Weekly E-News, Issue #233, October 9, 2007

Brand Licensing 2007 “Biggest Ever”
This year’s Brand Licensing Europe, held at London’s Olympia last week, was the biggest ever, as initial figures reveal a 7 percent increase in attendance and a massive 30 percent increase in European visitors. According to show owner Advanstar Communications (parent company of License! Global), this achievement is reflective of the event’s rebrand in 2007 to Brand Licensing Europe, and the organizer’s increased marketing and PR activity designed to make the event more representative of the European licensing market.

A total of 189 exhibitors were on the show floor this year, including Chorion, Disney Consumer Products, Global Brands Group, HIT Entertainment, LEGO Group, Marvel Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and The Licensing Company. A record 87 exhibitors—a total of 56 percent—had already rebooked for Brand Licensing Europe 2008 by the close of the show.  

Helen Gardner, managing director of the event, says: “This year’s event was absolutely fantastic for our exhibitors and visitors alike. There was a tangible feeling of excitement buzzing through the hall as thousands of industry professionals met, new properties were unveiled, and deals were being struck. We were particularly thrilled with the staggering increase in European visitors to the event, testament to the dedicated marketing efforts which have taken place over the past 12 months. We can’t wait for 2008.”

2010 World Cup Gear Available 
Seardel Investment Corp. Ltd. has been signed as the official licensed clothing manufacturer bearing the 2010 World Cup trademark, says Global Brands Group, an international brand management, retail, and licensing company.

Global Brands was appointed by FIFA in 2005 as both global exclusive licensing representative and its store for its branded retail destinations from this year through 2014. The new deal with Seardel will see retailers throughout South Africa start carrying a wide range of 2010 World Cup merchandise, which will include T-shirts, shorts, scarves, jackets, sleepwear, and underwear.

Ted Baker Extends into Mobiles and Kidswear
Ted Baker, the fashion group, will put its brand on mobile phones and launch a childrenswear collection in Debenhams. This marks a shift in the group’s focus from the wholesale market—where sales fell 4.1 percent—to retail and licensing agreements.

The company said the fall in wholesale revenue was partly due to difficulties faced by some of its customers and it would be reviewing those that were ”no longer appropriate for our brand.”

CEO Ray Kelvin said he had “thought long and hard” about the potential danger to the brand of signing a partnership deal with Debenhams, the mid-market department store chain. “We didn’t feel it would affect the [core] of the business,” he says.

He added that another agreement to brand two phones at Carphone Warehouse was also in line with careful expansion plans. “Armani has one coming out and Prada has had one,” he says. “We’re not going to stick our name on absolutely everything.”

Nelvana to License Content for Online in Deal with HP
Corus Entertainment Inc.’s Nelvana Enterprises is expanding its digital sell-through network with the announcement of an agreement to sell its animated content through online stores powered by HP Video Merchant Services.

Episodes from Nelvana’s extensive kids content library, including fan favorites “Beyblade,” “Braceface,” “Brian Jacques’ Redwall,” and “Tales from the Cryptkeeper” will soon be available for purchase by consumers as DVDs manufactured on demand and/or via electronic sell-through in the United States through HP’s network of retailers, whose video Web stores it powers.

FME Kicks It Up a Notch with Emeril
FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) acquired the hit daily U.S. show “Essence of Emeril,” featuring the hugely successful restaurateur, chef, and author Emeril Lagasse. This 26 x 30 unique cookery series is being launched for international sale at MIPCOM 2007 where FME will be representing distribution, home entertainment, and ancillary rights.

Lagasse has won U.S. audiences over with his combination of mouth-watering, innovative versions of Cajun and Creole cuisine and his energy injection to the traditional show-and-tell cookery format. His reluctance to use measuring devices and endless catch phrases such as “Bam!” and “Kick it up a notch” are set to endear him to viewers the world over.

4Kids Takes The CW Under Its Wing
4Kids Entertainment inked a five-year deal with The CW to oversee programming, marketing, and ad sales for the kids’ network starting with the 2008-09 season. The company will also continue to handle its own 4Kids TV programming block on Fox.
 
Playboy.com Brings Content to Mobile World
Playboy.com partnered with Quattro Wireless to bring its content to mobile phone users. Using Quattro’s GetMobile platform, Playboy.com will offer access to its lifestyle content with targeted, relevant advertisements from sponsors such as AXE Vice body spray and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Readers can also get their own questions answered by the Playboy Advisor and have access to reviews of music, games, and books.
 
