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Disney Shifts Manufacturing To Starlight

Hong Kong – Starlight Marketing, a wholly owned subsidiary of CE manufacturer Starlight International, will design, manufacture and market Disney-branded consumer electronics in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico under a licensing agreement announced here with Disney Consumer Products.

Previously, Disney contracted with Memcorp to make and market Disney-branded products and source many of the products from contract manufacturers.

Under the new agreement, Starlight will manufacture and sell CRT televisions, TV/DVD combinations, DVD players, portable DVD players, portable CD players, boomboxes, and clock radios designed by Disney specifically for kids. Starlight will create four products lines based on the following Disney franchises: Disney Princess, Disney-Pixar Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the new Disney Fairies franchise starring Tinkerbell.

Starlight will distribute Disney products through various sales channels including mass retailers such as Kmart, Target, Wal-Mart and Sears, chain toy stores such as Toys R Us, electronics stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City, big-box specialty stores such as Home Depot, and membership clubs such as Sam’s Club and Costco.

For Starlight, the agreement will enable the company “to expand our scope into higher margin business, taking advantage of the global brand of Disney,” said Starlight chairman Philip Lau. The company, formed in 1969, has its own production facilities and builds for such branded suppliers as Philips, Polaroid, Hitachi, and Emerson. The company also builds products for Kmart, Wal-Mart, CircuitCity, Best Buy, Target, and Sears in the U.S.

Chris Heatherly, Global Vice President of Disney Electronics, said the agreement enables the company to continue delivering a “high level of design and innovation” with the “best possible cost basis.”

Disney entered the kids’ electronics market aggressively only about four years ago, initially with now-discontinued cordless phones and FRS radios. In 2003, Disney added A/V products. Prior to the 2003 launch, Disney limited its brand selection largely to a handful of novelty phones and clocks marketed by Kash N Gold and targeted largely to adult collectors.