Cinar beefs up on education
In an US$18-million deal, Cinar Films has acquired HighReach Learning, a North Carolina-based company that produces and distributes preschool and kindergarten educational products to more than 6,000 American schools and child care centers. Cinar Education, a separate arm of the company that was created last year, is planning to expand its presence in the early childhood market by integrating themes and characters from its television shows into HighReach’s school products. Last summer, the division acquired Carson-Dellosa Publishing for US$24.5 million, and has since used it to launch products based on the series Wimzie’s House and The Busy World of Richard Scarry for the kindergarten to grade eight age group. Cinar also plans to extend the focus of both Carson-Dellosa and HighReach to include audiovisual and interactive media.
Animal Planet launches in Asia
Animal Planet made its Asian debut in June, marking the first joint venture for BBC Worldwide and Discovery Communications since signing their global partnership last March.
The family-oriented Animal Planet was launched in 1996 in the U.S., last summer in Europe and last October in Latin America. The network devoted to ‘all animals all the time’ will feature a lineup of popular nature shows including Discovery’s Zoo Venture and the BBC’s All Creatures Great and Small.
BAFTA acknowledges talent from abroad
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has added a category to recognize the work of program makers outside the U.K. BAFTA first recognized children’s programming in 1996, and the addition of the International Award will bring the total for children’s categories to 11. The awards are scheduled to take place October 18.