Hasbro wants toys to truly matter again. In today’s modern age, it seems like kids are no longer playing with dolls and race cars, but instead on the touch screens that are put in front of them. 

The digital age has certainly made its impact in the sphere of childhood entertainment. One of the biggest transitions being the filing of bankruptcy and closing of all Toys R Us stores last year. That alone was a huge hit to Hasbro, as those stores we’re their number one partner in retail toy distribution. The market for physical toys just isn’t as demanding as it used to be, especially when parents seem to only want to buy their kids a screen  and a Netflix account. 

Hasbro recognized this, and wanted to find a way to combine the exciting elements that toys brought older generations as kids, and the new wave of digital entertainment in the sphere of preschoolers. So they closed a deal for $4 billion, which made them the new owners of Entertainment One. The company is known in London for owning the animated brands PJ Masks and Ricky Zoom. The company is also more widely known for their ownership of Death Row Records, which they acquired in a $280 million deal back in 2013.

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The record company has released multi-platinum hip-hop albums by artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac. The deal would combine all the brands owned by Entertainment One and include Hasbro’s own popular titles, including My Little Pony, Transformers, Play-Doh, Monopoly and Power Rangers.

“Hasbro will leverage Entertainment One’s immersive entertainment capabilities to bring our portfolio of brands that have appealed to gamers, fans and families to all screens globally,” Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement to CNN

This deal also comes a few months after Hasbro signed a contract with Netflix offering another entertainment opportunity to make a series inspired by a popular Hasbro magic trading card game “Magic: The Gathering”. 

Hasbro’s move into the digital entertainment business is nothing out of the ordinary for major toy companies in 2019. Mattel, mainly known for Barbie, also signed a deal with the company Sanrio, the company that owns Hello Kitty, and will begin production on shows, movies, and games that will be fun for the whole family. 

The trend of toy companies making entertainment based on their own product is quite smart. This way, kids out there who don’t know the toys that have been around for decades, such as Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly, etc, will get the opportunity to be introduced to them through their screens. 

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What happens when a child falls in love with a particular character from their favorite TV shows and/or movies? It becomes their whole life, and the only type of toys and games that they want are centered around that character. Thus boosting the toy/merchandise market for these companies, while gaining viewership and exposure as well. 

Hasbro has no plans of slowing down anytime soon, in fact, the Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner also confirmed some things that are already in the works.

“A Dungeons and Dragons movie is scheduled for 2021 as well as a My Little Pony Live touring musical show that will debut in 2020. We’re also working on partnering with a Malaysian property developer on a Monopoly-themed hotel and a water park featuring G.I. Joe and Nerf-themed attractions.”

In order to keep classic characters and toys current, they have to change with the world. With Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, YouTube TV, and a multitude of other streaming services available to the public, entertainment and media consumption has never been more relevant. So, Hasbro did the obvious thing and bought an entertainment company to ensure that whatever business was lost with the tragic death of Toys R Us, would easily be gained back with TV shows and Netflix original movies.