4Kids eyes up pre-school market

4Kids is looking to broaden its portfolio into the competitive pre-school arena.
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Pre-school is currently one of the few licensing and merchandising genres that 4Kids does not offer in its line-up. Co-managing director Stephen Gould explained to ToyNews that the firm is not looking for any particular pre-school demographic in terms of the sexes, but an "emotive look, striking design concept and a well structured story arc that will capture the imagination of a pre-school audience". He is also beginning his search in the UK.

"We truly believe that the UK is the creative bastion for all that is excellent in pre-school properties and this territory will drive our initial search from both a creative and innovation perspective," he said.

"We are now in a new era where two types of pre-school property co-exist alongside each other - true kindergarden and then primary one and two. The old adage of targeting two to six years is a bit of a misnomer today when it comes to retail shelf space demographic.

"We are seeking a 3D CGI or stop frame animation look that will naturally translate into a complementary product mix first and foremost," Gould added.



Pre-school market update

The £260m pre-school sector is the industry?s most fiercely-contested battleground, dominated by licences and TV properties and notoriously difficult to second guess. Certain perennials sell strongly but there?s development of characters and play patterns, which make for a vibrant market segment. NPD offers some analysis on its current condition?


SECTOR GUIDE: Pre-school

In our second focus on the pre-school sector in 2011, manufacturers are now looking ahead to big new launches and extensions of existing ranges for next year. ToyNews highlights what?s on offer?


US: The pre-school race question

It is a truism that pre-school toys will grow or decline in line with the birth rate. If this is the case, then pre-school toys should have done well in the past decade and look forward to an equally positive couple of decades to come, at least compared to Europe.

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