PUMA, Cara Delevingne Unleash Pride Collab

According to License Global to celebrate Pride Month this June, PUMA is spreading the message of love and unity alongside PUMA ambassador and LGBTQ+ activist Cara Delevingne with the launch of the ‘From PUMA with Love’ pack.

Pic courtesy License Global

The 13-piece pack features vibrant colors, rainbow designs and bold graphics. PUMA reports that 20 percent of the proceeds from the collection will be donated to The Cara Delevingne Foundation, a project of the Giving Back Fund which supports LGBTQ+ charities including GLAAD, The Trevor Project and Mind Out.

“We are proud to team up with Cara to celebrate Pride Month through this meaningful collection that will benefit LGBTQ+ organizations across the globe,” says Adam Petrick, global director, brand and marketing, PUMA. “Cara’s active voice as a leader and a member of LGBTQ+ community made her a perfect partner to collaborate with on this pride-inspired project. It’s more important now than ever to support each other and through this collection. It reminds us that we’re always stronger together.”

The ‘From PUMA with Love’ styles include colorful graphic tees and hoodies, Leadcat Slides, Pride waistbags and more. Items in the collection are currently retailing from $20-$45.

“This collection was designed and created with so much love,” says Delevingne. “I was really looking forward to wearing it at this year’s Pride celebrations that I was planning to attend but, given the circumstances, I can’t wait to wear it and celebrate Pride month from my home via Zoom and FaceTime. Through my foundation, I am looking forward to making donations to LGBTQ+ organizations around the world who are making such a difference every single day. The LGBTQ+ community deserves to be celebrated and I’m so grateful PUMA partnered with me to create such a prideful collection.”

‘Angry Birds on the Run’ Returns for Season 2

Rovio Entertainment has announced that “Angry Birds on the Run,” the live action series starring the Angry Birds as plush toys, will return for a second season.

“Season 2 of ‘Angry Birds’ on the Run is a whirlwind of fun,” says Baker Terry, writer and director, “Angry Birds on the Run.” “It promises to be bigger and wilder than ever before! We’ve got more twists and turns, more locations, original songs and more characters. More of everything really, except smarts. It was great to spend some more time with our three lead characters from the first series and get to know a whole bunch of new Angry Birds, and piggies of course.”

Season two will premiere on the “Angry Birds” YouTube channel on June 6, with a new episode added every Saturday. Wider distribution will be handled by CAKE, with the new season coming to more platforms this October.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/streaming-and-tv/angry-birds-run-returns-season-2

All ‘non-essential’ retail to re-open from June 15 in the UK

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres were on May 25 given three weeks to prepare, as the government gave the date of June 15 for when non-essential retail could re-open its doors.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that non-essential stores – including those which sell licensed products such as clothing, toys and books – will be able to open from next month if the government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

The government is publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches and stores, as well as working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.

Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures; storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor; placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas; and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly.

“Bira is pleased with the guidance being given to retail outlets,” commented Andrew Goodacre, ceo of the British Independent Retailers Association. “It provides a broad framework for the basic measures and still allows the retailer to be flexible according to the size, layout and location of the shop.”

All non-essential retailers in England have been closed since March 23.

Source: https://www.licensingsource.net/all-non-essential-retail-to-re-open-from-june-15/

Dolly Parton, American Greetings Ink E-Card Deal

Country music icon Dolly Parton has unveiled the first new product in her collaboration with American Greetings, according to a report by Music Row. A birthday e-card set to the tune of her hit “9 to 5” has been created through the company’s SmashUp digital initiative.

Users can send a birthday e-card set to the tune of Parton’s hit and can customize the card with one of 1,200 different names available on SmashUp.

“We’re so excited to share the ‘Birthday Time’ SmashUp with our members, Dolly’s fans and anyone looking for ways to make someone feel special on their birthday,” says Rob Matousek, executive director and general manager, direct to consumer business, American Greetings. “We felt that the Country Music Hall of Fame theater was the perfect venue for Dolly to deliver an extra special birthday wish and it made a great backdrop for her incredible talent. She makes everything sparkle and hearing her say your name and seeing your name in lights next to Dolly on stage is sure to be magical for lucky recipients.”

Earlier this year, American Greetings announced a multi-partnership deal with Parton. The deal includes both physical and digital products that integrate her songs. Parton-themed greeting cards are set to hit shelves at Walmart later this summer.

