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Animation Headline News

Changzhou National Hi-tech District Completed

After a one and a half of construction, the Changzhou National Hi-tech District, based in Jiangsu province, China, has been finished. Participation includes more than 40 animation companies from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and cooperative agreements from eight overseas entities from Korea, India, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. Based on the status of their working agenda, by the end of this year, 12 animated productions should be completed, totaling 6,251 minutes.

Headline News

NaturalMotion Gets Funding from Benchmark Capital Europe

NaturalMotion Ltd. announced that it has closed a major financing round with Benchmark Capital Europe, the top-tier venture capitalist behind eBay, Betfair, Setanta and The additional capital will help NaturalMotion extend its lead in the development of innovative and interactive 3D entertainment technologies such as euphoria, a groundbreaking motion synthesis technology for next-generation videogame consoles.

Games Headline News

Research Reveals Casual Games Provide Mental Balance, Stress Relief

RealNetworks Inc., the leading developer, publisher and distributor of casual games, announced research findings that demonstrate U.S. adults who play computer games play casual games for a quick mental break. Sixty-four precent of respondents cited gameplay as a way to unwind and relax, while 53% play for stress relief.

Animation Headline News

China Bans Foreign Cartoons From Primetime

Chinas State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has issued a new notice stating that no TV stations will be allowed to broadcast foreign cartoons before 8:00 pm, starting from Sept. 1, 2006, reports various news sources. Chinas primetime programming hours are 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

The notice was not published on SARFT's website, but staff at Southwest China's Guizhou Provincial Television Station, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to CHINA DAILY that they received it more than two months ago.

Comics Headline News

Virgin Comics Sets Up Animation Shop In Bangalore

Virgin Comics has set up an animation studio in Bangalore where artists work on themes with a strong eastern influence. Reports NDTVPROFIT.COM.

"Bangalore is the true R&D centre for Virgin animation," said Suresh Seetharaman, president, Virgin Comics & Virgin Animation. "It creates all the content, be it art, content and works with a complete network of people abroad who help us put it all together."

Headline News

Buena Vista Worldwide Home Ent. Launched

Details of the previously announced restructuring of the Buena Vista Home Ent. division were revealed, as BVHE and Buena Vista Home Ent. International are integrated into one global division: Buena Vista Worldwide Home Ent. (BVWHE).

Explained BVWHE president Bob Chapek: "With the rapidly changing landscape facing the home entertainment industry, we need to embrace not only new technologies but the global nature of our business as well. This new organization addresses the need for global strategies and allows for market customization."

Animation Headline News

Wales’ Half A Million Animation Boost

The animation industry in Wales will receive a major boost following the announcement that three companies will share S4Cs £500,000 animation development and production fund.

The awards, given as part of a competitive tendering process, are to be split between Calon in Cardiff Bay, Griffilms, with offices in Caernarfon and Cardiff, and a partnership between Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da and Dinamo in Cardiff.

Calon will receive £250,000, while Griffilms receives £150,000. The Cwmni Da/Dinamo partnership will receive £100,000.

Online Headline News

MTV Networks Acquires Atom Ent. For $200 Million

Viacoms MTV Networks (MTVN) has acquired Atom Ent. Inc., a portfolio of four leading online destinations for casual games, short films and video, for $200 million. The deal advances the company's multiplatform strategy of building an engaging universe of music, gaming, entertainment, news and interactivity for targeted audiences.

Effects Headline News

VFX Vets Launch Gradient Effects

Gradient Effects, a new visual effects studio with international expertise specializing in feature work, has set up shop in Venice, California, founded by vfx supervisor/producer Thomas Tannenberger. He will be joined by Olcun Tan as head of R&D, a former lead effects developer at DreamWorks.

Studio Headline News

Sony Pictures Flexes Box Office Muscle

Sony Pictures Ent. has surpassed the $1 billion mark in box office receipts for calendar year 2006, making it the fifth year in a row the studio has reached that milestone at the box office, a feat matched only by Warner Bros.

Studios Headline News

Zoic BC Launches in Vancouver

Award-winning visual effects house Zoic Studios has opened Zoic BC. The Canadian-based company is being launched to service Zoic Studios' ever-diversifying client base, and has proven to be a natural step in the company's evolution. Zoic BC has already completed the feature film PATHFINDER for Twentieth Century Fox and is working on two episodics: EUREKA for SCI-FI Channel and BLADE for Spike TV, both of which have proved to be successful for their respective networks.

Million Headline News

DreamWorks Animation Posts Gains Over Q2 2005

For the second quarter of 2006, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. reported total revenue of $74.9 million and net income of $13.7 million, or $0.13 per share on a fully diluted basis. This compares to revenue of $35.4 million and a net loss of $3.7 million, or ($.04) per share on a fully diluted basis, for the same period in 2005. The company ended the period with $526.9 million of cash and cash equivalents.

Million Headline News

India’s DQE & France’s Onyx Team on CG Features

DQ Ent. Ltd., a leading animation, gaming and vfx company based in Hyderabad, South India, announced a joint venture with French production company Onyx Films to produce CG-animated feature films, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Additionally, DQE announced it will take a 20% equity stake worth about $3.2 million in Paris-based TV production company Method Films.

