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May 5 - 12, 2023


Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!


Happy Bloomin' Friday! 


It’s INTERNational INTERN week! We’re celebrating our recent interns for the indelible marks they’ve made on POP, and for that they deserve all the props! Harrison Brooks helped propagate the first POP website from the ground up, Rana Schenke went Malibu-coup writing Barbie articles which draw a pop-culture population to People of Play from around the planet, and Julia Dekorte has reviewed so many books, films, and TV shows, we have a devoted section on POP! 


This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Call your mom!!!

​Thank you for reading the Bloom Report. If you can't wait for the news to arrive each Friday, check out the Bloom Report 24/7 News Feed!


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Person of the Week - Kirsten Koe

Do you have what it takes to Hunt A Killer?

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Hi, Kirsten! Thank you for takin time to chat with us! Do you have a mantra that you live by?

Fail fast, learn fast, iterate fast. Keep trying until you succeed.  One of the company's cultural values that I particularly admire is "We do the right thing."


Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

I stumbled into the industry as a marketing director at Sears & Kmart and took an open role in the Toys & Sporting Goods business unit.  Through this role, I had the incredible opportunity to attend events like the NY Toy Fair, Comic Con and the Licensing Show, and visit the headquarters of major toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel. It felt like being a kid in Willy Wonka's factory. Plus, working at Kmart meant I was involved in creating the groundbreaking and first of its kind Fab 15 Hot Toy List and securing the only retail exclusive Holiday Barbie. It was truly a marketer's dream come true.

Who has been the most influential role model in your career?

I was lucky, during my time at Sears, I got to work alongside and learn from some of the greats, which I was not fully aware of until the band fell apart. Sears was organized as business silos with each business unit having their own leadership team. Look these people up on LinkedIn, follow them, you won’t regret it.  Thank you Dave Shellenberger, Peter Boutros, Julia Fitzgerald, Audrey Broxterman, Ian Gomar, Eddie Combs, Amy Parker, Jen Dominiquini – you are all truly inspirational marketing leaders that continue to evolve and do amazing work.    Read More! 

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Person of the Week - Northwestern's Harrison Brooks

Determined to refresh old-school fun, he kicks off second card game: Fourth Down™

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Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

I launched my first card game, ElevatorUp™, back when I was just 17 years old, and since then, I have sold over 5,000+ units primarily through Amazon. Through ElevatorUp™, I was able to meet Mary Couzin and had the privilege of working with and learning from her by helping with the launch of When I started college at Northwestern University last year, I had to step away from POP and put ElevatorUp™ on the backburner as I readjusted, but I was never satisfied with where I had left things. This year, as a Sophomore, I decided to refocus on spreading joy through card games.

After seeing that ElevatorUp™’s most consistent and loyal fans were actually elevator enthusiasts who finally had a game that celebrated their passion, I then reflected on my childhood, thinking about which games I enjoyed the most and what I wish I had to play with. I have always had some pretty niche interests, ranging from veterinary medicine to John Deere tractors, but there weren’t games that felt like they celebrated my interests and individuality that I could use to share my passions with my loved ones. That’s when I created Brokli LLC, a new type of game company that focuses on creating card games with targeted themes that celebrate personal interests and identities. 

I am very excited to be continuing this mission and celebrating America’s favorite sport, football, with Fourth Down™. As someone who isn’t particularly athletically inclined, I am proud to have made a game that allows everyone, from star quarterbacks to people who watch the Super Bowl just for the ads, to enjoy the excitement of football.  READ MORE...

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Industry Commentary - Rachele Harmuth


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Life gets more challenging as we grow up. And for the first time ever, more teens are telling researchers they don’t want to be adults than the ones who do. “It seems hard” is basically the reason young people are giving for not wanting to get drivers’ licenses, jobs, homes of their own…

Play can help! Toys and games that provide increasing challenges over the course of play are really models for life. The very real stresses of adulthood can absolutely impact mental, emotional and social health. Young people who feel confident and competent to navigate increasing challenges are more willing to take on those opportunities and better set up for success. 

Toys and games that get harder as you go serve several key functions.

  • Teach the value of perseverance. These opportunities show that succeeding the first time isn’t a reasonable expectation, but that repetition and learning increases chances of success.

  • Build tolerance for frustration. It is easier to give up than to keep going in most every situation. Toys and games that use fun as the motivator can help players find the path forward even without a guarantee of success

  • Create the expectation of challenge. When there is no quick or easy “finish line” then players learn that success means gaining the chance to try something new and harder rather than just being done.   READ MORE...

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

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Thank you Boaz Coster for this week's tuber cartoon! 

New Feature! Brain Teasers from Ivan Moscovich's book, The Big Book of Brain Games. Ivan sadly passed on recently, but his genius lives on.  


Last week: Q - How can you build a house that has a window in four walls but every window faces south? A - Build it on the North Pole

This week: Q - The last man on earth sat alone in his room. Suddenly there was a knock at the door!”

Can you change one word in the above sentence to make the man’s isolation before the knock at the door more complete? (answer next week)

I don’t know what the best thing about Switzerland is, but the flag is a big plus.   Thank you, Jerry Cleary, for sharing this lexophile gem!

Quote of the Week...  ""Designing toys is like creating a new universe where the rules are entirely up to us." - Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel

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

Financial and Legal

Disney Pulls Plug on $1 Billion Development in Florida. A new office complex, and relocation of a division from California, would have created more than 2,000 jobs but was scuttled as the company and Gov. Ron DeSantis continue to feud. In March, Disney called Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida “anti-business” for his scorched-earth attempt to tighten oversight of the company’s theme park resort near Orlando. 

E.U. Approves Microsoft’s $69 Billion Deal for ActivisionThe green light follows objections to the blockbuster deal by American and British regulators on the grounds that it would undercut competition. Microsoft’s faltering $69 billion bid to buy the video game company Activision Blizzard received a glimmer of hope when European Union regulators approved what would be the largest consumer tech deal in two decades.

Hasbro Inc. again defeated a toy inventor’s claim to royalties after the Second Circuit affirmed that his ideas for a branded line of game “mash-ups” wasn’t novel. David Wexler brought his claim to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after a lower court granted summary judgment in Hasbro’s favor. But the panel agreed with the lower court’s finding that Wexler didn’t present evidence creating a factual issue...

Saudi Arabia has increased its stake in Electronic Arts through its Public Investment Fund (PIF). PIF held 16.01 million shares of EA prior to Q4 2022, but has since upped its stake in the company to 24.81 million shares as of the end of Q1 2023 - an increase of 55%. Saudi Arabia has been investing in game developers worldwide as part of its long-term economic strategy as the country diversifies from oil. 

HOW TO PREPARE FOR GERMANY’S CHANGING SUPPLY CHAIN DUE DILIGENCE ACT. At the ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP), we closely monitor changing global regulations, especially when these changes apply to labor standards and environmental risks. Our goal is to provide our members, and the toy industry in general, with the tools to stay compliant regardless of where they conduct business. 

FISHER-PRICE DEBUTS COLLEGE SAVINGS MASTERCARD. While Fisher-Price is known for its focus on early childhood stages, the company is thinking ahead to college and is now giving families an opportunity to turn everyday spending into 529 education savings. Mattel’s Fisher-Price launched the Fisher-Price College Savings Mastercard in partnership with Concerto Card Company, a platform that develops co-branded...


