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Video Grows IDT Revenue

9 Dec, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

IDT Corp. subsidiary IDT Entertainment credited video distribution as the reason for a 96.6 percent increase in revenue for the company's first quarter of fiscal 2005 compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2004.

First-quarter 2005 revenue for the division was $60.4 million, compared to $30.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 and $12.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2004.

The boost owed primarily to “seasonal factors in our video distribution business. Generally, our fiscal first quarter is the strongest for our video distribution business due to Halloween-related sales, followed by increased orders from retailers in preparation for the holiday shopping season,” a spokesperson said. “In addition, revenue was particularly weak in our fiscal 2004 fourth quarter because of temporary operational disruptions in our video distribution business caused by the transfer of certain of our fulfillment and logistical functions to Fox Home Entertainment, our new strategic outside service provider. Most of the dramatic increase in revenue as compared with the year-ago period was a direct result of several acquisitions, particularly the December 2003 acquisitions of Anchor Bay Entertainment and Mainframe Entertainment, and the June 2004 acquisition of Manga Entertainment. We continue to expect fiscal 2005 revenue approaching $200 million for IDT Entertainment.”

IDT Entertainment's income from operations was $4.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2005, compared to a loss from operations of $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 and an operating loss of $0.7 million in the year-ago period. The distribution businesses again fueled the growth.

Anchor Bay's top revenue generators during the first quarter were Dawn of the Dead, 21 Jump Street, Silk Stalkings, and Thomas the Tank Engine. Manga's top revenue generator was the “Ghost in the Shell” franchise, which executives said has been selling well partly as a result of DreamWorks' theatrical release of Ghost in the Shell: Innocence as well the television premiere of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on Cartoon Network.

Executives outlined the company's twofold growth strategy as production of proprietary CG animated films to be released theatrically, and continued investment in film properties, including original productions and new video distribution licenses. Executives expect IDT's licensing and video distribution businesses — which market such titles as Highlander, Thomas the Tank Engine, Xena, and Ghost in the Shell and production service contract work, including the Emmy award winning shows “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill,” “Barbie” and “Inspector Gadget” — to drive near-term revenue, equity stakes in some of its productions yielding benefits later on.

Executives also announced the appointment of Janet Healy to the post of president of animation production. Healy is a career motion-picture producer with 30 years of production experience and former head of digital production at DreamWorks Animation, where she was a producer on Shark Tale. She also oversaw the transformation of DreamWorks' 2-D animation facility into a 3-D animation studio. Prior to joining DreamWorks, Healy headed digital production at Walt Disney Feature Animation, where she oversaw digital production on all Disney animated features, including Mulan, Tarzan, Dinosaur, Fantasia 2000 and Atlantis.

Healy will be responsible for overseeing all of IDT animation studios worldwide, ensuring the most efficient integration of the studios and harmonization of production processes.

IDT Entertainment Sales was formed in June 2004 to handle distribution of content produced by IDT Entertainment outside the areas served by Anchor Bay and Manga. It also acquires programming for distribution to television producers worldwide.

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