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December 29 - January 5, 2024


Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!

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  • "I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.

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The Top 23 Visited People of Play Profiles

(source: Google Analytics in order of most views)

Andreas Hoenigschmid

Elizabeth Werner

Mary Couzin

Eddy Goldfarb

Michael Kohner

Leslie Scott

Robert Fuhrer

Tim Kilpin

Peggy Brown

Rachele Harmuth

Rich Mazel

David Fuhrer

Matt Nuccio

Steve Rehkemper

Kedar Narayan

David Yakos

Christopher Byrne

Dan Klitsner

Jim Pressman

Jordan Goddard

Kim Vandenbroucke

Dougal Grimes

Tim Walsh


The TOP Ten Visited Company Profiles

Longshore Limited

Spin Master

The Michael Kohner Corporation

Fat Brain Toys



ASTRA - American Specialty Retailer Association



Missing Piece Press

Top 10 viewed POP Articles of 2023

(These are not impressions; they are actual views by mostly consumers organically)

60 Years of Dreams: A Comprehensive Overview of Barbie’s Dreamhouses – 299,382 views

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1980s – 263,166 views

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 2000s – 251,904 views

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1990s – 123,632 views

Top 10 most iconic Barbie dolls of the 1970s – 82,425 views

Top 10 Most Iconic Barbie Dolls of the 1960s – 60, 464 views

Barbie Looks vs. Barbie Basics -- How do they compare? – 15,582 views

SQUINKIES ARE BACK! – 8,522 views

Doug Reuter on SEQUENCE, Inventing, and Life Challenges – 4,299 views

Talk Host and TV Producer Donna Drake Announces Creation of new talk show “TOYS OF OUR LIVES” co-created and hosted by Matt Nuccio – 3,252 views

Link to full article HERE!

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3 Truths and a Lie with David Blanchard

How well do you know your colleagues? Click HERE for answers. If you filled in your POP Profile Fun Facts and you aren't part of this game yet, let us know! 4,632 people played 3 Truths and a Lie in 2023! 

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Cartoon Lovers, Lexophiles & People in Need of a Smile! 

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Cartoons of the Week: Thank you to the anonymous person who sent this week's cartoon. 

Lexophile Lovers:  "A lot of money is tainted. ‘Taint yours and ‘taint mine." Thank you, Jerry Cleary for sharing with our readers! 

Memorable Quotes:

"A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction." -- Kurt Vonnegut

“Take care of each other. Take care of yourself. Repeat.” -- Lin-Manuel Miranda

Toy Industry Word of Day:  Toy Industry Royalty  If you can think of a toy/game industry word not in our POPDictionary, add it and we will connect it to you POP profile, feature it here in an upcoming week and on POP's homepage! 

Have a cartoon, quote or a joke to share with your colleagues? Send it to me!  Mary

Financial and Legal

LA-based Second Dinner, the studio behind Marvel Snap, has raised US$100 million and is eyeing growth in the kids market. Venture capitalist firm Griffin Gaming Partners led the recent Series B funding round and has joined Second Dinner as a minority investor. The co. plans to continue operating independently and will use the new capital to expand Marvel Snap, build its development slate and pursue new licensing...


*** The above posted after January 5th ***


Disney's earliest Mickey and Minnie Mouse enter public domain as US copyright expires. It was the animation that launched the House of Mouse. Steamboat Willie, a 1928 short film featuring early non-speaking versions of Mickey and Minnie, is widely seen as the moment that transformed Disney's fortunes and made cinema history. Their images are now available to the public in the US, after Disney's copyright expired. .


Mickey Mouse horror film unveiled as copyright ends. It's Mickey, but not as you've ever seen him before. A trailer for a slasher film, featuring a masked killer dressed as Mickey Mouse, was released on 1 January, the day that Disney's copyright on the earliest versions of the cartoon character expired in the US. "We wanted the polar opposite of what exists," the movie's producer said. 


Hasbro finalizes sale of eOne film and TV business to Lionsgate. The sale of Hasbro‘s eOne Film and TV business to entertainment company Lionsgate is complete. The transaction began in August. Hasbro sold eOne to Lionsgate for a purchase price of $375 million in cash, subject to purchase price adjustments and the assumption by Lionsgate of production financing loans. 


Spin Master finalizes acquisition of Melissa & Doug. Spin Master has completed its acquisition of Melissa & Doug, a company that focuses on early childhood play through its sustainable wooden toys. Plans to acquire Melissa & Doug for $950 million were revealed in October. Both parties agreed to eliminate the additional contingent earnout consideration of up to $150 million. “This acquisition brings together two...

Joking Hazard has announced the acquisition of Lay Waste Games, as well as its intention to finish fulfilment of any outstanding games and its goals to cultivate the brand moving forward. Lay WasteIn a statement to supporters of Lay Waste’s Heads Will Roll and Dragoon Might and Magma Kickstarter appeals, Joking Hazard announced the acquisition.

