The Future of 3P Market & Companies

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Steel, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Steel

    Steel Landing Gear Specialist

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Posts:
    404
    Trophy Points:
    127
    Likes:
    +5
    Let me begin by stating that this is a topic for healthy, mature discussion and is not meant to be a slight to either Hasbro/Takara or any 3rd Party Companies.

    Right now, the 3P Market serves a great purpose by satisfying the needs of TF fans that aren't getting the characters they want from Takara/ Hasbro. There are multiple reasons as to why this is occurring, but the bottom line is that the smaller companies operate within a different set of parameters than the Big 2. They focus on a much smaller niche and volume and in return, can focus on some of the more obscure characters that fans want, rather than the more commercial characters that are needed to drive and support a line with Takara & Hasbro.

    Until recently, it didn't seem as if the 3P market affected Takara, until the KFC Citizen Stack. Whether KFC pushed to beat Takara's MP22 or Takara pushed their version to trump Stacks, it appears to be the first time we've seen Takara react directly to a 3P offering (that I'm aware of anyway).

    What if Takara / Hasbro decided to take a more aggressive approach to winning back the 3P demographic, by expanding the amount of releases they did yearly? What if they started to focus more on the more hardcore collector demographic, much like Hasbro has done with GI Joe (to a lesser degree) in the past, by making their version of Sixshot, Brainstorm, Hardbone, Preadcons etc all in an MP format? Would they be able to provide better pricing by producing on a larger scale? Could they match the detail we currently get from the 3P market? Would the 3P market continue to sustain itself and excel?

    I'm wondering at what point Takara will decide that they have lost enough of their market share on their brand to smaller companies and begin to adapt accordingly.

    No black helicopters or Edward Snowden stuff here..just looking for other thoughts and observations.
     
  2. OptionZero

    OptionZero Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Posts:
    9,034
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +4,313
    $$$
     
  3. MegaHavok

    MegaHavok Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2002
    Posts:
    4,504
    News Credits:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +20
    There is no reason to assume 3p products have affected sales for takara at all. Most 3p collectors are also purchasing the new masterpiece line

    There is no evidence to assume the release of citizen stack affected takaras plans at all.
     
  4. solarstorm

    solarstorm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Posts:
    4,333
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +2,614
    Mps of popular characters push the limits for Takara but most third party goods are largely ignored because of the small market. A few thousand fans or 20000 units? Hasbro will always prefer larger releases to the mass market. The MPs are a limited market. Closer production numbers make for actual competition.

    Also, Hasbro can outdo the third party guys if they put their minds to it/budget for it. The MPs are getting rave reviews and Generations Springer is FAR FAR better than warbot Defender ( owned both )
     
  5. GreyFox787

    GreyFox787 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Posts:
    1,414
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +598
    The only thing I don't get is why Hasbro or Takara aren't all over some of these designers trying to get them to work for them...
     
  6. tfwmongrel

    tfwmongrel Plastic Crack Addict

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Posts:
    1,695
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +891
    I'm only into the 3P scene for the kind of quality combiners that HasTak can't afford to market. I'm buying al the Masterpieces. I'm too old now for anything else unless it's a Prime or Starscream :) 

    Which incidentally, I'll only buy from HasTak. I haven't liked ANY of the 3P Optimus Primes or Starscreams.
     
  7. wingheaven7

    wingheaven7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Posts:
    1,803
    Trophy Points:
    162
    Likes:
    +112
    has/tak is definitely paying attention. their latest aoe toyline is starting to show Official Transformers product labels on the packaging. i think its stupid since the ko's (if any) will just copy that logo on there box as well.

    thing is, the average person has no idea 3p or ko products even exist. in reality, the 3p ko market, is still a small slice of the greater whole, which in and of itself, is not really that big to begin with.

    the only thing that i see changing has/taks stance, is if they make a high $$ product that gets knock offed days or weeks before they release theirs, is the same quality and reaches a larger audience than there offering. only when there money is affected will they alter business practice. just my 2 cents.
     
  8. OptionZero

    OptionZero Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Posts:
    9,034
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +4,313
    Hasbro sells to TRU, Walmart, and Targer

    3P sells to TFS and BBTS

    When that changes, you can post this thread again
     
  9. alex1984

    alex1984 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2013
    Posts:
    3,862
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Likes:
    +620
    I don't think MP-22 was a reaction at all, UM is an important character and it has probably been in the works for some time. He's like Megatron, you can almost 100% count on it being made at some point.

    Hasbro/Takara isn't going to do anything simply based on market share of the 3P market, heck, even if it's proven to be profitable, they still may not get into it. They have to take opportunity cost into account, and this business needs to be more profitable than some of the toy lines (Marvel action figures, Transformers, Beyblade, etc.) they are currently invested in. I doubt even the biggest 3P company is large enough for Has/Tak to bother swatting them down. Has/Tak will move in once they feel the market's mature and there's enough business, but certainly not as a reaction to any 3P companies, and when they do, their figures will offer really good value.

