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Headline News Viacom proposes merger with CBS

Viacom Inc., which owns MTV and Paramount Pictures, has offered to buy CBSCorp., one of the Big Three US television broadcasters, for $37 billion instock, the largest media transaction ever. The new company, which willstill be called Viacom, will be led by Sumner Redstone who will remainViacom's chairman and chief executive. CBS President and Chief ExecutiveMel Karmazin will be president and chief operating officer. The deal ispart of what is expected to be a wave of consolidation in the TV industry

Headline News MIPCOM announcements

The tradeshow for television programming producers and distributors takesplace October 4-8 in Cannes, France. Basque, Spain-based animation studioIRUSOIN is nearing completion of KARRAMARRO (CRAB ISLAND), a made fortelevision animated feature with rights available for worldwide TV andvideo release. The original story is about a group of kind, song-lovingpirates, focused on luckless Dimitri, a pirate who cannot sing, and aparrot who is the only clue to tracking down a fabulous pirate's treasure.

Headline News Sony formalizes Family Entertainment Group

Sony Pictures Entertainmenthas formalized the name of its newest business unit, Sony Pictures FamilyEntertainment Group (SPFE), and appointed Gary Hirsch as senior vicepresident and general manager of the division. Reporting to SanderSchwartz, president of the relatively new division, Hirsch will oversee newbusiness development opportunities for the division and its day-to-dayoperations, including business affairs, human resources, studio operations,production and marketing. Hirsch comes to Sony's SPFE from Columbia

Headline News SGI appoints new CEO

San Jose, California-based SGI has announced that Robert Bishop has beennamed new chairman and chief executive officer effective immediately. Hesucceeds Richard Belluzzo, who resigned last week to accept at position aMicrosoft Online. Bishop joined SGI in 1986 and was responsible forbuilding its international division. He joined SGI's board of directors in1993 and continued to be an active member of the management team through1995. Prior to joining SGI he had similar responsibilities at Apollo

Headline News AtomFilms broadens distribution

AtomFilms, a website devoted to short films, is teaming up with WarnerBros. Online, NBC's Snap.com, RealNetworks, On2.com, Atomic Pop, andStreamSearch. AtomFilms will provide short form entertainment to thesecompany's websites. These Internet companies join Atom's existingdistribution partners that span both online and traditional industries,including: HBO, Sundance Channel, Continental Airlines, Air Canada,Excite@Home, Go Network, Reel.com, Film.com, College Broadcast Network, and

Headline News (Colossal) Pictures closes its doors

(Colossal) Pictures will ceaseoperations on August 31, 1999 after 23 years in business. According to theSan Francisco-based production and design studio, the decision was made inorder to liquidate property and honor outstanding debts. (Colossal) hasfiled for Chapter 11 protection before on May 30, 1996, and emerged frombankruptcy on December 1, 1997. It enjoyed a successful year in 1998,employing a lean work force. However, the beginning of this year saw adownturn in revenue. Financially weakened by the bankruptcy, as (Colossal)

Headline News Film Roman reports losses

North Hollywood, California-based Film Roman has reported second quarter losses of $266,215, or 3 cents a share, whichis an improvement over the losses for the second quarter of 1998 of$718,439, or 8 cents a share. Revenue for the first half of 1999 increasedby 58% to $27.5 million from last year's first half's $17.4 million. FilmRoman produces Fox's THE SIMPSONS and Warner Bros.' upcoming new series,MISSION HILL (previously known as THE DOWNTOWNERS). In recent months, FilmRoman has been making significant strides to enter the original content

Headline News Silicon Graphics to reorganize and cut jobs

San Jose, California-based Silicon Graphics Inc. has announced that it willcut up to 3,000 jobs and spin off its Cray supercomputer division.According to SGI, the cuts and reorganization will help it focus on sellingsoftware and computers related to the Internet. SGI bought Cray ResearchInc. in 1996 for $740 million. Since its acquisition by SGI, Cray'ssupercomputers have competed with SGI's own powerful systems in a smallmarket. Earlier this year SGI reorganized and divided Cray off into a

