Inside Licensing News and Notes June 30, 2017

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Corus Expects ‘Ramp Up’ of Nelvana Merchandise Business

This year will be the “ramp up” of Nelvana Enterprises’ business with the recent launch of “Hotel Transylvania” on the Disney Channel and the expected arrival of “Mysticons” on Nickelodeon in August being accompanied by merchandise programs, Corus Entertainment CEO Doug Murphy told analysts. Much of the merchandise will hit store shelves during the next year. “We are getting Nelvana to the level we want it to be given that we had sort of a turnaround year” in 2016, Murphy said.

Corus’ merchandising, distribution and other revenue rose 44% in Q3 ended May 31, driven largely by new broadcast agreements, including those for “Mysticons” and “Hotel Transylvania.”

“We are feeling optimistic as we move into the launch phase with our network of global distribution and merchandising partners bringing these characters and storylines from our studio to audiences around the world,” Murphy said.

Dark Horse Comics recently signed to supply Mysticons graphic novels starting in late summer 2018, joining master toy licensee Playmates. Nelvana is jointly developing Mysticons with The Topps Co.

Meanwhile, Corus swung to a $66.1 million profit in fiscal Q3 from a $15.7 million net loss a year earlier; revenue rose to $461.1 million from $360.8 million largely on sales generated by Shaw Media, which it acquired last year.


Corus Entertainment, Doug Murphy, CEO, 416-479-7000,


Executive Changes

Kirsten Fallon, ex-LMCA, joins Entertainment One as Dir. of Retail for North America…. Federico San Martin, ex-The Jim Henson Co., named VP of Global Toys and Hardlines at 20th Century Fox Consumer Products… Joshua Romm, ex-IMG, joins Smithsonian Enterprises as Senior Dir. of Global Licensing… Adam Berg, ex-The Valen Group, named VP of Business Development retail display supplier AMD Industries.


TruTV Launches DTR with Spencer’s

Time Warner’s truTV launches its first national retail licensing program, signing with Spencer’s for a direct-to-retail (DTR) program for its “Impractical Jokers” hidden camera series. The collection includes apparel, glassware, buttons and temporary tattoos that went on sale at select Spencer’s stores this week. The line will expand in July to include 3.75-inch vinyl figures that were developed by licensee Emce Toys (not part of the DTR). While a handful of Impractical Jokers-related products previously were available through the online truTV store, the new program with Spencer’s is part of a more concerted effort to license the channel’s programs, including “The Carbonaro Effect” and “Adam Ruins Everything,”  says a truTV spokeswoman.  As part of its new licensing effort, truTV hired Ariel Yarmus as business enterprise director in February. TruTv started licensing of Impractical Jokers given its large fan base and longevity – it debuted in 2011 and was renewed for a seventh season in May, says the truTV spokeswoman.


Spencer’s, Eric Morse, Division VP Licensing and Product Development, 609-645-5380,

TruTV, Ariel Yarmus, Business Enterprises Dir., 212-275-0701,

Emce Toys, Joe Sena, 718-810-6501,


Hot Topic, Build-A-Bear Collection to Launch in Mid-July

Hot Topic and Build-A-Bear will launch their jointly developed apparel and plush collection (Inside Licensing April 28) in mid-July with plans for cross-promoting the line in the chains’ mail-based locations. There will be seven SKUs of plush sold at Build-A-Bear outfitted with Hot Topic-designed apparel, while Hot Topic stores field a seven-piece apparel collection that includes dresses, leather jackets and accessories. Funko will have vinyl figures available at both retailers. Both chains will promote the collection via in-store displays.


Hot Topic, Cindy Levitt, VP General Merchandise Mgr., 626-839-4681 x2216,

Build-A-Bear, Jennifer Kretchmar, Chief Product Officer, 314-423-8000,