We take a look at what's coming up from some of the key players in the licensing industry...
Despite tricky economic conditions throughout 2009, there was still a good mix of new properties and brand extensions on existing licences hitting retail.
This year, there’s another bumper crop to look forward to - from hotly tipped movies such as Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2 and part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, to established favourites like Wallace & Gromit, Doctor Who and Barbie, not to mention some milestone anniversaries.
20th Century Fox
Tel: 020 7437 7766
Fox Licensing is set to build on its already impressive toy line for James Cameron’s Avatar with a second wave of action figures from Mattel; limited edition mini busts from Gentle Giant; statues, maquettes, life-size busts and dioramas from Sideshow Collectibles; a line of costumes from Rubie’s; and jewellery and prop weaponry from The Noble Collection.
Meanwhile, moving the focus onto two of its classic sci-fi franchises, the firm will introduce new lines for Aliens and Predator. NECA will premiere a full range of action figures and bobble heads based on the upcoming Predators (July 9th), as well as previous films in the franchise, while Sideshow Collectibles will debut a line of high-end collectibles for Aliens and Predators.
The eagerly awaited movie version of The A-Team (June 11th) will benefit from action figures, vehicles and electronics from Jazwares.
Moving on to family-fare, and Fox has signed up Pressman Toy Corporation for Diary of a Wimpy Kid (April 2nd). The firm will roll out 200-piece puzzles based on the classic book art and an original board game. Finally, for Ramona and Beezus (August 13th), Madame Alexander Doll will launch a line of collectible dolls.
Tel: 020 7297 5995
Yu Gi Oh 5D’s is the latest instalment in the highly successful franchise – the TV series is broadcast across the world and is accompanied by the trading card game from Konami, which last year entered Guinness World Records as the best selling TCG of all time.
A new video game is now available, while toys are distributed by Upper Deck. Other licensees cover stationery, back to school, puzzles, publishing, apparel and yo-yos among other products.
Meanwhile, Dinosaur King is now airing in over 25 territories. Upper Deck’s trading card game is selling in solid numbers, while toys distributed by Vivid, Upper Deck and Top Toys are available in the UK, France, Benelux, Germany and the Nordics.
Licensees are on board for more than 80 other categories.
4Kids will also continue to focus on Artlist Collection: The Dog, The Cat and The Pig, while pre-school property WordWorld is set for a big push.
The company is aiming to build a licensing programme across a variety of categories; in the US licences already exist for construction toys, arts and crafts, DVDs, publishing, party goods, software and iPhone applications.
Tel: 0117 984 8956
New live action series Wallace & Gromit present A World of Invention is expected to air on BBC in late 2010 and also been picked up by ABC Australia. The Wallce & Gromit brand has been boosted in the UK with the recent exhibition at the Science Museum in London; this will travel to the Glasgow Science Centre from April 2010.
Wow Stuff has also launched a line of ‘real cracking contraptions’, invention games and toys inspired by Wallace’s inventions.
Timmy Time has been such a hit with Cbeebies that a further 26 ten-minute episodes have been ordered to follow on from the 52 already in production, with the new series slated to start shooting from June.
In the UK, Aardman has secured a number of key new licensing partners, including Next for a wide range of apparel, Blues Clothing for outerwear and leisure, Worlds Apart for ready beds and children’s furniture and Mookie for playballs. Master toy Vivid has broad distribution across plush, play-sets, games and puzzles, while Golden Bear has wooden toys and Trademark Collections has bags and accessories.
Finally, Shaun the Sheep has 28 UK licensees – including Golden Bear as master toy and Egmont as publishing partner – in addition to numerous international licensees.
Tel: 020 8433 2556
2010 is already looking like it will be another strong year for BBCW – its children’s properties are continuing to draw in big audiences, while Doctor Who is back proper and adult brands including Top Gear remain a focus.
Products for 3rd & Bird began to roll out in January. The show, created by Josh Selig with The Wonder Pets’ producers Little Airplane Productions, racked up some solid ratings following its debut on Cbeebies in July 2008.
It uses unique ‘photo-puppetry’ animation, combined with rhythm, music and song.
Muffin Lovebird provides the main focus for the initial toy lines, including the ‘Do the Muffin’, as well as plush toys, play-sets, books and puzzles.
