Weekly E-News, Issue #226, August 21, 2007

Marvel Films Inspire New Licensing Program
Marvel inked several new licensing deals for merchandise inspired by upcoming films, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk—the company’s first self-financed feature films. Both films are scheduled for release in summer 2008. New licensees include Hasbro (master toy licensee); Hallmark (social expressions and party goods); Kids Headquarters (boys and girls’ apparel); Fruit of the Loom (underwear); Disguise (costumes); BBC (footwear); Mad Engine (t-shirts); Mega Bloks (construction toys); Jakks Pacific (plug and play games); and Berkshire (headwear and cold weather gear).

Gumby Turns 50!
In an effort to mark the 50th anniversary of Gumby, Classic Media and Genius Production will release a Gumby Essentials DVD—a compilation of Gumby episodes from the 50s, 60s, and 80s, which were hand-chosen by Gumby’s creator Art Clokey. Additionally, the 50s episodes have been restored to their 11-minute format, the episodes have been digitally re-mastered, and the original soundtrack has been restored.

Sony Signs New Licensing Agency
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. appointed Dimensional Branding Group (DBG) as its exclusive licensing agency for representation of the PlayStation brand, first-party software title characters, and related intellectual property for use on branded merchandise. DBG will work directly with SCEA’s newly formed licensing group, headed by Shelly Gayner, the director of licensing and business development.

Cartoon Networks Establishes Guidelines for Food Products
Following similar moves by Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network has announced new guidelines limiting the use of its characters on junk food.

The guidelines were developed primarily from nutritional standards for kids’ food in schools issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and in consultation with several nutritional experts. Effective Jan. 1, 2008, Cartoon Network will limit the use of its characters from its series geared to kids 12 and under to food and beverage products that meet specific nutritional criteria.

Steve & Barry’s Offers New Celebrity Line
Discount retailer Steve & Barry’s launched its latest fashion alliance last week with the introduction of Dear by Amanda Bynes. The initial collection is comprised of 200 pieces—including everything from jewelry to jeans—and no item costs more than $19.98. This line comes on the heels of Steve and Barry's collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker and the Bitten line.

“Amanda is a terrific partner for Steve & Barry’s," says Steve & Barry's co-CEO Barry Prevor. "Her fashion sense is young and smart and her collaboration with our designers has yielded a collection we know young women are going to be excited about. But more than that, Amanda is totally in sync and 100 percent behind what we're doing here—creating great-quality products for our customers at prices that leave money for fun."

Magic Session to Focus on Brand Building
During next week’s Magic Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a panel of experts will hold a seminar on Brand Building in the fashion industry. The session, moderated by Frances Harder, founder/president, Fashion Business Inc., will examine the various steps a new company should take to begin the brand-building process when entering the U.S. marketplace and the many U.S. distribution channels. Panelists include Debra Stevenson, Partner Skyline Studios; Kelly Payfer, InGroup Licensing; Steven Ekstract, Group Publisher, License! Global magazine; and Farah Bhatti, Counsel, McDermott Will & Emery LLP. The Brand Building seminar will take place Tues., Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. in the South Hall. Magic runs from Aug. 27-30.

Duff Introduces DIY Stuff
Hilary Duff has created a 40-piece collection of “Design It Yourself” jewelry for Michael’s crafts stores. The line, called Stuff by Hilary Duff, is inspired by her sportswear collection of the same name and includes clothing patches and embellishments as well as jewelry-making accessories. The deal marks the first celebrity alliance for Michael’s geared toward the tween demographic. A partnership with Martha Stewart debuted last year.

Nickelodeon’s Noggin and The N network Split
Nickelodeon’s Noggin and The N network will become individual channels later this year. The stations have previous shared air space. Noggin is a commercial-free channel geared toward prechoolers and The N is an advertising-supported station that features shows for teenagers. Having Noggin and The N as two separate channels alongside the Nicktoons network gives its core audiences of pre-schoolers, kids aged six to 11, and tweens/teens their own dedicated 24-hour services, as well as more places for us to cultivate and develop future hits. The stations will separate Dec. 31.
 
TV-Loonland Signs Finance Deal
Munich-based TV-Loonland inked an agreement with its bankers in a debt-to-equity deal. The deal reduces the 20 million euro debt to 6 million euros in return for a capital increase of 2 million euros and a 10 percent shareholding in the business. This will follow a second capital increase as a debt-for-equity swap. TV-Loonland said that it would publish accounts for the financial year 2006 and for the first and second quarters of 2007 shortly.

Meanwhile, TV-Loonland’s preschool property “Little Princess,” produced by The Illuminated Film Company, will premiere on Five’s Milkshake! Block in September.

Digital Stores, HIT Join Forces for Online Store
Digital Stores, specialist supplier of online retail services for the entertainment sector, and HIT Entertainment have launched a UK-based online store featuring children’s properties including Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Pingu, Barney, Fireman Sam, and Angelina Ballerina.

