Mattel dolls up its publishing efforts

Alongside plans to create a new vertical digital publishing team, the El Segundo, California-based toy maker is renewing its focus on Barbie storytelling.
March 30, 2015

Barbie is stepping into new print territory as a part of El Segundo, California-based Mattel’s upcoming plans for its publishing division.

At this week’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the toyco unveiled plans to create a new vertical digital publishing team in 2015, which will support brands like Thomas & Friends, Monster High and Barbie.

Along with a new emphasis on narrative-driven digital products, the toyco is also renewing its focus on stories and books about Barbie.

In 2016, Barbie’s stories and brand narratives will be further extended globally through entertainment tie-in programs, illustrated storybooks and a chapter book series called Malibu Mysteries. In addition, she is the star of a new DVD movie set for US release next spring.

2016 will also see the introduction of a break-frame illustrative style, which positions Barbie for a new generation of fans. She is designed to look slightly younger and more relatable, while still remaining on-trend when it comes to fashion.

Mattel also introduced new publishing plans for its preschool brands. As Thomas & Friends celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, new content is slated to roll out, including the DVD release of Thomas & Friends feature-length special, Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure, will be supported with tie-in publishing. This year, Egmont is also launching a newly illustrated original Thomas picture book.

For its Bob the Builder franchise, the toyco has a new CG-animated Bob the Builder series slated to air on Channel 5′s Milkshake in the UK this fall, with publishing that reflects Bob’s new look.

Rounding out the list, Fireman Sam is getting a fall DVD launch for feature-length special Heroes of the Storm, where Sam and the team race against time to perform daring new rescues. This year will see new licensees Hachette and Panini join Egmont in producing publishing products for Fireman Sam across Europe.


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