New York Times Interviews Pokemon USA Executive
posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
The Business section of the Monday, August 27 New York Times features an article on the current state of the Pokémon franchise in the U.S. According to Holly Rawlinson, Pokémon USA vice president of licensing and entertainment, who is interviewed for the feature, despite the popularity Pokémon 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, Pokémon USA began taking steps to assume direct control of various components of the franchise. In addition to overseeing the launch of the Pokémon - 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon merchandise this year are expected to exceed US$50 million. Next month, toy retailer Toys R' Us will open dedicated Pokémon centers in its 585 stores nationwide.