Boat Rocker’s Dino Ranch set for live stage shows

The popular Dino Ranch pre-school series will come to theatres in both North America and UK and Eire next year following the live entertainment deal.

Top pre-school show Dino Ranch is making its way onto the live stage after Boat Rocker announced it had signed deals with live entertainment producers Fierylight and Terrapin Station Entertainment to bring the property to theatres across North America and UK & Eire.

Dino Ranch has been a huge hit since launching in January 2021 on Disney Junior, Disney Now and subsequently on Disney+ in the US and the UK and also hit the screen on Tiny Pop last month. The show has generated a range of consumer products with licensees including master toy partner Jazwares, Rubies and Simba Dickie.

Expected to launch in 2023, Fierylight and Terrapin Station Entertainment – a division of Sony Music Entertainment – are combining forces to produce the show for the US and Canadian markets followed by the UK and Eire. The companies each have vast experience producing and directing top rated family-centric events and the script is being written by acclaimed writers Richard and Matt Lewis.

Kate Schlomann, EVP Brand Management & Content Marketing, Boat Rocker, said: “We are delighted to partner up with Fierylight and Terrapin Station, two market leaders in producing exciting and engaging live family shows. We are working closely with them to create a thrilling experience that reflects the values of Dino Ranch – a strong family bond, teamwork, diversity, friendship and of course exciting Dino-driven adventures in the great outdoors – that will allow fans to engage even more closely with their favourite show.”

Richard Lewis, Fierylight CEO, added: “We absolutely love Dino Ranch’s unique and imaginative mix of dinosaurs and ranchers and can’t wait to get to work with Boat Rocker to recreate its free-range, roping ‘n’ riding, dinosaur-driven fun on stage. It’s going to make for a really fresh and exciting show, with lots of audience participation that will ensure it’s unlike anything else out there.”

Jonathan Shank, Terrapin Station Entertainment CEO and tour producer, said: Dino Ranchhas all the elements to be as huge a hit on stage as it is on screen – a great cast, with the wonderful characters in the Cassidy family and of course their amazing Dino buddies; a fabulous ranch setting; and fast-paced, fun adventure stories to thrill its young audience.”

Dino Ranch premiered in January on CBC and CBC Gem (Canada) and on Disney Junior and DisneyNow in the US, launching as the number one cable series among Kids 2-5, and has continued to be a ratings smash hit since. The series debuted in the UK and Australia on Disney+ in April 2021 and has rolled out internationally in other territories across the year. A second series is currently in production and set to appear on Disney channels in the US and LatAm in 2022 and internationally in 2023.

Dino Ranch is produced by Boat Rocker Studios and Industrial Brothers and created by Creative Director and Co-Founder of Industrial Brothers, Matthew Fernandes. Boat Rocker manages the global content distribution and consumer products programme for the franchise.

Cepia signs Curiosity Ink Media for Cats vs Pickles licensing

The partnership builds on the relationship between Curiosity Ink and Cepia to develop the distribution of the Cats vs Pickles animated series.

Curiosity Ink Media, a creator, producer and franchise manager of original multiplatform family entertainment, has announced that the company will partner with Cepia LLC to serve as licensing agent for the hit toy and entertainment franchise, Cats vs Pickles. The Cats vs Pickles brand has established tremendous appeal among global fans with collectible bean-filled toys, popular YouTube animated shorts and an app game.

The licensing partnership builds on the Curiosity-Cepia relationship established in 2021, an alliance to develop Cats vs Pickles into a widely distributed animated series featuring the cast of characters from the wildly popular Cats vs Pickles product line. In addition to entertainment content, Curiosity Ink Media has also signed on to develop multiple publishing titles, planned for 2022 and 2023 release. The first book in the series, Everybody Loves Cats vs Pickles is slated for release in September of 2022.

