Managing Asia

Managing Asia

The television is far from dead: Media mogul

Reported by Christine Tan, Written by Ansuya Harjani
Haim Saban: Looking at Asia for M&A deals

The rise of on-demand content consumption on mobile platforms has led some to predict the death of the living room television - however, media mogul Haim Saban couldn't disagree more.

Traditional TV will continue to be the "basis" of content consumption for years to come, said Saban, chairman and CEO, Saban Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm focused on media, entertainment, and communications assets.

"I'm predicting that people will continue watching both linear TV, on-demand, over-the-top, on their mobile devices, through their X-boxes. The more devices that can show video that generates revenue for content owners, the merrier," Saban said on CNBC's Managing Asia.

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"You'll be surprised to hear that in the first quarter, advertising revenue on free TV in the U.S. grew 21 percent – it tells you free TV is alive and well and kicking," he added.

Saban is well-known as the man who brought the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" Japanese TV series to America.

The series debuted in 1993 and remains one of the top-rated and longest-running boys' live-action series in television history.

Datacraft | Getty Images

The spandex-wearing, martial arts superheroes are getting ready for the big screen. This week, Saban Brands - a subsidiary of Saban Capital Group - announced it was teaming up with Hollywood's largest independent film studio, Lionsgate, to develop a Power Rangers movie.

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Discussing the series' longevity, he said, "This is the only show I know that keeps the same basic fundamentals of good versus evil in a fun way but changes everything else. We changed the actors [and] costumes monsters, so it has built in structurally the ability to renew itself while staying true to the original franchise."

Saban, a self-made billionaire who made his fortune from children's television and investing in broadcast companies from the U.S. to Germany, is in the process of expanding his empire to Asia.

In 2012, Saban Capital teamed up with Lionsgate and Astro – owner of Celestial Pictures — to create Celestial Tiger Entertainment, a company that operates branded TV channels and produces content in Asia. In the previous year, it acquired a minority stake in Indonesia's largest media company PT Media Nusantara Citra (MNC), which it raised in 2013.

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The company is exploring potential investments in telecommunications, pay TV and e-commerce in Asia, said Saban.

"At the moment in Asia, we're looking very seriously and negotiating with four opportunities that we hope will come to fruition in the telecommunications area," he said.