Hasbro Entertainment Leadership Team Announced

Toy and game company Hasbro has announced the newly appointed leadership team of Hasbro Entertainment, a division that will be dedicated to leveraging Hasbro’s most valuable brands to develop and produce premium content across platforms for audiences of all ages, following the close of Hasbro’s sale of eOne’s film and television business to Lionsgate.

The new division unifies Hasbro’s film, television, animation, and digital media expertise under one umbrella as the company increases investment in its priority brands.

Olivier Dumont will serve as president of Hasbro Entertainment, with Zev Foreman and Gabriel Marano serving as head of film and head of television, respectively. Foreman and Marano were primarily focused on Hasbro IP projects while at eOne and will continue this work in their new expanded roles directly for Hasbro. Dumont also comes from eOne.

“Entertainment is core to Hasbro’s strategy and its mission to entertain and connect generations of fans through the wonder of storytelling and exhilaration of play,” Tim Kilpin, Hasbro president, toy, licensing and entertainment, said in a statement. “Audiences can count on Hasbro to keep creating compelling and fun entertainment that brings to life our wide array of iconic brands, including Peppa Pig, My Little Pony, and Transformers, reaching audiences through varied platforms in ways that resonate in today’s fast-paced world.”

Olivier Dumont (eOne photo)

“We are thrilled to embark on this new chapter, building upon our rich heritage of storytelling to continue delighting audiences across generations,” Dumont said in a statement. “Gabe, Zev, and I look forward to working with the industry’s best creative talent, studios, and distribution platforms to push the envelope with innovative storytelling that will let fans engage with their favorite brands like never before, while also building exciting new worlds and the next wave of Hasbro franchises for a growing audience.”

Hasbro Entertainment is actively developing and producing more than 30 projects and is focused on priority brands including Dungeons & Dragons, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Nerf, Play-Doh, Magic: The Gathering, Peppa Pig and My Little Pony. Upcoming titles include Transformers One, directed by Academy Award winner Josh Cooley and starring Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Jon Hamm; a live-action “Dungeons & Dragons” series for Paramount+; and a broad slate of ongoing animated series, including “Peppa Pig,” “Transformers: EarthSpark,” “Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes” and “My Little Pony: Tell Your Tale.”

Dumont is an established family entertainment executive who most recently served as president of family brands for eOne, overseeing content creation and distribution for a combined portfolio of Hasbro and eOne’s family brands driving more than $2 billion of annual retail sales. Previously, Dumont held a number of key roles in domestic and international children’s entertainment, including heading acquisitions and co-production for a major kids’ network, leading an animation studio, and managing a distribution business.

Zev Foreman (Photo by Eric Charbonneau)

Foreman served as president of film production for eOne, overseeing projects including Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. While at eOne, Foreman led all aspects of creative development and production. Foreman brings to Hasbro Entertainment an expertise accrued through his production work on numerous films, such as DC’s Blue Beetle, the Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton-led All the Old Knives, Blue Bayou, and three-time Academy Award winner Dallas Buyers Club

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Gabriel Marano (eOne photo)

Marano was co-head of scripted development for eOne, overseeing development and strategy, primarily on Hasbro IP such as Paramount+’s upcoming “Dungeons & Dragons” series from Rawson Marshall Thurber and Drew Crevello, and Netflix’s “Power Rangers” series, from Jonathan Entwistle and Jenny Klein. Previously, Marano served as SVP of drama programming and development at Fox Entertainment, where he supervised the development and production of new and returning scripted series, including “9-1-1,” “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “Marvel’s The Gifted” and “Lucifer.” Earlier in his career, Marano was with A&E Network and Fox Television Studios, developing and overseeing such titles as “Bates Motel,” “Longmire” and “Burn Notice.”

Hasbro Names Gina Goetter New CFO; Tim Kilpin President, Toy, Licensing & Entertainment

Hasbro April 13 announced that Tim Kilpin is joining the company as president of toy, licensing & entertainment, effective April 24, and Gina Goetter will become the new chief financial officer, effective May 18, following the annual meeting of shareholders. Current CFO Deborah Thomas, who is retiring, will assist during the transition.

