Layer launches digital marketplace to shake up licensing in the gaming space

Australian start-up Layer has launched a dedicated digital licensing marketplace to shake up how licensing deals between brands and games companies are managed.

Layer acts as a matchmaking platform between IP holders looking to extend their licensing activities into the games industry, and game developers and publishers seeking licensable IP to include in their games. With major titles like Fortnite leading the way and leveraging well-known brands to attract and retain players, securing IPs has become a vital part of the business of gaming. On the other hand, IP holders are realising its value and increasingly exploring opportunities in games. The whole idea behind Layer is to make the process of finding the right deal and getting it agreed “so simple that anyone can do it”.

The concept for Layer came about after one of the company’s founders, Rachit Moti, successfully licensed a song from his now-defunct band into a NASCAR racing game. Chris was struck by the legal complexities and opaque nature of the licensing process. In 2021, Rachit, together with Chris Illuk, founded Layer to democratise IP licensing by streamlining and simplifying the whole process. Part of this ambition is to enable as many game creators around the world as possible to work with their favourite brands and characters.

Rachit Moti, CEO & Co-Founder at Layer, explains: “Layer matches game developers to IP holders’ profiles based on commercial requirements, audience overlap and thematic fit. For instance, a developer working on a new game aimed at children can join the platform and be matched with popular children’s characters based on the parameters they set. Once two companies are happy with a match, they can proceed to the negotiation phase to agree commercial terms, all of which is handled within the platform.

“With character skins, themed seasons, or co-branded DLC and other in-game purchases, there are so many more ways well-known IPs can get into the gaming space nowadays. Despite interconnected metaverses potentially being years away, we’re already seeing major brands take their first steps inside these virtual worlds, and this trend will only accelerate.

“Historically, securing an IP was a very complex, labour intensive legal process that was normally reserved for large publishers with the capital and right know-how – something I believe is antiquated and no longer fit for purpose in the modern entertainment landscape. We’re here to change that and give developers of all sizes a seat at the table.”

Signing up to the platform is free. Plus, the Layer team also offers licensing advice to companies that may not be familiar with the licensing process.

The Layer marketplace is already home to over 50 gaming companies and more than 150 well-known brands spanning automotive, celebrity, children’s books, comics, fashion, film and TV, and toys. It’s free, and quick, to sign up, while Layer’s onboarding team provides a white-glove experience setting up each new profile to ensure the highest quality matches for game creators and IP holders.

To sign up or learn more, visit:



Simon’s Cat fans to create the purr-fect product

Banijay Brands has announced a new partnership for internationally loved digital animation Simon’s Cat, with leading social commerce platform Spring. The latest collaboration offers Simon’s Cat fans the opportunity to help design the ultimate Simon’s Cat plush that will go into production later this year.

Building on the success of previous Simon’s Cat collaborations with Spring, including the sell-out Baby Simon’s Cat plush, this latest project will, for the first time, give fans control over the design of the new product. Voting via the Simon’s Cat social media platforms, fans can determine the body shape, facial expression and packaging of the new range. Once the design has been finalised, the plush will go into production and be available for pre-order ahead of delivery in time for Christmas 2022.

Alice Bernardi, Director of International Brand Licensing, Banijay Brands, says: “This is a really unique venture that connects fans with upcoming products like never before. We are already seeing strong engagement and interactivity for the project, with the first poll last month generating over 20,000 votes.”

Simon’s Cat (part of Banijay UK) is one of the biggest YouTube sensations in the world. From a single free-to-air, two-minute cartoon, it is now a major global success, with over 3bn online views and nearly 20m fans across TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The Simon’s Cat brand also enjoys international success across multiple categories including gaming, publishing and apparel. There have been more than 90 million digital sticker downloads, in excess of 20 million mobile gaming downloads and over 2 million books sold across 30 countries.

Anton Berezin appointed MD of Three Scoops

The Merchantwise Group has announced the appointment of event and licensing veteran Anton Berezin to the newly created role of Managing Director of its branding, creative and digital studio, Three Scoops

In his role as Managing Director of the studio – which includes Disneyland Paris and Jack Links in its client portfolio – Anton will focus on growing the Three Scoops division at a global level.  He will also expand the range of products and services offered by Three Scoops, including in the areas of experiences and brand activations.

