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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.

Headline News

Stone, Parker Sign Landmark Ad-Sharing South Park Deal

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, 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.

Company Headline News

Loonland to Divest Itself of Metrodome Holding

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.

Headline News

BioShock Jolts Take-Two Stock Back to Life

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.

Company Headline News

Zoic Enters New Era with Fifth Anniversary

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.

Games Headline News

Epic Games Acquires Majority Stake In People Can Fly

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.

Headline News

Counterfeit Nintendo Products Seized in Mexican Raids

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.

Film Headline News

Sydney Pirate Arrested for Plundering Simpsons Movie

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.

Million Headline News

TV-Loonland Reaches Agreement in Restructuring Talks

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 company´s new capital, following a second capital increase as a debt for equity swap for this 10%.

Show Headline News

MTVN's NOGGIN and The N Channels to Split in Two

As part of MTV Networks' (MTVN) niche programming strategy to super-serve targeted audiences, the award-winning NOGGIN and The N, the two Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group brands that currently share space on a single channel, will be separated into two 24-hour services beginning Dec. 31, 2007. NOGGIN will become a commercial-free preschool service, while The N will be a tween/teen channel, featuring TEENick programming during the day and The N's content at night. NOGGIN and The N will be carried by all cable operators, DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS.

Company Headline News

New Motion-Capture Studio Opens in Hyderabad

The new motion-capture company, Mobility Art Studios, has launched in Hyderabad, India, says THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The two-stage facility will use Vicon MX-F40 motion-capture cameras on projects for the film, TV, commercial and game industries.

As part of its business plan, the company will also offer cleanup services. In the future, it hopes to open a separate cleanup division and an online performance library.

Dreamworks Headline News

Paul Allen Selling Holdings in DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation announced today (Aug. 6, 2007) that DW Investment II Inc. ("DWI II"), an entity controlled by Paul Allen, will sell approximately 10 million shares of the company's Class A common stock in a registered public offering underwritten by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Allen is also resigning from the animation company's board of directors.