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News extra: More licensing news from this week

Including in-person networking events and live content confirmed for Licensing Expo 2022, plus Paramount Global makes its debut.

Source rounds up more news from the licensing industry across the globe from the week.

A packed programme of in-person networking events and live content has been confirmed for Licensing Expo this May. The show is due to return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from 24-26 May. Celebrations will begin on the evening of Monday 23 May, with the unveiling of this year’s Licensing International Excellence Awards winners, taking place at Light with free entry from 5.30pm. The official Opening Night Party will take place on Tuesday 24 May at the Daylight outdoor beach club from 5.30pm until late and will be free to attend for the first time. Finally, exhibitors will be invited to join an informal drinks event at the Eyecandy Sound Lounge and Bar on the evening of Wednesday 25 May. Licensing Expo will also host two in-person keynotes at midday on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the latter spotlighting this year’s location-based experiences theme. Attendees will also benefit from the return of Licensing International’s Licensing U programme, sustainability sessions delivered by Products of Change and the live finale of the License This competition (Thursday 26 May). Additional content and networking opportunities will also be available via the Licensing Expo official online platform which will open on 11 April.

ViacomCBS has become Paramount Global, it was confirmed earlier this week (16 February), bringing together its portfolio of entertainment properties under a new parent company name. In addition to the name change, the company also outlined plans to accelerate global momentum behind Paramount+, unveiling new content, enhanced product offerings and continued international expansion. Among the franchise expansions, the first ever original live action Sonic the Hedgehog series (featuring Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba) is in development to debut on Paramount+, setting up the third film instalment, while a further expansion of the SpongeBob SquarePants universe is coming with three new movies based on the show’s original characters, with the first dropping in 2023. In addition, a new era of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mania is being promised with a new animated take on the characters coming to cinemas, as well as a series of exclusive movies for Paramount+ beginning in 2023, each focusing on one of the property’s storied villains. The next chapter will begin for Transformers, meanwhile, with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts in 2023. Other kids and family content announcements included Blue’s Big City Adventure, a animated/live action hybrid for Blue’s Clues & You, plus a new CG animated series for Dora the Explorer as well as the first ever live action Dora the Explorer series. There will also be new content for Beavis and Butt-Head and South Park.

Moonbug Entertainment has appointed Susan Vargo as head of live events. In the newly created role, Susan will lead, oversee, manage and drive all of Moonbug’s brand and franchise specific live shows, branded areas, character events and experiences in locations such as theme parks, water parks, attractions and more. She will be based in the UK working closely with the Moonbug team in the US. Before joining Moonbug, Susan oversaw global creative development for Nickelodeon live entertainment including stage adaptations, theme park programmes and resort entertainment.

Kids Industries has revealed a raft of new appointments including the hire of Dennis Publishing’s research manager, Carlene Wilson as senior researcher. The new hires come off the back of the company winning several new accounts at the end of 2021 including Amazon Kids+. As well as Carlene, the company has welcomed Georgina Katsiani as producer; Frankie Stevens as designer; and Courtney Joseph as research executive.

WildBrain CPLG is partnering with Moose Toys to handle representation of Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron and planned line extensions for the brand in the US and Canada.

France Rugby has named New Era as its official headwear licensee in a multi-year deal brokered by IMG. The first collection kicking off the partnership features France Rugby’s blue, white and red logo across five pieces of merchandise including the 9Forty Adjustable, 9Fifty Snapback and Trucker styles, as well as two beanie models.

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