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Headline News Big Idea Bought by Classic Media, Files Bankruptcy

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 4, 2003 at 12:00am

Big Idea Prods has announced an agreement with Classic Media LLC to purchase the companys assets. As required by the deal, Big Idea has filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Headline News FCC Media Ownership Changes on Hold

Opponents of the FCC approved changes in media ownership regulations got a reprieve Sept. 3, 2003 when a federal judicial panel temporarily blocked the rules from taking effect as they were scheduled to the following day, Sept. 4. A three-judge panel of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania issued a stay order preventing the regulatory agency from loosening ownership rules pending further proceedings.

Headline News STVDIO Media Animation Working for Wireless

Hong Kong toon house STVDIO Media Animation will develop original animated content and images for the burgeoning market of cellular telephones via an agreement with Crown Greetings. The animated content for MMS networks across the will be beamed to 3G mobile handsets in the Asia-Pacific region in fall 2003.

Headline News Central Park Media Manga Line Gets Fall Re-pricing

Central Park Media has announced that its fall 2003 line of manga titles will have a smaller size and a reduced price of $9.99. Commencing the launch of the new manga line will be the highly anticipated October 8, 2003 release of POPCORN ROMANCE by acclaimed graphic novelist Tomoko Taniguchi. The story follows two metal-head brothers who worry about their lost love when they take a forced vacation to their grandfathers farm.

Headline News USC School Of Cinema-Television To Introduce SOFTIMAGE|XSI

Softimage's SOFTIMAGE|XSI software is being introduced to two Master of Fine Arts programs at USC's School of Cinema-Television: Interactive Media and Animation and Digital Arts. According to the university, this is to help meet industry demands for professionally educated animators and digital media creators.

Headline News Saban Setting Sights on ProSiebenSat.1 Again

It looks like media mogul Haim Saban has some money left over from his recent $100 million contribution to charities in the U.S. and Israel to make a second attempt to buy ProSiebenSat.1. Saban pulled out of the deal to buy Kirch Media in June 2003. Now rumors are circulating that the POWER RANGERS-powered billionaire is making another run at buying only the broadcaster asset from Kirch's creditors.

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 Discreet and 21st Century Media to Service Apple Developers Conference

21st Century Media will supply the video encoding services for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), held June 23-27, 2003 in San Francisco, relying on Discreet cleaner 6 software to encode the 180 conference sessions. The WWDC sessions will be streamed in QuickTime MPEG-4 format from the Apple Developer Connection Television site, and will also be made available in a DVD-ROM box set.

Headline News FX Digital & Media Concepts To Produce 3D Musical Feature

Korean and Los Angeles-based 3D-animation house FX Digital/DiFarm and French-American production firm Media Concepts have partnered up to create the 3D-animated musical feature BREMEN. The two companies will share financing and ownership equally and hope to start production in late June of this year.

Headline News Digital Summit to Tackle Hollywood

THE DIGITAL STUDIO, an iHollywood Forum Inc. summit exploring the impact of digital technologies on film and TV, will be held June 19-20, 2003, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Wyndham Belage Hotel in West Hollywood. Keynote speakers will include Chuck Comiskey, visual effects supervisor for James Cameron's Earthship Prods.; Steve Wright, technical director Cinesite; and Volker Engel, Oscar award-winner for Best Special Effects for INDEPENDENCE DAY.

Headline News FCC Deregulates Media Ownership

Despite increasingly vocal opposition, the FCC approved changes in media ownership regulations on June 2, 2003 that are expected to lead to a new series of mergers as media companies seek to expand and enter into new combinations in local markets across the U.S. Changes the FCC made included raising the percentage of the nation's TV households one company can reach from 35% to 45%. It lifted a 28-year band on allowing newspaper and broadcast combinations in larger markets and is also allowing one company to own more radio stations locally. The vote split along party lines 3-2, with three Republication commissioners voting for the change and two Democrats objecting. The FCC did not touch the ban on mergers among the four major TV networks, but they do stand the most to gain from the vote. The FCC received more than 750,000 pieces of mail -- the most related to any one issue in the history of the FCC. Many critics claim that further consolidation will drown out minority viewpoints and destroy competition. Some say it will lead to more unemployment in the entertainment industry.

Headline News Ascent Media Gains New CFO

Ascent Media Creative Services Group, a technical and creative services provider for the entertainment industry, has promoted Robert T. Wenrich to the position of cfo. In his new role, Wenrich will handle the strategic and financial management of the company's the entertainment television, commercial television and creative sound services operations. He originally joined the firm in 2002 as cfo for the Creative Sound Services unit.

Headline News Ex’pression Center Dedicates Chuck Jones Lab

Expression Center for New Media has named one of its state-of-the-art digital media labs in honor of late animation legend Chuck Jones. The Chuck Jones Lab in Emeryville, California will be used by Expression Digital Visual Media students to create 3D animation and modeling using Maya, After Effects, Flash, Vicon Workstation and Kaydara FiLMBOX software, plus Dell precision workstations with 2.2GHz processors and Trinitron monitors.