Prior to his Three Scoops appointment, Anton was the founder of Entertainment Store/Life Like Touring, one of the world’s leading brand entertainment producers.

Anton boasts extensive experience in the fields of theatrical and experiential events within both the ticketed and non-ticketed event markets, having partnered with The Merchantwise’s Group licensing division, Merchantwise, a number of times. Anton’s tenure as Founder of Entertainment Store/Life Like Touring saw him develop long and distinguished relationships with leading IP owners including Warner Brothers, Viacom, Sony, Disney, Hasbro, and Mattel.

In 2016 he sold Entertainment Store/Life Like Touring to TEG and finished up as Managing Director in the three years following.

Over the course of his career, Anton has fostered enduring partnerships and friendships at the highest levels in the live entertainment, content creation, intellectual property licensing, retail, and franchise industry sectors.

“After 20 years of partnering with Merchantwise in the live event space, I’m absolutely delighted to join this bustling, bold and wonderfully creative organisation in the role of Three Scoops Managing Director,” Anton says. “The Three Scoops creative team is absolutely world class, and I’m excited to take the business in innovative and new directions.”

“We are thrilled to have Anton Berezin join our senior leadership team as Managing Director of Three Scoops,” says Merchantwise Group CEO Alan Schauder. “Anton is one of the industry’s most talented, trusted, and respected leaders, with an exceptional track record of innovation and growth. He has partnered with many of the world’s best entertainment brands to create amazing customer experiences. Anton will spearhead the evolution of Three Scoops, working with our world-class creative team to deliver unique brand experiences and creative services on a global scale.”

Funko teams with Hasbro for My Little Pony NFTs

Funko has announced the upcoming release of a new collection of NFTs based on Hasbro’s iconic My Little Pony characters, including Pinkie Pie, Princess Luna, Rainbow Dash, and more.

The My Little Pony x Funko Digital Pop! NFTs will be released on 28 June on NFT platform

Funko Digital Pop! are non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, in the form of digital collectibles featuring Funko’s unique stylised figures. My Little Pony Funko Digital Pop! will be available for $9.99 USD for the Standard Packs and $29.99 USD for the Premium Packs, with both limited to 18,000 copies available each for a total of 360,000 NFTs.

Each pack of Digital Pop! gives buyers a chance to reveal one of the rare Funko Digital Pop! when opened, which can then be redeemed for a free, limited edition, physical vinyl collectible.

Funko Digital Pop! will be available to purchase through the platform using a Droppp account and a credit card.

The LEGO Group unveils host of new products at LEGO CON

The LEGO Group has launched its 90th anniversary summer celebrations with the virtual and free to attend LEGO CON. Designed specifically for brick-loving families, the two-hour live show, hosted by Vick Hope, Joel McHale and Melvin Odoom, gave LEGO fans a sneak peak into a new range of exciting products, including a host of sets celebrating the world’s biggest movie, sport and gaming franchises.

Among the new products revealed, fans were treated to an exclusive look at the brand-new LEGO Avatar product range celebrating the overall franchise to-date in advance of Avatar: The Way of Water premiering this December. The newly revealed set features the LEGO Avatar Toruk Makto & Tree of Souls that lets fans recreate the moment from the first film when Jake, as Toruk Makto, rallies the Omatikaya Clan to defend not only one of their most sacred sites, the Tree of Souls, but all of Pandora.

Another big reveal saw viewers given an exclusive first look at new LEGO Star Wars sets. LEGO Star Wars The Justifier and LEGO Star Wars AT-TE Walker will offer fans the chance to recreate the epic Star Wars: The Bad Batch stories with the incredible model of bounty hunter Cad Bane’s starship, The Justifier, or power into battle against the Separatist Droid Army with the AT-TE.

Fans of LEGO Marvel, meanwhile, were treated to a first look at a new Doctor Strange set showcasing the Sanctum Sanctorum as featured in a number of films, giving them a chance to open up their very own multiverses. LEGO Minecraft builders were spoilt with two brand new sets to add to their collection: LEGO Minecraft The Abandoned Village and LEGO Minecraft The Skeleton Dungeon.

