Kahn is a leading figure in the licensing industry, responsible
for many of its biggest hits, including Pokémon, Cabbage
Patch Kids and Yu-Gi-Oh! A pioneer in identifying trends
in Japanese popular culture and adapting them to a global audience,
he pitched and won a four hour programming block on Fox called Fox
Box running Saturdays 8 am to 12 noon while Sollitto has been
driving Warner Brothers Consumer Products’s initiatives globally.
The biggest trend driving the business according to Kahn is the
fact that you have to be multimedia. “You have to aggregate content
everywhere for kids– be it for television, the computer in the form
of flash animation or in retail sales,” he pointed out. “You have
to maximise revenues. The next most important trend is that you
have produce programming that follows children’s play patterns or
leads to them. Boys emulate what their cartoon heroes. So create
content that leads to play patterns – in fact it is what drives
the business.” he added.
He also pointed out that his company is responsible for more than
$18 billion in retail sales, across the various elements of the
vertically integrated value chain.
Sollitto’s take on the biggest trend was the reduction in attention
spans that the kids programming business is witnessing. “A decade
ago, the attention span used to run five years, now if it runs a
couple of years you can consider yourself lucky,” he pointed out.
“You have to constantly produce new product or revitalise the product.”
Kahn differed from Sollitto in that the kids programming business
today has evolved to mean that you have to deal with it show by
show. “Kids respond to their heroes, their shows. They do not respond
to corporate brands. You have to make them eat their favourites,
watch them, drink them, sleep them, anything you can do with your
property. Entertain kids at every level while you make money,” Kahn
Sollitto said partnering with Warner brings many benefits to the
table. “While the kids animation business is tough and we are all
crying, the good news is Warner Brothers is thriving. To our partners
we bring what has been associated with Warner Brothers for the past
80 years, content, branding icons and assets, and relationships
in the areas of toys, retail and promotions we have forged globally,”
Kahn highlighted the new shows that 4Kids is planning to roll out
or has rolled our recently. These include Shaman King, Sonic
XT, Funky Cops, Winx Club, Magical Do Re Mi
as well as new episodes of returning shows Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles, Kirby: Right Back At Ya! and Ultimate
Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy.
He said that his company had done very well in creating the phenomenon
of trading in playing cards of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and other characters.
“There is great potential and we would like to explore it every
inch of the way.”