Good morning. It's Friday, August 3, 2012, and this your first early morning briefing.
Saban Brands acquires mobile game developer/publisher The Playforge, the folks behind the very popular Zombie Farm game (people 9+). The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Saban Brands plans to extend The Playforge's current and future free-to-play mobile games (Zombie Life, Tree World) into licensing, merchandising and media opportunities. In acquiring The Playforge, Saban Brands also expands its development capabilities and opportunities to advance its current games. Founded by husband and wife team Vince McDonnell and Susan Salvador, the San Mateo-based The Playforge will retain its team of 25 employees and will continue to release game titles under its own brand. Saban Brands re-acquired the Power Rangers property and purchased lifestyle brand Paul Frank in 2010. Additionally, Saban Brands will launch its new Vortexx action/adventure/comedy Saturday morning programming block on The CW and online this fall.
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Canada-based Rainmaker Entertainment's shareholders have approved (99.91%) the sale of its animation studio, Rainmaker Studios, making it officially a subsidiary of China's Xing Xing Corporation. The deal, which announced last month, included the Beijing-based digital animation studio acquiring to acquire upwards of US $7 million in Rainmaker debt and the assumption of all of the studio's real estate leases. Rainmaker is currently in production on its first feature film Escape from Planet Earth, which will be distributed by The Weinstein Company in February 2013. It is also producing several DVD films for Mattel and developing its own properties.
NEW PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Entertainment One (eOne) acquires the rights to legendary Japanese creator/cartoonist/artist/animator "Godfather of Anime" Osamu Tezuka's (Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion) popular action-adventure manga title Black Jack, which it plans to develop as a TV series. Produced by eOne, the series will be executive produced by Taka Ichise and Doug Davison (partners on the feature adaptations of Japanese properties The Ring and The Grudge). Dave Brown and Zadoc Angell of Artist International who packaged the project will also executive produce. Michael Rosenberg, Jen Chambers and Adam Blumberg will oversee the show on behalf of eOne. eOne will handle worldwide rights to the series in all media. The Black Jack manga has sold 50+ million copies in Japan, and has also been translated and released around the world. The story follows the adventures of Jack Black, a great detective/doctor whose unorthodox ways and numerous secrets sometimes make him a questionable hero. Black works for a government special-ops team and investigates and battles various threats against the US and the world. The property is not for younger kids.
Hungry Shark, the game app for iOS and Android devices, chomps its way into licensing and merchandising. Hungry Shark creator Future Games of London (FGOL) partners with AT New Media to develop a merchandise and licensing program for the game app, resulting in a deal with BattleAnt, which will design, manufacture and distribute a Hungry Shark plush toy to coincide with the next installment of the game. New content is released regularly by FGOL regularly adds new content to Hungry Shark. AT New Media is seeking licensing partners across categories including collectibles, plush, and resin figures for Hungry Shark.
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Women | OCT 10
Baby Boomers | OCT 17
Kids, Tweens & Teens | OCT 31
Hispanics | NOV 13
Digital Viewers | NOV 21
PBS Kids and Whole Foods Market enter into a new partnership to help educate kids and families about organic foods and making healthy eating choices. The Fantastic Organic campaign offers online activities, games and apps from PBS Parents (www.pbsparents.org/fantasticorganic), PBS Kids and Whole Foods Market that will encourage families to cook, shop, get recipes and learn about organic foods together. In support of this initiative select Whole Foods Market stores will host in-store events for kids and families where they can also get facts, tips, and advice about buying organic products as well as some stores hosting an in-store scavenger hunt, The Hunt for Organics. Kids completing the hunt can turn in their finished activity sheet for an Organic Valley prize pack. Additionally, PBS Parents is helping families get ready for kids to go back to school with advices to parents on healthy eating during the school year (www.pbs.org/parents/food-and-fitness/eat-smart/encourage-kids-to-eat-healthy-food). Tips include getting kids involved in meal planning, shopping and cooking, getting kids to understand where their food comes from, making healthy snacks available at home, and encouraging kids to not just eat during the day but drink liquids too (that includes recipes for smoothies and the like).
