Joan Grasso | Source: Moonbug Entertainment/The Toy Book

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.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.