In a May 11, 2001 announcement, entertainment technology company IMAX Corporation reported its results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001. The company reported a loss of $0.23 per share for the first quarter before the impact of a previously announced restructuring charge. After the impact of the restructuring charge, IMAX reported a loss of $0.46 per share. The company's comparative results for the first quarter of 2000 were: earnings of $0.06 per share before the cumulative effect of changes in accounting principles and a loss of $1.92 per share after such changes.
In a May 9, 2001 announcement, Activision, Inc. reported fourth quarter and fiscal year results for its interactive entertainment business. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, net revenues were $620 million as compared with $572 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000. Net income for the fiscal year was $21 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $34 million, or $1.38 loss per diluted share reported for last year.
After switching to a paid subscription format in March 2001, Internet entertainment company Romp.com has announced a series of strategic changes that reflect the difficulties Web entertainment destination sites continue to face as they seek profitability. In a company newsletter sent out on May 9, 2001, the company announced an end to their unsuccessful paid subscription access format, a refund for all paid subscribers, an end to daily site content updates and a move toward developing branded film and print projects for other distribution channels.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Classic Media, LLC have amended their prior agreement for the sale of Harveys library of classic characters, including CASPER, RICHIE RICH, BABY HUEY and LITTLE AUDREY, as well as certain contractual rights and agreements which relate to those assets. Signed on March 9, 2001, the prior deal was worth US$16 million plus debts associated with the characters. The parties have agreed to increase the purchase price to US$17 million, to be paid in cash at the closing, plus the assumption of certain liabilities.
Santa Monicas Side Effects Software has announced new dates for free Houdini introductory workshops and training in Santa Monica, San Francisco and Toronto. In these sessions, artists will be exposed to the power of Houdini, the award-winning 3D animation software package used in such recent blockbusters as Dr. Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, X-MEN, HOLLOW MAN and THE MATRIX. This class includes an introduction to the object, SOP (surface operator), material, composite and output editors.
In an about face to his January 2001 sworn declaration, former Stan Lee Media vice president Stephen Gordon issued a Further Declaration in a Los Angeles Superior Court action which retracted and corrected previous allegations made by Gordon against Stan Lee Media co-founder Peter Paul, as well as detailed a series of new accusations of fraud and libel against Stan Lee Media CEO Ken Williams.
Santa Monica, California's R!OT, a creative digital studio, announced that New Yorks Manhattan Transfer, a part of the Livewire Television Group, became R!OT Manhattan. The company will form a synergistic relationship with the original R!OT, also a Livewire Television Group company, sharing their pools of talent and technical resources to serve the global needs of the advertising, film and television industries. Along with changing its name, the Manhattan studio will undergo a refurbishing that will include physical upgrades and high level additions to its creative staff.
In a May 2, 2001 announcement, Macromedia reported fourth quarter and fiscal year results for its software business. For the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2001, revenues were $89.1 million as compared with revenues of $86.4 million reported in the same quarter a year ago. Pro forma net income was $8.4 million, or $0.15 diluted earnings per share during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001, compared to pro forma net income of $16.8 million, or $0.30 diluted earnings per share in the same period a year ago.
Stanford University is offering a new program called the Stanford Academy for New Media. The academy is offering week-long sessions in 3D Modeling/Animation, Web Design and Digital Video, beginning July 2, 2001. The program is for artists, educators, and high school and older students. In addition to the current offerings, the school will be adding a Maya OSX track later this summer taught by several well-known 3D artists. For more information, visit newmedia.stanford.edu.
After a successful 10-year run, J.J. Sedelmaier Productions -- producer of the animated favorites BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD, THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO, THE X PRESIDENTS, FUN WITH REAL AUDIO and dozens of commercials -- has tossed out its film stock for digital technology. "It's not like we haven't been using digital techniques for years now," said Sedelmaier. "We've used Virtual Magic (formerly USAnimation) for some time, but now we won't be using film in-house, not even for pencil tests.
Tigar Hare Studios has expanded its corporate offices into a new 5,000-square-foot, 20 workstation digital facility in Sherman Oaks, California. The company has also expanded its operations internationally through the establishment of a Flash division in Malaysia and an affiliation with Shanghai Digital Studio in Shanghai, China. The companies in Malaysia and China offer an additional 100 workstations and a real-time optical motion-capture system. Tigar Hare has arranged the alliance with China to create 3D animation at lower costs for U.S. producers.
Creative Planet, Inc., AWNs parent company, announced on Monday, April 30, 2001, the release of the Animation Budget Builder, a custom add-on for the industry-standard Movie Magic Budgeting software geared for the animation industry. The add-on was designed by Catherine Winder and Zahra Dowlatabadi, authors of the upcoming book, PRODUCING ANIMATION, and represents broadening interest in the development of Movie Magic software. "For years, Movie Magic Budgeting has been a fantastic tool for budgeting and managing the costs of physical production," said Winder.
SGI on April 20, 2001, announced their third consecutive quarter of increased revenue growth and improved operating performance. For the quarter ending March 31, 2001, the company posted revenue of $510 million, compared with $487 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2000, which represents a 5% increase. The company reported a net operating loss of $47 million for the quarter, excluding charges, compared with a net operating loss of $93 million in the previous quarter.