Digital Headline News

Digital Domain Takes on $31 Million Of New Financing

VFX powerhouse studio Digital Domain has received a $31 million investment from Falcon Investment Advisors and GunnAllen Financial.Rafael Fogel, a principal at Falcon, will join the Digital Domain board of directors, which is led by Digital Domain co-chairmen John Textor and director Michael Bay.

Disney Headline News

Walt Disney Co. to Acquire Indian Kids Channel & Invests in UTV

The Walt Disney Co. plans to acquire Hungama TV, a leading Indian children's television channel, and take an equity interest in media company UTV Software Communications Ltd. as the media giant strengthens its presence in a rapidly growing media market, where local content production is key. Both transactions are subject to certain conditions and regulatory approval.

Hungama TV coo Zarina Mehta will work with the Disney team on the organizational and operational integration of Hungama TV into Disney's portfolio of kids' channels.

Headline News

THQ Forges Incinerator Games

THQ Inc. has formed its new development team, Incinerator Games, the latest addition to THQ's growing internal studio system. Based in Carlsbad, California, Incinerator is comprised of veterans of the TWISTED METAL, NFL GAMEDAY and MLB 2006, the show projects from Sony's 989 studios, as well as the Midnight Club franchise from ROCKSTAR. Incinerator is primarily focused on development for next generation consoles.

Headline News

Bauhaus Announces Strategic Investment from Texas

Bauhaus Software, a leading provider of 2D animation and vfx tools, has received a strategic investment from the State of Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF). This funding will be used to expand Bauhaus development team, invest in more research, develop new products, and augment marketing. Bauhaus is also focused on furthering relationships with South Texas colleges & universities, through both R&D exchange programs and internships.

Animation Headline News

China to Speed Up TV Animation Censoring Process

In a new Chinese government regulation, the censoring process of domestic animation will be sped up to aid the development of the industry, reports XINHUA.

Starting in August 2006, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) will decide whether or not to approve animated productions every month. Previously, regulators only authorize productions twice a year in January and July.

Mainframe Headline News

Rainmaker to Acquire Mainframe From IDT

Rainmaker has agreed to purchase 62% worth of outstanding shares of Mainframe Ent. Inc. from IDT Ent. Inc. and its affiliates. The acquisition is expected to close on July 31.

Following the closing of the acquisition from IDT, Rainmaker intends to acquire the balance of the shares of Mainframe. If Rainmaker acquires all the remaining shares of Mainframe at the intended price, the aggregate acquisition purchase price to Rainmaker for all shares of Mainframe will be approximately $13.8 million.

Headline News

AMD Acquires ATI For $5.4 Billion

AMD and ATI will join forces in a transaction valued at approximately $5.4 billion. The combination will create a processing powerhouse by bringing AMDs technology leadership in microprocessors together with ATIs strengths in graphics, chipsets and consumer electronics. The result: A new and more formidable company, determined to drive growth, innovation and choice for its customers, particularly in the commercial and mobile computing segments and in the rapidly growing consumer electronics market.

Headline News

Weinsteins Take 70% of Genius Products

At a special meeting on July 21, 2006, Genius Products Inc. stockholders approved a deal that will see The Weinstein Co. Llc. control 70% of the company.

Under the terms of the transaction, Genius Products will retain 30% of the firm. The board of directors also increased from four to six members with the addition of two TWC execs, Larry Madden, evp/cfo of TWC, and Irwin Reiter, evp of accounting and financial reporting of TWC.

Disney Headline News

Nina Jacobson Replaced as Part of Disney Restructuring

Nina Jacobson is out and marketing head Oren Aviv is in as president of production, Walt Disney Pictures, as chairman Dick Cook announced the anticipated restructuring and downsizing of The Walt Disney Studios. Aviv will oversee the live-action development and film production slate.

Thus, there will be a strategic shift toward more Disney branded movies aimed at global synergy across all entertainment platforms. The studio will produce and distribute approximately 10 Disney live-action and animated films a year and two to three Touchstone films a year.

Animation Headline News

Avid Acquires CAT Assets

Avid Technology Inc. has purchased the intellectual property assets of Character Animation Technologies Ltd. Those assets will be managed by Avid subsidiary, Softimage Co. Softimage will continue to provide the same sales, support and services that were available from CAT in the past and CAT customers will continue to have the same sales and support contacts as they have had in the past. In addition, CATs cto, Philip Taylor, has joined the Softimage team in Montreal, bringing his expertise and knowledge to contribute to our future vision for character animation

Interactive Headline News

Ubisoft Acquires Drive Franchise From Atari & Reflections Interactive Ltd. Asset

Ubisoft has obtained the rights from Atari, Inc. and Reflections Interactive Ltd. to the intellectual property and technology rights to DRIVER, the world acclaimed franchise, as well as most of the assets and all of the personnel of Reflections Interactive Ltd.

The acquisition will be completed for a cash price of approximately $24 million. Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in Ubisofts second quarter of fiscal 2007.