Author Topic: Talkin' about the toy business...  (Read 2783 times)

Offline Jimmy

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Re: New Carded Pics, FC#4, Vida, Kenobi, Elan, Padme, Bail and Dignitary
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2003, 12:57 AM »
Feel free to move the above as you wish...
Gotta love me or leave me alone....

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Offline JediMAC

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Re: New Carded Pics, FC#4, Vida, Kenobi, Elan, Padme, Bail and Dignitary
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2003, 01:05 AM »
Feel free to move the above as you wish...

Will do!  The whole thing might be getting moved "a little further away" pretty soon though...   ;)

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Offline Darby

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Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2003, 01:08 AM »
Jesse certainly doesn't need anyone to defend him, but I think it's unfair to ask him 'why he collects SW.'  His posts (including the ones above) are among the most thoughtful and reasoned in the SW collecting community, and a big reason why I enjoy JD more the RS nowadays.  


Offline Jesse James

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Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2003, 01:47 AM »
For Jimmy:

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That's the whole morale of it all Jesse in a nutshell (and my point in the first place)... Life itself is far from perfect. I think that to trivialize something as minute as toys is just well...

The thing is Jimmy, morales to stories means that you are preaching, and preaching isn't something anyone asked for.  Sure life is not perfect...  I live it every day, but I also realize that this is just something to talk about.  It's nothing that makes me angry or ruins my day.

My posts maybe don't make you happy, and you take them too seriously, but to me I'm just talking toys and enjoying the hobby my own way.  I'm not asking for argument or anything, just fun talking and banter with the people I choose to associate with now that I'm cutting my time down at other forums and working with the people I get along with best, and enjoying the members of our forums who are a tight bunch and who enjoy the conversation.

Rebelscum was a place that had these kinds of "ties" that didn't allow opinions to go forth without criticism, and that's one reason why I don't frequent their saga topics much anymore.  

I believe you and I had this discussion before, did we not?  And didn't I make it abundantly clear that chastising people for NOT liking things isn't going to be tolerated around here?  I'm a lenient person but that's wearing off quickly.  The only two times I've had to bring this up have been with you, and I hope it's not necessary again.

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I think I did mention that I do respect people's opinions... though people's constant negativity is a whole other thing... Again it's your choice and opinion... and it's also mine to comment on them.

You know how us "easily riled up" folk can get...
 

Jimmy, you can MENTION how much you respect other's opinions around here all you want, but it doesn't mean you actually do.  Any contradiction to you is met with replies of a less than friendly nature.  You don't like to be countered, and you don't like to be disagreed with.  That's glaringly apparant.

And you're wrong, it's not your right to comment on how  negative someone is...  It's your right to hang out, talk Star Wars (Good and bad) and enjoy yourself talking about the hobby you love, but if people don't like things or find flaws it's not your duty to tell them that they're being "too picky" or whatever euphamism you choose at the time.

We're here to have fun, and some of us have fun by talking about what could've been, or in many cases what SHOULD have been...  And those people aren't here to have you dictate to them that they're unrealistic and their opinions are somehow less valid than yours.

So, no, you don't respect people's opinions as much as you may think...  And that's where I've stepped in.

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You also have to respect my opinions Jesse as I do yours... Is that correct Jesse?

Yes, and I have...  Your opinions on the line are often glowing, and sometimes they have excellent points.  I never have criticized your collecting methods.  

 
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Just as I think my opinion is "the only" from a lot of what you haven written you feel the same about yours.

No, we're different here...  I don't think my opinion is the only one.  I know it's not.  I know that whatever I dislike about a figure that someone else may very well like it...  I know that some people think retail is more to blame than Hasbro but I feel Hasbro's more at fault for recent/current gluts of figures...  

And I know that you and I will disagree on the quality of the Star Wars line no matter how much we both say our argument.

What I also know is that you'll make unnecessary comments on people's collecting habits, or personality, because the arguments in various forums seem to make you upset to the point you feel like taking that last personal dig, and that won't be tolerated here at our forums.  

Like I said, I told you this before...  The only other time I've had to "pull rank" around here, and on the same topic.