News of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and Paramount talks around a potential merger could push NBCUniversal (NBCU) owner Comcast into making its own move to consolidate the sector, analysts have said. Rumours surrounding a tie-up between WBD and Paramount, amid broader industry consolidation, have been swirling for months but news this week that CEO’s David Zaslav and Bob Bakish suggested the...

The FTC has proposed several revisions to its 24-year-old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) to keep up with evolving technology and make it harder for companies to collect and monetize data from kids.  For app builders, website operators and online services aiming to reach children in the US, COPPA is an ever-present and important gatekeeper that already requires providing notice...

Sony fined by French regulators over third-party PS4 controllers. French antitrust regulator Autorité de la Concurrence has fined Sony €13.5 million (nearly $14.8 million) over its alleged restrictions for third-party PlayStation 4 controllers. In its investigation, the regulator found Sony "abused its dominant position in the market." Since 2015, it had a PS4 countermeasure that made third-party controllers disconnect...

New Zealand government reaffirms support for Game Development Sector Rebate. New Zealand's incumbent coalition government has confirmed it will continue offering a 20 percent tax rebate to game studios in the region. Studios in the country have produced notable titles like Dredge, Before We Leave, and Path of Exile, but it was unclear how–or indeed if–the government would continue supporting local creatives...


MapleStory dev Nexon fined $8.9 million by Korean regulator for misleading players. South Korean publisher Nexon has been fined 11.6 billion won ($8.9 million) by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for allegedly misleading customers about the probability of some purchasable item drops. The fine relates to items that can be bought in MapleStory and Bubble Fighter, with the KFTC claiming that Nexon...

Red Sea attacks: 'Our shipping costs have jumped 250%. "Some of our costs have gone up 250%". That is the reality for Thomas O'Brien, boss of family-run Boxer Gifts, which designs games and seasonal presents. Their products are made in China so the Leeds-based firm relies heavily on global shipping. But attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea have prompted long diversions to avoid one of the world's busiest...


Red Sea: UK Defence Secretary says British forces will repel Houthi attacks. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has said British forces are ready to act against Houthi rebels that target cargo ships in the Red Sea. In a newspaper article, he said the UK was "willing to take direct action" to protect the key shipping lane. Highlighting how a British warship shot down a suspected attack drone in the Red Sea in December..

US Navy helicopters destroy Houthi boats in Red Sea after attempted hijack. The US Navy has destroyed Houthi "small boats" whose crew attempted to board a container ship in the Red Sea. Four vessels from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen fired upon the Maersk Hangzhou and got within meters of the ship, the US military said. Helicopters from nearby US warships responded to a distress call - and, after being fired upon...

Next warns of supply delays due to Red Sea shipping attacks. Next has warned supplies of its products could be delayed if disruption to shipping in the Red Sea continues. Attacks by Houthi rebels on vessels in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes have resulted in firms avoiding the area and taking longer routes. Next said if access "difficulties" continue, delays to stock deliveries to the UK were "likely" early this year.



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Financial Reporting

Following Layoffs, Hasbro Sells Film, TV Business and Retires $400 Million in Debt. The announcement, per a release from the company, “underscores Hasbro’s Blueprint 2.0 strategy."





Trends, Lists, Market Research, and State of the Industry

Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and IDW Publishing all lost market share in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the third quarter, while Image Comics made the biggest gain

TV Ratings: Golden Globes Jump 50 Percent With CBS Switch. The awards also benefited from a strong NFL lead-in Sunday afternoon.

*** The above posted after January 5th ***


Have You Heard About MESH? A New Movement Seeks to Foster Resilience Through Play.





Full STEAM Ahead: A Deep Dive into the Category Shows Why STEAM is for Everyone. Toymakers aim to make the category more inclusive.

New research looks at UK animation industry compensation


Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

Three predictions for 2024. We Are Family CEO Maurice Wheeler shares his thoughts on the kids media business in the year ahead. Following a noticeable slump in TV spending—and heightened fears about AI-generated content—2024 is poised to be a defining period for many companies in the kids entertainment space.  On the back of a year that has felt stagnant in many ways, 2024 will likely be a turning point that pushes...


ROXi, a music video streaming app for TVs whose backers include Simon Cowell and Kylie Minogue that was first launched in the U.K., is coming to the U.S. The service promises American viewers access to some 100 mill. music videos - including the likes of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé — plus hundreds of curated music video channels, karaoke and music games. ROXi’s services are available free with ads, or...

A survey of the leading AI scientists says there’s a 5% chance that AI will become uncontrollable and wipe out humanity. In the short term, researchers estimate AI will become significantly more advanced, able to create a Top 40 pop song and write an NYT bestseller before 2030. So at least our AI overlords will entertain us before they kill us.

