Spread Group signs up five iconic Paramount properties

Spread Group has signed a deal with Paramount Consumer Products to produce print-on-demand products for the European market for five iconic properties: Flashdance, Top Gun, Star Trek, Garfield and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Sustainability is at the heart of the partnership. The Spread Group’s print-on-demand offering means an item is only printed after it has been ordered. This limits waste because there’s no over-stocking and leftover sizes.

The first designs will include I Feel the Need for Speed Top Gun t-shirts, Flashdance logo and What a Feeling! hoodies, Garfield LASAGNA lunchboxes and Saturday Night Fever posters. The designs will be a mixture of classic images and newly created designs produced by Spread Group.

Customisation is also made easy with print-on-demand. Fans have the freedom to add a design to a product in a size, colour, and style of their choice.

Sven Burscher, Spread Group’s Head of Licensing, says: “This partnership means Spread Group can offer a huge variety of themes to a wide audience. The Paramount Global brands cover iconic movies and cartoons for a large demographic. There’s a coming-of-age moment for everyone!

“Our print-on-demand offering means the brands and their fans can customise their creations to suit them, whilst retaining brand integrity. It also limits waste, which is better for the planet.”

Fans will be able to add images and quotes to t-shirts, hoodies, caps, bags, aprons, mugs, water bottles, lunchboxes, pillowcases, posters and stickers, depending on the brand. Designs will also be localised – for example, Garfield quotes in German, French and English.

The licence covers Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the UK.



First Paramount Global NFT collection to drop with Star Trek on 9 April

Paramount Global and RECUR have announced that Star Trek  will be the first NFT digital collection to drop from their multi-year partnership to bring Paramount’s entertainment brands and characters to the metaverse.

Fans will be able to access Star Trek digital collectibles starting 9 April through Paramount.xyz, the online portal to access Paramount’s iconic IP and franchises in the form of NFTs.

Through this fan-focused platform, Paramount and RECUR have created a unified environment where fans can buy, collect and trade NFTs as digital collectibles across Paramount’s leading portfolio of brands, including Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, CBS, Showtime Networks Inc., and more.

Star Trek is the first franchise to launch and will be followed with collectibles from Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures.

Paramount.xyz allows fans to build a community, engage with peers, and unlock new, innovative and interactive experiences with properties and brands they love.

“Fans should be able to engage with our content wherever they are, including the metaverse,” says Pam Kaufman, President, Consumer Products and Experiences, Paramount. “Paramount.xyz will offer one seamless digital collectable experience for fans across our key franchises, starting with Star Trek,  an iconic franchise that is forward-thinking, innovative and multi-generational. We are thrilled to have a space that is accessible to everyone and allows another expression of fandom.”

The Star Trek collectibles will be housed in “Star Trek Continuum”, an experiential hub that will be the space for this first and future seasons of Star Trek NFTs. Here, fans will have the opportunity to own a piece of their favorite franchise while embarking on an entirely new journey.

The Star Trek Continuum sale will take place for 24 hours only on 9 April, 2022, starting at 11am ET. The cost per pack will be $250. There will never be more of these designs created and the minting window will only be open for 24 hours.

The Season 0 drop on 9 April will feature algorithmically-generated starships, and no two will be the same. The starships will be unveiled today, 8 April, at 1:45pm CT during Star Trek: Mission Chicago, where RECUR will be hosting a star-studded panel with talent from the franchise. Fans around the world can tune in to RECUR’s YouTube channel to view a live streamed unveiling of the coveted digital collectibles.

The journey continues later this year as fans can collect crew in Season 1 and go on voyages around the galaxy to seek out new planets and get digital collectible rewards. Season 0 starship owners will be rewarded with a crew member NFT leading into Season 1, and in Season 2 fans can use their crew to go on missions in a play-to-earn game.

