In a statement in response to a Sept. 17th lawsuit filed by Valcom, POW! Ent. Inc. today announced their plans to counter-sue Valcom for more than $10 million. POW! described Valcom's description of its dealings with them as "inaccurate and misleading." The company plans to file its countersuit next week claiming failure to perform and fraud.
Sony Computer Ent. has acquired leading game developer Evolution Studios Ltd and its subsidiary Bigbig Studios Ltd to further expand its game development capability as part of Sony Computer Ent.'s Worldwide Studios.
In a strategic move to secure excellence in game development for current and future PlayStation platforms, the acquisition of Evolution and Bigbig formalises the successful and long established exclusive relationship between Sony Computer Ent. and the two studios.
TV-Loonland AG announced that it has received significant interest in its stake in home entertainment firm, Metrodome. Earlier in the year, TV-Loonland AG announced its plans to sell its majority shareholding in Metrodome. Interest in buying the stake were received from North America, Europe and the U.K., both from strategic investors, the film industry and venture capital funds.
TV animation writer Patric Verrone has won re-election as the WGA West President, reports VARIETY. Verrone received 90% of the votes cast, beating radio newswriter Kathy Kiernan. His re-election comes right as the guild is about to enter new contract negotiations for movie and primetime TV writers. The current contract expires Oct. 31. The biggest sticking point in talks is over WGA's demand for more Internet residuals while the producers want to rework the residual structure completely.
Midway through its second season, the World Series of Videogames, has been forced to shut down due to the lack of sponsorship.
Despite support from Intel, WSVG producer Games Media Properties stated, "the continuing challenges of securing adequate revenues to sustain the production of the WSVG's large scale events and television programming, in a very crowded field of competitive gaming leagues, has prompted us to re-evaluate our direction as an organization."
Toei Animation plans to sell 935,000 shares, valued at $5 million, to its parent company Toei as a way to prevent U.S. hedge fund Steel Partners, a 5% stake holder in Toei Animation, from solidifying too much influence, reports VARIETY. Previously, Toei Animation sold TV Asahi 110,000 shares and Fuji TV 410,000 shares. Both companies already hold large stakes in the Japanese animation giant. The move hopes to keep outsiders, such as Steel Partners, from changing corporate governance rules or gaining a board seat.
Eyetronics will expand its high resolution scanning services to Canada. The first satellite office will open in Montreal in September, with plans to roll out further expansion to Toronto and Vancouver in 2008.
PorchLight Ent. is launching KidVideos.com, a family-safe Internet site that will provide a secure place dedicated exclusively to kids who are interested in film, video and animation production. Currently in the public beta stage, when fully released, the advertiser-supported site will also provide online tools and services for recording and editing videos online.
TYO, an advertising, film and animation firm, is acquiring the creator of ULTRAMAN, Tsuburaya Prods., reports ICv2.com. After a restructuring of Tsuburaya, TYO plans to heavily exploit the ULTRAMAN franchise, which has already spawned more than 20 live-action and anime TV series and feature films. The property is also a merchandising bonanza, including toys and videogames. TYO produced the anime series APPLESEED EX MACHINA.
Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger discussed his views on globalization and technology at a luncheon yesterday with members and guests of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Iger stressed that building brand identity is important for the American entertainment industry, especially when branching out globally, and that identifying "local tastes and market trends" is important for global industry, especially in the growing markets of China, Russia and India.
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. announced the formation of 2K Play, a new publishing label dedicated to casual gaming. As part of the 2K Play initiative, Take-Two also announced an expansive new handheld and console videogame licensing agreement with Nickelodeon, a partnership involving properties including Nick Jr. preschool television hits, DORA THE EXPLORER and GO, DIEGO, GO!
DORA THE EXPLORER and GO, DIEGO, GO! will be the first titles under the new 2K Play label and will be released this fall in North America.
Citing problems in getting access to spectrum on the Freeview platform, Walt Disney Television is closing down entertainment channel ABC1 in the U.K. after three years on air, reports C21 MEDIA. A decision has yet to be made on whether Disney will sell the spectrum or whether it will substitute another of its channels.
Commodore Gaming, a leader in high-performance PC gaming solutions, announced that it has opened a new North American headquarters and hired a veteran from the videogames industry to run it. The new offices are in Stamford, Connecticut in one of Stamford's best known business complexes, One Stamford Plaza. Joining the company to run the Stamford headquarters is Bill Sims as VP of North American Sales.