Peanuts Star in One-of-a-Kind Fashion Auction
Ebay shoppers snoopin’ around for some designer fashions will be able to bid on a sexy Isaac Mizrahi dress featuring Charlie Brown’s signature zig-zag, a bright yellow feathered Woodstock cocktail dress by Project Runway’s Laura Bennett, a bedazzled Sally frock designed by Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth, as well as dozens of other Peanuts-inspired designs by the leading names in fashion. The fashions, originally unveiled at MetLife Snoopy in Fashion in September, will be auctioned off on eBay www.ebay.com/snoopyinfashion) through the end of October. All of the proceeds will benefit Dress For Success.

Barbie Inspires Collection of Halloween Costumes
Disguise launched a new collection of costumes and accessories for Barbie this Halloween season. The collection features costumes based on Barbie doll characters in made-for-DVD movies including Barbie as Princess Genevieve from “Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses,” Barbie as Elina from “Barbie Fairytopia Magic of the Rainbow,” and a Barbie as Princess Rosella based on the new princess movie debuting this fall, “Barbie as The Island Princess.” Additionally, popular Halloween costumes such as Barbie Cheerleader, Bride, Sock Hop, Diva, and Ballerina will also be available.

HIT Puts Sooty on the Market
Unconfirmed reports that HIT Entertainment has put the classic Sooty brand up for sale are circulating in the UK. The heritage puppet and his two companions Sweep and Soo have been part of the British television diet since the 1950s, originally on BBC, then ITV, and until last year on ITV’s digital channel. HIT bought the rights to Sooty in 1996 for £1.4 million in partnership with a venture capitalist.

In other HIT news, the company has appointed two new publishing partners under new formats for Rainbow Magic. Panini has won the rights for a Rainbow Magic Sticker Album due for release in autumn 2008 and Hachette has been awarded the rights for Rainbow Magic Part Works.

The television series, slated for broadcast in autumn 2009, follows the magical adventures of Kirsty and Rachel as they thwart attempts by Jack Frost to dominate Fairyland.

HIT will shortly be unveiling a new creative look for Rainbow Magic with a new logo and style guide and to reflect the upcoming television series.

Fashion Goes Virtual at Stardoll
Members of Stardoll can add DKNY and Sephora to their online shopping haunts as the two brands set up a virtual shop at the site’s “starplaza.” Each company has signed a one-year lease on virtual space with DKNY already showing virtual versions of its real-world fashions including belts, berets, blouses, dresses, jackets, skirts, and sweaters to Stardoll’s community of more than 10 million teen and tween members. Sephora will launch its virtual storefront in the coming weeks with a wide selection of lip, eye, and face makeup in a variety of colors for different complexions. Each season, DKNY, Sephora, and the Stardoll illustration team will unveil several new collections of fashion designs and beauty products, which will be promoted on the Stardoll homepage and sold for “Stardollars”—the site’s virtual currency based on real money.

Talent Television Signs Deal for ‘Number One Fan’
Talent Television, a wholly owned subsidiary of Talent Group, and Distraction Formats, the independent format and media distribution company, have signed a distribution deal for quiz show “Number One Fan,” which is making its international debut at MIPCOM this week.

Distraction will distribute the television rights for the format covering all international territories excluding the UK, United States, and Japan. The format was created in-house at Talent Television by Stuart Shawcross.

Play With Me Sesame Label Debuts Two DVDs
Genius Products is bringing the fun and learning of Sesame Street to DVD as part of a new deal with Sesame Workshop. Playtime With Grover and Good Night Sesame are the first two DVDs to debut Oct. 23 under the Play With Me Sesame label. Each DVD contains two discs and will feature a bonus CD-ROM including approximately 60 additional minutes of content.
 
Haven Takes On Fifi and Roary
Chapman Entertainment and Target Entertainment (UK) appointed Australia’s Haven Licensing as marketing and licensing agent for the international television series “Fifi and the Flowertots,” now sold to over 160 territories, and “Roary the Racing Car.”

Chapman and Target also confirmed ABC Kids as the broadcasting partner for “Roary the Racing Car,” set for an early 2008 launch. Both ABC Kids and Nick Jr. have bought the second series of “Fifi and the Flowertots,” with the premiere scheduled for May 2008 on Nick Jr., followed by ABC Kids soon after.

