Global media company
|Founded||11 July 1989|
|Defunct||8 May 2009|
30 December 2010 (Company dissolvation)
Acquired by Boomerang Media and folded into Classic Media
Number of employees
Entertainment Rights PLC (formerly known as Sleepy Kids PLC and SKD Media PLC) was a British multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate that specialized in TV shows and cartoons, children's media, films, and distribution. In May 2009, the company was acquired by Boomerang Media and merged into its own subsidiary Classic Media.
In 1989, "Sleepy Kids" was founded by Martin and Vivien Schrager-Powell. It was created in order to produce Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone (Potsworth and Co. in the United Kingdom), a children's animated series. Schrager-Powell's business partner was Hanna-Barbera. Within months of its founding, Sleepy Kids became a public company. It produced Dr. Zitbag's Transylvania Pet Shop and Budgie the Little Helicopter.
In December 1998, the company merged with The Richard Digance Card Company, Clipper Films and Ridgeway Films, and after these mergers, the company was renamed SKD Media PLC.
In 1999, the company acquired Siriol Productions. In July, SKD purchased the Southampton-based Boom! Boom!, the property owners of the Basil Brush character.
In October, SKD Media announced that they would acquire fellow independent business Carrington Productions International. In November, SKD announced to change their name to Entertainment Rights.
Under their new name, Entertainment Rights continued on with their expansion. Their first acquisition after the name change came in April, with the worldwide pre-sale rights to the then-upcoming GMTV series Cubeez. In August, the company signed a co-production deal with Disney-owned Buena Vista Home Entertainment for their Magical Mystical Merlin series, later renamed as Merlin the Magical Puppy, where BVHE would distribute the series on home media worldwide except in the US and Japan.
In February 2001, the company acquired all international TV and home video rights to Barbie in the Nutcracker from the toy company Mattel, which was set for a Winter 2001 release. In March, The company purchased United Kingdom-based children's distributor Link Entertainment, which also included its licensing subsidiary Link Licensing. Another purchase came in November, when stop-motion animation company Woodland Animations, well known for producing Postman Pat was acquired.
After the success of Barbie in the Nutcracker, Mattel and Entertainment Rights agreed for a worldwide deal to distribute the second movie - Barbie as Rapunzel, in April 2002, excluding the US.
In 2004, Entertainment Rights acquired Tell-Tale Productions and rights to most of the in-house Filmation library from Hallmark Entertainment.
At the end of 2004, Entertainment Rights employed 95 people. In the 2005 financial year, Entertainment Rights' revenue was £12.4 million. The company bid for Chorion but the offer was rejected.[failed verification]
In 2005, Siriol Productions came under new management. The company was renamed "Calon". Most of the rights to completed productions were kept by Entertainment Rights. In October 2005, the company expanded their Barbie licensed deal with Mattel to include three more movies. It was further extended again in September 2006.
See also: Classic Media
On 14 December 2006, Entertainment Rights announced that they would purchase the US-based licensing company Classic Media for US$210 million (£106.9 million). The deal would bring Classic Media's own IPs, including the Bullwinkle Studios joint-venture with Jay Ward Productions (Rocky & Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle), the Harvey Comics library (Casper the Friendly Ghost), Lassie, the pre-1974 Rankin/Bass Productions library (including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman) and Big Idea Productions' (VeggieTales) to the Entertainment Rights portfolio. The deal also included a stake in the joint-venture children's block/network Qubo. The deal was closed on 11 January 2007 and Classic Media became a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Before the deal was completed, both companies announced North American home video distribution and production agreements with Genius Products.
On January 22, 2007, the company purchased the Where's Wally? franchise.
In December 2008, the company appointed Deborah Dugan, former president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, as its CEO in North America. There had been financial instability within the company.
By January 2009, the company had dismissed one third of its employees. The company's market value decreased from £267 million in March 2007 to £5.5 million. By February 2009, six companies had requested to purchase Entertainment Rights. Also in February 2009, Entertainment Rights was fined £245,000 by the Financial Services Authority for failing to inform shareholders of "a potential $14 million earnings hit in a timely manner".
On 1 April 2009, Entertainment Rights went into voluntary administration. On the same day, Boomerang Media announced it had acquired all of Entertainment Rights' subsidiaries including Entertainment Rights itself, Big Idea and Classic Media.
On 11 May 2009, Boomerang Media announced that the former British and US subsidiaries of Entertainment Rights would operate as a unified business under the name "Classic Media", while Big Idea would operate under its own name. Boomerang Media was created by former owners of Classic Media until it was sold to Entertainment Rights in 2006.
The Entertainment Rights PLC company was folded on 30 December 2010.
In 2012, Classic Media was acquired by DreamWorks Animation. DreamWorks Animation was then acquired by NBCUniversal in 2016, thus Universal Pictures gaining the rights to most of Entertainment Rights' catalogue of works.
|Fate||Folded and rebranded under Classic Media name|
Right Entertainment was a home video company that released Entertainment Rights' properties on VHS and DVD in the United Kingdom, alongside some acquisitions from third-party companies.
ER formed Right Entertainment at the beginning of July 2001 and signed a $500,000 advance UK/Ireland distribution deal with Universal Pictures Video to distribute their releases. Right's release schedule would start off with VHS releases of Barbie in the Nutcracker and existing ER property Cubeez in 2001, followed up with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Casper the Friendly Ghost releases, and DVD release of Barbie following up in 2002. The company also announced an international home video expansion for their properties, beginning with Universal obtaining non-UK/Ireland home video rights to Barbie in the Nutcracker, but ruled out if Universal would distribute other properties outside the UK as well.
Right Entertainment's first product - Barbie in the Nutcracker, was released on VHS on 29 October 2001 to a huge commercial success, which went on to sell 100,000 units within its first week of release. By April 2002, after which the movie was released on DVD as well, 700,000 copies were sold across both formats. This deal later led to home video and TV rights being secured for the sequel - Barbie as Rapunzel.
Another secured success with Right was the release of the first Merlin the Magical Puppy video in March 2002, which entered into the top ten children's video charts. Right secured home video and DVD rights to the CITV arts and crafts series Finger Tips in June 2002 after ER acquired worldwide distribution rights. This was followed up with UK home video rights to Clifford the Big Red Dog the following month as ER already held consumer product rights to the franchise itself.
In April 2004, Right secured UK home video and DVD rights to Clifford's Puppy Days.
Right Entertainment's last product - Postman Pat Special Delivery Service: To the Rescue!, was released on DVD on 16 March 2009.
Following the folding of Entertainment Rights into Classic Media, Right Entertainment was also folded under the de-facto Classic Media name, although the copyright was now changed to read "Classic Media Distribution Ltd." on DVD cases. The company continued with its British home video deal with Universal.