In addition, In The Night Garden will have a busy year as the friendship theme becomes the foundation for much of the upcoming product.
“We’ve got fantastic products rolling out throughout the year, giving us a really strong advantage,” comments BBCW’s head of UK licensing, Richard Hollis. “In particular, we’re excited about Fisher-Price’s 3rd & Bird range and the high profile regeneration of Doctor Who brings great opportunities for licensed product.”
Tel: 020 8325 5455
“We represent one of the strongest portfolios on the market,” explains Bulldog MD Rob Corney. “From one of the biggest brands around in Gogo’s Crazy Bones, to a huge hit TV show in Thumb Wrestling Federation, our major design-led brands Goochicoo and Little Ewe and our ever popular classic lines Roland Rat, Andy Pandy and Bill & Ben, every aspect of our portfolio attracts a strong consumer market.”
2009 was certainly a successful year for Bulldog, in particular for Gogo’s and TWF. For the former, licensees are in place for toys, plush, board games, wheeled toys, publishing, apparel, stationery, greetings cards, footwear, calendars and posters. TWF, meanwhile, broadcasts across the BBC network (with season five currently in pre-production) and licensed categories include toys, apparel, sticker books, posters and greetings cards.
Both Goochicoo and Little Ewe are making significant headway on Moonpig.com, while the programme for Roland Rat is gaining momentum, with Posh Paws, Poetic Gem, Promonet and Smiffys signed up. Finally, pre-school show Super Why is rating well on Nick Jr and has partners signed for toys, dress up and publishing.
Tel: 0870 403 0556
First ever public appearances for Stingo, Violet and Primrose will take place at Toy Fair. The special character appearances are part of the celebrations for the fifth anniversary of Fifi and the Flowertots which, since its launch in 2005, has gone on to become one of the most popular girls’ pre-school brands in the UK.
The show now boasts over 48 UK licensees, while it is also receiving a strong international responses, sold into 148 countries worldwide. Fifi and the Flowertots, along with Chapman’s other brand Roary the Racing Car, will be on display at the Vivid Imaginations, Gosh International and GB Eye stands at Toy Fair. Chapman is also working to secure deals for its two new properties, Little Charley Bear and Rah Rah the Noisy Lion, launching in 2011.
“I like to think that attendance at this year’s Toy Fair will be much better than in 2009,” says Chapman’s director of licensing, Valerie Fry.
“We have a new location and things are beginning to look up for the toy industry. The climate is more positive generally and we are confident of a better 2010.”
Tel: 020 7061 3874
Noddy in Toyland is starting to make forays in both the international broadcast and licensing arenas. The series has had a successful debut on Five’s Milkshake and Bandai’s toy line has enjoyed placements with Argos, Toys R Us and The Entertainer. Internationally, the show is forging ahead in France and Portugal and has just launched in Spain.
New areas for Mr Men and Little Miss, meanwhile, include seasonal ranges, novelty items and interactive categories.
The World of Eric Carle continues to be a key emerging brand for the firm, with a successful apparel launch in the UK and a number of new deals secured worldwide. Rainbow Designs will be introducing wooden lines early this year to complement its plush and nursery items. Chorion’s newest initiative for the brand will see it building on its publishing foundation. Plans are underway to create a new educational framework that will be integrated into toys and activity product ranges for young children.
Finally, Olivia continues to be a key focus. Global master toy partner Spin Master is developing a line for roll out in the autumn, while Simon & Schuster will also be releasing new TV tie-in books for autumn/winter in the UK.
Chorion is currently seeking partners in the crafts and activities, seasonal, sports and outdoor categories for the property.
Tel: 020 8762 6200
“I’m bullish about 2010, as I think all of us are at Classic Media,” asserts Andrew Kerr, EVP international marketing and consumer products. “We are well positioned to provide the consumer with original and entertaining content and product based upon it that offers real novelty and value for money.”
2010 will see the first ever Postman Pat Special Delivery Service live theatre tour roll out nationally from February, with an ambitious schedule that will see more than 160 shows delivered at 90 venues. On the consumer products front, new lines from Character Options will include vehicles and play-sets, while new licensee HTI (formerly Halsall) is due to release die-cast vehicles and pocket money toys for the New Year.
