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African Animators On The Rise With Disney+, Netflix, Cartoon Network

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Until now, children in Africa didn’t really see themselves represented in the shows they watched, as the vast majority of television content was produced in North America, Europe and Asia. It’s also a problem for licensees on the continent, as Africa has long lacked home-grown heroes in children’s shows, with virtually all licensed products linked to programs produced outside the continent, and that don’t particularly reflect African experience and culture. But that’s changing, as the Cartoon Network, Netflix and Disney+ have given the green light for series produced by African animators and studios. Most recently, as Kidscreen revealed in a recent exclusive, Cartoon Network Africa will be airing  Garbage Boy and Trash Can, the first ever domestically produced animated series to appear on their… . . . read more

SEGA Adds Two Sonic Toy Partners In Europe

SEGA Europe has announced new licensing partnerships with Wow! Stuff and HoloToyz to mark the 30th anniversary of its flagship property Sonic the Hedgehog. Wow! Stuff will be bringing the speedy video game character to its award-winning Wow! Pods range, which will feature light-up characters from the Sonic universe, housed within interconnecting display cases. In the agreement with HoloToyz, the parties will be launching a range of stickers, decals and temporary tattoos embedded with augmented reality technology which can be brought to life via the company’s free HoloToyz app. The toymakers join a line up of industry-leading licensees who are jointly helping SEGA celebrate three decades of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise this year, just as the franchise is preparing the launch of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Production on the… . . . read more

Some Classic Viacom CBS Shows Are Stylin’ With Tommy Hilfiger

SpongeBob SquarePants and his pal Patrick will be rocking some Tommy Hilfiger jeans in a new partnership between the design house and ViacomCBS, brokered by WildBrain CPLG. The licensing agency says the Tommy Hilfiger brand has partnered with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to launch a new collection under the theme A Blast from the Past, featuring characters and logos from Nickelodeon and MTV. The collaboration will see Tommy Hilfiger launching a wide range of t-shirts, sweats, and hoodies in a unisex style, available at all Tommy Hilfiger retail outlets, on their ecommerce site, and through their global wholesale partners. Beavis and Butthead, Garfield, MTV, Ren & Stimpy, and SpongeBob SquarePants will all be featured in the new collection. The deal was brokered by WildBrain CPLG, one of the world’s leading… . . . read more

JLKBrand Signs Up For Years Of Misery With Lemony Snicket

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief There’s never been a series of children’s books like Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events, in which people are either stupid or horrible—or possibly both stupid and horrible—the worst always happens, and happy endings are for saps. But despite all of those warnings, JLKBrand has agreed to represent the Lemony Snicket brand in its first ever licensing program. You can’t say they weren’t warned. If you’ve never read the series by the mysterious and possibly fictitious author Lemony Snicket, they are an unlucky 13 books written for a middle-school aged audience, featuring three likable but particularly unfortunate orphans: Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. The appeal of the books may be that no matter how bad things get the Baudelaire children soldier on,… . . . read more

Never Wrong Toys Appointed Master Toy Partner For Rainbow Rangers

Never Wrong Toys, a subsidiary of China’s leading toy manufacturer Markan Industrial Group Ltd., is developing a broad range of new preschool products for the popular Cartoon Channel hit Rainbow Rangers, in a deal with Genius Brands. Rainbow Rangers is a rescue-based series that follows the adventures of seven girls who are Earth’s first responders—protecting people, animals, resources, and the natural beauty of our world. Hilary Chernissand and Sara Jane Sluke, who were key writers in the first two seasons, will become head writers of season three. multiple Emmy Award-winning director Michael Maliani directs the series, and Genius Brands’ chairman & CEO and multiple Emmy Award-winning producer, Andy Heyward, serves as executive producer. Genius and Never Wrong jointly announced this week the appointment  of Never Wrong Toys as global master… . . . read more

Aardman Announces Hilarious New License Deals

The hilarious Animation studio Aardman has announced several new licensing deals for two of its most famous brands, Wallace & Gromit, and the spinoff Shaun the Sheep. The Wallace & Gromit series of short stop-action animation practically reinvented the genre, and brought the mild-mannered gadget freak Wallace and his much smarter dog Gromit to international fame. Shaun the Sheep was originally a character in the Wallace & Gromit shorts, but both brands have since inspired feature films. Wallace and Gromit’s love of cheese—particularly a nice Stilton—became so widely known that all you had to do to get a laugh at parties was say, “More cheese, Gromit?” in a bad Yorkshire accent, so it’s no surprise Aardman has now partnered with a cheese company. It would be more shocking if they… . . . read more

Licensing Deals: Simon’s Cat Expands Global Pawprint

Licensing agent appointed in Japan and new product ranges across Europe, Australia, North America and Asia Banijay Brands announced this week a litter of new licensing deals for its digital content sensation, Simon’s Cat, and says Japanese agency ZenWorks has been appointed to represent the brand’s interests in that cat-crazy country, home of the cat cafe. The licensing program for Simon’s Cat is continuing to expand with new licensees appointed for fashion, crafting, phone accessories, puzzles and accessories, said Banijay, in announcing deals with Fashion UK, Wulydermy, Ecell, Pinfinity, and Dr. Woof. “Simon’s Cat is such a lovable brand that resonates with fans all around the world,” said Jane Smith, Group Director, Brand Licensing at Banijay. “The extensive licensing programme, that continues to expand, is testament to its enduring popularity.”… . . . read more

Amazon Shakes Up Streaming With MGM Acquisition

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief MGM’s roaring lion is now purring happily in the Amazon stable, after the eCommerce giant acquired the historic film studio in a critical, $8.45 billion deal. That sum makes the MGM acquisition the second largest in Amazon’s history, but Jeff Bezos and crew are betting their investment will pay off as part of the company’s strategy to become a giant in the world of home and theatrical entertainment. Amazon’s only investment larger than the MGM acquisition was the buyout of the Whole Foods grocery chain for $14 billion in 2017. Like the Whole Foods deal, adding the MGM label to Amazon’s corporate empire was done due to synergies in the business model. Amazon is investing heavily in making its Prime streaming video service… . . . read more

Warner Launches Space Jam Licensing Onslaught

More than 200 licensing partners launching ‘Looney’ collections around the world Warner Bros. Consumer Products is rolling out the largest collection of Looney Tunes merchandise in decades ahead of debut of Space Jam: A New Legacy. The mixed animation and live action flick stars basketball star LeBron James playing alongside proven hoop ball talents Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes squad. Starring basketball champion and global icon LeBron James alongside Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny and the Looney Tunes Squad, the live action/animated adventure is a manic mash-up of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. The movie it due to launch in cinemas in North America and the UK on July 16, and will… . . . read more

Popeye and Olive Oyl Become Fashion Icons in Brazil

LUXURY BRAND À LA GARÇONNE UNVEILS POPEYE FASHION COLLABORATION  Popeye ain’t just sellin’ spinach anymore; with the help of long-time girlfriend Olive Oyl, the pugnacious sailor man is also becoming a fashion icon—featured in a new collection by Brazilian luxury fashion house À La Garçonne. Unveiled on May 14 during a private fashion show, luxury fashion house À La Garçonne has debuted an exciting limited-edition collection featuring the iconic salty sailor Popeye, and his longtime love Olive Oyl. Developed in partnership with King Features, a unit of Hearst and home to some of the world’s most popular entertainment characters, and designed by the famous Brazilian stylist Alexandre Herchcovitch, the high-end collection values a luxury based on the new languages of sustainability. The deal was brokered by King Features’ agent in Brazil,… . . . read more