Fun & Mischief
Disney To Sell DiC
And The Chaos This Has Caused
As we previously reported via our tickertape, on Monday, September 18, 2000, the Walt Disney
Co. announced that it had agreed to sell its majority stake in DiC Entertainment to Bain
Capital (which owns Domino's Pizza and sold off Artisan Entertainment) and Chase Capital
Partners (which owns percentages in Six Flags Amusement Parks, The House of Blues and Alliance
Entertainment). Andy Heyward led the management buy-out and is expected to remain in charge of
We had thought that there would be no immediate impact on "Sailor Moon." Instead,
surprising us and some (if not most) of the companies involved with the property was ADV's
announcement that it was going to release all of DiC's dubbed episodes of the series. It
appears that DiC waited until it thought it was free of Disney to make a deal that would make
DiC money without having to share the proceeds with Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE).
(See opposite column.)
We have been told that regardless of the deal, Pioneer & Cloverway are not happy about the
intended release schedule. Pioneer & Cloverway have been planning a slow nurturing release of
their "Sailormoon S" & "Sailormoon SuperS" television series for Home Video. Their plan is to
release 6, then 4 or more episodes every 2 months starting in February 2001. Now, Cloverway (Toei's own representative in the United States), seems to have been forced to watch as DiC & ADV flood the marketplace with their competing episodes.
Mini-Editorial & Suggestion
There are only so many dollars out there to buy Sailor Moon products. Fans have finite,
limited cash which we have always recognized. The Save Our Sailors campaign has always tried
to focus fans on certain products to help get more episodes dubbed and/or subtitled versions
released. (We have also highlighted merchandise which was just plain good & fun.)
The SOS believes that there will be way too many videos being made available at the same
time. This will create the false impression that "Sailor Moon" is not as popular as it once
was. The flooding of the market will also make it harder and more expensive for ALL the
companies to attract sales. We hope that Cloverway can address this situation and suggest that
it could do so via the rights to the undubbed episodes and the subtitling rights.
DiC no longer has the rights to the undubbed episodes (which includes the 2 episodes they
combined into 1). DiC probably lost them when they lost the future production rights to the
property. DiC may or may not have had subtitling rights to the episodes that they had dubbed
(for years, there have been conflicting reports on this issue). Recently, sources close to the
property have told us that DiC does have these rights. What we do know is that ADV wants these
rights and we assume that DiC would like to assign them.
As with the animated features (which went on to make a mint for Pioneer), DiC seems to have
been unwilling to put up the dollars or to even take the proper steps to produce these
available versions--and yet, seems now to be in a position to do so.
Fans want these versions much more than Home Video releases of dubbed
episodes that have been repeated endlessly. We believe that VHS tape or
DVD compilations of the undubbed episodes may be worth as much as the features
in revenues--in an uncrowded market.
We therefore suggest (and boy are we ready to be ignored once again!), that DiC & ADV
rethink their strategy--especially if sales of their dubbed episodes should prove to be
lukewarm or worse. We have been told that ADV may lose money on this current deal and we can
easily see why. We would rather see DiC & ADV make a lot of money.
Image courtesy of
The Right Stuf.
Image courtesy of
The Right Stuf.
More Fun & Mischief|
But The Sale Is Held Up
The Mouse Strikes Back?
Carl DiOrio, writing in Daily Variety, noted two additional aspects of interest concerning
Disney selling DiC. One was funny and concerned motivation for the deal, the other was
intrinsic to the deal being successful. He quoted one (presumably) Disney source as saying of
DiC, "It's the kind of thing where every now and then somebody says, `Oh, do we own DIC?'"
DiOrio went on to note that the, "...deal is valued in the nine digits."
We're not sure where the idea came from that DiC was worth over $100,000,000 but several
individuals in the industry were surprised by this estimate. Looking at DiC, their most
popular shows are based on established characters from other fields and which they don't own
the underlying rights to.
This realization (perhaps by Bain & Chase Capital Partners) is maybe
why Carl DiOrio later reported (Daily Variety October 26, 2000) in an
article buried near the back, that executives at DiC, "...declined comment on the status of negotiations with Disney. But a well-placed source said though matters have taken longer to finalize than anticipated..."
One of those matters could easily include the Home Video rights to "Sailor Moon."
When we recently inquired about these rights, DiC directed us to Disney's Legal
These rights are probably the most valuable and immediately tangible asset in the sale. No
other DiC property could create so much cash so quickly--the proof being the results from
Pioneer's release of the features. And so this is why the first deal (and so far, the only
major deal we've heard of) to come after Disney's announcement of the intended sale was the
Home Video release of these episodes.
Most telling was that it was ADV who made the announcement and probably (and unknowingly)
made it prematurely. We don't believe that a deal was yet in place and that all of the parties
had been notified.
Fans should note that while it is true that ADV is to release episodes that have never been
available on Home Video before that they are also releasing episodes previously handled by
Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) and which may still hold some claim over them. Most Home
Video rights are licensed to distributors for 5 to 7 years (or longer).
DiC, in it's intoxicating freedom from the mouse, may have sold off rights to ADV which are
still controlled by Disney. DiC may have been in a position where it had to buy back the
rights from Disney in order to resell them to ADV or somehow address this in the sale of the
company. Disney could be using the ADV deal to it's advantage and extract more money from (or
to keep the price of the deal high for) Bain & Chase Capital Partners.
But even if DiC should be over-valued it seems to us that all the parties involved want
Disney's sale to go through and in the long run that is the only point which matters. Disney
has used DiC for as much as it can, Andy Heyward wants to get back in control of his company
and Wall Street is moving away from vapor-ware (the Internet) and back into companies with