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Headline News Entara Ltd. Becomes Parthenon Ent.

U.K. rights company Entara Ltd. has adopted the Parthenon Ent. Group name, as of January 2008. All Entara's properties, including MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, DOMO, the PUPPY IN MY POCKET toy brands, HABBO, JAKERS! and THOSE SCURVY RASCALS, will be managed within a Parthenon Ent. Group structure, which includes both a factual and children's IP portfolio.

Headline News Rainmaker Post & Visual Effects Become Deluxe Vancouver Ltd.

Deluxe completed its previously announced acquisition of Rainmaker Income Fund's post-production and vfx business in Vancouver and its vfx operation in London. The divisions have been renamed Deluxe Vancouver Ltd., which is a division of Deluxe Ent. Services Group Inc.

The acquisition does not include Rainmaker's animation business in Vancouver.

Headline News HD DVD Promotion Group Responds to WB Blu-ray Decision

The companies of the HD DVD Promotion Group issued a statement in response to the decision by Warner Home Video to exclusively back the Blu-ray format:

"While Warner's decision is a setback for HD DVD, the consumer has benefited from HD DVD's commitment to quality and affordability -- a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format. We believe widespread adoption of a next-generation format will ultimately be determined by the consumer."

A planned Sunday press conference at CES was cancelled, with the HD DVD Promotion Group stating:

Headline News PlayStation Hardware Sales Exceed 3.9M During Holidays

Sony Computer Ent. America (SCEA) announced PlayStation hardware retail sales for SCEA's three systems -- PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation 2 -- reached more than 3.9 million units in North America during the holiday sales window (Friday, Nov. 23 to Dec. 31, 2007). PS3 retail sales reached 1.2 million units and PSP sales reached 1.4 million units during the period.

Headline News Gaumont Acquires Alphanim

Venerable French film company Gaumont has bought top animation producer Alphanim, with details of the deal expected to be announced next week, reports C21 MEDIA.

Alphanim founder and CEO Christian Davin said that the partnership would allow his company "to establish synergies with Gaumont, for instance, in the theatrical business, in producing more animated feature films" and to expand into producing multi-platform content, as well as enhancing its licensing and distribution activities.

Headline News China To Crack Down on Web Content

China will institute new rules at the end of the month that limit the broadcast of video or audio content on the Internet to state-run sites, BLOOMBERG NEWS and THE NEW YORK TMES report. Beginning Jan. 31, only government-run entities will be licensed to disseminate material, which may not promote sex, violence, gambling, or religious cults, or reveal state secrets.

Headline News 1C Company Acquires Russian Game Firm Ino-Co

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 26, 2007 at 12:00am

1C Company, the leading Eastern and Central European game publisher, officially announced that it has completed a deal to purchase leading Russian developer Ino-Co, the creator of the award-winning titles STAR WOLVES and FANTASY WARS. In conjunction with the purchase, 1C has increased its number of internal studios and recruited a team of highly experienced professionals.

Headline News DQE Profits from IPO

Leading animation production company DQ Ent. Ltd. has raised $56 million through its listing on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market, reports ANIMATION XPRESS. The funds will be used primarily for the expansion of production facilities in India and of global sales & distribution networks, investment in partnerships, European acquisitions, and joint ventures.

Headline News Technicolor & DreamWorks To Produce Indian Animation

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 12:00am

Thomson SA, the parent of Technicolor Services, announced it has signed an agreement with DreamWorks Animation to produce animated films in India. Financial details were not disclosed.

Thomson said the partnership would center on the Paprikaas Animated Film Studio in Bangalore, which the French group invested in this past February.

Thomson said it aims to become the world leader in postproduction services for animated films.

Headline News VES To Launch White Paper Program in 2008

The Visual Effects Society (VES) will launch a new white paper program beginning in 2008 to better service and educate the entertainment industry on the practice and business of VFX. The first paper, titled "The State of VFX," is due out in March and will cover the industry transition to a digital-dominated production paradigm and how it is being driven by rapid changes in technology. Other issues addressed are economic and creative and how they all affect each other.

Headline News NVIDIA Acquires mental images

Undoubtedly with an eye on next-gen game development, NVIDIA has acquired Berlin-based mental images, whose core product is the Academy Award-winning photorealistic rendering software, mental ray. So imagine realtime rendering with raytracing, ambient occlusion and more on NVIDIA-equipped workstations.

