Sesame Street’s New Season Kicks off on HBO in January
Sesame Workshop announced that season 46 of Sesame Street will launch on HBO on January 16, 2015. There are a number of big changes in store for this new season. The show moves from its long-standing one-hour format to a 30-minute format. There are new preschool-relevant themes, new show open and closing songs, an updated set, a new segment called Smart Cookies, and a new cast member, Nina.
On January 16, two new episodes of Sesame Street will debut on HBO starting at 9am. Every Saturday thereafter a new episode will air at 9am followed by a repeat episode at 9:30am. New episodes will also simultaneously debut on HBO Latino and will be dubbed into Spanish. Families will also be able to watch new and past seasons of Sesame Street daily on HBO Family at 8am, as well as five years of library episodes available for streaming on HBO NOW and HBO GO. Episodes will also be available on HBO On Demand and affiliate portals. Sesame Street content continues to be available to PBS Kids viewers on weekdays and Sundays on local stations, and on the PBS Kids Video App. Season 46 episodes will begin airing on PBS Kids next fall.
Guidelines for Drone Registration
A U.S. task force comprised of government, industry, and consumer representatives has submitted its final recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding a new user registration system for recreational drones and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), says the Toy Industry Association (TIA).
According to the Task Force Recommendations Final Report, all users of outdoor recreational drones weighing between .55 and 55 lbs would need to register in the new system. The task force also recommends that registration be free, mandatory at the time of operation (not at point-of-sale), and owner-based, so that one registration number would apply to all drones owned by an individual.
Based on TIA member input, it appears that due to the lightweight nature of most toy drones, the majority of toy drone users would be exempt from the registration requirement. However, users of toy drones exceeding the weight limit would require registration.
The FAA will consider the task force recommendations, as well as public comments, before releasing an interim final rule on drone registration, expected to go into effect in late December. At that time, the FAA will seek public comments before issuing a final rule.
TIA has joined the Know Before You Fly campaign, which provides consumers with important information about flying drones safely and responsibly. TIA says it is also considering the development of a best practices guide and/or voluntary standard for toy companies that manufacture and sell drones.
NRF Reveals What’s on Toy Lists this Holiday Season
National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) announced its Top Toy list for the 2015 holiday season. The survey, which is conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, asks holiday shoppers what toys they plan to buy for the children in their life—among those with their shopping lists already prepared just prior to Thanksgiving. Here is the list, which named items mostly by brand and/or category:
Top 10 Toys for Boys
- Star Wars
- Cars and Trucks
- Video Games
- Hot Wheels
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Xbox One
- PlayStation 4
- Marvel Action Figures
Top 10 Toys for Girls
- Disney’s Frozen
- Monster High
- American Girl
- My Little Pony
- Disney Princess
- Star Wars
TAGIE Winners Announced
The winners of the eighth annual Toy & Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards were announced just prior to Thanksgiving during this year’s ChiTAG. Here are the winners:
- Mark Boudreaux, inventor of Star Wars Millennium Falcon, won Excellence in Toy Design. Mark Boudreaux has been a designer of Star Wars toys since 1978. He has designed many action figures and ships for the Star Wars line at Hasbro.
- Laurie Peterson, designer of Malia’s Beach House, Marine Rescue Center, Day at the Beach, Fairytale Theater, and Pet Portrait Studio, won the Rising Star Designer award. Laurie Peterson founded the company Build & Imagine to create building and problem solving toys for girls. The toys feature adventurous female characters and narrative details.
- Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small, designers of Exploding Kittens, won Excellence in Game Design. This trio is known for having one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns. Their game, Exploding Kittens, raised nearly $8.8 million on Kickstarter.
- Duncan and Hayden, inventors of Two Bros. Bows, won the Young Inventor of the Year award. The invention was created based on the boys’ mutual love of the outdoors and was a way for them to experience a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit. The product has become popular and sells nationwide.
- Adam Wilson and Ian Bernstein, inventors of BB-8, won Best Digital Toy or Game. Adam Wilson grew up obsessed with all things robot, but with interests in the software side. He developed custom software apps during his free time and was involved in a NASA project with internet-controlled robotics. Ian Bernstien has always been a tinkerer and problem solver. He started the company Sphero with the mission to create the next generation in gaming devices.
- The Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award went Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago opened in 1967 to empower at-risk youth by providing high impact one-on-one mentoring that enables lifelong success.
- This year’s In Memoriam Award honored Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin, the co-founders of the Wham-O company. Wham-O is best known for introducing iconic products like the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee. Other well-known products include the Superball, Slip ‘N’ Slide, and Silly String.
- The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Richard Maddocks. Maddocks started his career at Matchbox in 1971 and then became an independent inventor. From there, he landed in Chicago at Tiger Electronics and Hasbro where he helped bring Furby and FurReal Friends to the market. Richard Maddocks is best known for propelling robotics in toys while maintaining depth of character and emotion in his creations.