Following its successful launch on Cbeebies in November 2009, a number of licensees are readying Guess with Jess lines. Master toy partner, Fisher-Price has six skus launching in 2010 including plush, bath and plastic toys. The highlight of the range will be the TV advertised Yippety Yay feature plush. A targeted print media campaign – expected to reach six million readers – will hit key parenting titles including Mother & Baby and Prima Baby magazines from January.
Finally, Tinga Tinga Tales will make its broadcast debut on Cbeebies in February. Bandai and Penguin are already on board as global partners.
Tel: 020 8563 6400
The agency’s entertainment division is expecting a busy start to 2010 with a number of potential blockbuster movies to work on, as well as its roster of existing and new properties.
Dreamworks’ titles How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After and Megamind are all due for release this year, while the CPLG team are also working on Universal’s Despicable Me, Nanny McPhee: The Big Bang, plus Studio Canal’s Around the World in 50 Years.
The new toy line from Mattel is sure to give the WWE brand a big boost, while Novel’s Horrid Henry, plus Sesame Street and Elvis will all be enjoying further activity.
New to the agency’s books are the BAFTA award winning Bookaboo, whiskey brand Famous Grouse, Shoot and The Wombles, while 2010 also marks the 60th anniversary of Peanuts.
“We are feeling confident and robust as we start 2010,” says UK MD Vickie O’Malley. “We have a great portfolio of properties with wide reaching appeal and are able to offer our partners, existing and new, the very best support.”
Tel: 020 7297 8117
Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab is still on a high following the host’s BAFTA win at the end of 2009, and it is set to be one of DCD’s top properties for 2010.
Trends launched a range of fun science Blast Lab products at the Hong Kong Toy Show, while another major partner is on board with product due to launch in early 2010 alongside the broadcast of the new season of the show.
The property is already enjoying publishing success, with seven children’s and activity books released since last February by Dorling Kindersley. There are also two major launches planned for the first half of 2010.
Meanwhile, Puppy Love will be the first toy to come out of DCD’s new music merchandising division. The puppy, currently in development to hit the key Christmas 2010 season, will sing the original Donny Osmond song, with DCD working with Chrysalis Music, Universal Music, Big Ideas and Posh Paws on the idea.
“As retailers recover from the recession, more than ever they will want to put a smile on the face of their customers,” says Michael Gottlieb, head of licensing and music merchandising at DCD Publishing. “We are well placed to licence their portfolio of top flight entertainment brands and will continue to provide innovation and creativity to their clients.”
Disney Consumer Products
Tel: 020 8222 1000
February will see the addition of a new character to the Disney Princess brand – Princess Tiana from The Princess and The Frog. The animated comedy launches across the UK on February 5th, with the toy ranges launching in spring/summer. Mattel has a range of fashion and mini dolls for Disney Princess and the new film; Zapf is launching large Princess dolls; Ravensburger will have puzzles; Cartamundi will have card games; while there will be arts and crafts products from Crayola, Moon Sand and Dough.
Toy Story 3 is bound to be one of the main talking points this summer. Strong toy lines are launching from Mattel, Lego and Vivid, while HTI will have wheeled toys. There will also be Toy Story 2 product – to accompany the 3D release of the film – launching from January.
In addition, Lego will have Prince of Persia product to tie in with The Sands of Time; Character is developing product for Phineus & Ferb; while spring/summer will see the arrival of a new toy line from Mattel for Cars Toons, as well as DCP product across a wide range of other categories.
Tel: 020 7907 3797
The licensing programme to support Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom is due to launch at retail in 2010. Golden Bear will be previewing its master toy collection at Toy Fair, while Rainbow Productions will have character costumes in attendance on press day and Jumbo Games will be showing its range of puzzles and games. There are currently 13 licensees in the programme; Penguin Books will be the first to launch product in March, with the complete range launching in July.
Meanwhile, Peppa Pig is continuing to go from strength to strength, with the pre-school property displaying year on year growth. Master toy licensee Character Options will be launching a boys-led range featuring Granddad Dog’s garage and mechanic George for 2010. Halsall, Mookie, Worlds Apart, Golden Bear and Jumbo will also be previewing items from the licensing programme which now boasts 55 licensees.
