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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

Spin Master Goes Full Throttle With Supercross Toy Line

Spin Master Corp. has partnered with Feld Entertainment to get its motor runnin’ with a multiyear, global master toy license for the Supercross off-road motorcycle racing series. Created with Spin Master’s innovative toy designs, the companies say the first wave of Supercross toys will deliver greater authenticity for kids, collectors and fans of the racing brand. Feld Entertainment is a worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences. Feld events or experiences include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, Jurassic World Live Tour and DreamWorks Trolls The Experience. Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. The collection launches with two main branches of product…. . . . 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

Peppa Pig Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary With New Content and Merch

Hasbro is going ‘hog wild’ on Peppa Pig in 2021, marking the show’s 10th anniversary on Nick Jr. with a year-long pipeline of new content, a new Hasbro toy line coming in Fall, and a full roster of marketing activations, brand collaborations and promotions for fans across the US. The Peppa Pig franchise was part of a $4 billion investment for Hasbro, when the international toy giant bought out UK-listed Entertainment One in August 2019. The deal also gave Hasbro control over other valuable assets, like PJ Masks and E One’s film and TV production capacity, but Peppa Pig was likely the single most valuable asset. At the time, Peppa Pig was bringing in a reported $1.35 billion globally, according to MarketWatch, with much of that coming from China where the… . . . read more

Licensing Legal Dispute Ended By Settlement

Two toy companies have peacefully resolved their licensing dispute after the parties recently obtained a ruling in court. The two companies have released a joint statement saying in part, “GennComm LLC (“GennComm”) and Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company (“BHTB”) are pleased to announce that they have reached a mutually satisfactory resolution of long-pending intellectual property disputes concerning the design, use, and ownership to certain memory foam in plush toys, including Squeezamals.” GenComm and BHTB were locked in a court battle beginning March 26, 2020, which concluded with a ruling from Judge Cormac J. Carney. The court summary declared that “BHTB’s claims for declaratory relief are dismissed with prejudice, GennComm’s counterclaims for breach of contract are dismissed with prejudice … (and) Judgment is entered for GennComm on its counterclaim for infringement.”… . . . read more

Playmobil Launches Classic Volkswagens

German toymaker Playmobil has partnered with equally storied car manufacturer Volkswagen to bring out their own tiny car line for kids. First announced in September, the partnership has resulted in the release of a classic VW Beetle and the original VW Camper Bus, known in Germany as the ‘Bulli’, and unofficially by a generation of young American travelers as ‘the hippie bus’. The van even includes its own hippies! The camper van comes as well equipped as its real life counterpart, with its 74 pieces including a sleeping area, kitchen, removable roof, storage space, two figures, roof rack, and a wide range of camping accessories. The VW Beetle also comes with a California surf vibe, released with a roof rack to hold surf boards and travel gear. Playmobil has been… . . . read more

Weekly Wrap-up: Deals Penned for Ja Rule, Michael Crichton, Maya the Bee, Nintendo and CoComelon

Deal Will See New Content Produced From Michael Crichton Novels The late author Michael Crichton wasn’t just a science fiction visionary; he became a one-man licensing powerhouse after novels like Jurassic Park and Westworld became hits in film and on television. More than 20 film and TV adaptations have been produced from Michael Crichton novels, including five Jurassic Park films and one more on the way; the Westworld film and series; Futureworld; The Andromeda Strain movie and series; Congo; Sphere; and many more. Now CrichtonSun, the late author’s publishing and production company, is partnering with Range Media Partners to create a slate of new content, inspired by Crichton’s body of work, including a number of previously unpublished works that have been released since the author’s death, such as Pirate Latitudes,… . . . 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