“Cats vs Pickles has all the ingredients of a character-based toy property that can successfully expand into various categories of business,” said Curiosity Ink Media’s CEO, Jared Wolfson. “We believe it is uniquely positioned for continued growth, and are excited to work with the great team at Cepia to further bolster the property, with expanded entertainment content and multi-segmented licensing applications.”

The licensing programme will tap into the growing popularity of Cats vs Pickles, as fans have amassed huge collections and enjoyed the brand’s signature quirky designs. To date, there are more than 600 distinctly styled characters (or “beans” as fans call them) in the collection, including one-eared Vincent van Meow or Triggy Kitty, the blackboard cat covered in math equation. The lovable Pickles are also treasured by collectors, including Leaf Pickleson, the Viking pickle or the tuxedo-clad Fitzgherkin.

A recent survey of over 1300 Cats vs Pickles fans revealed that the average collection size is over 70 characters, with 20% boasting collections of 120 or more in just the past year. The brand has both kid and adult fans, with both boys and girls collecting. Remarkably, more than 60% of all fans report that they regularly take their Cats vs Pickles collectibles with them to school or to work, making it a true lifestyle brand.

“Cats vs Pickles is more than a collectible; to our fans the entire CvP community is an important part of their life that gives them a little happiness and joy,” explained Cepia LLC founder and CEO, James Russell Hornsby. “Cats vs Pickles speaks to the kidult in all of us and, in many ways, is really a comfort pet collectible.”

Cepia’s robotic hamster toy, Zhu Zhu Pets, was a massive hit that created 60m  fans worldwide and delivered more than $1.7b in retail sales.

“We see several hallmarks of a collectible franchise that hits the right notes, with an engaged and growing fanbase that spans demographic groups, clever characters that are beloved and a storyline that has heart,” added Cepia’s chief Marketing officer, Laura Frerichs. “Our CvP community has been actively asking for licensed product in all categories – they can’t wait to show their true colours of Team Cat or Team Pickle.”

Curiosity Ink Media will be taking meetings with select partners during Licensing Expo 2022 in Las Vegas this week.

WildBrain unveils new Strawberry Shortcake deals

New distribution partners have been signed for Season 2 of original Strawberry Shortcake series Berry in the Big City which debuts this summer.

The kids’ brand continues to gain momentum around the world with new distribution, licensing and promotional partnerships. Following the global success of Season 1 of its new Strawberry Shortcake series, Berry in the Big City, WildBrain is set to launch Season 2 this summer on the official Strawberry Shortcake channel on WildBrain Spark, the company’s AVOD network on YouTube and YouTube Kids.

Michael Riley, Chief Brands officer at WildBrain, said: “Since launching this fresh version of our treasured Strawberry Shortcake brand and the new Berry in the Big City series, the response from kids, families and industry partners alike has been amazing. As we prepare to launch forty more episodes, we’re seeing the new brand gathering significant momentum, as demonstrated by another round of international partners, and we know this is only just the beginning for our all-new Strawberry Shortcake.”

Licensees attending Licensing Expo are invited to visit WildBrain’s dedicated licensing agency, WildBrain CPLG, at stand E154 to find out more about the licensing opportunities for Strawberry Shortcake.

The new Berry in the Big City 2D-animated series (80 x 4’), plus four brand-new premium CG-animated seasonal specials (4 x 44’), is produced by WildBrain’s Vancouver animation studio with renowned showrunner Michael Vogel (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic). The series and specials are part of the global rollout of WildBrain’s new Strawberry Shortcake brand across animated content, gaming, music, toys, food, apparel, events and more.

A new wave of distribution partners for Berry in the Big City has been signed following the previously announced worldwide deal with Netflix, which saw the series launch on the platform in April and which will see four original CG specials follow in 2023.

