News in Brief

MTV Networks widens its digital swath with Nicktoons TV
April 1, 2002

MTV Networks widens its digital swath with Nicktoons TV

Continuing to establish its State-side digital footprint, MTV Networks has launched four new 24-hour diginets, bringing its total number of digital services up to 13. The four-pack includes a children’s offering called Nicktoons TV, which features a stable of Nick originals like Doug, Ren & Stimpy and Jimmy Neutron. U.S. broadband service provider Cablevision is the first to offer Nicktoons on its iO digital service, and the toon channel will be joined by MTV Hits, MTV Jams and VH1 Mega Hits.

Millimages buys into a Teutonic toon studio

As if floating a French IPO, opening a London-based distribution powerhouse and launching a U.S. offshoot weren’t enough, growing concern Millimages has now picked up a 51% majority stake in Toons ‘n Tales. The Hamburg, Germany-based animation studio will continue to be run by managing director and co-founder Sunita Struck, and the two companies are already in the thick of their first co-production, Jasper the Penguin. For more on this new preschool series, see ‘Older-skewing preschool fare in the pipeline,’ page 80.

Cinar shuts down its Euro arm

Canadian toon studio Cinar has pulled the plug on its European sales and distribution subsidiary Cinar Europe. The unit’s president, David Ferguson, has moved on to become TV-Loonland’s new COO and president of core activities, and all sales activity has been reverted back to Cinar’s Montreal HQ. Head of distribution Louis Fournier is currently rebuilding Cinar’s sales team in hopes of kick-starting some business for the troubled company, which has been tainted by a two-year-old financial scandal.

Curious goes indie again

Curious Pictures founders Richard Winkler, Susan Holden, Steve Oakes and David Starr have bought back their company from iNTELEFILM for US$5.1 million. iNTELEFILM picked up the studio that created Cartoon Network hit Sheep in the Big City in May 1999, and went on to launch a supporting creative services firm called DCode in 2000. The latest transaction will give Curious’s founding quartet control of the DCode offshoot as well.

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