Mattel Turns Eye Toward TV, Hires Ex-Disney Channel Executive

(Bloomberg) -- Toymaker Mattel Inc. continued its pivot toward entertainment, hiring a Walt Disney Co. veteran to run its burgeoning television unit.

Adam Bonnett, who left Disney last year after two decades, will lead development of series and other content as executive producer of Mattel Television, the company said. He’s filling a newly created position, part of the company’s push to build more entertainment around its toy brands.

Mattel Turns Eye Toward TV, Hires Ex-Disney Channel Executive

For years, Mattel had been criticized by investors for not shifting more toward entertainment, like rival toy companies Hasbro Inc. and Lego A/S. But Mattel Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz has been working to change that during his first year on the job. A former entertainment executive who became CEO last spring, Kreiz has already started a film unit and inked deals for movies based off Barbie and Hot Wheels -- its largest properties.

The hire of Bonnett, 50, also comes at a time of exploding demand for kids content, thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix. Kreiz is no doubt betting that Bonnett -- who oversaw programming development for Disney Channel, including hits like “Hannah Montana” -- will help speed up the company’s makeover after four years of slumping sales.

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