***The above posted after May 12th***


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) struck out at Meta on Wednesday, alleging that Facebook’s parentco is putting kids at risk and proposing tighter rules to prohibit the techco from profiting from any data it collects from users under the age of 18. The FTC has claimed that Facebook violated two previous orders not to give developers access to kids’ data. The company also “misled parents” by misrepresenting...

Biden Administration will invest $140 million to launch seven new National AI Research Institutes.  Ahead of a meeting between VP Kamala Harris and the heads of America's four leading AI tech companies — Alphabet, OpenAI, Anthropic and Microsoft — the Biden Administration announced  a sweeping series of planned actions to help mitigate some of the risks that these emerging technologies pose to the American public.

UK interest rates: Prices to be higher for longer, Bank of England warns. Soaring food costs mean prices will remain higher for longer, the Bank of England warned, as it raised interest rates for the 12th time in a row. Interest rates were hiked to 4.5% from 4.25% - the highest in almost 15 years - in the battle to slow inflation. "It's taking longer for food price [falls] to come through," Bank boss Andrew Bailey told the BBC.


US inflation below 5% for first time in two years. Prices for milk, airline tickets and new cars fell in the US last month, helping drive inflation to its lowest rate in two years. Inflation, the pace at which prices rise, was 4.9% in the 12 months to April, official figures show. That was down from 5% in March, and marks the tenth month in a row that price rises have slowed. 


Disney+ streaming service loses 4m subscribers in first quarter. Disney says its flagship streaming service lost 4m subscribers in the first three months of the year amid a wider cost-cutting drive. At the same time the Disney+ platform narrowed its losses by $400m (£316.5m). The home of Mickey Mouse, the Star Wars franchise and Marvel movies is under pressure to make its streaming business profitable...


Toys ‘R’ Us culls $4 million in costs as it pursues strategic plan. Toys ‘R’ Us says its strategic turnaround plan announced in March is on track and it has already achieved cost savings of $4 million this year. To date, the company has improved its gross margin in the Australian direct-to-consumer e-commerce division from 16.4 per cent in February to 22.3 per cent in April. 


France is cracking down on the influencer industry. In recent years, a wave of high-profile scandals have hit France’s influencer sector. Reality television star Nabilla Benattia-Vergara was handed a €20,000 fine for promoting Bitcoin to millions of Snapchat followers without disclosing that she was being paid to do so. 


Christmas Tree Shops file for bankruptcy. And yet another retailer files for bankruptcy. Christmas Tree Shops did so on Friday, filing for Chapter 11 protection. Coming on top of Bed, Bath & Beyond, it’s a troubling trend for the toy and Christmas Decor industries. Unlike Bed Bath & Beyond, they will continue to operate. According to Forbes, there will be no layoffs and minimal store closings (10 out of 82 locations). 




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Financial Reporting

VTech  announced its results for the year ended 31 March 2023. Group revenue declined by 5.4% to US$2,241.7 million. Gross profit margin was 28.3%, as compared with 28.2% in FY2022

***The above posted after May 12th***


Disney reports second quarter financial results. Revenues for the quarter and six months grew 13% and 10%, respectively. 

Nintendo sees full-year profits decline by 6.4% to US$6.6 billion

Roblox saw $655.3 million in Q1 revenue, with 14.5 billion 'engaged hours'

DTC lifts Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q1, despite an overall loss. In the lead up to the launch of its Max super-streamer, the media company has earned first-quarter revenues of US$10.7 billion, and its streaming division has posted a profit.

AMC Entertainment saw sales blow past Wall Street forecasts for the March quarter, rising 20% to $954 million. Losses narrowed by $102 million to $235 million, for an adjusted EPS of 17 cents a share, a also ahead of expectations.

The Character Group plc has announced results for the six months ended 28th February 2023...and the company turned in a small profit before tax for the period.

BuzzFeed Will Be “Leaning Into” AI and Creators After Shuttering News Division. The media company reported first-quarter revenues of $67.2 million, down 27 percent year-over-year.


Horizon Forbidden West has topped 8.4 million sales.

PUBG drives Krafton's "record" sales for start of 2023's fiscal year.

Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry

YouTube’s Viewing on TV Screens Climbed in April as Most Other Streamers Flat or Down: Nielsen


One of The Toy Association’s top trends of 2023 is “Be Authentic.” 


***The above posted after May 12th***


In this month’s Talking Shop, Toy World (UK) asked indies how Easter sales held up this year, what’s selling and what they are tipping for success over the summer months.

Top trends coming out of the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas.

Amazon begins selling toys, clothing through mobile games.

Specialty gets a glow up: new store concepts and toy tourism lure shoppers.

European Box Office Jumps 70 Percent in 2022, But Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Figures. Admissions topped 650 million across the EU and UK last year, with a gross box office of more than $5.5 billion.

Toy World speaks to a selection of leaders in the Dolls space to find out how their brands represent and resonate with today’s kids.





Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments, and Advice

Steve Reece, Toy Industry Journal - The Ever-Expanding Relationship between Video Games and the Toy Business: A Long-Term Lucrative Connection. At the time of writing, this movie spin-off from the long-term Nintendo gaming franchise has grossed more than $1.2bill at the global box office, is currently ranked as the 24th highest grossing movie globally of all time and currently sits at 15th highest grossing U.S. movie ever.

POP QUIZ WITH WENDY SMOLEN: THE 2023 CLASSICS & SPECIALTY ISSUE. This year’s ASTRA Marketplace & Academy showcases the best of the best. It’s where members of the toy industry can find everything the specialty market has to offer, from the classics and the niche to the noteworthy and the novel. Tap into your industry smarts and see how much classic toy knowledge you have with these specially selected clues.

If you attend our Chicago Toy & Game Fair, you may find this interesting as the Wienermobile is always there! Oscar Mayer rebrands Wienermobile for first time since 1936. Oscar Mayer is rebranding its signature hotdog-shaped motor vehicle from the Wienermobile to the Frankmobile. Changes also affect Oscar Mayer’s Wiener Whistles, which are now Frank Whistles, and Hotdogger drivers, who will be referred to...

Why developers are designing video games for accessibility. With more than 3 billion estimated players around the world today, the video game industry has grown far beyond its kid-focused, arcade origins. Yet while more people pick up and play, limitations of the games still leave some behind. It used to be rare to have settings to adjust anything beyond volume control. 

AARP held its first Games Summit at its HQ in Washington D.C., and for many people outside the video game industry, the event might seem like a head-scratcher. An org. focused on advocating for people in the 50+ demographic talking about video games, a medium typically thought to be for younger people? But, for AARP––and the games industry––holding the summit actually makes perfect sense. Almost half of people 50...

***The above posted after tBR started running on May 12th***

John Baulch, Toy World - Mr Brightside…it’s the Friday Blog! I hope everyone had a good Coronation weekend’s trading. I am only guessing, but I suspect that Saturday was mostly a bit of a washout, literally and metaphorically, until at least mid-afternoon, if not the whole day. It certainly hasn’t been a vintage start to the year from a weather perspective here in the UK – hopefully that changes soon, or I am going to be...

Western companies are desperately looking for a backup to China as the world’s factory floor, a strategy widely termed “China plus one.” India is making a concerted push to be the plus one. It scored a coup with the decision by Apple to significantly expand iPhone production in India, including expediting the manufacturing of its most advanced model. 

