Nelvana Enters The Net Game
Nelvana Limited has announced the introduction of Nelvana New Media, a new division that will focus on developing new applications, products and delivery channels for Nelvana's valuable character library. The new branch will create a children's Web entertainment site and interactive games based upon their characters for both CD-Rom and Internet distribution. "Nelvana New Media is an initiative that solidifies the future success of the Company," added Michael Hirsh, Nelvana Limited's co-chief executive officer. "The new division will use its expertise to benefit from this new avenue of programming and merchandising revenue." As part of the new venture, Nelvana has signed an agreement with Havas Interactive, one of the world's leading publishers of entertainment and educational software, to distribute CD-Rom titles based on Nelvana's book-based character family. Nelvana New Media will create at least two CD-Rom products each year at Nelvana's Toronto production facility, to be marketed and distributed to major territories by Havas Interactive. The first two titles will be based on Nelvana's popular Franklin character. The games should be available in time for Christmas 2000. Nelvana.com's intended launch will be the summer of 2000. At first the new destination will focus on Nelvana's classic character brands, with interactive stories, games, postcards, e-mail and other customized entertainment experiences for children and families. "Our extensive character portfolio and technological capabilities put us in an excellent position to benefit from the convergence of production, distribution, broadcasting and merchandising over the Internet," said Patrick Loubert, co-chief executive officer of Nelvana Limited. Like many of the other entertainment sites, the new site will offer branded merchandise from Nelvana's licensees in its own on-line store. Nelvana New Media has also signed an agreement for the production of its Web sites and related on-line materials with Snap Media Corp. of Toronto, a leading Web content company. Nelvana Limited will invest approximately CA$500 million on upgrading its Web site in 2000. Miklos Tomka has been appointed general manager of Nelvana New Media. A former Bain & Company consultant and MBA graduate of INSEAD, Tomka has several years of strategy experience in the technology sector, including consulting to e-commerce companies. In his new position, he will be responsible for exploring, evaluating and developing new Internet-based technologies, developing relationships with advertisers, sponsors and portals, and evaluating potential investment and acquisition opportunities. The first production of the new arm of Nelvana will be WHEN QUADS WON'T LEAVE, the world's first TV series produced entirely in Macromedia Flash. The new half-hour prime time Nelvana series will air on Canada's Teletoon. The new series, created by John Callahan, is based off of Callahan's humorous cartoons portraying his own life in a wheelchair.