IDT Ent. is going Japanaese, signing an agreement to acquire Manga Entertainment, a film company specializing in the production, distribution and worldwide marketing of anime for home video releases, theatrical and television broadcast. IDT Ent. is a subsidiary of IDT Corp. (www.idt.net) a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company based in Newark, New Jersey which has been on an amazing buying spree of animation companies and establishing creative asset partnerships.
Established in 1991 in London, Manga Ent. is one of the largest distributors of anime outside of Asia, with rights to more than 300 titles. In 2003, the worldwide market for anime, including theatrical, broadcast television and direct to consumer products was estimated at more than $2 billion, according to an IDT release.
In a little more than two years, IDT Ent. has established itself as a worldwide entertainment leader, said IDT ceo Jim Courter. IDT Ent. leads the world in primetime broadcast animation programming, and is quickly emerging as a top producer of animated feature films. Now, with the acquisition of Manga Ent., IDT Ent. has a foothold in the hottest genre of anime style projects coming out of Asia. It will allow IDT Ent. to develop and co-produce new titles for worldwide broadcast and distribution.
Manga Ent. gained international acclaim with its co-production of the award-winning GHOST IN THE SHELL, the first and only Japanese animated film to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Top Video Sales Chart. A new TV series based upon the feature has been scheduled to air third quarter of 2004 on the Cartoon Network. In the past seven years, the U.S. division of Manga Ent. has released some 200 titles on DVD and VHS into U.S. retail and rental stores, with some 100 titles currently active.
With the acquisition of Manga, IDT Ent. instantly moves into the top rank of anime distribution companies, said Morris Berger, ceo of IDT Ent. Anime, along with 3D computer generated (CG) animation, is driving the worldwide growth and popularity of animation. With this acquisition, we gain a library of popular titles in an important genre that will add significant strength to Anchor Bays position in the marketplace as a leading video distribution company.
In March 2003, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), now a unit of IDT Ent., acquired rights to STARPOINT ACADEMY and CHAR, both Gene Roddenberry creations and put STARPOINT into production. In May 2003, IDT Ent. acquired a controlling interest in Film Roman Inc., the animation company well known for its production work on THE SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL.
In July 2003, IDT Ent. acquired a minority equity interest in Vanguard Animation, LLC. Under the terms of the Vanguard Animation investment, IDT Ent. has a first look right to provide production services on future Vanguard Animation projects. IDT and Vanguard Animation also entered into a joint venture agreement to jointly develop, produce, finance and arrange distribution of computer generated (CG) animation entertainment.
In December 2003, IDT Ent. acquired a controlling interest in Mainframe Ent. Inc., a Vancouver-based entertainment company well known for producing CG animation for films, television, videogames and the direct-to-consumer market. In December 2003, IDT Ent. acquired Anchor Bay Ent. Group. In March 2004, IDT Ent. acquired DKP Effects Inc., a Toronto-based 3D animation and special effects production company producing the animation for GAME OVER on UPN.
Last week, IDT Ent. acquired a minority equity interest in Stan Lees POW! Ent. Recently, IDT Ent. entered into a multi-faceted development, production and distribution agreement with Todd McFarlane Productions (TMP) to produce animated programming and merchandise based on SPAWN and other TMP original intellectual properties. IDT has also entered into a joint venture with the Christian Broadcasting Network to develop and distribute family-friendly programming.
IDT is now close to leaving no stone in the entertainment world unturned and deposited into its asset rich vault.