The following is a selective tour of some of the kids properties available at this year’s Licensing 98 International
HarperCollins plans to issue a new line of Little Bear books this year to tie in with Nelvana’s TV series. Noodle Kidoodle will be the first to offer Little Bear merchandise, with release in August, and Toys `R’ Us will carry Kidpower’s talking Little Bear plush during the Christmas season. Last fall, Paramount Video released the first collection of Little Bear videos, with plans to expand the series through 1998. Other licensees include Gund (plush), European Toy (finger puppets), Haddad (apparel), Wormser (pajamas), Treasures (figurines), Mango (plush backpack) and Learning Curve.
Parachute Consumer Products continues to deliver licensing and promotional support for the new Goosebumps Series 2000. Set to premiere in September is the Goosebumps-Live On Stage Tour, which will be performed for kids age six to 12 in 30 U.S. cities. Tim Burton (creator of Nightmare Before Christmas) is slated to produce the feature film version of Goosebumps for release by Fox Family Films. Promotions include an Oscar Mayer Lunchables Lunch Combinations on-pack, instant-win game that will send the winner to New York to help R.L. Stine write an upcoming Goosebumps book. Apparel and accessory merchandise will be based on the book art in order to appeal to boys age eight to 12. Licensing partners include Giant (T-shirts and sweatshirts), Touch Tone Interactive (interactive T-shirts and hats) and American Needle (caps).
Making his debut at the New York Licensing Show this month is Skippy, the kangaroo star of Yoram Gross-Village Roadshow’s animated series Skippy’s Adventures in Bushtown. The series consisting of 26 half-hour episodes, aimed at kids aged seven to 11, has been sold to 25 territories worldwide. It will debut on the Nine Network in Australia, Super RTL in Germany and TF1 in France. Among the merchandising projects under way for the Skippy series are a CD-ROM (Forest Interactive), six Skippy picture book titles (Hodder Headline Australia) and a series of videos (Village Roadshow).
Wheel 2000 and Jep are the children’s versions of prime-time game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Their licensing and merchandising campaigns are targeted to boys and girls age six to 12, with all major categories now available for licensing.
Nationwide Network Services has teamed up with MTV and Motorola to launch the Pager Network and a special line of MTV pagers that are targeted to teens and young adults. The pagers feature unique designs that incorporate the MTV logo and come in three funky color combinations, including Outrageous (chartreuse with purple), Liquid (blue with grey) and Carbon (grey with black). They also connect to the MTV Pager Network, where teens can access programming information, promotions and contests.
Copyright Promotions Licensing Group is planning an intensive licensing campaign for Timbuctoo, the animated series based on the books of the same name written by Mr. Men creator Roger Hargreaves. Flicks Films and Carlton Television have joined to produce 13 five-minute animated shorts that are currently airing on ITV. Thirteen additional episodes are in production and will start in January 1999.
Noddy, the popular children’s book character, is making his American premiere on PBS in September. The new 40 x half-hour series for children age three to seven will feature classic animation, live action, original music and puppets. PolyGram recently announced an exclusive, multiyear deal for home video rights for the series. The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company is handling licensing for the property in North America.
Only months after the big-screen release of The Mask of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins, Theatrical Arts International is launching Zorro Live. The stage play will run from October to April, covering more than 30 U.S. cities. The production is looking for promotional partners for categories including automobile and vacation sweepstakes, retail and product specific cross-promotions, in-store visits by talent and in-theater sampling and presentations.
With The Rugrats Movie slated to open in November, Nickelodeon is putting a push behind the property at Licensing 98. ‘Our real mission is to turn it into an evergreen franchise,’ says Ann Sarnoff, executive vice president of consumer products and business development for Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is planning a new line of products that will reflect the different look and feel of the film, and will feature the well-known characters-as well as a yet-to-be-revealed newcomer and some fresh ancillary characters-in settings from the movie. Items will include toys from Mattel, books from Simon & Schuster and adventure-based CD-ROMs from Br¿derbund Software. Nickelodeon is working to obtain feature space and boutiques at retail to display the movie-based products alongside those developed for the TV show.