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Headline News Sojitsu Holding Takes Stake in Klockworx

Trading house Sojitsu Holding is set to take 17% of distribution company Klockworx, reports VARIETY. Sojitsu hopes to develop and market content for the international market, including live-action films and animation. Sojitsu will buy current Klockworx shares and will not participate in Klockworx management.

"We plan to set up a project team between our two companies to discuss areas of cooperation," Klockworx vp Itaru Fujimoto said.

Headline News San Bernadino County Libraries Pull Manga History Book

Bill Postmus, chairman of the board of supervisors of suburban San Bernadino County, California, has ordered the county's libraries to remove the scholarly text, MANGA: SIXTY YEARS OF JAPANESE COMICS, from circulation, reports ICv2.com. On the county's website, he called the book obscene and added, "that book is absolutely inappropriate for a public library and as soon as I was made aware of it yesterday, I ordered it to be removed immediately."

Headline News Massive CEO Claims Gaming Ads To Reach Nearly $2B by 2010

During the keynote address delivered at the 2nd annual Advertising in Games conference in New York, Massive Inc. ceo Mitch Davis predicted that ad spending on in-game advertising will reach between a $1.6 and $1.8 billion in the U.S. by 2010, accounting for roughly 3% of total media spending, reports MEDIAWEEK. In comparison to previous estimates, Davis' claim is far larger than forecasts issued by both JupiterResearch and The Yankee Group last year.

Headline News SEGA Acquires Notable San Francisco-Based Developer

SEGA Holdings U.S.A. Inc. has acquired acclaimed developer Secret Level Inc. to establish new internal development arm in North America. Founded in 1999 and headed by Jeremy Gordon, San Francisco-based Secret Level is a leading videogame developer well-known in the industry for developing cutting-edge next-generation technology.

The Secret Level, Inc. development studio will continue to operate out of its current office in San Francisco.

Headline News IEMA & VSDA Form One Trade Group

The Interactive Entertainment Merchants Assoc. (IEMA) and the Video Software Dealers Assoc. (VSDA) have voted to merge into a single trade association to represent the retailers and distributors of video and videogame products. The merger will bring together mass merchants, video specialty stores, videogame specialty retailers, online merchants, electronics retailers, entertainment combo stores, and others that retail and wholesale DVDs, console videogames and computer videogames.

Headline News Pharos Capital Invests $8 Million in Reel FX

Pharos Capital Group LLC of Nashville and Dallas, has invested $8 million in Reel FX Inc. Based in Dallas, privately held Reel FX provides computer-generated 3D animation and visual effects in the broadcast, feature film, computer and videogame and advertising industries. The company also specializes in the development, production and brand management of family-friendly programming and has a number of active projects including feature films, television and direct-to-DVD series.

Headline News Superboy Ruling Throws Smallville Rights Into Limbo

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that the WB's SMALLVILLE may be infringing on the copyrights held on the Superboy character by the widow and daughter of Jerome Siegel, creator of the comicbook series, reports VARIETY. The March 23 summary judgment by Judge Ronald S.W. Lew also found that Joanne Siegel and Laura Siegel Larson had successfully recaptured the Superboy rights as of Nov. 17, 2004.

Headline News Supreme Court Refuses VeggieTales Case

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear an appeal in the case over the sales of VEGGIETALES DVDs and other products.

In the case, Lyrick Studios sued Big Idea Prods., claiming that Big Idea had breached their agreement giving Lyrick exclusive license to distribute the children's cartoons. In 2003, a Dallas jury agreed with Lyrick, stating that the companies had an agreement and a two-year working relationship that was in effect a contract, even though a contract wasn't formally signed.

Headline News Sony’s UMD Format Dying Off

With its year anniversary upon us, PSPs proprietary Universal Media Disc may soon be a home entertainment avenue of the past, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Universal Studios Home Ent., Paramount Pictures Home Ent. and Image Ent. have stopped releasing titles on the UMD format while retailers are shrinking the amount of shelf space they've been devoting to UMD movies. Rumors are abuzz that Wal-Mart will soon discontinue the sale of UMDs completely. Moreover, Buena Vista Home Ent. and 20th Century Fox Home Ent. have significantly pulled back on their UMD release schedules.

Headline News SAG Toons In More Residuals For Cable VO Actors

SAG and industry producers have tentatively come to terms on a new basic cable animation contract, which increases residual payments by 20%, reports the trades.

Word came down on Monday the same day that negotiating resumed on a separate live-action basic cable series contract. SAG has already mentioned a strike if they dont get an acceptable raise in residuals.

