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NBA Partners On Mobile Game ‘Ball Stars’

After announcing its formal partnership with the National Basketball Association and National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA) in October, the global mobile game publisher Netmarble Corp has now released NBA Ball Stars, an all-new, puzzle-based mobile basketball game. The game is the first publishing project for Netmarble’s Los Angeles-based subsidiaries Netmarble US and Kung Fu Factory, and is now open for pre-registration for the App Store and Google Play. The company has also announced that, to celebrate the formal reveal, Netmarble has inked a partnership with Ja Morant, the 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, as the game’s cover athlete. “The NBA and NBPA have been tremendous partners,” said Simon Sim, President of Netmarble US. “The creative freedom and collaboration we’ve had with them, along with Kung Fu Factory, in the production of… . . . read more

Mic Company Shure Looks For Licensing Partners

Shure Inc. Enlists Licensing Matters Global (LMG) to Launch Worldwide Licensing Program By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Shure is about as big a name as you’ll find in the microphone and audio business, having provided mics for music, public speeches and journalists for close to a century. During my decade working as a broadcast journalist with CBC News in Canada, for example, I packed a seemingly bulletproof Shure microphone that literally went through fires, floods, riots, and all sorts of natural disasters with nary a glitch, so full disclosure, I’ve got a bit of a love affair with the brand. The Shure brand and microphones have served as icons in pop culture over its 96-year history. Elvis, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., legendary performers, leaders, and… . . . read more

Sonic The Hedgehog Celebrates 30 Years

Time flies when you’re having fun, and especially if you’re super speedster Sonic the Hedgehog, but it’s still been 30 years since the iconic game character saw its first game released in 1991. That makes this a year of celebration and licensing opportunities for Sonic, as Sega is planning with a film sequel, a new series, and a variety of product deals. Depending on the timing of cinema openings, Sega is planning the release of a sequel for the popular Sonic: The Movie, and while that’s happening the company is also scheduling the release of a new animated series called Sonic Prime, which will zoom onto Netflix in 2022. Aimed at an audiences aged 6-11 years old, but open to all fans of the famous character, the series consists of… . . . read more

JELL-O® Gelatin Kit Featuring Iconic Easter Egg Mold Now At Walmart

If you grew up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, you might remember the craze for JELL-O Easter Egg Molds that put smiles on faces in more than 30 million households. Now, that product is back, thanks to a licensing partnership between Bay Island LLC and the Kraft Heinz Company, which owns the JELL-O brand. “We are grateful to be able to bring back this fun family tradition,” said Ken McMahon, President of Bay Island. “This colorful JELL-O Gelatin egg kit is the perfect activity for celebrating Easter.” Founded in 1990, Bay Island is a leading supplier to U.S. retailers offering compelling food and beverage gifts and kits in partnership with trusted brands such as Hillshire Farm, Ghirardelli, Dove, Cinnabon, Caribou Coffee, Hostess, Dot’s Pretzels, Famous Dave’s, Kraft, Heinz,… . . . read more

Bob Marley Family Inks Deal With Psychedelic Mushroom Company

The family of reggae legend Bob Marley has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Silo Wellness, a company operating in the newly developing psychedelic and functional medical mushroom industry. The deal offers Silo the exclusive worldwide rights to brand, market, and sell a product line of functional and psychedelic mushrooms with the name and likeness of the reggae superstar, who died in 1981. “Our family is happy to collaborate with Silo Wellness to create the first ever global mushroom brand,” said the singer’s widow, Rita Marley. “When Bob and I were young we followed a strict, natural diet and we would include medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms fit with our vision of a world transformed for good through natural products.” This is not the family’s first foray into licensing deals for products… . . . read more

Hasbro’s Finn Arnesen Joins Games Workshop

The Games Workshop Group is diving even deeper into the entertainment business, announcing the appointment of former Hasbro Studios SVP Finn Arnesen as the company’s first Head of Entertainment Development. Games Workshop is best known for its Warhammer gaming franchise, and the company also has its own library of novels and short stories based on the game. Arnesen’s first task in his new role will be to mine that content to develop both animated and live action talent for film and TV series. Arnesen will report to Game Workshop’s Executive Vice President of Global Licensing, Jon Gillard. Arnesen is a respected veteran of the content world, having worked with Turner Broadcasting and Hasbro Studios. “In its almost 40-year history, Warhammer has been a leader in the field of tabletop and video… . . . read more

Roblox Going Live on Deal With Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel

The wildly popular Roblox game is going on air via the Kartoon Channel’s OTT platform, as part of an agreement between Genius Brands and gaming video company Tankee. The new show, with the working title ‘Radical Roblox’, will focus on a group of popular Roblox influencers playing the game on air. The show will debut exclusively on Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel in June with 12 episodes planned for season one. Roblox has been operating for more than a decade, but has exploded in popularity in the late 2010s. By early 2020 the game was worth an astounding $4 billion, thanks to a loyal following of 150 million monthly users, which rose by 35 million from 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic the game’s popularity soared by 40 per cent, and over the… . . . read more

LEGO Caps Breakout Year With 13% Growth

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief The LEGO Group has been on a tear throughout fiscal 2020, launching new and innovative products, signing key licensing deals, and continuing its run as one of the world’s top kids’ entertainment companies. That success has also translated into growing revenue, as the European tosco reported a 13% increase in revenue to $7 billion, at a time when some other toy companies have struggled. Both Hasbro and Jakks Pacific reported decreases in revenue this year, which were blamed largely on supply chain issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, top rival Mattel also reported an extremely strong year for revenue, and the toy industry as a whole saw increased revenues of from January through December 2020. LEGO says its consumer sales grew by… . . . read more

Funko Ends Strong in Tough Year

The pop culture product company Funko released its fourth quarter results this week, showing a strong finish after a brutal year in which global sales were strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Funko’s profitability suffered mightily through most of the year, the company says its recovery in Q4 leads management to predict a dramatic turnaround in 2021, with an estimated 25 to 30 per cent growth over fiscal 2020. Funko closed out the year with a strong Q4 that saw U.S. sales soar by 18% and world sales increase by 6%, but due to a disastrous Q2 and Q3, Funko still ended up with an 18% sales revenue decrease for 2020, according to the company’s year-end financials.  Funko sales in Q4 were $226.5 million, up from $213.6 million for… . . . read more

EA Funds New Games From Silver Rain

A new gaming studio headed by BAFTA-nominated actor/producer Abubakar Salim has signed a dream deal with sector giant Electronic Arts Inc. Silver Rain Games is a new gaming company with no titles published to date, but Salim has signed a major deal with a division of EA dedicated to supporting indy studios, called EA Originals Label. Under the agreement, EA Originals will provide funding for the up-and-coming studio’s unannounced IP, as well as guidance and support in the team’s journey to bring a fresh perspective to games and to the industry. “They are a bold new independent studio who will create distinct, innovative new experiences. We look forward to supporting them on this epic adventure they are on and when the time is right, connecting them with a global audience… . . . read more