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DIC Entertainment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

DIC Entertainment Corporation
Formerly
  • DIC Audiovisuel (1971–1987, French studio)
  • DIC Enterprises, Inc. (1982–1993, U.S. studio)
  • DIC Animation City, Inc. (1985–1993)
  • DIC Entertainment, L.P. (1993–2002)
  • DIC Productions, L.P. (1994–2001)
Company typePublic
AIM: DEKEq.L
IndustryAnimation
Founded1971; 53 years ago (1971)
FounderJean Chalopin[1]
DefunctDecember 6, 2008; 15 years ago (2008-12-06)
FateAcquired by, merged with, and folded into Cookie Jar Group
SuccessorsCookie Jar Group
DHX Media
HeadquartersBurbank, California, U.S.
Former headquarters:
France
Key people
Andy Heyward (Chairman, CEO)[2][3]
ProductsChildren's television series
Parent
Divisions
  • DIC Consumer Products
  • DIC Home Entertainment
  • DIC Tune-Time Audio
Subsidiaries
The evolution of WildBrain
1968FilmFair is founded
1971DIC Audiovisuel is founded
1972Strawberry Shortcake is founded
1974CPLG is founded
1976CINAR and Colossal Pictures are founded
1982DIC Enterprises is founded
1984Ragdoll Productions is founded
1987DIC Audiovisuel closes
1988Studio B Productions is founded
1992Epitome Pictures is founded
1993DIC Enterprises becomes DIC Entertainment
1994Wild Brain is founded‚ and Red Rover Studios is founded
1995Platinum Disc Corporation is founded
1996CINAR buys FilmFair's library
1997Decode Entertainment is founded
1999Wild Brain acquires Colossal Pictures' employee base
2002Nerd Corps Entertainment is founded
2004Halifax Film Company is founded, CINAR rebrands as Cookie Jar Group
2005Platinum Disc Corporation merge as Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
2006Decode and Halifax Film merge as DHX Media, DIC acquires CPLG, and Ragdoll Worldwide is formed with BBC Worldwide
2007DHX Media buys Studio B Productions and Wild Brain becomes Wildbrain Entertainment
2008Cookie Jar Group absorbs DIC and House of Cool  absorbs Red Rover Studios
2010DHX Media buys Wildbrain Entertainment‚ and Peanuts Worldwide is founded
2011Decode Entertainment‚ and Red Rover Studios closes
2012DHX Media buys Cookie Jar Group
2013DHX Media buys Ragdoll Worldwide
2014DHX Media buys Epitome Pictures, Nerd Corps and Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, and Cookie Jar Group is absorbed
2016The WildBrain multi-channel network launches and Studio B and Nerd Corps merge as DHX Studios
2017Wildbrain Entertainment closes and DHX Media buys Peanuts Worldwide and Strawberry Shortcake
2018Halifax Film becomes Island of Misfits
2019DHX Media rebrands as WildBrain, Epitome Pictures closes, and the WildBrain MCN becomes WildBrain Spark
2020CPLG becomes WildBrain CPLG
2023WildBrain acquires House of Cool

DIC Entertainment Corporation (/ˈdk/; also known as DIC Audiovisuel, DIC Enterprises, DIC Animation City, DIC Entertainment, L.P., and DIC Productions, sometimes stylized as DiC), branded as the Incredible World of DIC, was an international film and television production company that was mostly associated as an animation studio. As a now former division of The Walt Disney Company, DIC produced live-action feature films and licensed numerous anime series.

On June 20, 2008, DIC was acquired by and later folded into Cookie Jar Group. As of 2023, most of the DIC library is currently owned by WildBrain (formerly DHX Media) after the company acquired Cookie Jar on October 22, 2012.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • DiC Entertainment Logo History (1980-2008) [Ep 39]
  • D.I.C Cartoon Marathon |1987-1992
  • The Rise and Fall of DIC Entertainment
  • DiC Entertainment logo (1990)
  • DiC Entertainment Logo History

Transcription

History

1971–1982: DIC Audiovisuel

Diffusion, Information Communications (DIC) was formed in France in 1971 by Jean Chalopin as the production division of Radio Television Luxembourg, a long existing media company.[6][7]

In 1981, DIC established a partnership with the Japanese animation studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha, as one of the overseas animation subcontractors. They helped animate many of TMS's programs, starting with Ulysses 31. They also produced the unaired pilot Lupin VIII. This partnership lasted until 1996.