Daughter gifts mom and dad toys they always wanted as children, but never received. Abigail Oviedo of Grayslake, IL, recently proved it's never too late to tap into the charm and whim of childhood holiday spirit. This holiday season, Abigail decided to give her parents presents they had wanted as children, but never received. She shared a video of her parents receiving the gifts on TikTok on Dec. 30, where it garnered over 2.4 million views and more than 188,000 likes.

*** The above posted after January 5th ***


John Baulch, Toy World - That’s Entertainer-ment … it’s the Friday Blog! Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful festive season, that your batteries are fully recharged and you’re ready and raring to go for Toy Fair Season. 2024 is the Chinese Year of the Dragon – apparently, one of the most powerful and luckiest animals in the Chinese Zodiac – so let’s hope some of that power and luck rubs off on the toy community.


Is a Bob Iger Successor Hiding in Plain Sight? Ynon Kreiz, the veteran executive who restructured Mattel and bet its future on the Barbie movie (and the tenuous I.P. business), has the experience and momentum to be a potential replacement for Bob Iger, despite a checkered past with Disney. At the very least, Kreiz is the Hollywood Hero of the Year.

Steve Reece - The Toy Journal - Another Year Beckons: 2024 Global Toy Market Outlook. Setting the scene – the Pandemic Years and the counter reaction aka 2020 and 2021 were unexpectedly good, and 2022 and 2023 were particularly bad! One of the biggest business learnings you can have is that successfully managing expectations can make a drop in sales look like a success, and a sales increase can become a failure...

Need a Home for 80,000 Puzzles? Try an Italian Castle. Earlier this year, George and Roxanne Miller relocated the world’s largest collection of mechanical puzzles from their home in Florida. But first they took a road trip. Meet the Millers, George and Roxanne, proprietors of the world’s largest collection of mechanical puzzles: physical objects that a puzzler holds and manipulates while seeking a solution.


Another set of Pokémon TCG Trophy Pikachu cards sells at auction for nearly $800,000. Three more Trophy Pikachu cards from the Pokémon Trading Card Game’s earliest competitive days recently sold at auction for a staggering $794,220 (£627,477). The complete set, graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and auctioned by Goldin, has set a new record for the trophy-hefting Pikachus. 


The world's most valuable Pokémon card, Pikachu Illustrator, sells for $580,000. Among the most rare and valuable Pokémon TCG cards in existence, Pikachu Illustrator draws eyes every time it appears at auction. The latest copy on the proverbial collectibles block recently sold for over half a million dollars. 


Chinese chess champ stripped of title after taking a dump in a bathtub. The 48-year-old Xiangqi player has also been accused of us an anal massaging device to cheat. When you accomplish something big, like winning a major tournament, how do you celebrate? Maybe you jump around in excitement. Maybe you pop a bottle of champagne. Or, if you’re a 48-year-old Xiangqi (Chinese chess) player who just won...

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History and Nostalgia


The first toy advertised on TV was Mr. Potato Head. While toy commercials are ubiquitous today, they were virtually unheard of before April 30, 1952. That day, a television ad for Mr. Potato Head aired for the first time. George Lerner created an early version of the toy tuber in 1949, and sold the rights to Hassenfeld Brothers (which became Hasbro) three years later.


*** The above posted after January 5th ***


Drive Ya Nuts from Milton Bradley. Released in 1970 by Milton Bradley, Drive Ya Nuts was an edge-matching puzzle/game with a single solution. The all-plastic playing surface housed seven large hex nuts locked in a place via spindles built into the game board. Each nut had a number between 1 and 6 on its edges. The numbers in clockwise order on each nut were 162453, 143652, 123456, 164253, 165432, 146235...


Mysterious medieval cemetery unearthed in Wales. A rare, early medieval cemetery has been unearthed in Wales and it has left archaeologists scratching their heads. It's thought to date to the 6th or 7th Century and 18 of the estimated 70 graves have been excavated so far. Fragments of dishes and cups have been found, and splinters of animal bone that have been butchered and burnt. 


Top 10 Toy Tales articles of 2023. 2024 has finally arrived – the perfect time for a top-10 list of the most popular articles on Toy Tales in 2023. The list was curated based on site activity and engagement through various social media channels. If you missed them the first time, this is your chance to see what you missed. If you read them before, it’s worth taking another look! Little Miss No-Name from Hasbro (1965). 

103 epic toy design fails that are so bad, it’s hilarious. Quite a few of us likely remember our favorite toy from back when we were kids. For some it might be a Teletubby, so washed out over the years it’s difficult to guess if it’s Laa-Laa or Dipsy looking back at them; for others it can be anything from toy cars, to dolls, blocks, or even a bunny made out of an old sock. 

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Licensing and Entertainment 

Mario Lopez-Hosted ‘Blank Slate’ Starts on Game Show Network January 8. Blank Slate sees a team of two friends and a comedian guest-answer trivia.The board game, from USAopoly, bills itself as “The Game Where Great Minds Think Alike.” Blank Slate is a Game Show Enterprises Studios production with Rane Laymance the executive producer, along with Richard Gerrits and Laura Robinson for Heath Street Media.

