Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scott Neitlich (Toyguru) comments on Masters of the Universe Classics' 2014 Club Eternia subscription numbers


     Well, we're in that period of time after SDCC known as subscription season. It's that time of year when fans debate whether or not plop down huge amount of cash to subscribe to Mattel's mostly mysterious "high end" collector lines.  Here's some thoughts from Masters of the Universe brand manager, Scott Neitlich (also known as Toyguru) that he posted about the state of the Masters of the Universe 2013 Club Eternia subscriptions on Mattycollector.com.  My thoughts are in bold, his in italics.  Not that the message is unedited, spelling errors and all.

"MOTU fans,

I've seen a lot of emails and posts over the last few days about the meter and reaction to my post on Facebook yesterday that we are still tracking below expectations. Let me see if I can clear up some common questions.


1:The meter is 100% accurate. It is not a scare tactic. It was designed as a communication tool to let fans/customers know how close or far we are from the sub happening. 


I actually had a hard time finding the thermometer (it's here after you click through to the sub you want)Just to play devil's advocate, what would be the point of Mattel showing the sub thermometer hitting 100%?-This isn't like Kickstarter where there are stretch goals and such for the exceeding the goal?

2:If the meter is not hit, what will likely happen is the 4 figures that are already tool'd (the ones revealed at SDCC) will be released quarterly and perhapes an item at SDCC. After that, that will be it. End of story. It is not a scare tactic, it is a truthful statement. MOTUC and in fact everything we do on Matty is a tiny tiny spec for Mattel. We continue to make these great toys because we love our fans, we love these brands and we want to keep them going. But the raw facts are in today's market we simply can't keep these high end low run collector lines going with out guaranteed customers. That is why we have the presale sub and the meter to communicate how far along we are. 

While I still have a list of quite a few characters I want, if the line ended next year with us just getting the figures shown, that wouldn't be too bad.  Glimmer, Hydron, Modulok, and Two-bad would definitely finish off the main crew from four separate factions.
[Letter continued after the break]


3:We can't reveal additional figures simply because we don't have anyone far enough along to reveal. We can only reveal a figure after an internal milestone called "FPR" (Final product review). We revealed eveything at SDCC that had made it to this stage. Counting the "sneak peaks" at the panel and in the case on Sunday, we've revealed 5/12 monthly figures. So customers know about 1/2 of the entire year at this point! The reason we don't reveal more figures is because we don't want to show something that might not happen. For example, in the DC brand, a few retail figures were shown at NYTF in Feb. like Damien Wayne and a new Batman Beyond that were canceled. Have you seen the posts about this? The last thing we want to do is reveal a figure that might not happen. That is a lot worse, believe me. That is why we don't reveal figures that have not made it to FPR stage internally. We don't want to show something that might not happen or be changed. We need to wait until FPR stage to reveal. 

Maybe stating that they canceled the Damien Wayne figure they showed to buyers should have been phrased as showing Mattel's capacity for mercy, as that figure needed to die.  So all of those prototypes that get shown at conventions that fall apart or that we are told could change have already been through Full Product Review? The sneak peeks being counted towards the monthly figures seem to include this picture of Blade's sword and a brief glimpse of Scorpia's tail that no one seemed to get a picture of. Did Mattel do a FPR of just that sword and the tail or does this mean there are two more figures that could/should be revealed in order to lure in buyers?  Granted, since we can infer that figures lined up for 2014 include Scorpia, Blade, Glimmer, Hydron, Two-Bad, and Modulok, I definitely think that goes a long way towards showing we're getting characters of a very high caliber, at least from who's left. 


4: A lot of the issues last year like QC and CS have really been tackled head on as promised. Combine that with our sub portal letting you easily change addresses or make adjustments as well as a new quarterly shipping option that will help save on overall shipping. Shipping is an area we just don't have as much control over, but we are doing everything we can and by offering a hold and ship quarterly option you will be able to save. 

I'll agree with this. I've few to no QC issues this year and shipping has seemed to be doing OK. Newgistics still takes a while, but my figures' have consistently shipped in a timely manner. Plus, next year you can choose to subscribe quarterly in order to help cut down on shipping costs. Digital River's shipping is high, but it doesn't seem too far out of line from shipping costs from other toy e-tailers.

5: Again, I know fans want to see the entire year, but this is the 4th or 5th year of doing this.You guys know the drill and as noted above the reasons why we can't show further figs. They just aren't far enough along. And really, in today's market, the customers we need to keep all of the subs (and the Ecto 1) going are customers that are "all in" no matter what. It really shouldn't matter which figures we are doing, the type of customer needed to keep the line going, the customer that is the life blood of these lines is the type of MOTU (or DC) customer who wants anyone no matter what. In today's market we just can't build a line around cherry pickers. Subscribing isn't just about the bonuses of subing in like the Unnamed One, Early Access or less expensive figureds ($25 vs $27 day of). Sub'ing in is about supporting all of the figures and ensuring the line itself goes forward. The question is do we have enough of this type of customer? I think so! We did in 2011-2013!

You know, I am an all-in customer for MOTUC, but I wouldn't do that for many lines. I certainly would never buy a Star Wars line or even a G.I. Joe line that required me to make that commitment. Maybe it's because MOTUC is more of a fantasy line and does feel like anything goes?  Still, I really get uncomfortable with some of the language Scott uses.  I'm a fan that likes pretty much everything from MOTUC and believes that the line has been consistently good, not someone who believes "it really shouldn't matter which figures" Mattel makes.  I sometimes feel like Mattel is so focused on the fact they they might lose at their game that they fail to remember that they make the rules.

6: We have indeed re worked the line up and as seen by our reveals at SDCC 23014 is packed full of A list charcters. No concept figures like the FFM or Vykron. 2014 and ideally 2015 will be all the figs we want to complete the line including vintage MOTU, vintage POP, A list NA figs and A list figs from other media like mini comics or animated series. The SDCC reveals should have confirmed this.

This is true, as I stated above. Granted, the subscription exclusive character is "The Unnamed One", a character who we only know from being mentioned by King Hiss in one mini-comic panel. I guess that's an A-list character in the same way that a "Bothan spy" would be an A-list character in a Star Wars line.  

So to wrap up, I promise this is not a scare tactic or a roller coaster ride. The meters are 100% accurate and show the sub in level. Without hitting our goal, likely we will just release the first 4 figures and call it a day.We just can't keep these lines going without locked in support anymore.

Hope this helps. If anyone is not sub'ing in and you have a sepecific reason, please post here or over in Ask Matty MOTU/DC and I'll do all I can to address your questions.

Getting 2014 to happen will take all of us and a combined effort. No one wants to see MOTUC go away, but without the min number of sub holders, that is a very realistic possibilty. Not a scare tactic, not a marketing gimick, just us being as open and honest with our customers as possible!

Hope this helps! We can do this! I know we can! If everyone from 2011-2013 subs in we are golden. That is all it takes!

Scott


One of the things I do notice some fans saying, and will point out, is that many people seem to keep naming 2013 figures like Plundor and Nepthu as reasons they're not subscribing. Those guys are not int he 2014, FYI.
So, who wants to get together and get Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, and the kid who played Pig-boy to make a video to save the MOTUC 2014 subscriptionRemember, you can order your 2013 sub right here!


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