Rovio Welcomes New Angry Birds Licensees

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The popular mobile game and entertainment franchise will be further supported in the U.S. by Brown Trout, Fab NY and Wells Dairy.

NORTH AMERICA–Rovio Entertainment has secured a raft of new and extended licensing deals in the U.S. that will further support the Angry Birds franchise and its upcoming film sequel in 2019.

New licensees on board for the Angry Birds franchise include Brown Trout for calendars; Fab NY for backpacks, luggage, lunch bags, wallets and coin cases, among other items; and Wells Dairy for character-shaped ice creams and water-ice confections.

Several licensing partners have also expanded their relationship with Rovio including Crocs for footwear, Komar Kids for sleepwear, Inkology for stationery and Ziegenfelder for frozen novelty confections.

Additionally, Rovio has secured two promotional partnerships for 2018. The first partnership will see Hostess Brands roll out a fully integrated campaign in which Angry Birds branding will be featured on 12.5 million packages of Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes, Ding Dongs and more. The second promotional partnership will see Sonic Restaurants launch an eight week QSR kids promotion at all Sonic restaurant locations in the U.S.

Evolution USA represents Rovio Entertainment for consumer product licensing, promotions and retail distribution in the U.S.

“We’re committed to building strong momentum in 2018 leading up to our next theatrical film release in fall 2019,” says Simo Hämäläinen, head of brand licensing, Rovio.  “With two extensive promotional partnerships with brand leaders and a growing list of licensees in very appealing categories, the Angry Birds brand will continue to be front and center for our U.S. fans throughout the year.”

The sequel to The Angry Birds Movie is being produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film is slated to hit theaters in September 2019.

Paragon to Develop Rubik’s Themed Attractions

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Each Rubik’s-themed attraction will also be able to serve as a stand-alone attraction or part of a family entertainment center offering.

EUROPE–In a deal brokered by The Smiley Company, Rubik’s and Paragon Creative have teamed up to create a range of themed attractions based on key Rubik’s attributes and values.

The themed attractions will highlight key Rubik’s attributes such as logic and progressive difficulty and will incorporate the iconic toy brand’s colors and twisting motion. In addition, the attractions will feature a variety of concepts including escape rooms with a virtual reality element as well as family activities including soft play, climbing, crazy golf and logic-based mazes. Each attraction has also been created to serve as a stand-alone attraction or as part of a family entertainment center offering.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the themed attractions experts at Paragon Creative on this range of leisure concepts for Rubik’s,” says Lori Heiss Tiplady, vice president, brand strategy, The Smiley Company. “Innovation, interactivity and challenging fun are at the heart of these concepts, which will push participants to use their brain power to conquer physical tasks for a uniquely Rubik’s twist on popular attractions.”

‘Oddbods’ Names Master Toy, Apparel Partners

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One Animation has also secured a raft of new partners for the popular children’s series in Europe, including Talent Show, Balocco and Coveris, among others.

GLOBAL–One Animation has tapped Kids Station Toys and The Bentex Group to serve as its master toy and apparel licensees, respectively, in North America.

Brandgenuity, One Animation’s North American licensing agency, brokered the deals.

As the brand’s master toy partner, Kids Station will develop a range of branded, interactive electronic toys–including small collectibles, blind bags, play sets and plush accessories.

Meanwhile, The Bentex Group, including its divisions Extreme Concepts and H.I.S. International, will create a collection of kids’ apparel spanning t-shirts, fashion tops and more.

The “Oddbods” licensed products are scheduled to debut in fall 2018.

“We are thrilled to have Kids Station and The Bentex Group as our first partners for our U.S. program,” says Will Ochoa, international licensing director, One Animation.  “Both partners have a proven track record of developing fun and innovative products which will bring the crazy world of ‘Oddbods’ to life. We now have the foundations in place to satisfy the rapidly growing popularity of ‘Oddbods’ in the U.S. and provide fans with the products they desire.”

One Animation has also secured a number of new licensing partners for the brand in Europe. New licensees include:

  • Talent Show for confectionery and juices in Central Europe;
  • Confitrade fruit gums in Russia;
  • Balocco for Easter Eggs;
  • Herding for home textiles in Germany;
  • Nelson for activity books and puzzle crafts in Germany;
  • Origami Group for puzzles and arts and crafts in Russia;
  • Baltic for back-to-school bags and stationery; and
  • Coveris for promotional packaging solutions for kids’ meals in the U.K.

In addition, Russia’s retail chain, Europe, has launched a retail loyalty program that will see more than 100,000 “Oddbods” plush distributed across its 50 stores for the next month.

