Hello and welcome to another Hasbro Financial Call. Hasbro is closing out 2020 with strong revenue, and TFW2005 is here to report.
Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s chairman and CEO commented “We integrated our acquisition of eOne and while live-action TV and film production was limited, we made substantial progress developing Hasbro IP for storytelling that we believe will lead to enhanced revenues and earnings power from Hasbro brands from multiple income streams.”
” While the near-term theatrical landscape remains uncertain, we see a path to its return and the opportunities in streaming and linear, now and into the future, are clear and compelling for both viewership and merchandise. The combination of Hasbro’s portfolio and eOne’s expertise is unlocking opportunity to expand our brands and launch new ones.”
It was stated that Hasbro is looking at Theatrical Releases which will be immediately followed by Streaming. In fact, they are looking at possible shorter theatrical release windows to accommodate streaming or simultaneous windows.
“As production has returned and we managed COVID-19 protocols to safely keep them up and running, our cash spend on content across scripted and unscripted live action, animated TV, and film in 2021, is planned to be in the range of 675 million to 750 million.” said Deb Thomas, Hasbro’s Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. Goldner is very happy with Transformers: War For Cybertron. “Transformers: War For Cybertron, which is our animated series on Netflix, dedicated to more of the older kids and Fan Community. It’s driven that business in a major way with Transformers; result is quite strong, Point Of Sales good, and really linking all that to our eCom and omni-channel effort.”
On another happy note, Emerging Brand: G.I. Joe has seen growth in Q4.
“We have been building great, innovative products for Hasbro IPs like My Little Pony and Snake Eyes and we are constantly working in partnership with our studio brethren to ensure that we understand the way they want to execute their programs and frankly we’re doing the exact same thing with My Little Pony and with Snake Eyes. We want to make sure we’re maximizing the opportunity given, where we believe audiences will be at [mid 2021].”
Regarding future Hasbro projects: “We are busy developing Dungeons & Dragons across number of dimensions, we have future iterations of Transformers in number of different places, and we have new creative stewardship that will add great new storytelling in Power Rangers and several other big areas.”
Brian Golder also mentioned that eOne is working on animated TV productions based on Hasbro IPs.
You can check out the slides, attached with this news post.
I bought Omega Supreme because of his appearance in the show. The show was super mediocre but his part of it was visually really impressive.
Regardless of whether the Netflix show was a success or not (I don't see any reason to doubt that it was), I just hope Hasbro steps up their game for their next attempt at an adult-oriented Transformers show. I think an adult-oriented show has the potential to do some really fun and new stuff with the brand…stuff that the kids' cartoons can't do because they have to play it relatively safe and sell toys. Give the next one a proper voice cast, and do something other than a violent and gritty version of the Transformers origin story with toy CAD models that swear. Do something that's actually challenging and fresh, with some real creativity and innovation in the storytelling and designs.
I remember being super excited for the idea of an adult-oriented Transformers show back in 2015 or '16, when they announced Combiner Wars. Half-a-decade later, Siege feels like a slightly better version of the same approach. Change it up for the next one, hire a different creative team and find a different approach. I'd really like to see an "adult-oriented" Transformers show that adults can appreciate for reasons beyond just "it's the thing I like, but dark and with swear words." I'd like some interesting themes or commentary or something.
I bought more mainline figures than I would have if I didn't watch SIEGE. And I was acutely AWARE that that's what was happening.
The cartoon absolutely contributed to toy sales, even if there wasn't a direct correlation between what was on the screen and what was on the shelves.
But to that point, I was able to find almost all of the SIEGE figures after the cartoon aired.
I see an awful lot of "this is how I feel about show and toyline and this is how you can interpret the remarks to support that." Which is fine, it's the internet, argue and speculate away.
There are very few facts in the report even at the franchise level, let alone the toyline level. IMHO, as a fan, the most use you can get out of these things is to see what the company wants to market, and based on their top line priorities, why they're emphasizing these things.
For example, the biggest conclusion I draw is that Hasbro does not want investors to view them as a toy company: they're an entertainment conglomerate with original media and consumer products based on owned and licensed IP. But we don't need an investor report to know that, because they just spent billions to buy a media company. A single toyline isn't a critical item to emphasize at this level, they're just name-dropping their big brands to show their breadth. Consider that they don't even mention G.I. Joe, only Snake Eyes, because it's a major media property.
Transformers is an afterthought even in their franchise brands segments. Note how many times the deck references MTG, Monopoly, and Nerf. That's not to say it's not an important business or a revenue driver, it just doesn't matter as much when there isn't a feature film.
I honestly don't know what I'm annoyed about or trying to prove. It's basically the same thing as whenever IDW announces earnings: the main conclusion to draw isn't whether Transformers is successful for them or not, but that it's a comparatively insignificant factor relative to everything else in their bucket.
