August 28, 2014

Article | The ones behind the One in Entertainment One

The problem with proclaiming one company the “last great independent” in its category is that the next one might be close behind, ready to rabbit punch. In this case, Canadian television ten years ago could not have seen the growth of Entertainment One, who acquired Force Four Entertainment on August 28, 2014. Those who watch Saving Hope, Haven, Bitten, Call Me Fitz and/or Rookie Blue watch an eOne show. eOne is a major home entertainment company in Canada, possibly the independent in this country.

I will update this article to correct errors, and as further acquisitions happen. While I’m ambivalent about eOne – I respect its television division, hate its aggressive acquisition strategy, and lament that it’s the only home entertainment company as active as it is in the Canadian TV-on-DVD market – I think it’s important to chart eOne’s growth. Given its summer 2014 run obtaining a film/home entertainment distributor and two production companies, eOne’s been on a tear lately.

I realize the company used E1 as shorthand, before adopting the current eOne branding. I call the company eOne for convenience.

For readers confused by the article’s title, I paraphrase Paul Heyman’s current catchphrase; eOne has distributed WWE Home Video titles for years. Those WWE Home Video titles made me jump to my feet, took my breath away, and left me in amazement!

1973: Vito Ierullo and Don Ierullo found Records on Wheels Limited, with a focus on retail sales of recorded music (initially from a bus, hence the name). By the late 1970s, ROW Limited/ROW Entertainment expands into music distribution, and expands into home entertainment by the 1980s/1990s.

2001(?): ROW Entertainment acquires CD Plus’ assets. The CD Plus site still does business, as Play Stop. Darren Throop comes to ROW Entertainment from CD Plus; he is eOne’s current chief executive officer.

November 2003: ROW Entertainment first lists on the Toronto Stock Exchange, as ROW Entertainment Income Fund.

August 1, 2004: ROW Entertainment acquires Video One Canada Limited, a home entertainment distributor, from Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited. The deal is worth CAD$72.4 million.

May 17, 2005: ROW Entertainment acquires KOCH Entertainment, a music and home entertainment distributor, for USD$80 million. By this time, ROW Entertainment rebrands as Entertainment One.

May 31, 2005: Entertainment One buys the assets of wholesaler Reel Choice Video Limited for CAD$1.9 million.

March 29, 2007: London, United Kingdom firm Marwyn Investment Management LLP takes over Entertainment One for CAD$188 million. The deal includes CAD$68 million in assumed debt. As a result of the takeover, Entertainment One gains a listing on London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, and loses its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

June 14, 2007: Entertainment One acquires UK television/home entertainment distributor Contender Limited, for GBP£49.4 million.

August 20, 2007: Entertainment One acquires Seville Entertainment Inc., a theatrical, television and home entertainment distributor/international sales agent. The Seville name is eventually retired in favour of eOne Films.

September 20, 2007: Entertainment One signs a multi-territory (i.e., Canada and the United Kingdom) all-rights agreement with Summit Entertainment. Why is this important? Three words: the Twilight saga. Summit is now a subsidiary of Lionsgate; Lionsgate is itself a former Canadian company.

September 24, 2008: For CAD$51.5 million, Entertainment One acquires film/television production companies Barna-Alper Productions Inc. and Blueprint Entertainment Corporation, and international film/television distributor and international sales agent Oasis Pictures Inc. The deals also include Maximum Film Distribution Inc. and Maximum Film International Inc., which acquired Canadian rights for international films.

For Canadian television, this is the most important move. It builds the backbone of eOne’s television production, distribution and sales arm. By 2009, Barna-Alper, Blueprint, and Oasis fold into eOne Television.

September 29, 2008: Entertainment One attempts a reverse takeover of DHX Media, in a CAD$68 million deal. The intention of the reverse takeover is to restore eOne’s spot on the Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as exploit DHX Media’s back catalog. The deal falls through on December 12, 2008, due to DHX Media’s share price losing almost half its value in the ensuing two and a half months.

April 12, 2011: Entertainment One purchases Australia company Hopscotch Group’s distribution and home entertainment divisions for GBP£12.9 million.