“This great new raft of partnerships with best-in-class category leaders is testament to the popularity of the show and the insatiable demand for ‘Oddbods’ product,” says Sashim Parmanand, chief executive officer, One Animation. “As we look to 2018, we will continue to delight fans with fun and creative activations across consumer products, digital and gaming.”

Emoji Teams for Accessories Range

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Lazerbuilt is on board to feature the popular emoticons on a host of products in the U.K.

EUROPE–The Emoji Company and Lazerbuilt have joined forces to create an assortment of Emoji-branded audio, mobile, travel and car accessories.

Bravado brokered the deal on behalf of The Emoji Company.

Under the terms of the agreement, a variety of Emoji icons will appear on headphones, speakers, earphones, reversible travel cushions, vent air fresheners, phone and tablet cases, powerbanks, charging cables, car chargers and more.

Lazerbuilt will launch its Emoji-inspired collection in April 2018 throughout the U.K.

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Games First Strategy Pays off for Rovio

The company’s brand licensing division also posted significant growth, rising to €6.7 million.

EUROPE–Rovio Entertainment revenues for Q3 2017 increased 41 percent to €70.7 million, compared to €50 million in the same period last year, due to the strong performance of its Games First growth strategy as well as its successful listing on the Helsinki stock exchange.

The revenue of Rovio’s brand licensing business also saw substantial growth, rising to €6.7 million, which was primarily driven by revenues from The Angry Birds Movie. In the third quarter, Rovio also released an Iron Maiden-themed update to “Angry Birds Evolution” and partnered with the English Premier League Club Everton for a multi-year partnership that will further boost the brand’s local and global visibility.

Meanwhile, the company’s games business unit increased 40 percent to €22 million, which was boosted by the improved monetization of top games. In addition, in August, Rovio launched a new game, “Angry Birds Match,” which the company believes has “promising performance indicators and the potential to become one of Rovio’s best performing games.”

Furthermore, Rovio’s IPO in September saw the company acquire more than 11,000 new shareholders and accumulate gross proceeds of €30 million. According to the company, it will use the funds to support its growth strategy.

Rovio’s recent gains reflect its Games First strategy, which was created to shift the in-house management of its licensing to an agency model, allowing the company to focus on its core competencies of game and content development. Read more about Rovio’s growth plan here.

Finally, Rovio’s revenue increased 74 percent to €223.2 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared to €128.5 million in the year prior.

“In the third quarter of 2017, we continued to execute our Games First growth strategy. Revenue increased by 41 percent year-on-year and amounted to approximately €71 million,” says Kati Levoranta, chief executive officer, Rovio. “In line with our growth strategy, we significantly increased our investments in user acquisition, which predictably led to a decline in profitability. Rovio’s successful listing on the Helsinki stock exchange at the end of September was evidence of the strong interest in our growth strategy, also in the capital markets.”

Manchester City FC, Mattel Add Customization Options

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Merchmaker will feature the British football team as well as Barbie, Hot Wheels, “Thomas & Friends” and more on a variety of customizable products.

EUROPE–Merchmaker, a provider of officially licensed merchandiser, has secured the licensing rights to offer personalized and customizable products featuring the Manchester City FC and Mattel’s portfolio of brands.

Under the terms of the agreement with Manchester City, Merchmaker will create an assortment of personalized and customized apparel, accessories, homewares and gifting products.

Meanwhile, for Mattel, Merchmaker will introduce brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, “Thomas & Friends,” “Fireman Sam” and “Enchantimals,” among others, on an assortment of t-shirts, hoodies and more.

Merchmaker will roll out both collections on its Create Your Own platform, which is running in partnership with The Entertainer U.K. and can be found at CreateYourOwn.TheToyShop.com.

BAFTA Reveals Children’s Awards Winners

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“Hey Duggee,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Pokémon Go,” among other properties, were awarded during the annual ceremony.

EUROPE–The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has unveiled the winners for the annual British Academy Children’s Awards.

The ceremony, which took place Nov. 26 at the Roundhouse in London, honored a host of outstanding achievements in the children’s entertainment space and was hosted by Doc Brown.

This year’s awards also recognized a host of licensed properties including “Hey Duggee,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Pokémon Go” and Bear Grylls, among others.