January saw a campaign kick off in Asda, with Peppa Pig pin badges, plush and bags for life on sale to raise money for Tommy’s baby charity, supported by in-store and online activity.
E1 will also be running a nursery campaign in association with Tommy’s in the first half of 2010, plus a number of retail initiatives tied in to the stage show, which continues to tour throughout the year.
2010 will also be the year that E1 starts t
o proactively develop its film licensing business.
“2009 was an incredible year for E1 and we enter 2010 full of positive optimism,” says head of licensing, Andrew Carley. “We couldn’t wish for a better line-up of properties and I have no doubt that once launched Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom will be joining Peppa Pig as one of the most compelling pre-school properties of recent years. I’m also incredibly excited about developing the film licensing side of the business and expanding our portfolio beyond our core kids offering.”
Tel: 020 7691 6000
Merlin will remain a key focus for FME in 2010. A third series has been commissioned by BBC1, while the company has also appointed a UK toy figurine licensee.
Series two of the show pulled in a peak of six million viewers and a 31 per cent audience share, while FME has sold series one to 52 broadcasters in more than 180 countries.
Getretro will be producing action toy figurines of the main characters, The Dragon and other magical creatures, as well as play-sets. Starting with lead characters Merlin and Arthur, Getretro is aiming to have prototypes ready for Toy Fair, with the first products hitting retail to coincide with series three in autumn 2010. The company will also be looking to produce branded stamp covers and sheets.
Other existing UK licensees for Merlin include Random House, Topps, Danilo and Christy’s.
Tel: 020 7554 2500
It’s shaping up to be another busy year for Hit. Starting with Thomas & Friends, and the brand is celebrating its 65th anniversary, supported by a marketing campaign across the whole year. The all-new CGI animation will debut, backed by new product from Fisher-Price with the portable Take n Play range (spring) and Mega Brands with its new construction toys (autumn). In addition, Fisher-Price has also secured the distribution rights to Thomas & Friends pre-school Trackmaster for Europe, Middle East and Africa, effective from June 1st 2010.
The new CGI series of Bob the Builder – Ready, Steady, Build – is set to broadcast on CBBC from early 2010. This will be accompanied by the launch of DVD special The Legend of the Golden Hammer. Vast marketing and retail campaigns will feature across the year, with new products hitting shelves, lead by master toy licensee Martin Yaffe. Deals have also been signed with HTI (die-cast), Zap (bedding) and MV Sports (bikes).
On to Fireman Sam, and UK master toy partner Character Options will be launching The World of Fireman Sam with play-sets and locations featured in the CG show, including the fire station, mountain rescue lodge and Whole Fish Café. Product will also be available for distribution and opportunities throughout EMEA. 2010 will also see the release of the first ever Fireman Sam full length DVD special, The Great Fire of Pontypandy. MV Sports and Fashion UK will be launching tie-in product.
Angelina Ballerina, meanwhile, will welcome a standalone monthly magazine with new CGI look from Kennedy in February, while the autumn will see Ladybird/Penguin publish four new titles. In addition, an interactive website and iPhone application have launched in the UK and US.
“Overall consumer confidence levels appear to be returning slowly, but the increased VAT as of January will have an impact in the first quarter and inventory levels will continue to be controlled tightly,” offers Peter Byrne, EVP international consumer products. “I think the trade will back tried and tested winners.”
Tel: 01932 826280
The world of Marzipan was created for greetings card publisher Paper Rose by artist Beverley Edge in 2005. Today, over three million cards have been sold worldwide and UK listings include all major supermarkets and independent retailers. After the successful launch of Marzipan’s Toybox last summer, Ignition is now looking to grow the brand further. It is targeting toys, games, accessories and nursery product categories.
Kerwhizz, meanwhile, is an interactive quiz show for pre-schoolers airing on Cbeebies. Ignition is initially targeting master toy, publishing, DVD and interactive partners.
Finally, the firm has signed up Treasure Trove as the master toy for The Saddle Club, with the firm launching its line at Toy Fair. Ignition has also signed Redan for magazine rights, adding to an already healthy list which includes E1, Random House, Koch Media and PopGirl TV.
Tel: 020 7748 5277
Kindle is continuing to work closely with Start Licensing on the programme for Big & Small.