November 2, 2011: Entertainment One agrees to take over Vivendi Entertainment’s Canadian home entertainment distribution business; the takeover goes into effect January 1, 2012.

January 8, 2013: Entertainment One acquires the assets of Alliance Films Holdings Inc. for CAD$225 million. Alliance Films produced and distributed films; it was also a major Canadian home entertainment distributor. Alliance Films also held Canadian rights to select television content produced by predecessor company Alliance Atlantis.

March 26, 2014: Seville International reactivates as Entertainment One’s independent/arthouse film distribution and international sales division.

June 2, 2014: Entertainment One acquires Phase 4 Films, a film and home entertainment distributor. Phase 4 Films also develops television programs with Take 5 Productions. The Phase 4 Films deal includes children’s home entertainment subsidiary Kaboom! Entertainment. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.

July 17, 2014: Entertainment One acquires Paperny Entertainment, the film/television production company behind Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada, for CAD$29 million.

August 28, 2014: Entertainment One acquires Force Four Entertainment, the film/television production company behind City’s Seed and The Bachelor Canada, and National Geographic Channel’s Border Security: Canada’s Front Line. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.


January 15, 2010

News: XIII: The Conspiracy to DVD and Blu-ray February 2010

XIII: The Conspiracy, the France-Canada co-production which aired on NBC in February 2009, will be coming to DVD and Blu-ray February 9, 2010.  The miniseries stars Val Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, Jessalyn Gilsig and Stephen McHattie.  XIII: The Conspiracy will be released by Phase 4 Films for North American consumption.

XIII: The Conspiracy is based on the Franco-Belgian comic book series about an amnesiac searching for his past.  The miniseries centres around a conspiracy theory tied to the assassination of the President of the United States, Sally Sheridan (Mimi Kuzyk.)  XIII refers to a tattoo, the only thing identifying Dorff’s character.

XIII: The Conspiracy first aired on France’s Canal+ in October 2008.  In Canada, XIII: The Conspiracy aired on Showcase and Mystery TV.  I’m not even sure if Canwest aired XIII: The Conspiracy on Global.  XIII: The Conspiracy was announced for Global, but that was in the days when E! existed and Canwest wasn’t yet a crumbling media entity.

Considering Jay Firestone’s Prodigy Pictures helped produce the series, this is CanCon, albeit of the co-pro variety.  XIII: The Conspiracy isn’t bad, but it felt at the time like NBC’s belated attempt to cash in on the success of Fox’s 24.

A XIII: The Conspiracy regular series has been announced, although there’s not much information about the series beyond that.  If anyone knows more about XIII: The Conspiracy, please comment on this blog entry.  I won’t be convinced the series exists until XIII: The Conspiracy has a cable channel or network behind it.


September 5, 2009

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (September 5, 2009)

The Tudors‘ third season available in Canada November 2009.  Phase 4 Films will put this out on both DVD and Blu-ray, while Paramount Home Entertainment drags its ass on a DVD-only release.  Point goes to Phase 4 Films.  I think some parallel importing will occur here.

Sanctuary first-season DVD artwork and commercial spot.  There’s also a press release shilling the set, but big deal, it’s a press release.  The set’s being promoted on Syfy, so the show has cornered the American market.  People just seem to like Amanda Tapping.

It’s too bad Sanctuary didn’t receive more Gemini nominations this year.  Stupid sci-fi ghetto, I hate it almost as much as the animation age ghetto and the professional wrestling ghetto.  Sanctuary‘s first-season set will sell like a mofo, believe me.  It needs to, the way E1’s pimping it out.

Thomas Spurlin of DVD Talk reviews “Season One” of Blood Ties.  He likes it.

I should take the time to point out that Tanya Huff linked to URBMN in her LiveJournal a few weeks back.  She is the author of the Blood Books, which Blood Ties is based on.  It seems like every time I talk about Blood Ties I’m linked to by its fans, not that I’m complaining.

Jeffrey Kauffman of DVD Talk reviews “The Complete Season” of Total Drama Island.  He likes it.

Kenny vs. Spenny‘s fifth season out on DVD November 24, 2009 through Video Service Corp.  This season features the Who Can Smoke More Weed? and Who Can Piss Off More People? competitions.

