Weekly E-News, Issue #217, June 20, 2007

Nickelodeon Teams with Sony Music Label Group
Nickelodeon paired with Sony Music Label Group and SONY BMG Commercial Music Group to co-develop, co-produce, and co-finance music and television series and original movies to air on Nickelodeon over the next four years. The deal also has the potential to unlock additional opportunities across multiple lines of business, in areas like apparel and electronics. The first project out of the gate is the fall release of the original music soundtrack from The Naked Brothers Band. The companies had previously paired in 2004 on albums including “Dora the Explorer,” “Dora Dance Fiesta,” “Backyardigans,” and SpongeBob SquarePants’ “The Yellow Album.”
 
HIT Entertainment Overhauls UK/European Business          
HIT Entertainment implemented a number of key changes to its UK/European consumer products business following the recent appointment of Peter Byrne as executive vice president, worldwide consumer products.

Katie Rollings was named to the newly created position of vice president, international marketing with responsibility for all strategic brand planning, marketing, retail development, and creative services covering the entire international region. Jon Owen will assume responsibility for all UK and EMEA licensing operations as vice president, EMEA consumer products, while Dave King will add the international publishing group to his responsibilities as vice president, entertainment, which covers the home entertainment UK/EMEA and live events businesses. In addition, Joanna Fairclough will assume responsibility for all of the EMEA agent-run business as business development director EMEA, Laura Clarke moves over to head up licensing, hard goods UK as director, and Warren Traeger is promoted to director, licensing, soft goods UK.
 
Sharper Image, MerchSource To Offer Innovative Electronics Products
Sharper Image Corp. signed a multiyear licensing agreement with MerchSource LLC, marking the second license signed by Sharper Image’s Brand Licensing Division. Under the agreement, MerchSource will offer Sharper Image branded electronic and gift items. These products will be designed specifically to meet the quality, excitement, and innovation attributes that are associated with The Sharper Image brand. The first products will be available as early as fall 2007.   

Big Tent Gets Ready to Rep The Wiggles
Big Tent Entertainment has been appointed the North American licensing and marketing agency for The Wiggles. As part of this exclusive long-term agreement, Big Tent will focus its energies on attracting creative partners that incorporate the brand values, including learning through music. In other news, the company has appointed Allumination FilmWorks the exclusive North American home entertainment partner for future home video products of The Saddle Club. Allumination FilmWorks will market and distribute all home entertainment releases. “Horse of a Different Color” and “Storm at Pine Hollow,” each featuring a full-length film compiled from previous episodes, are due in August.

License! Global Names European Editor
License! Global magazine named Josephine Collins European Editor. She will be based in the UK.

“This appointment of a seasoned writer/editor like Collins is consistent with License! Global’s commitment to expand its international news and reinforce its position as the leading publication for the business of licensing and retailing,” says Tony Lisanti, global editorial director for License! Global, a publication of Advanstar Communications.

Collins will report on licensing and retail trends in the UK and throughout the European Community. She will be based in central London.

Collins has an extensive background in business journalism and communications, serving most recently as editor of Drapers, a weekly magazine for fashion retailers in the UK published by Emap Communications.

Global Icons Scoops Up New Client
Global Icons was named the exclusive licensing agent for Cold Stone Creamery. Plans for the premium ice cream brand include bringing the “love it” brand essence into consumers’ homes through categories including housewares, tabletop and kitchen electrics, health and beauty products, gift items, kid’s role-play activities and toys, and food and beverage.
 
International Briefs
The Beanstalk Group will act as the exclusive licensing agent for the Piaggo Group’s Vespa. The Italian scooter brand—which has been around since the late 1940s—has experienced a rebirth in recent years, with sales increasing from 50,000 units to more than 100,000 in three years.

The History Channel and the Crime & Investigation Network will debut June 15th in Hong Kong on PCCW Now TV. This launch coincides with the release of these channels in Brunei, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia on the same day.