Both contracts were last negotiated 16 years ago when cable TV was a relatively new.

Headline News Hacker Attack Brings Down Animation Websites

By Joe Strike | Tuesday, March 28, 2006 at 12:00am

At the tail end of 2005, a computer hacker calling himself "the Persian Fox" began attacking hundreds of U.S. websites, including scores run by animation companies.

You keep abusing, Islams almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech reads the onscreen message (including the misplaced comma) that replaced the sites regular content. The majority of sites hacked, however, have no connection to the recent uproar over Danish cartoons belittling Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

Headline News Dell to Purchase Alienware

Dell has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Alienware to further satisfy the growing number of consumers and businesses, including those used for gaming and multimedia digital content management. Terms of the planned purchase will not be disclosed.

Headline News IBM Enters Deals to Spur Innovation in Gaming & Animation

IBM announced it is joining forces with Hoplon Infotainment, Online Game Services Inc. and RenderRocket under separate agreements to help them innovate in the gaming and animation industries. IBM is working with small and medium gaming companies around the world to empower innovative business models.

Headline News Disney’s Circle 7 Shutters, Lay Offs To Come

With rumors swirling since the Pixar purchase, Walt Disney Co., on March 20, 2006, shuttered its Circle 7 unit, which was dedicated to producing sequels to Pixar films.

A company spokesperson said, Due to changes in our animation business, a substantial number of artists and staff from Circle 7 will be moving into Walt Disney Feature Animation. For those artists without a Feature Animation assignment, we will be assisting them in finding new employment.

Headline News GDH & Goldman Sachs Team on Toon Fund

Japanese animation firm GDH is setting up a $43 million content fund with the Japan office of Goldman Sachs, reports VARIETY. GDH will issue share warrants to Jupiter Investment, a local Goldman Sachs affiliate. Goldman Sachs will sequentially consider investing in a content fund to be run by GDH Capital, a GDH group company, and GDH.

The fund will give production financing for animated content in TV, direct-to-video, features and online games, targeted at international audiences.

Headline News Viacom to Sell DreamWorks Film Library For $900M

Soros Strategic Partners LP and Dune Ent. II Llc., an affiliate of Dune Capital Management LP, have signed a definitive agreement with Viacom Inc. to purchase the film library of Paramount Pictures' DreamWorks Llc. in a transaction that values the film library at $900 million. The library sale, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in April. The transaction completes the second stage of the DreamWorks acquisition.

Headline News AOL & Warner Bros. Launch First Broadband Television Network

AOL and Warner Bros. announced the launch of In2TV, the first broadband television network, on AOL.com. The network offers the largest collection of free on-demand TV shows on the Web, including full episodes of favorite Warner Bros. programs from the past 40 years, such as WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, CHICO & THE MAN, GROWING PAINS, KUNG FU, LOIS & CLARK, as well as animated series, along with interactive features and viral videos that enable audiences to experience and interact with television programming in a new way.

Headline News Russian Nival Interactive Opens U.S. Headquarters

In a first ever move for an Eastern European game company, Nival Interactive Inc. announced it has established its global headquarters in the U.S. and recruited an executive management team comprised of American videogame industry professionals, including Kevin Bachus, co-creator of Microsofts Xbox, as ceo. The changes are part of the companys plan to expand in the computer, video and mobile game markets by offering its partners superior products with global commercial appeal at a significantly lower production cost.

Headline News ibanana integrated media Launches in Canada

Industry exec Michael Hefferon, announced the official launch of ibanana integrated media inc., an entertainment company he heads dedicated to developing and producing integrated content for television, web, mobile and gaming platforms.

Responding to industry demand for dynamic content with digital media convergence, ibanana has developed a concept that utilizes the strengths and applications of each platform to develop inherent synergies.

Headline News Animation Guild Negotiates Three-Year Contract With Producers

The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE, has reached agreement with the animation producers on a three-year collective bargaining agreement, effective Aug. 1, 2006 to July 31, 2009. The Animation Guilds negotiating committee has unanimously recommended ratification to the Guild (TAG, animationguild.org) membership.

Headline News New Element Design Studio Formed

Looking to offer clients a more complete creative experience creative director John Yu and Paul Goldman (founder/creative director of music house Ear Goo) have launched Element, a new design studio offering clients first class motion graphics, visual effects and 2D/3D animation.

Headline News BAFTA’s Third Arm Goes To Games

The growing importance of videogames to entertainment culture has been recognized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which has elevated the sector to become an equal to those for Film and Television. Champions of the moving image, BAFTA seeks to reward artistic and creative innovation within videogames, as one of the principal contemporary art forms.

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