Amazon to create first of its kind 'content hub' with Mattel

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to build out proprietary services, this time partnering with Mattel to create a "content hub" to sell toys and original content.

The online retailer has formed a partnership with HIT Entertainment, a division of Mattel's Fisher-Price, to be the exclusive U.S. home to the popular preschool franchise Fireman Sam. Amazon will be the exclusive seller of TV episodes, eBooks and merchandise. Fireman Sam TV episodes will be available to stream or download on Amazon Instant Video, Prime Instant Video and FreeTime Unlimited.

Amazon's Fireman Sam content hub debuts on June 3, and HIT and Amazon will introduce Fireman Sam consumer products in the United Sates for the first time later this year.

"With the ever evolving experience that families have with digital media, our consumers expect more and our business demands it," said Sid Mathur, VP HIT Entertainment, the Americas. "Working with Amazon, we have the perfect platform to create a new experience that gives fans one place to experience the franchise."

It's a unique arrangement, first introducing U.S. children to the franchise through streaming content and then providing a direct link to merchandise as the sole purveyor. Amazon and HIT Entertainment are essentially creating a new brand distribution model, pairing the entire offerings of a globally loved children's property with a global retail platform.

Last year, Amazon signed a licensing agreement with Viacom to host content from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., including such popular programs as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues. That agreement came as a similar deal between Viacom and Netflix came to an end.

Amazon's arrangement with HIT is more multi-faceted with the addition of exclusive licensed goods that will make the retailer the only source for content and merchandise for what promises to be a popular franchise. Fireman Sam is a top rated boys' preschool program in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Benelux, Israel and Poland, and the No. 5 preschool toy license in the U.K., according to NPD and boasts more than 65 million global views on YouTube.
It's a first for any retailer and, if successful, could be the first of many such partnerships.

For more:
-See this HIT entertainment press release
-See this C21 story

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