Activision, Once Dinged for ‘Frat Boy’ Culture, Hires More Women. Activision Blizzard one of several video-game companies accused of gender discrimination in recent years, said it has made progress in hiring more female employees. Rival Riot Games Inc. has also reported gains. Santa Monica, California-based Activision said employees who self report as women or nonbinary increased to about 26% of the company’s total...

Roblox Lures Users With Improved Metaverse, But They Are Not Dropping Much Cash. Roblox has been successful in drawing new users, increasing revenue as the game-oriented metaverse improves its user experience. Now, as the company prepares to announce Q1 results, the challenge is to figure out a way to make those sales profitable.

Spain’s animation services and VFX industry is booming as never before, positioning itself as a leading hub in the global landscape. With tax rebates firing up Spain’s audiovisual industry, the animation sector has produced 16 feature films, 72 seasons of TV series and 156 short films from 2020-2022, according to toon and VFX federation Diboos.

Slot car renaissance: the race is on for kids, families, and hobbyists. Don’t call it a comeback, they’ve been here for years. Slot cars raced onto the scene in 1912 when the Lionel Train Co. first introduced the idea of a four-wheeled vehicle riding a center-aligned rail set between the toy train tracks the company was known for. 


Smells Like Tween Spirit: retailers bridge the gap between kids and kidults. Remember what it was like to be a tween? How could we possibly forget the all-encompassing crushes on boy bands, the numerous bar/bat mitzvah parties, and the after-school fights with parents that are a right of passage for many? But what most clearly characterizes this in-between age demographic is a lack of understanding.

Why backyard adventures are more important now than ever before. The great outdoors remains the oldest playground and most traditional educational tool for parents everywhere. In recent years, some parents have felt that their kids are interacting less with nature and more with screens, prompting them to seek toys that cater to their kids’ instinctual need to get outside and explore. 


Nintendon't Nintendo didn’t want to release Pokémon toys – here’s the strange reason why. A new interview has revealed how Nintendo tried to prevent one of their biggest revenue streams from releasing. It is claimed that the company didn’t want to release certain toys to support the Pokémon franchise of TV shows and games. Speaking to the Pokémon fansite Johto Times, former Tiger Electronics employee...


20 biggest toy companies in the world. In this article, we take a look at the 20 biggest toy companies in the world. For more companies, go to 5 Biggest Toy Companies in the World. Play has a significant role in a child's mental development and cognitive abilities, alongside providing them with harmless entertainment. 


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History and Nostalgia


A Cultural History of Barbie. Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel with her husband, Elliot Handler, and Harold Matson in 1945, noticed her daughter, Barbara, playing with paper dolls and dreaming about what kind of woman she would become. Ruth decided there should be a proper doll onto which girls could project their highest aspirations. (In another version of this origin story, Ruth got the idea from an adult novelty...


***The above posted after May 12th***


Donkey Kong from Milton Bradley (1982). Released in 1982 by Milton Bradley, the Donkey Kong board game mirrors the storyline, characters, and obstacles of the Nintendo video game that inspired it. The Donkey Kong video game, first released in 1981, featured a fearless carpenter named Mario scaling a construction site in an effort to rescue Pauline from a gorilla named Donkey Kong....


Dingbot from TOMY (1982). In 1982, TOMY released Dingbot, a small toy robot whose design was heavily influenced by the fictional film character E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The toy was part of the company’s Home Entertainment Robot series, which also included Verbot and Omnibot. Running on one AA battery, Dingbot did one thing: bumped into walls and other obstacles and moved quickly in another direction. 


Toy doll commercial from 1966 is freaking people out. Although I’m not on TikTok, my friends are, and they often send me videos. A few of the videos recently are of younger people talking smack about Gen X’ers. Here’s the thing about those of us born between the mid-60’s and early 80’s, we are a different breed of tough. We were the last generation of ‘wild’ kids, playing outside with no helmets.


LEGO Heroes book details how LEGO utilised to overcome challenges. The new book, which is entitled Lego Heroes: LEGO Builders Changing Our World – One Brick at a Time, has been released by Chronicle Books. LEGO Heroes is a collection of twelve remarkable stories about everyday heroes using the LEGO system in unique ways to solve some of life’s greatest challenges. 


Binder of extremely rare Pokémon Cards showed up On Antiques Roadshow. Recently, a guest on the popular TV series Antiques Roadshow brought on something quite different from the types of things folks usually have appraised by the show’s experts: a binder containing all 102 original, base-set Pokémon cards. 


The history of LEGO: Constructing creativity. Starting out as simple, interlocking construction bricks, LEGO toys have been with us for seven decades. Through these bricks, the construction of anything is possible, challenging the imaginations of children and adults alike. Throughout the decades, LEGO has released many more block designs and special parts to help bring these imaginations to life. 


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Licensing and Entertainment 

Hasbro Announces New Streaming Channel Featuring Original Dungeons & Dragons Content. The SVP of Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro and the owners of the Dungeons & Dragons game, had this to say about the launch: This is an amazing opportunity to create and highlight exciting, engaging Dungeons & Dragons content, to both serve our wide audience of existing fans and welcome a new wave of fans...

Apple TV+ Releases First Look at Toy-Filled Dramedy The Beanie Bubble. Starring Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis, the film revealed new promo photos along with its summertime theatrical and streaming release dates. For anyone growing up in 1990s America, whether as a child or the parent of one, the odds were that you at least heard of the unbelievably bonkers collectors' craze that was Beanie Babies. 

More of MGA Entertainment’s iconic toy brands will be dressing up the costume aisles this Halloween, thanks to a multi-year deal renewal with Jakks Pacific’s Disguise. As part of the agreement, the LA-based costume maker will design, manufacture and distribute a range of costumes and dress-up accessories based on MGA’s L.O.L. Surprise!, Bratz, Rainbow High and Little Tikes brands. 

In an effort to support the local industry, the British Film Institute (BFI) is giving out a total of US$2.6 million through its Global Screen Fun to UK animation studios working in films, series, games and docs.  Each studio will receive funding that ranges from US$62,000 to US$180,000 over the next three to five years. The support is intended to assist these companies in building up their market presence...

On the heels of forging a six-movie deal, Toonz Media Group and Gold Valley Films are prepping an animated adaptation of children’s novel The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. This 1906 classic was penned by Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf and published by Grosset & Dunlap. It’s about a mischievous young boy who is shrunken down in size by a resentful pixie, and must join forces with a goose to change himself back...

The world’s first “Jumanji”-themed land has opened at Chessington World of Adventures in the U.K. The land, which consists of three new rides as well as an interactive experience, represents the single largest investment in Chessington’s history. World of Jumanji includes the world’s first “Jumanj” rollercoaster, titled Mandrill Mayhem, a winged, launch, shuttle rollercoaster consisting of with 144 tonnes of steel track that turns... 

Love it or hate it, AI is building a foundation in the kids biz, and South Korea’s Park Star Media wants to get in on the ground floor. The studio is launching a new A+ IP Accelerator Program to teach early-stage creatives how to use the tech; the goal is to give them a leg up in their careers and also open a new talent pipeline for Park Star.

Magic Frame Animation and Creation Entertainment Media are mining classic fairy tales for their latest film project Secret Magic Control Agency II: Mission Sleeping Beauty, which builds on a popular CG-animated Netflix movie from 2021. When it was released, Secret Magic Control Agency ranked among the global streamer’s top 10 most-watched movies, according to a release. 