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As I have said elsewhere Jesse let's skip the melodrama... and theatrics...

No melodrama and theatrics here.  I'm telling you flat out how it is, and how it's going to be for the long haul.

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The litigious society that has been created has made any form of criticism be it constructive or otherwise... slander, libel, etc...

Heaven forbid anyone dare step on anyone's toes in the times...


And this isn't applicable to this topic Jimmy.  We're here to discuss toys, not each other, and that's what this is all coming down to.  You have the choice to talk toys, but you're crossing some lines and you're getting this pointed out now.  

Everyone here is allowed to talk toys, to criticize Hasbro, to praise Hasbro, to enjoy the forums, and they're all open to being involved in deep discussions about the hobby, but nobody's allowed to openly criticize another individual here.

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OK, Jesse since that seemed to touch a sore spot... forgive me.

There's been no sore spots touched.  I don't get angry over this site, I just do my job, and that's all I'm doing now...  I know you don't agree with this post, but it's needing said at this point, and you need to see that you have to truly respect everyone here, not just when you want to or when they're in agreement with you.

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There is at the very least one mutual feeling we then share Jesse.

If there is some other insinuation hidden amongst this well... You're not telling me something I don't know. Difference is I can stare that monster in the face because I know he exists...

No insinuation to my post, but if you see something in it then perhaps you should do some self-evaluation about how you interact with people in this hobby.  Maybe it will enlighten you as to why there's a monster to stare at in the first place.

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I guess in the end I'm just a sheep because in a year of 40+ figures I can find only a handful that are not really needed in the line IMHO.


You're whatever you think you are for liking most of the figures from the past year or whatever.  That's not my place to judge, and I honestly don't care.  If you liked every figure that came down the pike every year than more power to you I say.  Good for you because you're in a true blissful state with this line and the ammount of product coming out I'd think.

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Or maybe I know they are just toys...
Nothing more... Nothing less...

Removable objects... at the end of the day.

Yes, they are just toys...  That's exactly why it's not worth letting people's criticisms of them irritate you to the point to the point of reprimanding in the forums here (or anywhere else).  They're just toys.  Enjoy the hobby like everyone else and if people collect or feel differently than you do, respect it and move along...

Picking it as the subject to discuss is going to get you nowhere around here though but in the doghouse because it's the type of behavior that EACH of the moderators here was quite happy to leave at other forums.

Hope this has been made abundantly clear at this point.
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Talking about the toy business
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2003, 05:13 AM »
This is just an addendum to the thread that is locked for whatever reason.  It's an article regarding the licensing fee that Hasbro is paying for the Star Wars license:  http://www.webprowire.com/summaries/381287.html

Here's some of the text:

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Hasbro Inc. has extended its license to manufacture and distribute Star Wars toys and games for an additional 10 years, the company announced. The toy company's expanded agreement with Lucas Licensing Ltd. will run through 2018. The new deal also reduces Hasbro's overall minimum payment to Lucas by $85 million to $505 million even as it extends the Hasbro license by 10 years. Under its original 10-year deal, the minimum payment to Lucas was $590 million. Hasbro has already paid $470...

That's a very expensive license no matter how you cut it.
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Offline Darby

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Re: Talking about the toy business
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2003, 05:15 AM »
It sure is.   :o  It does bear out Jesse's point that the license in effect is mostly paid for, and the cost of it has been reduced going forward into the future.

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Talking about the toy business
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2003, 05:29 AM »
This is just an addendum to the thread that is locked for whatever reason.

I'll go ahead and merge your post Nick, and re-open the thread for now...  But even one iota of any more personal insults will shut it right back down.  That "discussion" was going far beyond what we enjoy seeing here at JediDefender.

Hopefully no one makes me regret the decision to re-open this topic...   :-\

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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Talking about the toy business
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2003, 05:41 AM »
It sure is.   :o  It does bear out Jesse's point that the license in effect is mostly paid for, and the cost of it has been reduced going forward into the future.