Peacock (US) has signed on for seasons one and two of Berry in the Big City, as has Brazilian broadcaster globoplay. The Roku Channel (US) has launched a Strawberry Shortcake channel featuring new and classic content. Tiny Pop (UK) has taken both seasons plus the specials; seasons one and two episodes will also be available on Tiny Pop’s VOD app, the POP Player. HOP! (Israel) has picked up season one and the four CG specials. Also, TelevisaUnivision’s Prende TV free streaming service has launched a Strawberry Shortcake channel featuring both new and classic content in Spanish for the US.

Other new distribution partners for season one include Amazon Prime Video (LatAm, France, Germany, Austria, UK, Ireland, Australia), Crave (Canada), FilmRise (US), Future Today (US, UK, Canada), Kartoon Channel! (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore), Kids Street (US), Magenta-TV (Germany), Tubi (US), TVNZ (New Zealand) and XUMO (US).

Additionally, multiple new consumer products partnerships have been signed by WildBrain CPLG. Several new deals for both New and Vintage Strawberry Shortcake highlight the evergreen appeal of the brand amongst girls and mothers and add to the list of previously announced licensees for the new Strawberry Shortcake, including Moose Toys (Master Toy/global) and Penguin Random House (publishing/North America).

This spring also sees Strawberry Shortcake celebrating fruits, sweet treats and more through a robust range of promotional partnerships at thousands of retail stores across the US and online.

Barbie joins Rubies’ licensed costume portfolio

The new partnership between Mattel and Rubies will show girls that ‘anything is possible’ via a range of Barbie costumes spanning some of the doll’s most popular careers.

Having recently been named as the top global toy property of the year, Barbie will
be partnering with Rubies as it and Mattel announce a brand-new Barbie dress-up collection for 2022.

Barbie has shown girls they can be anything since 1959. By providing purposeful play with over 200 careers, highlighting global role models, showcasing diversity and inclusion and leading the mission to close the Dream Gap, Barbie continuously strives to help kids reach their limitless potential. As the world’s No.1 fashion doll Barbie is an international icon and muse and continues to both spark imaginations and influence conversations around the world.

The new Barbie children’s dress-up range will be available across EMEA and features popular styles including Astronaut, Ballerina and Princess costumes. Both the Ballerina and Princess designs feature reversible sequins on the bodice, perfect for creating two looks in one.

The production of the officially licensed costumes for Barbie is a significant addition to the company’s ongoing successful partnership, which includes some of the most iconic characters created for children’s entertainment such as Fireman Sam and He-Man and The Masters of The Universe.

Georges Ghougassian, group director, Licence and Brands at Rubies, commented: “Barbie is known the world over for encouraging children to reach their limitless potential, whether that’s a career as a teacher, astronaut or fashion designer. As the industry leader in costumes and dress-up, our aims align as we inspire our core audience to become whoever they want to be. We are incredibly excited to be launching our latest Barbie costumes: it’s an exciting next step in our relationship with Mattel as we broaden our representation of its much-loved brands.”

Rubies’ official licensed Barbie costumes will be available to pre-order soon at rubiesuk.com.

The Noble Collection celebrates E.T.’s 40th anniversary with special range

The special edition E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Collection is being released to mark the film’s milestone this summer.

A special edition E.T. 40th Anniversary Collection is being launched by The Noble Collection in collaboration with NBCUniversal, to celebrate the timeless film, E.T: the Extra-Terrestrial from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.

The collection features 11 high-quality items inspired by the E.T. character loved by many, including three variations of E.T. plush: an interactive version with a special sensor to activate the warm orange glow and a collector plush with the costume ensemble from the timeless “E.T. phone home” scene. Also included in the product line are four charms, two collectible bookmarks, a detailed E.T. BendyFig and an intricately crafted Toyllectible Treasure diorama inspired by the iconic flying bicycle scene from the film.

“The Noble Collection is excited to celebrate the anniversary of this classic film with the launch of this special collection” said Julian Montoya, senior vice president of The Noble Collection.  “With a wide range of high-quality products, fans and collectors of all ages have the opportunity to celebrate the milestone anniversary. The product range is carefully crafted with our signature Noble Collection craftsmanship and celebrates E.T. and signature scenes that have touched the hearts and sparked the imaginations of so many over the last four decades.”