Master toy Jumbo will be showcasing a collection of puzzles at Toy Fair, with the range including 35-piece puzzles in two designs, Big and Small shaped puzzles (12 and 24-piece) and a four puzzle box set. New products include giant playing cards and a lotto game.
Little Star Creations will be showcasing magnetic Big & Small height charts, while Rainbow’s character costume will also be wandering the show. Other licensees include Avanquest, Kids Music, Fashion UK, C&M Licensing, Zak UK, Paper Projects and ITV.
The firm believes that the LazyTown brand is well on its way to becoming an evergreen and 2010 will see it branch out into even more areas.
Health clubs, holiday parks and more live events will join the existing licensing programme, with Martin Yaffe unveiling new products and other licensees continuing to add to their ranges. Internationally, LazyTown is also looking forward to another solid year, with the show now on air in over 128 countries.
Sportacus will be the figurehead of Sports Relief for the under sevens during this year’s fundraising activities, while Longleat will play host to Sportacus and Stephanie in July and August for a repeat of the successful summer 2009 appearances.
“In these difficult times, it is great to have a brand that has such an important social message so that we remain relevant and front of mind for families,” says Katie Foster, director of brand and licensing at LazyTown.
“The focus on healthy eating continues to grow as parents look for ways to encourage their children to eat and behave in a healthier manner. If parents see how their children can be influenced in such a positive way then they will always want to buy LazyTown products.”
Tel: 020 8849 8735
A full brand roll out for train-based brand Chuggington will be hitting retail from the spring, with Ludorum having secured deals with over 25 UK licensees across multiple categories.
The consumer products programme will be lead by Learning Curve’s toy line, which will be TV advertised and boast a large presence at Toy Fair. Parragon has secured the rights to multi-territory publishing; the firm has already released four titles exclusively with M&S, followed by a wider roll out to retailers including Waterstones, WH Smith, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. Over 20 titles will follow throughout 2010. In addition, Chuggington has a stand alone magazine from DC Thomson and is also included in Cbeebies Magazine.
Three DVDs were released in 2009 from 2Entertain, with a further three scheduled for release throughout this year. Other pan-European licensees signed up include Ravensburger, All in 1 and Publications International, while key UK partners include Halsall, Gemma, Tiger Print, Trademark Collections, VMC, Zak Designs, Character World, Creative Cake Company, Pyramid Posters, Roy Lowe and William Lamb. Apparel is lead by Blues and Aykroyd TDP.
“We are delighted to welcome aboard so many distinguished licensees to the Chuggington consumer products programme,” says Julian Day, VP UK consumer products at Ludorum.
Marvel Entertainment International
Tel: 020 7858 2002
The focus for Marvel in the first half of 2010 will be on the sequel to the hugely successful Iron Man, due for release in the UK on April 30th.
Marvel has already assembled a blue chip roster of toy licensees including Hasbro, Silverlit, Mega Bloks and Big Ben, all of which will be rolling out a vast range of toys and accessories based on the blockbuster. Retail support for the hardline programme will include Tesco, Toys R Us, Smyths and Argos among others.
Additionally, there will be significant support on the softlines programme from George at Asda. Other key categories include a line of dress up from Cesar, as well as a video game from Sega.
Marvel is also developing a licensing and merchandising plan to support The Super Hero Squad Show. Recently launched in the UK on Nicktoons, characters included in the show are Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Silver Surfer, The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine. Toys, accessories and apparel are leading the way, with Marvel looking to further build on the programme throughout 2010.
“Marvel will have a phenomenal toy line up in the coming year – with an exciting and engaging range of merchandise based on Iron Man 2, Super Hero Squad and, of course, Marvel’s classic Spider-man, among many other new introductions – squarely positioning Marvel as the number one toy brand in the boys space,” Simon Philips, president of worldwide consumer products at Marvel, offers.
Mattel Consumer Products
Tel: 01628 500000
The successful 50th anniversary campaign has provided Barbie with a platform to continue to build an adult-focused fashion offering. Solid sell-through was achieved throughout 2009 on items such as Miss Selfridge’s Barbie tee and the Paul’s Boutique Barbie handbag line. Other sell-outs included items from Barbie’s first DTR offering with New Look.