1982–1986: Launch of the U.S. arm

DIC Audiovisuel's U.S. arm, DIC Enterprises, was founded in April 1982 in Burbank, California by Andy Heyward, a former story writer at Hanna-Barbera,[7] to translate DIC productions into English. The company produced television animation for both network broadcast and syndication, outsourced its non-creative work overseas, enforced anti-union policies and hired staff on a per-program basis to cut costs.[6] For some in the industry, DIC stood for "Do It Cheap".[6] With directors Bruno Bianchi and Bernard Deyriès, Chalopin and Heyward were able to make DIC an effective but restrained animation company.[6]

Soon after joining DIC, Heyward developed Inspector Gadget, which became a successful production out of the U.S. office.[6] DIC partnered with toy makers and greeting card companies for character based product lines that could be made into animated series. Thus, DIC productions came with built in advertisers and some time financiers.[7] Between Inspector Gadget, The Littles (the latter produced for ABC) and Heathcliff, the company became profitable.[8]

In 1983, DIC opened its own Japan-based animation facility known as K.K. DIC Asia for animation production on their shows in order to bypass overseas animation subcontractors.[citation needed] As the only non-union animation firm, in 1984 DIC faced a unionization effort, which failed.[2]

Over the next few years, DIC expanded their operations into syndication deals with LBS Communications (already the distributors of Inspector Gadget, LBS launched the Kideo TV block in April 1986, alongside DIC and Mattel[6][9]), as well as Columbia Pictures Television (then-partnered with LBS for Colex Enterprises)[10] and Access Syndication.[11] Home video rights to DIC shows were sold to Karl-Lorimar Home Video (which released DIC/LBS content under the Kideo Video banner) and CBS/Fox Video in the US, and to The Video Collection in Great Britain.[12][13]

1987–1993: Move to North America and Andy Heyward ownership

From late 1986 to 1987, Heyward, along with investors Bear Stearns & Co. and Prudential Insurance Co., bought Chalopin and Radio Television Luxembourg's 52% stake in DIC (whose legal name became DIC Animation City, Inc.)[2][14] in a $70 million leveraged buyout[2][8] and made the U.S. headquarters the company's main base of operations.[15] After the buyout, Chalopin, Bianchi, Deyriès, and producer Tetsuo Katayama left the company to be replaced by Robby London and Michael Maliani as key employees.[2] After selling his shares in DIC, Chalopin retained DIC's original offices in France as well as DIC's Japanese animation facility and formed the company Créativité et Développement (C&D) in 1987 to continue producing animated series, while the Japanese studio was renamed to K.K. C&D Asia, itself continuing operations until 1996.[16]

After the buyout, DIC was heavily in debt—due in part to their business model, which involved underbidding on potential projects to prevent rival animation companies from winning the bid, even if DIC themselves lost money; debt resulting from the creation of one show would be covered by the money from another set of shows, etc. Additionally, the company had sold their stock in high amounts, based on the company's predictions that there would be an ever-increasing amount of kids' television shows on the air; in reality, the market had been flooded with shows from DIC and others, leading to a glut and eventual collapse in syndicated kids shows by the end of the 1980s.[17]

As a result of the company's debt, the foreign rights to their library were sold in 1987 to Saban Productions, who then sold the rights to Chalopin's C&D.[1][6] At the time, Heyward considered Chalopin an enemy because of the purchase and the situation permanently poisoned DIC and Saban's relationship.[1] DIC sued Saban for damages; in 1991, both companies reached a settlement.[1][6] By 1987, DIC began expanding its partnership with Saban to co-produce shows with them, a relationship that would eventually last until the 1990 lawsuit.[18] That year, both DIC and Saban partnered with NBC, with the network picking up 26 episodes of I'm Telling! and 13 episodes of The New Archies for their Saturday morning schedule.[19]

Elsewhere that year, DIC signed a deal with Coca-Cola Telecommunications, a new TV distribution division formed by Columbia under the aegis of Coca-Cola.[20] Another side venture was toys, as DIC entered the toy industry with the development of the Old MacDonald talking toyline.

