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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Autodesk Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of Alias for $197 million in cash. This acquisition extends Autodesk's 3D software leadership in the manufacturing and media and entertainment industries.
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.
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.
Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) has acquired leading independent developer, High Moon Studios. Under terms of the agreement, VU Games will retain High Moons team of more than 100 development professionals, as well as rights to the studios intellectual properties. John Rowe, president/ceo of High Moon, will continue to manage the studio from its state-of-the-art facility located in Carlsbad, California.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES Booth # 14200), Sony will be focusing on four "pillars" or categories of entertainment to highlight its moves into the future of entertainment. The company will announce new products and strategies as it pertains to high definition, digital cinema, videogaming and e-entertainment, during the conference in Las Vegas, running Jan. 4-7, 2006.
Bangalore, India-based Ittina Studios boasts that its employees are producing 12 seconds of animation a day, reports THE BUSINESS STANDARD. U.S.-based studios like Pixar and DreamWorks expect their animation artists to produce no more than 3-5 seconds per day.
The Visual Effects Society (VES), which has grown to nearly 1,350 members in 16 countries, has adopted a new logo to update its look. "The goal was to create a dynamic and classic logo that shows the Visual Effects Society as continuously projecting new ideas out into the world, said exec director Eric Roth.
Viacom Inc. has completed the transaction to separate into two publicly traded entities: CBS Corp. and "New" Viacom Inc. Shares of the two new companies commenced trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 3, 2006, under the symbols: "CBS.A" (CBS Corp. Class A Common Stock) and "CBS" (CBS Corp. Class B Common Stock) and "VIA" (Viacom Inc. Class A Common Stock) and "VIA.B" (Viacom Inc. Class B Common Stock).
The move to separate Viacom's businesses was announced in June 2005.
Catapult Animation Studio has opened in Malaysia, looking to execute projects on a "work for hire" basis. Capabilities include 3D animation, modeling, background and set designing, as well as 2D and Flash-based projects.
Catapult also can provide full optical motion-capture services with a 16-camera setup operating in its sister studio. "We look forward gaming, animation and filming companies to look ASEAN region as their point for cost effective execution," according to Kavitha Jaganathan, one of the heads at Catapultas, which oversees the new animation studio.
The Computer Animation Studios of Ontario (CASO) has been formed to address the issues and opportunities of computer animation studios in Ontario. There are an estimated 50 studios in the Canadian province that produce computer animation and visual effects for feature films, television programs and television commercials. These studios employ anywhere from a few to hundreds of employees who use the latest in computer equipment and software to create world leading animation and digital visual effects.