The Special Edition E.T. BendyFig is available now with the rest of the collection coming in autumn 2022, with pre-sale access available on The Noble Collection website. This special edition collection will further expand the existing collaborations with NBCUniversal.

The Noble Collection launches BendyFigs this year as part of the new Toyllectible line of figures with highly detailed sculpts in a bendable form to pose and display. The collection is available in a range of licences from retro to on trend pop culture characters for collectors of all ages. For more information visit www.thenoblecollection.com

Moonbug partners with Disney on new series Morphle

The new CG series is based on the hit short form My Magic Pet Morphle and will launch on Disney+ and Disney Junior globally.

Moonbug Entertainment has announced an agreement with Disney Branded Television to create a new CG original series, Morphle, based on the hit short-form My Magic Pet Morphle. The 52×7-episode comedy adventure series will debut in 2024 exclusively on Disney+ and Disney Junior globally, excluding China. Disney will also launch episodes of My Magic Pet Morphle on its platforms. This strategic partnership is the first creation and distribution agreement of its kind between the two leaders in kids entertainment.

Morphle follows Mila and her stepbrother, Jordie, as they leap into a world of adventure with the help of Morphle, Mila’s magical and loyal pet who has the power to change into whatever she needs. The trio use their skills and smarts to keep magic pets out of mischief, solve problems and find “magic matches” for each of the hilarious and unique newcomers.

“The agreement with Disney Branded Television is a significant milestone for the Morphle brand and recognizes Moonbug Entertainment’s continued growth within the kids’ market,” said Andy Yeatman, managing director of Americas and Originals at Moonbug Entertainment. “We are excited to expand our original content initiatives and bring the fun and fantastical Morphle universe to more families around the world.”

Jane Gould, executive vice president, Content Research, Insights & Scheduling, Disney General Entertainment added; “This inaugural partnership with Moonbug Entertainment for this new iteration of Morphle is a welcome venture for us. The characters and stories from this beloved franchise have delighted and entertained kids and families for more than a decade and the sensational combination of magic and adventure is the perfect fit for our Disney Junior and Disney+ audiences.”

Arthur van Merwijk is the creator of the short-form series My Magic Pet Morphle. The new Morphle series was co-developed by Mark Palmer (Hello Ninja) and consulting producer Jill Sanford (Go! Go! Cory Carson). Nick Confalone (Helpsters) serves as story editor.

For more information about Moonbug and its programming, visit www.moonbug.com.

BBC Studios expands Bluey global licensing programme

The expanded licensing programme for Bluey includes five new UK licensing deals following success with Moose, Ravensburger and Crayola.

Emmy award-winning sensation Bluey, which has been winning over preschoolers and families worldwide, is expanding its licensing programme with new partners.

These licensing agreements follow closely on the heels of the announcement of BBC Studios’ new global partnership with Hasbro for co-branded Monopoly Jr. and Trouble games along with Play-Doh. VTech has also announced details of its Bluey products which are set to go on sale this year in the US, Canada, Australia and UK with New Zealand and France to follow.

Widely lauded by parents and press alike for its heartfelt and funny portrayal of family life and celebration of play, Season three of Bluey debuted on ABC TV in Australia in November 2021 and is set to be released globally on Disney platforms later this year.

Bluey is hugely popular with audiences in the UK, where it was the most-watched programme on CBeebies for Q1 2022, with toys from both Moose Toys and Ravensburger making Bluey one of the hottest brands since its launch at retail last year, gaining the title of No.1 new pre-school toy brand in 2021 according to NPD data.

Earlier this year, Crayola released products in the UK, with sales already exceeding expectations. Building on this success, BBC Studios is announcing new deals with 8th Wonder (wooden toys), Spin Master (wooden puzzles – extending the US range into the UK), Moonpig (cards and gifting), Drew Pearson (accessories) and an expanded deal with Ravensburger in the UK (including proprietary games including Memory and Labyrinth).

