Signaling the presumptive end to the HD format war, Warner Bros. Ent. announced at CES that it will release its high-definition DVD titles exclusively in Sony Corp.'s Blu-ray disc format beginning later this year in response to consumer demand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Tigar Hare Studios, founded by Michael Tigar and David Hare, has announced a series of recently completed high-profile projects, as well as two new growth directions for the full-service animation and fx studio.
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.
IMAX has signed a deal to install 100 digital projection systems at AMC locations in 33 major U.S. markets, including 12 L.A. locations.
MindArk PE, owner of the ENTROPIA UNIVERSE online game, plans an initial public offering (IPO). MindArk is in the process of preparing for its upcoming IPO, which will likely include an offering of newly issued registered shares, as well as existing shares. MindArk intends to use the proceeds from the newly issued shares to implement its growth strategy, in particular the expansion of its market position and pursuit of potential acquisition opportunities.
DHX Media Ltd, parent company of distributor DECODE Enterprises and production houses DECODE Ent. and Halifax Film, has acquired Vancouver-based Studio B Prods. Inc.
The deal sees DECODE Enterprises handling international sales of Studio B's productions. To date, Studio B has amassed a library of 400 half-hours of children's programming. DECODE Enterprises currently handles distribution for DHX subsidiaries DECODE Ent. and Halifax Film, as well as third-party producers.
Members of Britain's House of Commons will meet today to debate the preservation of locally produced children's TV for the first time, reports C21 MEDIA. The debate was organized by Performer's Alliance Parliamentary Group, a cross-party group of MPs supported by Pact, the TV trade group, as part of the ongoing campaign to protect British kids TV.
4Kids Ent. Inc., a global provider of children's entertainment and merchandise licensing, today announced that its Board of Directors authorized the company to purchase, from time to time through Dec. 31, 2008, up to 1,000,000 shares of the company's common stock in the open market or through negotiated transactions.
Deluxe has entered into an agreement with Rainmaker Income Fund to acquire Vancouver-based Rainmaker Visual Effects and Rainmaker Post, along with Rainmaker's London vfx facility. It will not include the Rainmaker Animation division based in Vancouver, which will continue to belong to Rainmaker Ent.
The total purchase consideration will be payable as follows:
* $14 million in cash on closing;* $2.5 million by way of a promissory note due one year after closing;* $6 million earn-out based on revenue targets;