Delivering on its promise to expand in the arena of entertainment distribution, IDT Ent. agreed on Dec. 11, 2003, with NorthStar Entertainment Group, Inc., a subsidiary of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. (CBN) to create a joint venture that will develop, produce and distribute family friendly entertainment programming.
This came on the heels of IDTs acquisition of DVD, home video distributor, Anchor Bay Ent. on Dec. 3 for $60 million, which became final on Dec. 11.
The pairing is strategic and unusual considering that IDT upper management is primarily Jewish Orthodox while CBN is led by founder/ceo, Pat Robertson, a Christian Coalition leader.
Jim Courter, IDTs ceo and I feel this match is made in heaven, said IDTs founder/chairman Howard Jonas. It links two innovative communications companies, IDT Entertainment and The Christian Broadcasting Network. By connecting IDT Entertainments proprietary animation technology and original programming, with CBNs loyal audience, international reach and the credibility of Pat Robertson, its visionary leader, this joint venture creates a new distribution channel with the potential for reshaping the entertainment landscape for positive family entertainment.
Robertson added, I am a great fan of Howard Jonas. His business acumen is astounding. Even greater is his personal integrity. I believe that the joint venture between a division of IDT and a subsidiary of CBN will provide exciting family entertainment products for a wide segment of the American public, which I greatly applaud.
IDT and CBN will develop, produce, distribute and promote family friendly programming and related products through direct marketing and retail. The initial programming will include Hip Hop & Hamilton, a 3D, computer generated (CG) animated series, created and produced by IDT Ent. Intended for a pre-school audience, this edutainment series uses music and original characters to entertain and engage children while it prepares and encourages them to read.
The companies also intend co-develop and co-produce additional positive family entertainment programming to fill what both companies called a void for this type of programming in American culture. CBN will contribute archived interviews from the 700 Club, as well as films, programs and videos from its archives to the joint venture.
This is a powerhouse deal that will do for family friendly entertainment programming what Oprah did for books, said Morris Berger, ceo of IDT Ent. This agreement perfectly demonstrates what IDT Entertainment is all about, partnering with top notch companies and using our considerable animation, production and distribution capabilities to produce family entertainment with a positive moral message.
IDT also just completed its purchase of a controlling interest in CGI animation house, Mainframe Ent. in Vancouver. Earlier this year IDT acquired Film Roman, a minority interest in Vanguard Animation, LLC and formed Digital Production Solutions, its computer animation unit. These transactions amounted to a $40 million investment.
Newart, New Jersey-based IDT Ent. is a subsidiary of IDT Corp. IDT Corp., through its IDT Telecom, Inc. subsidiary, is a facilities-based, multinational carrier that provides a broad range of telecommunications services to its retail and wholesale customers worldwide.