Fox Family Worldwide has restructured its international licensing and merchandising division to accommodate the growth of the Fox Kids brand in Europe, and to build opportunities in the Australasia and Latin American regions. Ynon Kreiz, president of Fox Kids Europe, adds the title of president of Saban Merchandising Europe, and will continue to operate out of London. Kreiz is looking to bring on a managing director of the new division later this year.
Expect more pan-European coordination of licensing and merchandising activities, says Kreiz, as the move will allow the four local L&M offices in Europe-in the U.K., France, Italy and Germany-to work more closely with Fox Kids channels in their markets. The new division will develop licensing and merchandising activities for the Fox Kids brand, Saban properties and third-party properties, including acquired programs that air on the European Fox Kids channels or other properties.
Previously, the four offices reported to L.A.-based Saban Enterprises International, headed by Michel Welter as president. With the introduction of Saban Merchandising Europe, Welter’s title changes to president of Saban Enterprises, Australasia and Latin America, which will oversee the licensing and merchandising activities of Saban International in these territories, and will be based out of L.A. The new structure will be implemented on July 1.
Currently, there are 13 full-service channels in Europe airing 12 to 15 hours of programming a day, and Kreiz expects to launch new channels in seven countries by the start of the summer, and in 16 countries by the end of 1999. Most recently, Fox Kids added a 12-hour daily channel in Russia on NTV Plus digital DTH platform last month. To date, there are dedicated cable and satellite channels in nearly 50 countries outside the U.S.
In related Fox Family Worldwide news, Fox Kids France has acquired 104 half-hour episodes of Pokémon from Lacey Entertainment, with an option to purchase another 52 eps currently in production. The series is scheduled for broadcast this fall. In the U.S., Fox Family Channel has picked up 13 half-hours of Miami 7 from BBC Worldwide, to air this fall. The children’s musical comedy is aimed at kids ages nine to 14 and stars pop band S Club 7, which travels to Miami for a shot at fame. The series is produced by U.K.-based Initial Kids for BBC Television.