Toei Animation and brand management firm Elastic Rights has licensed the rights to the Japanese animated series Pretty Cure to three broadcasters, which will bring the series to Spanish television. Jetix will air the series from June 25 to Sept. 7. Cuatro will run the first two seasons of Pretty Cure beginning in July. Clan TVE will start their broadcast on June 28.

WBCP Latest Shoe Deal a “Croc”
Warner Bros. Consumer Products entered into a licensing agreement with both Crocs Inc. and Jibbitz LLC to produce footwear and shoe charms featuring characters such as Bugs Bunny, Tweety, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo. Recently Crocs and Jibbitz also were granted the rights to produce merchandise based on DC Comics’ characters Batman and Superman. Jibbitz, products will be available in early summer with other Crocs products to follow in 2007.

Cartoon Network Sports New Deal
Cartoon Network Enterprises signed a multiyear deal with Franklin Sports for Ben 10 sporting equipment, balls, youth sports sets, yard games, flying discs, and footbags in the U.S. and Canada, with product expected on shelf in specialty and mass-market retail outlets in spring 2008. In March, CNE announced similar partnerships for Ben 10 with Huffy, Bravo, and Bell Sports, and product is currently on shelf.  

Max & Ruby Head Off-Broadway
Nelvana Enterprises’ Max & Ruby will star in an off-Broadway musical stage show in December that will also tour the U.S. this fall and next spring. Produced by Theatreworks USA, the show will open at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York City from Dec. 12, 2007, to Jan. 13, 2008. Tickets go on sale in September with two touring companies bringing the show to 210 cities.

Small World Toys Has Big Plans for My Gym Line
Small World Toys will create a branded My Gym line of indoor/outdoor active play equipment and toys via a deal with My Gym Children’s Fitness Centers. Products will begin showing up on shelves in January 2008. The My Gym brand will also be applied to many of Small World Toys’ existing active play items.
 
CLC To Lead Vanderbilt University Licensing Program
The Collegiate Licensing Company will manage the trademark licensing program for Vanderbilt University, effective July 1, 2007. The agreement will give Vanderbilt a greater ability to protect and market its brand through a comprehensive trademark-licensing program customized by CLC, which currently represents nearly 200 collegiate properties.
 
Toymaker Takes Action on New OLogy Brand
Action Products International Inc. will produce a series of educational toys under the OLogy brand, an online educational component of the American Museum of Natural History’s Web site and part of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education and Technology, in the museum’s department of education. As part of the deal, Action Products may utilize the museum’s 200 scientists and global leaders in their fields to assist in developing the toys due in early 2008 in the American Museum of Natural History’s Museum Shops in New York City, as well as those of the museum’s traveling exhibits in more than 120 venues worldwide. In addition, Action will market the line to its worldwide network of specialty toy stores and museum gift shops.
 
New Categories Drive Biz for Hot Wheels and Barbie
Mattel is putting the petal to the metal for Hot Wheels, signing a deal with Idea Nuova to produce its first-ever collection of room decor featuring brightly colored, flame-adorned designs on nap mats, slumber sacks, three-piece storage bins, moon chairs, EVA lights, and three-piece table and chair sets available in spring 2008. The pair will also team up on a new collection of room decor for Barbie. Mattel also signed a new deal with Hunter Fans for its first-ever collections of Barbie ceiling fans due in spring 2007.

Taffy Entertainment Takes the Lead for Literary Property
Taffy Entertainment will oversee consumer products licensing for the new “Geronimo Stilton” TV series via a deal with Italy’s Atlantyca Entertainment. The TV series is based on the international kids’ chapter book series of the same name. Taffy will handle worldwide licensing and promotional rights for the TV series, except for worldwide publishing and all licensing in Italy, which continue to be held by Atlantyca, the original rights holder.  

Execs on the Move 
DIC Entertainment promoted Lisa Streff to the position of vice president of domestic licensing for consumer products.

Ripe Ideas named Erin Webb director of licensing.

4Kids Entertainment hired Dan Manco as senior vice president of digital media and Mark Kirk as director of interactive operations.

W!LDBRAIN named Michael R. Polis to the newly created position of chief marketing officer.

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