Well, this probably helps explain why they're still cutting Grayskull back to save money.
My television was playing in the background today, and did I double-take when I heard Mattel referenced on the news. There was an entire report focused on them, though it was brief. It stated that sales of Barbies are down, and Hot Wheels has plateaued, profit-wise. Do you think the company is hurting, and do you think this will affect their plans for MOTUC, something which seems to be a decent seller?
There's probably a report online somewhere that goes more into detail about their profits, but I'll leave it to others to locate...
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Toys in general are on the downslide with things like tablets becoming commonplace. I'm surprised it took as long as it did to hit dolls and cars. Action figures sales have been suffering for a while now.
And no, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if they are cutting more from CG. And I can see issues with the line as a whole coming. More cheap plastic, fewer accessories/heads, among other cost cutting measures. I'd be surprised to see the DC sub continuing, as well.
And no, I'm not 'Chicken Littling' this. If the profits for the company as a whole are down, they will undeniably tighten belts.
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Mattel is still doing very well. They haven't had much growth (if any), but they're still the number one toy company. Now Hasbro and Lego (especially Lego) have been doing well. Actually at the rate Lego has been growing, the think it could have the possibility of surpassing Mattel. Now this is because the have amusements parks, etc. You have to think though. Mattel is a toy company. Toys are not a need, but a want. The economy is in the crap shoot at the moment and families have to cut wants for needs. Of course a toy company is going to be harmed a bit. When the economy straightens up I'm sure Mattel will have a boom in sales again. This is also the dead season. When it gets close to the holiday season their sales will rise again.
I don't fee llike going through their financials at the moment, but there are a lot of things to consider. Most of the external stuff only pertains to capital providers anyway.
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The answer is a She-Ra Barbie!!! I'd buy a damn Barbie then!
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Mattel is a brain dead dinosaur compared to Lego, a forward thinking company with intelligent strategies and vision for the future. Mattel got lucky a long time ago with a doll and a car and have been riding them.
Mattel's failure to capitalize on the video game and filmmaking industries has hurt them in comparison to Hasbro and Lego (not to mention the theme park issue brought up earlier). If they don't correct this soon, I would expect them to fall below both sooner rather than later. Lego is more popular than when I was kid, and I bet a big part of that is Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, and all the other properties they have built traditional toys and video games off of. Just plain old toys aren't enough. Kids are more sophisticated - you need movies, cartoons, video games to drive the toy sales.
You need properties with strong story telling vehicles. Mattel has no clue when it comes to developing anything with a storyline. As great as MOTU is, the storytelling in the property has been scattered, incoherent, inconsistent, derivative, and driven by money men rather than creators (ahem TG).
Mattel's big wigs aren't visionary enough to compete. And they are inept at implementing strategies outside of Barbie and Hot Wheels. There should be at least 2 successful MOTU movies by now. Hot Wheels should be the Madden of car racing video games. Potential wasted - everywhere. Mattel needs to learn from Borders book stores (who are now gone in part because they got in late on the e-reader market and couldn't compete with forward thinking Amazon) and get in on other markets before it's too late. Plastic is more expensive by the day. Labor too.
Hasbro's been doing poorly for a couple years now, which I blame on their unwillingness to run their brands properly. They mismanage GI Joe, ignored MLP's success and splintered the Transformers brand into too many series. I've tried telling this to people but it seems the Hasbro fanboys refuse to hear it. The Joe forums especially have their fingers lodged in their ears about it which is why I refuse to associate with those boards. There was also the fact they spent so much money buying up other toy companies, only to never do anything with them. If Hasbro were to lose Star Wars they'd probably die.
Mattel's been doing better but MH is starting to taper off a bit now. Stuff like the school playset didn't sell as well as the line used to and I think it's been around long enough that some people are losing interest. It's no longer new enough. Barbie's taken to long to appeal to fans of the new web toon and old Barbie just isn't selling anymore. Matty Collector isn't a store, it's a scalper outfit that can't maintain a real income because they're not a store that sells stock year round.
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You guys really need to take that Mattel is a corporation run by investors into account to understand their decisions. Its not a business you can just do whatever you want with. It sucks but blame the downtrend in toys overall and the failure of toys to wrestle the death grip away from video games.
