There’s been a lot of speculation over the fate of the annual Joe Con after it was revealed that Hasbro was ending its relationship with Fun Publications, the company that licensed the annual Botcon (Transformers) and Joe Con (G.I. Joe ) events. Many fans wondered if there would even continue to be annual Hasbro-authorized events. Over the past weekend, Hasbro filed a trademark with the US Patent Office that might shed some light on the future of these brand events.
Thanks to the intrepid newshounds over at TFwiki, it was revealed that Hasbro officially filed for the trademark on “HASCON”. The purpose of this trademark, according to the trademark office filing is:
Organizing and conducting conventions, exhibitions, fan clubs and gatherings for entertainment purposes and in the fields of toys, animation, comic books, fantasy, gaming, popular culture, science fiction, television and film.
It’s not a lot of information but it shows that Hasbro is at least intending to move forward in some fashion with a continuation of conventions. What’s more interesting, at least to this Joe fan, is that this appears to be the only trademark filed. There’s nothing for any derivation of “Joe Con”, “Bot Con” or even “Pony Con”. (Say what you will– but the Pony fandom is HUGE.)
With only one seemingly comprehensive trademark filed is Hasbro testing the waters at having events that showcase all of their brands in one place? Or is this merely a preemptive measure designed to secure a copyright before anyone else files for it? Right now, we have very little information to go on. However, it’s also way too soon to jump to any detailed conclusions. Joe Con 2016 is scheduled for the end of June and I doubt any formal announcement would be made before that even has concluded.
What do you think of this development? Would you be in favor of more unified Hasbro brand events? Would you rather have your conventions separated by product line? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
There’s only one small detail about this new shared universe— most of these properties have very little relation to each other. Even worse, aside from G.I. Joe, most of these have been absent from toy shelves and popular culture since at least 1990. Outside of some die-hard fan circles, the general public is generally now completely unfamiliar with most of these brands, as evidenced by this installment of Nerdist News hosted by Jessica Chobot:
As reported yesterday by Wired.com, Hasbro Inc announced yesterday that they were partnering with video sharing site Vimeo to be the exclusive online host for many of the toy-maker’s animated series. Currently available are Transformers (Generation 1) and Jem & the Holograms with other series including G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and My Little Pony to follow later this year.
Per the announcement, episodes of the Hasbro series will be $.99 to rent for 24 hours or $1.99 to purchase individually. Entire series may be purchased for $40.00.
Is this a good move for the Pawtucket-based Hasbro, Inc? By the numbers, it means that Hasbro’s animated properties will be delivered to a significantly smaller audience. As of Q1 2015, subscription-based Netflix had an audience of just over 60 million global subscribers. As of December 2013, Vimeo was sitting at 22 million subscribers. It’s not a strict apples-to-apples comparison as far as the dates go but it indicates that Vimeo doesn’t quite have the reach that content posted on Netflix does.
There’s also the issue of the the pricing model. Increasingly, more and more digital content has gone “pay-to-play” requiring viewers to either rent or purchase episodes on a platform-to-platform basis. Vimeo follows that model meaning that fans will have to pay around $40 to own a full season of their favorite nostalgic series. This puts it on par with the cost of owning the content on DVD and Blu-Ray from retailers such as Amazon.com but it leaves casual fans a bit out-of-the-loop. Rather than being able to randomly browse through a few episodes of a series before getting hooked, viewers will be have to pay to rent or view episodes on an series-by-series basis. This could limit the Hasbro content’s overall reach when it comes to new viewers rather than diehard fans who most likely already own the content in tangible form anyway.
What do you think? Is the move to Vimeo better for Hasbro? Will is help grow the audiences for their animated properties? Will you be making the jump to the new video-sharing service in order to follow the adventures of your favorite characters? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
The Hasbro panel was yesterday and Derryl DePriest and Mark Weber revealed a whole new slate of products that will be exclusive to both Toys R Us and BigBadToyStore.com. The line is essentially a continuation of the 50th anniversary series and will be available on August 1, 2015. Eagle-eyed fans will recognize some of these figures from previous concept case displays.
Croc Master & Blowtorch
the two announced-but-not-released figures at last
The Hasbro panel was yesterday at Joe Con 2015 and Derryl DePriest and Mark Weber revealed a whole new slate of products that will be exclusive to both Toys R Us and BigBadToyStore.com. The line is essentially a continuation of the 50th anniversary series and will be available on August 1, 2015. As with previous offerings, it’s a mix of existing parts and pieces that have only been glimpsed in concept cases of previous shows.
Chase for the MASS Device
Cobra Commander, Cobra CLAWS Trooper, Duke
revisits figures from the elusive final 25th Anniversary DVD pack
Meet Mark Weber, the new brand manager for G.I. Joe.
