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Hasbro Launches Subscription Service to Tap Board Game Fad

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Among the first for the gaming industry, leading toymaker, Hasbro, Inc. (HAS - Free Report) has announced the launch of a gaming subscription service named Hasbro Gaming Crate.

Priced at $49.99 plus shipping per crate and currently available in the U.S. only, this unique service will deliver a curated collection of new board games directly to consumers’ doorsteps every three months.

Already, sign-ups have begun from Jun 19 and Hasbro expects to bring the collections to customers from early fall 2017.

Inside the Headlines

In order to cater to multiple types of gamers, the company has come out with two themed crates for customers to choose from -- the Family Crate and the Party Crate -- targeting parents and young adults, respectively. In fact, both the game sets feature three new board games exclusive to the brand.

While the Family Crate offers games designed to be played jointly and enjoyed likewise by kids and adults, the Party Crate contains games with content geared toward college students, young adults, and parents who wish to enjoy “adults-only” game nights.
 
Notably, one of the three games of the first Family Crate will be MASK OF THE PHARAOH, a virtual-reality board game that requires players to download an app. Meanwhile, the first Party Crate will include a version of the Speak Out game inspired by the comedian Joe Santagato.

Rationale Behind

Hasbro has a supreme gaming portfolio and the company is refining gaming experiences across a multitude of platforms like face to face gaming, off the board gaming, and digital gaming experiences in mobile.

Meanwhile, it is to be noted that the recently announced subscription service is a play on the current strength of the company’s traditional board game business, which witnessed a gain of 9% last year, fueled by successful new games like Pie Face and Pie Face Showdown.

In fact, as per NPD group, industry-wide, the game segment saw revenue growth of 20% in 2016, driven by popularity of children’s, family strategy and brainteasers games. Along with family-friendly games, adult party game segment has also been contributing to sales growth for Hasbro and other toy companies.

Going forward, the company thus aims to cash in on the latest craze for board games, with its latest service.

Moreover, by entering the subscription box market, Hasbro aims to capitalize on the growing popularity of subscription-based business models. The fact that the model offers flexibility for both consumers and businesses alike makes it extremely attractive for both parties.

Bottom Line

Hasbro’s shares have slightly outperformed the broader Zacks categorized Toys/Games/Hobby Products industry year to date. While the stock surged 43.1%, the broader industry witnessed a gain of 40.8%.

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We note that age compression along with continuous competition from technology-based gaming companies like Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA - Free Report) and Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI - Free Report) have been posing a significant threat to the market position of leading toy makers like Hasbro and Mattel, Inc. (MAT - Free Report) . A challenging retail environment for toys along with forex headwinds is further hampering most of the toy makers’ performance.

Nevertheless, of late, Hasbro has been taking various steps to boost sales and doubling down on its business transformation initiative to become an all-inclusive entertainment company for the digital age.

The latest move further puts it front and center in a very attractive, yet competitive industry. Nevertheless, given the fact that Hasbro produces its own games, this should provide the company with a unique competitive advantage in regards to its subscription service.  The company too expects the new ease and expediency of purchase to make it more compelling for customers to try its new products.
 
Going forward, if Hasbro is successful in creating a very exclusive set of games, available sloely via its subscription service every three months, only then it will be able to entice consumers and fare well against its competitors. However, offering of only standard games, might fail to find favor with consumers who then might opt for other latest board games available in the market.

Hasbro currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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