The Largest Media Franchise in the World

By: Thomas Horvath

There are many popular media franchises, but some are larger than others. Many franchises start off as a particular type of media, such as television or movies, but branch out into other markets. An example of this would be Mickey Mouse. Starting off as animated shorts, the brand has expanded far beyond that, making almost all profit from the merchandise surrounding the mouse. However, Mickey Mouse is not even ranked in the top three franchises of all time, in fact, he’s not even the highest-ranked Disney character either. That would go to the Winnie the Pooh brand, which is worth roughly $75 billion. But which franchise is the bestselling? That would be Pokémon. 

Pokémon is estimated to be worth more than $95 billion in total during its 26 years as a brand. While starting off as a successful video game series, that’s not where its largest profit comes from. The games only make up about twenty percent of the total profit of the franchise, and the card game makes a little less than ten percent. The biggest seller comes from merchandise. Things such as stuffed animals, clothing items, and even keychains contribute to more than half of the company’s profit. Just merchandise of Pikachu alone has made more than most franchises would in a year.    If there’s anything to take away from these studies, it’s that most companies will start off as a smaller form of media but won’t make huge revenue until they start making merchandise. If Pokémon had just stuck to games, or if Mickey Mouse stuck to animated shorts, then they would probably never be as successful as they are today. This also reveals how cute, animated characters end up being much more popular with merchandise than live-action or adult-oriented franchises and characters. This is most likely due to the fact that animated characters also appeal to a huge child demographic while other franchises typically don’t. If children weren’t in the demographic, these companies probably wouldn’t be making as much as they are today.

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