MCP is looking to continue this momentum in 2010 with the renewal of several associations including Paul’s Boutique, Top Shop and Miss Selfridge, alongside new collaborations with retailers such as Jane Norman. The Barbie core licensing programme also continues to grow with the introduction of tween and child-focused electronics, beauty, apparel and sporting goods.
New CGI Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5 will lead the way for the boys, while Scrabble is notching up a solid portfolio of licensed products with a strong presence in the novelty gift category. The latest collaboration is with gift and stationery firm Wild & Wolf.
2010 will also see the launch of the Monster High franchise, with fashion dolls and plush already planned.
For Fisher-Price, meanwhile, a number of new licensing initiatives will be launched throughout the year. The Animals of the Rainforest infant and toddler clothing line got off to a strong start, while Fisher-Price publishing continues to roll out. Created with HarperCollins, the collection of books aims to bring to life themes from the brand’s core and baby gear ranges such as Rainforest and Precious Planet. The New Year will also see the launch of a new collection of car seats with TeamTex, plus new items from outdoor partner Martin Yaffe.
“2009 was a challenging year and the economy is going to continue to challenge us,” says Jo Broadfield, senior licensing director at MCP. “We have proved, however, that with sustained investment in innovation, product development and marketing, strong brands will succeed in offering consumers and retailers good value.”
Tel: 020 7462 1000
Pre-school property Dora the Explorer is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. The theme ‘Explorers Wanted’ will unify on-air programming with off-air activity, including linking logos, refreshed creative, style guides and packaging, as well as specially developed episodes.
Already set for release are 25 new toy lines, five DVD titles, 11 story books and Dora’s first ever UK music album.
Following the success of Spongebob Squarepants’ tenth anniversary celebrations, there will be a continued growth in 2010 with toy lines being developed by new master toy partner Jakks, consumer electronics from Linmark, while Grossman is creating a new range of wheeled toys.
The Wonder Pets has two new DVD titles from Paramount Home Entertainment, books from Simon & Schuster and a school house play-set from Fisher-Price. Tie-ins with key retail partners are planned throughout the year using price promotions and goody bag giveaways.
New toy lines are also due from Vivid, Martin Yaffe, Sakar and Ravensburger for iCarly, while partners for family adventure film The Last Airbender include Spin Master, Simon & Schuster and Alpa.
Over The Moon
Tel: 05601 853346 (KJG)
Pip greetings cards are stocked in over 500 UK outlets – including Fenwicks and all branches of John Lewis – and a key focus for 2010 will be on expanding into other licensed categories.
Licensing agent Kirsty Guthrie from KJG has already put together a deal that will see Bluebird Brands develop a comprehensive range of Pip-branded mugs, coasters, purses, wallets and umbrellas.
This year is likely to see growth into the apparel sector, with underwear, nightwear, t-shirts, outerwear, footwear and accessories all being targeted. Other potential categories include stationery, melamine, housewares and home textiles.
“When looking forward to 2010 I sense opportunity and good fortune in the air,” Guthrie asserts. “The licensing industry has got a lot to look forward to. Retail is bouncing back and the strong brands that I represent were able to pull through the tough times very well.”
Tel: 020 7730 9606
Toys and collectibles will be a key market focus for ambitious Performance Brands in 2010, according to joint MD David Ball. “Given the nature of our core business within this area, helping kids, we are much more focused on the creative, active and learning categories within toys,” he says. “We feel that this will be particularly strong in 2010, as parents continue along the trend of helping their children to develop through encouraging learning and interaction.”
The Numberjacks licensing programme will be extended into the greetings and party, educational toys, apparel, underwear and socks, food and drink, stationery, posters, calendars and publishing this year. Existing licensees include Gosh, Ravensburger, Zeon, Egmont Books, Creativity and Gelert.
Meanwhile, the firm will be looking to grow the Build A Bear offering. A number of licensees are already on board including The Game Factory and Westland Giftware.
“Build A Bear and Nintendo will help to drive social interaction and Planet Cook and Numberjacks will continue to focus on learning important skills,” Ball continues.
Tel: 020 7439 4944
The Pinky & Perky Show is continuing to pull in some solid ratings and this is now matched by its licensing programme – games, toys and branded t-shirts are available, while a stage show is set to tour in 2010/2011 courtesy of Fiery Light.
