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Category: Business

Headline News Weinsteins Take 70% of Genius Products

At a special meeting on July 21, 2006, Genius Products Inc. stockholders approved a deal that will see The Weinstein Co. Llc. control 70% of the company.

Under the terms of the transaction, Genius Products will retain 30% of the firm. The board of directors also increased from four to six members with the addition of two TWC execs, Larry Madden, evp/cfo of TWC, and Irwin Reiter, evp of accounting and financial reporting of TWC.

Headline News Nina Jacobson Replaced as Part of Disney Restructuring

Nina Jacobson is out and marketing head Oren Aviv is in as president of production, Walt Disney Pictures, as chairman Dick Cook announced the anticipated restructuring and downsizing of The Walt Disney Studios. Aviv will oversee the live-action development and film production slate.

Thus, there will be a strategic shift toward more Disney branded movies aimed at global synergy across all entertainment platforms. The studio will produce and distribute approximately 10 Disney live-action and animated films a year and two to three Touchstone films a year.

Headline News Avid Acquires CAT Assets

Avid Technology Inc. has purchased the intellectual property assets of Character Animation Technologies Ltd. Those assets will be managed by Avid subsidiary, Softimage Co. Softimage will continue to provide the same sales, support and services that were available from CAT in the past and CAT customers will continue to have the same sales and support contacts as they have had in the past. In addition, CATs cto, Philip Taylor, has joined the Softimage team in Montreal, bringing his expertise and knowledge to contribute to our future vision for character animation

Headline News Ubisoft Acquires Drive Franchise From Atari & Reflections Interactive Ltd. Asset

Ubisoft has obtained the rights from Atari, Inc. and Reflections Interactive Ltd. to the intellectual property and technology rights to DRIVER, the world acclaimed franchise, as well as most of the assets and all of the personnel of Reflections Interactive Ltd.

The acquisition will be completed for a cash price of approximately $24 million. Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in Ubisofts second quarter of fiscal 2007.

Headline News Animation An Outlet For Victimized Children, A Tool For Research

Sharon Tettegah, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been studying the use of animation as an outlet for victimized children and for a new research method that tests the empathy of teachers who may deal with them.

Tettegah believes so strongly in the value of animation specifically "animated narrative vignette simulations" that she sought out a computer science professor at Illinois, Brian Bailey, to help develop her concept for a child-friendly program for producing them.

Headline News John K Posts WB Toons Online, Starts War of Words

REN & STIMPY creator John Kricfalusi believes "Warner Bros. Cartoons hates their fans, after Warner Bros. Ent. forced YouTube to remove clips of classic Looney Tunes shorts for its website, which were posted by John K, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

On Kricfalusis blog (, the acclaimed animator posts informative essays about his favorite cartoons, which he has posts clips from to illustrate his point.

Headline News Astral Media & Corus Ent. to Take Bite of TELETOON from Cookie Jar

Astral Media Inc. and Corus Ent. Inc. announced today (July 13, 2006) they would acquire the remaining 20% of the TELETOON network from the shareholders of The Cookie Jar Group.

Subject to the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), this transaction will give Astral Media and Corus Ent. each an additional 10% ownership of TELETOON, bringing their individual ownership to 50% each. The price for this acquisition is approximately CDN $96 million.

Headline News Lionsgate Buys South Park Distributor Debmar-Mercury

Lionsgate has acquired television distributor Debmar-Mercury Llc., which owns the distribution rights to SOUTH PARK. Debmar-Mercury will continue to operate, still headed by principals Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, under the Debmar-Mercury banner as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Headline News Imagica Reorganizes, Renames

Imagica Holdings Inc. has reorganized its group companies. The parent company has been renamed Imagica Robot Holdings Inc. Imagica Technologies Corp., the engineering solutions division responsible for developing the Imager XE and HSX Film Scanners and the Imager HSR Film Recorder has been spun off as an independent entity.

Headline News Noodlesoup Renamed, Launches SuperNormal Series

Animation production company Noodlesoup Prods. has renamed itself World Leaders Ent. with the launch of the new animated series SUPERNORMAL, its first global co-production with U.K. TV leader Granada Television.

SUPERNORMAL is the story of Eric Normal, a special boy with no super powers, who attends Superhero Junior High School and befriends three of the less promising but stand-out members of the student body.

Headline News DIC Ent. & Thomopoulos Form Promise Media Prods. for Christian & Secular Markets

DIC Ent. and Thomopoulos Prods. have joined forces to launch Promise Media Prods., a new venture focused on developing, marketing and distributing properties for children and families under the positive value-based Promise Media brand for faith-based and secular markets.

Headline News Ex-FUNimation Execs Form Illumitoon Ent.

Three former execs from FUNimation have formed Illumitoon Ent. Ltd., dedicated to bringing exciting anime titles to the U.S. Formed in January 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas, the company focuses on acquiring exciting anime from Japan, with the emphasis on making them relatable for an American audience.

Of course, we always want to include the original Japanese tracks with our shows, for the serious anime fan, says Barry Watson, the companys president/ceo. Its just that we want it to be accessible and engaging for a mass audience as well.

Headline News Judge Junks CleanFlicks

In Denver, a federal judge has ordered four companies to stop selling cleaned-up edits of Hollywood films, finding that the practice violates federal copyright law, VARIETY reports.

The decision by Judge Richard P. Matsch ends this chapter in a four-year legal battle that began when Utah-based CleanFlicks issued a preemptive suit against the DGA and 16 leading directors, which included guild prexy Michael Apted, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese hoping to obtain a positive court ruling allowing them to alter films.

