Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. and Comcast Corp. announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to sell Susquehanna Communications (SusCom), the cable television and broadband services division of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, to Comcast. Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff announced earlier this year that it would sell the business, citing changes in corporate and family circumstances.
Lucasfilm Ltd. officially opened the doors of Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, a digital animation studio designed to produce movies and television for global audiences. The studio was created through a consortium that includes Lucasfilm Ltd., EDB Investments and Creative Technology Ltd.
Vinton Studios Commercial Division will be known as LAIKA/house, effective immediately, a change to complete the transition started in July of this year after LAIKA absorbing Vinton Studios, a leading producer of character animation in all formats for over 30 years in Portland, Oregon.
Warner Bros. Entertainment has realigned its businesses involved in the digital delivery of entertainment content to consumers to create the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, to be headed by Kevin Tsujihara as president. The new group will oversee home video, online, wireless, games, anti-piracy and emerging technologies operations.
In his new post, Tsujihara reports directly to Barry M. Meyer, chairman/ceo, Warner Bros. and Alan F. Horn, president/coo, Warner Bros.
Launching an aggressive new effort to combat piracy, The Walt Disney Studios will utilize state-of-the-art encryption technology from Cinea, a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, for 2005 DVD awards screeners. The agreement marks a milestone in the search for an industry-wide solution to deter movie piracy.
Among the likely contenders for DVD awards screeners are CHICKEN LITTLE, HOWLS MOVING CASTLE, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, SHOPGIRL AND CASANOVA.
The Weinstein Co., the media enterprise launched this month by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, announced that it has completed a $490 million private placement of equity. TWC has a significant number of well-known strategic, financial and individual investors among its equity holders, including affiliates of GLG Partners, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Perry Capital, Quinta Communications S.A., Softbank Corp., TF1 S.A., WPP, a Mark Cuban investment company, and Vivi Nevo, among others. The Weinstein brothers are the founders of Miramax Films.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India Oct. 4 barred Pentamedia Graphics Ltd., from issuing any new shares or dealing in securities, considered a punishment for issuing fake shares reports India-West (www.indiawest.com).
According to the SEBI, Pentamedia had issued a duplicate set of its own shares pledged with one bank and used the shares to borrow money from another lender, through an associate.
In its first long-term commitment to digital cinema, 20th Century Fox has reached an agreement to supply its feature films to digital cinema projection systems deployed by Christie/AIX, a unit of Access Integrated Technologies (AccessIT). For Fox, this will include an increasing number of feature films from 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Animation and Fox Searchlight Pictures production units.
DIC Ent. has gone public on London's AIM market under the symbol DEKEq.L. The stock became available on Oct. 14, 2005, and by closing was up 3% at 255-1/2 pence, giving DIC a market capitalization of about 108 million pounds ($188.8 million). DIC raised 17.4 million pounds as part of the listing and shareholders saw a further 13 million by selling down their stakes. Bridgewell serves as an adviser and broker to DIC.
MTV Networks announced that it has acquired IFILM, the leading, Internet provider of short films and news and other video clips, for $49 million, reports REUTERS. As part of the deal, IFILM will remain under the control of its current ceo, Blair Harrison, and will retain its editorial independence.
MTV plans to grow IFILM's current reach to more than 10 million users a month and boost advertising revenues by cross-promoting IFILM on other MTV-owned websites and offering MTV content on IFILM.
Responding to increased demands for its services and the continuing growth of the broadcast and advertising industries in the southeast, R!OT Atlanta has completed a major expansion and reconstruction effort. The work has resulted in a complete makeover of the facility, providing clients and staff with an enhanced creative working environment.
MoonScoop has acquired 51% of independent animation studio Mike Young Prods. (MYP) and its distribution arm Taffy Ent. The combined unit brings together titles such as MoonScoops CODE LYOKO, TITEUF, THE FANTASTIC FOUR, FUNKY COPS, DR. DOG and LITTLE VAMPIRE and Mike Youngs TODDWORLD, DIVE OLLY DIVE and PET ALIEN. MoonScoop plans to invest funds into Mike Young Prods./Taffy Ent. The two distribution teams will manage a combined catalogue of 2,400 half-hour episodes.
SAMURAI JACK and DEXTERS LABORATORY creator Genndy Tartakovsky has joined the newly formed Orphanage Animation Studios. He will help the new studios develop a slate of five feature projects each in the $50 million-$75 million budget range. The company launches with a multi-million dollar development fund raised through private equity and is actively developing a slate of soon-to-be-announced CG feature projects. Orphanage, best known for its visual effects work, hopes to have its first animated feature ready by late 2007 or early 2008.