True, but it does go to show just how expensive the license is, and how it affects the line overall.  It's a lot of overhead that has to be dealt with before you even sculpt one action figure.  Nearly half a billion dollars is nothing to sneeze at, and that's what my point is regarding the licensing fees and the trickle down effect it has on the line.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2003, 09:35 AM by Nicklab »
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Offline Jimmy

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Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2003, 10:34 AM »
At this point JediMac can lock it away...

BUT when I need a therapist Jesse I'll get one...
In this hobby I have made a few very good friends...
That is good enough for me. I need not be a star and loved by all. That was never my intention.

See like I said I can stare that monster down. I'm much more in tune w/ the realization of me not making the world like/love me... Just don't try to psychoanalyze me thank you very much.

Thanks Nick for those numbers.

I guess people also can not see why we are getting such items as the TRU multipacks... Those are money makers for Hasbro any way you slice and dice it. The molds are all made therefore at this point those sets equal a pure cash cow.

They help recoup some of the money that's been lost in the last couple of years.

Regardless of what one thinks this is a tough line for Hasbro and YES LF is not that easy on their approvals. Some pieces may get brought back to them three times before they are ok to run w/...
I have a good friend that worked at LF and told me about some of how they work...

As I mentioned over head for a company like Hasbro is much bigger than any of the smaller companies. Hasbro has different divisions around the world...

To me it's apples and oranges...
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Offline Nicklab

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Re: New Carded Pics, FC#4, Vida, Kenobi, Elan, Padme, Bail and Dignitary
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2003, 11:28 AM »
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I personally think that this is an extremely unfair comparison.  Just from a business model standpoint, Hasbro and these other companies are completely different animals.

First, licensing.  Star Wars is a license that is paid from Hasbro to Lucasfilm Ltd.  So right off the bat, Hasbro is operating at a loss.  The SW license cost them plenty, including a 10% stake in the company that George Lucas now owns.

Differences in companies doesn't necessarily make an unfair playing field though Nick.  That's a tad shortsighted.  So we're to assume that Hasbro's licensing fee means they're in a weaker financial situation right off the bat when compared to a company like 21st Century Toys, BBI, or Dragon?

Come on now...  We're talking about a public corporation, muliti-national, and with a capital reserve that makes the small private companies like Dragon, BBI, and 21st look like a mom & pop general store up against Wall-Mart.

Licensing is not the big crutch everyone claims it to be...

Tack onto that the fact other companies DO pay licensing fees too (Though smaller), and it's hard to say Hasbro's licensing issues are a solid excuse as to any shortcomings within the Star Wars brand.

I will agree with you that we're comparing 2 very different company styles, but I can't help but laugh when anyone gives the "unfair advantage" to the smaller private companies who struggle financially.  Hasbro has a distinct advantage as a large corporation that helps negate licensing as a real issue (If we're doing comparisons here).

I never said that other companies weren't paying licensing fees.  But, when the Star Wars license ticks in at half a billions dollars and 10% ownership in your company, that's a hefty cost.  The other licensing fees that the companies you're talking about  pale in comparison.



LFL's personal approval process can be compared to anything within any other company as well.  For 21st Century, their process relies on the strictest historical accuracy in deco or details...  For Dragon, their approval process is reported to take up to 20 different tries at a single figure before the heads of Dragon say "OK, now it's ready for production".  

LFL's maybe strict, but let's face it...  Some of what we've seen isn't exactly amazing in accuracy sometimes so how strict can their approval process really be?  They stamp it as "OK, you didn't cross our guidelines" likely and they Hasbro starts cranking it out.  Star Wars, by its very nature, is going to have more leeway in that regard.  It's fiction, and as such some things can be compromised.  The companies working on military product tend not to have that luxury.

You're leaving out a lot of other steps.  First Hasbro has to approve something at the departmental level.  Next, they no doubt have a corporate safety standards department that it has to go through.  These are after all approved for children what, ages 5 and up?  THEN, it proceeds to LFL.  Lucasfilm has been renowned for being sticklers for what will and will not go out.  This delays the process, and in the long run costs more money.

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The fact is, the small companies like BBi, Dragon, 21st Century, etc don't have anywhere near the cost factor.  Let's face facts:  it's far cheaper for these companies to do business than it is for Hasbro.  As a result, they can offer a somewhat superiro product at about the same price points.

