Tom Lynch’s success in the tween live-action genre is widely recognized, but he’s the first to admit that there are areas of the overall kids entertainment business in which his company has not been strong. To date, the Tom Lynch Company has shied away from licensing and merchandising activities, focusing instead on series creation. ‘I want to make shows that travel well,’ Lynch says, ‘and toy companies are massively important to the growth of youth programming–it’s often the difference between a good show and a huge hit.’
Enter the recent announcement that the Tom Lynch Company and Hasbro have partnered up. There are three components to the mutually beneficial two-year deal, says Carol Monroe, VP of Hasbro’s entertainment division. First off, Lynch will paw through Hasbro’s intellectual property vault to see whether there’s anything with TV spin-off potential. And second, Hasbro will become licensing agent for all of Lynch’s properties. ‘That’s something we do well,’ Monroe explains, ‘and we’ll apply that expertise to his properties.’ The third element will see the two entities jointly develop and control new properties.
‘Hasbro is a global licensing company, so with it as a partner, it’s not just a marketing deal but a coordination in creativity,’ Lynch says. ‘Hasbro has a big impact on children’s viewing.’ The appeal for the toyco lies in Lynch’s expertise in targeting the tween demo. ‘Tweens have a great deal of spending power,’ says Monroe, but they haven’t really glommed onto many licensed products.
Since the demo tends to respond well to relationship issues, Monroe sees a natural product extension in publishing, which can extend complex character connections well beyond a half-hour TV show format. She’ll be honing in on that category for Caitlin’s Way, the first property that will come into play under the Hasbro-Lynch deal. Music, apparel, back-to-school and video games are other likely categories.