Search form

Category: Business

Million Headline News

Saban Makes Mighty $100 Million Contribution to Charity

Maybe he couldnt quite afford to buy KirchMedia and its ProSiebenSat1 channel, but media mogul Haim Saban and his philanthropist wife, Cheryl, are donating $100 million in charitable gifts to health care and education in the U.S. and Israel, according to a report in the LOS ANGELES TIMES. The man who got rich on kids programming like the MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS and the Fox Kids and Fox Family Channels has dedicated $40 million to Children's Hospital Los Angeles to support ongoing research into cancer and gene therapy as well as further research into neuroscience.

His permanent thank you card will be an 88,500-sqaure-foot facility research facility to be named the Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. It is the single largest donation to a childrens hospital to support pediatric research in North America according to Walter W. Noce Jr., president of Childrens Hospital. Cheryl Saban has served on the hospital's board for seven years.

Disney Headline News

Disney Books New Comics Deal With Gemstone

After a four-year hiatus for Disney comic books in the U.S. market, Disney Publishing Worldwide has signed a deal with Gemstone Publishing to bring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and other Disney favorites back onto the printed page. Gemstone will release the first two monthly comics, WALT DISNEY COMICS AND STORIES and UNCLE SCROOGE, in June at $6.95, while the first bi-monthly, DONALD DUCK ADVENTURES ($7.95), debuts in July, and monthlies DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS and MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS ($2.95), arrive in September.

Production Headline News

Blur Expands Studio and Feature Output

Just as it gears up for more VFX feature work, Blur Studio ( has moved into a new, 20,000 square-foot computer animation studio that is nearly triple the size of its former Venice, California headquarters. Through an international talent search, it has also increased its artistic staff to 65, with additional talent to come.

Media Headline News

Hong Kong Studio Sets Up Shop in L.A.

Hong-Kong-based animation production house Stvdio Media has established an office in Los Angeles to handle sales and marketing for the North American Market. Founder/ceo Larry Feign, an American animator and cartoonist, has appointed Susan Goldstein to head the U.S. office. Goldstein worked for the Screen Actors Guild, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and was evp of VIDEO INSIDER.

Headline News

New Voice Over Agency Hopes to Make Actors Shine

Based in the U.K., Jennifer Taylor and Clair Daintree have combined a wealth of expertise and recognition in the field of voice overs, as well as a unique link with Hollywood to provide a genuinely full service voice over agency, Shining Management, Ltd., in London to service the broadcast and production industry.

Digital Headline News

eyeon Software Opens LA and Soho Offices

Due to the success of Digital Fusion and DFX+, eyeon Software Inc. has opened two new offices eyeon USA and eyeon Europe. Los Angeles-based eyeon USA is lead by Digital Fusion guru and director of business development, Rony Soussan, who has been influential in Digital Fusion's proliferation on the west coast, and has a long history as a digital compositor. Soussan offers expertise with both the product and the pipeline, as well as advanced training.

Million Headline News

KirchMedia Goes Down

KirchMedia, the once mighty German media giant, shut down on June 16, 2003 after a flurry of attempts to buy it. It looked like the cash-strapped company was going to be owned by American entrepreneur Haim Saban, until the parties couldn't agree on final terms and nullified the deal after the contract expired on May 31. Management and creditors had hoped to restructure the company to maintain it until the market climate improved to sell it, but shareholders voted to sell off its main assets into separate companies.

Company Headline News

Saban Re-Sights on ITV

Just days after Hiam Saban withdrew his bid to acquire KirchMedia's television and its library, the American entrepreneur is said to be teaming up with a consortium to buy British broadcaster ITV. Some say he's looking to buy ITV shareholder companies Granada and Carlton, which are planning to merge to form a $4.4 billion ITV company. The two broadcast/production/distribution powerhouses are working on a solution to make their merger pass the Competition Commission regulator in the U.K.

Headline News

A Message From Will Vinton

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

My good friend and associate, Jim Hardison, said it best, "It's surreal!"

After many great years building Will Vinton Prods. and creating groundbreaking Claymation and 3D-animated films, television and commercials, and growing Will Vinton Studios, I have been forced out of active involvement with the company by Phil Knight and his associates. The situation could also be described as "Machiavellian"! And I expect you'll hear much more about this David and Goliath story in the near future.

Studio Headline News

Vinton Shopping Quest Project

"I'm definitely on my way back from hell," Will Vinton told AWN, a few months after the studio he founded, Vinton Studios, gave him the boot. The king of Claymation claims he is much happier now, having signed with Creative Artists Agency and is shopping around a number of animated projects, including a feature film script, THE QUEST, written by Peter Crabbe.

Headline News

Saban/Kirch Deal Comes Undone

Entrepreneur Haim Saban has dropped out of his $2.3 billion contract to buy Germany's biggest broadcaster ProSiebenSat 1 from bankrupt KirchMedia. Saban signed the 40,000-page contract on March 27, 2003 for the acquisition of the broadcaster and its programming rights to approximately 18,000 films and series, the largest film library outside of Hollywood. Over the next two months, Saban did not agree with KirchMedia and creditor banks on "details of the transaction" by the deadline of May 31 for the purchase of ProSiebenSat 1.

