With the aim of leveraging its global brands and library, toy maker Mattel is bringing content production under one umbrella with new division, Mattel Creations. The goal is to drive premium content across multiple platforms including theatrical, television and digital. The company has set Mattel’s Chief Content Officer, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, to head the cross-portfolio strategy with longtime creative executive Christopher Keenan named SVP, Content Development & Production. The news comes on the eve of the Mip-TV market in Cannes where Mattel Creations will showcase brand new kids projects, 2D animated series WellieWishers and one-off movie, Barbie Dreamtopia.
Along with Barbie in Mattel’s dreamhouse, other iconic brands incldue Hot Wheels, American Girl, and Thomas & Friends. The unified Mattel Creations will look to extend the properties in a world where “toys and content are increasingly inseparable,” says Balsam-Schwaber. “More than ever, children expect play experiences that seamlessly combine toys, content and stories in an imaginative and engaging way. By leveraging the power of our global consumer brands, our goal with Mattel Creations is to build and amplify these integrated play experiences on a global scale, in ways that will resonate with children and parents alike.”
Balsam-Schwaber, who joined Mattel last September, will oversee all strategies for the new division, including development slates, programming and distribution opportunities, as well as entertainment and talent relationships. Keenan, a producer and executive with over 25 years of experience, will oversee a new centralized content development and production team, to include Playground Productions in El Segundo, CA; the HIT Entertainment content creation team in London; and the American Girl content creation team in Middleton, WI.
Mattel is Mip-TV’s brand of the year with President Richard Dickson delivering a keynote next week.