Fox vid, Saban play

7-figure deal includes joint production pact

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has inked a multiyear deal to market, sell and distribute Saban Entertainment’s extensive library of titles. The seven-figure pact, which could generate more than $200 million in sales for the studio over its lifespan, also solidifies Fox’s position as one of the premier marketers of children’s homevideo.

The two firms have also entered into a joint production agreement to create products in the made-for-video marketplace.

The deal calls for the creation of a branded video line to release current and future Saban programs, with each video backed by a comprehensive marketing plan from Fox and supplemented by Saban’s expertise in licensing, promotions and merchandising.

“Our goal is to build a larger presence in the kids marketplace, and there is no better partner or proven leader in that arena than Saban,” Bob DeLellis, North America president of Fox Home Video, told Daily Variety. “This is a huge opportunity to build a brand that has significant longterm potential.”

The pact, which will cover a diverse contingent of kids programming from live action to animated fare, adds to Fox’s already formidable release slate, which includes the sell-through successes of “Independence Day” and “Waiting to Exhale,” and the success of “The X-Files” on video.

As a result, Fox Home Entertainment has gone from an also-ran to a top-notch competitor to the likes of Walt Disney and Universal.

‘Beetleborgs’ go video

The first release of an extensive Saban slate to be unveiled later this month includes “Beetleborgs,” a direct-to-video feature based on the top-rated kids TV strip.

The vid bow will be timed with a toy line launch by Bandai in the spring, and the title will be supported by a TV campaign and a national Fox Kids Network promotion.

Saban also has rights to Marvel animated series and educational vids such as “The Why Why Family.”

DeLellis said the studio will be “gearing up our marketing and sales teams to make a major retail statement with the products and programs. But we will be careful how we grow this line and probably take a less-is-more approach by taking the time to concentrate on each title.”

Fox Home Entertainment currently handles the popular “Goosebumps” video line, based on the children’s tomes. The series has sold more than 6 million units on just three vids.

“We look forward to a long-lasting and successful relationship with (Fox), one of the industry’s preeminent marketers of quality home entertainment products,” said Haim Saban, chairman and CEO of Saban. “Our increasing diversity of kid-targeted programming … will provide broad appeal on video.”

Saban is best known as the home to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but also counts among its fare “Life With Louie” and teen-driven “Sweet Valley High.”

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