At the same time, DiC was both engaged in legal action and settling other legalities. DIC filed a lawsuit against home video distributor Family Home Entertainment, a label of International Video Entertainment, for allegedly breaching a contract to distribute cassettes of DIC's Dennis the Menace,[21] while simultaneously settling a lawsuit with LBS and Lorimar Home Video over their Kideo Video venture (meaning all three companies were now free to do business on video independently of each other). It had been revealed that a joint account LBS managed was allegedly trafficked in and out of the Cayman Islands.[22] DIC subsequently signed a deal with Golden Book Video to market titles under the DIC Video brand.[23]

By that December, DIC was creating two more syndicated strips (COPS and Camp California, also known as Camp Malibu, which ultimately never made it to air) despite layoffs elsewhere in the animation industry, kids' overall viewing being down and a highly competitive marketplace that was flooded with product—something that would ultimately prove damaging to the company.[24] That month, DIC arranged a deal to merge with Computer Memories, Inc., a former computer component manufacturer and then public shell company; a rogue Computer Memories shareholder sank the deal in February 1988.[8][2]

With the buyout debt still a burden, the animation market beginning to weaken thanks the rise of videotape viewing, and the aforementioned glut of new shows and new kids' cable channels, Japanese contract animation companies' rates increased 40% from 1986 to 1988 due to the yen exchange rate. This resulted in DIC beginning to move production of their series elsewhere, including Korea and Taiwan; Dennis the Menace instead moved to a Canadian animation firm for grants and tax breaks from the Canadian government. By the 1987–1988 season, DIC had shows on all three major networks Saturday mornings (six half-hours of shows) and 50 half-hours per week in syndication.[8]

Despite Bear Stearns previously dismissing any problems relating to a possible cash infusion, Prudential purchased additional equity in DIC Animation City in August 1989, also increasing DIC's debt capacity. For the 1989–1990 season, DIC provided 30% of the networks' Saturday morning schedule with a total of 60 hours per week on networks, local stations, and cable channels. Four new programs debuted that season on cable and syndication.[14]

On September 11, 1989, DIC launched the 26-hours-a-week Funtown programming block on the CBN Family Channel. This block was composed of DIC series previously seen elsewhere, shows acquired by the Family Channel and originally-produced programming. DIC handled ad sales while the Family Channel would take charge of distribution and marketing.[25]

Throughout the early 1990s, DIC entered into partnerships with Italian studio Reteitalia, S.p.A. and Spanish network Telecinco, both owned by the Fininvest group, and co-produced shows with them both, with Silvio Berlusconi Communications handling international distribution of DIC's programs.[26] In 1992, DIC signed a distribution deal with Bohbot Communications to handle distribution of these programs, such as Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. By the early 1990s, DIC also operated a subsidiary, Rainforest Entertainment, led by Kevin O'Donnel, which produced the cartoon Stunt Dawgs.[27] DIC entered into a strategic partnership with Rincon Children's Entertainment, a joint venture with BMG, to launch two new subsidiaries: DIC Tune-Time for audio and DIC Toon-Time Video, a home video label.[28]

On June 10, 1993, DIC started up an educational unit.[29] On July 12, Buena Vista Home Video signed a multimillion-dollar multiyear North American licensing deal with DIC which included over 1,000 half-hours worth of animated content from the studio, alongside the creation of a dedicated home video label and interactive and multimedia opportunities.[30] The first DIC VHS releases under the new deal were released in early 1994, with the label being branded as DIC Toon-Time Video (previously used during the company's short-lived deal with Rincon/BMG).