“Celebrating who you are and why you are special is something I have always encouraged and have known is important for my own identity,” says Parton. “God made us all unique in our own ways, and I love the fact that I was able to offer something special for everyone. In a time like now, when we do not get the chance to share special moments like birthdays with each other in-person, I am so happy to know my ‘Birthday Time’ SmashUp ecard is now available to share with those you love.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/greetings-stationery/dolly-parton-american-greetings-ink-e-card-deal

‘Mondays with Michelle Obama’ Releases New Story Time Episodes

Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books and PBS KIDS have announced that “Mondays with Michelle Obama,” its collaboration with the former First Lady of the U.S., will be extended with four new story times on May 18 and May 25.

On each of the new dates, two videos from “Mondays with Michelle Obama” will live-stream back-to-back on Facebook and YouTube, with the former First Lady being joined by surprise guests for one of the two children’s books she will read aloud.

The story times “Mondays with Michelle Obama” began on April 20 on Facebook and YouTube, in support of Penguin Random House’s recently launched “Read Together, Be Together“ literacy initiative and PBS KIDS’s “Read-Along” effort.

“Mondays with Michelle Obama” are livestreamed simultaneously at 12:00PM EDT on PBS KIDS’ Facebook page and YouTube channel, and on Penguin Random House’s Facebook page. It will be available for viewing on-demand on all of those platforms immediately thereafter.

The additional episodes of “Mondays with Michelle Obama” will feature Obama reading aloud from four children’s books:

May 18:

  • “Giraffe Problems” written by Jory John; illustrated by Lane Smith; and
  • “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” with a surprise guest, written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

May 25:

  • “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss; and
  • “Can I Be Your Dog?” with a surprise guest, written and illustrated by Troy Cummings.

A suite of activities, tips, and resources for each of the books that Obama will read are available at readtogetherbetogether.com, and companion literacy resources are available on pbskidsforparents.org.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/publishing/mondays-michelle-obama-releases-new-story-time-episodes

Leomil, Baby Shark Swim into Footwear Deal

Leomil, part of The Cortina Group, is expanding its footwear portfolio with Baby Shark. Nickelodeon and Pinkfong, the brands behind “Baby Shark,” have partnered with Leomil, to present a Baby Shark-branded collection following a deal brokered by WildBrain CPLG. This first collection will be available for back-to-school 2020 in Europe and the Middle East.

“We are delighted to be working with a best-in-class partner such as Leomil on Baby Shark,” says Matt Tobia, senior licensing manager, WildBrain CPLG Benelux. “Leomil has created a bold, colorful and fun collection, which really encapsulates what makes Baby Shark so popular. We look forward to seeing the products launch at retail for the back-to-school period.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/footwear/leomil-baby-shark-swim-footwear-deal

Brands rising to feed the need and show they care

With governments around the world making it mandatory for its citizens to wear face masks for the foreseeable future to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus, several entrepreneurs and companies have already picked up the mantle to serve this need by repurposing their existing assets. Some purely as CSR initiatives and others as a balance between CSR & to support other businesses that have dipped due to the strictures that have been imposed on business as usual. Here are just a few of the initiatives that caught our eye.

Bravado the licensing arm of Universal Music Group recently announced an initiative to provide a range of non-surgical face masks to its fans under the initiative We’ve got you covered. The website also mentions 100% of net proceeds will be donated to Music cares an initiative to benefit music-oriented charities and communities. The face masks are priced at $15/- each and are branded with some of the most iconic music brands including Queen, The Rolling Stones, Guns N Roses, Imagine Dragons, YungBlud, Black Pink and Black Sabbath.

 

According to LicensingSource.Net, Bravado and Universal Music Group (UMG) launched the programme first by offering free face masks to all UMG employees. The programme will also contribute 50,000 masks to those serving communities across the US including workers in food banks, school lunch programmes, homeless shelters and other community service providers.

Closer home in India, quite a few brands and designers have also decided to repurpose their existing resources to help meet the need of non-surgical masks. With the objective of “Staying Safe and Stylish” designers Anita Dongre & Masaba to name a few have announced initiatives via social media platform Instagram earlier this month much to the delight of their fans.

Said Ms. Dongre, “Ever since lockdown measures came into place, we have been finding ways to contribute meaningfully to safety efforts amidst the current pandemic. These efforts have now been greenlit.”

(image courtesy Anita Dongre’s Instagram account)

 She further stated – “24 of our women employees from two of our community tailoring units in Charoti and Dhanevari have offered their services in creating protective face masks to meet the needs of the community at large. All social distancing norms and hygiene measures will be followed during this time”

(image courtesy Anita Dongre’s Instagram account)

Designer Masaba Gupta wrote “Changing gears for some time in the wake of the current pandemic & lockdown across the country, all operations at the House of Masaba came to a halt. While the damage that this will do is immeasurable at this point, my hope is to keep my chin up by doing my bit to help my country instead-in this time. We have started the production of non-surgical masks for donation at a production facility keeping all hygiene and safety standards in mind. These masks are washable and reusable”

India’s largest English news daily The Times Of India has taken the DIY route to rally its readers to design their own face masks and share the same with the tag #MaskIndia on its website. Best masks get featured in the newspaper. So far the campaign has received over 90,000 submissions.