French animation studio Dandelooo has partnered with new start-up distributor Midolala, which is focused on bringing international content into China. Midolala will initially work on setting up co-production deals and securing pre-sales in China for everything Dandelooo has in development and production, including The Upside Down River for eight to 12s and preschool series Billy the Cowboy Hamster.

CBC Kids is looking to reach an underserved demo of kids and families in the foster care system with its upcoming live-action series, Aunty B’s House. The 20 x seven-minuter from Toronto’s Headspinner Productions revolves around foster mom Aunty B and her three foster kids. Billed as a “sitcom for preschoolers,” it blends comedy with heartfelt moments, while exploring what it’s like to live in foster care. 

The makers of Barbie, Mattel, have announced it has partnered with women-led Web3 media and entertainment brand Boss Beauties to launch virtual collectibles celebrating the many careers of the iconic fashion toy figures since its inception in 1959. "Welcome to Web3, @Barbie! We're so excited to announce the #BossBeautiesxBarbie You Can Be Anything collection in celebration of over 250 Barbie careers! Barbie can...

Sesame Workshop rolls out its first-ever Filipino-American Muppet. Tying into Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Sesame Workshop has added a dose of Filipino representation to its longest-running TV series with the introduction of a new Muppet named TJ. The four-year-old character made his Sesame Street debut on May 7 as part of a short video segment about how to be confident that also features actor...

***The above posted after tBR sent on May 12th***

‘HOT WHEELS: ULTIMATE CHALLENGE’ RACES TO JOIN NBC LINEUP WITH CELEBRITY GUESTS AND CUSTOM CAR BUILDS. The competition series from NBC brings Mattel’s iconic brand to the TV screen with a first season hosted by Rutledge Wood (Top Gear U.S., The Floor Is Lava). Now, NBC has released the list of celebrity guests and competitors in the first season of 10 episodes. 

Top Trumps USA announced today a Winter 2023 debut of MONOPOLY: Park City Edition under license from global branded entertainment company Hasbro. In the Park City Edition, the Atlantic City squares from Boardwalk to Park Place will be replaced with Park City landmarks and destinations. The Community Chest and Chance cards are also designed to represent Park City.

Burger King Celebrates Spider-Man With Red Whoppers. If you step into a Burger King this month and your spider-sense starts tingling, there's a good reason. The chain has teamed up with the forthcoming film sequel Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse to offer a unique alternate-universe take on its most famous hamburger.

SEVEN signs second licensed agreement with Hasbro, Inc. to develop the world’s first Transformers indoor entertainment centre in Saudi Arabia.  SEVEN will develop and operate three Transformers attractions in Saudi Arabia, with the first set to open in SEVEN's entertainment destination in Al Hamra, Riyadh.

Warner Bros. Discovery is saying “I love you” to Barney, picking up Mattel’s new CG-animated Barney’s World series for a 2024 launch on Cartoon Network’s Cartoonito preschool block and its Max streamer. The show is part of Mattel’s franchise relaunch strategy for the iconic dinosaur, best known for headlining the live-action PBS series Barney & Friends from 1992 to 2010. 


New episodes of ‘Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series’ coming soon to Netflix in the U.S. The Pokémon Company International announced that the third batch of episodes for Pokémon Ultimate Journeys: The Series, the globally popular Pokémon animated series, will premiere June 23, 2023, exclusively on Netflix in the U.S. 


Little Kids, Inc has a bubble-filled summer line-up with Balloobles, Fubbles, Bluey, and more. Expect to hear the word Balloobles this season as kids delight in this inflatable bubble machine from Little Kids Inc that blows continuous streams of bubbles featuring favorite friends like Bluey, Minnie, Paw Patrol or Spider-Man! 


Toikido teams up with IMG and Redan Publishing for consumer products, experiences and magazines. Toikido has announced it has appointed IMG as its exclusive licensing representative in key territories including Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America.Under the new agreement, IMG will help develop a portfolio of products and experiences for Piñata Smashlings. 

This Christmas, the BBC will air animated adventure Tabby McTat, from BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated producers Magic Light Pictures. The animation is a story, set on the streets of London, about the friendship between a musical cat and a talented busker called Fred.

The film is adapted from the hugely successful picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, and...


Delve into the Sesame Street universe at Hamburg’s MK&G. ‘Sesame Street: 50 years and counting’ is a new exhibition at Hamburg’s MK&G (until 7 January 2024) exploring the influence of the popular American TV show. The exhibition offers an insight into the show’s creation, and focuses on its arrival in Germany in 1973. 


Fanhome announces Fast & Furious die-cast car collection. Fanhome, the leader in subscription-based collections and build-up models, celebrates one of cinema’s most storied and popular global franchises with the US launch of the Fast & Furious die-cast collection, a new monthly subscription delivering screen accurate 1:43 scale replicas of the iconic cars from the blockbuster action films. 


All American Licensing gets into the ring as licensing agent for Powertown Wrestling. Relativity Worldwide tagged in full-service brand licensing agency, All American Licensing, as the global agent for its collectible wrestling action figure brand, PowerTown Wrestling. The brand offers authentic figures in the likeness of wrestling legends throughout the past eight decades. 


Tonies adds Disney’s Encanto Tonie to collection. Disney’s Encanto fans can listen to the adventures of the Madrigal family and sing along to their favorite soundtrack via the award-winning Toniebox audio player. The new Disney Encanto Tonie features all the hits from the Academy Award winning animated film, including “The Family Madrigal,” “Surface Pressure,” “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” “What Else Can I Do?” ...


Ravensburger celebrates 100 years of Disney magic with limited edition Disney100 Labyrinth. Celebrate 100 years of Disney magic with a sparkling new Disney version of Ravensburger’s award-winning Labyrinth franchise. From the Disney Mickey Mouse-inspired movers to tiles featuring Encanto’s Mirabel, Disney100 Labyrinth is full of Disney characters and references that will dazzle and delight Disney fans...

Horn Entertainment launches Crazy Trains. Punch your ticket to ride the rails from the safety of the kitchen table in this truly crazy Family Game Night board game called, aptly, Crazy Trains: The Game of Loco-Motion! In about 20 minutes, players can take a circuitous route with the not-so-helpful aid of Curly the Conductor to their final destination, New York City. 


Yoto, the interactive audio platform for kids and creator of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Yoto Player and Yoto Mini, has announced its growing partnership with Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, expanding its Spanish content to include ten new titles. To align with customer demand and diversify its content library, Yoto’s Spanish digital cards are largely offered in Latin American Spanish. 

KIDZ BOP, the #1 music brand for kids, has teamed up with Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, to develop the brand’s first-ever original audio series, KIDZ BOP Never Stop: The Tour Bus Adventures. All eight-episodes will be available exclusively on Audible beginning May 25, 2023. 

Falcon’s Beyond announces fan engagement with Roblox experience, BEYONDLAND. Warner Bros Discovery announced that it has picked up the new CG-animated series Barney’s World for Cartoonito on Cartoon Network and streaming on Max. The series, announced earlier this year as part of Mattel’s Barney franchise relaunch, will aptly be titled “Barney’s World” and will revamp the iconic character for modern audiences. 


