4Kids Entertainment–Al Kahn, CEO
2001 was the year of the launch for 4Kids, with robot-centric property Cubix debuting at Toy Fair in February and on Kids’ WB! August 11, ranking number one among boys two to 11 and number two with girls six to 11. Anime property Yu-gi-oh! is also posting winning results on Kids’ WB! The show is currently ranked number one in its time slot with boys two to 11 (3.8/16) and boys six to 11 (3.6/18).
Entertainment Rights–Jane Smith, managing director of the rights division
Entertainment Rights added 440 hours of kids TV fare and strengthened its in-house licensing division with the March acquisition of London-based agency Link Licensing. September’s interim results (for the period that ended June 30, 2001) indicate a 133% rise in turnover over the same period in 2000.
Marvel Entertainment–Bill Jemas, COO
Marvel opened Q1 with a commitment to ‘non-traditional’ licensing agreements for its roster of comic properties, attributing a Q1 133% increase in the licensing division’s net sales (to US$5.4 million) to deals such as a multi-year SFX Motor Sports Group agreement to create Marvel-themed monster trucks for the Monster Jam circuit. Licensing sales continued to rise–to US$11.2 million–in Q2.
New Line Cinema–Dave Imhoff, executive VP of worldwide licensing and merchandising
New Line shook up the trilogy licensing mix in 2001 with a plan to target older kids (ages seven and up) with the Q4 release of Lord of the Rings, and use the LOTR DVD/video release six months later to percolate interest among the younger demo–kids ages four to seven–that many licensees were interested in.
Nickelodeon–Leigh Anne Brodsky, senior VP of consumer products
Nick tapped into new age demos with preschool properties Blue’s Clues and SpongeBob SquarePants spawning tween merch lines at Hot Topic. Baby product manufacturers also clued into Blue in 2001, with Crown Crafts and Baby Boom shipping infant lines this spring.
Saban Consumer Products–Elie Dekel, president
Integrated promotions were the key to Saban’s 2001 success, highlighted by the Power Rangers Time Force Time Blaster Tour, traveling to more than 40 Toys ‘R’ Us stores in the U.S. from May to October 2001. The virtual reality ride/tour drew over 1,000 fans per day, and TRU has reported an approximate 270% sales increase in the property’s retail line since the launch of the tour.
Santoro Graphics–Meera Santoro, co-founder
Santoro ventured into the realm of media-driven properties in 2001, with Fox Family Channel optioning tween graphic brands Flux Deluxe and Atomic Babes–both currently in development for 2002 as animated series for tweens.
The Joester Loria Group–Debra Joester, president and CEO, and Joanne Loria, VP
The Joester Loria Group upped its kid rep this year, signing on to represent teen graphic property Wanna B in April and American Greetings’ classic property Care Bears in October.