I’d like to say the end is near for Kenny vs. Spenny, but it’s coming back for a sixth season.  I’m surprised Kenny vs. Spenny survived the Showcase reboot.  Mind you, so did Paradise Falls, but only on account of stockpiling.  Nowadays Showcase feels Howie Do It is worthy enough to grace its airwaves, as the pussification of Showcase begins.

Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…‘s first season out on DVD and Blu-ray November 10, 2009 through VSC.  Quite frankly, I’m surprised this show is out on DVD.  The press bumf claims the show received “terrific ratings and reviews on CTV,” never mind that the ratings went potty halfway through the run.   Press releases don’t need to be 100% truthful.

I have seen an episode or two of Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…  Costello is a decent interviewer, even if the show is low-key chat.  Having said that, if you can’t break half a million viewers with The Police, the show isn’t a mass-audience hit.  I’m tempted to say Sundance Channel and Channel 4 are keeping this baby afloat for a second season, just like The N won’t allow Degrassi: The Next Generation to die a richly deserved death.  There are worse shows out on DVD, I guess.

Oh, and mumble mumble Chop Socky Chooks press release.


August 14, 2009

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (August 14, 2009)

Recently I’ve been re-evaluating what gets included in these Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundups.  I removed all mention of Iron Man: Armored Adventures from the Roundups, as the only sign that the show was Canadian came from Wikipedia, not the world’s most accurate information source.  IM:AA is properly a French/Isle of Man show.  I apologize for the error.

I will still include industrials like Highlander: The Series, Inspector Gadget and Just For Laughs.  Highlander and Gadget were co-productions, while Just For Laughs is a Montreal-based festival with tendrils in Chicago.  I hate including them, but I do include as much proper CanCon as I can.  I’m even wondering whether Fear Itself qualifies for the DVD Roundups.

Little Mosque on the Prairie‘s second season on DVD September 15, 2009 through Paradox Entertainment Group/E1 Entertainment.  I guess Morningstar Entertainment lost DVD rights for the show.  E1 is a better label, anyway.  The set includes a Dan Redican commentary track, among other random extras.

Fraggle Rock‘s final season, as well as A Merry Fraggle Holiday (i.e., a Christmas compilation), coming out November 3, 2009 through Lionsgate.  The complete series is being reissued the same day, in proper bookcase format.

Lionsgate is now working directly with The Jim Henson Company.  HIT Entertainment has been freezed out of the picture, and I couldn’t be happier.  Fraggle Rock was treated shabbily by HIT Entertainment at the end, while the Lionsgate/Henson arrangement takes the fans’ complaints into account – better packaging, a stand-alone fourth season set, cheaper prices.  How can you not like that?

I think the Lionsgate/Henson arrangement is going to bear fruit.  Is a Dog City DVD set on the horizon?  Such a thing looks far more likely than it did a year ago.  Make it happen, JHC.

Gord Lacey reviews Total Drama Island‘s season set.  This is a review of the American DVD set, obnoxious Cartoon Network logo adorning the box art.

Lacey quite likes the show, which I’m surprised by.  Then again, Total Drama Island/Action is one of Cartoon Network’s juggernauts, as well as being omnipresent on Teletoon.  If Fresh TV doesn’t subsume CN within a few years, I’ll be surprised. “reviews” of Blood Ties: “The Complete Season One.”  As for the blog, it’s blatant content scraping from, just so you know.

I’m quite surprised this release is selling well, as it currently ranks #1,055 in Movies & TV sales.  It’s not a blockbuster ranking, but the set’s been out for a month and a half.  People are buying Blood Ties.

Highlander: The Series‘ first-season Blu-ray set pushed back to September 22, 2009…possibly.  The only place to buy it right now is  Hell, buy a sword for yourself while you’re at it.  THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!  MOO! and stimulate your need for crap.

Oh, I almost forgot, Flashpoint‘s first season on Canadian DVD and Blu-ray October 13, 2009 through Phase 4 Films.  That isn’t important, is it?


July 1, 2009

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (Canada Day 2009) receives news of the Road Hockey Rumble complete series box set.  This is old news by now, but at least is talking about the series.  With trailer!