1993–2000: Limited partnerships with Capital Cities/ABC and Disney

Throughout the early 1990s, DIC had become the subject of industry speculation. The company entered into talks with PolyGram and Capital Cities/ABC for a potential merger and buyout, but nothing came out in fruition to an agreement with either business.[31]

On July 26, 1993, DIC Animation City officially announced they had entered into a limited partnership with Capital Cities/ABC Video Enterprises, Inc. to form a Delaware joint venture called DIC Entertainment, L.P.[32] The venture was created to control DIC's production library and provide material for CAVE to distribute in the international market.[15] DIC Animation City held 95% shares, while CAVE held 5%.[33] At the end of the year, the two companies later formed another Delaware limited partnership called DIC Productions, L.P.,; Capital Cities/ABC owned a 95% majority stake in the venture, while Heyward owned the remaining 5%.[34] Both limited partnerships eventually became the successor to the former parent company DIC Animation City. By this point, the company moved their headquarters to a larger building in the Burbank area.

DIC continued to expand and experiment with new technologies and genres. In November 1993, the company formed a multimedia unit called DIC Interactive,[35] and launched a live-action television unit in 1994.[36] In an effort to cash in on the success of friend-turned-rival producer Saban with the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers series, DIC countered and signed a deal with Japanese producer Tsuburaya Productions and subsidiary Ultracom, to adapt Tsuburaya's Japanese program Gridman the Hyper Agent as the series Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, which would eventually air from 1994 to 1995.[37][38] The same year, DIC and Capital Cities/ABC launched two children's blocks, Dragon Club and Panda Club, in China,[39] while also signing a deal with SeaGull Entertainment, a new syndicated company formed by LBS Communications employee Henry Siegel.[40]

In July 1995, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would purchase and merge with Capital Cities/ABC. The merger would include all of their assets, including DIC.[41] In October 1995, DIC announced plans to open up an animation studio in France in partnership with Hamster Productions, which at the time was 33% minority owned by Capital Cities/ABC.[42]

The Capital Cities/ABC merger with Disney was closed in January 1996, making DIC a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.[15] With this, the company began working closely with them and began with the launch of a feature-film division named DIC Films, which signed a first-look deal with Walt Disney Pictures in 1996.[43]

In March 1997, DIC's French animation studio began operations as Les Studios Tex S.A.R.L., with DIC as one of its shareholders.[44][45][46]

In March 1998, DIC Films' first-look deal with Walt Disney Pictures was extended.[43] In April 1998, following on with the success of the direct-to-video material that their parent company was producing, DIC announced the launch of their own direct-to-video division with Riley Katherine Ellis, a Caravan Pictures producer, hired as division head, and their releases distributed through Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment. The first release that was announced was Madeline: Lost in Paris in spring 1999.[47] In May, DIC signed a deal to provide a children's programming block, Freddy's Firehouse, for the Pax TV network; however, PAX ultimately opted to produce their own block, Cloud 9, though still featuring DIC content.[48][49]

2000–2004: Return to independence

In September 2000, Andy Heyward, backed by investment firms Bain Capital and Chase Capital Partners, began to purchase DIC from The Walt Disney Company.[50] Disney agreed to sell back the company and the deal was closed on November 25,[15][51] officially allowing DIC to produce shows alone again without the limitations of Disney, coinciding with the relaunch of DIC's international sales division at MIPCOM that year.