It’s a new year and Mark Weber is the new brand manager of G.I. Joe!
The latest G.I. Joe Collector’s Club newsletter is hitting mailboxes now and inside is a short one-page interview with the newest G.I. Joe brand manager. Eagle-eyed fans will recall the rumors in late 2013/early 2014 that the then-current Joe team at Hasbro had been reassigned to other projects, leaving the brand in a stage of limbo. Speculation was rampant as to what the future would hold for the brand that helped put Hasbro on the map as a leader in boys toys since 1964. Now, it seems that our favorite brand might be getting back on track.
Weber, head of the Transformers brand since February 2012, is no stranger to the toy industry with over seven years experience at Todd McFarlane Productions. However, for the past nearly three years he’s overseen the development of Construct-bots and Transformers Generations.
The newsletter should be arriving any day now to Collector’s Club members but this quote was reprinted over at HISSTank.com which first broke the story:
“For the most part, our biggest plans will be centered around future entertainment – the kind of stuff I can’t talk about just yet. We are finalizing our 2015 plans and expect to deliver a lineup constructively similar to 2014 – with popular characters and vehicles, as well as a few NEW Surprises. If things go as planned, we will have an update to reveal at JoeCon in Springfield.”
“We want to have stronger, more consistent dialogue with the collectors and fans. We want collectors to have NEW vehicles and playsets to energize the brand to a new generation of kids and a fantastic new feature film that is faithful to the soul of the brand (action, fun, weapons, vehicles). Two things I want to prioritize right away – I want to enable and simplify army building for Collectors, and I want the file cards to be brilliant for our characters.”
The G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary has received a fair amount of coverage at Toy Fair 2014 by the mainstream media. Derryl DePriest, Vice President of Boys Marketing for Hasbro and life-long G.I. Joe fan, sits down with Stephanie Ruhle of Bloomberg Television as part of their “Market Makers” series.
(If the embedded video is not working you may view the original interview HERE.)
I have to say that Derryl handled himself well in the face of some pretty direct and pointed questions. Yes, the “military” question came up but so did some interesting insights in terms of innovation going forward. (3D printing? YES!) So did the question of whether or not G.I. Joe is a good role model today. While the interviewer tries to take things in a political direction multiple times, Derryl keeps the focus on the strengths of the G.I. Joe brand. and touches on the brand’s origins, the transition to the Adventure Team, and the focus on Kre-O as a source of innovation.
It’s always a pleasure to listen to Derryl discuss G.I. Joe. His personal passion for and commitment to the brand is obvious in every word. It’s good to know that our favorite “Man of Action” has such an able ambassador!
Looking for more news from Toy Fair 2014? Check out this in depth walk-through of Hasbro’s showroom courtesy of good friend of JBL The Breaux Show!
Check out this nearly two hour long recap from this Sunday’s live radio show in which intrepid reporter Mike Breaux walks his audience through the entire Hasbro presentation and tour of all of the product lines shown. Along with over 250 images he provides insights from the showroom including how the Kre-O Firebat will interact with the Terrordrome playset.
Since this Toy Fair 2014 video might be a bit long for a lunch break, here are some time marks to jump to if you just want to watch certain subjects:
9:30 – My Little Pony
16:45 – Star Wars
35:30 – Marvel (including Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Avengers Infinite, etc)
When it comes to G.I. Joe and Toy Fair 2014, it was the Kre-O line that truly stood out at yesterday’s Hasbro Brand Entertainment Event in NYC. The only Joe product shown “on site”, the tiny building block line took everyone by surprise with the sheer diversity of the line showcased. From 24 new individual figures to some killer boxed sets, Hasbro proved their commitment to Kre-O with a Toys R Us exclusive G.I. Joe line that is sure to please many fans.
I’ve recapped the Kre-O information that was posted yesterday and have also added in the “on site” images provided by Mike Breaux of The Breaux Show who was gracious enough to cover the event for JBL. Now, how do I get my hands on that Gung-Ho again?
Kre-O individual figures (Available March 2014):
Air Adventurer (classic Adventure Team)
Atomic Man (aka Mike Power – classic Adventure Team)
Beginning in March, exciting new KRE-O building sets will let kids and collectors alike build vehicles and environments to play out the G.I. JOE vs. COBRA fantasy. Collectible blind-bagged KREONS of popular G.I. JOE characters will also hit shelves, including characters from both the heroic G.I. JOE team like LADY JAYE and FOOTLOOSE, as well as the villainous COBRA organization like TOMAX and SCRAP IRON. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, Hasbro and Toys“R”Us are bringing one of the most popular G.I. JOE vs. COBRA playsets from the 1980s back in KRE-O form with the KRE-O G.I. JOE TERROR DROME Building Set. This iconic set features over 850 pieces and will be available in the fall.