It was 30 years ago today that an unlikely source* first pointed out to me that the words “edit” and “tide” represent the same thing: change.
This year is a prime example of that as the tides are turning when it comes to the global toy industry calendar, particularly here in the U.S. where some major edits have taken place. The changes have very much shaped the next issue of The Toy Book — aka The BIG Toy Book — which lands on Feb. 28. If you’re not already a subscriber, this is the perfect issue to begin with as it’s packed with exclusive content, our biggest State of the Industry roundtable ever, and hundreds of new toys and games. Click here to subscribe.
A few weeks back, I got together with a few friends that you likely know — Richard Gottlieb of Global Toy Experts, The Toy Guy Chris Byrne, and Toy World UK Publisher John Baulch — to discuss the changes in the industry along with predictions for 2023 while recapping 2022 in our annual roundtable discussion on “The Playground” Podcast. If you haven’t heard it yet, please give it a listen and let us know what you think.
The Hunt for Newess
Everyone that I’ve spoken to says that London Toy Fair was an incredible success last week. While some lines were kept under wraps, there was a lot of buzz for new products, including Funko’s Bitty Pops! line, LEGO’s latest Star Wars sets, and Playmobil’s latest ’80s throwback, Magnum P.I.
This week, Spielwarenmesse returns as the epic international trade fair kicks off in Nuremberg, Germany. For the first time, Adventure Media & Events Vice President and Group Publisher Jackie Breyer is on the ground in Germany representing The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider. If you’re exhibiting at Spielwarenmesse and would like Jackie to stop by, be sure to shoot her an email: email@example.com.
Speaking of newness, The Toy Book exclusively revealed JAKKS Pacific’s new collectible plush line, Ami Amis, this morning. Check it out right here.
Earnings Season Preview
Last week, The NPD Group made it official: The U.S. toy industry was essentially flat last year. That’s great news when compared to the massive growth in 2020 and 2021, but those gains were never going to be sustainable. Now, we’re on the cusp of the impact as earnings season begins.
Wall Street is an unforgiving place for the publicly traded toy companies and I believe that we will see some scuffles in the weeks ahead. Hasbro issued preliminary earnings last week that, well, weren’t good. The news arrived alongside word that the company will cut 1,000 employees or around 15% of its global workforce. Personally, I don’t agree with the layoffs (or the vast majority of layoffs ripping through the tech and retail sectors right now), as they probably could’ve been avoided. I sincerely hope that all of those affected land somewhere great very quickly.
In general, companies have a bad habit of punishing the wrong people when things turn sour, and those that answer to shareholders tend to be at the top of the stack. In Hasbro’s case, let’s all hope that this is a minor bump in the road as the legendary company should be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. With some big entertainment tie-ins on the horizon, including Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the potential for a great year could be close at hand.
One highlight to kick off the week: Schleich had a fantastic year in North America and around the world.
Be sure to stay on the #pulseofplay and check out toybook.com early and often. We’ll keep you posted on the toy stories that matter most!
Check out the previous From the Editor columns right here.
*The source was Dave Mustaine, frontman of the band Megadeth in an interview I conducted on Jan. 30, 1993.