DreamWorks Classics

DreamWorks Classics Inc.
Formerly called
Classic Media (2000–2012)
Industry Intellectual property
Founded May 2000 (2000-05)
Founders Eric Ellenbogen
John Engelman
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Key people
Revenue US$ 82 million (2012)[1]
US$ 19 million (2012)[1]
Number of employees
80 (2012)[2]
Parent DreamWorks Animation
Website classics.dreamworksanimation.com

DreamWorks Classics, formerly known as Classic Media, is an American animation studio, production and brand licensing company owned by DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal. It was founded as Classic Media in May 2000 by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman.[1] 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 owner Boomerang Media and renamed it DreamWorks Classics.[5][7]


Classic Media (2000–2012)

Classic Media logo

Classic Media was founded by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman in May 2000[1] and acquired the UPA catalog from Henry Saperstein's estate.[8] Frank Biondi, the former head of Universal Studios, and movie producer Steve Tisch became investors 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 Classic Media acquiring Golden Book's entertainment division (along with the Dell Comics and Gold Key libraries[11]) and the production, licensing and merchandising rights for the Golden Books characters while Random House acquired Golden Book's 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 majority owner over existing investor (like Random House Ventures) with a representative on the company board of directors.[11]

On August 24, 2006, Classic Media teamed up with ION Media Networks, NBCUniversal, Corus Entertainment and Scholastic Corporation in a joint venture 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.[18] 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 U.K. and U.S. subsidiaries including Classic Media, Inc. and Big Idea Entertainment from its administrators.[19] On May 11, 2009, Boomerang Media announced that the former U.K. and U.S. 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[20] and later brought the "Olivia" brand from them on March 19.[21]

DreamWorks Classics (2012–present)

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][7] On June 18, 2014, DreamWorks Animation bought the "Felix the Cat" brand and added it to the DreamWorks Classics portfolio.[22] On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced it would be acquiring its parent company, DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[23] On August 22, 2016, the acquisition was completed.[24]



Character brands

Licensing rights

Joint ventures


  1. 1 2 3 4 Palmeri, Christopher (July 23, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation to Buy Owner of Casper, Lassie Shows". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  2. "DreamWorks buys Casper, Lassie owner Classic Media for $155m". Telegraph. July 23, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  3. 1 2 Tribbey, Chris (May 11, 2009). "Classic Media Absorbs Subsidiaries". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  4. 1 2 Moody, Annemarie (May 11, 2009). "Entertainment Rights to Operate as Classic Media". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Verrier, Richard (July 23, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation buys 'Casper,' 'Lassie' parent Classic Media". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Elliot, Stuart (January 16, 2008). "A Classic Series, Retooled and Swingin'". New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  7. 1 2 Acuna, Kirsten (July 23, 2012). "DreamWorks Studios Buys Classic Media For $155m". Business Insider. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Classic Media Acquires Harvey Entertainment | Animation World Network". Awn.com. 2000-08-25. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  9. 1 2 3 "Harvey Sells Out". ICv2. March 11, 2001. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Harvey Sells All Of Its Classic Characters | Animation World Network". Awn.com. 2001-03-09. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  11. 1 2 DeMott, Rick. "Classic Media Gets Monetary Backing". Animation World Network. Awn.com. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  12. 1 2 DeMott, Rick (August 24, 2001). "Random House, Classic Media Buy Bankrupt Golden Books". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  13. 1 2 "CNN.com - Golden Books sold for poky little $84M". Edition.cnn.com. 2001-08-16. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  14. 1 2 "`VeggieTales' goes for $19.3 million - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. 2003-10-31. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  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. 1 2 "Entertainment Rights is sold off". Daily Mail Reporter. April 1, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  19. Daswani, Mansha. "Boomerang Media Buys ER". WorldScreen.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  20. 1 2 Sweney, Mark (March 7, 2012). "Chorion sells rights to Noddy". The Guardian. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  21. 1 2 Arrant, Chris (March 19, 2012). "Classic Media Acquires "Olivia" Rights from Chorion". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  22. 1 2 "DreamWorks Picks Up Felix the Cat". License! Global. June 18, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  23. "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  24. Dave McNary (2016-08-22). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Variety. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  25. "Classic Media Reissues the Original GODZILLA on DVD « SciFi Japan". Scifijapan.com. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  26. Reuters (1996-07-31). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS;Golden Books Agrees to Buy a Video Library - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  27. "Golden Books To Buy Family Entertainment Library From Broadway Video". Apnewsarchive.com. 1996-07-30. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  28. "Entertainment Rights buys Filmation". C21Media. March 25, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  29. "Postman Pat sold for Ł5m". BBC News. November 8, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  30. "Tweenies maker bought for £3.1m". BBC News. September 13, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  31. Ball, Ryan (September 13, 2004). "Entertainment Rights Acquires Tell-Tale Prods.". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  32. DreamWorks Animation SKG (July 23, 2012). "Dreamworks Animation Agrees to Acquire Classic Media" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  33. Goldman Getzler, Wendy (June 7, 2010). "Voltron returns with full Force". Kidscreen. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  34. "Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr Ink With Classic Media". Billboard. June 14, 2005. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  35. Paskin, Willa (June 13, 2005). "Tribune, Classic in cartoon venture". Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2013.

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