Transformers -Hasbro Pays US$7 Million to Reacquire Distro Rights to Transformers, G.I. Joe & Others!
However, neither company's press releases are clear on several vital points...
Posted by David Lambert
Two weeks ago we posted a story talking about how Hasbro is preparing a Fall 2008 release of a Toy/DVD combo set: an "Optimus Prime 25th Anniversary Pack" that would include a replica of the original version of the Optimus toy, an Autobot-shaped "shield" to generate sound effects and quotes from the character, a replica of the original comic book and - most significantly for us - a DVD of the original Transformers 3-part pilot mini-series, "More Than Meets The Eye."
In that story, we talked about how long it has been since those episodes saw a generally-available DVD release. Indeed, the property - along with other classic 80s-produced "Sunbow" titles such as G.I. Joe, Jem and the Holograms and others - have been in limbo since Rhino's license expired in 2005, and then later new licensee SonyWonder closed their doors in early 2007, just over a year ago.
This morning Hasbro issued a press release stating that they had "reacquired the worldwide distribution rights to the Sunbow Library of Hasbro Classics" from an entity named TV-Loonland, a brand management company based primarily in European cities such as Munich, London and Paris. TV-Loonland cites offices in Miami, Florida though, and notes at their website that they "founded Sunbow Entertainment Inc. following the acquisition of Sunbow Productions and the entire TV production and distribution business activities of Sony Wonder." Sunbow Entertainment's offices have been on Broadway in New York, NY.
Both TV-Loonland and Hasbro have issued press releases today about this transaction. TV-Loonland's notice, posted first below, states that they will receive $7 Million US Dollars in this transaction, and Hasbro's statement notes that they in turn get "ownership of nearly 1,000 episodes of classic programming." Properties named on both include Transformers, G.I. Joe and My Little Pony.
However, they noticeably omit mentioning other Sunbow titles such as the never-released-on-DVD Visionaries and InHumanoids, and the never-completed-by-Rhino (greatly upsetting fans) Jem and the Holograms series.
Finally, it's worth pointing out that the mention of "worldwide distribution rights" suggest the possibility of North American DVDs, but that is by no means stated outright by either press release. We phoned over to both Hasbro and Sunbow Entertainment multiple times this afternoon trying to clarify this point, but our calls have not been immediately returned. We'll try to get clear on this, and on whether fans of Jem and the others have reason to get their hopes up. Stay tuned for further updates! In the meantime, here are the press releases from both companies involved in this deal:
TV-Loonland AG sells part of its film library to Hasbro Inc.
Munich/London, 14th May 2008 - TV-Loonland AG is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Hasbro, Inc. to sell all its rights in the "Hasbro Classics Library." Under the agreement, Hasbro. Inc. will pay a purchase price of $7 million (U.S. dollars) to TV-Loonland AG.
The "Hasbro Classics Library" includes renowned titles such as TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY and G.I. JOE. These programs were originally acquired by the TV-Loonland AG from Sony BMG back in December 2000.
Simon Flamank, CEO of TV-Loonland AG, commented, "We are delighted to have concluded this agreement with our friends at Hasbro. Given the life cycle of any property and also Hasbro's future plans for the distribution and exploitation of those properties, this was a deal that perfectly fitted both parties' commercial objectives."
"We have enjoyed working closely with Hasbro and all of their teams over the course of the last two years, and we look forward to continuing those relationships in the future."
"For TV-Loonland AG, this deal not only allows us to repay the greater majority of all of our outstanding debt, it also provides us with the platform from which to take further commercial decisions regarding the future direction of the group and the new properties that we have been developing."
Brian Goldner, Hasbro's Chief Operating Officer, commented, "As we deliver new immersive entertainment experiences to audiences worldwide, it was extremely important that we had the rights to fully control the usage of our intellectual properties. Entertainment is becoming increasingly important in helping us to strengthen and build our brands globally, and this will enable us to engage consumers in new and exciting ways."
Finally, Simon Flamank added: "We also hope to be in a position very shortly to report further news on the sale process for our Metrodome subsidiary to our shareholders. The remaining operative business and its current attractive properties such as LITTLE PRINCESS, THE OWL, RAYMOND, PENELOPE and PAT & STAN will now benefit from our Hasbro transaction as we look to increase the value of the company again."
TV-Loonland is a brand management company primarily in the children's and youth market focusing on high-quality content which it develops and produces in house as well as coproduces with third party producers and partners. With offices in key locations throughout Europe (Paris, Munich and London) and in the USA (Miami), TV-Loonland is ideally positioned to identify, produce and market top quality brands across all media including TV, Home Entertainment, Licensing & Merchandising as well as digital media. TV-Loonland's most recent successes include brands such as LITTLE PRINCESS, THE OWL and PETTSON AND FINDUS.
Hasbro is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
Hasbro Doubles Its Programming Portfolio with Sunbow Library Acquisition
PAWTUCKET, R.I., May 14th 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) - Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) today announced that it has reacquired the worldwide distribution rights to the Sunbow Library of Hasbro Classics programming from TV-Loonland, which held the rights to license the content.
Under the terms of the deal, Hasbro has regained ownership of nearly 1,000 episodes of classic programming featuring some of the Company's most established and well regarded brands, including G.I. JOE, TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY and LITTLEST PET SHOP, as well as timeless properties like MR. POTATO HEAD and CONNECT FOUR. This acquisition increases Hasbro's content library to nearly 2,000 episodes of programming covering over 30 brands.
"As we deliver new immersive entertainment experiences to audiences worldwide, it was extremely important that we had the rights to fully control the usage of our intellectual properties," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's Chief Operating Officer. "Entertainment is becoming increasingly important in helping us to strengthen and build our brands globally, and this will enable us to engage consumers in new and exciting ways."
"We are very pleased with this deal, which is mutually beneficial for both Hasbro and TV-Loonland," said Simon Flamank, CEO of TV-Loonland. "It allows us to repay the majority of our outstanding debt and invest in new strategic opportunities, while providing Hasbro with the ability to bring its world-class brands to diverse audiences in new and entertaining ways."
TV-Loonland is a brand management company primarily in the children's and youth market focusing on high-quality content which it develops and produces in house as well as co-produces with third party producers and partners. With offices in key locations throughout Europe (Paris, Munich and London) and in the USA (Miami), TV-Loonland is ideally positioned to identify, produce and market top quality brands across all media including TV, Home Entertainment, Licensing & Merchandising as well as digital media.