Fantasy Flight Games announces new 'Star Wars' TCG. Fantasy Flight Games, in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., announced Star Wars: Unlimited, a new trading card game, coming in 2024. FFG has decided to attempt to take a slice of the proverbial "TCG market pie" by revealing Star Wars: Unlimited.  This strategic TCG has been in development for the past three years...


Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Squishmallows launch. As the newest member of the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, toy company, Jazwares, maker of Squishmallows, is exhibiting at Berkshire Hathaway Festival for the first time and has created plush versions of Warren Buffett and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, to be sold exclusively on-site. 

Cryptoys partners with Disney for launch of Star Wars digital toys. Star Wars fans, listen up: You will soon have a new way to collect your favorite iconic characters and be transported to a galaxy far, far away. As part of a new partnership with Disney, later this month Cryptoys, the digital toy platform created by Miami startup OnChain Studios, will begin releasing Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader...

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People of Play

My toy design placement at Fuse London. Industrial Design student, Lily, talks about her placement as an intern at toy invention hub, Fuse London. Lily thanked Brunel's placement advisers for their help in securing her placement as she wouldn't have got this opportunity without them. They also assisted Lily with her CV and cover letter. Her placement has been beneficial in understanding more about digital design...


Warren Buffett says the married couple behind the maker of Squishmallows are 'ideal Berkshire managers'. Warren Buffett praised the couple who acquired Squishmallows and made the toy an internet sensation. Berkshire Hathaway owns Jazwares after acquiring the parent company in October. "Jazwares is a gem," Buffett told Reuters. "And, Judd and Laura are the ideal Berkshire managers."


TALKIN’ TOYS: RETEVIS KIDS CONNECTS FAMILIES WITH WALKIE-TALKIESCommunication is a two-way street and Retevis Kids knows all about that as a manufacturer of wireless, two-way communication equipment and accessories for both personal and commercial use. Retevis also makes products for kids, including walkie-talkies in colorful styles and fun shapes, such as mice, owls, robots, and more.

Forbidden Planet International, a leading chain of 18 pop culture retail stores, is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Staff as its new managing director. Andrew has extensive experience in the retail sector, having previously served as CEO of Notcutts Garden Centres, COO of the EMEA region for Funko and more recently MD of Builders Merchants UP Building Products.

HoloToyz has announced the appointment of Michelle Goodisson as its new Sales and Marketing executive. Michelle brings with her a wealth of experience in the toy industry, making her an invaluable asset to the company’s continued growth. Having cultivated her expertise through her work on numerous well-known brands, Michelle’s arrival at HoloToyz marks an exciting milestone for the company. 

Meet Linda Yaccarino, Elon Musk’s New Twitter CEO and the Ad World’s ‘Velvet Hammer’. Billionaire bets that NBCUniversal executive with Madison Avenue ties will bring advertisers back to Twitter. Early in the Covid-19 lockdown, a top executive at ad-buying giant GroupM called NBCUniversal ad chief Linda Yaccarino in a frenzy. Matt Sweeney, GroupM’s chief investment officer in the U.S., was desperately trying...


***The above posted after May 12th***


People of Play proudly announces the appointment of Jenna Stirling as Executive Director“Jenna is like that mythical unicorn on our team, with a treasure trove of experience in the toy industry and a mind bursting with ideas," said Mary Couzin, the president of Chicago Toy and Game Group dba POP. "We are fortunate to be bringing her on board as we continue to rock our events, level up the POP platform, ignite sparks with Play in Education initiatives, and be the biggest cheerleaders for every tribe in the toy and game industry. It's all about building an amazing community, making connections, and unleashing the incredible power of play!"

University Games names Daniel Fox Briarpatch product manager. University Games has announced Daniel Fox as Division Manager for its Briarpatch product business. In his new role, Daniel Fox will be responsible for the management of the current University Games’ Briarpatch catalog of games and puzzles for children and preschoolers, as well as continued product development for the company’s ...

WildBrain promotes Josh Scherba to President and CEO. WildBrain Ltd a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment, has promoted Josh Scherba to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. Scherba has also been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors. Under the Company’s succession plan, Scherba replaces Eric Ellenbogen who has stepped down as CEO and Vice Chair.

Talkin Toys: GPI's Secrets Behind Game Design and Project Management. Grand Prix International (GPI) is a project management group focused on manufacturing products in the toy and game industry. For the last 20 years, the company has worked on iconic products, becoming a one-stop shop that includes product safety testing, freight logistics, game design, sourcing, and more delivered with a holistic approach

A former Hasbro executive is selling his Tampa Bay mansion for $15 million, and it comes with a rooftop putting green. Owned by former Hasbro executive David Hargreaves and his wife Linda. The 6,590-sq-ft home overlooks New Pass in Lido Shores, and features five bedrooms and eight bathrooms, as well as floor-to-ceiling glass walls, a 60-foot lap pool, a sauna, gym, elevator, a deep water dock, and a rooftop putting...


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Companies and Brands

Inside the Real-Life Malibu Barbie Café Opening in NYC and Chicago. The summer of Barbiecore is upon us, especially with the highly-anticipated Barbie movie out on July 21. But Mattel is giving the world more than a just movie this summer: It also has partnered up with Bucket Listers to launch pop-up cafés in New York City and Chicago so people can literally dine like a doll in a life-size, '70s-themed Malibu Barbie Café. 

The Next Big Holiday Fad Could Be These Digital Pets That Appear to Float in Mid-Air. If you’re a parent of an impressionable child: be forewarned. Like the Hatchimals of holidays past, Spin Master’s new Bitzee digital pets could be another must-have but impossible-to-find holiday gift later this year. Their hook? They use a unique, hologram-like display technology that kids can actually reach out and touch.

ANNE MCGILVRAY & CO. PLAN FLAGSHIP SHOWROOM AT DALLAS MARKET CENTERA leading sales agency in the gift and home industry is opening a flagship showroom at Dallas Market Center (DMC). Anne McGilvray & Co. announced the opening in advance of the January 2024 Total Home & Gift Market. The 30,000-square-foot showroom will be located on the second-floor atrium of the World Trade Center in Dallas.

The Gabby on the Go! LBE is set to visit nine locations across the UK and France this summer and was launched with a celebrity photocall.  DreamWorks Animation has shared details of its new touring fan experience, Gabby on the Go! based on its popular animated television series Gabby’s Dollhouse, which will travel to nine different locations across the UK and France from May to June 2023.

Dragons’ Den-backed business Mood Bears is continuing its mission to provide valuable mental health support by launching new talking bears. Jo Proud, who owns Mood Bears, last month became the first Dragons’ Den contestant to accept the backing of all five of the current line-up of Dragons – Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Sara Davies, Steven Bartlett and Touker Suleyman.

MAKE WAVES WITH MUSHIE. The days of brightly-colored plastic baby toys that clutter new parents’ living rooms are almost over. Now, Instagram-worthy, eco-friendly products are filling up Millennial parents’ shopping carts. A new generation of parents is finding ways to combine its love for aesthetics with the desire to purchase sustainable, ethically sourced products and baby brand Mushie is at the forefront of it all. 

***The above posted after Mary 12th***


For the first time in 14 years, Nickelodeon has a new look. The network will spend the rest of 2023 rolling out a new brand identity and refreshed on-air look that’s designed to invoke nostalgia and return to its history. “It was time for us to really look at the brand, and look at our audience, and talk with our audience and revisit all the pieces of Nickelodeon,” Sabrina Caluori, evp of global kids and family marketing...

Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. has announced that the new Core Booster set Cyberstorm Access is available now for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG in Europe and Oceania. Cyberstorm Access has a huge haul of powerful new monsters for players’ Extra Deck, headlined by a brand-new Link-6 evolution of Firewall Dragon. This 3500 ATK behemoth rewards players for combining classic Cyberse Link Summoning...

Why Mattel Television has its sights locked on more live-action content. The studio is aiming to reach parents who have drifted away from its products with aspirational offerings, says Mattel’s Phil Breman. Since Mattel Television launched in 2016, it has specialized in producing 2D- and CG-animated projects for streamers, YouTube and linear TV, including Deepa & Anoop for Netflix and a new Thomas & Friends...

Disney+ and Hulu to combine content in single app. Disney has announced plans to combine content from its Disney+ and Hulu streaming services in the US. The move comes after Disney+ lost four million subscribers in the first three months of the year, and the firm is under pressure to make its streaming business profitable. The home of Mickey Mouse, Star Wars and Marvel movies intends to link Hulu and Disney+...


Barbie’s ready for summer with new Dream Boat and Beach Day dolls. The Dream Boat playset is decked out with premium details including a pool, slide and two different transformations; Barbie can climb to the top deck to steer the boat and relax in the sun, then slide down into the pool. With a removable top deck for easy play access and six play areas including a bathroom, sun deck, pool and slide, bedroom..

Tonies explores AI content generator in test. The company is conducting a test with an AI-based content generator which allows users to create stories in a playful way and listen to the audio file on the Toniebox in an instant. The company’s approach reflects both the need for caution and responsibility, as well as curiosity, about this new technology. 


Flybar, Wow! Stuff Launch HYPR Rockets in North America. HYPR, the new brand of air-powered rockets that Wow! Stuff showed off on the trade show circuit last year, will blast off in North America this summer thanks to a distribution deal with a company known for flying high: Flybar. The “masters of bounce” inked a deal with UK-based Wow! Stuff to distribute HYPR Rockets on this side of the pond.

Kids Can Get Medieval with New Playmobil Novelmore Sets. Playmobil is taking kids back to medieval times with Novelmore playsets. Novelmore is Playmobil’s fantasy realm designed for kids ages 4 and up. In this realm, warriors battle against dragons, skeletons come back to life, and knights fight for honor and glory.

L.O.L. Surprise!, from MGA Entertainment (MGA), has announced the launch of the L.O.L. Surprise! Bubble Surprise range. The new line forms part of a raft of launches set to drive the brand forward using three big focuses: exciting transformations, new licensing partnerships and innovative takes on classics.

Time to shine for Curious Universe with Crystalverse. A sparkling fusion of toy and craft, Crystalverse opens up a new world of creative play for ages six and over with a focus on promoting imaginative play, collecting and customisation. With a unique and immersive back story, Crystalverse introduces the cute, collectible ‘Crystalcorns’ – a squad of cool, cosmic characters each with their own biography and personality. 

Toy vehicle maker Nylint returns after 20 years. A new chapter begins for a historic maker of toy cars and trucks. Nylint Toys was originally founded in 1937 by David Nyberg and Bernard and Ragnar Klint. After originally making kitchen utensils, the company eventually became known for its steel toy cars, with a long history of manufacturing before its bankruptcy. 


Toys ‘R’ Us set to open first airport store at DFW. Geoffrey the Giraffe is setting up shop in a new location. A miniature Toys “R” Us store will open at the Dallas Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) later this year. According to DFW, the new store will open near Gate A28 in Terminal A in time for the holiday rush. The store will be operated under a licensing agreement similar to the Toys “R” Us flagship store at American Dream in New Jersey and the Toys “R” Us at Macy’s locations.


Airfix unveils new Vintage Classic additions. The brand has revealed that the Airfix A01005B Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero has been re-introduced, and new Vintage Classics, the A02050V Brewster Buffalo and A02141V Fokker Dr.1 & Bristol F.2B Dogfight Double, are also available. The first re-introduction has new schemes; namely the 1:72 Mitsubishi AM62b Zero (A01005B). 


Lucky Duck heads 'Into the Godsgrave'. Lucky Duck Games has announced Into the Godsgrave, an app-driven, fantasy-themed cooperative board game. Into the Godsgrave is set in a world where the cruel gods have been overthrown and slain, leaving the land damaged but the people free to chart their own destiny.  But followers of the “New Gods” have begun to appear, pursuing their own secret plots. 


Steve Jackson adds a new class to 'Munchkin'. Steve Jackson Games will release Munchkin Druids, a new expansion for the Munchkin card game, into retail on May 31, 2023. This expansion adds a new Druid class to the classic card game. It new nature-themed items like Tree Beard, 4-Leaf Cleaver, and Asparagus Spear (see gallery).  


Wizards of the Coast reveals 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Doctor Who' commander decks and collector boosters. Wizards of the Coast revealed Magic: The Gathering - Universes Beyond Doctor Who Commander Decks and Collector Boosters, which will release into retail on October 13, 2023. WotC first announced these new product for Magic: The Gathering back on August 18, 2022 when they also announced...


LEGO Ninjago: Dragons Rising marks a new era for the construction aisle staple. The LEGO Group revealed LEGO Ninjago: Dragons Rising, a new era of LEGO Ninjago that will include an animated TV series created with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, as well as an assortment of new products. The new world is created from merged realms and will bring back fan-favorite characters in addition to introducing new ones. 


Waboba releases Battlebird outdoor paddle game. As pickleball grows more popular, outdoor recreation brand Waboba has released its own paddle-based game. Battlebird is a paddle and birdie game that is easy to set up and start playing. The two players each set up a colored square rather than a net and defend their square by not allowing the birdie to touch it. 


Games Workshop announces 'Warcry: Nightmare Quest'. Games Workshop announced Warcry: Nightmare Quest, a new skirmish combat boxed set, which will be on preorder May 13, 2023. The boxed set features a continuation of the battle for the Ravening Ruin which kicked off in Heart of Ghur boxed starter set and continued through Ravaged Lands: Gnarlwood Watchcamp and Bloodhunt.  


Yu-Gi-Oh! releases Cyberstorm Access. Cyberstorm Access has a huge haul of powerful new monsters for players’ Extra Deck, headlined by a brand-new Link-6 evolution of Firewall Dragon. This 3500 ATK behemoth rewards players for combining classic Cyberse Link Summoning tactics with Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Summoning tactics.


Toymakers commemorate the coronation of King Charles III with new collectibles. Tomorrow, May 6, King Charles III will have his coronation at Westminster Abbey. Toymakers are preparing for the occasion with exclusive merchandise. Hornby, a UK toy and collectible company, is releasing a club-exclusive model train car. 

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Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development


Amazon has reached a deal with Embracer Group, the company that holds the IP rights for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” to release a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The upcoming game will be an open-world MMO adventure set in Middle-earth, featuring the stories of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” literary trilogy.

***The above posted after May 12th***


Monster Hunter and Resident Evil help Capcom to record-breaking year. Monster Hunter and Resident Evil have helped Capcom deliver record net sales and profits. According to the company's fiscal report for the year ended March 31, 2023, consolidated net sales increased by 14.4 percent year-on-year to 125.9 billion yen ($934.4 million). Profits increased by 12.9 percent to 36.7 billion yen ($272.4 million)...


