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Headline News

Ofcom Calls For Debate on Kids' Programming in U.K.

Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the U.K. communications industries, today published the U.K.'s first comprehensive review of the children's television market. The review assesses the current state of children's programming and the prospects for the future delivery of a wide range of high-quality and original content for children.

Ofcom's study reveals significant changes in the children's media market, including:

Headline News

Animated 10 Commandments to Challenge McLiteracy

A recent survey of 1,000 Americans revealed that respondents were more familiar with the ingredients of a McDonald's hamburger than they were with the 10 Commandments.

The survey, which was commissioned by the Ten Commandments Commission and conducted by Kelton Research, was undertaken in conjunction with the upcoming nationwide theatrical release of Promenade Pictures' CGI animated feature film THE TEN COMMANDMENTS on Oct. 19.

Studios Headline News

Mobility Art Studios Launches India's First Vicon MoCap Facility

Mobility Art Studios, the first professional motion capture studio in India, has purchased a Vicon solution.

Mobility Art Studios is the only fully integrated performance capture studio in India and is among the largest motion capture service studios outside of North America. The studio is one of a handful in the world capable of offering full body, face and hands motion capture.

Headline News

Corus Pares Down Workforce in Restructure

In fallout from a major restructure at Canada's Corus Entertainment, the company's director of original kids' productions, Bonita Siegel, and several members of her development team have been let go, reports KIDSCREEN. The realignment, announced Tuesday, has resulted in 53 job cuts across the company, and has raised concerns about the health of the kids channels' production and development departments.

The layoffs are rumored to include two additional development execs, which raises further questions about Corus's future plans regarding original commissions.

Disney Headline News

Disney Wins Again in Pooh Case

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 12:00am

In the 16-year court battle over WINNIE THE POOH royalties, Disney came out ahead again as a California appellate court upheld the dismissal of the case on grounds of misconduct, VARIETY reports. A three-judge panel ruled that L.A. Superior Court Judge Charles McCoy's 2004 decision to throw out the case was justified after the plaintiffs, the Slesinger family, altered and destroyed documents.

Animation Headline News

Starz Opens State-of-the-Art Animation Studio in Toronto

U.S. media company Starz, LLC has announced the opening of one of Canada's largest studios and the appointment of veteran animation executive David Steinberg to run it. Initially the studio will have 150 employees, but it is expected to grow substantially as new projects begin production. The studio will produce computer-generated animated feature films and more.

Headline News

Court Orders New Line to Pay Jackson $125,000

In the continuing battle over LORD OF THE RINGS accounting, U.S. Magistrate Steven Hillman ruled that New Line Cinema should pay Peter Jackson $125,000 for failing to provided documents related to revenue on the FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS, reports VARIETY. In the ruling, Hillman stated that New Line may be guilty of destroying files and only haphazardly looked for files and e-mails related to the case. Additionally, Hillman has ordered New Line to hire a document retrieval company within three weeks.

Films Headline News

ADV And Geneon Call Off Strategic Alliance

ADV Films today confirmed that it has withdrawn plans to distribute Geneon Ent.'s DVDs, CDs and other product in North America.

"We regret that we could not complete an arrangement with Geneon Ent.," said ADV Films Co-Founder/President John Ledford. "We have enormous admiration for Geneon's line and wish them the best of luck."

The strategic alliance announced jointly by ADV Films and Geneon Ent. on Aug. 29, which was slated to take effect Oct. 1, would have made ADV Geneon's sole distributor in North America.

Headline News

POW! Ent. & Stan Lee To Counter-Sue Valcom for Fraud

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 12:00am

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.

Studios Headline News

Sony Computer Ent. Acquires Evolution Studios & Bigbig Studios

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.

Headline News

Significant Interest for TV-Loonland Stake in Metrodome

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 12:00am

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.

Animation Headline News

Animation Writer Re-Elected WGAW President

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 12:00am

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.

Media Headline News

World Series of Videogames Ends Season Early

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."

Animation Headline News

Toei Animation Sells Shares to Hedge U.S. Influence

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.

Kids Headline News

Porchlight Launches "YouTube For Kids"

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 12:00am

PorchLight Ent. is launching, 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.

Anime Headline News

Ultraman Creator Acquired by Appleseed Creator

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 12:00am

TYO, an advertising, film and animation firm, is acquiring the creator of ULTRAMAN, Tsuburaya Prods., reports 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.

Iger Headline News

Disney's Iger Calls Brand Depth Key to Effective Globalization

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.

Games Headline News

Take-Two's New 2K Play Label To Publish Nick Games

By Rick DeMott | Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 12:00am

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.

Disney Headline News

Disney Closes ABC1 in UK

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.

Headline News

Commodore Opens North American Headquarters

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.

Anime Headline News

ADV Films & Geneon Announce Strategic Alliance

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.

Police Headline News

Animated Cops to Patrol Web in China

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.

Games Headline News

Survey: Casual Videogame Play Encouraged by Parents, Grandparents

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.

Disney Headline News

Writer Sues Disney Over Hannah Montana

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.