A busy news day for IDW: As revealed in The Hollywood Reporter, the publisher confirmed that they are losing the licenses to Transformers and G.I. Joe at the end of the year. They will continue to publish comics based on Hasbro properties My Little Pony and Dungeons & Dragons, however.
In a statement provided to THR the publisher noted.
“At the end of 2022, IDW will bid a fond farewell to the publication of G.I. Joe and Transformers comic books and graphic novels. We’re exceedingly proud of our stewardship of these titles – 17 years with the Robots in Disguise and 14 years with A Real American Hero – and thank the legion of fans for their unwavering support, month in and month out. We’re also eternally grateful to every one of the talented creators who helped bring these characters to four-color life through our comics.”
IDW will soldier on through 2022 with a full slate of project for both franchises however, including the conclusion of the Transformers: Beast Wars series, followed by several minis and one-shots. G.I. Joe is going out in style with a 300th issue celebration.
THR previously reported that Skybound, home of The Walking Dead, was in talks to pick up both licenses. Skybound has been looking to boost it licensed comics publishing slate for a while.
Meanwhile, IDW also released its 4Q and 2021 earnings in an SEC filing. Short version: publishing revenue was up in 2021, led by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Last Ronin program. However, revenue from IDW Entertainment was down, without any significant media properties out there. Season two of Locke and Key revenue of about $4.2 million will be added to Q1 2022 however.
Publishing revenue rose to $25.3 million in 2021 from $23.9 million in 2020. IDWE revenue in 2021 was down to $7.1 million from $14.3 million in 2020.
Both segments were down in the fourth quarter.
IDW was also successful in uplisting its stock to the NYSE, along with raising $9.6 million in capital, as CEO Ezra Rosensaft highlighted in a statement:
“IDW made tremendous operational progress during fiscal 2021, strengthening our balance sheet, enhancing our management team, and uplisting to the NYSE American exchange. We enter fiscal 2022 positioned to drive growth through partnerships with talented creators. Together, we are developing best-in-class original content to leverage across our publishing and entertainment businesses.
“We are excited about the franchises we’re bringing to market on the entertainment side of our business highlighted by the recent announcement of our deal with Apple+ for ten episodes of our original live-action series Surfside Girls, which we will develop and produce in conjunction with Endeavor Content. During calendar year 2022, we expect to realize revenue upon delivery of season 3 of Locke & Key to Netflix and season 1 of Surfside Girls to Apple TV. Also, in the first quarter of FY 2022, we will recognize $4.2 million in revenue from season 2 of Locke & Key providing a nice lift as we start the year.
“As we move into fiscal 2022, we see robust opportunities to efficiently and profitably bring unique content to our platforms. We are scaling up to develop approximately 40 original titles annually, which is more than double the levels of previous years, and we continue to aggressively pursue new creators and titles. We now have the people, processes, cost discipline, and enhanced balance sheet to best leverage those properties, and are excited and energized for the year ahead.”
Surfside Girls is a middle grade graphic novel series by Kim Dwinell which combines spooky mysteries with beach life.
In light of the loss of the Hasbro licenses, IDW’s future plans would seem to include an increased focus on original titles, which can be developed for streaming media.