“8th Wonder is delighted to be working with BBC Studios on such a prestigious property. The Bluey wooden toy range will be fun, educational and produced using FSC certified wood, and all product and packaging will be designed with sustainability in mind,” said Louise Tyrer, managing director, 8th Wonder. “With over 25 years’ experience creating distinctive, innovative wooden toys, we look forward to delivering an award-winning range through this fantastic brand,”

BBC Studios has also just signed a new pan-European deal (inc. UK) with HTI Toys for large role play, cases, bubbles and outdoor toys.

Alison Downie, Global Licensing and Brand director for HTI Group, commented: “We are thrilled to be partnering with BBC Studios once again on another hugely popular pre-school show. Bluey will be made very welcome here at HTI Toys and we are excited to develop a range of toys that complement Bluey’s love of play.”

Bluey continues to grow its licensing program in EMEA and existing licensee Ravensburger has signed a new agreement with BBC Studios to cover France, Italy and Nordics.

“We are delighted to extend our very long standing and excellent partnership with BBC Studios,” added Tim Hall at Ravensburger. “We launched Bluey in the UK last autumn/winter and our puzzles were immediately best sellers in all the accounts where they are listed and that success continues to build. We look forward to further growth in the UK and Ireland and establishing the property in the new territories.”

Further partners launching products in the UK this year include:

Character Options – Weebles and arts & crafts
Danilo – calendars, cards and gift stationery
H&A – health & beauty
MV Sports – wheeled toys
Stor – lunchboxes, bottles and tableware
William Lamb – footwear and bags

WildBrain teams up with HarperCollins Productions

WildBrain has secured global rights for HarperCollins Productions franchises Carmen Sandiego, The Oregon Trail and Pretzel and The Puppies.

WildBrain CPLG has further expanded its entertainment portfolio with the signing of worldwide licensing and merchandising (L&M) rights for a trio of HarperCollins Productions’ popular properties: Carmen Sandiego, The Oregon Trail and Pretzel and the Puppies.

Under the deal secured by WildBrain CPLG’s North America office, the agency will build strategic licensing programmes for each of the properties across multiple new categories, including apparel, footwear, fashion accessories, electronics, toys and games, health and beauty, back-to-school and homewares. The partnership also includes promotions and location-based entertainment rights.

WildBrain CPLG’s L&M rights for Carmen Sandiego include the hit animated action-adventure television series, which is produced by HarperCollins Productions and WildBrain for Netflix and based on the media franchise of the same name. The agency will also represent L&M rights to the Carmen Sandiego Netflix movie, which is currently in development.

The Oregon Trail is a mega-hit video game franchise from the 1980s and ’90s, which has recently launched as a top-ranked game on Apple Arcade. The popular property has also been extended into books and licensing with major media in development, but not yet announced.

Meanwhile, Pretzel and the Puppies is a children’s book by Margret and H.A. Rey, the authors of Curious George, originally published in 1946 and recently re-released by Clarion Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books. It is now an Apple TV+ animated series, which follows the adventures of Pretzel, the world’s longest dachshund, his wife Greta and their pups.

Jasen Wright, VP North America at WildBrain CPLG, said: “As our North America office continues to expand its entertainment portfolio, it’s fantastic to welcome a company of HarperCollins Productions’ calibre into our roster, a group which is home to some incredibly popular franchises that we know have significant consumer products potential. The Carmen Sandiego brand is a perfect example of how WildBrain is positioned to offer 360-degree strategies for IP owners who are looking for integrated content, distribution and licensing all under one roof.”

An award-winning production company within HarperCollins Publishers, HarperCollins Productions develops and produces TV, film, and interactive projects adapted from books published by HarperCollins, with projects ranging from pre-school to YA to family entertainment, in both live-action and animation.

