Following the recent news that Moonbug Entertainment Ltd. will be purchased by a new, currently unnamed media company — led by former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs and backed by investment capital from Blackstone — the company behind Blippi and CoComelon is plotting its next push into consumer products.
Moonbug hired Joan Grasso to serve as its head of consumer products in North America. In her new role, Grasso will lead commercialization efforts for all Moonbug brands throughout the U.S. and Canada through licensing, merchandising sales, and management. Grasso joins the company from Hasbro where she served as vice president of licensed consumer products for North America, growing programs for more than 25 brands, including Transformers, My Little Pony, Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, and Monopoly. She previously served as senior vice president of licensing at Entertainment One (eOne), which was acquired by Hasbro in 2019.
“With its digital-first approach, Moonbug has developed an impressive strategy by establishing successful licensing and merchandising programs across each IP,” Grasso says. “Due to the impressive amount of content, I believe there are countless and creative ways to grow and expand our current licensing and merchandising initiatives.”
At Moonbug, Grasso will report to Simon Philips, managing director of global consumer products.
“Consumer products is a core tenant of Moonbug’s success, and it’s key to our future growth as we seek to engage consumers through more innovative and creative products,” Philips says.“Having established and grown eOne’s consumer products business in the U.S. successfully, Joan was the natural choice to help us evolve our merchandise offering across North America. Joan is a visionary leader and a growth driver who will continue to elevate the foundation that we already have in place.”
Prior to her tenure at eOne and Hasbro, Grasso held executive roles managing toy and game licensing for companies, including Chorion Silverlining, American Greetings Properties, and Nickelodeon.
Moonbug has been on a roll this year with a constant raft of new partnerships, licensing and distribution deals, and content acquisitions. This week, the company entered into an agreement with Tiny Pop to broadcast ARPO, Blippi, and My Magic Pet Morphle on linear channels in the UK. Other recent moves include a partnership with WowWee to develop toys based on ARPO: Robot Babysitter; costume deals with Jakks Pacific’s Disguise for CoComelon and Blippi; and an extended distribution deal with WarnerMedia Latin America.