Saban Brands, a subsidiary of Saban Capital Group, was formed in 2010. Founder Haim Saban quickly brought Elie Dekel on board as president of Saban Brands. As many in the industry may remember, Dekel previously worked with Saban as president of Saban Consumer Products/Fox Family Worldwide. The first order of business was to re-acquire the Power Rangers property, which Saban had originally brought to the U.S. in 1993. The property was a powerhouse throughout the 1990s. The latest owner of the property was Disney, which acquired it when it purchased Fox Family Worldwide, a company Saban co-owned. Dekel discusses building Saban Brands’ portfolio and executive team, as well as the enduring Power Rangers, which has a new series—Power Rangers Samurai. It began airing on Nickelodeon on February 7.
Chris Adams: As you build Saban Brands, what are your criteria for acquiring brands?
Elie Dekel: At Saban Brands our mission is to acquire established consumer brands that elicit strong consumer loyalty. We look for brands that have authenticity and consumer appeal over time. These brands can span any category such as entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, and iconic personalities. We look to own, control, and manage these brands with a global view, strong transmedia content strategies, aggressive marketing and promotion, and strategic licensing.
C.A.: You have quite an extensive history with the Power Rangers, which Saban Brands recently acquired. How have the children’s programming and licensing markets changed since the first go around?
E.D.: When we first launched Power Rangers in 1993, we were in a very different scenario. Fox Kids was dominating kids’ TV with weekday afternoon and Saturday morning programming blocks. Nickelodeon was still emerging as, what was then, a new idea—a dedicated kids’ TV network. There was no internet, video games were in their infancy, and our target audience was kids 6–11. Today, Nickelodeon is the predominant force in kids’ television. Age compression has broadened our target audience (kids 4–10). But now we have a fan base spanning almost 20 years—we have fans in their teens and 20s. Some of our fans are now parents.
C.A.: What were your goals while assembling the Saban Brands executive team? What does this team bring to the table?
E.D.: In bringing together the Saban Brands management team, I was keenly focused on creating a world-class, industry leading operation. We needed experience and entrepreneurial talent combined with strong industry relationships. I’m so pleased and proud to say that we have accomplished exactly that. In addition to myself our executive team includes Nina Leong, senior vice-president, licensing; David Shuman, senior vice-president, finance; Brian Casentini, senior vice-president development and production; Rob Hughes, director, marketing; and Kirk Bloomgarden, senior vice-president, international licensing.
For more information on the Power Rangers brand, pick up the February issue of Toys & Family Entertainment at Toy Fair. Or read the February issue online at aNbMedia.com, which will be available by February 14.