Disney+ breakout star Grogu (better known as Baby Yoda) is getting his own theatrical film called The Mandalorian & Grogu, which will be directed and produced by Jon Favreau. Favreau is a Disney favorite whose directorial credits with the company include Iron Man and The Jungle Book. Lucasfilm execs Kathleen Kennedy and Dave Filoni will also have producer credits on the feature, which should go into production...

The Hershey Company has inked a new licensing deal with Florida-based theme park company Falcon’s Beyond. Under the global agreement, Falcon’s will build and launch location-based entertainment experiences based on iconic Hershey’s candy brands like Reese’s and Twizzlers. The plan is for every destination to offer a Hershey-inspired attraction, a “food and beverage experience” that lets visitors savor...

Key licences for the year ahead. With almost one-third of UK toy sales coming from licensed ranges, it’s important for licensees and retailers to choose wisely when it comes to which licences to work with. Publisher John Baulch writes that 2023 was a good year for sales of licensed toys. According to Circana, licensed toys outperformed the rest of the toy market last year, accounting for 32% of all toy sales.

British studio 3Megos has signed on to develop and produce a new CG-animated series called Nelly Jelly, based on a popular Lithuanian publishing franchise. Author/illustrator Lina Žutautė’s same-name book series for preschoolers was turned into a 2D-animated feature film called Nelly Jelly: My Movie that hit theaters in Lithuania last April, generating US$263,778). To make the concept work internationally, 

Washington’s Aspen Institute is seeking pitches for short-form content for tweens that focuses on climate science. The nonprofit org issued a callout today as part of its This is Planet Ed program, which is all about using educational channels to raise environmental awareness among the next generation of potential climate activists.  Projects must target the eight to 12 demo and integrate these four climate principles.


*** The above posted after January 5th ***


Playmobil gets the Boyhood treatment. Boyhood, a Danish design company established in Aarhus, Denmark, is partnering with the Playmobil brand owned by Geobra Brandstätter Stiftung & Co. KG, Zirndorf/Germany. “As a boy growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, Playmobil has been a huge part of my life, and I have spent thousands of hours playing in the fantastic universe of Playmobil,” says Jakob Burgsø, founder...

Fanattik, Hasbro ring in the New Year with extended collaboration. New year, new Hasbro merch from Fanattik. The two companies renewed their licensing partnership, meaning more collectibles featuring Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and Transformers are OTW in 2024. “We work closely with the Wizards of the Coast team in the USA when it comes to product development, they live and breathe...


Expand your collections with new Mini Brands Sneakers and Books. Zuru recently introduced new Mini Brands to the miniature game: shoes and books! Replicate your shoe collection and normal-size bookshelf with mini versions of the same items. There are several footwear options with the new Mini Brands Sneakers line. You and your kids can collect real miniature sneaker brands like Reebok, Airwalk, Sketchers...


'Wonka' wins, 'Aquaman 2' sinks; Disney's 'Steamboat Willie' goes public domain; 'What If...?' S3 preview; R.I.P. Tom Wilkinson; 'Wednesday' spinoff; Lionsgate closes on Hasbro's eOne. The New Year's weekend box office numbers have hit the wire, and Wonka was the big winner, according to Variety.  The new movie, starring Timothee Chalamet, grossed $22.7 million for the weekend...

Peanuts characters join Aurora’s plush lineup. The latest collection of plush to hit Aurora World’s lineup features Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters. The deal with Peanuts Worldwide will result in iconic Peanuts characters featured as plush, including Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, and more. “Partnering with companies who are leaders in their product categories, such as Aurora World...


New 'Disney Villainous' games incoming. Also, Ravensburger reformats 'Villainous' expansions. Ravensburger announced their 2024 releases for the Disney Villainous line of board games. The first Villainous game headed to market in 2024 is Disney Villainous: Sugar and Spice. It features King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph as well as Shere Khan from The Jungle Book. Ravensburger will also release a new version...


Mario helped break Disney’s 7-year box office streak. For the first time since 2015, Disney wasn’t at the top of 2023’s global box office. And while there are a few different factors and reasons for the Mickey Mouse empire slipping from first to second, a significant reason for the shift is because of the super-successful Super Mario animated film. 2023’s animated Super Mario Bros. 


Jack Black to play Steve in 2025’s Minecraft movie. It rather beggars belief that there hasn’t been a Minecraft movie already. The Microsoft-owned behemoth is one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time, and seems ripe for a guaranteed $1 billion+ box office. However, despite rumors dating back as far as 2014, it wasn’t until 2022 that details seemed to solidify. 


Kids Preferred plans for Summer 2024 with ‘Welcome to the Universe Baby!’ collection from Universal Products & Experiences. The new line features an expansion of Kids Preferred Curious George range and a roll out of infant & toddler playthings that are gender neutral from across NBCUniversal’s beloved global brands including DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek, How To Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda...