Realtree Camouflage Drives a Deal
Motorsports Authentics signed a deal with Realtree Camouflage to become the worldwide exclusive licensee for all NASCAR and racing-related products using the company’s camo patterns and other intellectual property. The product line will include apparel, headwear, automotive accessories, Action Racing Collectibles die-cast, furnishings, home-improvement hard goods, holiday novelties, and hunting, fishing, and camping supplies and equipment.

Canal Plus Takes on BRB’s ‘The Imp’
BRB Internacional’s “The Imp” is about to invade France following a deal between the distributor and Canal Plus. The French broadcaster has acquired all broadcast rights—including pay TV, cable TV, Internet, and mobile—and will act as licensing agent in France for the animated series. The show is already aired in Spain on TVC, in the United States by Cartoon Network, and will be seen this year on YTV in Canada.

Winner of the MIPCOM JR/License! Global Licensing Challenge in 2006, “The Imp”—which is produced by Red Kite, Screen 21, and TVC—has been designed to adapt to multimedia formats such as mobile phones, Web, PSP, iPod, and blogs as well as traditional consumer products.

TattooJohnny.com Rocks Out with New Partners
TattooJohnny.com inked deals with Perris Leathers Ltd. and RockenWraps to reproduce its colorful and detailed images on guitar straps and drum kits, respectively. The artwork of Tattoo Johnny artist David Bollt will be featured on a limited-edition series of leather guitar straps sold through select music retailers and will soon be available for purchase directly through the TattooJohnny.com Web site. An additional series of straps by other Tattoo Johnny artists are planned for the future. Designs by Bollt and other Tattoo Johnny artists are also available as drum wraps from RockenWraps. The plastic-laminated print wraps act as a protective cover for drums and can transform the look of a drum kit. The durable drum wraps, which can be placed over existing wraps and last for up to 25 years, are sold exclusively through www.rockenwraps.com.

Major Leaguers Warm Up to Redesigned Apparel
Major League Baseball Properties teamed up with official licensee Majestic Athletic on a redesigned on-field Premier jacket and hooded fleece for the 2007 MLB postseason Clubs. The reengineered products from the MLB Authentic Collection are part of Major League Baseball Properties’ ongoing effort to ensure all MLB players are outfitted in the most technologically advanced products available. Both products, along with the entire MLB Authentic Collection, will be available this fall and throughout the upcoming holiday season at major national retailers, as well as MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball.

Dinotopia Goes Worldwide
UK-based Entertainment Rights has signed worldwide distribution rights (excluding the United States) with RHI International Distribution for RHI Entertainment’s animated 75-minute movie Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone.

The agreement sees ER acquiring worldwide television distribution rights across both pay and free TV platforms as well as worldwide (excluding U.S.) home video distribution rights to the film.

MTV Enters Hungary
MTV Networks International’s (MTVNI) Emerging Markets group is to launch MTV Hungary as part of its growing portfolio of channels in Central and Eastern Europe.

The MTV channel, which is owned and operated by MTVNI’s Emerging Markets group, will be a fully localized service and joins the other MTVNI channel brands—VIVA, VH1 European, and Nickelodeon—that are also available in Hungary.

The 24-hour, advertiser-supported, Hungarian language channel will be available to approximately 1.5 million households via cable and DTH platforms.

The Princess Bride Goes Interactive
Worldwide Biggies Inc. is working with Act III Licensing to create the first-ever games based on the film The Princess Bride. Worldwide Biggies will create a downloadable game entitled “True Love and High Adventure – The Official Princess Bride Game” as well as “The Official Princess Bride DVD Game” as a special feature on the film’s 20th Anniversary DVD Nov. 13, 2007, from MGM Home Entertainment. Episode One of the game will be released during the fourth quarter at www.princessbridegame.com. The full downloadable game will be available in April 2008.

New Deals Signed for ‘Franny’s Feet’
Decode Entertainment’s preschool property “Franny’s Feet” has signed a deal with Allumination Filmworks for U.S. home entertainment and a further home entertainment agreement with Mediaway in Poland.

The license deals come as Decode has added a number of international licensing sub-agents through its representative The Sharpe Company. Following the appointment of Rocket Licensing in the UK, CPLG (Copyright Promotions) in France and Italy, Scandinavia’s Alicom Licensing, IMC (International Merchandising Consultants) in Argentina, and Korea’s Asiana Licensing have all signed territory deals.

In addition, U.S. deals for Halloween costumes with Disguise, and Cadaco for crayon and paper arts activity products and glue-based cling moulds and frames for activity have also been signed. In Argentina, IMC has signed up Ediciones B as publisher of story books and soft-cover titles in Argentina and Uruguay.

