FremantleMedia in Acquisition Mode
FremantleMedia Enterprises has acquired worldwide distribution, brand licensing, and home entertainment rights (excluding Canada) to Really Me, an original tween live-action sitcom from Canadian production company Fresh TV. FME also distributes Fresh TV’s tween and teen horror/comedy My Babysitter’s a Vampire, which was launched to the international market in October 2010.
Really Me follows the life of 15-year-old Maddy, an ordinary-turned-famous 10th grader who wins the ultimate contest of landing her own reality TV show. Middle-child Maddy has been overshadowed her entire life by her gorgeous athletic older brother, Brody, her genius little brother, Clarke, and her former NHL hockey star father, Ray. Now it’s her turn to shine. But Maddy quickly realizes the Cooper family will never be the same. With no privacy, an uptight producer, and a fridge-raiding camera guy, Maddy learns that being filmed 24/7 may not be as glamorous as she thought.
In additional Fremantle news, the company announced that it has signed a development deal to co-produce and distribute two new shows, co-developed by Random House Children’s Screen Entertainment (RHCSE), a joint venture between Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) and Komixx Entertainment, a Komixx Media Group company.
The two shows, based on original RHCB stories, will be jointly produced and financed by RHCSE and FME, with FME taking on worldwide distribution, licensing, and home entertainment rights. The initial focus for both properties will be for television broadcast, with scope to develop into additional areas including games and toys. Both properties will appeal to kids across a broad spectrum of demographics. The chosen titles are Fish Head Steve and The Amazing Adventures of Charlie Small.
Fish Head Steve is based on the Jamie Smart comic strip, originally published by David Fickling in the weekly children’s comic, the DFC. Fish Head Steve is a comedy-soap about everyday events in Spumville where, in a flash, the heads of the townsfolk have been mysteriously swapped for household objects and family pets.
The Amazing Adventures of Charlie Small by Nick Ward features the turbulent and perilous adventures of an intrepid boy Charlie Small as he travels through time and space. The Charlie Small series is published by RHCB.
TIA Changes Bylaws, Elects Board
Toy Industry Association (TIA) members voted to amend TIA’s bylaws to make the association a stronger and more inclusive organization. Full TIA regular membership will now be open to any company engaged in creating, manufacturing, importing, or selling toys in North America. The vote, along with the election of the TIA board of directors, took place at the association’s annual business meeting in New York City during Toy Fair. For the second consecutive year, the business meeting was open to both members and non-members of the Association.
The election of the new members of the board of directors also took place at the meeting. Five individuals were recommended by the nominating committee and have been elected to serve as members of the board of directors through 2013:
- William Campbell, president of sales and marketing at LeapFrog Enterprises (first term)
- Joel Berger, president of Cardinal Industries (second term)
- Leigh Anne Brodsky, executive vice-president of consumer products at Nickelodeon Consumer Products (second term)
- Peter Henseler, president of Learning Curve Brands (second term);
- Jamie Gallagher, CEO of Faber-Castell USA/Creativity for Kids (third term)
Following the annual business meeting, members of the TIA Board convened briefly to elect a slate of officers, each of whom have been re-elected for another one-year term:
- Chairman of the Board: Bryan Stockton, COO of Mattel
- Vice Chairman of the Board: Soren Torp Laursen, president of LEGO Systems
- Secretary-Treasurer of the Board: John Gessert, president and CEO of American Plastic Toys
Members of the Executive Committee:
- David Hargreaves, COO of Hasbro, and Jamie Gallagher, CEO of Faber-Castell USA/Creativity for Kids
Jakks Pacific Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results for 2010
Jakks Pacific, Inc., reported results for the company’s fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010, early last week. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $198 million compared to $198.8 million reported in the comparable period last year; and net sales for the full year of 2010 were $747.3 million compared to $803.7 million in 2009. Reported net income for the fourth quarter was $8.9 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $1.9 million, or $0.07 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. Reported net income for the full year of 2010 was $47 million, or $1.52 per diluted share, which includes a one-time pre-tax charge relating to the benefit payment of $2.8 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, to the estate of Jack Friedman pursuant to his employment agreement and one-time tax benefits of $10.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $385.5 million, or $14.02 per share, reported in 2009.
