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Turtles May Win The Advertising Race For FOX BOX

The strategy for FOX BOX during the busy network upfront ad selling season is to make customized presentations for clients and advertising agencies instead of doing a mass meeting according to Daniel Barnathan, EVP of sales, marketing and promotion. AWN caught up with the marketing veteran in Los Angeles. Based in the FOX BOX/4Kids headquarters in New York City, Barnathan will be on the road through May, selling space for the programming block his company airs on the Fox TV network on Saturday mornings in the U.S. FOX BOX isn't really a network, but it is responsible for selling advertising time to support its programming and transmission. "There's a lot of interest in the advertising community in TURTLES," Barnathan said. FOX BOX launched a new animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES series on February 8, 2003. "TURTLE merchandise is selling really well right now," he said. "They are trying to tie-in with us early, before the thing takes off." The interest goes beyond media dollars, people are also discussing with him tie-ins, licensing and promotional deals. Barnathan said he believes people are betting on his company's track record. "The 4Kids team delivered POKÉMON and YU-GI-OH!, and made them into megahits. I think people believe that same team will do that with TURTLES." He says he's also getting a lot of interest in KINNIKUMAN: ULTIMATE MUSCLE and KIRBY. "KIRBY lives way beyond the TV screen," according to Barnathan, in merchandise, fast-food promotions and, for the past 16 years, as a video game. While responsible for sales, Barnathan constantly receives pitches and tapes plus advertisers will suggest developing their products into programming. "At least the way our company is set up," he said, "sales' perspective is a very important ingredient in making the decision as to whether we pick up a show or not. We listen and talk to everybody, whether it comes through me, or Al Kahn [chairman/CEO of 4Kids Entertainment] at the corporate level or Norman Grossfeld [president of 4Kids Prods.] at the programming level." Check out the schedule at www.foxboxtv.com.

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