Inside Licensing CES News and Notes, Jan. 10, 2018

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Curtis International/RCA/Proscan, CAT/Bullitt, Nima/NBA, Playbrush

Curtis International is deploying a two-pronged strategy for its licensed RCA and ProScan brands as it seeks to build a business with entry-level 4K ultra-high definition TVs, a company spokesman told us at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The company, which replaced Activeon as U.S. TV licensee for the brands (owned by Technicolor) in late 2016, has been selling an RCA 55-inch 4K LCD TV built-in with a Roku’s built-in streaming service on at $379, well below similarly featured tier one sets at $600 and up. The ProScan brand is being used for promotional product typically priced at $10-$20 less than a similarly-featured RCA model, says the spokesman.

The relationship of the two brands under Curtis is the reverse of the brands’ prior owner, Thomson Consumer Electronics, which positioned ProScan at a premium to RCA when it introduced the banner in 1990.

Curtis also is extending the RCA brand to front projectors, having introduced an LCD-based mini projector with low resolution at $89 in holiday promotions with plans for moving it to $79 in the spring, says the spokesman. It is readying a more conventionally-designed model with a better resolution at $199, says the spokesman.

Elsewhere at CES:

  • Caterpillar (CAT) licensee Bullitt Group may introduce a CAT-branded ruggedized tablet PC in the U.S. in the spring, building on a product line that was launched by Deutsche Telecom in Germany in mid-2017, says Bullitt’s Dan Papalia. Bullitt has a CAT license for tablets in Germany. The tablet would expand on Bullitt’s U.S. line of CAT smartphones that have found a home so far at Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics and added industrial products distributor Grainger in Q4 2017. Bullitt is seeking distribution deals for CAT smartphones with U.S. cellular carriers. Separately, Bullitt expects to launch a Land Rover smartphone in Europe later this year, its first since signing an agreement for the brand last year.
  • Sports speaker supplier Nima is readying National Basketball Association-licensed basketball-shaped models starting with versions for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. The models will be available in 5-, 12-, 40- and 150-watt configurations and feature built-in left and right speakers and subwoofer in the bottom. The NBA product line adds to the company’s NFL helmet-shaped speakers in similar configurations, and licenses with 60 colleges for baseball and football versions.
  • Children’s Bluetooth-equipped toothbrush device supplier Playbrush landed licenses for Unilever’s Mentadent and Signal toothpaste brands in Europe, says Playbrush’s Paul Varga. The Playbrush kit consists of a bluetooth-enabled cap with a motion sensor that fits onto the end of a standard manual toothbrush. The cap connects to five games contained in a Playbrush app. The motion sensors record how the children brush their teeth and an algorithm prompts them to brush long enough and correctly as they play the game. The Austrian company launched sales in 2015 and last fall started sales through Bipa, a 600-store Austrian drugstore chain.


Bullitt Group, Dan Papalia, Chief Sales Officer, 770-883-6004,

Curtis International, Aaron Herzog, CEO, 416-674-2123

Nima, Alex Aro, CEO, 949-336-5526,

Playbrush, Paul Varga, Co-Founder/CEO,