6teen “Season 2, Volume 1″ out September 22, 2009.  True to form, the second season of 6teen will be split into volume sets like the first.  At least the volume set is marked properly this time.  “Special Yearbook Edition,” my ass.

Friday the 13th: The Series‘ third and final season out September 22, 2009.  Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) leaves at the beginning of this season to make room for Johnny Ventura (Steve Monarque).

All three seasons of this series came out within a year.  That’s how you sell television on DVD, either that or the fanbase for Friday the 13th: The Series is voracious.  I can’t complain either way.

Fear Itself‘s “first” season out September 15, 2009.  The show is listed here as it was filmed in and around Edmonton, Alberta.  IMDb gives Canada and USA as countries of origin, so there you go.

I quote “first” as NBC lost interest in the series after the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.  Fear Itself won’t be back.  Nice packaging for the Fear Itself set, but I hope that’s not mag wheels on a dump truck.(© Arn Anderson)

Pre-order gubbins for Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Series.

Press release for Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods Final Cut.

In other news, MGM and Fox flog Stargate.  I know, how can you tell?

Television Obscurities and TV Squad make reference to the Swiss Family Robinson complete series set.

It’s not a great week for TV-on-DVD in general when a Parker Lewis Can’t Lose set is the highlight.  To combat the dearth of true “cult” TV-on-DVD titles, here’s ten minutes of The Vacant Lot.  Happy Canada Day!


June 18, 2009

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (June 18, 2009)

Heartland‘s first season out on DVD September 15, 2009, sort of.  For some reason, the first season is being split into volume sets.  Does a release like this serve Heartland‘s fans?  Seven episodes and bonus material sounds a little on the thin side.  Ah well, at least it’s out.

Sanctuary‘s first season out on DVD September 15, 2009.  The Movie Network just keeps cranking out watchable CanCon.  SPACE will re-air the series this fall, so it’ll shill the box set like it’s manna from heaven.  I’m actually looking forward to Sanctuary.

Lots of Stargate-related news.  The box art and Fan’s Choice stories I tend to ignore.  Stargate is pimped out on a regular basis and shows no signs of slowing down.

The final season of Stargate Atlantis is out June 30, 2009, while the recut Stargate SG-1 pilot is out July 21, 2009.  Stargate Universe is around the corner, so these releases might never end.  At least Stargate exhibits better quality control than Star Trek.

Blood Ties‘ “first season” out June 2, 2009.  Wait, June 23.  Just kidding, it’s in stores now.

Blood Ties‘ “second season” is out October 6, 2009.  With trailer! is taking pre-orders for The Tudors‘ third-season set.  If John Rhys-Meyers overacting is your thing, go right ahead.

Selected Inspector Gadget episodes out on DVD September 8, 2009 through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.  Inspector Gadget counts as CanCon due to the Nelvana connection.  Global only aired reruns for a zillion years.

Canadian Connection® of note: Cookie Jar currently owns the rights to Inspector Gadget.  Inspector Gadget was DiC’s most recognizable character.  The company formerly known as CINAR ate DiC in 2008.  So far, Cookie Jar hasn’t whored Gadget out like DiC did.  Give Cookie Jar go go Gadget time.

Two Goosebumps releases, “The Headless Ghost” and “Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns,” out September 8, 2009 through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.  With box art!

Road Hockey Rumble complete series set out July 1, 2009 through Paperny Films.

The show’s and Paperny Films’ websites are the only places that offer the Road Hockey Rumble set, which means it’ll be in Giant Tiger bargain bins two years from now.

You’d think that was a joke, but the complete series of Our Hero goes for $4.99 at GT.  Our Hero was sold in 2006 the same way Road Hockey Rumble is now.  Think about it.

TV, Eh? links to three DVD season set reviews.  Monsters and Critics’ Jeff Swindoll reviews Murdoch Mysteries‘ first-season set and Intelligence Season 2.

DVD Talk’s Paul Mavis reviews Murdoch Mysteries‘ first-season set as well, but Mavis is snarkier than Swindoll about it.  At least Acorn Media is getting its press.  Like Acorn Media employees are going to complain about making more money.


