Hasbro Restructures TV/Film Efforts, Puts Stephen Davis in Charge

Stephen Davis

The company has combined operations to better integrate show business with the toy business.

Hasbro has restructured its movie, TV and commercial operations under Stephen Davis, president of L.A.-based Hasbro Studios, the toy company announced Tuesday.

Davis has been with Hasbro since 2009 overseeing TV development, production and distribution of such shows as Transformers Prime, Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

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He will now be in charge of all entertainment brand-driven storytelling, including several features in the pipeline. Those include Transformers 4 at Paramount, Stretch Armstrong at Relativity Media and Candy Land at Sony Pictures Entertainment with Adam Sandler.

Davis will also be in charge of the Hasbro Film Group in Los Angeles and the studio in Rhode Island that produces commercials and shortform content.

Bennett Schneir, senior vp motion pictures, and Terry Scott, senior vp of Cake Mix Studio in Rhode Island, will now both report to Davis.

“We are bringing together several of our entertainment groups so that we can fully drive our content development capabilities across our global franchises,” said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer.

“We are in the early stages of unlocking the full power of Hasbro brands globally, and this new group will capitalize on our talent and creativity on both coasts,” Davis said. “We are now in a tremendous position to expand our content and storytelling more impactfully across all screens around the world.”

Davis will report to Frascotti as part of an effort, according to an announcement, “to ensure the seamless integration between the entertainment and global marketing teams.”

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Hasbro in July reported quarterly revenue of $811.5 million, which was down slightly more than 10 percent from the prior year. It also reported net earnings were down about 25 percent from the same period in 2011, when it enjoyed brisk toy sales associated with the release of the film Transformers: Dark of the Moon by Paramount.

Hasbro has remained strong in TV, where its programs help drive the brand and toy sales, but it has problems being consistently successful in movies. In 2008, Hasbro made a heralded deal with Universal for four movies, but that unraveled. Candy Land and Stretch Armstrong left for other studios, and Battleship’s release was a disappointment in North America, where it grossed only $65 million. However, it did gross another $288 million overseas.

In October, Universal made a new deal with Emmett/Furla to finance and co-produce three movies in the next two years. They are based on the Hasbro-owned game MonopolyAction Man, a British version of Hasbro’s toy soldier G.I. Joe; and Hungry Hungry Hippos, based on a game in which players collect marbles by having Hippos eat them.     

Hasbro’s TV productions help fuel The Hub, a cable channel for children jointly owned by Hasbro and Discovery Communications. Hasbro programs also appear elsewhere and are sold and seen in more than 170 countries worldwide.

Before Hasbro, Davis was CEO of Family Entertainment Group, led Granada America and Carlton America and was at the mobile and digital media company InfoSpace. He has also worked at Hamdon Entertainment and The (Merv) Griffin Group.