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Vir The Robot Boy Is Now Teaching Kids

  New Partnership Between Wow Kidz and Twinkl to Create Educational Materials Schools have taken a real hit over the past year due to COVID-19, but Vir the Robot Boy is flying in to the rescue with a new range of themed educational resources. The initiative is due to a partnership between Wow Kidz, the kids’ animation brand owned by Cosmos-Maya,  with the global educational publisher Twinkl, to create a range of educational materials and resources based on Vir: The Robot Boy.  The new jointly-created teaching resources are designed to inspire children and engage them in learning by featuring one of India’s favorite cartoon robots, Vir: The Robot Boy. The animated superhero character, owned by Cosmos-Maya, is also much-loved around the world, with the series of the same name now streaming… . . . read more

Fanatics Partners With NFL and Amazon In Major Strategic Shift

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Amazon is the dominant force in the Western world when it comes to ecommerce, with the one exception of pro-sports branded sports gear and memorabilia, and that’s because the market is largely cornered by Fanatics. Now, that may be changing due to a game changing new partnership between the National Football League, Fanatics, and Amazon. The NFL is now bringing thousands of its officially licensed products to the ecommerce site in a move that could permanently transform the market for sports fan products. The partnership does not exclude Fanatics, which is part of the three-way collaboration that will see Fanatics opening an NFL Shop storefront on Amazon’s website. Starting on Wednesday, March 31, the NFL will bring the first of thousands of branded… . . . read more

Forbidden Planet Releasing New Merch Based on Classic Paramount Films

Forbidden Planet, a pop culture product developer, has partnered with ViacomCBS to release new merchandise featuring several of Paramount Pictures classic films, including Forrest Gump, Top Gun, and the hilarious cult classic Galaxy Quest. In total seven Paramount films are included in the new range of apparel and giftware that will be released through Forbidden Planet’s online retail portal. Those include: The Godfather, Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick, Forrest Gump, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Anchorman, Sleepy Hollow, and Galaxy Quest. “I’m genuinely thrilled to be working on the Paramount Films library,” said Anthony Garnon, licensing and special projects manager at Forbidden Planet, “These are some of the most well known and beloved films of all time. Because of its ties to the world of Sci Fi and science fiction fan culture,… . . . read more

Beijing Lashes Out at Western Fashion Brands

WAR OF WORDS OVER HUMAN RIGHTS SPILLS OVER INTO LICENSING, AS CHINA HITS BACK AGAINST H&M, ADIDAS, NIKE, AND MORE Stung by accusations of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, Beijing is lashing out at Western fashion brands that have criticized the Chinese government. Already, Chinese state TV has called for a boycott of the Swedish retailer H&M, following sanctions by Western governments on Chinese officials accused of taking part in human rights abuses against the Uyghur people of Xinjiang. Some Chinese celebrities, like singer-actors Wang Yibo and Eason Chan (pictured), have begun cutting ties with Western companies. Chan, for example, has faced a backlash from fans in China after stepping down as a celebrity ambassador for Adidas. Wang similarly stepped down as brand ambassador for Nike, saying he… . . . read more

Toys R Us Is Back in Business … Again

Big news for those in the toy and toy licensing industry, as brand management company WHP Global announced Monday it has acquired the controlling interest in Tru Kids, the parent company of Toys R Us, Babies R Us and the Geoffrey the Giraffe brand. Toys R Us has struggled to survive in a world beset by a rapid shift to e-commerce, and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. The company was purchased by Ares Management, but was unable to emerge from bankruptcy on its own after an unsuccessful Christmas season that same year, and was pushed into liquidation. Parent company Tru Kids continued to push the brand forward with an attempt to open pop-up stores in shopping malls, and selling more toys online, first via a site powered by Target, and… . . . read more

LEGO Caps Breakout Year With 13% Growth

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief The LEGO Group has been on a tear throughout fiscal 2020, launching new and innovative products, signing key licensing deals, and continuing its run as one of the world’s top kids’ entertainment companies. That success has also translated into growing revenue, as the European tosco reported a 13% increase in revenue to $7 billion, at a time when some other toy companies have struggled. Both Hasbro and Jakks Pacific reported decreases in revenue this year, which were blamed largely on supply chain issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, top rival Mattel also reported an extremely strong year for revenue, and the toy industry as a whole saw increased revenues of from January through December 2020. LEGO says its consumer sales grew by… . . . read more

Minecraft Gets Physical With Scavenger Hunt

The massively popular online world of Minecraft has now crossed into the real, physical world in an innovative cross-promotion with the Australian department store chain Big W. Minecraft, which allows players to build out their own virtual worlds and environments, is considered by many to be the world’s best-selling video game of all time. Now, fans in Australia are seeing the game like never before, through a Minecraft Scavenger Hunt that mixes the digital world with the physical environment of the Big W retail outlets. The BIG W exclusive in-store Minecraft Scavenger Hunt game incorporated many of Minecraft’s favourite characters and was developed with challenges for players to explore, problem-solve and use their skill to complete the hunt, bringing all the excitement of the game to life for the first… . . . read more

Twin Studies Predict Strong Recovery For Licensing and Retail

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Two key reports released over the past two weeks illustrate the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the licensing and retail industries … but they also paint an encouraging picture for the economic recovery of both sectors as vaccination programs roll out in America and around the world.  License Global released its report—COVID-19: What Happens Next—on the impact of COVID-19 on the licensing industry, with survey respondents showing the industry as a whole suffered declining revenues and layoffs. The good news, says the License Global report, “Industry professionals on average expect business to stabilize and return to broadly pre-COVID-19 levels by December 2021. Most notably, 45 percent of respondents anticipate a rise in annual revenue, while 28 percent anticipate an increase in headcount and… . . . read more

Troubled JC Penney Searching For New CEO

JCPenney has survived the ups and downs of the economy for 118 years … but whether it will survive much longer is open to question. The company now hopes new blood in the CEO suite will help JCPenney turn around a dire situation that saw the department store chain file for bankruptcy in May, after losing money for 10 straight years. CEO Jill Soltau, who took on the position just two years ago, left the company on New Year’s Eve and the company has announced it is actively searching for her replacement. The new owners of the company—Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management—appointed Simons’ Chief Investment Officer Stanley Shashoua as JCPenney’s interim CEO, who will be backed by current members of the company’s C-level executive team. In a press… . . . read more

Fanatics & Lids Reach Long-Term Deal With BNED

The sports merchandise company Fanatics has added to its long list of critical deals in 2020 with a long-term merchandising partnership with Barnes & Noble Education Inc. (BNED), the campus store division of the Barnes & Noble parent company. Fanatics will offer BNED campus stores an expanded product selection and a direct-to-consumer platform. Fanatics’ partly-owned Lids will also provide BNED trend and sales performance data on licensees, product styles and design treatments from more than 1,200 Lids stores. As well, Fanatics and Lids will jointly make a $15 million strategic equity investment in BNED and receive 2.3 million shares of BNED in exchange, representing a share price of $6.50 per share. BNED expects to use these proceeds for its strategic growth initiatives. BNED is a college retailer that was spun off from bookseller… . . . read more


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