“Fans are looking for new ways to engage with their favourite shows and franchises, and our innovative ecosystem gives them a community to be a part of for years to come,” says Zach Bruch, CEO of RECUR. “Through the introduction of Paramount.xyz and StarTrek.xyz, we’re providing fans with a unique way to embark on a journey to boldly go into the metaverse.”

Pre-registration for “Star Trek Continuum” opens today at StarTrek.xyz. Through this launch, RECUR and Paramount will be dropping 20,000 Star Trek  digital collectibles with an additional 2,000 in reserve. Continuum holders will get access to exclusive perks, events and the expanding content available to the NFTs digitally and in-real life.

For more information, visit Paramount.xyz and StarTrek.xyz.

Shelf space is the final frontier as Playmobil and ViacomCBS launch the Starship Enterprise

Shelf space: the final frontier. Oh yes, it’s happened; toy maker Playmobil is bridging time and space to release the fruits of a new collaborative alliance with ViacomCBS, for a whole new voyage for the Starship Enterprise this September.

Yet another play for the kidult and collectors space – following a very successful Back to the Future range of vehicles and play-sets, and the teased The A-Team collaboration – the Star Trek universe has joined forces with the German toy company to deliver The 70548 Star Trek – USS Enterprise in toy form.

The new launch – the first Playmobil model of the Starship Enterprise ever developed – is not approaching this collaboration lightly, boasting authentic details and numerous features to inspire fans. In fact, this one-metre long Constitution class vessel promises ‘plenty of mesmerising detail’ that will make it ‘the pride of the Starfleet.’

The Starship Enterprise will be displayed using the specially designed mounting, while lights, sounds, and other technical features will all star alongside a unique AR tie-in app which will act to expand the authentically detailed Star Trek experience ‘much further than the physical product.’

The ship arrives with a total of seven crew members from the original cast, including the first Playmobil Mr Spock, all of whom fit into their traditional places on the bridge of the Enterprise.

“To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no one has gone before… And now, with the authentic U.S.S. Enterprise and original crew from Playmobil, there will be plenty more space adventures to come,” read a statement from the toy company.

The Star Trek – USS Enterprise will launch worldwide on September 8th this year.

ViacomCBS Consumer Products promotes key executives across its leadership team

ViacomCBS Consumer Products has promoted a swathe of key executives across its leadership team, a move that follows a period of success and growth in the consumer products division across franchises including SpongeBob SquarePants, Blue’s Clues & You, Star Trek, South Park, MTV, and more.

Lourdes Arocho has been promoted to senior vice president, Paramount Pictures Licensing, Global Games and Publishing for ViacomCBS Consumer Products, where she will lead the global strategies and partnerships for these businesses. Meanwhile, Chris Groll is promoted to senior vice president, consumer products design, ViacomCBS, a critical role in liaising with the creative community on brand extensions across all ViacomCBS franchises globally.

Elsewhere, Priya Mukhedkar takes on the role of senior vice president, packaged goods, ViacomCBS Consumer Products, overseeing CPG in the US and expanding her scope to include global promotions and all seasonal and celebrations businesses.

“I want to congratulate Lourdes, Chris, and Priya on their well-deserved promotions and the tremendous leadership that they have shown for their teams,” said Pam Kaufman, president, global consumer products, ViacomCBS. “As they step into their new positions, these roles serve as cornerstones that are crucial to delivering the most innovative global consumer products campaigns for our adored characters and iconic franchises.”

In her expanded role as SVP, Paramount Pictures Licensing, Global Games and Publishing, Arocho will bring her strong industry relationships, strategic growth plans, and proven global partnership management to VCP’s gaming, publishing, and Paramount licensing programs. She has previously launched numerous successful partnerships, retail programs and products driving significant growth for the company’s biggest franchises. Arocho is based in Los Angeles and reports to Pam Kaufman.

Groll has been promoted to senior vice president, consumer products design, ViacomCBS. In this new role, Groll will build on more than a decade of experience in consumer products design. Through his leadership, he has ensured that the consumer products organization is working with forward thinking, best in class designers that reflect current trends, while expanding perspectives on design at a global level.

