Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) experienced great success with its live action Transformers movies over the past six years driving an increase in revenue following their releases in 2007, 2009, and 2011. However, its revenue then suffers in subsequent years as the euphoria from the previous movie slowly wears off (chart below). So far in 2013 Hasbro's revenue remains roughly even with the same time last year. However, Hasbro can do two important things to help boost revenue during the down years between blockbuster movies.
Create live action TV shows
Hasbro along with The Hub, its media outlet jointly owned by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA)(NASDAQ:DISCB)(NASDAQ:DISCK), needs to follow in the footsteps of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Time Warner in creating adult targeted live action television series. Walt Disney's Agents of SHIELD serves the purpose of raising brand awareness for the Marvel based brands despite the ratings slump. Fellow Fool Leo Sun cites the show's construction on "faulty 1990s logic" or a monster of the week scenario for the show's waning popularity. Joss Whedon's creative team behind this show certainly possesses the talent to turn Agents of SHIELD around if necessary, as evidenced by later Buffy: The Vampire Slayer seasons where the audience saw more depth in its characters due to choices made under difficult and unusual circumstances. Time Warner and 21st Century Fox's contributions to the bandwagon include a Batman Prequel called Gotham, Arrow, and its spinoff Flash.
Along those lines, a live action Transformers or G.I. Joe television show would go a long way in boosting toy revenue in between movie years. While well written animated series such as Transformers Prime are great, they generally are viewed by children limiting the scope of popularity. It's difficult to write an intelligent series geared toward that audience. A live action Transformers television series would probably be expensive ; however, the studios could produce short seasons in a Game of Thrones fashion. G.I. Joe would certainly prove feasible for Hasbro's studio partners.
Bring back Gen 1 Transformers
Walt Disney and Hasbro appeal to the nostalgic collector by releasing toy lines such as the Star Wars: The Black Series a nd reissuing old Star Wars toys. Moreover, Hasbro occasionally releases a Transformers Generation 1 reissue geared toward people who enjoyed Transformer's original line in their childhood. Hasbro could take this a step further and produce an animated (not computer generated) series that picks up where it left off during the second season in 1986 bridging the gap between that time period and the animated classic Transformers: The Movie. An hour long show with a shortened season could conserve on costs. A good working title: Transformers 1980s. Hasbro could also do a spinoff series that centers on post Transformers: The Movie characters such as Headmasters .
The Foolish takeaway
Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Transformers line and the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth live action Transformers movie. A direct-to DVD Transformers Prime animated movie and a new animated series is also rumored to be in production for release later next year. Hasbro and Hub need to think past next year and put forth some larger revenue generating initiatives like the ones highlighted above or its revenue will likely suffer in 2015.
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