The thing I found most interesting was this non-TF note: "PARTNER BRANDS growth in Lucasfilm's Star Wars more than offset by declines in Disney's Frozen." Q4 2020 underperformed Q4 2019 because Elsa beats Grogu.
Mandalorian and ESB 40th really helped sales for Hasbro. The finale for Lone Mando and Cub has been the highlight of Disney's years of making SW by a galactic mile. If they can build that momentum with the spin-off shows sales of merchandise will be restored to previous levels.
That will allow Hasbro to be bold enough to experiment with house brands like Transformers more. They won't need to depend on G1 and Bayverse nostalgia to keep Boys Toys afloat if they can stabilize their former too dog in that office.
I think you're misinterpreting my cynicism as heated criticism, in regards to the repaints in particular, I don't mind them–I've bought several of them. My real issue is that I feel the Netflix show is all around extremely half-assed. Voice acting, story, dialogue, haphazard character model reuse, cherry-picked shreds of homage to the Sunbow show … it all feels like they either did it on a shoestring budget and in a very short amount of time, or that they really just gave zero shits, and decided to make the most minimal effort show they could just to "show retailers there's a show to support the line". Based on Goldner's comments, I have a feeling it's the latter, may be a bit of both. At any rate, I only offered RID2015 as an example, because while it was one of the more flawed and criticized shows of recent years, you could tell they put a lot of effort into trying to design something unique and new, even diverging pretty far in a different direction from PRIME despite being a sequel.
I have no issues with WFC as a toyline, it's fantastic of course, and I don't have an issue with the idea that Hasbro would want to make a series based on said line, but I think they could sure as hell have put a lot more effort into making the final product look more polished.
You have been getting new cartoons but I think you're pretending we haven't so you have a reason to complain about the Netflix show. The bizarre thing is that the Netflix show was never meant to promote new characters or new concepts. What you're doing is complaining that you can't order a hamburger at a pizza parlor. If you don't like Seeker and Lambro repaints then why heck are you paying attention to WFC media and toys???
Glad Goldner’s happy with the Netflix turd, because I’m not let’s take some of those profits they’ve gleaned from 1,000 reuses of the seeker mold and lambros and make a thoughtfully created, coherent new cartoon without relying on hackneyed patische and C-grade horror movie tropes…
Hell, I’d gladly take something like RID2015 right now—at least it had solid voice acting, fresh designs, and a fairly clever original premise with Bee in charge (at least until it gave up halfway through). I’m not saying that’s an exceptionally great bit of Transformers media either, just that that’s a low bar for me, and the current Netflix show is pretty far under that bar imho, and I’m annoyed by it.
It really seems like their putting more focus onto the media side of things, hopefully shows/movies start to improve in quality
I hear and agree with you on that problem
Notice he didn't say "We're really happy with Cyberverse". That's because Cyberverse is probably underperforming compared to War For Cybertron. This isn't surprising since Walmart barely carries the line and it really doesn't have a comparable sub-line like the Netflix figures.
Mandolorian has helped rebuild some interest in the brand. Hope LotJ doesn't kill it again.
If the Netflix show was a flop, Goldner would have stayed quiet about it. It’s not like it was a Hollywood movie where you measure success from box office receipts.
If the Walmart Netflix subline had underperformed, Goldner would have stayed mum about the Netflix show. This was Hasbro’s first TF show with Netflix and he’s crowing about it because he believes he has data to back up that it was a success.
I was going to argue that’s it impossible to measure how much the Netflix show helped the Walmart Netflix line BUT Hasbro could compare average sales of Walmart Netflix to mainline WFC or a Bumblebee Movie subline and make conclusions from that.
On the other hand, I think hardcore fans enjoyed most of the Netflix figures regardless if they liked or disliked the program. I guess you could argue that good product gives you good sales.
On the other, other hand maybe the Netflix show got high viewership numbers too…
I still think Goldner would have stayed quiet about it if no one watched the show. He has data to back up his praise, otherwise he’d get in trouble for misleading investors.
Because it’s an investor’s meeting where even monumental disasters are regarded as “slightly short of expectations.”
Im not even shitting on Netflix/WFC but these meetings are all just corporate fluff talk. It’s really hard to glean meaningful information from them.
Hasbro judges success based off of their toy sales. Not only did they ship out War For Cybertron product to retailers, they also got Walmart to double dip on repaints. Add those two lines together and, yes, you can see how War For Cybertron is performing well and can be reported as a strong seller in a financial report. They aren't lying.
Yeah you can't lie on an investor call. I believe both chapters (or at least Siege) made the Netflix Top 10 briefly. That's a success for them because that means people are watching the show. Siege got a lot of talk on platforms that never cover Transformers show. Increasing attention on the Transformers brand sells more toys.
On an investor call, the industry standard is to not mention something if it is a failure.
Because on investors' calls, you don't say something is a failure unless you're legally required to.
If it was unsuccessful, why would they say they are very happy with it? Obviously it was at least a moderate success…
I dont think thats looking to much into it tbh.