Lovers of LEGO Super Mario were given a glimpse at the brand-new Character Packs that will be introduced to the LEGO Super Mario universe, with fun characters including Nabbit, a Purple Toad, Hammer Bro, Waddlewing, Toady, Baby Yoshi, Red Yoshi and Blue Shy Guy joining the fun. They were also shown how new and existing characters alike can interact with the LEGO Mario, LEGO Luigi and LEGO Peach Starter Courses.

There was also a preview of a new sporty range of LEGO Brickheadz, allowing fans to become a FC Barcelona player in LEGO BrickHeadz form. Viewers were the first to be shown the very latest LEGO Minifigures collection that will be joining the LEGO range later this year.

To top the many product reveals and sessions, the jam-packed show was also full of opportunities for fans to immerse themselves in live building activities and conversations with experts from around the globe.

Event highlights included a creative masterclass from inside Pixar Animation Studios, given by the director of Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, Angus MacLane. LEGO Harry Potter fans, meanwhile, were given the chance to see how movie sets are turned into LEGO sets through a magical building tour of the Warner Bros. Studios London – The making of Harry Potter, with Harry Potter film actress Evanna Lynch and LEGO designer Marcos Bessa giving audiences tips and magic tricks for building their very own creations along the way.

LEGO CON 2022 is now available to stream for free in full at or on the LEGO YouTube channel



Blu Goblin releases Danger Mouse collectibles to raise funds for KidsOut

Direct-to-consumer online platform Blu Gobin is releasing a Danger Mouse original figurine collection to mark the character’s 40th year on our screens, with proceeds helping to support the charity KidsOut.

Blu Goblin creates premium, limited edition, exclusively licensed collectible models, replicas, figures and art, from nostalgia to modern day, across the worlds of entertainment, sport and gaming. Proceeds from every single transaction raise money for good causes.

Blu Goblin’s products, packaging and associated certification are ethically sourced and sustainably manufactured. Each limited edition is available exclusively through, having been created to celebrate a specific event, anniversary, launch or major milestone. Every Blu Goblin drop is unique and availability is strictly limited.

Danger Mouse, one of the stars of The Queen’s Jubilee Pageant, is the centrepiece of an exclusive, limited edition, original figurine collection designed and developed by Blu Goblin to celebrate his 40th year on our screens. Supporting KidsOut, the collection was premiered at the star-studded KidsOut London Question of Sport evening last Thursday. Blu Goblin donated one set of these exclusive figurines to the fundraising auction; the winning bid was an incredible £1,000 towards the amazing fundraising total for the evening of over £50,000.

Gordon Moulds, CEO of KidsOut, says: “We are thrilled to be part of Danger Mouse’s 40th Anniversary. We would like to thank Blu Goblin for bringing together the partnership and developing the exclusive products, and for Boat Rocker’s support in granting the licence for the Danger Mouse figurines to be sold on Blu Goblin’s website. Proceeds from the figurines will go to supporting children who have escaped serious domestic violence and found sanctuary in a women’s refuge”.

Danger Mouse, based on the 1960s TV series Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan, was originally created by Cosgrove Hall and voiced by Sir David Jason. The new generation of the cartoon series is owned by Boatrocker Studios, with Danger Mouse voiced by Alexander Armstrong.

Nicola Herrmann VP, Brand Management & Licensing (UK, AUS, EMEA) Boat Rocker, says: “This partnership with Blu Goblin is a great example of how brands can connect to support charitable causes and we are delighted to be embarking on this exciting new mission that supports KidsOut.”

“We are delighted to have brought together Danger Mouse and KidsOut,” adds Grant Morgan, CEO of Blu Goblin. “The world has changed dramatically, as have consumer habits. Brands must now demonstrate that they care and stand for more than just profit. Consumers want the brands they love to commit to positive social and environmental impact, to make a meaningful contribution to the quality of their lives, while also helping others. Charitable causes benefit from perfectly matched brand partnerships, like this, which bring PR, donor acquisition and most importantly funds to deliver their services.”


Web 3.0 platform Reality Gaming Group becomes Reality+

Reality Gaming Group has rebranded as Reality+. The company already has a proven track record in the games and blockchain entertainment space, developing and managing experiences on behalf of the BBC (Doctor Who: Worlds Apart) and ITV Studios (Thunderbirds: International Rescue Club), and as Reality+ (, it will offer a full-service Web 3.0 platform enabling brands around the world to utilise blockchain technology and NFTs to engage their most loyal fans.

