If someone were looking for a text book example to illustrate how a book (or series of books) can grow into a full-fledged, branded business incorporating a variety of media outlets and product extensions, they would need to look no further than the Goosebumps property.
From the imagination of author Robert Lawrence Stine, Goosebumps has developed into a worldwide publishing phenomenon, a top kids TV show and myriad of successful related products.
Stine, whose early career as a writer and kids magazine editor was devoted mostly to comedy, wrote his first scary novel, Blind Date, for Scholastic in 1986. The book was aimed at teenagers and became an instant best seller. Scholastic published a dozen more similar books over the next six years.
The Goosebumps series debuted in 1992, written by Stine, created by Parachute Press and published by Scholastic. Goosebumps took a slightly different angle by adopting a less scary approach than the teen books and adding some humor to appeal to a younger seven to 12-year-old demographic.
Within two years, Goosebumps books were being shipped to book stores at a rate of 1.25 million per month. By 1995, when production began on a television show-through Protocol Entertainment in association with Scholastic Productions-there were more than 70 million copies in print (that figure now tops 90 million.)
Goosebumps made its prime time debut with a Halloween special this past October, and has continued as a half-hour weekly anthology series on the Fox Children’s Network on Friday afternoons.
Fox’s Goosebumps was the biggest new kids hit of the year, and grabbed much retail trade attention for Hasbro in February when the toymaker featured several Goosebumps lines at New York’s Toy Fair.
As of mid-April, Goosebumps remained the top-rated show among kids aged two to 11, a distinction the show has maintained for 10 straight weeks. The show beat out all weekday and Saturday morning programs aimed at the two to 11 demographic, with a 5.9 rating and 34 audience share.
Fox will shift the show from Friday afternoons to Saturday mornings this fall to go after the larger potential Saturday audience.
And on the licensing and merchandising front, Scholastic has partnerships with more than 30 licensees including, in addition to Hasbro, such companies as DreamWorks Interactive for computer software, Happiness Express for school supplies, Giant Merchandising for T-shirts and sweatshirts, and Fox Home Video for videos.