DIC Entertainment announced today that it has signed an agreement with SmartVideo Technologies, Inc. to create "DIC Kid's Network," the world's first animation channel for cell phones.
DIC has amassed one of the world's largest independent libraries of animated programming, consisting of over 3,200 half-hours and more than 100 different programs - including such potent franchises as Inspector Gadget, Madeline and Strawberry Shortcake - that approximately 25 million children watch each week in the U.S. alone. DIC is now making its library available for viewing globally on cell phones and wireless devices for the first time, using SmartVideo's proprietary technology that recreates the true television experience, even over low bandwidth connections. This first of its kind collaboration is a unique way of delivering entertainment to tens of millions of children and family's all over the world.
"Partnering with SmartVideo allows us to use our programming to introduce the next generation of entertainment venues," said Andy Heyward, CEO of DIC Entertainment Corporation "With today's mobile family relying more and more on cell phones to provide everything from news and information to entertainment, SmartVideo provides us with the ideal tool to make our animation and family programming available to millions of people around the world every day. Until we discovered SmartVideo, no streaming media company was able to meet the stringent quality standards we demand for our programs."
Commenting on the partnership with DIC, Richard E. Bennett, Jr., president and CEO of SmartVideo said, "It is highly gratifying that companies like DIC are capitalizing on the dynamic and powerful delivery system we have developed. I am extremely pleased that DIC has recognized our ability to provide a quality viewing experience to all subscribers whether they are watching on their cell phone or their home computer. SmartVideo's mobile solutions put entertainment and information right in the palm of your hand."
The deal with DIC is SmartVideo's latest content partnership. Earlier this month, Mr. Bennett announced deals to stream content from ABC News and ABC News Now, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC Mobile and The Weather Channel. SmartVideo also unveiled a Marketing and Cooperation agreement with Microsoft Corp. in which Microsoft is distributing SmartVideo's services through its WindowsMedia Mobile portal.
DIC's development activities range from creating original characters, such as its flagship property, "Inspector Gadget," to acquiring worldwide property rights to renowned brands, including Trollz and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as acquiring trend-setting properties from other media, such as "Sonic the Hedgehog" and "Super Mario Bros.," and then translating them into successful television, video and consumer product phenomena. DIC maintains a one-stop, full-service organization with dedicated development, production, marketing, merchandising, and home entertainment departments.
DIC's programs have consistently garnered critical acclaim and distinguished honors, including the Emmy, Cable Ace, Humanitas and Environmental Media Awards. A prominent and early advocate of responsible and positive-value children's programs, DIC was the first entertainment company to self-regulate with the creation of the DIC Code for Children's Programming. DIC has produced such landmark programs as Emmy Award Winning "Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?" and "Captain Planet," becoming the first FCC-friendly program for kids ages 6-11 to generate commercial success.
This unique agreement between DIC Entertainment and SmartVideo was negotiated by Media Consulting Associates (MCA), a leading entertainment consultancy firm consisting of well-known television executives specializing in content placement, distribution and production. MCA members include Herman Rush (former CEO, Columbia Pictures Television Group), Joe Indelli (former Vice President, Orion Television Distribution), Jerry Katzman (former President, William Morris Talent Agency), and Ave Butensky (former President, Television Bureau of Advertising). MCA is based in Los Angeles.