Global kids’ properties to watch

Looking for the next Buzz Lightyear and Woody for a cereal promo or QSR tie-in? The editor of Kidscreen magazine predicts which kids’ brands are destined for greatness in 2011.

In 2010, the top five kids’ entertainment licences were Barbie, Disney Princess, Dora the Explorer, Star Wars and Toy Story. You can expect to see those occupying a good chunk of retail real estate and promos this year, but they’ll have their work cut out for them. Franchises targeting boys, in particular, are going to find themselves in a very crowded field as a host of strong newcomers look to make a dent in the market. In addition to Spin Master’s Redakai, here are
three to watch out for.

Cars 2
Okay, so Cars is not really new, but there’s been a five-year gap between the release of the first Disney-Pixar blockbuster that grossed close to half a billion dollars worldwide and its sequel, landing in Canadian theatres on June 9. The boy-focused property has been generating roughly $1 billion a year at retail since 2007, so expect to see that number go way, way up. Lightning McQueen and Mater will be everywhere – including Spin Master’s lineup.

Moshi Monsters
The U.K.-based virtual world has 30 million registered kid users around the globe and it’s now moving into ancillary products and other media. Children’s publishing giant Scholastic will be producing books inspired by the wacky virtual characters while Spin Master will be distributing a toy line in North America.  

Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure
Here’s another up-and-comer with a digital connection. This new property from giant Activision Blizzard pulls videogame character Spyro into a new title and new world that merges real toys with console play. The Skylanders narrative, fleshed out by Hollywood writers who helped develop mega-franchises like Toy Story, features heroic defenders who were cast out of their world by evil being Chaos. The physical and virtual worlds come together when kids (primarily boys, who are we kidding?) place a Spyro figurine upon a lighted platform, which is plugged into a gaming console. The non-articulated figurine then transforms into an animated creature on-screen that users can control in game world. Already picked up for North American distribution by Toys “R” Us, this will go wide in the fall.