006 initiatives. Submissions should be e-mailed to Dawn Wilensky at onretail@optonline.net.

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: agrala@advanstar.com.

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

 

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