The Hive, meanwhile, is attracting attention, despite not being on air yet. The CGI animation has been signed by GMTV and CITV in the UK, while PPCE is also in talks with a major global pre-school broadcast partner. Aykroyds TDP is on board for children’s apparel, while talks are also underway for footwear and publishing.
Finally, the licensing programme for Monty Python will remain a focus, with the brand already boasting t-shirts, posters, SWP machines and greetings cards.
“All our brands are performing extremely well,” offers Mark Hurry, PPCE legal and commercial director. “Monty Python and Pinky & Perky are both red hot at present and The Hive promises to be absolutely huge.”
Tel: +39 07 1750 6750
Master toy partner Bandai is due to launch a vast range of Pop Pixie products throughout Europe this year. This will include play-sets, action figurines and a number of accessories. The launch will be coordinated with the debut of the TV series in the autumn, with TV ad support in each territory.
In addition, Huntik’s main toy lines will also be launched this year. Master toy Upper Deck has seven ranges including six-inch basic character figures, six-inch Titans and nine-inch deluxe Titans. The toy launch will be supported by in-store promotions, TV and print campaigns, as well as product listings in catalogues and gift guides. Upper Deck will also continue the distribution of its 3D collectible mini figurines in blister packs, with four characters in each.
Moving on, and plans for Winx Club revolve around the Believix theme from the fourth series. Magic wings and 12 cm dolls have been added to the line, while the In Concert and Love & Pet themes will be bolstered with the introduction of three new items including Winx in Concert electronics. This is a motion sensor doll which lights up and sings one of five songs when the microphone is placed near its face.
The Believix range of fashion dolls will have over ten collections, each one dedicated to a specific theme with its own launch date, supported by TV ads.
The toy launches will also work in tandem with live Winx Club events in 2010, such as the second 3D feature film and the Winx on Ice show.
Tel: 020 7013 4347
Key highlights for RDF in 2010 will include the roll out of the second phase of Waybuloo products. Ranges from Martin Yaffe, Golden Bear, Mondo, Inspiration Works and Worlds Apart are all due in spring/summer. Other categories launching in 2010 include apparel, footwear, dress up, bedding, confectionery, celebration cakes, social expressions, melamine and lighting.
Following a strong year in 2009, Mister Maker is looking to grow its share of the arts and crafts sector, with new ranges rolling out from Creativity International and books from Dorling Kindersley.
Mr Bean will be making a TV comeback on ITV3 in celebration of the character’s 20th birthday.
In terms of product, a retro adult apparel line is coming from Somerbond, Universal is releasing the Mr Bean DVD box set in Q4, while other categories in discussion include plush, gifting and children’s apparel.
Finally, the Yo Gabba Gabba live tour will be hitting the UK. Spin Master, Worlds Apart, H Grossman, Trademark Collections and Character World are just some of the licensees backing the brand.
Tel: 020 7207 6242
Three years after it first hit bookshelves, The Dangerous Book for Boys has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Licences range from conventional products such as t-shirts, confectionery, cards and calendars which leverage the imagery of the book, through to products which focus on the actual content, including card games, board and travel games, wooden puzzles, tins, puzzle balls and science kits.
Indeed, Thames and Kosmos’ classic chemistry set has been nominated in the Speciality Toy of the Year at the US awards in February.
A major push for Rocket this year will be on the Hornby brands. The firm has earmarked the publishing, stationery, gifts and computer accessories sectors for Hornby, while Scalextric will be the target of a boys and gifting line. For Airfix, as well as apparel, accessories and publishing, there is also the opportunity to brand gifts, games and arts and craft items. Finally, for Corgi, Rocket will be looking at stationery, publishing and housewares.
Tel: 020 8337 7958
As well as working closely with Kindle on Big & Small, Start is also developing a range of stationery and gift products with Wild & Wolf derived from artwork sourced from The Beano and The Dandy archives.
These join other key products such as Smiffy’s Bananaman and Desperate Dan dress ups; new stationery lines from Blueprint Collections featuring Bang on the Door Fabric Animals and a growing range of Honey Monster products including Smiffy’s dress up.
“We have tried to develop a portfolio which is based on classic type properties with a proven audience and track record,” explains managing director Ian Downes. “This strategy has stood us in good stead in recent times and I think this is vital going forward. You need to be focused and be really sure that your properties have value built into them.