Gina Goetter

Goetter has more than 25 years of experience across finance and accounting, with a track record in driving strong financial and operational results. She joins Hasbro from Harley-Davidson, where she has served as CFO since 2020, responsible for all aspects of finance, accounting, treasury, tax, investor relations, and mergers and acquisitions.

Kilpin joins Hasbro from PlayMonster Group LLC where he most recently served as executive chairman since January and as CEO from January 2022. Kilpin previously headed Activision Blizzard’s consumer products business, was chief commercial officer at Mattel, and as EVP of franchise management at The Walt Disney Company, where he oversaw the creation and development of global cross-category franchise plans for Disney’s content and characters.

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“I am confident that their skills and qualifications will complement Hasbro’s existing leadership team as we execute against our Blueprint 2.0 strategy, which is focused on bringing our brands to life for consumers of all ages, maximizing the value of our IP, and creating long-term shareholder value,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement.

Tim Kilpin

Cocks is attempting to streamline the company’s entertainment content production and return to legacy game creation through the sale of the Canadian movie/TV production company Entertainment One (eOne) acquired in late 2019 for $4 billion under former CEO Brian Goldner, who died from prostate cancer in late 2021.

Hasbro Entertainment Unit Posts Q4 Income, Revenue Declines; Still Looking for eOne Buyer

Game and entertainment manufacturer/distributor Hasbro Feb. 16 reported entertainment revenue of $334 million in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 25, 2022). That was down about 12% from revenue of $379 million during the previous-year period.

The business unit, which includes movie and TV show production, saw content revenue decline to $310.6 million, from $345 million, with unit operating income dropping 17% to $25.1 million, from $32.7 million in the previous-year period.

Film and TV revenue declined 10% reflecting lower film revenue with fewer new releases in 2022 vs. 2021 and the timing of deliveries. TV revenue increased behind strong scripted TV deliveries.

For the fiscal year, film and TV production/license revenue declined 17% to $828.7 million, from $997.7 million in 2021.

Hasbro said it remains committed to selling Entertainment One (eOne), the Canadian movie/TV production company it acquired in late 2019 for $4 billion under former CEO Brian Goldner, who died from prostate cancer in late 2021.

New CEO Chris Cocks wants to streamline the company’s entertainment content production and return to legacy game creation as part of his Blueprint 2.0 operating strategy.

“As we announced previously, our fourth quarter and full-year 2022 results came in below our expectations,” Cocks said in a statement. “Our strategy is centered on what makes our brands great — play, supported by compelling storytelling and disciplined brand management.”

Retiring CFO Deborah Thomas said Hasbro remains focused on investing in higher return brands and projects, ending low-return initiatives, modernizing the organization and lowering its cost base.

“We forecasted a challenging 2022, and that came to fruition,” Thomas said.

Hasbro Looking to Sell eOne After Buying Media Company for $3.8 Billion in 2019

Hasbro Nov. 17 announced it is looking to unload Entertainment One (eOne), the Canadian-based television and movie studio/distributor it acquired in 2019 for $3.8 billion.

The decision comes as new CEO Chris Cocks (who replaced former CEO Brian Goldner after his passing from cancer) launched an internal strategic review process, which, along with the board of directors, authorized a sale process for the part of its eOne TV and film business not directly supporting Hasbro’s content strategy.

Hasbro reported any sale would not impact its capability to develop and produce animation, digital shorts, scripted TV and theatrical films for audiences related to core Hasbro IP.

What is included in any sale would be eOne’s 6,500-plus title content library; the non-Hasbro branded film and scripted TV business, which produces and finances content, including recent theatrical release The Woman King, Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” and ABC TV’s “The Rookie” franchise; Hasbro’s interest in Entertainment One Canada Limited’s Canadian film and TV business; and Hasbro’s unscripted division that includes the “Naked & Afraid” franchise, among others.

“The acquisition of eOne delivered fantastic talent, top tier production and deal making capability and beloved brands with strong toyetic potential including Peppa Pig,” Cocks said in a statement. “We will retain these terrific capabilities while exploring the best way to maximize the value of the eOne TV and film business for the benefit of our shareholders.”

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Indeed, any potential sale might mirror recent media asset deals conducted by AT&T, which spun off minority stakes with majority operational control of the former WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery) and DirecTV.

