Monday, February 23, 2015

Hasbro's Ups and Downs

Hasbro had a studio in Burbank called "The Hub". But things have changed a bit.

Hasbro makes not just toys but also hugely popular intellectual property, which for decades has been key to its bottom line. But as kids' consumption patterns change radically with the advent of new technologies, the company has struggled to find a balance between its core business and its entertainment properties.

Over the last few years, the company has poured billions of dollars into (and received billions of dollars from) big-budget movies and triple-A video games, plus a joint-venture cable network called The Hub (a costly misstep), which since was rebranded and partially sold back to partner Discovery, [now called Discover Family]. ...

Projects like The Hub and disappointing films like Battleship might not have worked the way Hasbro wanted, but the company is, if anything, even more committed to TV and film today. ... Where are Hasbro's proprietary TV shows now? Well, everywhere.

Old shows from The Hub still run on Discovery Family, and several, including My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, will continue to premiere on the network for another season. Transformers: Robots in Disguise is upcoming on Cartoon [Network], which has turned into one of the last strongholds of boys programming on cable. ...

The toy company's large ambitions for its own kids' cable network didn't really pan out. (Or rather, didn't pan out ... and produce enough gold ... fast enough.) But Hasbro is still in the intellectual property game. And it's still got the Burbank studio, turning out family entertainment.

My bet is it will make new moves in the marketplace. The DreamWorks Animation deal might have fallen through, but you can't keep a good toy company/cartoon studio/content provider down for long.


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