No, there's no "fact" to that at all.  

Once again, you negate the fact that these are dramatically smaller companies with much higher production costs than Hasbro due to capital restraints.  You don't recognize their own licensing fees, and the fact that they're working under the same pressures and overhead that Hasbro is, and doing it from a much smaller company's standpoint.

To say they're able to put out product cheaper than Hasbro is simply misinformation...  Some of these companies, even with very high sales, are struggling because their profit must be turned right back into the company for its own growth.  21st Century continuously makes profit but has financial issues because their overhead bogs the company down, even with good sales.  

So they're somehow still able to make things cheaper than Hasbro does?  That doesn't really make any sense unless you're looking at it black & white in that Star Wars is just a huge license and 21st's brands aren't.  Not a fair analysis by any stretch, but then you'd be correct I guess.

The fact is that the bottom line is the core fact.  Are the smaller companies having a harder time getting by?  Yes.  They have a smaller market share.  They're fundamentally smaller companies.  They have higher production costs because they can't manufacture in the quantity level that Hasbro does at a comparable expense level.  But, the core issue once again is the licensing.  Are any of these other companies able or willing to shell out the kind of capital needed to produce a viable line?  Are they able to stick it out to see an eventual profit?  Probably not.
 
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Regarding GI Joe:  GI Joe is able to make more money than Star Wars because Hasbro owns all the rights to GI Joe.  As a result, they don't have to pay any licensing fees, and has free reign over this property.  A very different business model.

Actually it's the same business model since it's Hasbro producing a toy line (Even same markets, trying to balance between older and younger/newer collectors).  It has a distinct overhead I'm sure, with a lot of similarities too, but you're right there's no cost for licensing...

Of course, does licensing suddenly become the key overhead cost t hough?  No, so I don't think one rather small overhead variance is what makes G.I. Joe more profitable than Star Wars.

GI Joe is an intellectual property that is wholly owned by Hasbro.  As a result, Hasbro does not have to factor in licensing payments in their costs.  Hasbro owns all the rights to GI Joe.  They're therefore able to spend more money on R&D, manufacturing, marketing and other costs because there isn't the looming spector of licensing.  And if they play smart businessmen in GI Joe and keep their costs down, they can get a much higher profit margin out of the GI Joe line because they have a dramatically lower overhead.

And I have to restate, I and just about any other business person would agree that half a billions dollars is not a small overhead variance.

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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2003, 03:36 PM »
For Nick:

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I never said that other companies weren't paying licensing fees.  But, when the Star Wars license ticks in at half a billions dollars and 10% ownership in your company, that's a hefty cost.  The other licensing fees that the companies you're talking about  pale in comparison.

For the record, gross income for Hasbro last year was $2.8 billion in 2002.  Net earnings after costs and such came in at a whopping $107 million...  

Sure, $500 million isn't a small ammount of $, but for a multi-million dollar international company it's not some exporbitant fee either Nick.  

And like my point I was making, to a company like 21st Century that isn't publicly owned and who turn their profit around into the organization itself, a small license is equally as costly to them as a big license like Star Wars is to Hasbro.  

To think of this as apples and oranges isn't fair.  They're 2 companies competing in the same market.  One small company, and one large company, and both have overhead issues.  Who is the worse off company?  Considering Hasbro pulled in NET profits of $107 million while 21st Century still struggles financially but manages to put out superior product is proof positive that they have more cost issues they're working around than Hasbro.  Issues that have greater effect on the company as a whole.

Hasbro even took a surprising slump in gross profit for 2002 from $2.9 to $2.8 billion and STILL came out at $107 million in net profit.

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You're leaving out a lot of other steps.  First Hasbro has to approve something at the departmental level.  Next, they no doubt have a corporate safety standards department that it has to go through.  These are after all approved for children what, ages 5 and up?  THEN, it proceeds to LFL.  Lucasfilm has been renowned for being sticklers for what will and will not go out.  This delays the process, and in the long run costs more money.