Headline News New performance animation studio launched

Newly launched Atlanta,Georgia-based Giant Studios is a performance animation studio. Theirproprietary Motion Reality? system utilizes the latest advancements inmicroprocessor technology and interfaces with the best animation software.A state-of-the-art motion capture studio is available with a 50' x 50' x24' open floor space. The system can capture and process multiple,subject-object interactions in real-time, as well as the intricate detailof hand and facial captures. The studio offers fully integrated

Headline News Disney earnings decline

The Walt Disney Co. has reported its earnings for the third quarter, andthe nine months ended June 30, 1999. Net income for the fiscal thirdquarter ended in June fell to $367 million from last year's $415 million.The figure includes a pretax loss of $87 million from the November purchaseof a 43% interest in Internet search engine Infoseek Corp. Net income forthe nine month period ended June 30, 1999 fell to $1.215 billion from lastyear's $1.554 billion. "While we are not satisfied with our current

Headline News IMAX invests in Mainframe

IMAX Corporation, owner of the large format film theater chain, hasannounced the closing of its strategic investment in Vancouver,Canada-based Mainframe Entertainment Inc., a producer of CGI animation.Under the terms of the agreement, IMAX invested CDN$8 million to acquire a19% equity stake in Mainframe and CDN$8 million to acquire convertiblesenior debt which, if converted, could bring IMAX's ownership up to 30% ofMainframe. Simultaneously, Mainframe announced that two leading Canadian

Headline News Cartoon Network forms Cartoon Network Studios

Cartoon Network is forming Cartoon Network Studios, an independentproduction facility to develop and produce original animated programmingfor the 24-hour, all-cartoon cable channel. The new, Los Angeles-basedfacility, due to begin operation by the end of the year, will give CartoonNetwork more control over series development, production, andadministration procedures. Among the series that the new studio willproduce are the currently airing THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, JOHNNY BRAVO, and

Headline News Touchstone TV merges with ABC

Walt Disney-owned companies Touchstone Television Productions and ABCTelevision Group are merging to form ABC Entertainment Television Group.According to ABC Television Group president Pat Fili-Krushel, "The goal inconsolidation is to produce creative results that result in more Disneyproduct on ABC and also allow us to achieve economies of scale." In otherwords, this consolidation will likely result in more Disney-producedtelevision programming appearing on ABC (Touchstone currently has only two

Headline News Mercury Filmworks adds 3D

One year old Vancouver-based Mercury Filmworks, a fully equipped digitalanimation facility, has added 3D production to its list of in-houseservices. Currently, the 3D animation department at Mercury is working onthe television series D'MYNA LEAGUES, which has been created and developedby Vancouver-based animation house Studio B, and is slated to air onCanada's CTV/VTV in January 2000. With the addition of the new 3Ddepartment, Mercury is now unique in its ability to take not just a single

Headline News Disney and Katzenberg settle suit

The Walt Disney Co. and former Disney head executive Jeffrey Katzenberg have settled a lawsuit for undisclosed terms, thus ending a months long public trial. Since it began in April, the trial has produced many headlines as Katzenberg sought to secure from Disney two percent of future income derived from all movies, TV shows and merchandise made while he was studio boss from 1984 to 1994. Katzenberg estimated his share of the bonus, which was part of his employment contract with Disney, to be anywhere between $382 million and $580 million in court filings.

Headline News DreamWorks pulls out of studio deal

DreamWorks SKG, the Hollywood film studio co-founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, pulled out of a deal to build a new $250 million studio on July 1, 1999 because it could not reach a financing agreement. DreamWorks said it was unable to reach a financing deal that "makes good business sense." The closely held company also cited rising construction costs and tougher financing terms due to the rebound in the Los Angeles real estate market. Last year DreamWorks signed a deal with developer Playa Capital Co.