    No doubt Has/Tak is slowly moving in this direction, starting with the MP-10. The MPs used to be more of a statement, and not so much of a "line". With the recent MPs, we are seeing much more coherence, more frequent releases. The lowering of costs on the new MPs has allowed them to lower the price and appeal more to the mass market, driving up their sales volume. The fact that Hasbro is bringing in more and more MPs into America seems like a good indication that this new direction is profitable, so yes, the stars do seem to be aligned for that, and I believe we should be able to expect even more annual MP releases.

    Official MPs will offer better value, as well as more cohesive styling. However, it's still unlikely that Has/Tak will explore the minor characters like Huffer in their MP line, though. Also, it is unlikely that the CHUG line will improve much beyond what they currently are. So, there should still a small market for 3P companies to work with, but most likely, the number of companies out there will dwindle down.
     
  10. kibble

    kibble Seeker style, yo!

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Posts:
    14,250
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +5,125
    I believe MP Ultra Magnus news was broke by BBTS before Stack was announced, and was hinted at as far back as the MP-10 release. Of course it was thought to be an MP-10 repaint with trailer at the time, but the intent was still there.

    I think the vamped up MP line is a reaction to 3rd Party, though. TT saw people were willing to pay big bucks for high quality figures more often than once in a blue moon. And if there's an example of TT reacting to a 3rd Party release, I'd be more prone to say it was MP Soundwave which FT teased and took over a year before they scrapped it due to the MP-13 announcement.
     
  11. CVprowl

    CVprowl Done

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Posts:
    9,933
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +3,102
    if hasbro made this stuff they would get our money. they didn't think it was worth it.
     
  12. redrum2581

    redrum2581 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Posts:
    11,364
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +16,504
    Ebay:
    I doubt we ever see a serious combiner from hastakomy simple because it's not what they're after, with all the video games out there that kids are playing now i'm not sure how toys stay afloat without us collectors anyways, maybe because I don't have boys and only a little girl that likes her tablet and wii more than her barbi and mh
     
  13. PlanckEpoch

    PlanckEpoch Red and black red and black

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Posts:
    15,086
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +20,539
    Instagram:
    YouTube (Legacy):
    As far as I'm concerned Hasbro and Takara Tomy will continue to lose my money out of the sheer fact that I feel like I'm getting less product for what I pay for. I pay 15-17 bucks for a deluxe now and there is absolutely no way you'll convince me that any of these deluxes are worth that much. Voyagers are better, but there's still a hit and miss factor with the upcoming wave of Roadbuster and Skybyte being total misses for me.

    With combiners...If Hasbro doesn't make their next combiner at the quality of Fansproject Bruticus at the least...then they will have lost me again. The simplicity and basic partsforming for hands and feet for Bruticus are simple and I feel that they are very much in the realm of possibility for Hasbro as long as they're kept that small.

    Secondly...you speak of it from the point of view of Masterpiece...well, I'm not a Masterpiece collector. I do not seek gratuitous G1 stylings. I want CLASSICS styled, and Classics is only possible if you deviate from G1 designs. That's where I feel 3P's strengths are...giving us CLASSICS renditions of characters, which is good for me as that is my collection focus. In this vein I also see 3P not having much of an issue staying afloat as Masterpiece still isn't for everyone, and not everyone wants gratuitous G1 representations.
     
  14. Splendic

    Splendic bleep blorp

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Posts:
    2,412
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +1,301
    Ebay:
    DISCLAIMER: All the numbers in the following WALL OF TEXT are guesses. If you know better, please don't hesitate to (kindly) correct them!

    Ok. The first thing you think when you open your shiny new Quakewave is, "Wow, I don't know why Hasbro and Takara didn't do this first. They could have had my money instead of Fans Toys!" But the reality is. The two are not always in competition because Hasbro and Takara aren't exactly losing money when we buy 3rd Party Products.

    See, we rarely talk about the scale of production between HasTak, and 3rd Parties, but lets do that for a sec.

    Just imagine Hasbro producing...Masterpiece Shockwave(!).

    A "semi-popular" character outside of the fandom. Random people under 50 might even see an image of him (sans branding) and say... "He's a Transformer, right?" But even with all that, this guy is not necessarily destined for a TRU shelf near you. No, more likely it's going to sell as an exclusive through HasbroToyShop.com

    OK, so they're not going to sell 20,000 of these without being on store shelves, but they can still move some product through the site.

    So, apparently it takes a Hasbro TF designer (working part time on a toy) almost a year to take that transformer from concept to shelves (Autobots Assembled: How Transformers Come to Life). But for the sake of argument, lets say a single Hasbro designer, working full time, can get Shockwave from concept to shelves in 4 months (probably sooner considering how simple it is). That product designer is drawing, CAD designing, sculpting, 3D printing a prototype, etc... so, I'm going to imagine a product designer who wears that many hats makes... $75K-ish/year (more depending on location, experience, etc...). So the cost of the designer's time spent on this toy alone is $25K. This does not include his manager's time spent meeting about this character and toy, talking to video game designers to make sure they use a derivative of this design in the newest game, show animators, package designers, IDW artists, revision rounds, toy production support staff, etc... I'm going to guess total cost of design of this particular Transformer to the company as a whole is somewhere closer to, what, $75K?. Maybe more?