The company’s UK- and Denmark-based in-house development studio, which has a five-year track record creating engaging experiences, is now focused on helping global brands develop and deliver their go-to-market blockchain strategies.

The development offering is backed up by a powerful technology platform and world-leading expertise in all aspects of Web 3.0, including tokenisation, metaverse integration and construction, NFT marketplace deployment and more.

Reality+ has grouped its operations into four distinct but complementary divisions: Web 3.0, Metaverse, Blockchain Games and NFTs.

Reality+ is currently building out its international reach as it seeks global opportunities, following a significant ramping of its leadership and development teams in 2021 and 2022.

The company has also confirmed the appointment of Katherine Taylor-Jones as CFO. Taylor-Jones is a highly experienced CFO specialising in PE/VC backed, fast pace, high growth companies in the tech sector, leading them through growth. In addition, the company has appointed Mark Hojgaard, CEO of Coinifi, and Hans Henrik, COO of Coinify, to bolster its board and help Reality+ reach new verticals and markets.

Crucially, all Reality+ projects are managed using the company’s own ‘side-chain’ of the Ethereum mainnet. This enables the creation of environmentally friendly Web 3.0, blockchain and NFT experiences that offer substantial reductions in the amount of energy used to produce and trade digital collectibles. Reality+ also ensures ESG (Environmental, Social and corporate Governance) KPIs are tracked and reported for each of its projects, giving brand partners absolute peace of mind across all their Web 3.0 projects.

Reality+ Co-Founder and CEO Morten Rongaard says: “Web 3.0 moves fast, and we’re moving along with it. We’re happy to announce that Reality Gaming Group has rebranded to Reality+. This isn’t just a name change and new corporate colours. Reality+ represents a big step towards our plans for a connected future. We’re no longer just a blockchain gaming company. We’re a full-service Web 3.0 platform where the metaverse, NFTs and online collectible marketplaces combine to give you and your customers access to a new, community-led digital future.”

Reality+ Co-Founder Tony Pearce adds: “We believe that through demonstrating utility, quality, and variety in our projects and partnerships, we can build a more equal and democratic digital economy for everyone. From introducing Doctor Who to the potential of digital ownership to launching a brand-new Web 3.0 Thunderbirds project to a whole new generation of fans, we’re helping worldwide brands find their voice in our new, connected world.”


Man vs Bee-no: Rowan Atkinson immortalised in iconic comic

British comedy legend Rowan Atkinson has been immortalised in a special bespoke Beano comic strip, to celebrate the upcoming release of new nine-part Netflix series: Man vs Bee.

This ultimate British pop-culture comedy crossover, drawn by celebrated Beano illustrator Nigel Parkinson, stars Atkinson as the Netflix series’ eponymous hero ‘Trevor,’ a hapless house sitter who attempts to take care of a luxury mansion before chaos ensues after the property is invaded by a mischievous bee.

Inspired by his unique slapstick comedic credentials from the show, the bee-spoke strip transports Trevor to Beanotown. He runs into serious difficulties alongside a cast of favourite characters, including Dennis, Gnasher, Bea (Dennis’s baby sister), Minnie, Pieface, JJ and Rubi.

In the comic strip, Atkinson’s character attempts to house-sit for the Mayor of Beanotown (Walter’s  father), as the family head off on holiday. Chaos ensues as Trevor tussles with a bee whilst leaving a trail of utter devastation in their wake to hilarious comic effect.

Rowan Atkinson says: “Like many British school children I was an avid Beano reader. Beano remains a unique piece of our pop culture, and something that has been shaped by and shaped British comedic sensibilities for over 80 years. I am genuinely thrilled that my alter ego, Trevor, has been immortalised in the Beano world.”

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano Studios, adds: “Beano has always been a hive of comic chaos, so there was a real buzz about the place to have the comedy legend that is Rowan Atkinson visit Beanotown to make mischief with another troublemaker identified by their stripes: The Bee! I’m only worried Dennis and Minnie will sting us for new stripy jumpers in tribute. We think it was meant to bee, that when Netflix was looking for a unique new way of telling the world about the show, they thought of us. We hope everyone has as much fun reading the strip as we had making it.”

Launching today, Friday 17 June, the bee-spoke comic strip is available exclusively on and gives a teaser of what’s to come ahead of Man vs Bee landing on Netflix.