Meanwhile, Hasbro plans to significantly increase strategic investment in key brands, with a focus on gaming, direct to consumer, franchise brands and licensing. Those include “Peppa Pig,” “Transformers,” “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Magic: The Gathering,” “My Little Pony,” “Power Rangers,” “Play-Doh” and Hasbro’s portfolio of board games, including “Monopoly” and “Clue.”

The company plans to maintain development, production and financing capabilities to support its core brands across film, TV, animation and digital shorts. These projects include the development of new IP such as the recently announced “Kiya and the Kimoja Heroes” that is scheduled to premiere on Disney Junior and Disney+ in 2023.

The company has retained J.P. Morgan and Centerview Partners to assist with the sale process.

Lack of Movie, Streaming Releases Sink Hasbro’s Q3 Entertainment Segment Fiscal Results

Hasbro Oct. 18 reported third-quarter (ended Sept. 25) TV/Film/Entertainment segment revenue of $211.6 million, which was down 35% from revenue of $327.1 million during the previous-year period.

The game, toy and consumer products company said film and TV revenue declined 26% when comparing year-over-year fiscal results that included streaming releases of the Come From Away and Finch released on Apple TV+ in the prior period.

Family Brands revenue declined 78% primarily due to the delivery of the film My Little Pony: A New Generation to Netflix in the third quarter of 2021, which did not have a comparable film release this year.

As a result, the segment reported a pre-tax loss of $4.8 million, compared with a pre-tax profit of $44.1 million a year ago.

“As expected, the third quarter is our most difficult comparison and was further impacted by increasing price sensitivity for the average consumer,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement.

The company said it is merchandising seven new theatrical releases and more than 20 streaming and TV shows, starting with November’s Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the company’s own “Transformers: EarthSpark” animated scripted series produced by Entertainment One and streaming on Paramount Global’s Nickelodeon platform.

“To achieve our full-year outlook, we are projecting Hasbro’s fourth quarter revenue to be approximately flat versus last year on a constant currency basis,” Cocks said.

Hasbro Q2 Entertainment Revenue Declines Due to TV Series, Movie Delivery Schedules

Hasbro July 19 said second-quarter (ended June 26) entertainment business segment revenue decreased 18% to $185.2 million, from $226.7 million in the previous-year period. The segment’s revenue is largely based on Canadian-based movie and TV show producer/distributor Entertainment One, which Hasbro acquired for $3.8 billion in 2019.

In addition to the $5.4 million impact of foreign exchange and excluding $33.4 million of revenue from the music business that was sold at the beginning of the third quarter last year, entertainment segment revenue declined 4%.

Film & TV series revenue declined 10%, primarily related to the delivery of the first season of scripted TV series “Cruel Summer” to Hulu in the second quarter of 2021. Delivery of “The Rookie” season four (ABC, Hulu) partially offset this decline, as did growth in film revenue and unscripted TV revenue in the quarter.

Hasbro expects third-quarter (ending Sept. 28) TV series deliveries to include “Cruel Summer” season two, the first episodes for “The Rookie: Feds,” and episodes of “The Rookie” season five.

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Episode deliveries of “Fear The Walking Dead” (Hulu) and “Yellowjackets” (Showtime) are both expected to be more significant in the fourth quarter of 2022 versus the third quarter last year.

Hasbro plans to deliver 32 half-hours of scripted TV versus 28 in the previous third quarter. Third-quarter 2021 included movies Finch and Come From Away direct to streaming services, with the majority of revenue recorded in the quarter. Movies planned for third-quarter 2022 are slated for theatrical release, which will result in revenues being recognized over a longer period.

Family Brands revenue declined $3.3 million from the negative impact of foreign exchange as well as the timing of deliveries and lower YouTube revenue. Second-half 2022 deliveries are expected to include “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” to SVOD platforms in China as well as deliveries of “My Little Pony: Make Your Mark” and “Power Rangers Dino Fury” to Netflix.

Third-quarter 2021 included the delivery of the My Little Pony: A New Generation movie to Netflix. There is no comparable film expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2022. Film & TV and Family Brands revenue up 2% year-to-date, respectively.

