As widely reported today by sources such as the LA TIMES, WIRED MAGAZINE and REUTERS, four people, including Stan Lee Media co-founder Peter Paul, have been indicted by federal prosecutors as part of an alleged $25 million stock manipulation scheme. The defendants face maximum sentences of 15 years in prison if convicted. Paul, former Stan Lee Media executive vice president Stephen Gordon, stock analyst Jeffrey Pittsburg and stock promoter Charles Kusche, have been accused of securities fraud in an attempt to manipulate the price of Stan Lee Media stock.
Mainframe Entertainment has announced its expansion into the consumer products area with a new strategic alliance with licensing and merchandising veteran Joy Tashjian. Previously with American Champion Marketing Group, Tashjian launched successful consumer product campaigns for many ABC Saturday morning television series. With American Champion shifting its focus away from the traditional entertainment business, Tashjian has formed her own agency, Joy Tashjian Marketing Group, with many of the staff from American Champion.
AtomShockwave has announced that it has laid-off 2/3s of its staff, leaving approximately 150 people without jobs. In addition, the online entertainment company will be shutting down its Los Angeles and New York offices. Moreover, the Netcaster will move away from original content and focus more on advertising and sponsorship from branded companies like Ford as well as syndicating its currently produced content and developing a pay format. However, Romp.com recently attempted a pay format and within a month changed
Embattled German media group EM.TV has hired Wall Street investment firm Allen & Co. to sell the Henson Co. The top candidates to buy the creator of Kermit are Walt Disney and the management of Henson itself. This action comes only a year after EM.TV purchased Henson from heirs of founder Jim Henson for US$680 million. Rumors have surfaced that the Henson heirs haven't nearly earned that amount due to the plummet of EM.TV's stock price.
Eidos plc, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, announced the results for the fourth quarter and year ended March 31, 2001. Net revenue was 22.6 million pounds (US$32.1 million) for the quarter and 143.5 million pounds ($203.8 million) for the full year, a decrease of 26% on the previous year.
Following the companys new development strategy, cHmAn, a Web entertainment company based in Lille, France, has changed its name to TeamcHmAn. While continuing to develop original content for the Web, TeamcHmAn will expand its activities to the production of video games. cHmAn has established itself as a top provider of interactive content with BANJA.com, a game where the level of teamwork players get from each other directly influences their opportunities to gain access to new features. BANJA episode #6 beta version is now online in French and English.
The 3DO Company has announced the signing of a development agreement with renowned Santa Monica based entertainment company, Pandemic Studios, the developer of Battlezone II and Dark Reign 2. The first as-yet-unnamed project is scheduled for release in early 2002. According to Pandemics president Josh Resnick, the deal will allow his company to expand their development base across multiple gaming platforms and reach 3DOs mass consumer market. Trip Hawkins, 3DOs chairman and CEO, commented, "We are thrilled to be working with Pandemic on new and exciting projects.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. has announced record net sales and cash flow for its 2001 second quarter ended April 30, 2001. Net sales for the quarter increased 33% to $93.3 million compared with $70.0 million for the same period a year ago.
A six-page, 36-panel storyboard from the 1928 Walt Disney cartoon PLANE CRAZY, which marked the first ever appearance of Mickey Mouse, is back on the auction block after failing to sell at auction this past May 19, 2001. The storyboard had been part of an extensive collection of cartoon and comic book art being auctioned to raise funds for the International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, Florida. Sale of the storyboard, valued at somewhere between $3.2 million - $3.7 million, was put on hold after the identity of the individual behind an online bid of $800,000 could not be verified.
Havas Interactive, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal Publishing, has changed its name to Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing (VU Interactive Publishing). The company is comprised of two operating divisions, Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing North America (VU Interactive Publishing NA) and Vivendi Universal Interactive Publishing International, each of which is charged with directing the sales, distribution and operating activities in its respective region.
Brilliant Digital Entertainment, Inc., a leading developer of 3D rich media content creation, distribution and ad serving technologies for the Internet, announced a cash sale for substantially all of the assets of The Auction Channel subsidiary to MetroChannels, a division of Rainbow Media Holding Inc., a leading cable programming company.
On Friday, May 18, 2001, Film Roman announced they have formally terminated the purchase transaction with Pentamedia Graphics, Ltd. in light of Pentamedia's inability to cure a material breach in the deal. Film Roman has officially notified Pentamedia that they are in material breach of the Stock Purchase Agreement signed January 31, 2001 and the Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies signed on April 24, 2001.
MacSoft, the Macintosh label of leading video game publisher Infogrames, has signed a licensing deal with international game company Take-Two Interactive Software, acquiring rights to several high-profile titles. Under the terms of the agreement, Infogrames has acquired the Macintosh publishing rights to TROPICO and FLY! II, scheduled to ship this summer, as well as MAX PAYNE, STRONGHOLD and MYTH III. Additional titles will be announced at a later date. According to PC Data, MacSoft captured over 37 percent of the Macintosh entertainment software business in 2000.