Headline News

Court Protects Lampooning Celebrities

The California state Supreme Court decided unanimously on June 2, 2003 that celebrities are not entitled to compensation from studios, publishers and artists so long as the likeness of the famed is portrayed creatively rather than literally. The court ruled against Johnny and Edgar Winter, recording artists who sued DC Comics for portraying the brothers as worm/human villains with tentacles sticking out of their chests, called Johnny and Edgar Autumn. Depictions that "are distorted for purposes of lampoon, parody or caricature" are entitled to free-speech protection, justice Ming W. Chin wrote in the decision, Winter vs. DC Comics, S108751. The Motion Picture Assoc. of America had filed arguments in the case so that studios would be able to produce unauthorized drama-documentaries and celebrity spoofs. Celebrities must still be compensated if their actual faces or names are used on commercial merchandise. The court also found that trial judges can throw out these kinds of lawsuits by celebrities without trials. This decision protects the right of studios for background uses of celebrity images, photographs or posters, according to the Motion Picture Assn. The Winter brothers still have a claim against DC Comics for using the brothers' names in advertising for the comic books, a decision the Supreme Court left to a Court of Appeal.

Channel Headline News

Viacom Sued to Spike Name of Men's Channel

Filmmaker Spike Lee is suing Viacom Inc. over its plans to call the TNN channel Spike TV to attract male viewers. Lee filed papers June 3, 2003 for an injunction against Viacom's use of the name, it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter. "The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee," he said in court papers. Viacom has been asked to explain why it shouldn't be barred from using the name. Viacom bought TNN in 2000 and announced a new programming and branding initiative, which is expected to launch on June 16, 2003. Viacom said it was confident the court would reject Lee's claims to the name Spike. Lee said TNN's president Albie Hecht has publicly associated the name "Spike" with Lee. Lee has signed affidavits from industry people who thought of Lee when they heard about Spike TV. Some believed Lee had become affiliated with the network.

Headline News

Dieselfx Drives Into Santa Monica

Dieselfx has commenced operations in Santa Monica, California. Elliot Jobe founded the new effects house after leaving Playground where he was the lead inferno artist. Joining the team with be Craig Price, Playground's former creative director and producer Alessandra Pasquino, who also worked at Playground. From design and production supervision to final finishes, the new firm has a wide range of serves for clients including a complete CGI package.

Film Headline News

PostWorks Engulfs Two Firms & 50% Of A Third

Post-production company PostWorks New York has made a major move, acquiring all of Tapehouse companies, including Tapehouse Editorial, Tapehouse Digital Film, Tapehouse Broadband, Black Logic and The Anx, as well as all of SMA Realtime and 50% of audio post house Caterini Studios. With the acquisition, PostWorks will be equipped to handle every aspect of digital or film post-production for both short-form and long-form television, film and multimedia projects.

Animation Headline News

Animation Guild Ratifies New Contract

By an overwhelming vote, the members of the Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the major animation producers. The new Animation Guild agreement offers the same wage minimum increases, health and pension benefits as the IATSE Hollywood Basic Agreement, which was agreed to in November 2002 and ratified in February 2003.

Film Headline News

IDT Media Calls Up Controlling Interest in Film Roman, Inc.

Newark, New Jersey-based IDT Media announced May 15, 2003 that its animation production unit, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), will acquire a 51% interest in Film Roman, Inc., a leading independent animation company, through the purchase of newly issued shares of Film Roman common stock. Film Roman produces the animation on the primetime hits THE SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL. IDT Media is a subsidiary of IDT Corp., a multinational carrier, telecommunications and technology company.

Hanna-Barbera Headline News

Hanna-Barbera Building Supporters Get Reprieve

The former Hanna-Barbera building in Hollywood gets a a reprieve from destruction while the Los Angeles Conservancy group, Joseph Barbera, and others marshall support at the city and California state level to have it declared a historic site for its architectural significance and importance as a part of Hollywood history.

Animation Headline News

Barbera/Leib Letters To Save HB Buildings

The following is a letter from Joseph Barbera read at the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council along with a statement from Alan Leib, chairman of The Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy to support saving the Hanna-Barbera building.

Dear members of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council,

First, Id like to thank you for your time and interest in a subject very near and dear to my heart; the facility at 3400 Cahuenga Boulevard.

Animation Headline News

George Lucas Starts Animation Unit

George Lucas has divided his empire in Point Richmond, California into a new animation division to focus on the creation of digitally animated feature films reportedly due to his frustration over studio-controlled animated projects that have fallen through over the past six years. Lucas-film Animation will be given its own identity and autonomy to develop and generate full-length CG cartoons.

Headline News

Infogrames Becomes Atari

Leading videogame publisher Infogrames Entertainment SA (IESA) has changed its corporate name to Atari. Infogrames (New York City and Lyon, France) acquired the Atari brand when it bought the interactive assets of toymaker Hasbro in January 2001 and has periodically used the name, one of the oldest (30 years) and most legendary in videogame history, for titles such as DRAGON BALL Z, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, SUPERMAN, TERMINATOR 3 and ENTER THE MATRIX, which debuts on May 15, 2003, day and date with the film, THE MATRIX RELOADED.

Bent Headline News

Three Artists Get Bent

Chel White, Ray Di Carlo and David Daniels have combined strengths to form an artist-driven studio Bent Image Lab, in Portland, Oregon. "Our mission is to generate the future in 'mixed media/animation/live-action'," said partner/executive producer Di Carlo. "We are artists doing business, not businessmen trying to make art." Di Carlo however, has a successful business background and will operate Bent under a highly unique business model.

Henson Headline News

Henson Family Buys Back Muppet Company For $89 Million

The Henson family is the winning bidder to buy 100% of The Jim Henson Company from German kids TV outfit EM.TV Merchandising AG for $89 million. Recently Disney, Saban and Sony Pictures had appeared to be the likely buyers. The Henson heirs sold the company to EM.TV three years ago for $680 million and now are set to pay $78 million in cash plus $11 million of the Henson Co. assets.