Rubies extends Fireman Sam license

Costume manufacturer Rubies has announced the continuation of its successful partnership with leading global toy company, Mattel, Inc., as they announce the extension of the Fireman Sam license.

The new deal signifies the strong relationship built over the years between Rubies and Mattel, as they look to expand their dress-up portfolio across EMEA.

With over 30 years of legacy, the Fireman Sam brand holds a special place in the hearts of millions of children and adults across the globe, with the series airing in over 100 countries. Rubies will continue to manufacture and distribute its current styles along with the addition of exciting new designs to the range for 2022.

Tracey Devine-Tyley, Head of Portfolio and Licensing at Rubies, says: “Our partnership with Mattel and its subsidiaries, responsible for the creation and continued success of the Fireman Sam brand over the years, is set to grow exponentially following this extension. The Rescue Team have been educating young children for over 30 years on the importance of teamwork and safety and we are proud of the values it upholds as they align with our own company morals which we wish to share and impart on our youngest audience, children.

“We are happy to be able to continue to provide youngsters with dress-up that encourages them to act in the heroic and ambitious way that the rescue team of Pontypandy do. Part of our company mission is to inspire children to be the best they can be with our costumes and therefore we are delighted to be able to continue doing this.”

Helen Genia, Head of UK Licensing and Hardlines EMEA Mattel Consumer Products adds: “Fireman Sam is an important piece of British pop culture and a much-loved character across toys, books, fashion, nightwear and dress-up. We are thrilled to expand the license with Rubies to offer children more role-play opportunities and bring to life the characters and world of Pontypandy through fantastic new dress up looks, allowing children to play out heroic adventures.”

Fireman Sam content has over 9.36bn global views to date on the official YouTube Channel and it is a top 5 preschool character brand in Europe, with 360 integration, including toy, consumer products, live events, and publishing.

The Fireman Sam show is produced by Mattel Television and WildBrain and distributed by WildBrain, and is available to watch in the UK on Cartoonito, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Milkshake (Channel 5) and Virgin Media, as well as networks across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The official Fireman Sam costumes are available to order from or from online stores including Amazon.

Character Group reports “very strong first half year performance” as turnover grows 44 per cent

The Character Group has reported a “very strong performance” for the half-year ending February, 28 2021 with a turnover increase of 44 per cent to £74.5 million, and underlying pre-tax profit of £6.1m.

The toy firm has attributed the successful first half year trading to the strength of its portfolio of brands, with expectations for growth to continue through the second half of the financial year, and beyond Christmas 2021. The group has seen success in building sales growth momentum across both the international and domestic markets.

Goo Jit Zu is penetrating all major international markets, with distribution already achieved in more than 40 countries. The Character Group’s other major brands (Peppa Pig, Pokémon, Little Live Pets, Shimmer ‘n Sparkle InstaGlam, Stretch Armstrong, Fireman Sam, Scooby Doo) are also exceeding expectations.

In addition, there has been a focus on developing a sustainable, eco-friendly range of products over numerous brands with the new “World of Licensed Wood” range. This now includes a comprehensive selection of figures, vehicles and playsets. Licences within the range currently include Peppa Pig, Disney Princess and Fireman Sam.

There is also an Eco-Plush multi-licensed collection, which is being enthusiastically embraced by the industry and consumers alike.

Meanwhile, a partnership with Moonbug Entertainment has seen the creation of a master toy line for the new pre-school property, My Magic Pet Morphle – a range that will launch later this year.

The statement issued by The Group today ended with an outlook for the second-half of the financial year: “In the shorter term there are challenges, with the underlying delays at ports, shipping shortages and opportunistic pricing on freight rates (all principally fall-out resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic) and mounting pressure on the costs of production in China.

“However, with the substantial increase in Group sales in the first half, we have continued to see a strong performance from sales of our product portfolio in all our territories from the commencement of the second half of the year. This growth is forecast to continue through to and beyond Christmas 2021 and we are on target to deliver the best performance in a calendar year in the Group’s history.

“By working tirelessly and in close partnership with our customers, suppliers and brand owners, our personnel have delivered a seamless, efficient and safe transition from the old to the new “normal”.  Every one of our team members has played a significant role in this achievement and, on behalf of the Board and all the Group’s stakeholders, the Group wishes to express their gratitude to them.”

Fireman Sam and Despicable Me join the Tonies licensed audio tales portfolio

Fireman Sam and Despicable Me are the latest properties to join the popular children’s audio system, Tonies, joining a growing roster of licensed stories that includes The Lion King and The Gruffalo.

Based on the BBC children’s TV series, the Fireman Sam Tonie runs for 60 minutes and tells the tale of its hero Sam saving the day in the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy. The Despicable Me: The Junior Novel, meanwhile, runs for 116 minutes and follows the tale of Gru and his minions.

In addition to the two licensed stories, a third Tonie completes the newest wave, taking the form of the Easter Bunny Creative Tonie, depicting a bunny holding a basket of Easter eggs and allowing users to record their own audio via the Tonie app.

Tonies co-founder, Marcus Stahl, said: “We are delighted to introduce two such well known and loved titles to our collection. Minions have become iconic animated figures in their own right, and it is fantastic to be able to add the timeless character Fireman Sam to the collection.

“We look forward to seeing the response from new and existing customers and have more exciting launches planned in the coming months.”

Launched in the UK in 2018 by Patric Faßbender and his friend and co-founder Marcus Stahl, the Toniebox is an intuitive speaker system that is revolutionising story time for children thanks to its screen-free engagement.

Billed as an ‘easy, fun and interactive way for three to eight year olds to play their favourite stories and songs’ Tonies encourages kids to place a Tonie figure on top of the box and the content from the audio will begin to play.

Over 10.5 million Tonies and 1,000,000 Tonieboxes have been sold across Europe since the launch and 2020 started with the exciting announcement of the brands’ expansion to the USA – expected towards the end of this year.