“Franny’s Feet” is a commission by Five in the UK, airing on the Milkshake block, and Canada’s Family Channel. To date, Decode has concluded more than 80 television broadcast and video agreements for “Franny’s Feet,” covering more than 150 countries.

Zimmer Twins To Debut on Qubo
Qubo formed a new partnership with Bejuba! Entertainment and zinc Roe design, the creators of the Zimmer Twins, a popular Canadian Web site for kids. The co-branded Zimmer Twins site will be featured on qubo.com beginning December 2007, and will include games, puzzles, and tools for creating animated user-generated minimovies.

The new Web elements will be promoted on Qubo’s broadcast and digital services via “story-starter” clips that will ask viewers how they would finish the story. Visitors to qubo.com and zimmertwins.com will then find new storytelling tools, pre-made animated clips, and simple editing instructions.

Duo Inks Five-Year Children’s Publishing Deal
HarperCollins Children's Books and Fisher-Price will publish a new line of books

for infants and toddlers as part of a five-year deal. First books come to market in January including 50 books based on the Laugh, Smile & Learn and Animals of the Rainforest Fisher-Price brands in a wide variety of formats, such as board books, sturdy lift-the-flap books, wheel-reveal books, stroller books, touch-and-feel books, and photo-insert books.

Youth Reality Series to Scare Up Interest in U.S. Markets
CCI Entertainment will begin airing its youth reality series “Ghost Trackers” on HBO Family in the United States as part of a new deal. The series premieres in January 2008 with a sneak preview this month. “Ghost Trackers” features real kids in haunted locations who use ghost-tracking equipment to help them investigate and ultimately compete with the hopes of becoming the ultimate Ghost Tracker. Already a hit with Canadian audiences, CCI Entertainment has begun negotiating deals to bring the series to new markets. “Ghost Trackers” was created by Chris Gudgeon, and developed and produced by Jim Corston and Arnie Zipursky.

‘Little Britain’ Characters to Debut on Mobile
Granada Ventures signed a deal with mobile games company Glu Mobile to develop and publish a mobile game based on the award-winning “Little Britain” TV series.

Following the Little Britain Video Game on PS2, PSP, and PC published on the Blast label by Mastertronic, the mobile game will include four mini-games exclusively for mobile featuring a number of challenges and adventures themed around “Little Britain” characters. The game will feature the voices of show creators Matt Lucas and David Walliams, with narration from Tom Baker.

In addition, Glu will publish mobile entertainment content. The “Little Britain” game will be distributed primarily across the UK, Australia, and New Zealand via Glu’s network of operator partners.

Dinosaurs Let Loose Across the Globe
BBC Worldwide property “DinoSapien” has been sold to broadcasters in South Africa (SABC), Norway (NRK), and Holland (NOS), bringing the total number of sales to 12 broadcasters across the globe.

Since its launch onto the international stage at BBC Showcase 2007, “DinoSapien” has been acquired in Hong Kong, Israel, Latin America, Canada, Greece, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, and Australia.

“DinoSapien” is a BBC Worldwide/CCI Entertainment co-production in association with Discovery Kids and CBBC.

Execs on the Move
Macy’s Corporate Marketing created the Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group and promoted key executives to lead the national events team. The new group will secure entertainment industry related partnerships that will enhance Macy’s national and local special events, as well as continue to produce Macy’s national events such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Robin Hall has been named senior vice president, Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group, while Amy Kule has been promoted to group vice president of Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group.

Twentieth Century Fox announced the promotion of two executives in its Licensing & Merchandising division. Lora Cohn and Virginia King have been promoted to vice presidents of U.S. Licensing.  20th Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising also promoted Carl Lumbard to the newly created position of senior vice president and managing director, Fox L&M Europe.

Bandai America promoted Sean Hynes to vice president of sales.

The Ohio Art Company promoted Martin L. Killgallon III and Jeffrey L. Morris to the position of senior vice president.

King Features Syndicate named John Soppe managing director of King Digital.

Nancy Apolo has been promoted to sales executive, Latin America-International & Consultant at Sandra Carter Global.

Leslie Levine will use her extensive experience in the licensing world as the backbone for Licensing! Works, a company she established after closing Classic Media’s Los Angeles office last month.

Target Entertainment has appointed Richard Oren to the newly created role of vice president licensing USA, Canada and Latin America. Oren will report to Helen Howells, director of international licensing and will be based at Target Entertainment’s East Coast office.

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