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.
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.
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.
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.
Zeros & Ones, Inc., a Santa Monica-based holding company with operations in content, technology and production, has launched Zeros & Ones Studios. The new studio will focus on cutting-edge digital animation production that will maximize the potential of Flash and other 2-D tools in the creation of media that plays across all platforms. Newly appointed VP-Managing Director Tim Rummel, has put together a team headed by Michael Adamo, co-founder of New York-based AMPnyc Animation.
AWN's stock ticker features the most prominent publicly traded companies in the world of animation. AWN,Inc. makes available certain financial information from third party information providers. AWN does notgive advice in any such fields, and has not reviewed, and in no way endorses the validity of such data. Thisinformation is provided solely as a means to keep our readers informed of the market performance andtrends of certain companies. AWN strongly suggests that one seek advice from a competent professional
Nickelodeon has laid off 30 staffers as a streamlining measure. Most came from Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida. Nick spokesmen Dan Martinsen said, the East Coast branch is moving toward a "show-to-show production model." A source said that this move is due to the economy slow down and that no other lay offs are likely. Other Viacom divisions MTV, VH1 and TNN were not affected by the cost-cutting move.
Rainbow Studios has opened a new office in Phoenix and a new satellite office in San Francisco. "At a time where many studios are downsizing or restructuring to remain competitive, Rainbow Studios is experiencing tremendous growth in all aspects of our business -- from digital cinema to game development," said Scott Novis, vice president of engineering at Rainbow Studios.
AWN's stock ticker features the most prominent publicly traded companies in the world of animation. AWN, Inc. makes available certain financial information from third party information providers. AWN does not give advice in any such fields, and has not reviewed, and in no way endorses the validity of such data. This information is provided solely as a means to keep our readers informed of the market performance and trends of certain companies. AWN strongly suggests that one seek advice from a competent professional regarding any investment or financial issues.
Berlin-based Greenlight Media and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein are about to launch the second Berlin Animation Film fund (BAF) to raise US$100 million for the production of up to five international animation features. Greenlight's COO Nickolaus Weil said that BAF II will fund two $30 million-budgeted features from U.S. studios and three $10 million-budgeted features from European-based companies. The studios working on the films have not yet been announced. However, Greenlight president Andre Sikojev said, "The U.S. partners with whom we are preparing the U.S.
The newly renamed AtomFilms and Shockwave combined company, AtomShockwave Corp., has announced the closing of its latest round of financing of US$22.9 million. Leading the round was Macromedia, parent company of Shockwave, along with Sequoia Capital, JPMorgan Entertainment Partners, Arts Alliance, Waterview Partners and affiliates and Intel Capital. The new company plans to retain its two distinct brands, AtomFilms and shockwave.com, as well as strengthening its offices in Tokyo and London.
Former Walt Disney senior VP for worldwide anti-piracy, Judy Denenholz, has filed a US$20 million lawsuit, alleging she was terminated after refusing to sign a fraudulent IRS audit. The suit also alleges that Disney's assistant general counsel Peter Nolan sexually harassed Denenholz since she joined the company in 1981. The suit claims that Disney's general counsel Lou Meisinger held a grudge over legal bills before he became Disney's general counsel. In 1990, Denenholz advised Disney that Meisinger's law firm was overcharging the studio for their anti-piracy work.
Madrid production house Filmax has formed a new animation arm entitled Filmax Animacion. The new arm will have three divisions: production services, production and distribution. Filmax plans to integrate its animation studio Bren Entertainment into this new venture. In October 2000, Filmax gained animation production-distribution house PPM Multimedia's Francisco "Paco" Rodriguez to head Bren. Rodriguez formed PPM Multimedia in 1990 and quickly transformed the small company into a major force in the Spanish market.