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Toy Fair NY 2014

We look forward to Toy Fair every year. Both for what we know and what we don’t know.

Although the toy business is hard and character licensing has increasing taken over as the sales driver in the business play is still fun.

We love unstructured play and are always interest in seeing new and innovative products. A few years ago we saw Electronic Arts Skywalkers characters with figurines having added play value from computers. I wonder what additional dimensions of play will occur with physical real characters with iPads. We are always waiting for new augmented reality applications. An what new NFC, wearable or other technologies will further extend play. Will there be a new to magical with new feature sets.

Whatever you do digitally, you should experience it in the real world and there isnt a better place to see and learn about the future of play, what is the marketplace now and in the near future. You will make whateve it is you do better.

We will be going to, and you should:

Digital Kids Conference, February 18-19, 2014 at Toy Fair, provides you detailed insight on how to create best-selling digital toys, games and media services for kids. Attendees will network with experts, learn innovative product design, lucrative marketing techniques and successful monetization strategies.

Digital Kids (schedule here) is the must-attend event for brand owners, entertainment and media executives, marketers, producers, digital media directors and licensing professionals seeking to engage children online and on digital devices. Digital Kids is once again co-located with Toy Fair, providing stellar networking across the entire children’s entertainment industry

Digital Kids Schedule follows

DKC Day 1 – Tuesday, February 18, 2014

9:00 am – 10:00 am
Digital First Business Models
Join Traci Paige Johnson, the creator of Blues Clues and Caroline Baron, Oscar-nominated film producer (Capote, Monsoon Wedding) as they discuss their partnership together in the children’s media company yummico and lay out their ‘digital first’ business model. This presentation will break down the strategy of seeding the market with digital content like apps and eBooks first, while waiting until the brand has momentum to expand to multiple platforms and products. They will also discuss how to connect and partner with key strategic partners and why that is a critical part of this ‘digital first’ strategy. Traci and Caroline will provide their insider’s perspective on their creative and business strategies – and what has worked and what hasn’t.
Keynote Speakers:
– Traci Paige Johnson, Co-Founder, Yummico
– Caroline Baron, Co-Founder, Yummico

10:00 am – 10:30 am
Networking Break

10:30 am – 11:30 pm
Deciphering Trends and Numbers

Brand owners will be surprised to learn how today’s kids behave, play and interact in the digital space—it’s not what you expect! Take a plunge into analyst and market research to learn about unexpected changes in trends. Our solid data explains how you can use this information to propel innovation, and provides a comprehensive overview of the performance of various apps, mobile devices, and tablets.
Individual data shared by:
– Reyne Rice, Trends Analyst, Keynote Speaker, Journalist, Media Spokesperson
– Michael Cai, Senior Vice President of Research, Interpret
– More speakers to be announced

11:30 am – 12:00 pm
The Toy Model Disruption
Change is the one constant in our world. Is your company willing to adapt to the idea and technology transformations that are happening in the digital kid’s entertainment space? Will the interactive component of digital smart toys that gives children instant feedback change the toy industry forever? Join a lively roundtable discussion as Espen Sivertsen discusses the hottest innovations in the digital kid’s market. Hear the latest trends in 3D toy printing like Type A Machines, how toy manufacturers Hasbroand Mattel are adapting to the digital demand, and find out what venture capitalists want in a product.
– Alice Taylor, CEO, Makilab
– Espen Sivertsen, CEO, Type A Machines

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Lunch Break

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Reinventing a Heritage Brand for Young Digital Consumers
For the past 113 years, Lionel Trains has manufactured iconic model trains for hobbyists, collectors and train enthusiasts. Join this insightful session with Tony Bordon, the company’s head of digital strategy, who will discuss the company’s move into the digital world including mobile games, digital content aggregation and an overall brand rejuvenation. With over 25 years of experience in digital media, education, and entertainment publishing, Bordon will explain how this century-old company is becoming relevant to a whole new audience.
– Tony Bordon, Head of Digital Media, Lionel Trains

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Personalized Play: Making Kids the Star of the Show
JibJab Media Inc. was born in classic Internet startup style, in a Brooklyn garage in 1999, co-founded by brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis. The company grew into a thriving personalized content business at the intersection of art, humor and technology. Now dads, with five children between them, the brothers are continuing JibJab’s legacy of laughter with their new brand, StoryBots. As they saw their own children interacting with mobile devices and tablets, the brothers were inspired to ask (and answer) the question— what would Sesame Street be if it were created in today’s new media landscape? Offering a collection of highly entertaining, educationally-themed web and mobile apps for kids ages 3-7, StoryBots offers today’s connected generation a truly unique, best of breed customization experience. During this in-depth case study, also hear about StoryBots’ focus on creating sanity-saving apps designed specifically for parents. Don’t miss a chance to learn from Greg how they harnessed the power of self-expression in a way that will change the kids’ digital space forever.
– Gregg Spiridellis, Co-founder and CEO, JibJab Media Inc. and StoryBots