Fabula Toys unveils partnership with SL Benfica FC. Award-winning British toy brand Fabula has announced a new licensing deal with SL Benfica, Portugal’s most celebrated football club. Together, the two teams have launched The Champions Express, a pop-up tent modelled on the team’s popular club bus. 


PMI to showcase new ranges across various stands at Toy Fair. At London Toy Fair, PMI Kids’ World will present a unique range of upcoming 2024 toy lines. The global toy partner of popular gaming and entertainment licences, PMI will be bringing toys based on newly acquired licences Stumble Guys and The Creature Cases. 

Asmodee Entertainment says the Ticket to Ride brand seamlessly transitions across categories, offering something for everyone. Ticket to Ride is a board game most readers will have played or seen on store shelves over the past 20 years. With more than 15m copies sold worldwide, including multiple expansions and the acclaimed new Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West, this iconic brand has become one...

Mr Bean: The Animated Series renewed for season four. The iconic toon from Tiger Aspect Kids & Family will return to air in 2025 on ITVX Kids and WBD's international platforms. This latest installment is slated to air in 2025 in the UK and Ireland on ITVX Kids, and across EMEA and Southeast Asia/South Asia on WBD’s networks and streamers.

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People of Play

Head of original content Veronica Pickett has left the Amazon Kids team prior to “several hundred” Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios team members being laid off. Pickett says she is going to Nickelodeon, adding that she wasn’t asked to leave Amazon Kids, and the Amazon Kids team is not affected by the layoffs. 

The LEGO Group unveils new APAC leadership. Claus Kristensen takes the reins and will open two new business units to drive growth, while former regional president Eric Maugein shifts into a senior consultant role.The LEGO Group is restructuring its leadership in Asia Pacific as regional president Eric Maugein steps down after almost 20 years with the company. Maugein announced he has transitioned into a senior...

Disney Entertainment has hired former Amazon Studios content synergy lead Jon Wax to help build a global pipeline that will feed into Disney+. As EVP of international original television, Wax will work with regional teams around the world to generate local hits for Disney+. He has oversight of the creative side of Disney’s international content slate, while Kristen Finney (EVP of int'l television strategy & operations) handles.


Netflix is integrating Animal Logic into its global animation studio structure and has put Karen Toliver, VP of animation film, in place to head up teams in LA, Sydney and Vancouver. As part of the restructure, Animal Logic CEO Sharon Taylor has resigned.  Netflix acquired Animal Logic in 2022 in order to produce more long-form animated content. At the time, Netflix stated that the Aussie prodco would remain independent.

British toyco Toikido has bolstered its commercial team with the addition of former Sanrio Global executive Sabrina Segalov as its first international licensing director. In her newly created role, Segalov is tasked with developing global licensing programs for Toikido’s in-house brands, including Roblox-first IP Piñata Smashlings and PeaKeeBoo, an upcoming preschool-skewing short series with Moonbug Entertainment. 

*** The above posted after January 5th ***


Boy, 13, Is Believed to Be the First to ‘Beat’ Tetris. Willis Gibson, a competitive Tetris player prodigy, advanced so far in the original Nintendo version of the game that it froze. “I can’t feel my fingers,” he said afterward. On Dec. 21, Willis Gibson put his hands to his head and rocked back and forth in an office chair in his bedroom in Stillwater, Okla., unable to believe what he had just accomplished. His screen had frozen, and his...

The Entertainer has offered its congratulations to group chief executive officer, Andrew Murphy, on being recognised with the award of an OBE for services to retail, in the 2024 King’s New Years Honours list. Over the last 20 years, alongside his leadership roles for The John Lewis Partnership and The Entertainer, Andrew has worked across the UK in a series of voluntary roles, leading retail industry engagement...

Retailer Bill Bulstrode honored with British Empire Medal. Toymaster reports that member Bill Bulstrode has received the British Empire Medal in the King’s New Year Honours list. Bill Bulstrode, of Bulstrodes/Framlingham Toy Shop, has been trading for 53 yrs and said the announcement of the honour had taken him by surprise. 

Jurgen Post, ex-Sega Europe president, returns amidst leadership change. Changes at Sega's European division have led to former president Jurgen Post returning to his old company. Per GamesIndustry, he'll serve as regional managing director and COO of Sega's western teams. Post joined Sega Europe in 2006 as a managing director. From there, he became senior VP for the EMEA region, and later COO for the entire...

Stern Pinball selects Lloyd Dortant as European Marketing Operations Manager. Stern Pinball has expanded its international team by appointing Lloyd Dortant as its new European Marketing Operations Manager. Dortant joins Stern Pinball after most recently serving as Sales Manager, Director at Seeben Gaming. Dortant will be located in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and focus on growing the Stern Army...