MORE KIDS STUFF
Teletoon Canada unveils its fall programming lineups for its family of networks including the kid/family aimed Teletoon, Teletoon Retro, and Cartoon Network, which all launch Monday, September 3, 2012.
Popular voice actor Dee Bradley Baker (Phineas and Ferb, SpongeBob SquarePants, among many many others) will make a guest appearance as Sandman in a new episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, titled Snow Day, Sunday, August 5 at 11a, as part of Marvel Universe on Disney XD. Ultimate Spider-Man is produced by Marvel Animation. Ultimate Spider-Man features the voices of Drake Bell (Drake & Josh), Chi McBride (Boston Public), Clark Gregg (Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers), JK Simmons (Spider-Man), Steven Weber (Wings), Greg Cipes (Teen Titans, Ben 10), Ogie Banks, Caitlyn Taylor Love (I'm In The Band), Logan Miller (I'm In The Band), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), Matt Lanter (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Tara Strong (The Fairly Odd Parents), Misty Lee (Batman: Arkham City), and recurring guest star Stan Lee (Spider-Man).
PBS Kids releases its new storybooks app, Sid The Science Kid Read & Play App for iOS devices at the App Store. Based on The Jim Henson Company's animated preschool series Sid the Science Kid, the new app is developed by iStoryTime. Designed to encourage the development of early science exploration skills and concepts, the new app features two storybooks, The Trouble with Germs and What's That Smell?, jokes, games, sing-along music videos, and coloring pages, among other activities. More information about PBS Kids' collection of apps can be found at www.pbskids.org/mobile.
Sega Europe appoints Renata Bukovanova as Licensing Manager. Bukovanova, who joins the London-based licenising team, will be managing a number of categories across Europe including publishing, stationery/BTS, homeware, food and promotions. She will report to Sissel Henno, Head of Brand Licensing (Europe). Bukovanova most recently was with CPLG, where she worked on its legal team since 2007. Her primary focus will be on Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as opportunities to license Sega's other brands.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
DISNEY CHANNEL: K2-11 1149; K6-11 808; TWEENS 9-14 637
NICKELODEON° : K2-11 970; K6-11 636; TWEENS 9-14 500
CARTOON NETWORK** : K2-11 747; K6-11 526; TWEENS 9-14 375
DISNEY XD: K2-11 265; K6-11 218; TWEENS 9-14 214
NICKTOONS: K2-11 112; K6-11 90; TWEENS 9-14 60
°Nickelodeon Total Day: Mon-Thurs 7a-8p; Fri 7a-9p; Sat 6a-10p; Sun 6a-8p
**Cartoon Network & Adult Swim share channel space ADSM airs Sat.-Thurs. 9p-6a
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data
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Friday's Fun Fact: The Canary Islands are actually not named for canaries, but for dogs. This is because a large population of wild dogs were found on the island (and the Latin root for dog is canaria).
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: What cartoon mice try to take over the world from their cages in Acme Labs? Pinky and the Brain. Kudos to: Meredith Rusu-Disney Publishing Worldwide/NYC; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NYC; Mara Anastas-Simon & Schuster/NY; Sarah funk-Disney media/NYC; Tom Boyd-WGN-TV/Chicago; Richard Quan-BSSP/San Francisco; Caroline Ratana-Ratana/LA; Kelly Winger-Toronto Fringe Festival/Toronto; Nashua Gallagher-Turner International Asia-Pacific/Hong Kong; Martin McElroy-Red Kite Animations/Edinburgh.
Today's Trivia Question: What cartoon character says "Dagnabit"? (Email John@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you've been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can't be mentioned again that calendar week.)
Later -- Gwen
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