You're also leaving out a good many steps in the process as well Nick, and neglecting to point out that other companies have very similar and stringent approval processes.  The point is that just because Hasbro runs things past LFL at some point does not mean that other companies do not have their own approval channels they must run their product through.  

As per my example, 21st Century Toys runs their product past military/military history experts multiple times for evaluation and approval just as Hasbro has to pop their things off to LFL.  The difference here is that 21st has to pay their people for their work in approval and Hasbro does not.

Quite simply, EVERY toy company and brand has stringent approval processes.  G.I. Joe, Star Wars, X-Treme Detail, Elite Force, Barbie, etc...  They all go through strict approval processes within the organization and outside it as well.  

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The fact is that the bottom line is the core fact.  Are the smaller companies having a harder time getting by?  Yes.  They have a smaller market share.  They're fundamentally smaller companies.  They have higher production costs because they can't manufacture in the quantity level that Hasbro does at a comparable expense level.  But, the core issue once again is the licensing.  Are any of these other companies able or willing to shell out the kind of capital needed to produce a viable line?  Are they able to stick it out to see an eventual profit?  Probably not.

And again, a license to any company a fraction the size of Hasbro is going to equal in cost the Star Wars license to Hasbro.  

21st Century pays a license out to Chrysler/Dodge for naming rights and product development rights.  Chrysler doesn't charge what LFL did obviously, but the license is still a HIGH cost to 21st Century Toys who struggle to get by and make any profit at all.  

Whereas Hasbro pays a $500 million dollar licensing fee, but this is a company still bringing in $107 million in profits in 2002 when they actually reported a SLUMP in projected sales!

Maybe that clarifies the point that licensing is MORE costly to the smaller company than it is to Hasbro, even though Hasbro's paying more actual cash out for a licensing agreement.  It's the companies size that makes Hasbro capable of bigger and better product, even with their obviously large licensing fee.

I've never disputed that the SW license cost a lot...  Obviously it does because only top toy manufacturers were even considered in the running because only companies like Mattel and Hasbro can afford it.  What's being neglected or not understood here is that the smaller companies have licenses to, and that they (in relation to Hasbro) have just as much at stake in their costs, even if they pay less on paper, they're just not big enough companies to truly compete.  Yet, they seem to actually STILL compete through stronger product.

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GI Joe is an intellectual property that is wholly owned by Hasbro.  As a result, Hasbro does not have to factor in licensing payments in their costs.  Hasbro owns all the rights to GI Joe.  They're therefore able to spend more money on R&D, manufacturing, marketing and other costs because there isn't the looming spector of licensing.  And if they play smart businessmen in GI Joe and keep their costs down, they can get a much higher profit margin out of the GI Joe line because they have a dramatically lower overhead.

Yes, it is, I agree...  But, it's also a smaller product line than Star Wars...  An average year for Joe has been compared to a non-movie year for Star Wars.

And again, the licensing fees cannot possibly be the ONLY reason that Star Wars is not generating the profit that G.I. Joe is.  G.I. Joe is simply outperforming Star Wars as a "hot" toy line.  It sells well, it moves fast...  Sure its costs are lower, but that's not the point.  Star Wars is SUPPOSED to be doing better right now and it's not.  G.I. Joe is one of Hasbro's dominant product lines and it's beating Star Wars handily at retail.

The argument isn't does it cost less, it's does Star Wars compete with it and other "Smaller" lines, and the answer is no Star Wars isn't competing at retail like it should be.  

As I said, I don't even like the modern Joe stuff, but I cannot deny that they are racking up the sales and beating Star Wars.  That's just been the plain truth at the end of the business year these past several years now.

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And I have to restate, I and just about any other business person would agree that half a billions dollars is not a small overhead variance.

That it is...  It's a ton of $, but for Hasbro to still crank out $107 million in profits renders the argument that the license is all that's holding Star Wars back completely moot and useless.  The license can be added to the bottom of the laundry list of reasons that Star Wars isn't the steamroller of a line it should be.  Just one factor in a huge corporation making bad decisions/mishandling a toy license.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2003, 03:47 PM »
For Jimmy:

Quote
BUT when I need a therapist Jesse I'll get one...
In this hobby I have made a few very good friends...
That is good enough for me. I need not be a star and loved by all. That was never my intention.