Skillmatics appoints raft of sales agents. Having only launched in Q4 2023, Skillmatics is already attracting major interest from some of the UK’s most progressive retailers. Early sales have exceeded expectations, resulting in the company securing the services of four renowned and respected sales agents covering key areas of the UK and Ireland. Stu Nicholas – Midlands and North West; Damien Leahy, North and Scotland...


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Companies and Brands


Grandson of red Radio Flyer wagon creator shares company's history. Radio Flyer was created in Chicago by Italian immigrant Antonio Pasin. His grandson, Robert Pasin, now serves as the company's chief wagon officer, and shared the history of the iconic little red wagon. "My grandpa's story is just one of these quintessential American immigrant success stories," Pasin said. "My grandpa's name was Antonio, and he was...


Meta, parent company of Facebook, is closing its Frank Gehry-designed London base It will further reduce the number of offices it occupies in London, where the tech giant has its largest staff presence outside of the U.S. The news Meta is shuttering its sizable HQ at One Rathbone Square, in the city’s upmarket Fitzrovia district, comes shortly after it paid £149 million ($189 million) to break a long term...


*** The above posted after January 5th ***


Tesco and The Entertainer have announced they are extending their partnership to cover the entire Tesco UK business and the Republic of Ireland from March 2024. Tesco customers will be able to shop The Entertainer’s outstanding range of much-loved brands such as Barbie, Nerf, L.O.L. and Paw Patrol, as well as its exclusive ranges; the great value Addo brand and Early Learning Centre – the award-winning early years toy...


Catan launches new game inspired by sustainability. Catan is headed to the 21st century. Catan: New Energies is a new version of the iconic game set in the modern day world where players must find sustainable energy sources to power the island of Catan. Throughout the game, players must choose between investing in clean energy or cheaper, but environmentally damaging fossil fuels.

Stonemaier Games reveals 'Wyrmspan': new dragon sanctuary game by Connie Vogelmann and Elizabeth Hargrave. Stonemaier Games revealed Wyrmspan, a new dragon sanctuary building game, available at retail in late March 2024. In this game, players take on the roles of amateur dracologists in a world where dragons traverse the skies. 

Bandai announces English version of Union Arena. Bandai’s card business department has announced the release of Union Arena English version, the English-language version of the Japanese card game, Union Arena, which was released in March 2023. The trading card game lets many popular anime and game titles battle using one set of rules. 


Daiso launches Miffy products in the U.S. The Dutch bunny Miffy is coming to Daiso stores in the U.S. The Joester Loria Group, the global licensing agency, revealed the 50-year-old Japanese-inspired retailer Daiso has launched a variety of Miffy products thanks to a new partnership. The collection includes Miffy keychains, sticker sheets, air fresheners, Miffy-themed calendars, scented pens, and pencil pouches.

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development

Latest estimates show over 14,000 new titles launched on Steam in 2023. 2023 was seemingly a record-breaking year for new releases on Steam with over 14,000 titles launching on the storefront over the last 12 months. That's according to the latest estimates from SteamDB, which indicate that 14,531 games were released on the digital marketplace in 2023. 


Dave the Diver has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Subaquatic culinary adventure Dave the Diver has surpassed 3 million global sales. Developer Mintrocket broke the news on X and thanked players for their "support and love." The title launched on June 28, 2023, on Windows PC and macOS before eventually heading to Nintendo Switch in October—though it had been available through Steam Early Access...


Baldur's Gate 3, Lego Fortnite, and 7 other games that defined 2023. The past 12 months have produced so many hits you'd have struggled to complete half of them, let alone all of them. That did not necessarily mean a good year across the whole industry: thousands of staff in hundreds of companies lost their jobs, and we also witnessed the permanent end of E3, the massive conference that was once the biggest...


Outright Games launches new ‘PJ Masks’ video game. Outright Games is teaming up with Hasbro to launch a second video game inspired by the new PJ Masks series that launched earlier this year, PJ Masks: Mighty Alliance. PJ Masks: Power Heroes is a side-scrolling adventure game in which players can join the nighttime heroes Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko as they travel across the city to defeat fan-favorite villains. .

Highlighted Press Releases

KIDSTUFF PUBLIC RELATIONS CELEBRATES 30th ANNIVERSARY in 2024. Since 1994 KSPR Has Pivoted From Fax Machines, Car Phones & AOL To Zoom Meets And Influencers But Childhood & Toys Have Always Been Top Priority. Thousand Oaks, CA (January 9, 2024) – KidStuff PR is celebrating its 30th year in business in 2024. During its three decades of promoting playthings and services for families, the agency has seen the toy industry, the media world and parenting go through a lot of changes. The team at the agency couldn’t be more excited than to celebrate this major milestone and is both reflecting on things they’ve learned and survived over the years, as well as looking forward to things to come.