In 2001, DIC announced their return to the home video market, forming a new division titled DIC Home Entertainment; they intended to begin releasing products starting that May.[52] This was delayed due to DIC's issues in finding a distribution partner, which eventually happened in July when DIC signed a deal with Lions Gate Home Entertainment for North American distribution of DIC Home Entertainment products.[53] In June, DIC announced a planned purchase of Golden Books Family Entertainment for $170 million, but they eventually backed out of the deal due to the high costs of the purchase; the company was instead co-purchased by Random House for the book rights and Classic Media for the entertainment rights.[54]

At the beginning of 2002, a new parent company called DIC Entertainment Corporation was formed to hold DIC's assets, including DIC Entertainment, L.P. and their stake in Les Studios Tex. In July, DIC purchased the Mommy & Me preschool label.[55]

In January 2003, DIC announced three syndicated children's programming E/I blocks called DIC Kids Network.[56][57] In April, DIC sued Speed Racer Enterprises, alleging that SRE had sub-licensed the worldwide exploitation rights for Speed Racer to DIC the previous year and then ended the agreement without DIC knowing.[58] Later in July, DIC signed a television production deal with POW! Entertainment for Stan Lee's Secret Super Six, a series about teens with alien superpowers who are taught about humanity by Lee (this show never made it to air).[59]

2004–2008: Going public and final years

In 2004, Heyward purchased Bain Capital's interest in DIC and took the company public the following year on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market under the symbol DEKEq.L.[60]

In March 2006, DIC re-acquired the international rights to 20 of their shows from The Walt Disney Company and Jetix Europe, who had owned them since Disney bought the previous owners Saban Entertainment in 2001.[61] Later in June, the company acquired the Copyright Promotions Licensing Group.[62] In the same month, Jeffrey Edell joined DIC as president and COO.[63]

DIC Entertainment, KOL (AOL's kids content arm), and CBS Corporation agreed to a new three hour long programming block for Saturday mornings on CBS called KOL Secret Slumber Party, which was launched on September 15, 2006.[64] On September 15, 2007, a new programming block KEWLopolis premiered, a joint venture between DIC, CBS, and American Greetings.[65]

In April 2007, DIC Entertainment, Nelvana, and NBC Universal Global Networks announced plans to launch KidsCo, a new international children's entertainment network.[66]

That October, DIC sued the Dam company, claiming that they alleged claims of fraud in the inducement and negligent misrepresentation in connection with Dam's troll doll, and DIC's Trollz, which was created after DIC licensed the brand from Dam.[67] Dam counter-sued DIC, claiming that the company financially misrepresented its ability to create and market a modern troll doll toy campaign and destroyed the image and goodwill of the doll.[68]

2008–2012: Cookie Jar Group and DHX Media purchases and legacy

In June 2008, DIC Entertainment and Canadian media company Cookie Jar Group announced an agreement to merge, the transaction being estimated at $87.6 million.[69] President Jeffrey Edell was instrumental in closing the deal and led the merger with Cookie Jar.[70] The merger was completed on July 23 and the company became a subsidiary of Cookie Jar.[71] Shortly after the purchase, Cookie Jar folded DIC into their own operations, renaming DIC Entertainment Corporation as Cookie Jar Entertainment (USA) Inc. Cookie Jar was in turn acquired by DHX Media on October 22, 2012.[72]

In 2009, DIC Kids Network was renamed to Cookie Jar Kids Network, until the block closed down in 2011. Cookie Jar had also produced the final season of Sushi Pack, one of DIC's final shows, lasting until 2009, when KEWLopolis on CBS was renamed to Cookie Jar TV, until the block closed down in 2013, when it was replaced by CBS Dream Team, a block produced by Litton Entertainment. Cookie Jar also had a block on This TV beginning in 2008 with Cookie Jar Toons, which carried shows from Cookie Jar and DIC, and lasted until 2013. Cookie Jar itself closed down in 2014.

In 2009, Andy Heyward founded A Squared Entertainment (A²) with his wife, Amy. A Squared was a brand management, and licensing company that represents third-party properties across a broad range of categories in territories around the world. It held licenses that DIC couldn't get off the ground.[73] In 2013, A Squared merged with Genius Brands to form Genius Brands International, with Heyward serving as CEO to this day.[74]

DHX Media (now known as WildBrain) has also produced reboots based on DIC properties, such as the 2015 reboot of Inspector Gadget, as well as the 2019 reboot of Carmen Sandiego for Netflix, as well as producing a new Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic Prime for that network.

