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Home » Industry » Children’s Entertainment Company Spins Innovation Into Global Success

Inventive, exciting toys, original series and digital games have made Spin Master a leader in children’s entertainment.

Childhood friends Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie had a desire to start a business together. Shortly after graduating from Western University in 1994, they invested $10,000 to launch Earth Buddy, a nylon stocking-covered head of sawdust topped with grass seeds that grew to emulate hair. Ben Varadi, a former classmate of Rabie’s, joined them in the business that same year. They knocked on a lot of doors and after six months, Earth Buddy generated $1.5 million in sales. The friends developed a culture committed to pushing boundaries and creating magical play experiences for kids and families. Before they knew it, they had a full-fledged toy business.

Twenty-seven years later, Spin Master has grown into a leading global children’s entertainment company with a portfolio of innovative toys, entertainment franchises and digital games. With 28 offices around the world and close to 2,000 employees, Spin Master distributes toys in more than 100 markets and children in 190 countries watch its entertainment series.

“Every year, our incredibly talented teams, in collaboration with an amazing community of external inventors, raise the bar on innovation with the sole purpose of developing magical moments and experiences for kids and families around the world,” says Rabie. “We’re committed to reimagining where imagination can take us and innovation is key to that success.”

This culture of innovation is at the core of the company, where risk taking is rewarded and failures are seen as an opportunity to learn. In addition to its internal product and design teams, the company meets regularly with a network of 200 inventors and receives 3,000 ideas each year. Spin Master’s founders believe a good idea can come from anywhere from its Advanced Concepts Team that scours the world in search of innovation to internal design teams who share new product ideas. With a 36-month product pipeline of product, the company is always looking ahead to ensure it keeps innovating and can be flexible to respond to changing trends.

Company recognized for commitment to excellence

This environment has led to now iconic toys, such as Air Hogs, Hatchimals and Bakugan. Launched in 2007, Bakugan started as an inventor’s sketch of a ball that could be opened to reveal a character inside and evolved into a television series popular around the world.

Spin Master’s commitment to excellence and attention to detail have earned it a strong reputation in the industry. This has inspired other companies entrusting it as a licensee for their brands, including Monster Jam and Wizarding World. Spin Master has also grown by acquiring companies including Rubik’s Cube, GUND and Cardinal Games.

Since those early days as a toy company, Spin Master moved into entertainment. Building on the success of the Bakugan TV show, Spin Master wanted to create a new adventure series with relatable, aspirational characters and stories for young children. Keith Chapman, who had created Bob the Builder, had an idea for Robbie’s Rescue Dogs. The Spin Master Entertainment team, together with Chapman, worked on this idea, eventually creating PAW Patrol, which first aired in North America in 2013. Now a global sensation, the show airs in more than 160 countries and in 30 languages.

“Produced right here in Canada, PAW Patrol’s universally appealing storylines and positive messaging centered around teamwork and collaboration transcend cultural boundaries, entertaining children around the world,” said Max Rangel, Global President & Chief Executive Officer, Spin Master. “With the leadership of Jennifer Dodge, President, Spin Master Entertainment, and her team, PAW Patrol has become such a big part of children’s lives and we are honored to be able to entertain them on screen and engage them through play as they learn and grow.”

Multi-platform entertainment is the future

Through its in-house studio and partnerships with creators, Spin Master Entertainment has produced 10 television series. And with kids increasingly consuming content on tablets, smartphones and laptops, as well as television, the company now creates multi-platform content.

Always on the forefront of children’s entertainment, in 2016, Spin Master saw the potential to grow further in digital apps and games and acquired leading global mobile and digital app brands Toca Boca and Sago Mini. Today the two platforms have more than 50 million monthly subscribers.

“Telling stories and creating engaging and endearing characters that resonate with kids around the world is important to us,” said Rangel. “Our multichannel content approach encompasses broadcast television, subscription video on demand, apps, YouTube and digital platforms, so we can further engage with kids where they are, developing compelling content and exciting new experiences and interactions for them with their favorite characters.”

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