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Networking Break

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Revenue Models: Maximizing Acquisition, Retention, and Revenue
How will your company attract and maintain new online players, keeping them interested, paying and generating revenue for the long-term? During this session, digital entrepreneurs will share their successes and failures with various revenue models, including Freemium, free-to-play, subscription, and integrated toys and games. Objective analysts and market researchers will join the panel to predict which models will work best in the future.
– Dylan Collins, CEO, SuperAwesome
– Jeff Roach, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chief Creative Officer, Fuel
– David Lord, President, CEO, JumpStart

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Networking Break

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
“Digital Kids” Live on Stage!
Industry leaders in toys and digital technology can only guess what kids really want until they go directly to the source – kids themselves. In this Digital Kids Conference attendee favorite the kids are invited onstage to discuss their preferences, purchasing habits and more. With help from the audience, we quiz them in detail: How many electronic devices do you own? How many YouTube videos have you created? Have you made a digital film? What is more important to you in gaming (for example: Graphics? Storyline? Platform?) Come hear the kids share what they like and don’t like. Who pays for it and how? And much more.
– Moderator: Renee Weber, VP, Consumer Strategy and Research, The Marketing Store


DKC Day 2 – Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Location: Hall 1 E (Room 1E17)

9:00 am – 9:45 am
Keynote:  Content That’s Over-the-Top (OTT)
Back in 1993, he started his career by filming Tibetan children escaping over theHimalayas and now, as the Vice President of Product Innovation at Netflix, Todd Yellin continues to live and breathe film and TV entertainment. Don’t miss this session to learn how streaming devices such as smart TVs, tablets, smart phones, gaming consoles and set top boxes (over-the-top —OTT—devices that stream Internet-based content) have redefined how kids consume their video entertainment. Ask his expert opinion on streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Streampix’ and iTunes, the amazing technology our kids take for granted and the future of Internet TV.
– Keynote: Todd Yellin, Vice President of Product Innovation, Netflix

9:45 am – 10:30 am
To be announced

10:30 am – 11:00 am
Networking Break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Truth About Effectively Using Social Media to Reach Mom, Dad and the Kids in the App World
Some of the most successful brands have a history and are sharing their story with social media. In this case study, learn how respected brands are using marketing strategies to reinvent their products. Learn how to use social media to build your brand’s personality, gain customer interest, and loyalty instead of getting lost in the mindless online chatter. Join a lively debate about whether social media provides more value than traditional media, how reach today’s Mom bloggers, and who has the buying power on the various social media channels.
– Speaker to be announced

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Lunch Break

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Digital Family Entertainment
Forging strong bonds remains a priority for modern families as they compete for true human interaction in the midst of the various digital devices residing in their homes. This informative session provides strategies for reaching families who are not always under the same roof simultaneously, as well as ways to design for kids who share devices with their parents. It’s an opportunity to determine whether these devices contribute to isolationism and parallel play or if cooperative, social play amongst family members is actually occurring.
– Miles Ludwig, Managing Director, Content Innovation Lab, Sesame Workshop
– Sara DeWitt, Vice President, PBS KIDS Digital
– Björn Jeffery, CEO and Co-Founder, Toca Boca

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Networking Break

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Keeping Children Safe with The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

Protecting our children is instinctual, and with recent amendments to the COPPA law, it’s more important than ever that media executives whose product entertains children in the digital space understand the rules. Join this interactive Q&A discussion with Dona Frasier, Vice President of the ESRB Privacy Certified program, Shai Samet, founder and president of the kidSAFE Seal Program, and Denise Tayloe, co-founder of PRIVO in a fascinating conversation about new provisions to the COPPA law, what information websites can collect on children, how to be transparent with privacy practices, and updates on new safety-related designs development. The panel will also address advertising, analytics, and age gate rules in relation to COPPA.
Individual experts who will answer your questions:
– Dona Fraser, Vice President, ESRB Privacy Certified
– Shai Samet, Founder & President, kidSAFE® Seal Program
– Denise Tayloe, Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, PRIVO

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Networking Break

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tales from Toy Fair: A Sit-in with Journalist, Analysts and Buyers
Expert journalists, analysts, and buyers who specialize in the digital kid market will share their firsthand experiences from the 2013 Toy Fair. These experienced Toy Fair attendees will discuss industry trends, what toys will land on kids’ holiday wish lists, new toy production techniques, using compact, portable toys for flexible playtime, and ways companies are leveraging technology to enrich playtime.
– Scott Traylor, Chief KID, CEO and Founder, 360KID
– Warren Buckleitner, Editor, Children’s Technology Review
– Robin Raskin, Founder, Living in Digital Times
– Christopher Byrne, Content Director, TimetoPlayMag.com
– More speakers to be announced

We will also be at the

Toys, Learning and Play Summit
Toys, Learning, & Play Summit (TLP Summit) at Toy Fair, February 17, 2014, a day prior to Digital Kids Conference, is focused on enriching children’s learning and play experiences with both physical toys and digital media. TLP was prompted from the great response to our Digital Kids Edu Summit, held in San Francisco in Sept. 2013 (download MP3 audio files from here). TLP takes place in Javits Convention Center, Hall 1 E, Room 1E17.