Headline News Indian Film Industry to Reach $3.3B by 2010

India's prolific film industry is projected to reach revenues of $3.3 billion by 2010, reports REUTERS. As it rides new technologies and a booming economy, the Indian industry will see an expansion of 18% per year, stated an industry lobby.

India produces nearly 1,000 films a year, second only to the U.S. However, the industry remains fragmented and largely opaque, with formal funding still limited and profits rare.

Headline News Sesame Workshop To Set Up NGO In India

In order to develop strategies and partnerships throughout India, Sesame Workshop will be forming a non-governmental organization called NGO based in New Delhi. Turner India, which produces GALLI GALLI SIM SIM along with Sesame Workshop, has contributed corporate social responsibility funds toward the establishment of the NGO. The office will drive GALLI GALLI SIM SIM's outreach projects and manage its network of collaborative partnerships with other NGOs, funding partners, consumers, government agencies, educational institutions, broadcasters and production team members.

Headline News Ubisoft Opens Production Studio in Bulgaria

Ubisoft, one of the worlds largest videogame publishers, announced on June 29, 2006, the opening of a new studio in Sofia, Bulgaria. The studio opened its doors with 21 team members and plans to hire 40 additional employees by the end of 2006. Alexandru-Ion Radu, director of recruitment and training at Ubisofts Romania studio, will manage the new studio, reporting directly to Sébastien Delen, md of Ubisoft Romania.

Headline News Jobs Won’t Take Pay at Disney

The Walt Disney Co. has amended its compensation policy for non-employee directors after Apple Computer Inc. ceo Steve Jobs requested not to be paid for serving on Disney's board, according to several news reports.

Jobs, previously Pixar Animation Studio's chairman/ceo, joined the board after Disney purchased Pixar in May for $7.4 billion in stock. Jobs receives $1 a year for his role as Apple Computer's ceo.

Headline News Neptuno Films Celebrates Its 15th Birthday At The Barcelona Aquarium

With sharks, manta rays and seahorses on all sides, the Barcelona Aquarium was the setting chosen by Neptuno Films to celebrate 15 years of animation production. Almost 200 guests attended a spectacular "Fiesta" for a company that began its career with a mischievous mouse called Balin, and whose characters Connie the Cow, Dougie in Disguise, The Ugly Duckling, Tork and many more can now be seen on TV all over the world.

Headline News UTV Signs $14 Million From PorchLight & Mike Young Prods.

UTV Software Communications Ltd.s Animation division in India has signed up new deals worth $14 million, which includes a co-production with PorchLight on new animated feature film, as well as an animation services and a co-production agreement with Mike Young Prods. and Taffy Ent.

Headline News Sojitz Corp. Invests in A.D.Vision

A.D.Vision Inc. announced a substantial investment in the company today (June 27, 2006) by Japanese Contents Investment LPS (JCI), an investor group led by Sojitz Corp., in exchange for a minority equity stake. Additionally, was made by ARM Corp., a subsidiary of JCI, made a separate capital commitment for the acquisition of new filmed content.

Through its home video, broadcast, licensing, theatrical and publishing divisions, Houston-based A.D.Vision is the leading producer/distributor of Japanese animation and anime-related content outside Japan.

Headline News Supreme Court Refuses Winnie the Pooh Case

In another chapter in the on-going Winnie the Pooh legal battle, the Supreme Court refused on June 26, 2006, to decide whether the granddaughter of A.A. Milne, creator of Pooh, can recapture control of the copyright, reports CNN.

Milne wrote the Pooh books between 1924 and 1928 and granted a U.S. license to Stephen Slesinger in 1930, which Slesinger signed over to Stephen Slesinger Inc. Later Slesinger Inc. sublicensed certain rights to Walt Disney Prods.

Headline News Report Ranks Casual Games As One-Third Of Mobile Market

Puzzle/Strategy games drive one-third of the total mobile game revenues, according to Telephia, the leading provider of performance measurement information to the mobile industry. The Telephia Mobile Game Report for Q1 2006 shows that four of the top five revenue-generating titles fall into the Puzzle/Strategy (casual games) category, with TETRIS, TETRIS DELUXE and BEJEWELED securing the top spots. TETRIS and TETRIS DELUXE secured 5.2 and 3.6% of the total mobile game revenue share for the quarter, respectively, while BEJEWELED posted a 2.6% share. JAMDAT MAHJONG and MS.

Headline News Gaming Expected to Reach $46B by 2010

By 2010, the worldwide videogame market is expected to reach $46.5 billion, at an average 11.4% compound annual rate, global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts in an article by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

PwC estimates the filmed entertainment business will grow at a 5.3% compound annual rate, to become a $104 billion market by then and the television business is targeted to grow at a 6.6% rate to $227 billion.

Headline News EA to Transform Mythic Ent. Into EA Mythic

Electronic Arts Inc. announced today (June 20, 2006) it has entered into an agreement to acquire Mythic Ent. Upon completion of the acquisition, Mythic Ent. will become EA Mythic, a wholly-owned studio dedicated to developing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). Mythic has revolutionized the online gaming space with the award-winning DARK AGE OF CAMELOT and is currently developing WARHAMMER ONLINE: AGE OF RECKONING, under license agreement with Games Workshop.

Headline News Apple Wants to Bite into Feature Film Downloads

After conquering the digital music business, Apple is now in talks with the movie studios to make feature films available through its iTunes Music Store, reports various news outlets.

However, the main issue is price. Apple ceo Steve Jobs, who is personally involved in the talks, proposed selling all films at a flat price of $9.99, which the studios flatly rejected.