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News snapshot: what you might have missed

Including Disney teaming with Westfield to create special themed play areas and family rooms.

Disney UK is teaming up with Westfield to create Disney-themed play areas and family rooms, along with a series of campaigns and activities at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City. The first piece of joint activity is a Star Wars inspired fashion campaign featuring key characters alongside the new season’s fashion trends. The partnership will also see branded play areas unveiled throughout the year – the first will be specially designed Winnie the Pooh and Friends branded family rooms across both shopping centres, transforming them into 100 Acre Wood. Later this summer, two Mickey Mouse themed play zones are due to open, with these followed by a Frozen zone in the autumn at Westfield Stratford City.

Netflix is making the move into merchandise. The company revealed its plans in a job ad on its website for an executive to oversee plans for merchandising the Netflix brand.

Cole Gahagan, chief commercial officer at Fanatics – the licensed sports merchandise company – is to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Licensing Expo. The session will take place on Tuesday May 23, marking the start of the show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Magic Light Pictures and Forestry Commission England are to bring The Gruffalo characters to life in the forest through a new augmented reality app. The Gruffalo Spotter has been designed for use at 26 forests across the country. Families will follow clues on an interactive trail and track signs of their favourite characters.

Lisle Licensing has appointed RP2 Global as master toy partner for Bottersnikes & Gumbles in the UK, Eire and Australia. Toys will launch in the UK in spring/summer 2018 and will include plastic and vinyl figures, feature plush and role-play lines.

BAFTA winning CBeebies show Hey Duggee has hit one million downloads for its apps. The show has five apps including The Big Badge App, The Big Outdoor App and the We Love Animals app, as well as standalone apps, The Sandcastle Badge and The Tinsel Badge. All have been created by BBC Worldwide and Scary Beasties.

Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media is debuting a new retail campaign this spring around its Marvel Super Heroes. Entitled ‘Marvel Heroes Come in All Sizes’, the initiative will cover a wide spectrum of merchandise, new story content, digital storytelling and collaborations.

Panini UK has launched its Blaze and the Monster Machines magazine this week. The four-weekly title will include the likes of stories, puzzles, competitions, crafts and fun learning activities – exposing children to critical scientific, mathematical and problem solving concepts.

Suncrest is partnering with Santoro for a new collection of Gorjuss rag dolls. The first three dolls in the line – Ruby, I Love My Rabbit and Forget-me-Not – debuted at Spring Fair this week.

Nickelodeon UK & Ireland is launching the network’s first play-along app, SpongeMaster. The SpongeBob Squarepants app uses questions that appear live on air to quiz audiences. Episodes featuring the questions will air on Nicktoons between February 13 and 24.

Endemol Shine Group has partnered with Case Licenses for a European-wide launch of a new MasterChef kitchenware line. The range features Teflon coated cookware, kitchen knives, wooden accessories, kitchen utensils, oven to tableware and textiles.

Edutainment Licensing has secured a partnership between Contents & Company and Top That Publishing to create educational software, workbooks, stationery, bags and play-sets for the Arty Mouse brand.

Discovery Consumer Products has appointed Ricky Li as vice president, global lifestyle and retail.

Nelvana has extended the reach of the Shopkins licensing programme to fans in Russia, the Middle East and Scandinavia through a number of new partnerships. New licensees include the likes of AST Origami, AST Publishing, Perfetti, Tarna Rosman and Unitoys (all Russia), plus Developing Dreamz, MEI, Sapphire and Vibrant Global (the Middle East). Alicom is also on board as the new Scandinavian agent, with Ravensburger extending its coverage area to include the territory.

BreathableBaby has teamed up with Carte Blanche Group to launch a new range of ‘Tiny Tatty Teddy by BreathableBaby’ cot and crib liners.

Céline Dion is to launch her first licensed collection, having signed a partnership with The Bugatti Group for a range of handbags, luggage and accessories. The deal was secured by Epic Rights and Prominent Brand + Talent.

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