Caroline Fraser, head of HarperCollins Productions, added: “HarperCollins publishes some of the best children’s titles in the world. When we adapt these titles to screen, kids, families and authors enjoy wider access to our beloved characters and stories. We are excited to work with WildBrain CPLG to bring our properties to an even wider audience through licensing and merchandising.”

 

 

Dan Cook joins Paramount as senior VP of Global eCommerce

In his new role, Dan Cook will will lead the startegy and execution of Paramount Consumer Products’ eCommerce business growth.

Paramount Consumer Products has announced a new leadership hire responsible for the operational management and growth strategy of the expanding eCommerce business. Dan Cook is joining the team as senior vice president of Global eCommerce, leading strategy and execution for Paramount Consumer Products’ eCommerce growth through pure play e-Cmmerce retailers, omni channel retailers and third-party marketplace accounts.

Dan will bring valuable insights from previous experiences to create a global centre of excellence and help expand eCommerce penetration by defining innovative sales strategies and developing marketing programmes to drive consumer engagement across Paramount products and franchises. He will also be tasked with setting the strategy for eCommerce maximization at all omnichannel accounts, developing new business models to optimize all CP categories in the traditional licensing business.

Based in Los Angeles, Dan will report to Dion Vlachos, executive vice president of Hardlines and Retail.

“Dan’s extensive experience and leadership in digital commerce will strengthen our connection with fans of our franchises and allow us to more quickly flex to the needs of our customers and partners,” said Dion Vlachos. “We could not be more thrilled to have Dan join our Paramount Consumer Products team.”

Most recently, prior to joining Paramount, Dan held various eCommerce positions with Unilever, Mondelez International and Walmart ,where he was accountable for digital performance and competitive growth. Dan has also held previous positions at Target, The Nielsen Company, Supervalu and Macy’s.

Mattel’s Jurassic World Dominion toys roam London for National Dinosaur Day

The special celebration yesterday gave Mattel the chance to showcase the Jurassic World Dominion range from this summer’s blockbuster movie.

To celebrate National Dinosaur Day yesterday (Sunday 15th May), Mattel allowed its new Jurassic World Dominion dinosaurs to roam famous sights in London, as well as unveiling fun new research that found a third of kids are convinced dinosaurs are still alive.

The OnePoll research, commissioned by Mattel to launch the new toy range for the film which is released on 10th June, also discovered 49% think some dinosaurs can still be found in the UK.

A poll of 1,000 children aged 6-10 show the T. rex coming out on top as kids’ favourite dinosaur, with most kids opting for a T. rex as the one they’d most like to housetrain, and that 33% of kids would love to have a dinosaur as a pet.

To showcase the new Mattel Jurassic World Dominion toy range alongside the research, Mattel used clever ‘forced perspective’ photography to make it look as though dinosaurs were exploring old and new London landmarks. The Quetzalcoatlus dinosaur toy visited the Natural History Museum, where many prehistoric dinosaur skeletons now remain, while the Therizinosaurus toy was seen to be grasping the London Eye in its claws and the T.rex visited the Houses of Parliament.

Kelly Philp, marketing director Mattel UK, said: “Dinosaurs are endlessly fascinating to children, and they probably always will be. This National Dinosaur Day, we thought there was no better way to celebrate than to find out what kids think about all things dinosaur.

“Dinosaurs may not still be roaming the earth, but the new Jurassic World Dominion Mattel toy range means kids can play out endless adventures – and with a much more parent approved pet.”

The new Mattel Jurassic World Dominion toy range is inspired by the upcoming Jurassic World Dominion film – with authentic true-to-movie look, action scale, scan-able tags and AR fun.

The research also found that 52% of kids think dinosaurs will come back; 65% of kids love playing with dinosaur toys, with 39% saying they are their favourite toys; The T. rex and Triceratops are kids’ favourites and 80% of kids own up to 20 dinosaur toys.