Groll will continue to oversee his expanding team, and play a key role working with the ViacomCBS content teams to translate the company’s top IP into innovative VCP brand extensions. He is based in New York reporting to David Chustz, executive vice president, global creative group, ViacomCBS.

Finally, as SVP, packaged goods, ViacomCBS Consumer Products, Mukhedkar will continue to oversee all CPG businesses in the US and add global oversight of the promotions and seasonal business.

Since joining ViacomCBS in 2018, Mukhedkar has built strategic alliances with major consumer products brands and is the driving force behind some of our most iconic partnerships. She joined ViacomCBS from The Walt Disney Company where she was responsible for growing the Star Wars and Marvel consumer products business in several categories. She worked across Consumer Products Licensing, Disney Parks and Studios.

A booming Enterprise | From Star Trek to The Beatles: How Eaglemoss is fuelling the kidult and pop culture market

Now in its fourth decade serving the sci-fi and fantasy collector’s and collectables market, Eaglemoss has become an authority on the topic of pop culture and kidult sectors, supplying some of the most detailed models to be found on the scene today. But there’s a whole lot more to the company than Star Trek busts. Here, we catch up with head of Hero Collector at Eaglemoss, Ben Robinson to learn more about the company’s plans

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Eaglemoss is a cap with many feathers. A bow with many strings. A Trident with the pre-requisite number of prongs; that being, three. It is a triforce of the geek and pop culture scene, acting not only as a direct to consumer platform, but a fan subscription service, and a distributor to independent and mass retail channels across the UK.

If it’s high end collectables, comic books, licensed gifts, toys, and other consumer products all deeply rooted in the growing kidult and pop culture space that you want – be you a casual collector, an entrenched nerd, or a toy shop tapping into both of those – then Eaglemoss has to be on your list. In fact, it likely already is.

Established in 1975, Eaglemoss pre-empted the ‘kidult’ market by a decade or two, recognising early on, the power that many sci-fi and fantasy properties had to capture the imagination of generations to come and firmly establish itself as a leader in the collectables field. Since the publication of its first ‘partwork’, the business has been in a state of continued expansion, and today holds claim to having produced, marketed, and distributed more than 150 collections across more than 30 markets over five continents and in 13 different languages.

Spanning London, Paris, New York, Moscow, Sao Paolo, and Warsaw, Eaglemoss is well-placed to tap into the global ‘kidult’ and pop culture sector as its demands broaden to include more innovative and engaged consumer products. This year, for example, the company is tapping into the demand for pop culture-inspired advent calendars, an extension of the toy advent calendar trend that has been gaining momentum here in the UK over the last few years.

Here, we catch up with Ben Robinson, head of Hero Collector at Eaglemoss to discuss the company’s latest releases, its plans for the growing kidult market, and what the Eaglemoss name brings to a sector brimming with superfans.

Hello Ben, thank you for talking to us and indulging our pop culture obsession. To kick us off, can you give us a bit of background on Eaglemoss? Who are you, what audience do you cater to, and for long have you been doing it?

Eaglemoss was founded in 1975 and is a global leader in licensed collections. We have a long history of figurines, die-cast models, and partwork magazines. We’re lucky enough to work with characters and licenses from Marvel, DC, CBS, AMC, BBC, Disney, James Bond, Universal, and many more. Our core audience is built up of fans and collectors who care passionately about the brands.

A motley crew, if ever there was one. Can you tell us what Eaglemoss is bringing to the UK pop culture space in that case? How does it encompass that market and ignite the passion within the UK scene?

The overarching objective of the company has always been to create products that have real appeal for fans. It’s very important to us that we don’t just do the obvious products but create things that are authentic and have the kind of detail that fans appreciate. 

We are experts ourselves and work closely with licensors throughout the development process to make sure that the end product is not just high quality, but authentic and show all the love we have for the brands ourselves.

