This week we learned that Hasbro has taken yet another step away from being in the traditional toy and game business and towards being a provider of play and entertainment. In a press release dated July 14, 2015, the company announced: “…the signing of a letter of intent to sell Hasbro’s manufacturing locations in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Waterford, Ireland to the Cartamundi Group.”
The release then went on to say:
The divestiture is in line with Hasbro’s mission of Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences and building larger more global brands. Hasbro will continue to invest resources in areas that will maximize the value of the company’s brands globally, including in design, development, storytelling, sales and marketing. The sale of these facilities will have no impact to Hasbro’s commitment to the Games category and the company will continue to invest in gaming.
Here is what I think:
- Hasbro sees that it must invest in being fast and nimble to keep up with rapid change in how play is consumed. Traditional manufacturing is slow.
- Hasbro has embraced play in all of its formats and that means focusing on providing the content needed for not just board games and toys but for video games, apps, movies, television shows and more. Manufacturing is too narrow an activity for a multi-platform company.
- Hasbro fully understands what technology did to disrupt the music industry, photography, communications and so much more. With 3D Printing, 3D scanning as well as the desire consumers have for personalization; traditional manufacturing is batter up for disruptive change. Hasbro doesn’t want to be holding on to manufacturing facilities if that business gets disrupted.
- Hasbro wants to aim more on owning and possibly purchasing more brands and intellectual property. The news last year that Hasbro was considering buying DreamWorks was an indication, at least to me, that it is better to own than rent content. Manufacturing is no where to be found on that target.
The decision will be a boon to Cartamundi which will continue to manufacture Hasbro games. This is also a boon to Hasbro Hasbro factory workers who will stay on as “Cartamundi will continue to employ all regular manufacturing and distribution employees located in East Longmeadow and Waterford on comparable terms.” Good for you Hasbro.
One final note, something interesting to ponder is this: Is Hasbro actually leaving the toy industry or is it shaping the toy industry as it will exist in the 21st century? I would love to know what you think.