have continued to strengthen our library, already one of the largest
and most-recognised portfolios of children's programming in Europe and
the Middle East. During the fiscal year we acquired or produced 263
new episodes. This included the UK and French rights to the worldwide
ratings topper Digimon: Digital Monsters, which has achieved
number one ratings in many countries around Europe. We have also acquired
the television and home video rights for the UK and France to the highly
anticipated feature movie spin-off from this hit series, which is being
released in Spring 2001 by Twentieth Century Fox.
also had 383 episodes in production at year end, compared to 240 episodes
at the end of the previous fiscal year. This year's new series include
more "animé" series, such as Mashrambo (31 episodes)
and Flint the Time Detective (39 episodes), which are scheduled
to debut later in the year following the success of Pokémon
and Digimon. In addition, we have acquired the 3D animated series
Action Man (26 episodes), based on the ever-popular toy-line
made by Hasbro.
continue to forge strong alliances with broadcast partners to develop
and produce quality European animated properties. Examples include Jim
Button (52 episodes) and WunschPunsch (52 episodes), both
from the critically acclaimed German author Michel Ende. These series
will air on ARD, the German public broadcaster, and TF1, the leading
commercial channel in France. Forthcoming productions include Jason
& the Heroes of Mount Olympus, to be broadcast on TF1, and Gadget
and the Gadgetinis, to be broadcast on France's M6, a sequel to
the worldwide classic Inspector Gadget for which Disney recently
launched a major feature film.
forward, we intend to further generate revenues from the production
of programmes, virtually all of which will have been pre-sold in a large
number of territories around the world.
We have maintained our position as one of the largest distributors of
children's programming in Europe and the Middle East, with programming
supplied to more than 110 broadcasters in 36 countries. This was achieved
as a result of continued strong demand for our quality content. On the
back of our strong slate of children's programming, revenues were up
15% to $54.1 million and EBITDA up 19% to $40.8 million.
programme distribution agreements have been signed with leading broadcasters.
Under the terms of a new three-year output deal with Mediatrade, the
leading free-TV broadcaster of kids programming in Italy, 600 episodes
will air beginning next year on Mediatrade's three national networks
that reach 19 million households.
addition, a number of "Fox Kids" branded blocks of live action
and animated programming were launched as an integral part of national
free-TV channels, including Turkey's Show TV, Magyar TV in Hungary and
Balkan News Corp. in Bulgaria. These branded blocks, which are marketed
and promoted by our broadcasting partners, complement our pay-TV channel
strategy and increase market awareness of our brand and characters.
We anticipate further branded blocks to be secured over the coming year.
consumer products operations generated revenues of $6.5 million, representing
6% of total revenues. Revenues were down from $8.1 million in the previous
year. EBITDA was $2.2 million, down from $4.3 million in the previous
focus in the consumer products area has been on successfully integrating
this business unit with our other business lines and we remain on track
to achieve this within the coming year.
objective in the last fiscal year has been to complete our Pan-European
infrastructure and expand our local presence. In addition to our existing
offices in the UK, Germany, France and Italy, we have opened offices
in Spain, Benelux and the Nordic region. As part of this process, we
also hired five new country managers from Disney and Bulls Licensing.
Our offices will now give us full coverage of all the major territories
within Europe. This will allow us to maximise the revenues that we can
generate from our library and will also make the company more attractive
to other licensors, by offering a one-stop-shop licensing service across
Europe and the Middle East.
profitability of the consumer products business is driven by the quality
of the properties represented. We have high expectations for Digimon:
Digital Monsters, for which we have acquired rights for all media
(except toys and games) in the UK and France. Demand for licences of
this property remains strong and we look forward to the release of the
feature movie spin-off in Spring 2001 alongside the home video releases.