On a non-GAAP basis, net sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $198 million compared to $198.8 million, and $747.3 million for the full year of 2010 compared to $804.3 million reported in the full year of 2009. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $8.9 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to $6.4 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2009. Non-GAAP earnings for the full year of 2010 were $47 million, or $1.52 per diluted share including the one-time charge and tax benefits noted above, compared to $30.2 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, reported in 2009.
Fourth quarter and full year GAAP results include the following, which were excluded in the non-GAAP results above for 2009:
- There were no adjustments to the 2010 GAAP results.
- Pre-tax charge to cost of goods of $23.3 million was taken in the second quarter and $2.9 million in the third quarter related to the impairment of inventory.
- Pre-tax charge to royalty expense of $33.2 million was taken in the second quarter and $0.2 million in the third quarter related to abandoned or underperforming licenses.
- Pre-tax non-cash goodwill and other intangible asset impairment charges of $415.3 million taken in the second quarter.
- Pre-tax non-cash charge of $2.3 million related to the write-off of obsolete tools and molds taken in the second quarter.
- Pre-tax charge of $1.3 million related to a product recall taken in the second quarter.
- Pre-tax non-cash charge of $23.5 million related to the reduction of our preferred return from our video game joint venture with THQ as a result of the arbitration decision, of which $22.5 million was taken in the second quarter and $1.0 million was taken in the third quarter.
- Pre-tax charge of $13 million taken in the fourth quarter related to the reorganization of the company’s operations, including termination of lease obligations, severance, fixed asset write-offs, and other contract terminations.
“We finished 2010 with robust sales that were ahead of plan,” said Stephen Berman, president and CEO, Jakks Pacific, in a statement. “We are pleased that we also achieved the top end of our earnings guidance, despite continuing cost pressures and product mix shift that affected margin on those sales. We continue to closely manage our supply chain and maintain momentum on the development and placement of our product lines for 2011, giving us cautious optimism for this year. Our 2011 portfolio has been well received and is broadly placed in virtually all retail channels. We are expecting to achieve growth this year, with the contributions coming from across all divisions, including roleplay toys, action figures, Halloween costumes, electronics, kids’ furniture, dolls, and more.”
HIT’s Roary the Racing Car Products Now Available
Roary the Racing Car will be available on store shelves for the first time in the U.S. early this year. Toy lines from Bandai and K’nex are in Toys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com.
Roary’s first U.S. DVD, Roary The Racing Car, from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, will also launch at mass retailers in June. In addition, new television episodes will air on Sprout in April. Roary the Racing Car was created by Chapman Entertainment (creator of Bob the Builder) and is represented by HIT Entertainment in North America. The series is currently airing on 24-hour preschool channel Sprout.
Pictured from left to right: Stacey Reiner, vp, consumer products, U.S., HIT Global Brands, HIT Entertainment; Keith Chapman, creative director, Chapman Entertainment; Mark Shaffner, evp, toys, Bandai America, Inc.; Andrew Haydon, commercial and finance director, Chapman Entertainment; and Tor Sirset, vp of marketing, girls/preschool, Bandai America, Inc.
Clifford’s Be Big Campaign Kicks Off
CBS Early Show co-anchor Erica Hill got a big hug from Clifford The Big Red Dog last Monday at the Scholastic Store in New York City. Hill and Clifford were on hand to celebrate the launch of Scholastic and HandsOn Network’s national Be Big Campaign, which encourages everyone to use Clifford’s Big Ideas to make the world a better place. For more information visit www.scholastic.com/cliffordbebig. Photo: Scott Rudd.