ENTERTAINMENT LICENSING: LOOKING AT THE LANDSCAPE AND ITS FUTURE
Wednesday, June 13
8:30am - 10:00am
MODERATOR: MICHAEL POLIS President, W!LDBRAIN Entertainment EVP Branded Entertainment & Consumer Products, DHX Media
Michael Polis is President, W!LDBRAIN Entertainment and EVP, Branded Entertainment & Consumer Products, DHX Media. In addition to overseeing global operations for W!LDBRAIN Entertainment, he leads DHX Media’s international licensing activities. Polis joined W!LDBRAIN as the studio’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in June, 2007. As CMO, Polis led and supervised unprecedented global marketing and licensing efforts on behalf of W!LDBRAIN’s entertainment assets, including the groundbreaking series “Yo Gabba Gabba!” W!LDBRAIN Entertainment develops television, feature film, short-form programming and product and brand licensing initiatives on behalf of the studio’s intellectual property.
Prior to joining W!LDBRAIN in 2007, Polis served as Senior Vice President of Marketing Worldwide at The Jim Henson Company, overseeing global strategic marketing initiatives for the entire Henson library, including “The Muppets,” “Fraggle Rock” and “Labryrinth.” Polis received an Emmy nomination as an executive producer on "Kermit's Swamp Years." Before Henson, Polis was Executive Director of Marketing at Universal Home Entertainment, managing marketing of the home video catalog and releases such as "E.T.," "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" and "The Land Before Time."Polis serves as a member of the executive committee for the Children’s Programming Peer Group of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is also a member of the Producer’s Guild of America’s new media group.
He holds an M.B.A. from Northeastern University and resides in Los Angeles with his family.
Elie Dekel is President of Saban Brands. In this role, Elie oversees the development of the Firm’s licensing, merchandising and intellectual property opportunities in the U.S. and internationally.
Most recently, Elie served as head of Licensing and Merchandising for 20th Century Fox, where he headed the worldwide licensing, promotion and consumer products marketing for many of their film and television ventures, including The Simpsons, Family Guy and Ice Age, among others.
Prior to that, Elie worked as an Agent at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), specializing in content creation and marketing, brand integration and licensing for several of the Agency’s clients such as retailer Kmart and toy giant Hasbro. And previously, Elie was President of Saban Consumer Products/Fox Family Worldwide, where he oversaw the company’s worldwide marketing and branding efforts.
CINDY LEVITT VP – General Merchandise Manager
Hot Topic Inc.
Cindy Levitt rejoined national teen trend retailer Hot Topic Inc. in January as VP-General Merchandise Manager. She has more than 30 years of experience in retail operations, licensing and marketing. Cindy spent nine years as a merchant at May Department Stores (May LA) and The John Lewis Partnership in London, England.
In 1989, she was the first employee hired at Hot Topic. Hot Topic, which went public in 1996, now has 629 stores. Cindy wore numerous hats in her initial 17-year tenure at Hot Topic, culminating in Vice President of General Merchandise and Vice President of Music, Licensing and Marketing; she is well known for her legacy developing novelty and music licensing in the retail marketplace. In June 2008, Cindy became the CEO of Now and Zen Productions, which merged with Headline Entertainment in 2010; both companies specialized in licensed apparel.
In addition to her retail activities, Cindy is the co-creator and Executive Producer of The Scream Awards, an annual award show featuring the best of Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Comic Books on Viacom's Spike TV.
DELL FURANO CEO
Live Nation Merchandise
Dell Furano is the CEO of Live Nation Merchandise based in Los Angeles California.
Furano has had a extensive career in the music, entertainment and sports merchandising, branding and licensing industries.
After graduating from Stanford University in the mid 1970’s, Furano partnered with the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham to co-found Winterland Productions, the leading merchandising and licensing company in the beginning days of the concert industry.
Furano is best known for being the leader and pioneer in developing the worldwide music artist merchandising and licensing industry. He has worked closely in developing merchandisng and licencing programs for Madonna, The Beatles, KISS, Bruce Springsteen, U2, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson, Shakira, Barbara Streisand, The Who, Aerosmith and many others
Winterland Productions was acquired by CBS Records in 1985 and subsequently by MCA/Universal in 1988. In 1993, Mr. Furano became the founding CEO of Sony Signatures, Sony Corporation’s powerhouse entertainment, merchandising, licensing, and consumer products division.
In 1998 Furano directed and managed Sony Entertainment’s highly successful licensing program for World Cup Soccer France 1998.
In 1999 Furano founded Signatures Network and expanded into the official artist’s website and e-commerce business.
Live Nation acquired Signatures Network in January 2008.
Furano lives in Beverly Hills California with his wife, Kym, and his family.