Weekly E-news, Issue #84, November 9, 2004

 

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United Media Pairs with Bandai
United Media will act as licensing agent for two of Bandai America Inc. and Bandai Entertainment, Inc.’s properties. Effective immediately, United Media will develop strategic programs in the U.S. for D.I.C.E. and Tamagotchi Connection. D.I.C.E., an animated series, will air on Cartoon Network this January with toys launching concurrently with the series and a video game due in fall 2005. Tamagotchi Connection, the next-generation original virtual pet, will be the subject of a ’tween-directed marketing program in 2005.

Leon Upped to Executive Vice President Post
George Leon was promoted to executive vice president, worldwide consumer marketing, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. The move comes as the company consolidates theatrical licensing, merchandising, product placement, consumer products, and worldwide promotions within one new division. Leon also will be responsible for licensing, merchandising, and consumer products, categories previously overseen by Al Ovadia, who will be leaving the company to pursue other interests.

MTV Network Latin America Inks Deal with Televisa
Viacom’s MTV Networks Latin America and Televisa will expand their existing relationship with a multi-year deal that allows each to grow their operations. The deal will add MTV Networks Latin America’s licensing, merchandising, and publishing businesses to the existing pay TV and broadcast distribution agreements with Televisa. Televisa also will be the exclusive licensing agent for Nickelodeon’s consumer products in Mexico. This marks the first time MTV Networks has partnered with a broadcaster in Mexico to manage its licensing and merchandising business.
On the publishing side, the Editorial Televisa division will be in charge of the relaunch of Revista Nick due in December 2004.

Hasbro Teams with Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation
Hasbro aligned with the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation on a program to raise funds for the organization and entertain the charity’s children. As part of the effort, a new My Little Pony character named Star Shimmer will be sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us. A dollar from each sale of the limited-edition ponies will benefit the organization. Hasbro also will hold a My Little Pony-themed morning for the children at Loews theaters in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles November 13. Here, children will parade down a pink carpet, do face painting, hear stories, and see the new My Little Pony video. The children also will receive goody bags, courtesy of HarperCollins and American Greetings.
Play Along Toys also donated monies to the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation from an eBay auction of one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids in the likenesses of President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. Senator Kerry raised $1,225, while President Bush raised $1,030 on the eve of the election. Bush and Kerry are just two of the one-of-a-kind look-alikes by Play Along Toys. To date, the series consists of all four hosts of the TODAY Show, Ellen Degeneres, Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson, Bette Midler, and many more.

Cruisin’ for Deals
Royal Caribbean International and Fisher-Price, Inc., partnered on a series of programs and services for little cruisers and their families. The first programs to head to sea will be a series of 45-minute educational sessions called Aqua Babies (ages 6 months to 18 months) and Aqua Tots (ages 18 months to 3 years). The sessions are for children and their parents with age-appropriate activities such as storytelling, creative arts, music, and a variety of Fisher-Price learning toys and games. The Aqua Babies and Aqua Tots programs debut on Explorer of the Seas this month and will be available on all Royal Caribbean ships by the end of March 2005. Additional programs and services are in development and will be announced in 2005.
In other Fisher-Price news, the company launched an integrated marketing program to reach out to Latino parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. For the first time in its history, Fisher-Price will buy neighborhood billboard space with the headline message: “Juega con Ellos. Rie con Ellos. Crece con Ellos” (“Play with Them. Laugh with Them. Grow with Them.”). The campaign also will include print partnerships, TV and radio spots, a grassroots festival program, and a sole sponsorship of new Spanish-language publication “Jugando a Crecer” (“Playing to Grow”) created by Meredith Corp.’s American Baby Group and distributed at OB/GYN offices and hospital birthing units with high Hispanic birth rates.

Genius Products Inks Deal with Celluloid Distribution
Genius Products, Inc., signed an exclusive deal with Celluloid Distribution, LLC, to create and distribute a new line of IFILM-branded DVDs based on a collection of independent films in a variety of genres. Under the IFILM banner, Genius Products will produce 24 DVDs yearly through its newly established Branded Distribution Network, which comprises home entertainment retailers of all sizes. First products are due in first quarter 2005. Genius Products also will distribute original titles and content acquired from third parties to the rental marketplace.

Cartoon Network Adds Series to Adult Swim Block
Cartoon Network acquired The Super Milk-Chan Show and will begin airing episodes of the irreverent, politically incorrect anime series from ADV Films on Adult Swim this month. The live-action series is mixed with animation and features Milk, a selfish, foul-mouthed female superhero with no real superpowers. Produced by Studio Pierrot (GTO and Saiyuki), The Super Milk-Chan Show is currently available on DVD from ADV Films, a producer-distributor of Japanese animation in the U.S.

Rossi Adds New Licensee
Peking Handicraft, Inc., signed artist Karen Rossi with plans to create a line of kitchen- themed items including aprons, towels, cutting boards, and two brand new products: mitts and potholders. Rossi is best known for her ornamental angels.

Atomic Betty Goes Mobile
GlobalFun AB, a global wireless entertainment developer and publisher, inked a deal with Breakthrough New Media, Inc., to develop and globally publish a mobile game based on Atomic Betty. Atomic Betty is currently sold to more than 100 territories worldwide including Cartoon Network US; Teletoon Canada; M6 France; Cartoon Networks in the UK, Italy, Scandinavia, Southeast Asia, and Australia; CITV UK; and ABC Australia.

Agent for Cal Ripkin, Jr.
New Jersey-based sports marketing firm 16W Marketing was selected to help Ripken Baseball manage and coordinate the marketing activities of future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., and his baseball-related business interests. The Ripken Baseball Group comprises youth camps and clinics, the Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation, the Aberdeen IronBirds (a minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles), and Ripken Management & Design. According to 16W co-founders Steve Rosner and Frank Vuono, their charge will be to seek strategic partners for Cal Ripken’s endorsement portfolio, as well as for his baseball businesses in terms of sponsorship, marketing, and branding opportunities.

For more licensing news and features, visit www.licensemag.com For more information on Licensing 2005 International Show, visit www.licensingshow.com

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