London's Finishing School, a digital compositing, effects and 3D animation school, has recently been awarded Discreet training center status. The school will be running its now accredited 4-day 3ds Max Crammer course on May 14 - 17, June 12 - 15, July 10 - 13 and August 7 - 10 2001. Evening courses will also be available on 10 evenings over the course of 10 weeks, June 18 - August 20, 2001. The Finishing School, an Avid-accredited training center, is currently running SoftImage|XSI 201: Essentials Training, the official SoftImage course.
The 3DO Company has announced losses for the fiscal fourth quarter and year ended March 31, 2001. Revenues for the company's fiscal fourth quarter were $19.0 million, compared to $47.3 million in the prior year's fourth fiscal quarter. The consolidated net loss for the quarter was $12.5 million, or a loss of $0.26 per share, compared to a profit of $11.5 million, or $0.26 per diluted share in the same quarter last year. Revenues for the fiscal year were $82.8 million, compared to $122.2 million in fiscal 2000.
Infogrames, Inc., has announced results for its fiscal 2001 third quarter and nine months ending March 31, 2001. Third quarter revenues increased to $70.8 million, compared to $63.6 million for the same period in 2000. Publishing revenues increased to $47.0 million from $32.6 million in the prior year period, while distribution revenues decreased to $23.8 million from $31.0 million in the prior year period. The third quarter net loss decreased to $21.4 million, or $0.31 per share, compared to a net loss of $168.7 million, or $8.17 per share for the same period in 2000.
Leading independent animation house Film Roman announced increases in revenue and operating income for the their most recent quarter. Company revenue increased by 51% or $6.5 million, to $19.2 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2001 from $12.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2000. The company attributed the increase to the delivery of more fee-for-services episodes and a movie-of-the-week special.
Threat, a new digital studio providing editing, visual effects, animation and compositing services, has launched in Santa Monica. The company has established itself in a new $5.5 million facility to provide end-to-end post services for commercials, entertainment television, feature films, music videos and new-media.
In a May 11, 2001 announcement, entertainment technology company IMAX Corporation reported its results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001. The company reported a loss of $0.23 per share for the first quarter before the impact of a previously announced restructuring charge. After the impact of the restructuring charge, IMAX reported a loss of $0.46 per share. The company's comparative results for the first quarter of 2000 were: earnings of $0.06 per share before the cumulative effect of changes in accounting principles and a loss of $1.92 per share after such changes.
In a May 9, 2001 announcement, Activision, Inc. reported fourth quarter and fiscal year results for its interactive entertainment business. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, net revenues were $620 million as compared with $572 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000. Net income for the fiscal year was $21 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $34 million, or $1.38 loss per diluted share reported for last year.
After switching to a paid subscription format in March 2001, Internet entertainment company Romp.com has announced a series of strategic changes that reflect the difficulties Web entertainment destination sites continue to face as they seek profitability. In a company newsletter sent out on May 9, 2001, the company announced an end to their unsuccessful paid subscription access format, a refund for all paid subscribers, an end to daily site content updates and a move toward developing branded film and print projects for other distribution channels.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Classic Media, LLC have amended their prior agreement for the sale of Harveys library of classic characters, including CASPER, RICHIE RICH, BABY HUEY and LITTLE AUDREY, as well as certain contractual rights and agreements which relate to those assets. Signed on March 9, 2001, the prior deal was worth US$16 million plus debts associated with the characters. The parties have agreed to increase the purchase price to US$17 million, to be paid in cash at the closing, plus the assumption of certain liabilities.
Santa Monicas Side Effects Software has announced new dates for free Houdini introductory workshops and training in Santa Monica, San Francisco and Toronto. In these sessions, artists will be exposed to the power of Houdini, the award-winning 3D animation software package used in such recent blockbusters as Dr. Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, X-MEN, HOLLOW MAN and THE MATRIX. This class includes an introduction to the object, SOP (surface operator), material, composite and output editors.
In a May 2, 2001 announcement, Macromedia reported fourth quarter and fiscal year results for its software business. For the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2001, revenues were $89.1 million as compared with revenues of $86.4 million reported in the same quarter a year ago. Pro forma net income was $8.4 million, or $0.15 diluted earnings per share during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001, compared to pro forma net income of $16.8 million, or $0.30 diluted earnings per share in the same period a year ago.
In an about face to his January 2001 sworn declaration, former Stan Lee Media vice president Stephen Gordon issued a Further Declaration in a Los Angeles Superior Court action which retracted and corrected previous allegations made by Gordon against Stan Lee Media co-founder Peter Paul, as well as detailed a series of new accusations of fraud and libel against Stan Lee Media CEO Ken Williams.