ASTRA Reveals 2017 Marketplace & Academy Theme
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) announced the theme of its 2017 Marketplace & Academy is Mighty Together: Inspired by the Power of Play. The event will take place in Philadelphia, Pa., June 25–28. For the first time, the Marketplace exhibit hall will expand to three full days.
Sanrio Introduces New Character
Sanrio debuted a new character, and she’s nothing like the brand’s happy-go-lucky counterpart, Hello Kitty. The new character, Aggretsuko, is a 25-year-old red panda that works as an accountant in a Tokyo-based trading company. When her stress levels reach their breaking point, she takes out all her frustration with heavy metal karaoke sessions. Sanrio has already started to roll out Aggretsuko product on its website, including Aggretsuko-themed home and office supplies.
Coral World Park, Viacom to Open Nick Underwater Resort
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) will work with Asia’s underwater resort developer, Coral World Park Undersea Resorts, Inc., to develop a new Nickelodeon resort and attraction in the Philippines. The Nickelodeon undersea attraction and resort will be part of Coral World Park (CWP), a nearly 1000 acre undersea-themed development in the Western Philippine province of Coron, Palawan. With an expected opening in 2020, Nickelodeon’s first resort in Southeast Asia is slated to have 172 acres set aside for the resort and 74 acres for the attraction.
The resort, which will be inspired by Nickelodeon properties, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer, will advocate ocean protection. It will also feature a resort dining experience with CWP’s underwater restaurants and lounges, which will be located about 20 feet below sea level with underwater viewing.
The Nickelodeon undersea attraction and resort will be located amidst 16 white sand islands of the CWP. Roughly five to 20 minutes apart by speedboat, visitors can expect a multi-island experience within CWP that includes island hopping, hidden lagoons, hot springs, an animal reserve, and diving amidst shipwrecks. CWP will open in phases starting in 2018. It will be located within a three to six hour radius of major Asian cities.
ToyFest West Looks Ahead to 2017 Show
The Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association (WTHRA) is gearing up for its annual toy show, ToyFest West 2017, which will take place March 5–7 at the South Point Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas.
The show invites buyers to spend time with their reps and vendors, learning about new products and programs in place for 2017. Manufacturers will offer specials to help buyers fill their shelves with new items in addition to tried and true sellers. Each purchase order written at the show will qualify as an entry to the daily raffle of cash prizes.
The WTHRA will host its annual gala dinner on Sunday evening. All show participants are welcome and encouraged to attend. After cocktails and dinner, ToyFest West will award the Retailer of the Year award to Adventure Toys in Los Altos, Calif. Several toy industry icons will also be inducted into the WTHRA Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Wayne Depaulo, Jan Fox, Irv Kipper, and Barbara Lillich. Monday night, buyers are invited to spend their evening at Game Night, where they’ll learn new games to demo in stores.
Buyers can also attend the show’s annual seminar on Sunday morning before the show opens. This year’s presenter, Heidi Butzine, is a best-selling author, marketing strategist, and speaker with 25 years of experience in business management and marketing. Founder of ShopLocal.us, she helps raise consumer awareness about the importance of local businesses and helps small businesses with marketing strategies to attract their neighborhood customers.
Hopster Launches Preschool Channel On Roku
Hopster, the app that helps kids learn through shows and games, is launching a channel on the Roku streaming platform in selected territories. The preschool entertainment platform will be available to millions of Roku users in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Ireland, and with a localized French language app in France.
Hopster’s lineup of hit shows include Peppa Pig, Super Why!, Teletubbies, Reading Rainbow, and Monster Math Squad. Content will vary country to country. All content available on the Hopster platform is carefully selected to support the Hopster Discovery Learning Map, a bespoke curriculum for preschool learning.