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On Monday, Hasbro announced is earnings for the fourth quarter and the full year for 2015. Overall, net revenues were up 13% in Q4 and would’ve been up 23% absent a negative foreign exchange impact of $128.1 million in the quarter. Revenues were largely buoyed by tie-ins from Star Wars and Jurassic World as well as Disney Descendants and Sesame Street. Franchise brands declined by 3%, but would’ve been up 6% absent FX. Revenues were up for Nerf, Play-Doh, and Magic: The Gathering.

For the year as a whole, revenues reach $4.4 billion which was an increase of 4% (up 13% absent a negative FX impact of $394.5 million). Franchise brands decline 2% for the year, but would’ve been up 7% absent FX. Monopoly joined Nerf, Play-Doh, and Magic: The Gathering on the up side. My Little Pony would join that group absent FX. Operating profit for the year was up 9%.
Declines in the Girls’ department were 17% in Q4 and 22% for the year. Those declines continue to be spelled F-u-r-b-y for the most part. Core revenues for My Little Pony increased for the year, but were offset by declines for “Equestria Girls.” However, the arrival of tie-ins for both Disney Princess and Frozen should provide some tailwind in 2016.
Boys was up 35% for Q4 and 20% for the year again buoyed by Star Wars, Jurassic World, and Marvel, which more than offset anticipated declines with Transformers (i.e. no movie). Littlest Pet Shop experienced a “small revenue decrease” according to Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, though he sees an opportunity with a new “immersive franchise story” that they will be unveiling in the future.
Further to a point on MLP, Mr. Goldner says that is remains a “vibrant and growing property” that has established itself as a “major lifestyle brand”.

My Little Pony remains a vibrant and growing property, said Mr. Goldner as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. “The core My Little Pony brand did extremely well in 2015 with positive revenue growth in several countries backed by strong point-of-sale and the launch of the new Friendship is Magic collectable segment. My Little Pony has established itself as a major lifestyle brand, and for 2015 was our top license property.

“We experience a slowdown in “Equestria Girls” that offset much of the growth we saw in other areas of the brand. In January 2016, we launched a new Mini Dolls! “Equestria Girls” line which is off to a very good start.

“Overall, My Little Pony brand engagement is very high across all lines of the business. To maintain this momentum, we are continuing to invest in multichannel storytelling, while evolving our entertainment strategy to more effectively delivery content. The success of our franchise brands contributed to the 11% revenue growth in our entertainment and licensing segment. Despite a difficult comparison with the 2014 Transformers movie, consumer product licensing revenues increased.”

The next major presentation from Hasbro will be on Friday at Toy Fair NYC at 8am Eastern Time.
THOUGHTS:  It was always going to be a bit of an ask for MLP to match or exceed what was a record year in 2014—especially given the FX impact of the past few quarters. Still, rumors and charges that the franchise may be in something of a decline are greatly exaggerated. It remains mostly a mystery what 2016 will bring for MLP apart from a new foal for Princess Cadance and Shining Armor and that the theme is to “Explore Equestria” (at least by swan boat). A major part of those questions may be answered on Friday.
StatManDan

horsesense

213 – “The Cartoon, The Bot”

Written by: Ben Joseph; Noelle Stevenson
Hater orders the Watchdogs to make an action cartoon about him; Wander adopts a damaged Dominator bot.

Transcript
Direct Video

OnDerpmand→

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“Between the Pines”

Go inside the making of Gravity Falls with Alex Hirsch and Time Baby in Between The Pines

Transcript
Promos
Direct Video

OnDerpmand→

Friendship is Magic #39 Extended Preview

Friendship is Magic #39 cover by Lea Hernandez

Friendship is Magic #39 cover by Lea Hernandez

There’s an extended preview of Friendship is Magic #39 on issuu. This issue is the second and final part of the two part arc, “Don’t You Forget About Us”, and will be released on Wednesday. You can check out the preview after the break.

Read more →

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Earlier this evening, the 43rd Annie Awards were held which included nominations for Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Star vs. the Forces of Evil and Wander Over Yonder, all of which were nominated for Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children. Wander got the gold in Best Children’s TV show and Gravity Falls brought it home in Outstanding Achievement in Directing. Both award speeches can be watched after the Break. All nominations are below.

Gravity Falls
  • Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children
  • Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
  • Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
  • Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
Steven Universe
  • Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children
  • Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
  • Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
Star vs. the Forces of Evil
  • Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children
  • Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
  • Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
Wander Over Yonder
  • Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children
  • Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
  • Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production
  • Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production

Break→

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A report from Bloomberg Business is saying that toy makers Hasbro and Mattel were discussions about a possible mergersince late last year according to sources familiar with the matter. The companies are also said to have “held on-and-off talks,” but the sources have also said the talks may not ultimately lead to a deal.
Mattel did get some favorable news last week with Barbie quarterly sales rising for the first time in nearly four years, but still face considerable headwinds with the loss of the Frozen and Disney Princess licenses to Hasbro effective this year. While there were other pluses such as Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price, sales of American Girl and Monster High continued to decline.
Hasbro will announce their fourth quarter and full year 2015 financial results on Monday. The result are expected to be buoyed by sales from tie-ins Star Wars: The Force Awakens and strong showings from Nerf and Play-doh, but could be offset somewhat by continued foreign currency fluctuations.
Any potential merger involving the two largest toymakers in the United States would be subject to immense scrutiny from regulators.
(Edited 2/5)
CNBC is reporting that Hasbro made the approach to Mattel about a merger several months ago and that there are currently no talks going on now. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened as rumors of Hasro possibly buying DreamWorks ended as soon as they were brought up.
StatManDan

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While Wander was plugging a hole on Monday night, some of the viewership appeared to have been sucked through it. The pairing of “The Hole Lotta Nuthin” and “The Show Stopper” drew an estimated 336,000 viewers on Monday night on Disney XD. That is a drop of nearly 37% from last week and is the lowest mark for Wander since October 2014 when “The Date” and “The Buddies” drew an astonishingly anemic 140,000 viewers.

Next up for Wander is “The Cartoon” and “The Bot” at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT on Disney XD.

Ratings information for this report is courtesy of Mitch Metcalf of Showbuzz Daily as sourced by Nielsen Media Research.

StatManDan

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