Fisher-Price has struck a deal with HIT
Entertainment for the exclusive rights to develop a new line of
products featuring Barney, the purple dinosaur pal of infants and
Neil Friedman, president of Fisher-Price Brands, said Barney
fits perfectly with the company's other preschool character brands,
including Elmo, Little People and Rescue Heroes.
"We feel that with the magic we bring to toys and the magic
that Barney brings to children, that combination is a very, very
powerful force and we're really excited about it," Friedman said
With his catch phrase "I love you," Barney has been a fixture
on U.S. television since 1992, and has a contract to broadcast on
the Public Broadcasting System until 2007. He has sold 55 million
videos, 68 million books and 25 million plush toys.
In 1997, under the Hasbro label, Barney was the 18th
best-selling character license in the world. Last year, the license
was No. 43.
"Barney has, in some respects, been neglected," Friedman said.
"One of the things we do really well here at Fisher-Price is to
tend our portfolio of classic products. We're expecting big
East Aurora-based Fisher-Price cited its success with Tickle Me
Elmo after taking control of Sesame Street toys in 1996.
"The company has a proven track record in developing the
magical innovation that brings children's favorite characters to
life," said HIT Entertainment chief executive Peter Orton.
Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, is planning a line of
plush Barney crib and infant toys, preschool toys, electronic
learning aids, games and puzzles.
London-based HIT Entertainment earlier this month acquired the
rights to Barney with the purchase of Lyrick Corp., the owner of
Barney's video empire, for $275 million.