Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bin Weevils Reveals Master Toy Partner At The London Toy Fair 2012

According to this news article on Licensing.biz, "Bin Weevils", a 3D virtual world created specifically for children and which used to be a 50/50 joint venture between Prism Entertainment and Nickelodeon U.K. in the mid-2000's, and the British toy company Character Group announced at the London Toy Fair 2012 on Tuesday 24th January 2012 a multi-year toy partnership that will feature "Bin Weevils" collectible figurines, "Bin Weevils" plush toys and "Bin Weevils" play-sets amongst other toy products featuring characters from the 3D virtual world created specifically for children, "Bin Weevils":
Bin Weevils reveals master toy partner

Character Options to launch range of toys in the autumn for kids online social world.

Character Options will become the latest licensee to join the growing Bin Weevils licensing programme, with the announcement of a multi-year toy partnership unveiled at London Toy Fair today.

The product range is currently in creative development, but will feature collectible figurines, plush and play-sets amongst other toy product.

Already ranked number 2 in the UK, amongst children’s social worlds (Source: Comscore November 2011), BinWeevils has shown rapid growth in both number of users and number of licensing partners over the last year. Its popularity with its audience led to its winning the ‘best kids web-site’ children’s BAFTA award in November ahead of such competition as Moshi Monsters, Club Penguin, Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and CBBC.

Amelia Johnson, director and co-founder of Bin Weevils, said: “Our growing digital audience has been hounding us to release physical Bin Weevils toys. In response to this noisy demand, we chose Character Options as our partner in this key category because of their unparalleled track record in producing great toys and their unique understanding of how kids want to interact, personalise and collect Bin Weevils in the 'real' world.”

Jon Diver, joint MD, Character Group said: “Bin Weevils is a leading name in the world of kid’s social media and we are delighted to be working with such a creative and innovative brand. Later in 2012 Character will launch a range of toys that will replicate the fun, interactive, entertaining and educational experience that the millions of users enjoy when visiting the Bin Weevils site.”

Following on from the Best Website win at the Bafta Children's Awards in November, the Bin Weevils site had its biggest ever month in December, with over two million kids aged six to 11 visiting the site.

The licensing programme already includes Macmillan, which will be releasing a further eight new book titles in 2012, and Egmont which will launch their monthly magazine in time for February half-term. Other products currently available at retail include Top Trumps, and Bin Weevils membership cards which are available nationwide in over 3,000 UK stores.
Also, from The Guardian:
Disney's Club Penguin to launch magazine in UK

Virtual world for children makes first foray into print as it takes on British rivals Bin Weevils and Moshi Monsters

Disney's Club Penguin – until now a virtual world for children – is launching a print magazine in the UK that it hopes will increase the appeal of its snow-covered Penguin land against increasingly fierce competition from British rivals Bin Weevils and Moshi Monsters.

The Club Penguin magazine will launch on 9 February priced at £2.99. Disney says it will be a test for launching print titles in other countries, as the media group tries to develop its brand across different media.

Lane Merrifield, one of the three co-founders of Club Penguin who sold the site to Disney in 2007 for a $350mn, said that a dedicated magazine was particularly attractive to the UK market: "This type of printed magazine for kids is certainly more popular in the UK than elsewhere in the world."

He added that he expected children to contribute to its content. "We get literally tens of thousands of pieces of artwork sent to us every month which we share on the site and give kids points in-world," said Merrifield. "It's imperative that we also have kid-created content in the magazine as well."

Printed under a license deal with Panini Magazines, the Club Penguin monthly title will be judged not just by how many are sold but by how many of the game codes and "extras" included in the magazine are redeemed online by Club Penguin's target market of seven- to 11-year-olds.

Moshi Monsters launched its own print titles in several countries a year ago and now sells up to 100,000 issues a month in the UK, currently the biggest-selling UK kids' magazine. Not to be outdone, Bin Weevils will unveil its own eponymous print title a few days after Club Penguin on 15 February.

Club Penguin is the biggest global virtual world for kids reaching 150 million users internationally, but in the UK the Disney property is in fierce competition with locally owned competitors. Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils ranked number one and two respectively, based on unique visitors to the site in November 2011, beating Club Penguin, according to Comscore data.

Egmont has the licence to publish the new Bin Weevils magazine and Watney says more off-line products are in the works under an aggressive licensing plan, including books and the first toys based on Bin Weevil characters including Tink and Clott to appear this autumn. Bin Weevils, which is privately held and counts Nickelodeon as a minority owner, has seen 300% revenue growth in the past 12 months, according to its CEO and co-investor Richard Watney.

Merrifield believes the new Club Penguin monthly magazine will bolster his concept of creating "entertainment in the cloud" where content is dispersed across many media and works to create multiplatform "fun and magical" entertainment experiences for kids.

Last September Club Penguin rolled out its first mobile app around Club Penguin fluffy pets called Puffles. In December the first-ever Club Penguin TV short cartoon, called Never Wake a Sleeping Sensei, started airing on Disney-owned television channels and on the internet. Merrifield said more TV-like content is planned for roll-out later this year.

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