Headline News Film Roman signs licensing agreement with MSH

MSH Entertainment Corp. has announced that it has entered into adevelopment, co-production and cross licensing agreement with Film Roman,Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will own a portion ofthe adjusted gross profits from the television broadcast, toy andmerchandising licensing rights of each other's selected animated andlive-action properties produced under the agreement. In addition, MSH willengage Film Roman for co-development funding and deficit financing of some

Headline News Chromacolour International moves global operations

Chromacolour, an international leader in the manufacture and sale of traditional and digital animation materials, software and equipment, has just moved their manufacturing operation to a new 20,000 square foot facility in North East Calgary, Canada. This is also the location of their global headquarters and Sales and Distribution center. The company's European Sales and Distribution center has been recently relocated to a new facility in London, England as well.

Headline News Graham Ralph founds Silver Fox Films

As of July 1, 1999 Graham Ralph is relinquishing his stake in London-based Hibbert Ralph Animation, which will then be known officially as HRA. This will enable Ralph to invest actively in future films and TV series' through a new company, Silver Fox Films. He will also be acquiring the rights to Hibbert Ralph Entertainment's library.

Headline News Warner Unites Feature and TV Animation Divisions

Warner Bros. is combining its feature and TV animation divisions under one roof in Sherman Oaks, California, and TV Animation President Jean MacCurdy will take on the responsibilities of supervising the production of Warner's animated features. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, President of Worldwide Theatrical Production, will continue to supervising the creative side of animated feature production.

Headline News Oxygen signs with Mediaone

Geraldine Laybourne, Oxygen Media's Chairman and CEO, has announced thatOxygen Media has signed a carriage agreement with MediaOne, a domesticcable operator, to distribute Oxygen's cable network. The new Oxygennetwork, which is scheduled to launch on 02/02/2000, will be integratedwith Oxygen's existing online properties to create a "home base" for womenon cable and the Internet. Oxygen's carriage agreement with MediaOne willdeliver Oxygen to over 1 million subscribers at launch. Under the terms of

Headline News Computer Cafe expands to Santa Monica

Computer Cafe has opened a full service animation studio in Santa Monica,California. The 1400 square foot site, in the heart of Santa Monica's mediadistrict, will be staffed by art director/digital artist Ron Honn, who isrelocating from the company's Santa Maria headquarters, and producerJonathan Stone, who joins the company from Saban Entertainment. Artistsfrom the Santa Maria facility will staff up the Santa Monica studio on aproject basis, and the company will also staff the new site with local

Headline News Rob Davies opens new studio

Rob Davies, a 1999 Emmy nominee for his work on STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS:PINKY, ELMYRA AND THE BRAIN, has recently returned from Warner Bros. T.V.Animation in L.A. to his native British Columbia, Canada to start up a newanimation studio, Atomic Cartoons Inc. Joining Davies is former REN ANDSTIMPY animator and Universal Cartoons director Mauro Casalese, directorTrevor Bentley (Nickelodeon's CAT DOG, Nelvana's NED'S NEWT), and directorOlaf Miller (Sony's LITTLE WITCH). "Our main focus is to assist companies

Headline News New studio opens in India

Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd., a new animation production studio inIndia, will have a limited opening in August, with an official openingfollowing November 1-5, 1999. Toonz will offer a full-range of productionservices for episodic television series and commercials. Toonz will also bededicated to developing original pilot shows based on Indian folklore andmythology. "India has a rich treasury of folklore which will form the basisfor many of our pilot shows," states Bill Dennis, President and CEO. In its

Headline News VirtualMagic expands to Asia

Don Spielvogel, President of VirtualMagic Animation, Inc., and JeffreyHarrison, Chairman/CEO of ImagineAsia Studio, announce the formation ofVirtualMagic ASIA, a new digital ink, paint and compositing service in thePhilippines that will operate as a subsidiary of VirtualMagic Animation,Inc. headquartered in North Hollywood, California. VirtualMagic ASIA is acorporate venture between two animation and digital service studios,VirtualMagic Animation, Inc. and ImagineAsia Studio, of Manila.

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