Hasbro is proving that it does not want film theaters to promote Star Wars toys.
While the Rhode Island-based firm noticed sales of its licensed content material from leisure studios fall 12% to $1.08 billion for the full 12 months, its sales of Star Wars grew by 70% over that interval.
Last 12 months marked the first time since 2014 that Disney didn’t launch a Star Wars movie in theaters, however sales of Grogu — the youngster previously identified as Baby Yoda — and of toy lightsabers helped fuel progress for the toy franchise.
Movie theaters have been disadvantaged of content material from Hollywood due to the pandemic, however Disney+ is making up for that loss with reveals like “The Mandalorian.”
“What’s been great for our business is that streaming content is now being enjoyed by so many people, it has really hit a tipping point,” CEO Brian Goldner mentioned Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “And that tipping point means that you have tens of millions of people watching a piece of content over a given early period of time that allows us to ‘eventize.'”
Earlier Monday, Hasbro mentioned fourth-quarter earnings fell to $105.2 million, or 76 cents per share, from $267.3, or $2.01 per share, a 12 months earlier. But after excluding gadgets, Hasbro earned $1.27 per share, which was higher than the $1.14 per share analysts have been anticipating.
Fourth-quarter income expanded by 21% to to $1.72 billion throughout the quarter to high a Refinitiv estimate of $1.69 billion, aided by robust sales of video games such as Jenga, Scrabble and Dungeons & Dragons.
Hasbro shares initially rose on the information, however shares have been down about 2.6% earlier afternoon as traders anxious about investments the firm is making in new video content material and promoting.
The firm is additionally going through increased prices from provide points, which embody delays from port congestion. Hasbro has had hassle maintaining some gadgets in inventory, together with these that includes Grogu.
When the character was launched in 2019, Hasbro was unable to take full benefit of its reputation. Showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have been so eager to not spoil Grogu’s look in “The Mandalorian” that they did not share any reference images with toymakers.
Hasbro, together with different toy and retail producers, needed to scramble to satisfy client demand for items that includes the little inexperienced alien. For season two, which launched at the finish of 2020, Hasbro was capable of tease new merchandise and embody Grogu items in its vacation releases.
New York Toy Fair Product Showcase: “The Mandalorian” and “Star Wars The Clone Wars” at Dream Hotel on February 20, 2020 in New York City.
Craig Barritt | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Disney+ additionally has extra than simply “The Mandalorian.” Over the subsequent few years, the streaming service will debut at the least 9 extra Star Wars reveals. These embody collection that includes in style characters such as Ahsoka Tano, Lando Calrissian, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett.
These reveals will maintain Star Wars followers and Hasbro toymakers occupied till 2023 when Patty Jenkins’ “Rogue Squadron” is slated to hit theaters.
Outside of the Star Wars universe, Disney+ additionally has almost a dozen Marvel collection in the works. Already, “WandaVision” is streaming on the service and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” are set to launch earlier than midyear.
“We see the rapid subscription growth, globalization of Disney+ and the access to Disney content for new audiences as a key catalyst driving consumer product demand,” mentioned Stephanie Wissink, managing director at Jefferies. “Hasbro is one of Disney’s largest strategic partners in enabling fans of all ages to engage in the brands in a physical goods form.”
Hasbro prolonged its Star Wars and Marvel partnerships with Disney in early 2020. It’s unclear how long the new contract is set for, however the final time the toymaker renegotiated its grasp toy licenses for these franchises was in 2013.
Hasbro has long benefited from its relationship with Disney. In 2019, income from Hasbro’s companion manufacturers rose 24% to $1.22 billion. The firm pointed to robust sales of “Frozen 2,” “Avengers,” “Spider-Man” and “Star Wars” strains for the enhance.
The toy firm’s licensed content material will seemingly rebound in 2021, as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out to extra Americans and moviegoers can return to theaters in bigger numbers. Hasbro did not present a selected earnings forecast, nonetheless.
Disney’s Marvel Studios has 4 movies set for launch this 12 months: “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Eternals” and a 3rd “Spider-Man” movie made in partnership with Sony.
“The plans to have 5 or so TV shows for Marvel content on Disney+ this year combined with expected movie releases creates a year round programming opportunity for Hasbro with a revolving lineup of product offerings,” mentioned Eric Handler, managing director of media and leisure fairness analysis at MKM Partners.