Feb 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

Mattel's reverse Disney play

Illustration of a Barbie Doll holding a play button
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Mattel’s future relies increasingly on a strategy that looks like Disney’s playbook — in reverse.

Driving the news: The toymaker presented its new growth strategy today and it involves taking its brands like Barbie, Fisher-Price and American Girl and turning them into an "IP-driven" engine for the company.

Details: "We are now shifting into high gear to expand our entertainment offering," CEO Ynon Kreiz said in a presentation. "Mattel films and Mattel television are key areas of growth."

The big picture: Free time has become increasingly dominated by screen time for kids and their parents.

  • Physical toys are great, but sales growth can become limitless when you take popular characters and plop them into everything (books, movies, games) and on everything (merchandise beyond the playroom).

What to watch: Mattel has announced 14 live-action films for its toy franchises, ranging from Barbie (set to be released next year), Masters of the Universe and Polly Pocket to Barney, Wishbone and Thomas and Friends.

  • The company says that in the short term it’s focused on growing its "power brands" while the mid-to-long term goal is to focus on online retail and franchise management — which will include apparel, digital gaming and yes, NFTs.

Go deeper: Kids content is crushing it on streaming

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