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Category: Business

Headline News

Passion Launches Strange Beast

Passion Pictures has announced the launch of Strange Beast, a company that will represent an international roster of emerging new talent, including Encyclopedia Pictura, Amautalab, Lorenzo Fonda, The Blackheart Gang, Takeo, and James Price. The company is committed to developing creative opportunities for these artists across all media platforms, including commercials, Web-based media, music videos, short films and art exhibitions.

Headline News

WGA Responds to DGA Deal, AMPTP Wants To Talk

With the AMPTP reaching a deal with the director's guild, new light may be shining on the writers strike. In a joint announcement from the AMPTP and the DGA, the producers stated, "We hope that this agreement with DGA will signal the beginning of the end of this extremely difficult period for our industry. Today, we invite the Writers Guild of America to engage with us in a series of informal discussions similar to the productive process that led us to a deal with the DGA to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for returning to formal bargaining.

Software Headline News

cdv Software Ent. Enters French Game Market

Leading full-service interactive entertainment industry service provider cdv Software Ent. AG announced the acquisition of a 75% majority share of cdv Madrics Media S.A.S, a newly-founded firm, with options to acquire additional shares. Effective Dec. 31, 2007, French-based cdv Madrics Media S.A.S. has successfully acquired all business operations of the highly successful Madrics Media France. As part of the cdv Group, this newly acquired firm will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of games-related software and hardware, as well as accessories for France and the Benelux.

Headline News

Online Community Blocks Golden Compass

Knoxville-based, family-friendly site has banned Philip Pullman's fantasy novel THE GOLDEN COMPASS in response to customer demand.

"THE GOLDEN COMPASS was our most frequently blocked book in December," says CEO Adam Slack. "We feel compelled to honor the wishes of our community."

Internet Headline News

DGA and AMPTP Reach Tentative Agreement

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced today that it has concluded a tentative agreement on the terms of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Highlights of the new agreement include:

* Increases both wages and residual bases for each year of the contract.* Establishes DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet.

Game Headline News

Game Development Outsourcing Leader Virtuos Opens New Center in Chengdu

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00am

Virtuos, one of the world's largest game development outsourcing providers, announced that it has opened a new development center in Chengdu. Located in Western China, Chengdu is the fourth largest city in the country, with a strong reputation as an academic center for Art and Engineering.

Game Headline News

Ultizen Games Acquires Mo-Star Mobile Game Developer

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:00am

Ultizen Games Ltd., a leading game development and outsourcing company, announced they recently completed an acquisition of Mo-Star, a mobile game development company based in Beijing that owns an extensive and growing catalog of over 200 mobile games.

Games Headline News

THQ Acquires Big Huge Games

THQ Inc. today announced plans to acquire Big Huge Games, a leading development studio focused on the role-playing-game genre, a multi-billion-dollar market segment.

Big Huge Games was founded in 2000 by four veteran game developers, Brian Reynolds, Jason Coleman, Dave Inscore and Tim Train, who together have brought strategy gamers such titles as RISE OF NATIONS, ALPHA CENTAURI, and CIVILIZATION II. Key studio members also include Ken Rolston, a 25-year RPG design veteran whose most recent designs include ELDER SCROLLS IV: OBLIVION and ELDER SCROLLS III: MORROWIND.

Studio Headline News

Blue Sky Moving to Connecticut

Blue Sky Studios has announced that it is relocating its studio from White Plains, New York to Greenwich, Connecticut. The studio plans to have its 300 employees moved by the end of 2008. Additionally, thanks to the film-industry tax credits passed recently by the General Assembly, Blue Sky is eligible to receive up to 30% of their expenses exempted.

Million Headline News

TV-Loonland Implements Restructuring Agreement

TV-Loonland has announced the implementation of the restructuring agreement signed with the banking syndicate in August 2007, leaving the company with a new, reduced debt of EUR 5 million.

In accordance with the restructuring agreement, which was approved by the shareholders on Nov. 2, 2007, the original loan worth EUR 20 million has been reduced by 15 million, both by means of cash repayment and a debt-to-equity swap.

Headline News

Weinsteins Seal Deal with WGA

Following in the footsteps of United Artists, The Weinstein Co. has signed an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America, report the trades. The agreement also covers Dimension Films, the company's genre arm. Though details of the deal were not released, insiders say it closely mirrors the one with UA. If this is true, then animation writers working on Weinstein projects would now be covered under the guild's rules.

Kids Headline News

Entara Ltd. Becomes Parthenon Ent.

U.K. rights company Entara Ltd. has adopted the Parthenon Ent. Group name, as of January 2008. All Entara's properties, including MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, DOMO, the PUPPY IN MY POCKET toy brands, HABBO, JAKERS! and THOSE SCURVY RASCALS, will be managed within a Parthenon Ent. Group structure, which includes both a factual and children's IP portfolio.

Services Headline News

Rainmaker Post & Visual Effects Become Deluxe Vancouver Ltd.

Deluxe completed its previously announced acquisition of Rainmaker Income Fund's post-production and vfx business in Vancouver and its vfx operation in London. The divisions have been renamed Deluxe Vancouver Ltd., which is a division of Deluxe Ent. Services Group Inc.

The acquisition does not include Rainmaker's animation business in Vancouver.

Headline News

HD DVD Promotion Group Responds to WB Blu-ray Decision

The companies of the HD DVD Promotion Group issued a statement in response to the decision by Warner Home Video to exclusively back the Blu-ray format:

"While Warner's decision is a setback for HD DVD, the consumer has benefited from HD DVD's commitment to quality and affordability -- a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format. We believe widespread adoption of a next-generation format will ultimately be determined by the consumer."

A planned Sunday press conference at CES was cancelled, with the HD DVD Promotion Group stating:

Million Headline News

PlayStation Hardware Sales Exceed 3.9M During Holidays

Sony Computer Ent. America (SCEA) announced PlayStation hardware retail sales for SCEA's three systems -- PlayStation 3, PSP and PlayStation 2 -- reached more than 3.9 million units in North America during the holiday sales window (Friday, Nov. 23 to Dec. 31, 2007). PS3 retail sales reached 1.2 million units and PSP sales reached 1.4 million units during the period.

Company Headline News

Gaumont Acquires Alphanim

Venerable French film company Gaumont has bought top animation producer Alphanim, with details of the deal expected to be announced next week, reports C21 MEDIA.

Alphanim founder and CEO Christian Davin said that the partnership would allow his company "to establish synergies with Gaumont, for instance, in the theatrical business, in producing more animated feature films" and to expand into producing multi-platform content, as well as enhancing its licensing and distribution activities.

Internet Headline News

China To Crack Down on Web Content

China will institute new rules at the end of the month that limit the broadcast of video or audio content on the Internet to state-run sites, BLOOMBERG NEWS and THE NEW YORK TMES report. Beginning Jan. 31, only government-run entities will be licensed to disseminate material, which may not promote sex, violence, gambling, or religious cults, or reveal state secrets.

Wars Headline News

1C Company Acquires Russian Game Firm Ino-Co

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

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.

International Headline News

DQE Profits from IPO

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.

Animated Headline News

Technicolor & DreamWorks To Produce Indian Animation

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

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.

Effects Headline News

VES To Launch White Paper Program in 2008

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.

Headline News

NVIDIA Acquires mental images

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.

Channel Headline News

NBCU Realigns Global Networks

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.