    All right, now it gets sketchier... What does it cost to produce 2,000 of these toys? (I'm using a number similar to collectible statue production runs). With die-cast, electronics, and in a run that small? Maybe $50-60/toy (plastics, production, assembly, packaging,etc...)?

    Okay, so now our production cost is up to $195K for a toy that if we priced at $150US, and sells out completely will make $300K.

    You look at that, and think, "But they're still making $100,000.00!!! They should still do it! It's a no brainer!"

    But here's the rub. The resources spent making that $100,000 could have instead been used to make 5 movie deluxes that go to every Walmart, Target, and Toys R US in the country, produced (at scale) for $1 a piece, and selling for 10 times as much. So in a way, by making a product with the smaller profit margin per sale, to a much smaller audience, you really just lost money.

    So how do 3P Companies manage to make these toys?

    Well, their designers are (probably) not being paid as well, the QC (although better now) is not as rigorous as HasTak's, so by doing business in a smaller company where each employee has more responsibilities, salaries are lower, union costs are cut out, etc... maybe a 3P company makes as much as $200K on a run... and that's pretty good for a smaller, overseas company! Especially considering they couldn't get into the larger scale production/mass marketing of smaller, junkier toys like HasTak if they wanted to... so they take what they can get.

    It's all really similar to the Indie Film Industry. When you get a ton of people together who make waaaaaay less money, while avoiding the costly avenues of "big production" bottlenecks and costs, with people who are passionate about what they're making, amazing things can happen for a far smaller budget.

    But when you put a large corporate conglomerate to the same task, costs rise, margins fall, and it's simply not worth their time and resources to make a less popular product.

    Anyway, I could be way off, but that's typically what I think of when trying to reconcile how HasTak and 3rd Party Producers co-exist.
     
  15. Deceptimatrix

    Deceptimatrix Warrior Elite

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Posts:
    2,066
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Likes:
    +771
    I feel there will always be a place for 3P and Has/Tak to coexist. It's a symbiotic relationship.

    What I don't think is possible is for this influx of new 3P companies to be sustainable. The bar has been set fairly high, and unless they come out of the gate swinging they don't stand a chance. I've seen plenty of renders, silhouettes, and protos pop up recently that are real head scratchers (as in what the fuck are they thinking?). But at the same time there are companies that started off weak and have been getting exceptionally better with every release, but they had the advantage of getting in the game before there were too many players.

    That's not to say that the established companies can start slacking off either. One company in particular still thinks it's 2011/2012 (I know it doesn't seem that long ago, but it is in terms of releases and engineering) and they will start losing market share if they don't pick it up. Quality has to meet the premium prices 3P items require. Gone are the days of something selling out just since it fills a hole in a collection. Chances are someone else will do it and do it better.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is that it's a great time to be TF collector whether it's an official release or a 3P product.
     
  16. Steel

    Steel Landing Gear Specialist

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Posts:
    404
    Trophy Points:
    127
    Likes:
    +5
    I'm really glad to see these responses thus far and agree..the bottom line is it is a great time to be a TF Fan.
     
  17. Gryph

    Gryph Action Master

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Posts:
    11,460
    News Credits:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +1,500
    Because it's not. We are not, and never will be the target demographic.

    Yeah, I agree that it's not sustainable. The current combiner trend can't possibly last much longer. I'm already getting sick of them. After Feral Rex, I have no intention of getting another one, unless it's something particularly interesting, like Liokaiser. Eventually, I see a huge decline in Third Party groups, with only the top handful sticking around. It's simply getting far too crowded. You can already see the signs. Groups are quickly trying to establish their own particular niche. Some go big, some small, others focus on particularly obscure characters, or specific gimmicks.
     
  18. drpockets

    drpockets Ninja Consultant

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Posts:
    530
    Trophy Points:
    162
    Likes:
    +50
    MP Ultra Magnus had to have been in the works for a long time before we ever saw even the first teaser for it. The time frame for desgin of these toys is a couple years.

    I seriously doubt MP UM was in any way a reaction to Citizen Stack.
     
  19. jestermon

    jestermon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Posts:
    10,712
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +3,255
    I have said it before and I will say it again, even though we think 3rd party stuff is fantastic and sells great it's not even a blip on the radar to a multinational large corporation.

    It's not in their interest to waste time and money on trying to stop people from making this stuff, a new one would always pop up if they did pursue it and it would be a constant search for their lawyers to keep tabs on who is who and who is affiliated with this group and that.

    The small amount of money they would recover in any kid of suit wouldn't be worth going after it.
     
  20. Slimaximus

    Slimaximus Headmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Posts:
    5,344
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +3,402
    Yeah KFC rushed Stack to get him on the Market before MP Magnus, imo. Because they know the moment the MP gets released Citizen Stack will be nothing more than a forgotten shit stain lol.