See like I said I can stare that monster down. I'm much more in tune w/ the realization of me not making the world like/love me... Just don't try to psychoanalyze me thank you very much.

Well, you brought it up...  And it applies elsewhere, but I wouldn't call my words as attempted therapy, but rather advice...  Because around here, the actions that make one not so well-liked aren't going to be accepted like they may be at other sites.  So don't take it so much as me trying to analyze you, but me trying to make sure the warnings are clear as to how we operate here.

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I guess people also can not see why we are getting such items as the TRU multipacks... Those are money makers for Hasbro any way you slice and dice it. The molds are all made therefore at this point those sets equal a pure cash cow.


I'm sure lots of people see why we're getting those...  I didn't know this was in dispute really.  They're cheap product for the shelves, I agree, and they're even selling fairly well it seems...  At least well enough to continue them for a little while.

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Regardless of what one thinks this is a tough line for Hasbro and YES
LF is not that easy on their approvals. Some pieces may get brought back to them three times before they are ok to run w/...
I have a good friend that worked at LF and told me about some of how they work...

To my knowledge, a single product for 21st Century Toys saw near 10 revisits before it was finally approved...  The approval process is tough all over, not just at Hasbro.  It's short-sighted to think other companies don't have similar processes, even if they don't have a license really.  At least if the company cares somewhat about quality anyway.

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As I mentioned over head for a company like Hasbro is much bigger than any of the smaller companies. Hasbro has different divisions around the world...

To me it's apples and oranges...

I'm sure to every company competing in the toy industry though, they aren't apples and oranges, and they realize that comparisons are part of competition.  You may not think so, but that's just the truth about the competing business world I've worked in.

Saturn compares itself to the big three.  Value Jet compares itself to American and USAir.  The generic brand soap at the store compares itself to Zest...  That's competition in business.

And yes, Hasbro's overhead is HUUUUUUUUGE.  We've gone over that.  It's a fact...  But to a small company like 21st Century, BBI, or Dragon, their overhead is EQUALLY huge.  It's maybe less on paper, but in relative terms they've got just as much overhead worry as Hasbro.  That is how things are analyzed and compared.  

Sure they're different companies, but they're in the same game, and they play by the same rules...  They're open to, and need to be compared as equally as possible, and when it boils down to it they're working in the same formats generally, and have strong relative similarities.
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Offline Jimmy

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Re: Talkin' about the toy business...
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2003, 04:45 PM »
 ::) What was that about rhetoric?

Also Jesse you may run a "different" ship here at JD...

But please do not make idle threats Jesse such these...

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So don't take it so much as me trying to analyze you, but me trying to make sure the warnings are clear as to how we operate here.

If you are threatening to ban me on my view and opinion of things say so... Just don't dance around it and call it anything else... If this is at all a communist community that only the powers that be have a right to express their (personal & non-personal) views and opinions well then maybe it's not as friendly as it lays claim to be Jesse...

See I can dish the heat and can take it as well Jesse... although it seems you might have a problem doing the same.

Although an earlier comment I made was belittling you... your comments on me self ananlyzing myself (because Lord knows no one likes me) are just mere words of advice? No there's no negativity in that comment...

And yes Jesse that is clearly what were hinting at earlier in a comment you made.

So when you decide to throw your power into action Jesse will it be because I could keep up in a debate w/ you... that fact that YOU yourself don't like me... or that you'll just use the easy way out and go for trolling?


Let me just tell you that in my time as ADMIN at Trade Fed I never ousted someone simply because I didn't like them, they could keep up on a debate, or because I merely had the pwer to do so...






Gotta love me or leave me alone....

Numero Uno LobotsDup fan

Offline JediMAC

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Re: Talking about the toy business
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2003, 05:11 PM »
Hopefully no one makes me regret the decision to re-open this topic...   :-\

Yep.  I figured that wouldn't take long.  I regret it!

Jesse is a moderator and staff member here BTW, so his "threats" are not idle...

LOCKED.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2003, 05:16 PM by JediMAC »