5 Profitable Children's Franchises
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Do Your Research

Think about what you'd really like to do on your vacation and create a list to narrow your choices - whether it's hitting the beach, going shopping, climbing a mountain or visiting a museum. Consider whether you can do this somewhere nearby, or whether you know anyone who has done your chosen activities before on a similar budget. Alternatively, travel agencies or even chat rooms on the topic can provide great advice on accommodations, places to dine, things to do and tourist traps to avoid. Internet sites such as Yahoo! Travel, Expedia and Priceline are often useful when seeking reasonable fares.

Advertisers are well aware of how much buying power kids have. Even though children don't necessarily have much money of their own to spend, it's estimated that children impact a large number of the purchasing decisions made in their families. Add that to the remarkable "pestering power" that kids have over their parents, and there's little surprise that the market for children's programming has been steadily rising by an estimated 7% a year. Television shows, movies and video games provide the foundation for many of the most popular franchises, with many of these brands finding that the profits from merchandise sales outweigh the profits earned from the TV show or movie itself.

The Muppets

Jim Henson's Muppets have been around since the early 1960s, and Jim Henson got his first big break working on the TV show "Sesame Street" in 1966. Jim Henson left "Sesame Street" to pursue "The Muppet Show" in 1974, with the show first airing in 1976. The show appealed to both children and adults and was followed by a number of films, an animated TV show and a wide range of merchandise. The series' popularity dwindled over time, but a recent film has revitalized the brand. The brand was sold to EM.TV for $680 million in 2000, a number of years after Henson's death. In 2003, EM.TV sold the franchise's rights back to the Henson family for $89 million. Disney acquired the franchise in 2004 for $68 million dollars. The new movie has launched this franchise into the spotlight once again with a resurgence of products including toys, clothing and even band-aids.

"Sesame Street"

Also a part of Jim Henson's legendary career, "Sesame Street" is an example of a public broadcasting show that's made big money. The merchandising of "Sesame Street" has brought in over 211 million in toy and consumer product sales between 2003 to 2006. The rights to "Sesame Street" were sold to German company EM.TV, which in turn sold off the rights in 2001 to not-for-profit Sesame Workshop. Hasbro now holds the rights for "Sesame Street" toy products from 2011 to 2020. The toy rights were hotly desired by competing toy company Mattel.

"Harry Potter"

It would probably be difficult to find someone who hasn't yet heard of the popular young wizard Harry Potter. This franchise has brought in an estimated 6.4 billion dollars over its run, which includes at least 400 million books sold from the seven titles in the series. There were also eight movies. The franchise's sales figures also include video games, series-themed Jelly Belly jelly beans and even a Quidditch championship held in New York in 2010 that brought out more than 20,000 spectators.

"Star Wars"

Undoubtedly one of the heaviest hitters around, the "Star Wars" franchise has been popular with children (and adults) ever since its release in 1977. This franchise has brought in 33 billion from theatrical releases, toys, games, books, clothing and other merchandise. It's estimated that nearly half of this figure comes from toy sales alone.

The Disney Empire

A heavy hitter in the children's entertainment industry, Disney has been around for decades and certainly doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Walt Disney's beginnings seem humble in comparison to the big business of today which has diversified and moved into a number of different areas of the entertainment industry. However, the children's entertainment segment is still of major importance to Disney's business. Many of the company's characters continuing to dominate the children's market. All one has to do is consider how often you see merchandise of Disney characters from movies like "Cars," "Toy Story" and "The Lion King." There's no doubt that this continues to be one of the most popular, and profitable, children's entertainment companies of today. In fact, Disney continues to see considerable growth in its consumer products division.

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