Headline News Laird, Leitch & Triveni Win 2003 Editors' Choice Awards From NAB

Winners of the 2003 Editors' Choice Awards, an extension of the annual NAB Awards for Innovation in Media (AIM) program, are Laird Telemedia's capdiv in the Content Creation category, Leitch Inc.'s CCS Navigator in the Content Management category and Triveni Digital's Skyscraper within the Content Delivery category. The winners were selected April 17, 2003 by a judging panel composed of editors from 18 industry trade publications.

Headline News Create TV & Film Defines New Management Structure

Create TV & Film Ltd., the newly-established independent production company formed earlier this year out of LEGO Media Internationals TV and film division, has defined its new management team and structure. Vanessa Chapman has become managing director of Create, as well as global controller, TV, film & strategy. Michael Carrington is now head of television and new media, responsible for providing creative, editorial and managerial leadership across the company's television and new media activities.

Headline News IDT Media To Launch Roddenberry 3D Projects For Kids

IDT Media's Digital Production Solutions (DPS, based in Newark, New Jersey) will boldly go where it's never gone before, as well as take works by Gene Roddenberry where they've never been before by acquiring the rights to unseen kids projects by the Startrek creator to turn them into 3D features. STARPOINT ACADEMY and CHAR, the first and only Gene Roddenberry projects that are specifically aimed at children, were optioned and bought by Morris Berger, VP of business development for DPS from a to-be-named production company recently launched by Camarillo, California-based Panacea Entertainment chairman Eric Gardner and former Tribune Entertainment SVP of programming and development Karen Corbin. They will produce the projects in association with DPS, along with Majel Roddenberry, Gene Roddenberry's widow, who helped develop the properties. "We're planning on taking Gene Roddenberry fans on a new trek through space with STARPOINT ACADEMY and CHAR," said Jim Courter, IDT's CEO. "Using superior texturing, lighting and visual effects, IDT Media's Global Animation Studio will create high-quality 3D animated productions that would even amaze Gene Roddenberry. The realistic scenery, landscape and special effects that can be created through 3D animation will make viewers feel like they are truly part of the story." He said the production costs should be significantly lower than other full 3D features, using its Global Animation Studio which utilizes IDT technologies affording efficiencies and cost savings to create the world's largest asset management-based production system. STARPOINT ACADEMY takes place on Starpoint Pharos, an artificial planet that houses emissaries of peace from every galaxy. In this cosmic United Nations, the problems of the universe are peacefully debated and resolved. Against this backdrop, the best and brightest galactic teens are recruited and trained. CHAR is the saga of an intergalactic princess, robbed of her birthright and raised as a normal all-American girl on 24th century Earth with no knowledge of her true identity. "Gene and I had often discussed the wonderful possibilities available in storytelling for these younger audiences," said Majel Roddenberry. "These projects will bring alive his positive vision of science, exploration and adventure to a new generation." IDT Media will keep Gene Roddenberry fans in the loop on production concepts and schedules through their Website www.starpointacademy.net to be launched shortly. In addition, IDT Media acquired the rights to all audio and video content relating to the projects, including but not limited to licensing, game development and merchandising. DPS is working on a co-production with Jim Jinkins and David Campbell of Cartoon Pizza, the creators of DOUG, STANLEY and PB&J OTTER. In addition, the DPS studio has produced episodes of MONSTER BY MISTAKE for CCI Entertainment, Ltd. DPS recently made a series of 3D animations for the educational market, for Pearson Education's "Sing, Spell, Read & Write," program. DPS was formed by IDT Media in late 2002. IDT Media is the subsidiary of IDT Corp. (www.idt.net) responsible for its initiatives in media, new video technologies and print media. IDT Corp., through its IDT Telecom subsidiary, is a multinational carrier, technology and telecommunications company.

Headline News Jim Henson Buy Off And On Again

A U.S. investment group led by media entrepreneur Dean Valentine and Europlay Capital Advisors, LLC terminated its official bid to buy 49.9% of The Jim Henson Company, Inc. from EM.TV & Merchandising. The terms of the non-binding letter of intent agreed upon in late December 2002 have been terminated. Former UPN chief Valentine, who also ran Walt Disney Co.'s Touchstone TV and the animation unit, was keen on buying a majority interest in JHC to expand the Henson brand into all areas of family entertainment.

Headline News Saban Shows Taste for German

Haim Saban, billionaire entrepreneur who ran Saban Entertainment and Fox Family Worldwide before selling off those assets, reportedly will make a binding offer for bankrupt Kirch Media in Germany according to DAILY VARIETY. He is meeting with creditor banks with his chief strategy officer Adam Chesnoff and examining Kirch Media's books. Media conglomerate Kirch owns one of Germany's largest broadcasting groups, ProSiebenSat 1, as well as a vast film library. German publisher Heinrich Bauer is also interested in buying the group.

Headline News Film Roman Gets On Animated Dick Tracy Case

Vintage comic strip hero Dick Tracy is being adapted as a new animated series by Film Roman, which signed a development deal with Classic Media. This announcement follows on the heels of former AOL Time Warner exec Robert Friedman's appointment as president of Classic Media (AF February 18, 2003). Friedman said his mandate was to take his company's comic characters into the television and film mediums.

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