(image courtesy Times Of India campaign page)

While the central government has announced 17th May as the end date for Lockdown 3.0, the Prime Minister’s Office has left it to individual state governments to decide on their exit plans. However, the discourse has certainly shifted from saving lives to saving “lively hoods” and with 1.3 billion people to care for getting things up and running and back to normalcy is going to need everyone to pitch in with whatever they can do. Whether its making masks or serving at a local soup kitchen, we are all in this together.

How AMGI Animation is Adapting to COVID-19 Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally shifted the entertainment industry. From production shutdowns to the rise in at-home streaming, the toll on people and businesses has caused studios across the spectrum to reexamine how they work. From Zoom meetings to direct-to-streaming film debuts, the industry is trying new things to be more adaptable and prepared for the pace that is sure to arrive when things open back up again.

Now, as a light at the end of the tunnel slowly begins to emerge, companies are looking to become more efficient and flexible than ever before. While this paradigm shift can be a challenge, some studios are finding their inherent nature is giving them the advantage to get up-to-speed faster than they even realized was possible.

One such studio is AMGI Animation. The self-described ‘IP factory,’ based in South Pasadena, Calif., has been able to quickly adapt to the new normal by leveraging the vision and expediency inherent in its DNA. AMGI’s unique advantage comes from its technology, business mission and its experienced team of animators that help bring each project to life.

“In a strange sort of way, this shutdown has kind of accelerated our production,” Colin Brady, co-founder, AMGI, tells License Global. “We were already a digitally based studio, so the transition to working from home wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. We can still create the characters just as fast as we did before, and all our animators are working remotely, so we are perfectly suited for this.”

The group includes alums from Disney and Pixar who leverage real-time rendering technology based on the Unreal Engine to create animations quickly. Using Unreal technology, the team can render projects rapidly from their home workstations in real-time, in an industry that isn’t always based on speed to market.

The studio’s unique business model also allows AMGI to be flexible and quick to react to the market. After just one year in business, the company has developed eight properties for each demographic of kids’ entertainment. Characters range from the young adult music-themed IP “Zeppelin Reign” to the younger-focused “Little Kaiju” property. AMGI is looking to leverage those digital-first characters by extending them into episodic streaming content and licensing across verticals.

“One of the things that struck me when I attended Toy Fair this year was the preponderance of toys that were built on digital influencer initiatives,” says Tony Diioia, co-founder, AMGI. “The sheer number of eyeballs that are watching content on these online platforms is really enough to kickstart a full-blown licensing program.”

AMGI’s fast-acting approach and potential to quickly develop streaming content for new character IP may end up being a significant opportunity for the studio, as distributors look to launch new material following the production stoppage. The company’s quick to market model is also powering how it works with licensees and retailers.

AMGI sees the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown as affecting how the industry does business even after companies can begin to reopen. With that in mind, the studio is looking to work with partners who can adapt to whatever the future may bring. Potential partners for the company include retailers and licensees with a robust e-commerce and digital presence.

“Eventually, we are going to come back, but I don’t think we are going to come back to exactly how it used to be,” adds Diioia. “We think that e-commerce is going to be an accelerator based on what is happening today.”

Overall, AMGI believes that it will come out of the COVID-19 shutdown with a business model that has been accelerated, as major industry players look for companies that fit the quick-to-adapt mold.

As everyone learns to readjust to a fundamentally shifted work environment, companies such as AMGI will prove vital for an industry landscape looking to offset the challenges of the shutdown rapidly.

“I think when we look back at this time, we are going to see it as we got a shot of adrenaline when everyone slowed down,” adds Roger Paglia, chief executive officer, AMGI. “We are one of the few independent studios still standing, and our whole crew is churning out properties.”

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/streaming-and-tv/how-amgi-animation-adapting-covid-19-challenges

Quibi and Peacock: Two Very Different Streaming Services Launch During a Pandemic

Streaming giants, such as Netflix and Disney+, have seen huge numbers, as people around the world are asked to stay home and help stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix saw record-high traffic in March. Disney, meanwhile, has leveraged its streaming platform to bring new releases into people’s homes as movie theaters are shuttered.

While consumers continue streaming film and television while stuck indoors, the streaming ecosystem will become even more prominent over the summer. Both Quibi and NBCU’s Peacock platforms are launching this year. The platforms have been in development for years, but their arrival during the pandemic is both a blessing and a curse.