May 3, 2009

Canadian TV-on-DVD Roundup (May 3, 2009)

The complete Swiss Family Robinson series will come out June 30, 2009 through Image Entertainment. lists Swiss Family Robinson as a 1976 series.

There’s confusion about when the show debuted – it varies from 1973 to 1976.  I’ll defer to Wikipedia’s date of 1974.  The Wikipedia entry actually has sources.

This is the American release of Swiss Family Robinson, as Morningstar Entertainment released a series set in March 2007.  I assume the show is popular enough for Image Entertainment to release a similar set Stateside, Dove Family Approved logo and all.

Life with Derek‘s second-season set might come out August 11, 2009 through E1 Entertainment.  This is very early information, but I’m sure this set will come out.  Life with Derek has its fans and is part of a lucrative market.

For those who haven’t seen Life with Derek, it’s not like Hannah Montana or its clones.  As such, the show isn’t on the Disney Channel home page like Hannah Montanas I through IX are.  I refuse to believe people watch Wizards of Waverly Place.

Dumb aside: I’ve watched the Wizards of Waverly Place episode with the talking zit twice.  I don’t know why as I otherwise never watch WoWP.  It’s not even the best show on Disney Channel where an anthropomorphic pimple has featured.  Please don’t ask further about this.

Survivorman third-season box set art.  I assume this is the American release, as Canada hadn’t adopted the current Discovery Channel logo at the time of the announcement.

You know a show is popular when a King of the Hill episode bases a subplot – a Dale subplot, yet – around it.  Mind you, I prefer Mantracker to Survivorman.  I’ll be honest, I’ll watch a documentary on TVO before watching Survivorman.  All survival-oriented reality shows give me that “might be fake” feeling.  Television, you know?

Finalized list of extras for Corner Gas‘ sixth-season set.  It’s the final season, so buy the set and help restart Canada’s moribund economy!  Come on!  CORNER GAS!

The 2007 version of Flash Gordon comes out on DVD July 14, 2009 through Peace Arch Phase 4 Films.  It’s a Canadian-only set, so American fans will have to import the series for now.

From what I understand, Flash Gordon started off horribly and improved midway through the season.  The show is still a failure considering it’s Flash Gordon, the venerable grandfather of comic book sci-fi.  It won’t be until I’m 45, but there will be a good Flash Gordon television series one day!

As for Peace Arch becoming Phase 4 Films, I don’t see the point.  It’s not like the company will magically be better run due to the name change.  The change is about as pointless as Koch Entertainment becoming E1 Entertainment.  I’m sure VSC will merge with itself next week and become H831 Video Space Pow!  It seems to be the trend of the moment.

May 2009’s Acorn Media releases include a DVD compilation of Red Green Show-related specials.  Apparently PBS flogs the series like A&E Home Video flogs Monty Python’s Flying Circus DVDs.

This release is mainly for Red Green Show completists.  I’ll just wait for more season sets.  Maybe I’ll wait until the Dave the Barbarian series set with the talking z

Sun Media article about the Nature of Things: Visions of the Future two-disc set.  Wow, that news just slid by me.  Mongrel Media and CBC Home Video put the set out.

I don’t want to sound like an idiot, but did CBC advertise this heavily?  The Nature of Things is an institution more battered than even Marketplace, but David Suzuki is still a well-known Canadian icon.  I know of Mongrel Media through its release of Manufacturing Dissent and other documentaries, but it’s not a familiar face in the world of TV-on-DVD.

Mongrel Media/CBC Home Video will also put out India Reborn on May 5, 2009, if you’re into CBC documentaries.

Finally, here’s an American “newspaper” reference to Slings and Arrows‘ DVD sets.  I quote “newspaper” due to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer being an online-only news outlet these days.  Changes, aren’t they sweeping?

I’m amazed Slings and Arrows is so loved in America.  It never received that love in its own country, though that’s not surprising for Canadian television.

As a bonus, TV Guy’s opinion on the future of Canadian television.  I thought it was a good article, if a bit simplistic.  Your mileage may vary since, you know, Canwest.