Way back in November of last year, we reported on some rumors that Season 3 only had half as many episodes ordered as the first two seasons. There was concern that Hasbro was worried about the exodus of many prominent people associated with the production of the show. More recently, it was announced that Transformers: Prime also only had a half season order for its third season. Some light was shed on the situation during a conference call discussing the company’s 2012 Q3 financial results. These shows seem to be victims of their own success. Read on after the jump to hear the details.
According to TFW2005.com, Hasbro invested less across the board for its strongest properties’ merchandising tie-ins (animated shows, etc) because less investment was needed to further the same levels of revenue. Basically, now that there are two full seasons with plenty of episodes for both these shows, they can rely a little more heavily on reruns padded with some newer episodes.
While it makes a great deal of financial sense for Hasbro to do this, it comes as a small blow to the fandoms of these shows that their loyalty is rewarded in this way. Hopefully this means there will be some longevity from these shows, though, since they are successful enough for this.
Here’s a quote from their write up:
At one point during the Conference Call it was casually told that Production Costs will get cut for Hasbro Hub related TV Shows. Later during the Q&A session a reporter asked Hasbro’s CEO Brian Goldner what was meant by that. The answer gave away why we are getting only 13 Episodes for Season 3 of Transformers: Prime.
Question: Final Question… If you could just elaborate. You touched a bit on a prepared remark that I’m interested. You said you are reducing your production spend over the past several quarters… said due to efficiencies. Can you just elaborate more on that?
Answer: “Actually what we are saying is amortization has come down because ultimate revenue expectations have gone up. It’s one big driver on that. As we look at our ultimate revenue expectations for out programming because our performance we have on the television and digital distribution performance and revenue we are now expected to get from that programming; cross merchandising and program sales the amortization comes down.”
Question: You’ve been reducing your program production cash..
Answer: “Yeah, yeah the cash spend you really have to do when you have a successful TV Series… In fact Hasbro Studios TV Shows has outperformed other TV Shows on the Hub by 74% rating with 4 of the Top 10 shows on the network right now. So as you look at great performance of TV Shows, you are able to produce fewer episodes in subsequent series than you need for earlier series. You know, kids love watching episodes over and over again but you have to add an element of newness but you don’t need to spend to produce entire new series again. You can add 13 episodes or a 26 episodes to a pool of 52 already produced Episodes. So therefore you are able to… with a success TV Series… produce fewer in a year. Overall, Hasbro Studios has greenlit over 800 half-hours of programming. We also still have several hundreds of half-hour programming that we are producing for the network and also looking at whether there are successful tv series we obviously then spend less per new series because we are able to produce newer shows.”