Classic Media, LLC
(aka DreamWorks Classics)
DreamWorks Classics
FormerlyClassic Media (2000–2012)
IndustryIntellectual property
PredecessorsUnited Productions of America
Golden Book Video
Total Television
Entertainment Rights
Founded2000; 22 years ago (2000)
RevenueUS$82 million[1] (2012)
US$19 million[1] (2012)
Number of employees
80[2] (2012)
ParentUniversal Pictures

Classic Media, LLC, doing business as DreamWorks Classics, is an American entertainment company owned by DreamWorks Animation, which is a subsidiary of Universal Pictures through Comcast's NBCUniversal. It was founded as Classic Media in 2000 by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman.[7] 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, DreamWorks Animation acquired Classic Media from its then-owner, Boomerang Media.[5][8]


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Classic Media (2000–2012; first incarnation)

Classic Media logo
Classic Media logo

Classic Media was founded by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman in 2000 and acquired the UPA catalog from Henry Saperstein's estate.[7] Frank Biondi, the former head of Universal Studios, and movie producer Steve Tisch invested in the company.[9] Classic Media then bought the Harvey Entertainment catalog on March 11, 2001.[9][10] 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[11]) and Random House acquiring Golden Books' book publishing properties.[12][13] On October 31, 2003, Classic Media purchased the assets of the bankrupt Big Idea Entertainment.[14] By 2007, Classic had formed Bullwinkle Studios, a joint venture with Jay Ward Productions, to manage the Jay Ward characters.[5][6]

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.[11]

In August 2006, Classic Media announced a joint venture with ION Media Networks, NBCUniversal, Corus Entertainment and Scholastic Corporation to launch Qubo, a kids' entertainment network.[15]

On December 14, 2006, it was announced that Classic Media would be acquired by UK-based rival Entertainment Rights for $210.0 million.[16] Before the acquisition was completed, both companies announced distribution and production agreements with Genius Products, LLC, replacing the Sony Wonder deal.[17]

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.[18] 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.[3][4] On March 7, 2012, Classic Media brought the Noddy brand from Chorion[19] and later brought the Olivia brand from them on March 19.[20]

DreamWorks Classics (2012–2019)

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.[5][8] On June 18, 2014, DreamWorks Animation bought the Felix the Cat brand and added it to the DreamWorks Classics portfolio.[21] On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced it would be acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[22] The acquisition was completed on August 22.[23]

Classic Media (2019–present; second incarnation)

NBCUniversal had the unit revert to its prior name of Classic Media and appointed Ellenbogen as co-president in August 2019.[24] Three series, Lassie, George of the Jungle and Mr. Magoo, were picked up from Classic Media's library by CBS All Access (ViacomCBS's streaming service, now known as Paramount+ ) in January 2020.[25]



Character brands

Joint ventures

Other rights


  1. ^ a b Palmeri, Christopher (July 23, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation to Buy Owner of Casper, Lassie Shows". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 2, 2016.(subscription required)
  2. ^ "DreamWorks buys Casper, Lassie owner Classic Media for $155m". Telegraph. July 23, 2012. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Tribbey, Chris (May 11, 2009). "Classic Media Absorbs Subsidiaries". Home Media Magazine. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Moody, Annemarie (May 11, 2009). "Entertainment Rights to Operate as Classic Media". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e Verrier, Richard (July 23, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation buys 'Casper,' 'Lassie' parent Classic Media". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Elliot, Stuart (January 16, 2008). "A Classic Series, Retooled and Swingin'". New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Classic Media Acquires Harvey Entertainment". Animation World Network. August 25, 2000. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Acuna, Kirsten (July 23, 2012). "DreamWorks Studios Buys Classic Media For $155m". Business Insider. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Harvey Sells Out". ICv2. March 11, 2001. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Harvey Sells All Of Its Classic Characters". Animation World Network. March 9, 2001. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c DeMott, Rick. "Classic Media Gets Monetary Backing". Animation World Network. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  12. ^ a b DeMott, Rick (August 24, 2001). "Random House, Classic Media Buy Bankrupt Golden Books". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  13. ^ a b " – Golden Books sold for poky little $84M". August 16, 2001. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "'VeggieTales' goes for $19.3 million". Chicago Tribune. October 31, 2003. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  15. ^ Hampp, Andrew (August 24, 2006). "NBC Debuts Kids Programming Brand Qubo". Ad Age. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (December 14, 2006). "Kids' programming specialists join hands". Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  17. ^ "Genius Products Announces Long-term Co-production and Distribution Agreements with Entertainment Rights PLC and Classic Media" (Press release). Genius Products. January 8, 2007. Archived from the original on July 28, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  18. ^ Daswani, Mansha. "Boomerang Media Buys ER". Archived from the original on April 2, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  19. ^ a b Sweney, Mark (March 7, 2012). "Chorion sells rights to Noddy". The Guardian. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Arrant, Chris (March 19, 2012). "Classic Media Acquires "Olivia" Rights from Chorion". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "DreamWorks Picks Up Felix the Cat". License! Global. June 18, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  22. ^ James, Meg (April 28, 2016). "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (August 22, 2016). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  24. ^ Vlessing, Etan (August 30, 2019). "'Teletubbies' Owner DHX Media Names Ex-Marvel Head Eric Ellenbogen CEO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 30, 2019. Following DreamWorks' sale to NBCUniversal, Ellenbogen became co-president of Classic Media, which was restarted as a business unit of NBCUniversal.
  25. ^ Tuchow, Ryan (January 13, 2020). "CBS All Access scoops up DreamWorks Classics". Kidscreen. Retrieved June 24, 2020. US SVOD CBS All Access is growing its children’s programming with three new animated series from DreamWorks Animation-owned distributor Classics Media.
  26. ^ "Classic Media Reissues the Original GODZILLA on DVD". May 13, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  27. ^ "Paramount Cartoons 1958–59". Cartoon Research.
  28. ^ "Golden Books Agrees to Buy a Video Library". The New York Times. Reuters. July 31, 1996. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  29. ^ "Golden Books To Buy Family Entertainment Library From Broadway Video". Associated Press. July 30, 1996. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  30. ^ "Lamb Chop and Charlie sign on for a Golden deal". Deseret News. July 31, 1997. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  31. ^ "Entertainment Rights buys Filmation". C21Media. March 25, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  32. ^ "Postman Pat sold for Ł5m". BBC News. November 8, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  33. ^ "Tweenies maker bought for £3.1m". BBC News. September 13, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  34. ^ Ball, Ryan (September 13, 2004). "Entertainment Rights Acquires Tell-Tale Prods". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  35. ^ DreamWorks Animation SKG (July 23, 2012). "Dreamworks Animation Agrees to Acquire Classic Media" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  36. ^ "Anime/Manga-Inspired My Life Me Sold to Classic Media". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  37. ^ Bynum, Aaron. "'My Life Me' Animation Now in New Hands". Animation Insider. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  38. ^ Goldman Getzler, Wendy (June 7, 2010). "Voltron returns with full Force". Kidscreen. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  39. ^ "Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr Ink With Classic Media". Billboard. June 14, 2005. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  40. ^ Paskin, Willa (June 13, 2005). "Tribune, Classic in cartoon venture". Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2013.