This is the single best post I have seen all year. This is information Mattel needs to reflect upon and absorb. Fan interest is there, but it is the subscription only model that is absolutely KILLING THE LINE!ToyGuru, what's the product you're trying to sell here? Is it the subscription or the toys? Your acting as though Mattel is a subscription manufacturer instead of a toy manufacturer, and if demand isn't high enough you're not going manufacture any subs.
Remember, the toys are your product. The toys, not the subscriptions. Selling subscriptions is merely a distribution method for your product, and as the 2012 and 2013 sales demonstrate they are not very effective when focused on exclusively.
There are three great benefits to subscriptions: (1) They provide convenience to customers who want the entire product line; (2) they provide incentive to people who would buy most of a product run to go ahead and buy the entire product line; and (3) they provide manufacturers the assurance of guaranteed sales. Because of these benefits, subscriptions can be a valuable supplement to other distribution methods.
However, when relied upon as an exclusive method of distribution, subscriptions have some crippling disadvantages.
(1) They guarantee that supply will be insufficient to meet demand. Customers are forced into an artificial "buy everything or buy nothing" dilemma, and the sales that are gained by those who move up to "buy everything" are a mere fraction of the sales that are lost by those who move down to "buy nothing." The revenue lost is not insignificant.
(2) They dissuade new customers. Very few people become so instantly enamored by their first exposure to a new product that they commit to the entire product line. Whether its toys, magazines, or cosmetics, that type of consumer loyalty is built gradually, one product at a time. The subscriptions so restrict access to the very products they are intended to promote that a potential new customer has almost no opportunity to build loyalty before deciding between "buy everything or buy nothing".
(3) They prevent growth of your product. Even if a significant number of new customers want to subscribe to a line, production numbers are fixed and cannot respond to the increase in demand.
(4) They enhance customer dissatisfaction with niche items. Because customers have to get everything in order to get anything, customers expect that most product offerings will appeal to their taste. Because these customers don't have the choice of simply not buying products that do not appeal to them, their only recourse if too many of these offering are presented is to stop being a customer.
When looked at side by side, the negatives of a subscription-only sales model far outweigh the positives, and adoption of such a model will inevitably lead to a decline in overall sales. It's the only possible outcome. You cannot grow your sales when you adopt a model which deliberately produces beneath demand and alienates customers substantially easier than it attracts them.
I want to know why Matty doggedly insists on basing production off of subscription sales rather than actual demand. Surely enough sales data has been collected since 2008 that a competent analyst could reasonably predict how much to produce without even factoring subs in.
Matty, your subscription is much less marketable than your action figures. Regardless of their love for the toys, your subscription has many features and limitations that consumer just don't like. Stop equating dissatisfaction with subscriptions with disinterest in your real product, the toys. Make enough to meet demand, and have confidence that your product will sell. That's the only way to keep any of your lines alive, much less see them grow and prosper.
WAKE UP MATTEL!!!