United Media has inked a deal with Hasbro, making the toy giant master toy licensee for the Peanuts property. Launched at Toy Fair in February, Hasbro’s first batch of Peanuts toys features Smiling Snoopy, an animatronic plush that flashes a toothy grin when tickled. The new toys will be streeting in the fall.
With the Peanuts 50th anniversary coming up on October 2, 2000, UM has announced big licensing plans for the property during the coming year. Already, a new Baby Snoopy line has been introduced, and 25 new cross-category licensees have signed for the property over the last six months, including University Games and puzzle manufacturer Seaco. The momentum is expected to continue with Nickelodeon airing the programs twice a day, and a Peanuts direct-to-video title bowing this fall. The Peanuts push reportedly has US$3 million in support behind it.
* The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company has found 12 companies willing to give the nod to Noddy. Gund is producing soft toys, puppets and rattles for later this spring, Learning Curve is producing wooden puzzles, playsets and push/pull toys, HarperCollins has books coming out in April, and PolyGram is launching two home video titles in May. Additional deals were pending at press time with Happy Kids, Colorforms, Zak Designs, Disguise, International Playthings, DK Publishing, Schylling and Publications International. Based on the book series by Enid Blyton, the BBC Worldwide/Enid Blyton Company co-production launched last fall on more than 200 public TV stations in the U.S. and Canada.
* European software producer Ubi Soft Entertainment has teamed up with Warner Bros. Interactive to produce licensed software based on DC Comics’ Batman property. An international licensing agreement signed last month will result in new Batman and Robin games for all popular formats, including CD-ROM, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation and Dreamcast. Design work for the new titles has already begun at Ubi’s New York production studios, with the first titles set to launch next year.
* Sony Signatures has signed on the Material Girl in an exclusive, long-term licensing and tour merchandising deal. Sony is planning to exploit the agreement in the apparel, fragrances, cosmetics, accessories and collectibles categories. Until now, Madonna handled merchandising and licensing herself.