DIC has been parodied multiple times, including in the Adult Swim animated series Robot Chicken, with the most notable example being "Welcome to the Golf Jam" in the episode "CatDog on a Stick". The studio itself was parodied as "GiK Entertainment" in the show Saturday Morning All Star Hits! for Netflix.

Programming blocks

DIC operated many programming blocks for various television stations across the United States.

Kideo TV

Kideo TV was an anthology series that was produced as a joint-venture between DIC Enterprises and their US syndicator LBS Communications, with Mattel handling sponsorships.[6] The block aired on syndicated television stations, with Metromedia stations agreeing to carry the block by January 1986.[9], and launched in April 1986.[6][9]

Kideo TV aired for 90 minutes and consisted of live-action material with three cartoons from DIC's library used as framing material. Rainbow Brite, Popples and Ulysses 31 first aired on the block, while The Get Along Gang and Lady Lovely Locks were added later on.[6]

The "Kideo" brand was also used by LBS as a joint-venture home video line which released various DIC cartoons on VHS.

Weekend Funday

Weekend Funday was a 90-minute weekend strand produced by DIC that was syndicated through Coca-Cola Telecommunications during the Fall of 1987. Weekend Funday normally ran on Sundays under the name of Funday Sunday. However, it would also run on Saturdays as Funtastic Saturday, if it wanted to go head-to-head with the other kidvid blocks.[75]

It consisted of various half-hour cartoons from the DIC lineup, including Sylvanian Families and Starcom: The U.S. Space Force.

Funtown

Funtown was a daily children's programming block on the CBN Family Channel that launched on September 11, 1989. It ran for 26 hours a week, broadcasting from 7:00am-9:00am on weekdays, and 8:00am-11:00am and 4:00pm-6:00pm on weekends. DIC handled the advertising sales of the block, while the CBN Family Channel handled the distribution and marketing.

The lineup of shows was a mix of formats, from live-action-animated hybrids to live-action, and programs ranging from original to off-network shows, whether produced by DIC or other companies. In addition, a companion club program was supposed to be developed. DIC also planned to produce four specials each quarter with the launching of Funtown, combined with the others, mostly holiday specials, for the fourth quarter of 1989. However, nothing came out of these initial plans.[25]

Dragon Club

Dragon Club (Chinese: 小神龙俱乐部 (Little Dragon Club)) was a daily television strand operated and distributed through Capital Cities/ABC through various syndicated television stations in China. It launched on September 19, 1994, and broadcast various DIC and ABC programs in addition to third-party, live-action and local offerings.[39]

After the Disney purchase of Capital Cities/ABC, the strand transitioned to airing Disney-produced content and continued to broadcast until the start of 2019.

Panda Club

Panda Club (Chinese: 熊猫俱乐部) was the short-lived sister strand of Dragon Club that launched on October 2, 1994, and broadcast on a smaller selection of stations. It's programming was similar to that of Dragon Club, and broadcast until 1999.

Freddy's Firehouse

Freddy's Firehouse (FFH) was a planned children's educational programming block that would broadcast various programs from DIC Entertainment's library, initially announced in May 1998. In the United States, it was planned to air on Pax TV after DIC signed a deal with the broadcaster to become the exclusive supplier of animated programming on the network. The plan was for the block to run on weekends, running for three hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday. Buena Vista International Television handled syndication sales, and would also allow for the strand to be sold to other outlets internationally.[48][76]

However, the block was rejected in favor of Pax producing the children's block in-house, with "Cloud 9" (later renamed "Pax Kids") launching with Pax TV on August 31, 1998 and broadcasting until the end of the contract with DIC in 2000.[77]

National and syndicated broadcast blocks

  • DiC Kids Network – a set of three syndicated children's programming E/I blocks launched on September 1, 2003.[56][57]
  • KOL Secret Slumber Party – a three-hour long block launched on September 16, 2006, a programming block with partner KOL (AOL's kids online).[64]
  • KEWLopolis – launched on September 15, 2007, a programming block with partner American Greetings.[65]

Productions

References

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