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Netflix Opening Online Store to Sell Licensed Merch From Hit Shows

Netflix is Becoming Amazon, Amazon is Becoming Netflix By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Amazon has become the single greatest competitor for Netflix in terms of members, but now Netflix is getting a bit of its own back by moving into the ecommerce space, selling products to its more than 200 million paying subscribers. Netflix on Thursday launched new online store selling products tied through licensing agreements with hit shows airing on the streaming service. For example, Netflix has already prepared a clothing line (along with some live events) tied to its spicy rom-com hit Bridgerton, as well as various consumer products for the upcoming new seasons of Stranger Things, The Witcher, and La Casa de Papel (known in English as Money Heist), and several others. The move is… . . . read more

Who’s News: WarnerMedia Appoints Head of Content Acquisition in Asia Pacific

WarnerMedia has appointed Melissa Lim as its new head of content acquisitions and co-productions for its children’s networks in Asia Pacific, which include POGO, Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Lim’s brief also includes advising on licensing content to fuel the growing demand for kids and family programming on the regional streaming service HBO GO in Southeast Asia.  Lim will be based in Singapore and reports to Leslie Lee, the Head of WarnerMedia Kids APAC. Warner says Lim will be working closely with the original production and development team, but her key areas of focus will be exploring co-production opportunities and acquiring kids content for the region. To accomplish those goals, Warner says Lim will also work closely with her colleagues from other WarnerMedia acquisitions teams in the US, EMEA and Latin America. “Pinpointing… . . . read more

Who’s News: Gamarra Tagged To Adapt Literature to Film

ViacomCBS has created a new role in the company, hiring literary agent Eddie Gamarra as VP of literary affairs for Nickelodeon and Awesomeness. The idea is to improve the company’s ability to mine the world’s rich vein of literary content for ideas that translate well into TV shows and movies. In this new-to-the-company position, Gamarra will be responsible for sourcing and assessing books at every publishing stage in order to decide what to option and develop. So, if you’re a publisher wanting to option books for film or TV production, you’ll want to update your Rolodex right about now. Gamarra comes to the role with a perfect blend of experience in both publishing and film/TV production. He previously worked as Nickelodeon’s VP of studio business development, overseeing animated and live-action features for TV, theatrical and SVOD… . . . read more

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

You’ll Need 1,000 Bags of Popcorn to Watch Paramount+

In the latest stage of the Streaming Wars, Paramount Plus has added a staggering 1,000+ new movie releases to its catalog, almost doubling the streaming services film offerings in one big move. Among those flicks the ViacomCBS-owned streamer picked up Infinite, Paramount’s new sci-fi thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor, for an exclusive debut. By the end of summer, Paramount Plus says it will have more than 2,500 movies on the service. To make that happen, Paramount Pictures renegotiated its pay TV deal with Epix, a network owned by MGM, which in turn was just acquired by Amazon. As well, on Aug. 20 Paramount Plus will add the animated kids’ flick Paw Patrol: The Movie, the same day it hits theaters. The subscription service also will become the streaming home for… . . . read more

BBC Assigns License for Bluey to Tech Toy Firm VTech

BBC Studios has signed a multi-territory licensing deal with VTech to produce electronic role play toys, further expanding its rapidly growing global licensing portfolio for the popular, award-winning children’s TV show Bluey. Bluey is an Australian children’s show about a lovable Australian shepherd that has since taken most of the world by storm since it was first aired less than three years ago, in October 2018, achieving high ratings and signing up an already impressive array of licensing partners.   VTech successfully pitched the BBC on a new line of products that will include electronic books, role play watches and a phone. Product is expected to launch at retail in both Australia and USA for Q3 2022, followed by future roll outs in the UK, France, Canada and New Zealand. “We are delighted to… . . . 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