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Special Report: Toy Sector Proves Immune to Covid-19 Pandemic

By Gary Symons Toy manufacturers, retailers and licensors could be excused for expecting a rough ride this year as the Covid-19 pandemic raged across the globe, killing more than a million people to date, and devastating most of the world’s economies.  In fact, in a March survey from The Licensing Letter, licensing executives reported they felt overwhelmingly pessimistic about the upcoming year, with 75% of respondents predicting their business would drop by an average of 25% in 2020 as compared to 2019.  In many sectors, such as sporting events or film revenue, that’s turned out to be optimistic, as some industries have reported declines in revenue well in excess of 50 per cent.  By March two-thirds of all respondents in our survey said they were already working from home, 43%… . . . read more

Jazwares Hits High Note With Do, Re, & Mi Toy Deal

Toy company Jazwares is hitting a high note this year, after being tapped to create a new line of toys inspired by the upcoming animated kids’ series Do, Re & Mi, to be aired on Amazon Prime next year. Do, Re, and Mi will be co-produced by Amazon Studios and Gaumont, the world’s first movie studio. The show follows the musical adventures of three best birdie buddies and features the voice talents of Kristen Bell, Jackie Tohn, and more. The toys, which will feature the loveable characters from the show will also be themed around Do, Re & Mi’s key pillars of friendship, fun and adventure, and the power of music. The Do, Re & Mi toy line is set to hit retail in conjunction with the series in 2021…. . . . read more

Universal Branding and E-Blox Build Partnership Brick by Brick

If you’ve never seen E-Blox, they look like what you’d get if you unleashed an electrical engineer on a set of Lego blocks.  The STEM endorsed kid toys were launched only four years ago, in 2016, by Art Seymour and his sons James and Joseph, who together have more than 90+ experience as entrepreneurs, inventors and designers in the educational toy and wireless industries.  Now E-Blox is combining their design smarts with the branding and licensing magic of Universal Branding and Media. The two companies have formed a licensing partnership in which Universal will seek out and deploy licensing opportunities with some of the world’s biggest brands.  “E-Blox is looking to expand their product portfolio with brand licensing in order to give children of all ages  the building blocks to… . . . read more

BSN Sports Expands Baseball, Softball Offerings With Scout Hub, Under Armour

BSN Sports this week announced a new partnership with The Scout Hub in conjunction with its long-standing brand partner Under Armour. Through this partnership, baseball and softball organizations utilizing The Scout Hub will benefit from team apparel and equipment discounts, as well as dedicated product selection serviced by BSN SPORTS. The Scout Hub provides professional athlete development tools through their impressive team of professional baseball and softball advisory members who, collectively, possess more than 200 years of experience as collegiate and major league coaches, players, and scouts. By providing athletes the unique opportunity to have their game evaluated by renowned industry experts, The Scout Hub aims to revolutionize scouting and player development by infusing standard practices with new performance analytics platforms for the youth baseball and softball markets. “BSN SPORTS… . . . read more

Super Oops: Why the Snyder Cut of Justice League was Removed from HBO

If you’re a DC Comics fan anxiously awaiting the release of the controversial ‘Snyder Cut’ of Justice League, then you’re likely aware the first epic trailer has been pulled from YouTube and other video or streaming services … and it appears a licensing wrangle serves as the super villain in the plot. While there’s been no official explanation, it appears the trailer was removed due to a licensing issue with the background song ‘Hallelujah’, written by Canadian poet/singer Leonard Cohen, and owned by Columbia Records … and it’s a perfect example of why proper licensing agreements are so vital. For non-DC fans, the Snyder Cut is a new version of the Justice League movie that Zack Snyder was directing until he stepped away after the tragic death of his daughter. … . . . read more

TikTok Inks Critical Licensing Deal with Sony Music

Another day, another TikTok licensing deal to report, but in this case, the agreement is critical to the way TikTok operates.  TikTok announced this week it has reached a new agreement with Sony Music Entertainment that allows its millions of users to use songs from SME’s vast roster of global music superstars, as well as its many emerging artists.  “We are thrilled to enter in to this agreement with Sony Music so that we can continue to work together to connect the incredible roster of Sony artists in the US and across the globe to new audiences and harness the power of TikTok,” said Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music for TikTok. “Especially during this time when the artist community is challenged to find new ways to reach fans with… . . . read more

Mentos Licensing Deal Means Your Car Will Tempt You to Eat Candy

Lisa Marks Associates has expanded their licensing program for client Mentos, the popular single serve candy, with a new line of automobile air fresheners.  The deal was struck with leading auto care product company Sterling Teal International. Sterling Teal is leveraging the Mentos ‘always fresh’ brand and its well known candy scents to release an initial collection of eight scented air fresheners.  The air fresheners will include existing Mentos flavor profiles like the original cool mint and various fruit flavors, plus some new additions. The air fresheners will be available in early November under the agreement in national retailers across the U.S. as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.  “We are thrilled to be launching the mentos Auto Air freshener program with… . . . read more

Canadian Bill Could Change the Game for Streaming Services

By Gary Symons Nov. 4, 2020 The federal government in Canada has tabled a bill proposing amendments to its Broadcasting Act that will force major changes for streaming services like Netflix, Crave, Disney+, Amazon Prime and Spotify, as well as for non-Canadian licensees.  The changes affect a market of 39 million people – about the size of California – and will result in higher costs for streaming services in the country, and a requirement for more Canadian content.  Bill C-10 essentially brings streaming services under the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which currently regulates broadcasters, cable providers and telecommunications companies.  The bill would require streamers to contribute up to $830 million annually toward Canadian content by 2023, and would require a significant amount of Canadian content to be made readily… . . . read more

Evolution USA Wins Exclusive Licensing Deal with Meredith for Life Brand and The Life Picture Collection

Get ready for a lot more Life in you life, as Evolution USA plans a major rollout of visual assets from one of the world’s premier photography art brands.  Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP) has named Evolution USA as their North America, Australia and New Zealand licensing and brand management agency for the LIFE brand and The LIFE Picture Collection, effective immediately. Evolution plans to accelerate the monetization of Life’s digital media assets by seeking new licensing and brand expansion opportunities for LIFE and its massive photo archive in a variety of product classifications and consumer experiences. These will include apparel, accessories, home furnishings, housewares, gifts and collectibles, food and beverage, stationery and paper goods, brand and artist collaborations, hospitality, location-based entertainment experiences, gaming, and promotions. “We’re excited to partner with Evolution… . . . read more

Halloween Sales Decline Due to Covid-19 Restrictions

Halloween is always a spooky time of year, but in 2020 it’s downright scary if you’re in retail or the licensing industry.  A survey by the National Retail Federation found there will be a massive drop in participation in Halloween activities this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic … but the NRF says it could have been worse. On the down side, more than three-quarters of respondents say the pandemic is affecting their celebration plants and overall participation in Halloween activities will decline to 58 per cent.  On the positive side, Halloween consumer spending in the US is expected to drop less than one might expect, from $8.78 billion in 2019 to $8.05 billion in 2020, mainly because consumers who plan to take part say they will spend more money… . . . read more