*** The above posted after January 5th ***


KIDS PREFERRED HAS MORE TO ADORE IN SUMMER ‘24 WITH “WELCOME TO THE UNIVERSE BABY!” COLLECTION FROM UNIVERSAL PRODUCTS & EXPERIENCES. Beloved Characters including DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Curious George And More Make Debut Into The Nursery With Enchanting Plush, Playsets & Pacifier Blankeys. East Windsor, NJ (January 2, 2024) – Retailers can anticipate an invitation from American toy manufacturer Kids Preferred next summer welcoming them to the arrival of Universal Products & Experiences, “Welcome to the Universe Baby!’ collection. The new line features an expansion of Kids Preferred Curious...



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Safety and Counterfeiting


Alibaba’s counterfeit toys ‘problem’ continues in US: What is it? Alibaba has been facing multiple lawsuits in the US for allowing merchants to sell fake products on its platforms. One such lawsuit alleges that various merchants have been selling counterfeit versions of the popular children's toy Squishmallows on its online platforms.

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

Tim Kilpin, president of toys, licensing & entertainment at Hasbro, Inc., has been elected to The Toy Association™ board of directors and will sit on the organization’s executive committee. Kilpin was voted in unanimously at the January 5 board meeting and fills the executive committee position left vacant by Andy Keimach when he transitioned to the role of interim president & CEO of The TA on January 1, 2024.


*** The above was posted after January 5th ***


The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA), celebrating its 80th anniversary during 2024, has unveiled a modernised logo and branding to mark the occasion and better reflect the work of the association and the toy industry it represents today. The BTHA was established in 1944, then known as the British Toy Manufacturers’ Association, to promote and protect the interests of UK toy makers. 80 years on, the....


Winsing unveils exclusive showroom during Hong Kong Toy Fair to showcase latest toylines. Winsing is thrilled to announce the establishment of a dedicated showroom, offering an intimate and immersive space to explore the original new toy lines at the Regal Kowloon Hotel (71 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui) during the Hong Kong Toy Fair on Jan 8th-11th. 

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed

If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our readers. Archives can be found HERE

Karen Tenenbaum, founder and owner of Tenenbaum Law, P.C. and active member of the New York Metro Chapter of Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment. She died suddenly of a cardiac event on December 23 at the age of 64. In addition to her success as a tax attorney for more than 35 years, Tenenbaum founded Money Masters, Inc., an organization that provides financial literacy information and tools...


Jack Leo Williams. Many people pass through our lives, but few leave as lasting of an impression as 82-year-old, Jack Leo Williams. Jack passed away on December 31, 2023.

He and his wife Linda, married forty-nine years, have lived in Falmouth for twenty-three years. He was born in Dorchester to Fred and Florence Williams, but when Jack’s dad died, the family moved to Avon. Jack went to work at twelve setting in place his life-long belief, “I was put on this earth to work.”

A 1959 graduate of Avon High School, he continued working at a new Bradlees Department Store, setting up and managing their newly created toy department.

In the early 1980’s he became a partner of what would become Freud, Morris, and Willims, better known as FMW, a toy manufacturer rep business on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which represented Domestic and International Toy factory manufacturers. For over half a century, he traveled extensively working in the Toy business throughout his New England territory, with over 30 trips to Hong Kong, eventually retiring at 78.

In 2015, Jack was honored by the Officers and Board of Directors of the American International Toy Industry Association for his attendance at the New York’s annual Toy Fair for 50 + years in a row!

He helped countless people throughout his personal and business career, always lending a helping hand if needed. He was well-known for his grumpy persona, but underneath his gruff exterior was a heart of gold, and he was respected by all who knew him.

His children include Kellie Wilder of Onset, Jeff Williams of Carver, John Crowley of Wareham, and they’re always missed, the late Kathleen Hanson, as well as 6 Grandchildren & 4 Great Grandchildren. Siblings include his sister Pat Olson and husband Arthur of Avon, and the late Margaret Iavelo and brother the late Fred Williams. He will forever be sadly missed for all that knew him.


Murray Jackson - Toy World is sad to report that Murray Jackson, who founded Edx Education and recently established Edx Education UK, has passed away.  The founder of Edx Education was a passionate advocate for providing education opportunities to all. Over the past 20 years, Edx Education has grown into a major supplier to the international education market, exporting to more than 90 countries, with sales & marketing offices in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia – including a dedicated trade website for the UK market.

The boom in home schooling following the pandemic kickstarted a trend for affordable toys that also offer educational value, and a real need for the company to extend its offering to consumers and toy retailers.

As well as establishing and running the successful company, Murray helped pioneer projects such as the opening of an after school center in Hualien, Taiwan, with the company sponsoring the renovations of a house and turning it into an after school centre for aboriginal children from the local primary school.

The Edx team contacted Toy World to inform us of the sad news of Murray’s passing and shared a letter that has been distributed to the Edx Education community. The letter reads...

