October 15, 2012 at 11:15 am by Ted Mininni
Industry insiders know that the lines have been blurring for a while between the toy and entertainment business. The leading toy companies have been in the entertainment business for some time. Their interactive web sites offering games and fun stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Hasbro’s success in turning its top brands, like Transformers and G.I. Joe, into major entertainment entities is becoming legendary.
Entertainment companies’ leading brands, in turn, have morphed into consumer product behemoths. Disney may have been first to license Mickey Mouse, but their more recent properties have skyrocketed the company to even greater fame and fortune. Cars, Disney Princess and Toy Story led the way. And we all know about the dazzling success of entertainment companies like Lucasfilm and Nickelodeon, as well.
Now Toys R Us is moving into the entertainment sphere. When you think about it, you can see that this move might make sense. First, the retailer is offering a new digital entertainment service called Toys R Us Movies. 4,000 titles of family-friendly fare will be available for rent or purchase. The range of offerings will appeal to the youngest members of the family: from toddlers and tweens to teens and their parents.
In conjunction with this roll-out, Toys R Us is launching its own branded tablet: the 7” Tabeo. Apps will allow downloads to all tablets, smart phones and Blu-ray players. Educational and entertainment apps will be available. Can another tablet succeed? According to media reports, Toys R Us has really concentrated on offering quality streaming for its Tabeo, so it’ll likely do well. And it goes without saying that there will be parental controls on the Tabeo; and kids under the age of 18 won’t be able to rent or buy movies.
In a quote from an Internet Retailer article on the subject, a Toys R Us spokeswoman stated: “Down the road, we also have great opportunities for cross-promotion between Toys ‘R’ Us Movies and our robust e-commerce site, network of stores and print and online marketing vehicles.” Just a peek into the mindset and future plans of the toy retailer.
Toys R Us is seeing strong sales in its stores as well as its web site. Yet, they like all retailers are grappling with remaining relevant to fast-changing, super-connected consumers, especially kids. And this just might be a way to do it. It makes me wonder what else is waiting in the wings.
Please chime in. All points of view are welcome.
Categories:Branding, Entertainment, Marketing to Kids, Marketing Thought Leadership