Entertainment’s pre-tax operating profit increased more than 100% to $24.2 million, from $6.2 million last year. Newly acquired titles delivered better profit than the prior year, amortization declined on lower deliveries year-over-year and expenses were down.

“Excluding the 2021 results from the music business, for the full-year, on a constant currency basis, we continue to expect underlying [Entertainment] revenue growth in the mid-single digits and adjusted operating profit margin to outpace revenue growth and deliver margin expansion,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement.

Hasbro Ups Q1 Entertainment Revenue on Streaming License Deals

Hasbro’s acquisition of Entertainment One continues to bear fruit. The toymaker April 19 reported that first-quarter (ended March 27) entertainment segment revenue grew 22% to $227.5 million, excluding $31.8 million of revenue from the music business, which was sold at the beginning of the third quarter in 2021.

Film and TV revenue increased 14%, driven by deliveries of the television shows “The Rookie” for ABC, which was recently renewed for season five, and “Graymail” for Netflix, as well as the film Deepwater for Amazon and Hulu, and several unscripted shows.

Family brands revenue increased 23%, driven by a multi-title renewal with Netflix for “My Little Pony,” “Transformers” and “Power Rangers” franchises, as well as revenue from the delivery of “Transformers BotBots” to Netflix in the quarter.

Pre-tax operating profit declined 62% to $25.9 million, reflecting the sale of the music business as well as higher program amortization associated with higher deliveries as well as the mix of titles delivered.

Excluding the 2021 results from the music business, for the full year, Hasbro continues to expect underlying revenue growth in the mid-single digits and adjusted operating profit margin to outpace revenue growth and deliver margin expansion.

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“Hasbro has carefully assembled an unmatched portfolio of brand-building capabilities and valuable brands to drive profitable growth and long-term shareholder returns,” CEO Chris Cocks said in a statement. Cocks assumed the CEO position on Feb. 25, following the passing of Brian Goldner.

Hasbro Shareholder Seeks New Board Members, Cites eOne Acquisition as ‘Greatest Failure’

An activist shareholder has notified game maker/Hollywood producer Hasbro it is nominating five members to the company’s 10-member board of directors at the upcoming 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to spur changes at the corporate level. Lionsgate vice-chairman Michael Burns currently sits on the Hasbro board.

Alta Fox Capital Management, the beneficial owner of approximately 2.5% of the outstanding shares of Hasbro, Feb. 17 issued a 100-page presentation outlining steps it claims can return value to Hasbro shareholders.

Specifically, Alta Fox contends Hasbro’s “Brand Blueprint” strategy initiated by late CEO Brian Goldner, who died last year following a seven-year battle against prostate cancer, has been ineffective and spurred “consistent misallocation” of capital resources.

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The shareholder cites Hasbro’s $4.6 billion acquisition of Hollywood producer/distributor Entertainment One (eOne) in 2019 as both a “defining moment” and “greatest failure” for the game maker that has over the years forged lucrative studio (Paramount) movie deals and episodic content (Netflix) license deals around brands such as Transformers and G.I. Joe and My Little Pony.

“This deal diluted Hasbro’s shareholders, added a substantial amount of debt to the balance sheet, complicated the investor narrative and destroyed significant value,” Alta Fox said in a statement.

The investor claims Hasbro’s shares declined 9% the day of the deal announcement and remain dramatically lower than pre-acquisition levels today. At the same time, Alta Fox says Hasbro’s “significant underperformance” over the past five years nonetheless enriched senior executives with around $180 million in compensation.

“Hasbro’s total annual board compensation exceeds that paid to the board of directors of Apple and many other world-class companies of greater scale and with superior results,” read the statement.

In addition to new board members, Alta Fox says Hasbro should spin off its “Wizards of the Coast” (WOTC) game segment (brands include “Magic: The Gathering” and “Dungeons & Dragons”), which the investor claims is a “hidden gem” with a “completely different” growth, margin and valuation profile than the consumer products and entertainment segments.

WOTC upped its revenue 42% in 2021 to nearly $1.29 billion, according to Hasbro. Alta Fox believes the brand could be worth $100 per share when spun off as a standalone publicly traded property. Hasbro shares are currently trading at around $100 per share.