TLP Summit attendees receive in depth information on how to add a learning element to their toy, game, mobile app or web site. Both digital and physical products to be discussed.
– Enhance the value of your product with mom and dad with a learning element
– Align business strategies, revenue models and consumer targets, with the added value of learning
– Meet with learning experts

Technology professionals, toy manufacturers, publishers and digital directors along with media executives seeking are encouraged to attend. The event also caters to district technology directors, curriculum designers, administrators, educators and researchers looking to integrate digital learning tools in the classroom.


Monday, February 17, 2014

1:00 pm – 1:05 pm
– Carter Keithley, 
President, Toy Industry Association

1:05 pm – 1:30 pm
Exploring the connection: Toy, Learning and Play
Toys can be effective tools to teach kids about their world. Learn how children acquire social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain self-confidence with products that marry play with education.
– Stephen Gass, President, Every Baby Company; Principal, The Gass Company
– David Kleeman, SVP, Insights Program and PlayVangelist, PlayCollective

1:30 pm – 1:50 pm
Research – What is Trending
In our 24/7 world, the boundaries of school and home no longer exist. Touchscreen devices play a large part in blurring the lines, especially for young families and children. Since the introduction of the iPad, The Michael Cohen Group LLC has been researching how these devices have impacted children’s play. Dr. Cohn will be presenting their in-depth qualitative and quantitative findings on young children’s play patterns. Don’t miss an exploratory discussion about the future of play and toys, how child’s play is evolving, and how the dimensions of play and learning are afforded or limited by interaction with touchscreen devices.
– Michael Cohen, President, Michael Cohen Group LLC

1:50 pm – 2:20 pm
Gender Disruption in Construction: 
Explore how startups and established companies are designing for and marketing to girls in an exploding category that has historically targeted boys, and why it’s critical we create engaging construction toy experiences to help overcome the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
– Reyne Rice, Trends Analyst, Keynote Speaker, Journalist, Media Spokesperson (moderator)
– Debbie Sterling, Founder, GoldieBlox
– Laurie Peterson, Founder, Build & Imagine
– Alice Brooks, Co-Founder, Roominate
– Alice Taylor, CEO, Makielab

2:20 pm – 2:30 pm 

2:30 pm – 3:20 pm
How to Make Learning Fun in the 21st Century
Join this informative panel to learn about teaching today’s children with nontraditional methods, though digital game-based learning. Two game developers and a dad seeking dynamic homeschooling curriculum will share tips on creating customized learning tools that teach children in fun, effective ways. Toss out those antiquated teaching techniques, and find out what makes digital learning work.
– Brian Alexander, Director of Data and Analytics, Pearson Education
– Britt Myers, Founder, Great City Productions and My Evil Twin
– Brendon Trombley, Game Designer, Institute of Play

3:20 pm – 3:30 pm

3:30 pm – 4:20 pm
Building Better Creative and Technical Teams for Today’s Toy Companies
Incorporating a balance of both creative and technical expertise is key in developing a successful product. Companies that put complete creative control in its engineers or gives total interactive authority to a traditional editor could spell disaster. Join this informative panel to discuss educational toys that have effectively accomplished this goal.
– Hannah Chung, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Sproutel
– Carly Gloge, Co-Founder and CEO, Ubooly
– Tyler Freeman, Inventor & Co-Founder, DrumPants

4:20 pm – 4:30 pm

4:30 pm – 5:20 pm 
Cross-Platform Marketing and Distribution with Toys and Apps
Companies must market across various mediums in order to reach today’s fragmented audiences. Join a panel of Start Up mavens as they discuss how to integrate cross-marketing campaigns with messages adapted for traditional and web-based media with not only plush and mobile in mind.
– Sharon Rechter, Co-Founder and Principal, BabyFirst
– Beth Marcus, Founder and CEO, Playrific
– More speakers to be announced

5:20 pm – 5:30 pm

5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Pitch Perfect! — Digital and Physical Products Crossing the Chasm:
– Companies to be announced

Toys, Learning and Play Summit concludes

Play. I love play and I love seeing how kids play without an instruction manual.


And toy storage, a big winner is needed in this space.

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