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Lego and Universal Music Group Launch Music Video Maker

In yet another example of how the world of music licensing has evolved over the past two years, LEGO and Universal Music Group (UMG) announced on Jan. 26 the launch of LEGO VIDIYO, “a playful and innovative music video maker experience designed to celebrate and expand children’s creativity and passion for music.” The companies say in a joint statement that LEGO VIDIYO is a brand-new way to play that helps children dream big by directing, producing, starring in, and sharing their own music videos, using tracks from across the globe, led by chart hits from UMG’s unrivalled artists.” It’s also another way that music publishers like Universal have expanded the ways in which they license music, with a pronounced accent on licensing to social media networks and video games. While LEGO is… . . . read more

Fortnite on Licensing Binge With New Game Characters

The wildly popular Fortnite video game has made an art form of incorporating popular celebrities or movie characters into its game play, and over the past week has outdone itself. Thanks to a trio of new agreements, Fortnite players can dress their game avatars as their favorite soccer (football) players from around the globe, go on the hunt as The Predator, or relentlessly stalk their opponent as either Sarah Connor or the Terminator T-800 from the Terminator film franchise. As of Jan. 23 players could choose from 10 different ‘Kickoff Set’ outfits to represent their favorite soccer team inside the game, and each outfit can be swapped for the uniforms of any of the 23 teams participating in the licensing deal, which includes: Manchester City FC Juventus AC Milan Inter… . . . read more

French Comic Asterix Licensed for TV, Film, Video Games

The iconic and internationally popular French/Belgian comic book Asterix is seeing a resurgence in popularity which is likely to grow, as the brand launches new licensing deals and a live action film. Asterix launched as a French and Belgian French comic book in 1959, depicting the adventures of the Gauls in their resistance to the Romans in the era of Julius Caesar. Featuring Asterix and his oversized friend Obelix, the two face off against the mighty Roman Empire with the help of a potion that temporarily gives them super human strength. The comedic graphic novels have maintained strong sales ever since, but brand owner Éditions Albert Rene says the characters have become even more popular in 2020 and heading into 2021. The graphic novel The Chieftain’s Daughter sold more than… . . . read more

Antstream Licenses Star Wars For Retro Gaming Platform

One of the world’s leading retro games platforms, Antstream Arcade, is adding beloved retro classic Star Wars titles to its extensive library of fully licensed games. These iconic games will be made available on a single platform for the first time, including the entire Super Star Wars series for the SNES and Star Wars for the NES. Adventure game classics like Grim Fandango, and titles from the Monkey Island series will also be coming to the platform. Starting today, subscribers to the Antstream service will be able to play the following classic Super Star Wars titles: Super Star Wars (SNES, 1992)  Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (SNES, 1993)  Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (SNES, 1994)  All the games available via Antstream Arcade’s cloud-based streaming service are available using any 4G connection or better, and are playable on almost any… . . . read more

Pokémon Celebrates 25 Years With Music Deal, Licensing Campaign

Katy Perry Headlines ‘P25 Music’, a Year of Surprise Music Events and Superstar Collaborations The Pokémon Company International officially launched its 25th anniversary celebration on Jan. 13, marking a quarter century of fun and games with a massive music collaboration, including a partnership with pop star Katy Perry. The Japanese video game and entertainment franchise created one of the most enduring virtual worlds in the  business of video gaming since its launch in 1996, and was among the earliest companies to see massive success outside the game itself by combining the collectible Pokémon card game with the digital video game experience. The company says, in 2021, Pokémon will continue that tradition by aligning with another universal unifying force: music. Headlined by Katy Perry, the star-studded program created in partnership with… . . . read more

JazWares Appoints Laura Zebersky as President

Toy Company Also Announces Promotions for Kelly Deen, Gerhard Runken, and Jonny Taylor  Jazwares, one of the world’s leading toy companies, this week announced the promotion of Laura Zebersky to the position of president. The company says Zebersky, a 15-year veteran of the toy industry, and a recipient of the Women in Toys ‘Wonder Women’ Award, “helped catapult Jazwares’ growth by driving global licensing, marketing, retail expansion and exponential sales.” Zebersky most recently held the title of chief commercial officer, where she oversaw Jazwares’ global licensing, marketing, and sales efforts. Judd Zebersky will remain as chief executive officer, and they will continue to drive forward the success of the company together. “Laura is the most amazing business and life partner anyone could ask for,” Judd Zebersky, CEO, Jazwares, said. “Her understanding… . . . read more

Skoog Works With Sesame Workshop To Create A New Way To Play

SKOOG Inc., a media tech company with a mission to enrich children’s lives through creative and immersive play, this week announced a global partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. The two companies are collaborating to introduce a new, interactive platform that merges tactile technology with an ever-expanding content library featuring Sesame Street characters. The platform combines multi-sensory play with fun, interactive content and meaningful learning experiences, SKOOG says. Originally focused on helping children with disabilities express their creativity through music, the team at SKOOG created a suite of unique hands-on technology devices that children of all abilities can enjoy. SKOOG patented platform includes a parent-controlled app with unique cube-like hardware that lets kids play and create without relying solely on a smartphone screen. Sesame Street is… . . . read more

Erve Europe Lands Deal With Blizzard Entertainment

Licensing company Erve Europe has signed a deal with Blizzard Entertainment adding the wildly popular Overwatch and World of Warcraft games to its product portfolio. Erve Europe is a leader in character licenses and brands for the continent, producing branded fashion and apparel featuring TV, film, cartoon and video game heroes. As part of Erve Group, the company has six offices across three continents, and has been in the industry for more than 35 years. The company will now serve the European market with a wide range of branded products for both game franchises, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, pyjamas, shorts, socks, underwear and hoodies, among others. The first collections will launch in spring/summer 2021, the company says. “We couldn’t be happier with these two games in our portfolio,” said Tom Fabes, gaming licence manager… . . . read more

Founders Transition to New Leadership at Spin Master

Max Rangel Joins Spin Master as Co-Founders Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie Transition Their Roles in Spring 2021 Spin Master has been led by its co-founders since the company’s inception, but next month the company will have its first ‘outside’ CEO in Max Rangel, formerly of SC Johnson & Sons. Spin Master is a major force in the toy and children’s entertainment world, and just this week finalized a key deal with Riot Games for their League of Legends franchise. But founders Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie felt it was time to transition to new leadership, so Rangel will assume the position of global president effective in January, and will also adopt the role of CEO in April. Rangel will now be responsible for the execution of Spin Master’s long-term strategy,… . . . read more

Spin Master Nets Big Win With League of Legends Toy Deal

The Canadian toymaker Spin Master just logged one of its biggest single deals to date, announcing a  multi-year agreement to become the global master toy licensee for Riot Games’ League of Legends, the most-played PC game in the world. Spin Master will develop products including action figures, playsets and role play items, with an anticipated on-shelf date in the Fall of 2021. LoL’s popularity has gained in strength after more than a decade on the market, generating $1.5 billion in revenue in 2019. Spin Master is a major player in their own sector, with a $3 billion-plus market cap and $571 million in Q3 revenue. Spin Master is also an accomplished producer of digital media content in its own right, producing among other things the popular and very profitable Paw… . . . read more