“We anticipate it would be one of the most exciting and valuable specialty gaming businesses in the world, particularly if it were to refocus investment on core intellectual property and eliminate loss-driving, speculative bets on non-core franchises,” Alta Fox wrote.

Hasbro, in a statement, said it received Alta Fox’s letter and said its board and management team — led by new CEO and former WOTC president Chris Cocks — have held discussions with Alta Fox to better understand its views on the game maker’s strategy.

Hasbro said that while it feels it has a “highly qualified, independent, experienced and engaged board,” it would evaluate the notice of nominations, and the nominees, as it would submissions made by other shareholders.

Hasbro Posts 33% Increase in Fiscal 2021 Movie/TV Show Revenue

Hasbro’s re-emergence into movie and television show co-productions continues to positively impact the game manufacturer’s fiscal 2021 pandemic bottom line. The company Feb. 7 reported that fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2021) entertainment segment revenue increased 61% to $345.3 million from $214.3 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, entertainment revenue increased 24% to $998 million from $805 million in 2020.

In the quarter, the entertainment segment narrowed its operating loss 50% to $17.5 million, from $35 million in the previous-year period. For the year, entertainment narrowed its operating loss 35% to $91.8 million, from $141 million in 2020 on revenue of $1.15 billion — the latter up 27% from revenue of $909 million in 2020.

Through its ownership of Entertainment One (eOne) and partnerships with Hollywood studios and digital distributors (i.e., Netflix, Showtime Anytime, etc.), Hasbro delivered 229 half hours of scripted television content; 695 half hours of unscripted television content; acquired 236 half hours of third-party produced television content; produced seven feature films; and completed production on six series of animated content.

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Specifically, television revenue grew with deliveries of “Yellowjackets,” “Cruel Summer,” “Graymail” and “The Rookie,” as well as sales of other scripted and unscripted programs. New film releases and deliveries are improving, and revenues grew led by Clifford the Big Red Dog, Come From Away and Finch. The successful Netflix release of My Little Pony: A New Generation supported Hasbro’s Family Brands revenue growth in the year, along with content sales for Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, and higher YouTube advertising revenue.

Much of Hasbro’s move into movie and TV show production is due to the late CEO Brian Goldner, who passed away last October after a long battle with cancer. Chris Cocks is set to replace interim CEO Rich Stoddart on Feb. 25.

“Throughout 2021, and finishing with focused execution in the fourth quarter, the Hasbro team did an excellent job in unprecedented circumstances,” chief financial officer Deborah Thomas said in a statement.

Shari Redstone, Bob Bakish Credit Late Hasbro CEO for Viacom, CBS Merger, ‘Transformers’ Movies Success

Following the death of Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, Shari Redstone, non-executive chair of the ViacomCBS board of directors, late Tuesday hailed Goldner for his efforts in helping her re-unite Viacom and CBS Corp. in 2019.

Goldner, who died Oct. 12 at the age of 58 following a seven-year battle with cancer, had served on the ViacomCBS board. He was instrumental in transforming toy properties “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” into movie franchises

Brian Goldner

Redstone said Goldner’s “guidance and leadership” not only contributed to the ViacomCBS merger, but also in the execution of a “vision that has significantly shaped the company and will take us well into the future.”

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“While I will always be grateful for the incredible contributions Brian made to this company, what we will all miss the most is his wisdom, his kindness, his commitment, and his friendship,” Redstone said in a statement. “He will always hold a special place in our hearts and he will be forever missed.”

Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS, said Goldner not only transformed Hasbro from its traditional roots in toys and games into a multi-platform content creator, as a member of the ViacomCBS board, he was an “essential voice” guiding the evolution movies, toys and consumer goods, in addition to championing “our commitment to sustainability.”

Across seven movies, the “Transformers” franchise has generated $5.8 billion at the global box office, in addition to hundreds of millions more in home entertainment and consumer products revenue.

“[Goldner’s] passion for delighting consumers also shone through in his long-time partnership with Paramount Pictures that helped build Transformers into an iconic film franchise,” Bakish said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Brian’s family and to the entire Hasbro community during this difficult time.”