News New York Times Interviews Pokemon USA Executive
posted on 2007-08-30 09:41 EDT
The Business section of the Monday, August 27 New York Times features an article on the current state of the Pokemon franchise in the U.S. According to Holly Rawlinson, Pokemon USA vice president of licensing and entertainment, who is interviewed for the feature, despite the popularity Pokemon enjoyed in the late 1990's and early 2000's, by 2003, merchandise sales were slowing down. In response to this trend, starting last year, Pokemon USA began taking steps to assume direct control of various components of the franchise. In addition to overseeing the launch of the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl videogames and the associated TV series, they took control of producing the dub of the series away from 4Kids Entertainment. The manufacturor for Pokemon toys was also changed, from Hasbro to Jakks Pacific.
The effect of these changes has been generally positive. The debut episode of the new Diamond and Pearl TV series was the top-rated show that day for the boys ages 6-11 demographic, and sales of Pokemon merchandise this year are expected to exceed US$50 million. Next month, toy retailer Toys R' Us will open dedicated Pokemon centers in its 585 stores nationwide.