The adult market – or ‘kidult’ space – has seen steady growth here in the UK over the past few years, and last year accounted for 27 per cent of total spend on toys (according to NPD). How has this been reflected in sales growth at Eaglemoss? What strength of the UK’s ‘kidult’ sector have you witnessed?

We’ve specialised in the adult collector market for decades so its success isn’t a surprise to us. What we have found is that the growth of online sales is making it easier to reach those grownup fans. I think it’s fair to say it’s often been difficult for them to find products that show the level of care and attention that’s important to them. There’s a generation of people who grew up with these amazing properties. They haven’t given up on them as they’ve got older but their expectations have only gone up. They want products that are really designed for them. That’s something we pride ourselves on understanding. 

What do you think has been key to driving the growth in this space? What is it that businesses like Eaglemoss bring to the table to give that market credibility? 

More than anything it’s about our own level of fandom. The people we sell to can smell anything cynical a mile off. We’re really careful to make sure our products feel just right, whether that’s a specific detail on a super hero’s costume, the exact colour of a die-cast spaceship or including some detail that a fan will instantly recognise, and appreciate. Those are the kind of things that only someone who knows and loves the brand as much as the fans, would know to include. 

Can we talk through the Eaglemoss portfolio for 2021? What are the key launches from you guys this year across the pop culture portfolio? We hear you have a range of advent calendars launching – can you talk us through these?

We’re entering the advent calendars arena for the first time this year, which is a very exciting time for the company.  We’re launching these fantastic introductions with three iconic brands: Doctor Who, Star Trek and The Beatles; with each one featuring detailed, high-quality collectable items hiding behind each of the calendar doors. They’re really nicely designed and we think they’ll bring a smile to every fan’s face. 

The Doctor Who calendar has a classic TARDIS design which opens out to reveal its 24 doors, the Star Trek offering takes the distinctive form of a Borg cube/ship (as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and The Beatles inspired calendar comes in the form of four trays encased within an outer shell featuring iconic Beatles artwork. They’re just things that make you happy. 

Why has the advent calendar market become an important one for you guys, and what will you be bringing to the space? What sort of growth of the market are you expecting to see in the coming years?

We always want to make new stuff, and we know we can bring something special to the calendar market by targeting collectors. Every item in these calendars has been specially designed and is exclusive. We’ve brought all our expertise and love for these brands to bear. 

One of the things we hear a lot is that people are nervous about buying things for fans because they think they might already have it. The great thing about these advent calendars is that you can absolutely guarantee that the content is brand new, and there is stuff in there that will make true fans smile. That and Christmas are a pretty good combination. We’re so pleased  with the final products, so we’re looking forward to revealing them to fans.

What retail partners are you guys currently working with? What are your plans for the UK retail scene? 

One of the unique things about Eaglemoss is that we offer an omnichannel solution – with bestsellers sold through key retail partners, like HMV, adding to sales through our own e-shop and high-end model kits through our subscription service. We try to cater for different audiences across the various channels and because of our product development heritage we’re able to play across a wide range of categories. 

Our retail expansion is going well in the US where we just have our first launch with Walmart and in other European markets through our network of distributors.

So, Ben, can you tell us what the next big step for Eaglemoss might be here in the UK?

We’re super excited about the next 12 months with plenty of new licences and product lines launching. We’ve only just dipped our toe in the water with our retail range and despite the difficulties that Covid-19 has brought we’ve still been able to expand our business, which is testimony to the products we’re bringing through. 

And just before we let you get back to the day job, is there anything you’d like to add?

Alongside our advent calendar launches, we’ve also got some really exciting products coming. We’ve got some classic sci-fi brands in The Expanse and Stargate. We’re just launching a new Hero Collector Museum made up of detailed replicas that are designed to sit on yourself and we’re also growing our horror offering. 