Peacock: NBC’s Streaming Play to Arrive Early Amid Pandemic

Peacock is scheduled to officially hit the market in July. However, in a bid to capitalize on the streaming uptick during quarantine, NBCU announced that some Comcast customers would get a sneak peek of the streamer’s content. Early-access users will be able to watch a limited amount of content, including classic shows like “30 Rock” and “The Office,” according to Reuters.

“With the majority of the country at home, the demand for news and entertainment is truly at an all-time high,” says Matt Strauss, chairman, Peacock, in a conference call covered by the Los Angeles Times. “Many viewers are seeking out programming that is comforting, familiar and even nostalgic.”

The Peacock streaming service’s early access offering won’t be the same as the full product expected to launch later this year. Peacock’s full slate will include live sports and original content that have been delayed due to the pandemic. In a letter to employees covered by Variety, Strauss said that original content, including a reboot of “Saved by the Bell” would be delayed until 2021.

“This is a marathon and not a sprint,” Strauss said in the letter. “While we are launching with a strong array of news and entertainment offerings, much more content will be on the platform down the road, including our original productions and many more sporting events. The product itself is in its beginning phase and will undergo continuous updates and enhancements.”

Quibi: Mobile-First Streaming Content Faces New Consumer Paradigm 

Quibi is a short-form, mobile-friendly streaming platform from former Disney boss Jeffrey Katzenberg and ex-chief executive officer of H.P., Meg Whitman. The platform launched last month to substantial numbers, with 1.7 million app downloads during its debut week. As a platform, Quibi leaned into the market with a 90-day free trial for all interested consumers.

While off to a hot start, the streaming platform has already seen some potential attrition with the app downloads falling out of the top 70 on the App Store charts. According to App Annie, the Quibi app trailed competitors such as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu in its second week. The potential reason for the decrease in downloads may be attributable to the quarantine.

As a mobile-first platform, Quibi did not launch with TV casting abilities. While the feature is in the works, the lack of viewing options on the big screen may be a negative for consumers spending more time than ever on the couch.

More Streaming to Come

Streaming is more crowded than ever before, and it looks to get more crowded into 2020. Along with Quibi and Peacock, WarnerMedia is debuting HBO Max in May. As nearly everyone turns to the TV or consumes virtual content, for the time being, it looks like they will at least have a slate of new streaming platforms to try if they are interested.

Source: https://www.licenseglobal.com/analysis/quibi-and-peacock-two-very-different-streaming-services-launch-during-pandemic

Premier League stars ready for action in ePL invitational tournament

Premier League footballers will be putting their EA SPORTS FIFA 20 skills to the test in the inaugural ePremier League Invitational tournament.

A host of familiar faces are going head to head as they represent their club in a knockout tournament from the comfort of their own homes from Tuesday 21 April.

The prize fund is being donated to the #PlayersTogether initiative, which was created by Premier League players as a collective way of generating funds for the UK’s National Health Service and distributing them where they are needed most. The tournament will also continue to urge everyone to follow official advice by staying home and saving lives.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: ‘The thoughts of everyone at the Premier League are with all those directly affected by COVID-19.

‘In response to the pandemic, the League, our clubs and players are providing valuable support for communities.

‘We are also aware of the importance of finding new ways to entertain fans at this time and we are excited to bring together a strong line-upof players for the ePremier League Invitational tournament.

‘With many of our international broadcast partners showing the matches, fans around the world can tune in and enjoy the action. We knowhow popular FIFA20 is with players and I am looking forward to seeing who will be crowned the ePL Invitational champion.’

Among the players competing in the tournament are Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Todd Cantwell (Norwich City), Ryan Fredericks (West Ham United), Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) and Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).

The full line-up will be confirmed ahead of the draw for the tournament, which takes place on Monday 20 April. The opening rounds feature four matches per day between midday (BST) and 4pm (BST) from Tuesday 21 April to Friday 24 April. The semi-finals and final will betelevised live at 3pm (BST) on Saturday April 25.

Fans can watch all the action throughout the week on the Premier League website, app, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, Official PremierLeague Broadcast Channels, YouTube and Twitch channels as well on the Football Daily YouTube channel.

For more information visit www.premierleague.com/epl-invitational.

The ePL Invitational tournament is operated by esports tournament organisers Gfinity, who have worked on the first two seasons of ePremier League.

About the Premier League 

The Premier League produces some of the most competitive and compelling football in the world. The League and its clubs use the power and popularity of the competition to inspire fans, communities, and partners in the UK and across the world. The Premier League brings people together from all backgrounds. It is a competition for everyone, everywhere and is available to watch in 1 billion homes in 188countries.