According to industry sources and other published reports, Walt Disney Co. is planning cuts in both jobs and salaries at both their Burbank, California and Orlando, Florida Animation Feature studios. Coming on the heels of Disneys recent announcement of company-wide layoffs and staff reductions totaling 4,000 employees, these cuts further illustrate the fiscal realities of both the increasing cost and decreasing profitability of the studios current animated feature production unit.
Walt Disney Co. beat Wall Street earnings expectations with improved results in some business units, but restructuring charges from its Go.com operations resulted in an overall second-quarter net loss of $548 million. Excluding the $1 billion charge resulting from the closing of the money-losing Web portal and an accounting change, for the quarter ending March 31, the company reported second-quarter earnings of $391 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to a year-ago figure of $291 million, or 14 cents a share.
Animationproduction house Toon Factory has finalized a deal with Luxembourg'sNeuroplanet and Canada's Vivatoon for co-production of the televisionseries KID CLONES IN SPACE. The two companies join Toon Factory andFrench broadcaster TF1 as full co-production partners. Toon Factoryrecently acquired all the rights to the property from the UK'sCosgrove Hall, which will continue to work on the series' artisticdirection. Currently in development, the series is set to begin
TV-Loonland has signed aseven-year licensing agreement with Russia's Nox Music, providing theMoscow-based company with video, television and merchandising rightsto 963 half-hour series episodes. The new agreement applies to theterritories of CIS/Russia, the Ukraine and the Baltic States ofLatvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and involved productions fromTV-Loonland's own studios as well as subsidiaries SunbowEntertainment and Telemagination. Nox was founded by Iosif
Film Roman announced on Friday, April 6, 2001, that their board of directors has rejected last minute changes to the previously announced Pentamedia stock purchase agreement, and extended the deal close date to April 13 pending continuing discussions between the two companies. Under the terms of the existing agreement, Pentamedia was set to acquire a fully-diluted 60% stake of Film Roman in the form of newly issued common stock for $15 million in cash.
Italys Mondo TV Group has acquired a 30.3% stake in German media company IGEL MEDIA AG. The agreement is contingent upon the approval of IGEL MEDIA AGs supervisory board. Under the terms of the deal, Mondo will receive 1,000,000 shares of IGEL. In addition to Mondo TVs acquisition, a commercial agreement has been signed between the two companies in which IGEL will take over Mondos European distribution of over 300 hours of animated productions including JESUS, THE KINGDOM WITHOUT FRONTIERS, THE SUPER HEROES and LUPO ALBERTO for all territories except Italy.
Spanish animation company BRB Internacional announced at MIP TV a new major financing deal, which will help them expand their operations. Banco Espírito Santo de Investimento (BESI), an Iberian bank, has acquired 25% of BRB International. BESI is a major player in Portugal and Brazil, and part of the NYSE listed Espirito Santo Group (NYSE:ESF). The move enables BRB Internacional to consolidate and increase its position in the international audio-visual market.
AOL Time Warner and Oxygen Media announced April 3, that they will expand their existing online strategic alliance to include extensive cable distribution of Oxygen TV to the vast majority of Time Warner Cable households. America Online will also make an equity investment in Oxygen. As part of the multi-year agreement, Oxygen TV programming will be available to 10 million cable subscribers by third quarter, 2002. Time Warner Cable is the nation's second-largest cable operator.
Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc., a developer of 3D rich media content creation, distribution and ad services technologies for the Internet, announced continued losses for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec 31, 2000. The company reported a net loss from continuing operations of $9,208,000, or $0.62 per share, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2000, compared with a net loss from continuing operations of $9,108,000, or $0.81 per share for 1999. Net revenues for 2000 from continuing operations rose 86% to $1,030,000 from $555,000 in fiscal 1999.
San Francisco, California-based Mondo Media, a leading online animation and syndication company, cut 28 of its 110 employees on Monday, March 26. The cuts affected all areas of the company. According to Robin Harper, senior VP of marketing, the layoffs do not signal fiscal trouble. There is no financial crisis at the company. We recently raised $17 million, and this layoff is a proactive move to ensure the longevity of the company through the current economic downturn, she said.
Softimage announced on Thursday, March 29, that it is restructuring its business operations, resulting in the loss of 47 jobs worldwide, 37 of which are coming from the companys Montreal headquarters. Laid off employees will receive a severance package. Despite the cutbacks, more than 200 people will continue to be employed at the Montreal facility.
Munichs TV-Loonland AG has beaten their fiscal year 2000 business forecasts, posting significant gains in revenue and earnings. Figures released by the company show revenue at DM 145.1 million, a tenfold increase over last year. Earnings, forecast at DM 11.5 million, rose to DM 16.1 million. Net earnings per share rose to EUR 1.26. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) improved to DM 21.4 million, while earnings before interest, tax and depreciations (EBITDA) improved to DM 40.6 million. The company states they have liquid reserves of about DM 65 million.