The launch is being supported with a marketing campaign and on-air competitions on Five’s Milkshake! preschool block. Digital Stores has also launched an advertising campaign to promote the store on search engines, via consumer and trade press, and lifestyle online sites.

HIT Entertainment has also taken on FCI Brands to represent its portfolio of preschool properties in South East Asia. Based in Singapore, FCI Brands also represents Turner Entertainment, PAWS, and MGA Entertainment. It will represent and manage HIT licensees in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, and Vietnam.

Meanwhile in the UK, HIT Entertainment has strengthened its licensing business with the appointment of Jo Adamson as UK licensing manager, hard goods. Adamson will be based in the London office, reporting to Laura Clarke, director licensing, hard goods.

“The L Word” Expands Licensing Mix
Showtime Networks Inc., working with its licensing agency, 360ep, inked two new licenses for the hit show “The L Word.” An agreement with Aquarius, through NMR Distribution, will result in a line of merchandise that will include a series of posters, postcards, and a wall calendar. Additionally, Gamaka Ltd., a division of Z7 Worldwide Group, will release board and trivia games.

Decode Signs On Rocket Licensing
Children’s and family entertainment specialist Decode Entertainment has signed on Rocket Licensing as UK licensing agent for its preschool property “Franny’s Feet.” The company has already completed a deal for costume characters with Rainbow Productions for Europe. More deals are set to be announced at London’s Brand Licensing Europe show in October.

Other “Franny’s Feet” licenses included Hasbro’s Playskool for the worldwide master toy and game license. A series of toys and games incorporating dolls, accessories, role play, games, and puzzles are scheduled to launch in 2008.

Penguin Group (USA), through the Grosset & Dunlap imprint and Simon & Schuster, has also come on board as publishing partners for the U.S. and North American regions.

Zoo Tour Scheduled for ‘Go, Diego, Go!’
This summer, Fisher-Price and Nick Jr.’s hit preschool series “Go, Diego, Go!” teamed up to teach children how to help animals and the environment with an interactive animal adventure that debuted at six of the nation’s most popular zoos. The zoo events, which began in July, will run through September.

Each Go, Diego, Go! Zoo Day takes place during a special Fisher-Price weekend and features a presentation from the resident zookeeper, along with a visit from a Diego costume character. All who attend will receive a special Go, Diego, Go! tip sheet that offers helpful hints and activities for children and their families to do together. New York’s Bronx Zoo is hosting this week’s event, which will run through Aug. 26.   

Grossology Launches Toy Collection
Canada’s Nelvana Enterprises announced that Upper Deck Europe will launch the master toy line in EMEA territories for its animated series “Grossology” in August 2008. Play sets, plastic and novelty toys, trading cards, and figurines will be part of the collection. “Grossology” airs to high ratings on TF1 in France, Discovery Kids in the United States, and YTV in Canada, and will soon be seen on many other international broadcasters, including Jetix in the UK; Nickelodeon in Germany, Holland, and Benelux; Mediaset in Italy; and RTE in Ireland. Upper Deck plans to expand its portfolio beyond the trading card category and enter new markets.

CIA Masters Cookware Debuts at Dean & DeLuca
The Culinary Institute of America’s Masters Cookware Collection will soon be on the menu at specialty retailer Dean & DeLuca through a recent deal brokered by Broad Street Licensing Group. The New York-based retailer is installing 16-foot displays of the CIA’s Masters Cookware Collection. Robinson Home Products is the licensee for the extensive line, which includes more than 100 SKUs of CIA-branded cookware, gadgets, bakeware, and cutlery.

‘The Mr. Men Show’ Web Site Goes Live
Chorion has launched the Web site to support “The Mr. Men Show,” the first animated TV sketch comedy show for children. The site, at www.mrmen.com, provides a window on the show for kids to meet and interact with the characters before the animated series goes on air early in 2008 on Five in the UK and on Cartoon Network in the United States. The 25-member cast of the new show will be revealed over time—and the first stage is now live with Mr. Bump, Little Miss Sunshine, Mr. Tickle, Mr. Bounce, Mr. Happy, and Mr. Grumpy.

‘Bob the Builder’ Debuts in Brazil
HIT Entertainment announces the television debut of “Bob the Builder” in Brazil on leading terrestrial broadcaster SBT. SBT will commence broadcasting the complete first series of “Bob o Constructor” this month to millions of homes and signals a period of growth for the popular preschool property in Latin America.

‘X Factor’ Goes Mobile
Namco Bandai Networks Europe is set to launch a mobile game based on the television show “The X Factor” following a deal with licensor Fremantle Media Enterprises. The game will be available for UK and Republic of Ireland mobile gamers to download from mobile operators, including Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Orange, and 3. Local versions of “The X Factor” have launched in 10 territories to date. The fourth season of the award-winning show launched last week.

Kitson to Fashion the Home
Los Angeles fashion destination Kitson stitched an agreement with Homestead for the debut of a fashionable collection of bedding, linens, bath products, and window coverings. The line, which is expected to hit retail in spring 2008, will feature vibrant colors and textures.