Ana Ofelia Murguía, the Mexican actress who voiced great-grandmother Mama Coco in the Oscar-winning Disney Pixar animation Coco, has died aged 90. She had a key part in the film about a Mexican boy who crosses to the Land of the Dead, uncovering family secrets while trying to become a musician. The movie highlights the Day of the Dead and celebrates Mexico's culture. Its National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature said her career was "vital for the performing arts of Mexico". One of Coco's most memorable moments was the scene where Mama Coco and her great-grandson Miguel sing Remember Me together.

Bryan Ansell, The 'Grandfather of Warhammer'. Tabletop miniatures titan Bryan Ansell passed away on December 30, 2023.  His passing was announced by his wife Dianne via their Instagram account.

Ansell was the co-founder of Asgard Miniatures in 1976, which was based in Nottingham.  The miniatures they created at Asgard caught the attention of Games Workshop owners Sir Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, who decided to partner with Ansell to set up Citadel Miniatures in 1978.  There, he co-designed Warhammer Fantasy Battle in 1983 and eventually bought out Livingstone and Jackson to become the managing director of Games Workshop in 1985.

Ansell consolidated Games Workshop's operations to Newark and led the transformation that changed Games Workshop from an importer, retailer, and distributor of tabletop games to the most well known miniatures game publisher in the world.  He was with Games Workshop till 1991, when he sold out to Tom Kirby, and he then went on to run Wargames Foundry, a company he had founded in 1983.

Games Workshop founder Sir Ian Livingstone (see "Sir Ian Livingstone") offered up the following thoughts about Ansell's passing via X:

"Very sad news Bryan Ansell passed away. Bryan, Steve Jackson and I set up Citadel Miniatures in 1978 as part of Games Workshop.  He was a craftsman and dynamic entrepreneur who drove the growth of GW to the next level.  Without Bryan, Warhammer would not have launched."

ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp also offered up memories of his meetings with Ansell:

“I met Ansell in the mid-80s, when he was running Games Workshop and trying to expand the company’s sales in the U.S. He came to visit us at Capital City Distribution in Madison, and convinced us to stock a wide range of Games Workshop miniatures going forward," wrote Griepp.  "We shared an interest in cars, and I enjoyed showing him my brand new Lincoln Continental with all the latest electronics, and hearing about the other side of automobiles when he gave me a ride in his Aston Martin Lagonda during a visit to their headquarters in Nottingham, England.  I was clueless, and asked him why the Lagonda was considered such a great car.  ‘Because it’s a Lagonda,’ he explained.”

Ansell was 68 years old when he passed away. ICv2 extends our condolences to his family and friends.


Kamar de los Reyes - Actor Kamar de los Reyes passed away on Christmas Eve, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Per the outlet, he was 56 years old and had a "brief battle" with cancer.

Born November 8, 1967, the Puero Rican actor played Raul Menendez in Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Before its release in 2012, he called the role "one of the most amazing projects I’ve ever been a part of."

He would go on to reprise the role in 2018's Call of Duty: Black Ops IV and Sledgehammer's Call of Duty: Vanguard in 2022.

Outside of games, Reyes was best known for playing Antonio Vega on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. He also appeared throughout shows and films like All American, Sleepy Hollow, and The Gifted.

THR reports that Reyes' two post-humous roles will be in Washington Black on Hulu and Marvel's upcoming Daredevil show.

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

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Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​​​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

​On Holiday! 


Toyworld (UK)

  1. That’s Entertainer-ment … it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. The Entertainer significantly expands Tesco toy partnership

  3. University Games acquires leading learning products company

  4. Ravensburger unveils 2024 Villainous line-up

  5. The Entertainer CEO recognised in New Year’s Honours

  6. Retailer Bill Bulstrode honoured with British Empire Medal

  7. Spin Master completes acquisition of Melissa & Doug

  8. Toy World’s Eco-Friendly & Sustainable feature – get involved!

  9. Toy World’s Spring Fair feature – get involved!

  10. PMI to showcase new ranges across various stands at Toy Fair Powered by Toyworld

​​On Holiday! 

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

New Standalone 'Catan'
Tabletop Miniatures Titan Passes Away
Stonemaier Games Reveals 'Wyrmspan'
Rolling for Initiative -- Unpacking the 'Star Wars: Unlimited' Promotional Kit
Five Game Stores/Cafes Unionize
New 'BANG!' Expansion
New 'Shadowrun' Creature Book Heads to Retail
'X-Men Expansion' Planned for 'Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game
Wizards of the Coast Announces Faster 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair' Shipping
Launch Range for 'Warhammer: The Old World'

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

The Bugg Report (Australia)


Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Mind Up! Pre-Order, Wyrmspan Announced
Pandasaurus Games has a new card game available for pre-order, Stonemaier Games has announced Wyrmspan, and Maple Valley is coming soon.

Video of the Week 

Happy New Year from Pro Inventor Eddy Goldfarb - his 102nd! 



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