|Formerly||Classic Media (2000–2012)|
|Predecessors||United Productions of America|
Golden Book Video
|Revenue||US$82 million (2012)|
|US$19 million (2012)|
Number of employees
Classic Media, LLC, doing business as DreamWorks Classics, is an American entertainment company owned by DreamWorks Animation, which is a subsidiary of Universal Pictures and a division of Comcast's NBCUniversal. It was founded as Classic Media in 2000 by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman. The studio's library consists of acquired intellectual property catalogs and character brands, as well as the licensing rights for various third-party properties. In 2012, Boomerang Media sold Classic Media to DreamWorks Animation, who rebranded the company as DreamWorks Classics. DreamWorks Animation became a subsidiary of NBCUniversal in 2016.
Classic Media was founded by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman in 2000 and acquired the UPA catalog from Henry Saperstein's estate. Frank Biondi, the former head of Universal Studios, and movie producer Steve Tisch invested in the company. Classic Media then bought the Harvey Entertainment catalog on March 11, 2001. On August 16, 2001, Classic Media and Random House won a joint bid for the assets of Golden Books, with Random House, and Classic Media acquiring Golden Books' entertainment division (including the Dell Comics and Gold Key Comics libraries) and Random House acquiring Golden Books' book publishing properties. On October 31, 2003, Classic Media purchased the assets of the bankrupt Big Idea Entertainment. By 2007, Classic had formed Bullwinkle Studios, a joint venture with Jay Ward Productions, to manage the Jay Ward characters.
On April 7, 2005, the company was recapitalized by a group of investors consisting of Spectrum Equity Investors plus existing investors led by Pegasus Capital Advisors. A $100 million senior debt facility was also arranged from JP Morgan Chase Bank-led bank group. With the deal, Spectrum became a majority owner over the existing investors, with a representative on the company board of directors.
In August 2006, Classic Media announced a joint venture with ION Media Networks, NBCUniversal, Corus Entertainment and book publisher Scholastic Corporation to launch Qubo, a kids' entertainment network.
On December 14, 2006, it was announced that Classic Media would be acquired by UK-based rival Entertainment Rights for $210.0 million. Before the acquisition was completed, both companies announced distribution and production agreements with Genius Products, LLC, replacing the Sony Wonder deal.
Entertainment Rights fell in to administration on April 1, 2009. On the same day, Boomerang Media LLC, formed by Ellenbogen and Engelman in 2008 with equity funding from GTCR, announced that it would acquire Entertainment Rights' principal UK and American subsidiaries, including Classic Media, Inc. and Big Idea Entertainment, from its administrators. On May 11, 2009, Boomerang Media announced that the former UK and American subsidiaries of Entertainment Rights would operate as a unified business under the name Classic Media, while Big Idea would operate under its own name. On March 7, 2012, Classic Media brought the Noddy brand from Chorion and later brought the Olivia brand from them on March 19.
On July 23, 2012, DreamWorks Animation acquired Classic Media from Boomerang Media for $155 million; the company became a unit of DreamWorks Animation and was renamed DreamWorks Classics. On June 18, 2014, DreamWorks Animation bought the Felix the Cat brand and added it to the DreamWorks Classics portfolio. On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal, a part of the Comcast group, announced a $3.8 billion deal to buy DreamWorks Animation. The acquisition was completed on August 22. Three series, Lassie, George of the Jungle and Mr. Magoo, were picked up from DreamWorks Classics' library by CBS All Access (Paramount Global's streaming service, now known as Paramount+ ) in January 2020.
US SVOD CBS All Access is growing its children’s programming with three new animated series from DreamWorks Animation-owned distributor Classics Media.