ADV Films and Geneon Ent. (USA) announced a new distribution agreement. Beginning Oct. 1st, ADV Films will be Geneon Ent. USA's sole distributor. ADV Films will handle all sales and distribution duties for the combined catalog as well as certain marketing functions.
The Chinese government announced today that it would use animated beat cops to patrol 13 of China's top Web portals in an effort to steer users away from illegal content, reports THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Starting Sept. 1, 2007, the cartoon cops will walk, bike and drive across Web surfers' screens every half hour, warning them to stay clear of material "the Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening." By the end of the year, the animated warning will appear on all websites registered with Beijing servers.
PopCap Games, the leading developer and publisher of casual games, today unveiled the results of the largest survey of players of "casual" computer/videogames ever conducted. Among the nearly 7,500 adult respondents who took part in the survey, nearly a third (31%) indicated they had children or grandchildren under 18 who played these family-friendly puzzle, word and simple action games in their home. And of these 2,298 "family gamers," 80% said they played casual games with their children or grandchildren.
Walt Disney Co. is being sued by comedy writer Buddy Sheffield, who alleges he was never paid for coming up with the idea for the teen TV series, HANNAH MONTANA, reports VARIETY. In a suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 23, 2007, Sheffield is claiming breach of contract, breach of confidence, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
In signing their latest deal with Comedy Central, SOUTH PARK creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have secured a precedent making agreement to share online ad revenues 50-50 with the network. The overall deal worth $75 million will see Stone and Parker overseeing the new online incubator SouthParkStudios.com, which will develop new ways to exploit SOUTH PARK characters as well as develop original IPs. Additionally, the deal reups the TV series through 2011. The demented duo will see big salaries increases as well as advances against back-end profits.
TV-Loonland will sell its majority stake in Metrodome, the U.K. film and DVD company, reports C21 Media. Metrodome confirmed that the board of TV-Loonland asked the company to "initiate a formal tender process for the sale of TV-Loonland's 61.3% stake in the issued share capital of Metrodome."
The tendering process is expected to be concluded by the end of September, subject to approval at TV-Loonland's annual general meeting in October. Several parties have already expressed interest in the company.
With award-winning Zoic Studios celebrating its fifth anniversary this month on the heels of receiving an Emmy nomination for EUREKA, the company has also recently completed high-profile spots for BK/Simpsons, Toyota and Sprite.
Launched by exec producer Steve Schofield, and creative directors Chris Jones and Loni Peristere, Zoic Studios is a leader in visual effects and CG animation in the commercials, feature film and episodic television arenas.
On Aug. 21, 2007, the recent strong release of the shooter game BIOSHOCK helped surge Take-Two Interactive Software shares 8.6%. Take-Two's stock has been plummeting of late due to accounting scandals under the previous management and the delay of its highly anticipated title GRAND THEFT AUTO IV. During the course of the day shares peaked at $15, finally closing at $14.55. In the past year, the stock has climbed as high as $24.80 per share.
Epic Games announced that it has acquired a majority interest in Warsaw, Poland-based game developer People Can Fly, which is best known for creating the hit PC game, PAINKILLER. Most recently PCF has been collaborating with Epic on the PC version of GEARS OF WAR. In addition, the two companies are collaborating on a new intellectual property, which Epic will be previewing privately to publishers at Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany this week.
Mexican authorities conducted raids against 12 alleged distributors of counterfeit Nintendo products in a major "fayuca" (contraband) market in Guadalajara, confiscating 15,000 imitation products, including 4,500 counterfeit Wii game discs.
Within 72 hours of its Australian release, THE SIMPSONS MOVIE ended up online. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reports the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft arrested the 21-year-old pirate in Sydney on Aug. 17, 2007. If he is convicted of copyright theft, he could spend up to five years in jail.
TV-Loonland announced that it has signed an agreement with its bankers in regards to the restructuring of the company's debt. The main elements of that package are that the 20 million euros debt due to the banks will be reduced to 6 million euros and a minimum capital increase of 2 million euros will be carried out.
Subsequently to this capital increase the 14 million euros waived by the banks will be converted into a maximum of a 10% shareholding in the companyÂ´s new capital, following a second capital increase as a debt for equity swap for this 10%.