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Headline News

Alliance Gaming Plans Name Change to Bally Technologies

Alliance Gaming Corp. plans to officially change the name of the Company to Bally Technologies Inc. to more appropriately reflect the company's focus on technology and innovation and to further build on the powerful Bally brand.

Upon approval of shareholders, the name change would be officially announced at the annual meeting of shareholders on March 6, 2006. Bally Technologies, Inc. is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BYI as early as March 7, 2006.

Visual Headline News

Ocean Visual FX Launches Studio

Visual effects and 3D animation studio Ocean Visual FX has been formed in Huntington Beach, California, to design and produce effects and animation for feature films, broadcast and corporate marketing, according to Robbie Robfogel, ceo/visual effects supervisor. LuzMary Robfogel is coo.

The studio has brought aboard 3D modeler and animator Brandon MacDougall and character animator Jeff Clifton.

Million Headline News

Japanese Publisher Sells DreamWorks Shares to Paramount

Japanese publisher Kadokawa Holdings Inc. announced it will sell its 2.91% stake in DreamWorks SKG to Paramount Pictures for about $21 million by the end of February, according to VARIETY.

This week, Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., finalized its purchased of the previously privately held DreamWorks in a $1.6 billion cash-and-debt deal.

Animation Headline News

Cosgrove Hall Films Restructures

On the eve of Cosgrove Hall Films 30 years in the industry new md, Anthony Utley, has announced a major management restructure. Utley recently disbanded the management team of senior producers, which had been set up temporarily as owners ITV Granada, searched for a new md.

Two senior producer posts have been eliminated while two new roles of exec producer and creative director have been created.

Dreamworks Headline News

Paramount’s DreamWorks Purchase Completed

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 12:00am

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc., has closed on its acquisition of DreamWorks SKG for $1.6 billion in cash and assumption of debt. The announcement was made today (Feb. 1, 2006) by Paramount chairman/ceo Brad Grey. The company noted that it is well along in its process to sell the DreamWorks live-action film library.

Under the agreement, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen of DreamWorks will remain in their respective roles as producer/director and chairman.

Games Headline News

Grand Theft Auto Lawsuit Creates Turmoil at Take-Two

After the city of Los Angeles filed suit against Take-Two Software for selling pornographic videogames to children, the game developers stock plummeted on Friday. At the close of Friday, Take-Two share were at $14.69 down 13.7%. Earlier in the day, the stock had hit a three-year low of $13.68.

The game named in the suit is GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS, which had its rating changed from MA "Mature 17+" to AO "Adults Only 18+ after it was discovered that it contained hidden sex scenes.

Disney Headline News

Team Disney Building Renamed After Michael Eisner

Disney ceo Bob Iger, chairman of the board Senator George Mitchell, the board of directors and hundreds of Disney employees gathered at The Walt Disney Studios on Jan. 27, 2006, to honor former ceo Michael Eisner at a dedication ceremony for Team Disney The Michael D. Eisner Building.

Disney Headline News

New Disney Toon Committee Features Three From Pixar

More details of the Walt Disney-Pixar merger have become public via the companys SEC filing on Jan. 26, 2006. Pixars Steve Jobs, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull will sit on a committee with Disneys ceo Bob Iger, Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook and Disney cfo Tom Staggs to oversee all the feature animation at the company. Lasseter, who will report to Iger directly, will have greenlight power, subject to the approval of the committee, which will work out R&D and budget issues. The committee will meet once a month at Pixars headquarters in Emeryville, California.

Music Headline News

MTV Restructures to Enhance Multiplatform Delivery & TV Mix

Christina Norman, president, MTV, and Brian Graden, president of entertainment, MTV Networks Music Group and president of Logo, announced a radical new organizational structure for MTV that will allow the network to more aggressively develop and deliver dynamic content for audiences across all screens. MTVs multiplatform strategy revolves around building an engaging universe of music, entertainment, news, community and interactivity that allows the audience access to content whenever and wherever they want across a mix of platforms.

Disney Headline News

Disney Goes to Infinity and Beyond with $7.4 Billion Pixar Purchase

Its a done deal: The Walt Disney Co. will acquire Pixar Animation Studios for an all-stock transaction to be completed this summer. Under terms of the agreement, 2.3 Disney shares will be issued for each Pixar share. Based on Pixar's fully diluted shares outstanding, the transaction value is $7.4 billion ($6.3 billion net of Pixar's cash of just above $1 billion).

Studio Headline News

AtomFilms Studio to Develop Original Online Video Content

Atom Ent. announced the opening of AtomFilms Studio, a new program which invests in independent producers to create broadband entertainment. AtomFilms Studio announced six development projects and plans to produce dozens more projects during the course of the year. New shorts from AtomFilms Studio will be distributed beginning this spring on the award-winning AtomFilms website (www.atomfilms.com) and its online and mobile entertainment partners.

Television Headline News

UPN & The WB Merge to Form The CW Network

CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Ent. announced their intent to form a new 5th network, The CW, to be launched in the fall of 2006. The new broadcasting network will be a joint venture between Warner Bros. and CBS, with each company owning 50%. In an important strategic move that secures major market distribution for The CW, it was announced that Tribune Broadcasting and the CBS Corp.'s UPN affiliates have agreed separately to sign 10-year affiliation agreements with the new network.