This past weekend was a bittersweet one for Aardman Animation. WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT finished #1 at the U.S. box office and a fire destroyed Aardman warehouse, which contained its entire history, reports CNN. The blaze broke out at approximately 5:30 am, with flames reaching 100 feet. The roof and three interior walls of the building in Bristol collapsed after the fire ravished the Victorian building. The cause of the blaze was being investigated.
mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college network, today (Oct. 10, 2005) unveiled MTV Networks' first channel distributed entirely over broadband, "mtvU Uber" (www.mtvu.com). "mtvU Uber" is available everywhere, through both non-stop streaming and a unique on-demand capability, enabling viewers to customize their experience.
The channel offers mtvU's on-air programming available to everyone, and will also showcase a powerful lineup of original programming driven by new music, short-form series, as well as student-produced short films, music videos, animation, webisodes and more.
Electronic Arts announced it will pay $15.6 million and re-classify some salaried employees as hourly workers to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by workers over overtime pay.
Entry-level computer graphic artists in the U.S. will start earning overtime pay and will receive a one-time ownership grant of restricted company stock. However, they will no longer receive stock options or bonuses. The settlement, which is waiting approval by the San Mateo County Superior Court, is expected to take five months.
PlasterCITY, an all-new nonlinear high-definition post house in Hollywood, recently showcased seven new HD edit suites, a 4GB HD Fibre SAN network, an HD Digital Intermediate workflow and a complete HD theater/screening room. At an open house on Oct. 6, 2005, PlasterCITY introduced its advanced non-linear 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB studio networking, enabling clients to edit, color-correct and perform all other picture post-production processes at the highest quality rate, including uncompressed codecs, for theatrical and broadcast projects.
The Ittina Group, a leading name in property development, announced the launch of an animation studio and academy Ittina Studios and Takshaa, respectively in Bangalore. Both will be housed in a six-story building in Whitefield. Ittina plans to invest about $5 million in the new venture over the next year.
Autodesk Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Alias for $182 million in cash. This acquisition will grow Autodesk's expertise and offerings for the design of consumer products and automotive, as well as in the media and entertainment markets. The merger brings the chief 3D software applications 3ds Max and Maya under one roof. Autodesk anticipates that the transaction will close within the next four to six months.
A new wrinkle in the hi-def DVD format war has occurred. Paramount Home Ent. has announced that it will support Sonys Blu-ray format as well as its previously announced support for Toshibas HD-DVD.
Rumors are afloat that Warner Bros. with be announcing dual support later this week as well. Previously, Universal was the first studio originally backing HD-DVD to announce that it was going to support both formats. Some say its a move to save face for backing the potential loser in the format wars.
Trivandrum-based Toonz Animation India and California-based First Serve Ent. have announced the formation of a joint venture First Serve Toonz (FST), which will produce and distribute animation programming for the international marketplace as well as operate a consumer products licensing business, reports the trades. FST will announce its first major project in the next few weeks.
Spurred by positive industry acceptance of their digital cinema funding plan, Access Integrated Technologies Inc. (AccessIT) and Christie Digital Systems USA Inc. (Christie) strengthened the commitment to their Digital Cinema Framework, removing provisions that had originally allowed either party to terminate their agreement by Sept. 30. The companies viewed the move as an expression of their long-term pledge to the innovative template they designed for funding a nationwide rollout of theater-based digital systems.
FUNimation Ent. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corp., launched the FUNimation Channel today (Sept. 29, 2005), a 24-hour, digital network that will feature distinguished anime programming from FUNimation's anime brands. Working with OlympuSAT, one of the leading distributors for independent programming in the U.S., the channel will be available to video service providers throughout the nation. The plan is for the FUNimation Channel to be part of the basic and extended digital packages, so it will be a regular channel in the lineup.
Activision Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) announced today (Sept. 28, 2005) a four-for-three stock split of its outstanding shares of common stock to be distributed as a 33-1/3% common stock dividend.
DreamWorks has called off its talks with NBC Universal to buy the independent powerhouse, reports the trades. On Sept. 26, 2005, after two months of exclusive talks between the studios, DreamWorks founder and chief negotiator David Geffen walked away from the table when GE and Universal tried to renegotiate the price after previously settling on a price of around $1 billion.