|Industry||Global media company|
|Founded||11 July 1989|
|Defunct||8 May 2009|
|Fate||Merged into Classic Media|
|Products||Children and family television programming|
Entertainment Rights PLC (formally known as Sleepy Kids) 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 UK) a children's animated series. Schrager-Powell's business partner was Hanna-Barbera. Within months of the founding, Sleepy Kids became a public company. It produced Dr. Zitbag's Transylvania Pet Shop and Budgie the Little Helicopter.
Between 1998 and 1999, Sleepy Kids expanded. In December 1998, the company merged with The Richard Digance Card Company, Clipper Films and Ridgeway Films. In 1999, the company acquired Siriol Productions. Also in 1999, Sleepy Kids purchased Boom Boom (owner of Basil Brush), Carrington Productions International (owner of the Ventureworld Films and Dr. Zitbag's Transylvania Pet Shop.
Following these acquisitions, Sleepy Kids was renamed "SKD Media". In 2000, SKD Media was renamed "Entertainment Rights". Entertainment Rights later purchased Link Entertainment in March 2001 and Postman Pat owner Woodland Animations (which was distributed by Link) in November 2001 Varga London, Hibbert Ralph Entertainment, and Maddocks Animation and Little Entertainment Company.
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.
On 11 January 2007, Entertainment Rights acquired Classic Media for US$210 million (£106.9 million). Before completion, both companies announced distribution and production agreements with Genius Products.
In December 2008, the company appointed of 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 UK 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.
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.