Domo Goes to the Monster Factory
Global entertainments rights business Entara has granted licenses for Domo to The Monster Factory for mobile accessories, and ID-WALL for electronic art and print products. Previous licensing agreements for Domo are with Underground Toys for plush and Fashion UK for Domo T-shirts and sweatshirts, which are due at retail this autumn.

Bassettbaby and Babylicious Line Due
Bassett Furniture Industries partnered with Babylicious for a hip baby bedding collection, which will sell under the Bassettbaby brand name. Bassettbaby’s vision is to create “The World of Bassettbaby” in multiple nursery and infant product categories. Brand expansion through product coordination across several categories and utilizing the correct marketing vehicles will create an easy and enjoyable experience for the Bassettbaby customers to style their nurseries in a fashion that is consistent with their lifestyle and decorative preferences. A layette partner will be announced in the near future.

Speedy Gonzales Races into the Spotlight
Speedy Gonzalez—the fastest mouse in Mexico—is racking up several new deals. An agreement between Warner Bros. and Spanish-language channel Univision will result in classic Speedy Gonzalez cartoons that are translated into Spanish exclusively for the U.S audience. Speedy also serves as a spokescharacter for the Volkswagen GTI in print and online ads. Next, he’ll be making his musical debut as a guest star in a music video for the Kumbia All-Starz song. 

MIPCOM Junior Issues a Challenge
In partnership with License! Global, MIPCOM Junior will be hosting “The Licensing Challenge,” a pitching session designed to showcase the TV property with the highest licensing potential. An international jury will select a winner during the MIPCOM Junior show, to be held in Cannes Oct. 6 and 7, from a shortlist of five entrants. The winner will be offered advice on how to hit the international stores, plus receive prizes designed to establish the contestants’ global presence. For more information and to enter a submission, go to http://www.mipcomjunior.com/ licensing.htm.
 
Collectibles To Launch in 2008
NECA Inc. is set to produce a line of collectible resin action figures and busts inspired by the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian and the current Dark Horse comic series, through an agreement with Paradox Entertainment—the parent company of Conan Properties International LLC. The line will be produced using artwork from the film and comic book series, and will star Arnold Schwarzenegger. The full collection is expected to be available in 2008.

Lacoste Brings Style to the Home Market
A new home collection “Lacoste Home by Sunham” was unveiled via a recent a partnership between Sunham and Lacoste Home’s parent licensee the Zucchi Group. The line includes the club collection—a high-end line with elegant details—and the casual collection, which features vivid colors and carefree designs. Bath products include beach and bath towels, men’s robes, bath mats, and rugs. All of the products will be adorned with the eponymous Lacoste crocodile. The collections are expected to retail in high-end department stores and specialty stores.

‘Roary the Racing Car’ Revs its Engine
Chapman Entertainment’s “Roary the Racing Car” has signed on several new licenses, which bring the show’s licensee count to 24. Gosh International will produce a line of outdoor toys, including playballs, buckets, spades, and Frisbees, and Marks & Spencer inked an exclusive deal for apparel, cards, giftwrap, puzzles, and games.

The Art of Shaving Sharpens its Retail Mix
The Art of Shaving and Gillette have teamed up to create a line of razors and shaving accessories that fuse Gillette’s technology with the Art of Shaving’s design. The new Fusion Chrome Collection consists of two razors—one manual and one automatic—along with a shaving stand and brush. The deal marks the first time that Gillette has co-branded its razors. The collection, which will debut in October at the Art of Shaving stores and via the Web site, will also be offered in high-end department stores, specialty stores, and resorts. Suggested retails will be $150 for the powered razor; $125 for the manual; $75 for the shaving brush; and $100 for the stand.

The Angry Mob Meets the Kaiser Chiefs
Beano has teamed up with UK band Kaiser Chiefs to produce artwork for the band’s latest single, The Angry Mob, which is due out this week (August 20). It features cover artwork of the band dressed as Beano characters, drawn by Beano artist Nigel Parkinson. The graphics on the picture disc are based on the Gnasher badge that was given to Dennis Fan Club members in the 1980s. More artwork is shown on a Kaiser Chiefs Angry Mob Web site.

Dwell Home Collection Takes Shape
Bedding company Dwell has signed with Graham & Brown for a collection of wall canvases that feature geometric shapes, icons, and animals that are takeoffs of Danish and Italian toys. The panels will be offered in two sizes that will retail between $80 and $85. Netherlands-based manufacturer Fatboy also inked an agreement with Dwell for beanbag chairs that are fashionably covered with Dwell-designed fabric.

Executives on the Move
Scandinavian licensing agency Alicom has appointed David Jensen as brand manager and promoted Martin Aberg to executive brand manager. Alicom focuses on character licensing from film, television, and books and represents Fox Licensing, Paramount Licensing, New Line, and DIC Entertainment in the Nordic region.

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