Promising viewers a hugely enjoyable mix of wacky hi-jinks and physical comedy for which Rowan’s comedy characters have become synonymous, Man vs Bee is set to be this summer’s much-watch family comedy series, available on Netflix in full from 24 June.


BlackMilk Clothing to release Stranger Things collection

Stranger Things fans will be able to turn their fashion game “upside down” with BlackMilk’s latest capsule collection, featuring monsters and icons from the hit television series.

Following on from its Squid Game collaboration in 2021, BlackMilk has once again teamed up with Netflix to celebrate Stranger Things’ epic fourth season with clothing that captures the show’s ghoulish monsters and totally rad ’80s charm.

The 14-piece collection features imagery of the well-known Demogorgon along with new monster the Demobat, alongside iconography related to the Hellfire Club, Hawkins High’s DnD club that is central to much of the events of season four.

Stranger Things x BlackMilk will be available for purchase at 7am (AEST) June 21, and the full collection can now be previewed on the BlackMilk website.


Mike Mahan appointed CEO of Fanatics Collectibles

Digital sports platform Fanatics has announced the appointment of Mike Mahan as CEO of Fanatics Collectibles, the company’s trading cards and collectibles business.

In this newly created role, Mahan will develop the overall vision and corporate strategy for Fanatics Collectibles and oversee its full portfolio of physical and digital collectibles brands, which includes Topps, the trading cards brand; Candy Digital, a next-gen digital collectibles company, and zerocool, a trading cards brand solely focused on pop culture, art and entertainment. Mahan, a long-time collector himself, will report directly to Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin.

Mahan joins Fanatics after running Dick Clark Productions, the world’s largest producer of television events including the Golden Globe Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Music Awards, where he served as CEO. While there, he guided the company to seven consecutive years of record growth and profits and successfully drove large viewership across entertainment products, responsibilities that align with the broader collectibles market becoming a content engine driven by exceptional products. Overall, Mike has more than two decades of experience working at the intersection of digital media, content creation, influencer marketing, entertainment, and finance.

“Our collectibles business has seen tremendous growth since launching last year, and we couldn’t be more confident in bringing Mike on board to shape the bright future of this division and its alignment within our larger Fanatics digital sports platform,” says Rubin. “As a collector and passionate sports fan, Mike’s vision for both the trading cards hobby and emerging digital collectibles properties, driven by exceptional products, will further position Fanatics as a leader in these categories, creating incredible opportunities for fans, collectors, hobby shops, retailers and our partners.”

As the opportunities for collectors and fans to purchase and engage with physical and digital collectibles grows – fuelled by innovative content, social marketing, and influencer involvement – Mike’s experience and personal passion provides a strong background to lead the business, grow the overall industry and create new levels of participation for both existing and new collectors. His number one focus will be growing the total number of collectors globally across the category.

“I could not think of a more perfect next step in my career than to lead the incredibly talented teams within Fanatics Collectibles, where I’ll have the opportunity to combine my entrepreneurial passions that lie within sports, marketing, and content creation, with my love for trading cards and collectibles at large,” says Mahan. “The worlds of trading cards and digital collectibles have been forever reshaped over the past several years, and these new assets and the connections they create have the ability to bring fans and collectors closer than ever before to the players, teams and entertainers they love.”

In addition, Mike will be tasked with executing the global, exclusive rights and future rights that live within the Fanatics Collectibles portfolio, including preeminent players associations, sports leagues, professional and college teams, top student-athletes, brands and entertainment properties. The business will continue to serve fans, collectors and partners across all channels – direct-to-consumer, hobby shops, and retailers – while opening doors to new businesses for Fanatics Collectibles, such as breaking, secondary marketplaces, and more. He will leverage incredible relationships with top talent to align with one of Fanatics’ future collectibles strategies; working with the biggest names in sports and entertainment to promote the company’s physical and digital collectibles products.

Mike began his career as an investment banker for Bear Stearns and worked in private equity at CDP Capital Entertainment, a division of Caisse de Dépôt. A graduate of UCLA, where he studied business and economics, Mike is or has been an investor in several media, sports, gaming, and consumer properties, including Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), Oklahoma City Dodgers (Triple-A affiliate of the LA Dodgers), Axiomatic’s Team Liquid, Next VR and Aviation Gin.