We have some amazing subscription offers that mean you can build extraordinary models of the Eleanor Mustang, the Ghostbusters Ecto 1, the Titanic and the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. There’s more Star Trek on TV than ever so we’re excited by the opportunities that will bring. 

We’re also developing Marvel statues based on the Disney + shows, so 2021 is shaping up to be a busy and exciting year for us.

Licensed collectables specialist Eaglemoss enters the Advent Calendar market with Doctor Who, Star Trek and more

The licensed collectables specialist and pop culture expert, Eaglemoss Hero Collector is entering into the advent calendars market for the first time, having appointed the PR, marketing, and digital agency Norton PR to spearhead its first campaign.

The company plans to target fans and collectors at launch, as well as run a mass market consumer initiative to drive sales in the run up to Christmas.

With detailed high-quality collectable items hiding behind each of the calendar doors, the new products have been designed to appeal to both dedicated fans from the Sci Fi and Music genres out of season plus have mass market appeal in the run up to Christmas. With a growing trend in the market for calendars that break with the traditional chocolate and sweet treat tradition, each calendar can also be used as a storage and display unit with the idea of keeping single-use packaging to a minimum.

Eaglemoss Hero Collector’s inaugural collection features three licensed calendars: Doctor Who, Star Trek, and The Beatles.

Fans of the fab four can take a trip down Penny Lane and enjoy the countdown to Christmas with The Beatles Advent Calendar designed in a four-tray format within an outer shell featuring iconic Beatles artwork.  Each ‘tray’ is illustrated with a stylized image of John, George, Paul or Ringo on its outer edge and contains a whole host of Beatles-inspired collectable gifts.

Meanwhile, Star Trek continues to delight and entertain fans across the world and followers of Gene Roddenberry’s intergalactic cinematic creation have a whole host of merchandise and collectables to discover in the Star Trek Advent Calendar.

“Norton PR has extensive experience in working with licensed products and a dedicated collector fan base through their work with numerous brands including Warner Bros. Consumer Products, LEGO, Airfix and Thunderbirds,” said Alex Neal, managing director, Ecommerce and brands at Eaglemoss.

“The team’s consumer insight and creative thinking around how we can best promote the calendars to drive retail sales both in and out of the traditional festive season will provide us with the platform we need to launch into an exciting new market for 2021.”

Eaglemoss recently sat down with ToyNews for an exclusive interview, discussing the company’s heritage in the pop culture and collectors space, as well as the thinking and strategy behind the decision to move into the Advent Calendars market this year.

You can read the interview in full in the Spring/Summer issue of ToyNews.

Industry veteran Bill Burke joins Licensing International as SVP marketing strategy and comms

The global licensing veteran Bill Burke has joined Licensing International as SVP marketing strategy and communications.

Burke moves over to the premier trade association for the global brand licensing industry having previously held the position of senior vice president marketing for CBS Consumer Products, a role in which he led global marketing, international licensing, and licensing operations for brands like Star Trek.

Before that, he held senior positions with such companies as HIT Entertainment and Sesame Workshop.

“We are excited to have Bill join the team,” said Maura Regan, president of Licensing International. “Bill’s deep industry relationships coupled with his acute marketing savvy will be a huge boost to Licensing International’s mission to advance the business of our members and elevate our industry to the broader business community.”

Licensing International’s mission is to foster the growth and expansion of licensing around the world, raise the level of professionalism for licensing practitioners, and create greater awareness of the benefits of licensing to the business community at large.

Founded in 1985, Licensing International members in over 40 countries enjoy access to an array of benefits including extensive educational programming and worldwide networking events.

The Royal Mail to launch Star Trek stamp collection this week

WildBrain CPLG has secured a deal with the Royal Mail for the launch of a new stamp collection based on the iconic sci-fi IP Star Trek.