Headline News

NVIDIA and Adobe Partner on New Production Studio

NVIDIA Corp. will offer its Quadro professional graphics to Adobe users through the newly announced Adobe Production Studio. NVIDIA and Adobe have established a strategic partnership that allows tighter integration between these hardware and software solutions in order to support industry initiatives, such as the recently announced Adobe OpenHD alliance.

Films Headline News

Eyetronics Doubles Growth in 3D Scanning; Moves U.S. Operations

Eyetronics, the international 3D scanning leader, enjoyed its most successful year to date in 2005, doubling its volume of work, according to Nick Tesi, vp of operations for Eyetronics in the U.S. As a result, Eyetronics has moved its U.S. operations to handle further growth this year.

Headline News

Disney Board to Consider Pixar Purchase

The board of directors of the Walt Disney Co. will meet on Monday (Jan. 23, 2006) to decide the fate of the proposed buyout of Pixar Animation Studios, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reported. The stock transaction would be in the neighborhood of $6.7 billion, The WALL STREET JOURNAL reported. A deal would make Pixar ceo and Apple chief Steve Jobs a board member and biggest shareholder with a 6% stake. Shares of both companies rose slightly Thursday.

Animation Headline News

Rendering Center To Be Built in Southern China

An animation rendering support center for animation production is being set for Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong Province, reports People.com.cn. The project hopes to bring all areas of animation production studio-design, financing, production, selling to the area.

The Institute of Digital Media Technology (Shenzhen) Ltd. (IDMT) will build the center. IDMT is a major 3D animation production company, which made the first 3D high-definition cartoon movie in China.

Headline News

Genius Products Sells Baby Genius Back to Creators

Genius Products Inc. the exclusive U.S. home entertainment distributor for The Weinstein Co., has sold its Baby Genius brand to Pacific Ent. Corp., a newly formed company headed by Klaus Moeller in a deal enabling Genius to focus its efforts on distributing its wide range of top independent and mainstream feature film titles while retaining exclusive U.S. distribution rights for the preschool brands.

Home Headline News

BKN Launches Home Video Division

Global distributor/producer BKN has entered the home entertainment and new media distribution business by forming BKN Home Ent. Ltd. in the U.K. and BKN Home Ent. Inc. in the U.S. to take greater control of the distribution of the companys content in all emerging forms and venues.

Matthew Graham-Clare has bee named md of the U.K. operation with Mark Saxe serving as production director.

Creative Headline News

S4 VFX Division Launched

S4 Studios Llc. announced the formation of S4 VFX, a new, niche-marketed division of the six-year-old 3D animation studio that will be dedicated to MPAA fixes such as object removal and replacement and creative feature vfx work in 2D and 3D. S4 Studios partner Geoffrey Kater, supported by partners Larry Le Francis and Dale Hendrickson, will run the division.

Media Headline News

BKN Opens A Spanish Office in Barcelona

BKN International AG has opened a subsidiary in Barcelona named BKN Kids New Media SL, headed by md Laura Tapias, to handle its activities in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Latin America.

Tapias joined BKN New Media Ltd. UK in 2004 as vp, sales & marketing, for Spanish, Portuguese and Italian speaking territories. Tapias, with a decade of international sales and marketing experience in the entertainment industry, previously served with leading Spanish TV producers and distributors.

Headline News

Napoleon Dynamite Star & Brothers To Develop Toons

As part of an overall first-look deal, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE Jon Heder, identical twin Dan and older brother Doug will develop animated properties for Universal Pictures, reports VARIETY. The Heder brothers shingle will be called Greasy Ent. and besides animated project will develop starring vehicles for Jon Heder.

Headline News

AtomShockwave Becomes Atom Ent.

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 12:00am

AtomShockwave Corp. announced it has officially changed its corporate name to Atom Ent. Inc. The change was spurred by recent acquisitions, a newly created video directory and an advertising network that greatly expand the company's brand lineup and advertising opportunities. Atom Ent. now operates as the corporate umbrella for game sites Shockwave.com and AddictingGames and video sites AtomFilms and AddictingClips.

Animation Headline News

Former DreamWorks Artist Ittina Strives to Bring High-Quality Animation to India

Manu Ittina, who has worked on such films as SHREK 2 and MADAGASCAR, has set up his Ittina Studios in Bangalore, India, with the hopes of bringing high-quality animation to India.

However, he knows the feat will be difficult, because 95% of the work being done in India is outsourced work. Under quick deadlines, studios are forced to produce up to 12 seconds of animation per day, compared to major U.S. studios like Pixar and DreamWorks that produce three to five seconds per week.

Comics Headline News

Virgin Forms Virgin Comics & Virgin Animation

Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Books Ltd. announced a new entertainment partnership with world-renowned author Deepak Chopra, acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and South Asia's leading publisher of comic magazines, Gotham Ent. Group Llc. The partnership will launch two new Virgin branded companies, Virgin Comics Llc., based in New York City and Virgin Animation Private Ltd., based in Bangalore, India, focused on creating original comic books and character properties for a global audience.

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