“Properties like Bang on the Door, The Beano and Honey Monster all have a solid foundation to build on.”
Target Entertainment Group
Tel: 0870 164 7474
TEG’s priorities for the first half of the year will be to secure initial licensees for the PlayStation brand. Primary target demographic is males aged 18 to 40, with the firm looking to licence a range of high spec/high fashion items including apparel, accessories and gifts.
Target has already secured a number of deals across PlayStation IP such as LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank and God of War including plush and accessories, figurines, children’s nightwear, underwear and outerwear, posters, badges, stickers, adult t-shirts, sweatshirts and bags. At Toy Fair, Target will be specifically looking to secure toy partners for EyePet and Invizimals.
Also on the books are pre-school property Fluffy Gardens and Brit Chicks. Electronic and craft products will be sought for both of these are Toy Fair. In addition, Spring Fair will see the firm looking to secure licensees for all brands across greetings and gift, stationery, toiletries, bed linen, watches and accessories.
Helen Howells, Target’s commercial director, says: “We’ve already seen the market starting to pick up and we are going into 2010 confident of the brands we are managing. We are particularly thrilled to have secured the right to represent the licensing for the PlayStation brand in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australasia, which will perfectly complement and help drive our activity around the individual gaming franchises.”
Turner CN Enterprises
Tel: 020 7693 1121
A year since the division was repositioned, Turner CN Enterprises is looking forward to 2010. Unsurprisingly, the development of the Ben 10 franchise remains a priority. The fastest growing property YTD (according to the latest NPD data), Ben 10 is now worth £1 billion at retail, while a new series is due this year to support the licensing programme which now boasts more than 350 licensees. The Enterprises team is still actively signing up new partners.
Following the successful launch of the first Ben 10 iPhone app – Ben 10 Mouth Off – TCNE has ambitious plans to grow the digital side of the business. Four more iPhone apps are planned for 2010 and more content from the franchise will be available on DVD and to download onto digital platforms. A new video game is due to hit in March, while TCNE will be developing its live events strategy.
Moving on, and Bakugan continues to perform well across the EMEA region and is the second fastest growing property YTD (according to NPD data). A new series – New Vestrioa – kicked off in the UK in January and will roll out across EMEA throughout the year. Spin Master’s toy line leads the way for licensed product, while there are over 200 licensees on board covering all key categories.
Key launch partners have also been assembled for The Secret Saturdays. Mattel is global master toy licensee, D3P has already released a video game and Rainbow Productions will be producing costume characters to be used in promotional meet and greet events. Deals are also close to being signed on celebration cakes, outdoor toys, apparel and footwear in the UK and bags in Spain.
Finally, TCNE will be acting as licensing agent for new animated comedy/action series Hero: 108.
“2009 was a tough year for the industry but it’s been encouraging to see how many of our contemporaries have managed to ride out the storm, which will result in a stronger, more efficient industry in the long-term,” offers Alan Fenwick, VP of TCNE. “Despite the economic problems we managed to double our business last year.”
Warner Bros Consumer Products
Tel: 020 7984 6179
“I’m feeling really positive about the coming year and I believe that consumer confidence will continue to grow in 2010,” says Paul Bufton, general manager of WBCP UK. “Our business is fortunate in that our portfolio really does have something to offer everyone and it’s this broad appeal that we intend to exploit in the New Year.”
The eagerly awaited first part of the Harry Potter movie finale – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – is due for release in November. The film will be supported by one of the most comprehensive Potter licensing programmes of recent years. New master toy for EMEA Tomy joins firms including Electronic Arts, Hasbro, Rubie’s, Panini, DeAgostini, BBC Children’s Books, Jumbo and the Noble Collection.
WBCP also has ambitious plans to build on the launch of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Sales of the toy and dress up ranges – from Mattel and Rubie’s – are strong, and 2010 will see the launch of series two on terrestrial and satellite TV, plus new product launches and the Batmobile visiting retailers across the country during key selling periods.
The ever popular Scooby-Doo still forms an important part of the WBCP licensing slate, with a seasonal themed retail events programme soon to be revealed. Looney Tunes Active is another brand to watch, while the sell-in for Pucca begins this year, with a retail launch expected in 2011.