Hasbro has inked a 10-year deal with Sesame Workshop, the Sesame Street creator. Hasbro's Playskool will begin putting out licensed toys featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and other popular characters beginning in 2011.
Mattel is the company that consumers typically associate with Sesame Workshop characters, thanks to its acquisition of "Tickle Me Elmo" creator Tyco. Earlier this year, Mattel's CFO disclosed that the Sesame Street deal ranked among the top 10 licensing agreements in toy-land.
Hasbro has been doing well through its licensed lines, but it's also been benefiting from the celluloid success of its Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises. Both lines' summer film releases should help move plenty of Hasbro-made playthings this holiday season.
The Sesame Workshop deal also comes at a time when Hasbro is working with Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA ) to reposition Discovery's fledgling children's channel to better compete against Disney (NYSE: DIS ) and Viacom's (NYSE: VIA ) Nickelodeon.
In a few years, Hasbro may very well be the next Marvel (NYSE: MVL ) as it milks its action stars, or a serious power broker in the kid-programming cable business.
For now, let's just say it's a good thing for Hasbro to have Sesame Workshop's Count on board. There's going to be a lot of counting to do, and that's a good thing.