Warner Bros. wants more profitable "worlds" after Hogwarts Legacy earns $1 billion. Hogwarts Legacy has delivered over $1 billion in retail sales for publisher Warner Bros. Games. As highlighted by PC Gamer, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav broke the news during a recent earnings call and said the title has sold 15 million copies since launching in February 2023. 


FIFA 23 becomes a record-breaker as EA prepares to ditch the franchise. FIFA 23 became the best-selling title in the history of the franchise to help publisher EA deliver record bookings in the fourth quarter.There is perhaps a certain irony to FIFA 23 driving "all-time high" franchise performance just months after EA decided it would be rebranding and rebooting the soccer sim after parting ways with licensing partner, FIF. 


Ubisoft lays off dozens amongst customer service department. Developers at Ubisoft revealed the French publisher is conducting layoffs. Across its offices in North Carolina and Newcastle in the UK, 60 staffers across the customer service department were laid off, and several added that it was without prior notice.  


Age of Wonders 4 surpasses 250,000 sales in four days. Age of Wonders 4 has sold 250,000 copies in four days, according to publisher Paradox Interactive. The Swedish company said the milestone includes sales of both the standard and premium versions of the game across all platforms. The title was developed by Dutch outfit Triumph Studios and debuted on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X | S on May 2, 2023.


Mario Kart 8 remains best-selling Switch game at 53.8 million units. During its recent fiscal report, Nintendo revealed that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling Nintendo Switch game. As of March 31, 2023, the game has sold 53.79 million units. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe released over a month after the Switch's 2017 debut, and was a port of the 2014 Nintendo Wii U game. 


Counter-Strike: Global Offensive hits 1.8 million concurrent players. 11 years after its release, Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has hit a new high for concurrent players. Per SteamDB, the popular shooter reached 1.8 million players on Saturday, May 6. The game's previous record was 1.5 million back in March, but this new milestone now gives it Steam's second highest all-time concurrent peak...


Sonic Frontiers speeds to 3.5 million copies six months after release. Sonic Frontiers' sales continue to grow, as the game has recently sold 3.5 million copies. During a recent Rovio press conference, Sega revealed the milestone for the series' newest entry, which comes after it spent months hovering on and a little bit past 3 million sales. 

Highlighted Press Releases

Are you all in for Ballz’n? NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON IS A HIGH-ENERGY BALL-BOUNCING RACE TO THE HIGHEST SCORE FAMILY GAME FOR ALL AGES. Seekonk, MA (May 12, 2023) – How sharp is your hand-eye coordination? Give it a go with Ballz’n ($24.99), the newest game for tweens, teens and adults that requires merely a flick of the wrist to precisely aim then bounce a colorful plastic ball into one of three stacked bowls. The goal is to rack up the highest score. It’s harder than it looks and always leads to organized mayhem and a little trash-talking. Find Ballz’n exclusively at Amazon this week and let the bouncing (and bragging) begin.


***The above posted after tBR started running on May 12th***


Ready to Take the Stringamajig Challenge?  DRAW BIG LAUGHS WITH ONLY A STRING AND YOUR IMAGINATION IN FIRESIDE GAMES’ PARTY GAME. Austin, TX (May 11, 2023) – Next time the gang comes over to play a game, challenge them to communicate only by animating a string! That’s the hilarious premise for Stringamajig ($19.95) from Fireside Games. Think of it as a little Pictionary™ mixed with a little charades. This device-free game is recommended for players ages 13 and beyond where players must talk or, better yet, shout as they guess what is being communicated wordlessly! Artistic ability is not required but knowing your players and how they think, abstractly, might be your secret weapon.

LITTLE KIDS, INC. ADDS SOME GET UP AND GET MOVIN’ PLAY TO THEIR SUMMER LINE-UP OF BUBBLE TOYS! The Toy Insider’s Top Summer Toys 2023 Includes Balloobles, Now On Amazon, And Fubbles Light-Up Bubble Torch At Specialty Toy Stores & Fat Brain Toys. Seekonk, MA (May 8, 2023) –Expect to hear the word Balloobles ($29.99) this season as kids delight in inflating a balloon-like bubble machine that blows continuous streams of bubbles featuring favorite friends like Bluey, Minnie, Paw Patrol or Spider-Man! This huge inflatable can be played two ways – handheld, using the bubble tube handle – or tabletop, for the perfect centerpiece at your next party using the Amazon-exclusive bubble base.

EVERYBODY’S DOIN’ A BRAND-NEW GAME NOW COME ON BABY DO THE LOCO-MOTION. Crazy Trains™ Has Families Rolling The Dice To Chug Along (Hopefully) To NYC As They Engineer A Way To Stay On Track With Plenty of “Loco” Obstacles! Miami, FL (May 5, 2023) — Punch your ticket to ride the rails from the safety of the kitchen table in this truly crazy Family Game Night board game called, aptly, Crazy Trains™: The Game of Loco-Motion! ($24.95). Along the way a new generation is introduced to traveling by train with vocabulary words ranging from Railroad Crossing and Collisions to Train Depot and Arrival Track. No two games are ever played the same as parents or grandparents compete...

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Safety and Counterfeiting


Urgent warning to all parents over popular fidget toys that can prove deadly. If you have kids, you've probably heart of pop-its. You might even have a few of the popular fidget toys floating around your house. And we don't blame you - akin to endlessly popping bubble wrap, the colorful silicone toys are stress-relieving and crazily addictive. But medics have warned that the popular gadget could prove fatal to infants. 


Recall Roundup: These toys may be toxic. Thousands of products that may be in your child’s toy box or bedroom are recalled because they are considered toxic or unsafe. More than 6,000 L.O.L. Surprise! Trick or Treat-themed subscription boxes are recalled because the paint on the metal doll pin can contain excessive amounts of lead. The boxes were sold online in late 2021. Same danger, different toy. 


Group warns parents against harmful slime toys, calls for transparency standards for hazardous chemicals in PH. Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics warns the public against the proliferation of unlabeled slime toys among children, which may contain harmful chemicals that could be toxic. It raised concerns about the proliferation of slime toys in the country (often not carrying warning labels) after...

Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals

The submission window for Kidscreen’s Hot50, an annual ranking of the top 50 cos in kids broadcasting, production, distribution, licensing and digital media, is officially open. Applicants have until July 28 to complete an online form outlining their company’s 3 biggest achievements from the last 12 mos. Submissions can be made in more than one category, depending on the scope of a company’s business...


BlogOn Kids will be returning to the Coppid Beech Hotel in Bracknell on Saturday 21st October, alongside revamped awards for 2023. Following the success of the inaugural BlogOn Kids event in summer 2022, the organisers are delighted to announce that BlogOn Kids will be returning to the Coppid Beech Hotel in Bracknell, on Saturday 21st October.

Licensing Expo, taking place June 13-15 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, is hosting roundtable sessions with executives from numerous industry associations and businesses. Participants will meet with industry experts in distinct licensing categories and professionals who specialize in providing guidance on entering new geographical markets. Registrants will receive expert advice, insights...

License to Move is a wellness initiative designed to get the global licensing industry moving and raising valuable funds for the Light Fund charity. The initiative is being led by Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group, with support from trade association Licensing International and key licensing media outlets. Anyone connected to the licensing industry is asked to move 5km and make a donation to...

