It was announced yesterday that Mattel, the all-conquering toy
manufacturer licensing company has acquired what's left of HIT Entertainment, the intellectual property holder for many established children's characters and shows such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Barney, Bob the Builder anf Fireman Sam.
It's kinda funny how, as an adult, all these characters you loved as a kid suddenly become "properties" rather than actual characters. They can be bought, sold or licensed to anyone and everyone who's willing to pay. They have to make profits and should the company go bust, they can be scooped up in the resulting fire sale.
In some ways it's disheartening but in reality its not a surprise. Pretty much any show you see on TV these days is either owned by a large company or whose rights are held by one. As much a we'd like to believe that Thomas is really just a story invented for grandchildren, that is all in the past.
It will be interesting to see how well this deal plays out in the coming years though and whether or not the synergy to be gained from having your properties in-house will pay off for Mattel.