Headline News NBCU Realigns Global Networks

NBC Universal Global Networks today unveiled an integrated organizational structure, following the acquisition of Sparrowhawk Media in October. The organization has been realigned over the past weeks in order to support the growth of NBCU's globally recognized channel brands - Sci Fi, 13th Street, Universal Channel, Studio Universal, the international Hallmark channels, Diva TV, Movies 24 and a stake in KidsCo.

Headline News Quietmen Acquired by ACK Media

Popular children's brand ACK Media has recently acquired Bangalore-based animation and gaming studio Quietmen Studios, reports ANIMATION XPRESS.The studio has changed its name to Katha Studios and will develop products for a variety of platforms based on new and old properties.

Headline News GDH Brings Anime to China Via Internet Joint Venture

GDH K.K. has created a joint venture in Shanghai with Shenzhen Leaguer DTV Co., Ltd. and its affiliate company Ningbo Success Multi-Media Communication Co., Ltd. to distribute Japanese content over the Internet. Tentatively called Leaguer Gonzo Culture & Entertainment Corp., the company will provide anime content to Ningbo Success's video distribution portal, which, for a monthly flat rate, will offer users a new channel to enjoy GONZO titles and various other content that GDH manages. Leaguer Gonzo Culture & Entertainment Corp.

Headline News DQ Ent. Opens High-Tech City

DQ Ent. Ltd. has opened a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, reports ANIMATION EXPRESS. The high-tech facility boasts the most advanced IT infrastructure for an animation studio in South Asia. The 18,000-square-foot facility will produce feature films, DVDs, TV series, visual effects and video games. It contains high-end workstations, clustered storage subsystems networked with fully redundant gigabit switching and large broadband connectivity.

Headline News Increased Tax Credits To Help Ontario Production

Beginning next month, major production centers including Toronto and Ottawa will benefit from an additional C$10 million (US$9.8 million) in tax credits, reports C21 MEDIA. The Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit for domestic productions will increase from 30 % to 35%, while the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit for foreign productions made in the province will increase from 18% to 25%. The action will support the more than 30,000 people who work directly in the entertainment industry in Ontario.

Headline News DreamWorks Announces Share Repurchase Program

DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program of $150 million of the Company's outstanding shares of Class A common stock. Under the new program, the Company may purchase shares in the open market, in block trades or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing and actual number of shares purchased may depend on a variety of factors, such as price, regulatory requirements, corporate considerations, alternative investment opportunities and other market conditions.

Headline News European Commission Approves Tax Credits for Game Production

Following a year-long inquiry, the European Commission has accepted a French proposal to grant tax credits specifically dedicated to videogame production. The measure, which could take effect as early as Jan. 1, 2008, signals the EC's recognition of videogames as a cultural industry.

Headline News Digital Domain Files IPO

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 12:00am

Digital Domain has filed an initial public offering that could earn the visual effects company $100 million. In its filing, the company stated the money earned would go to "expanding our technology development and licensing program and attempting to enter into the production of animated and visual effects-driven feature films and the development and production of video games."

Headline News Impossible Expands to the North

London-based Impossible Pictures has acquired Manchester animation company Firestep, enabling the company to explore new ways to approach factual and drama, as well as tapping opportunities in the children's market. Co-founded by Steve Maher and Jonathan Doyle, Firestep is best known for its work on "The Infinite Quest," an animated DR. WHO adventure for the BBC.

Headline News Film Fest Wins Free Speech Lawsuit

The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF), North America's oldest film festival showcasing independent and experimental films, announced today that it has settled a federal lawsuit, filed by the ACLU on its behalf, against the State of Michigan. In exchange for the state legislature repealing unconstitutional restrictions on arts funding, the AAFF and ACLU agreed to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit.

Headline News Atari Announces Further Restructuring Initiatives, Dispute Resolution

Atari, Inc. has announced the completion of several restructuring initiatives focused on repositioning the company as a publisher and distributor of interactive gaming software, transitioning it out of the video game production business and potentially improving its financial position.

Headline News Imagi Secures Additional Funding

Imagi International Holdings Ltd. announced the placement of HK$406 million in convertible bonds to finance production of its future films, including ASTRO BOY and GATCHAMAN, both scheduled for release in 2009. The lead investor is Singapore-based Oxley Capital Group, with other investors including CQS Capital (London) and Winnington Capital (Hong Kong). The films will be distributed globally by Warner Bros. and The Weinstein Co.

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