Animation World Magazine, Issue 3.3, June 1998


FOX Expands Family Affair. Fox Kids Worldwide has been renamed Fox Family Worldwide, Inc. to reflect accurately the company's expanded focus on targeting adults and teenagers as well as children. The principal businesses of Fox Family Worldwide are the Fox Family Channel, Fox Kids Network, and Saban Entertainment. "The children enjoying Fox Kids programming today throughout the world are likely to become the Fox-brand loyal teenagers and adults of tomorrow," said Chase Carey, chairman and CEO of Fox Television and co-CEO of News Corp. Fox Family Worldwide chairman Haim Saban added, "By embracing the `Family' designation in our corporate name and broadening the demographics, we are more accurately acknowledging our target audience and business objectives." In a seemingly opposite move, Fox Family Films recently renamed itself Fox Animation Studios, honing it's focus to animation. This is clarified by Fox Family Worldwide's expansion, which will include live-action feature films.

Paragon: Going, Gone? Paragon Entertainment, the Toronto, Canada-based company which took control of Ottawa-based animation company Lacewood Productions in July 1997, is in a state of financial uncertainty lingering between an imminent purchase or bankruptcy. Paragon is operating with half of its employees on a loan from its shareholders, while Yorkton Securities, an investment company in Toronto, is assessing the company's value and possible liabilities. In January 1997, the two companies made an initial agreement that Paragon would purchase a 75% stake in Lacewood, but by July 1997, Lacewood was unable to repay loans to Paragon, and Paragon took ownership of the entire company. Starting anew, Lacewood founder Sheldon Wiseman founded a company called Amberwood Productions, which planned to co-produce an animated series called Zeroman, but this project is on hold while the production partners at Cloud 9 Media, are seeking financing to keep their own company afloat.

Sony Wonder To Acquire Sunbow. Sony Wonder, the kids and family entertainment division of Sony Music, has entered a definitive agreement to acquire New York-based independent production company, Sunbow Entertainment. C.J. Kettler will remain president of Sunbow, and while the company will be an integrated, wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Wonder will keep it's in-house creative affairs department, headed by Becky Mancuso-Winding, and will continue to acquire and develop new properties. The key function of the deal is to allow Sunbow Entertainment to distribute Sony Wonder titles internationally and to have Sunbow's product distributed under the Sony Wonder label domestically. Sony Wonder distributes animated home videos such as Arthur and The Rainbow Fish and the made-for-video "Enchanted Classics" line which mimics theatrical releases based on public-domain stories such as "Anastasia." Sunbow has a large library of live-action and animated series, most of which are financed through international co-production. Sunbow's Burbank, California studio is currently producing an animated series called The Brothers Flub, which will air on Nickelodeon U.S. and U.K. C.J. Kettler said the deal "will provide the crucial support that will insure Sunbow's growth in an increasingly competitive marketplace."

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