Popularity of Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and Sherlock has helped push sales of the firm's licensed portfolio.

TV drama proves great for Gibsons Games

Following the launch of its new Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife jigsaws, Gibsons has found that small screen hits translate to big sales.

NPD currently tracks games and puzzles as being up nine per cent in value in year to date, and Gibsons has seen the acclaimed TV dramas help boost both its licensed and non-licensed titles.

“Following the success of recent television dramas such as Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey, sales of licensed jigsaw puzzles are on the rise,” said Gibsons marketing assistant Samantha Goodburn.

“Gibsons premiered the first Downton Abbey jigsaws in 2011, and they have enjoyed a steady increase in year on year sales, which is no surprise given the success of the international show.”

Gibsons MD Nick Wright added: “We could have never predicted the excitement that surrounded Downton Abbey.

“We enjoyed the immediate success with the puzzles that depicted the first series, but were unsure whether it would still be a hit in years to come.

“We did not have to worry – the 1,000-piece was John Lewis’ best selling puzzle in 2011 and with recent strong category growth in the multi-box jigsaws, we are really excited by the prospects for our new range this season.”

The latest TV drama to join Gibsons’ portfolio is Call the Midwife, and the firm is confident that the jigsaws
will prove just as popular as the show.

“We have high hopes for our newest licensed jigsaws,” said Wright. “The images are bright and happy and with two jigsaws to choose from, the 500-piece or the 1,000-piece, our puzzlers can enjoy and relive their favourite show.”

Gibsons also believes that the demographic of puzzle players, and the primary audience of the shows, match up perfectly.

“Puzzling is predominantly a female pastime and demographics reveal that by the second series of Downton Abbey, female viewership (aged 35-49) was up 145 per cent; so it’s no surprise that television drama themed puzzles and games are a success,” Goodburn told ToyNews.

“Call the Midwife also has a high female following, as well as a strong appeal to viewers aged 70 and above, who will remember the 1950s post-war conditions that are portrayed in the drama and feel a personal connection to the characters.”

Certain small screen hits have even helped push titles that have no officially licensed link to the property as seen with Gibsons’ 221b Baker Street and BBC’s Sherlock and Guy Richie’s big screen adaptations.

“221b Baker Street has always been a favourite in bringing families together in a race to solve their case first. But the Sherlock Holmes phenomenon received a real boost following the BBC’s contemporary series in 2010 and the 2009 films featuring Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law,” added Goodburn.

“A renewal of awareness and love for the famous detective was generated, reminding all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great stories, and encouraging fans of the novels and the modern adaptations to search through the streets and alleys of London to pick up clues in an attempt to solve the most intriguing cases Holmes and Watson have ever faced.”

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