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ER uses American icons to springboard into the U.S. market

Entertainment Rights is harnessing the power of Greyskull in an effort to forge new opportunities in the lucrative American market. The U.K. production and distribution house recently acquired Hallmark Entertainment's Filmation library, including more than 30 classic series such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Archies, Ghostbusters and Fat Albert. The US$20-million purchase will open the door to the U.S., says ER CEO Mike Heap, starting with DVD releases and broadcast sales and potentially leading to new series, feature films and even the launch of a digital channel.
May 1, 2004

Entertainment Rights is harnessing the power of Greyskull in an effort to forge new opportunities in the lucrative American market. The U.K. production and distribution house recently acquired Hallmark Entertainment’s Filmation library, including more than 30 classic series such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Archies, Ghostbusters and Fat Albert. The US$20-million purchase will open the door to the U.S., says ER CEO Mike Heap, starting with DVD releases and broadcast sales and potentially leading to new series, feature films and even the launch of a digital channel.

None of the Filmation series have been released on DVD yet, so that will be ER’s first move, leading up to launching the library at MIPCOM in October. Broadcasters are already sniffing around Fat Albert, since Twentieth Century Fox is releasing a feature film based on the property in Q4. He-Man also has the kind of dedicated fanbase kidcasters love, thanks to Mattel relaunching its toy line in 2002 and a revamped series from Mike Young Productions airing on Cartoon Network.

Since the catalogue now consists of more than 1,700 hours that range from preschool to teen-targeted fare Heap says ER, like HIT, is eyeing opportunities in the burgeoning U.S. digital TV market, which is much less crowded with kids channels than the U.K. ‘I don’t see us going out and doing this in any other way than in partnership,’ Heap says. ‘But we’d be a very good partner for someone who wanted to do something for the family demo.’

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