Thanks to a new deal struck on behalf of ViacomCBS Consumer Products, the new 12 stamp collection will depict captains from six principle Star Trek TV series as well as additional crew members, including Captain James T. Kirk, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Captain Benjamin Sisko, Captain Kathryn Janeway, Captain Jonathan Archer, and Captain Gabriel Lorca.

They are joined by the likes of Spock, Deanna Troi, Julian Bashir, Malcolm Reed, Michael Burnham and Ash Tyler.

A further six stamps, presented in a miniature sheet, feature characters from across the Star Trek movie franchise, all played by British actors: Montgomery Scott; Shinzon; Tolian Soran; Klingon Chancellor Gorkon; Carol Marcus; and Krall.

The 12 main character stamps are new illustrations by London-based artist, Freya Betts; the images portray the iconic characters alongside reflective details, including starships, in the background of their respective series.

Star Trek was created by American writer and producer Gene Roddenberry and first aired on US TV in 1966. The long-running space-opera has so far produced more than 780 TV episodes and 13 movies.

January 2020 saw the launch of Star Trek: Picard, in which Patrick Stewart reprised his iconic role for a new adventure.

WildBrain CPLG and Star Trek warp into digital wall art with BeArty

The entertainment, sport, and brand licensing agency, WildBrain CPLG has secured a deal with the tech company BeArty to launch a new digital wall art range inspired by the iconic sci-fi franchise, Star Trek. The deal was brokered by WildBrain CPLG on behalf of ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

The new partnership will witness the launch of a collection of digital wall art that fans can display on their Smart TVs. Through BeArty’s Vizzio Art software, consumers can navigate thousands of artwork options through its mobile app. The new Star Trek offering will feature hundreds of images from the franchise. It will be available to subscribers from this month.

John Taylor, VP Northern Europe and MD UK, Eire and France at WildBrain CPLG, said: “Star Trek has a hugely loyal and wide fan-base and this innovative new partnership with BeArty gives those fans an exciting opportunity to access their favourite artwork in an affordable and accessible way.

“We look forward to seeing fans around the world replacing their blank TV screens with eye-catching Star Trek ships in their homes and offices.”

Patrick Ashworth, founder and CEO of BeArty Ltd, added: “BeArty is excited to launch this new platform, which will allow fans to experience Star Trek all day long. With the large and growing wall decoration market, and the widespread use of smart phones and Smart TVs, it is finally time to make a real impact in the market and make art available to everyone and empower them to change their wall décor in just a couple of clicks.”

Street artist CantStopGoodBoy to launch Star Trek capsule collection with ViacomCBS

The contemporary street artist, CantStopGoodBoy has struck a deal with ViacomCBS Consumer Products to launch a capsule collection based on the many critically acclaimed Star Trek series.

The new capsule collection will span hoodies, crews, jackets, flannels, t-shirts, hats and sneakers, as well as original artwork and fine prints in the artist’s unique yet recognisable style.

The collection, along with Star Trek costumes, props and iconic artefacts, will be available at a two-day pop-up event, running from March 14th to 15th this year at Gabba Gallery in Los Angeles, close to the home of CantStopGoodBoy, the alias of the Southern Californian artist, Nick Simon.

The artist is known for his eye catching multi-layered colourful backgrounds and tonal imagery. Star Trek comic books and pattern “shards” will be incorporated in the backgrounds for three original art pieces – Spock from The Original Seriesthe U.S.S. Discovery and the women of Star Trek.

These one-of-a-kind pieces created exclusively for the event will be 36”x36” Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, signed and dated by CantStopGoodBoy. The designs will also be available as fine art prints on 22” x 30” Cotton Archival Paper with Deckled Edges.

Limited to only 25 pieces per design, each one is signed, dated and stamped by CantStopGoodBoy and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

To date, CantStopGoodBoy has collaborated with companies such as Sony, Warner Bros., Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Atlantic Records, Coachella Music Festival, Absolut Vodka, TOMS Shoes, Sol Republic, the Audience, eOne Entertainment, Show Canada, and American Idol.