***The above posted after May 12th***


KidsCon23 was hosted by Generation Media on Thursday, 4th May, in the heart of the West End at Vue Leicester Square.  The annual conference is in its 5th year and was created to educate, entertain and inspire marketing professionals from across the kids industry. The day was kicked off by managing director Lisa Morgan but not quite as we know her, as her AI persona took to the big screen to set the scene for the day.

Licensing Expo has announced the addition of powerhouse speakers from Mojang Studios’ leading global gaming brand Minecraft and fashion footwear brand Crocs to the keynote lineup at the event, taking place from June 13-15 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The keynote, titled Minecraft x Crocs: Building a World of High Performing Partnerships, will take place on Wednesday, June 14th...


The World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y., announced its 2023 inductees. One is The Last of Us, the zombie apocalypse game that's now an HBO series. Barbie Fashion Designer was a rare attempt to market a game for girls. These games join Wii Sports and also Computer Space. That's an arcade game that used the very latest in fancy graphics as they existed in 1971.

Save the Date for Fun and Fundraising at the 2023 Toy of the Year Awards. The Toy Foundation is hosting the 24th annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards on Sept. 29 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City at 6:30 p.m. The event kicks off Toy Fair, taking place Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 at the Javits Center, and will include six new categories for companies to submit nominations. 

ASTRA heads to the Buckeye State. With ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy fast approaching, the excitement is building every day. This event is definitely “more than a toy show,” and this year, we’ve upped our offerings to make this statement truer than ever before! Our mission is to help specialty retailers and manufacturers elevate, engage, and promote. 

With only six days to go to the Toymaster May Show, new members, as well as a selection of both established and new suppliers that will be in attendance at the show, spoke to Toy World. We caught up with new members Naresh Basantani – Music Corner, Gibraltar; Fidelis Rice – Totally Toys, Co. Mayo; Paul Rothwell – Big Top Toys, Bakewell; Dermot Salmon – Salmon’s Department Store, Co. Galway;...


What’s in store at Distoy this year. As Distoy gets set to welcome toy companies and distributors to London at the end of May, Toy World caught up with owner David Potter. This year’s Distoy event will take place from 30th May to 2nd June. During the four-day show, toy suppliers and distributors from all over the world will travel to London to view a selection of new ranges for which toy companies...

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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 colleagues. Archives can be found HERE

Mark Boudreaux - more to come...

Frank Kozik - Chief Creative Officer of collectibles company Kidrobot, Iconic Graphic Artist Behind Album Covers Including the Offpsring’s ‘Americana,’ Dies at 61. Kozik’s death was confirmed by his wife Sharon, who did not give a cause of death but said his passing was “unexpected.”

In a statement she said: “We are devastated to inform you that Frank Kozik passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday. Frank was a man larger than himself, an icon in each of the genres he worked in. He dramatically changed every industry he was a part of. He was a creative force of nature. We are so beyond lucky and honored to have been part of his journey and he will be missed beyond what words could ever express.”

“He loved his wife, his cats, classic muscle cars, mentoring others and Disneyland. His forceful presence will be missed by all who knew him. His legacy, like all great masters, will love on through his art and our memories of him. More info on a memorial service will come soon. For now, we ask you please respect our privacy during this trying time.”

Born on Jan. 9, 1962 in Madrid, Spain, Kozik spent his formative years growing up under Spain’s fascist dictator Franco. As a teenager, he moved to the U.S., living first in Sacramento with his father before joining the Air Force, which saw him stationed in Austin.

A self-taught artist, in his late teens he began creating artwork for friends’ bands, starting with black and white flyers pasted to telephone poles. He soon moved into concert posters, including large silkscreen prints, for bands such as Pearl Jam, The White Stripes, The Beastie Boys, Green Day, Neil Young and Nirvana. He also directed a number of music videos, among them Soundgarden’s “Pretty Noose.”

Kozik eventually started his own record label, Man’s Ruin Records, releasing over 200 singles and albums by artists including the Sex Pistols and Queens of the Stone Age (whose debut single was released through Man’s Ruin Records). Kozik also designed most of the artwork.

In the early 1990s Kozik closed his label to focus on other media, including toys and collectibles. He became chief creative office of collectibles company Kidrobot, designing over 500 limited edition figures including his iconic Labbit characters (vinyl smoking rabbits) for which he collaborated with licensees such as D.C. and Marvel to create superhero-inspired versions. Read More...


Ivan Moscovich - Holocaust Survivor, Inventor, Artist, Author, Puzzler and so much more. From Bob Fuhrer, "It’s with great sorrow to share that the legendary Ivan Moscovich has passed away just shy of his 97th birthday. Ivan’s life story is among the most remarkable tales of survival having barely survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen and 2 other camps to become an internationally known and acclaimed inventor, puzzler, author and artist. Please visit this link for more:

Worldwide Magazines Weekly Top Stories

Added Friday Morning Chicago Time. Check Back for Complete Lists.


Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US) 

​​Posts Friday morning.

Toyworld (UK)

  1. Mr Brightside… it’s the Friday blog!

  2. Character publishes half year results

  3. What’s in store at Distoy

  4. Touching Base with Toymaster suppliers and members

  5. LOL Bubble Surprise June launch

  6. May Talking Shop

  7. Spotlight on dolls

  8. Wheeled Toys in pole position

  9. What went on at KidsCon 23

  10. Wow! Stuff deal with Flybar Powered by Toyworld

  1. Toikiodo appoints IMG for consumer products and experiences

  2. Mattel’s Barney’s World to air on Cartoonito

  3. Yu-Gi-Oh releases Cyberstorm Access

  4. Audible and Moonbug launch original podcasts

  5. Acamar engages Retail Monster for UK opportunities

  6. Toikido and Redan partner for Pinata Smashlings

  7. Magic Light joins forces with BBC

  8. Minecraft and Crocs to give keynote speech at Licensing Expo

  9. Bluey’s Big Play The Stage Show to tour Canada

  10. Cobi details latest licensed builds

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture (US) 

WizKids Reveals Two New 'D&D The Legend of Drizzt 35th Anniversary' Boxed Sets
Wizards of the Coast Unleashes Product Line Deets for 'Magic: The Gathering - Wilds of Eldraine'
Wizards of the Coast Announces New 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Secret Lair' $149.99 Commander Deck
Rolling for Initiative -- Wizards of the Coast's Not-So-Great Couple of Weeks
Fantasy Flight Games Announces New 'Star Wars' TCG
Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'Magic: The Gathering' Packaging Error
ICv2 Exclusive: Ravensburger's Hobby Store Program Applications Go Live on Melee
Wizards of the Coast Reveals 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Doctor Who' Commander Decks and Collector Boosters
Catalyst Game Labs Offers Up Some 'BattleTech' Cuteness
Shifting Sales from Stores to Its Website a Key Strategy for Funko

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

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Hey, That's My Fish!, Annual Golden Geek Winners
A new edition of Hey, That's My Fish! has been announced, the winners of this year’s Annual Golden Geek Awards have been announced, and KOSMOS has released My City: Roll & Build.

Video of the Week 

After Hours Party at Kens.jpg

Mid Century After Hours Party at Ken's Apartment



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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme


Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil:   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know...

we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

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