This year’s winners include:

  • Animation–“Revolting Rhymes” by Magic Light Pictures/BBC One
  • Channel of the Year–TrueTube
  • Comedy–“Class Dismissed” by CBBC Productions/CBBC
  • Drama–“Like Me” by CTVC/TrueTub
  • Entertainment–“Bear Grylls’ Survival School” by ITV Studios/CiTV
  • Factual–“Inside My Head: A Newsround Special” by CBBC Productions/CBBC
  • Feature Film–“The Little Prince” by On Animation Studios and Netflix
  • Game–“Pokémon Go” by Niantic/Pokémon
  • Independent Production Company of the Year–Blue Zoo Animation Studio
  • Interactive–“Hey Duggee: We Love Animals” by Scary Beasties/BBC Worldwide
  • International–“SpongeBob SquarePants” by Nickelodeon/Nicktoons
  • Learning–“History Bombs: Online History Resources” by History Bombs/Historybombs.com
  • Performer–Alhaji Fofana as Ryan in “Screwball” by TrueTube
  • Preschool Animation–“Hey Duggee” by Studio AKA/CBeebies
  • Preschool Live Action–“Our Family” by Sixth Sense Media/CBeebies
  • Presenter–­Maddie Moate from “Do You Know” by CBeebies
  • Short Form–­“Share a Story 2016” by CiTV
  • Writer–­Adam Tyler for “Screwball!” by TrueTube
  • Special Award­­–Jacqueline Wilson

Carte Blanche to Enter U.S. with New Agent

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The Brand Liaison will lead the U.S. licensing program for Carte Blanche, the brand behind Me to You, Tiny Tatty Teddy, Hotchpotch and more.

NORTH AMERICA–Leading greeting card, gift and licensing company Carte Blanche has tapped The Brand Liaison to launch its new licensing program in the U.S.

Founded in 1987, the U.K.-based greetings brand produces a vast roster of toys, gifts, apparel, confectionery and humor items that the Brand Liaison will now work to translate into products for an American audience.

“We had been watching this company for quite some time as they are a leader in giftware trends and enjoy a very expansive licensing program in Europe,” says Steven Heller, president, The Brand Liaison. “As soon as we learned they were looking to expand to the U.S., we knew we were the right agency for this program based on our strength in art licensing coupled with our relationships in stationery and giftware.”

Carte Blanche’s staple brand Me to You generates more than $80 million in greeting card sales each year and boasts over 2.4 million YouTube views.

“We looked at several agencies before selecting The Brand Liaison” explained Sarah Quigley, Head of Licensing for Carte Blanche.  “But their passion for this program was unrivaled, and their vision for our licensing program was consistent with our goals.&rdquo

Paramount Unveils Transformers AR App

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The app, which was created by Viacom NEXT, will be available until Feb. 20, 2018.

NORTH AMERICA–Paramount Home Media Distribution has released a new augmented reality experience based on the recent film Transformers: The Last Knight.

Created by Viacom’s VR team Viacom NEXT, the new app features a variety of content from the film and overlays 3D graphics onto a user’s surrounding physical space. During the game, players will control the actions of Bumblebee, directing his movement while hitting, blowing up and interacting with an assortment of objects, which can also be added to expand the interactive environment.

“This augmented reality experience gives fans the chance to interact with the Transformers universe in a new and exciting way,” says Howard Hsieh, vice president, worldwide digital business development, Paramount Home Media Distribution. “The Transformers films appeal to a vast and diverse audience and we’re excited to give fans the opportunity to get in the driver’s seat and take Bumblebee for a ride.”

The Transformers-themed AR experience will be available to iOS users until Feb. 20, 2018, via the App Store. Fans will also be able to order Transformers: The Last Knight on 4K HDR through the app.

V And A Gets Chinese Licensing Agent

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Alfilo Brands will also expand the British museum through an e-commerce initiative with Alibaba.

ASIA–The U.K.’s Victoria and Albert Museum has appointed Alfilo Brands to serve as its exclusive licensing agent in the Greater China region.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alfilo Brands will seek and secure vendors and retailers across multiple categories including apparel, home interior, fashion accessories and home decoration.

Alfilo Brands has also signed on to launch the V&A’s online stores and roll out brick-and-mortar locations in major cities throughout China. The agency will also work with the e-commerce giant Alibaba to promote V&A licensed merchandise via Tmall.com.

The branded V&A online store is slated to launch next year.

“Alfilo Brands comprises a highly skilled and extremely dedicated and motivated team,” says Lauren Sizeland, head of business development and licensing, V&A. “I am really looking forward to working closely with them and have every confidence that they will successfully expand our licensing program in this important territory. The Victoria and Albert Museum was established in 1852 to make works of art available to all and to inspire designers and manufacturers so it’s wonderful that the licensing program shares the V&A collections with new audiences and increasingly further afield.”