Kids wanted toys based on their favorite movies and TV shows, be it “Star Wars”, “My Little Pony” or “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.
These remain in demand – show interest in so-called Baby Yoda character from the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” or anything from “Frozen II” – but more recently kids have also been looking. toys and other merchandise based on their favorite YouTube stars and channels. This has caused manufacturers and retailers to work with new types of businesses on toys and toys for sale.
Jazwares LLC, which makes toys and other consumer products based on licensed properties such as “Fortnite” and “Peppa Pig,” will release merchandise based on three YouTube properties in 2020: Blippi, an early childhood education character and entertainment with more than 21 million subscribers on the video platform; the toy unboxing and reviews chain CKN Toys, which has 14.7 million subscribers; and Cocomelon, a channel known for its nursery rhymes, which has 74 million subscribers.
For Blippi, Jazwares has created a line of items that includes a plush toy “My Buddy Blippi” featuring 15 character sounds and phrases, toy vehicles and “surprise boxes” designed to help children count or learn. the colors by putting numbered accessories or colored boxes inside.
Other YouTube children’s programmers who have entered into new toy licensing deals include Moonbug Entertainment Ltd. and YouTube stars Collins and Devan Key.
The deals come as the industry gathers for Toy Fair New York, one of its biggest trade shows, which runs through Tuesday.
The toy industry’s growing interest in online talent is based on the fact that many children will be watching videos on YouTube, said Laura Zebersky, commercial director of Jazwares.
“The world has changed and you will see properties ranging from ‘Fortnite’ to influencers on YouTube who lead and compete with movies and TV shows on a daily basis,” she said.
Stars on YouTube, a unit of Alphabet Inc.
Google is also proving to be able to get fans to go beyond watching videos and buying items, or getting their parents to do so.
Revenue for the Blippi brand, excluding YouTube advertising revenue, is expected to reach $ 30 million in 2020, according to people familiar with the matter. This covers toys, clothing, books, and other sources of income outside of YouTube advertising.
Prior to the deal with Jazwares, Stevin John, the creator and performer of Blippi, was already selling merchandise directly through his website, a company that generated annual revenues of less than seven figures, he said.
“A lot of people in the toy industry are watching YouTube brands to see if they’re going to be the new thing,” Mr. John said. “It was good for me to have already decided to do merch on Blippi.com. I was able to show that there are people who buy these things.
Based on early sales, Blippi is on track to be the biggest new preschool Jazwares launch of the year, the company said, though it declined to provide exact numbers.
Jazwares Blippi items include action figures, plush toys, and vehicles priced from $ 3.99 to $ 19.99. The articles were published via Walmart Inc.
and Amazon.com Inc.
in the US in early January, as well as through other UK retailers. A Walmart spokeswoman said Blippi toys were popular, but declined to provide sales figures. A test of Blippi products on Amazon late last year sold thousands of units in a matter of days, Ms Zebersky said.
The North Star for many in the toy industry is Ryan Kaji, the 8-year-old artist at the center of the “Ryan’s World” YouTube channel, which has more than 24 million subscribers. Retail sales of Ryan-branded products hit $ 200 million in 2019, according to pocket.watch, a studio that represents Ryan. The channel also gave rise to a TV series with ViacomCBS Inc.
“Three years ago, we might not even have considered [YouTube stars]”said Anne Marie Kehoe, vice president of toys at Walmart.” Now, based on Ryan’s success and understanding what kids come for, we’re committed to saving space. [Blippi and other YouTube-based toys] in shops.
For YouTube stars, toys and other consumer products provide an opportunity to earn money that goes beyond advertising.
Top YouTube channels are closing toy and merchandising deals on middle terms for the industry, according to a person familiar with the deals.
Advances on toys and merchandising agreements can range from $ 50,000 to $ 1 million, with guarantees ranging from $ 250,000 to $ 3 million, the person said. Royalties are typically 10-20% of sales, this person said.
The toy industry itself saw a year of decline in 2019, with US toy retail sales reaching $ 20.9 billion, down from $ 21.8 billion in 2018, according to market research firm NPD Group.
Part of the 4% drop can be attributed to the length of last year’s holiday shopping season, which was six days shorter between Thanksgiving and Christmas, said Jackie Breyer, publisher of The Publishing Group. Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider.
Other factors include the closure of Toys “R” Us Inc .: The toy retail giant filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and closed its stores the following year.
The closure of the business affected toy sales, Ms Breyer said. “Not all sales have completely shifted to other retailers,” she said.
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