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Brand Headline News

MTV Buys IFILM

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.

Services Headline News

R!OT Atlanta Completes Major Expansion

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 Headline News

MoonScoop Acquires Majority Stake In Mike Young Prods./Taffy Ent.

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, October 12, 2005 at 12:00am

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.

Studios Headline News

Tartakovsky Adopts New Orphanage Animation Studios

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.

Headline News

Aardman Animation Ravaged by Fire

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.

Music Headline News

mtvU Launches MTV Networks' First Broadband Distributed Channel

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.

Animation Headline News

Ittina Launches Animation Studio, Academy In Bangalore

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.

Headline News

EA Settles Overtime Lawsuit

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.

Digital Headline News

PlasterCITY Unveils Its Non-linear 10-bit 4:4:4 RGB Facility At Open House

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.

Autodesk Headline News

Autodesk to Acquire Alias

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.

Blu-ray Headline News

Paramount To Support Blu-ray & HD-DVD

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.

Animation Headline News

Toonz & First Serve Form Animation Joint Venture

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.

Digital Headline News

AccessIT, Christie Commit for Long Term Digital Cinema Agreement

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.

Channel Headline News

New FUNimation Channel Offers 24-hour Digital Anime Network

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 29, 2005 at 12:00am

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.

Dreamworks Headline News

DreamWorks Calls Off NBC Uni Purchase Talks

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 12:00am

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.

Kids Headline News

PBS KIDS Sprout Launches New 24x7 PreSchool Network

PBS KIDS Sprout launched a new 24/7 preschool network on digital cable and satellite with more than 16 million committed subscribers dedicated to offering little ones safe, fun, quality content as well as a new website to give viewers online access and activities.

The PBS KIDS Sprout lineup of shows includes: SESAME STREET, BOB THE BUILDER, BARNEY & FRIENDS, THOMAS & FRIENDS, ANGELINA BALLERINA, SAGWA: THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT, CAILLOU, THE BERENSTAIN BEARS, JAY JAY THE JET PLANE, TELETUBBIES, DRAGON TALES, PINGU, NODDY and more.

Headline News

TV-Loonland Starts Up Loonland Pictures

TV-Loonland has launched Loonland Pictures to market in-house and third-party productions. Loonland Pictures will be marketing the new TV-Loonland feature film, HEIDI, as its first production.

Loonland Pictures was able to sign on 20th Century Fox und NFP marketing* as marketing and distribution partners for the films Dec. 22, 2005 release.

Animation Headline News

Nicktoons Now Nicktoons Network With New Logo, Look, Packaging & Website

Nicktoons, Nickelodeons 24-hour animation network, has renamed and rebranded itself to become Nicktoons Network on Sept. 23, 2005. The network, which became ad-supported I August, will continue to showcase a variety of animation all day and night. Targeting kids 6-14, Nicktoons Network features programming that is 75% exclusive to the channel. In addition to a new name and logo, Nicktoons Network sports a fresh look with new packaging both on-air and on the networks new website, www.NicktoonsNetwork.com.

Headline News

Getting to Know Jack

jack is the new kid on the block of visual effects companies and is quickly making a statement. Having officially launched in Venice, California, feature film and commercial production companies now have a new creative partner for high-end visual effects, finishing and previs.

Business Headline News

Sony Slashes 10,000 Jobs

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 12:00am

On Sept. 20, 2005, Sony Corp. announced it would cut about 7% of its global work force, sell more than $1 billion in assets and post a loss this year, reports REUTERS. The company hopes to gain 210 billion yen ($1.9 billion) in restructuring charges in next the two business years through March 2007 as it closes plants and slashes 10,000 jobs. With the move, Sony hopes to catch up with Matsushita Electric Industrial and Sharp Corp. in the flat TV market as well as Apple Computer in the portable music industry.

Media Headline News

Triple Take Marches with CowParade

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 12:00am

Triple Take Media and CowParade Holdings Corp., a world-renowned organization whose cow motif art and collectible figurines have spawned a multimillion dollar franchise, have established a joint venture designed to expand the beloved COWPARADE brand into all areas of media and merchandising.

Headline News

WGA Elects Toon Writer as President

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, September 21, 2005 at 12:00am

Taking 69% of the ballots cast, animation writer Patric Verrone was elected president of the Writers Guild of America West, reports VARIETY. Verrone, a co-producer of THE SIMPSONS and a screenwriter for several other animated series, ran on the platform of following through on the efforts by the guild to organize animation, cable and the reality TV arena. Previously, he served two terms as the WGA West's secretary-treasurer.

Production Headline News

Bridgepoint to Merge with Marathon

European private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital has signed a merger deal with Marathon, which will create a major new production and distribution group in France, reports C21 and was confirmed by Bridgepoint Capital (which also owns production giant All3Media).

Bridgepoint's French division, Financière Héra (Finhera), has been pursuing Marathon. Finhera is lead by Eric Licoy, previously a top executive at Vivendi Universal when Jean-Marie Messier was ceo.

Studios Headline News

Hollywood Center Studios Debuts New VFX Shooting Stage

Addressing the needs of commercial producers and others involved in high-end visual effects production, Hollywood Center Studios has unveiled a new 4,500-square-foot shooting stage with a three-wall, hard cove cyc. Dubbed Stage 12, the new space can accommodate the popular motorized Fisher Light rigs, making it ideal for car shoots, as well as bluescreen or greenscreen work.

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