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MOTU had a great start to become a timeless line/product especially for the male consumer, much like the Star Wars brand, but Mattel took things the other way aound, by preaching profit justifies products, and that's not how things work all the time!
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I also think their focus on short term profitability has kept them from investing in areas that could lead to new profit centers like video games and movies. If that is where their customers are going more and more, it would be wise for them to position themselves to take advantage of that. I know when Amazon.com started, they lost tons and tons and tons of money each year, but they had a vision they bet would pay off. I just don't see much evidence of Mattel investing in the long term, and it's sad because I still believe MOTU could be a viable property again, in better hands.
Last edited by jibernish; July 17, 2013 at 11:09pm.
Mattel is lurching from one thing to another, looking only at what can bring in some money tomorrow and the heck with next month. They got lucky with Monster High, but it sounds like that may be a flash in the pan rather than a long term success. The big problem with Mattel is they are not a leader, but a follower. They don't initiate trends anymore. Look at how they followed suit, albeit too late, with things like the Action League (Super Hero Squad was already fading after a good run), the Rescue Heroes type figures (again, long after the train had left). Heck, even DCUC and MOTUC are simply Marvel Legends translated into different properties years after the fact. Even Monster High is an idea that has been around for years (apparently someoneat Mattel picked up a copy of "Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School"). Mattel has not lead the way with a truly innovative product in any area I'm aware of in a long time, and its apparently showing in their bottom line.
It's sad, and I wish it weren't so. Once upon a time, Mattel WAS a leader, and earned its place as the #1 toy company, and it wasn't just Barbie and Hot Wheels. Major Matt Mason was one of the first real action figure lines, and some of the ingenious features they came up with back during the 60's still pop up in toys today (I still maintain it is one of the most innovative and brilliant action figure lines ever, doing things never done before on a regular basis when it was in production). And our beloved Masters basically re-invigorated a flagging action figure market that had become almost entirely dependent on movie and TV licenses, paving the way for a golden age of action figures in the 80's that hasn't been rivaled since. I've been buying Mattel action figures since they first started making them, and I am truly disheartened to see just how far they have fallen these days...
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MOTUC is such a small portion of Mattel's sales that I wonder if it would affect anything in this case?
Short term decisions based on maximum profit are the norm now.
the #2 platform in NA with the Intellivision, and Intellivision II. After the crash they pulled out, and many moons later allowed some of the console designers to take back the ip, and patents.
In the UK they bargained with Nintendo to sell the NES there, of course they botched it on their end, and it's one of the markets where Nintendo was a distant #2 (Guru Larry put up a pretty good video a few years
ago talking about it) partially as a result. Throughout the last 30 years they have been wise enough to license out IP to game developers. How many of us have played a Barbie, Hot Wheels, He-Man game? They weren't always
very good, but most licensed games aren't. They also beat Hasbro to the punch distributing games in the 90's/00's. Mattel published PC versions of Sega's arcade games, and did some distribution for other publishers.
So while yes, they should have realized the strength of their IP meant they could have had more pull with publishers (Ie: get them to put better developers on it or even get a more mainstream publisher to do it)
they HAVE been able to see that video games are indeed competition to their industry, and that they need to move from being a toy company to being more of a entertainment media company with toys as the cornerstone, and
a commitment to solidify the lines that made them great.
As Scott was saying, Hasbro while not so favorable with the short sighted investors HAS successfully done this. As horrible (Flame me all you want they suck) as the Transformers, and GiJoe movies are they still made tons of money (Well TF did GiJoe not so much). Like Mattel, Hasbro has made sure their IP's have been in gaming since the era of the C64, and Atari 2600.
Mattel knows where they have to go, they just can't seem to find the right people to plot a proper course.
Lets not also forget that despite whatever the news says about the economy it isn't very rosy. A lot of people are still out of work, a lot of companies are going to have to lay people off to keep costs down, and others are cutting employees down to 15-20 hour work weeks. That's going to effect everyone in the business of selling non essential products (ergo anything not food, water, no frills clothing.) Couple that with competition who does have a sound business plan, and it suddenly gets a lot harder for Mattel.
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