Pixar to Open Second Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Woody and Buzz are heading north.

To accommodate a growing slate of nonfeature projects, Disney and Pixar will launch an animation studio in the fall in Vancouver.

The focus will be on Pixar’s established characters, including Buzz and Woody from the “Toy Story” films and Lightning McQueen and Mater from “Cars.”

“The operation will be small in size and dedicated to producing short-form quality computer animation for theme parks, DVDs, television and theatrical exhibition … for several different divisions of the Walt Disney Co.,” Disney/Pixar president Ed Catmull said.

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The Walt Disney Company Reports on 2Q Earnings

BURBANK, Calif. – The Walt Disney Company today reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter and six months ended March 28, 2009. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the second quarter were $0.33 including restructuring and impairment charges which had a $0.10 per share impact on EPS. Excluding these items, EPS decreased 26% to $0.43 from $0.58 in the prior-year quarter.

For the six month period, diluted EPS was $0.78. In addition to the restructuring and impairment charges, EPS for the six month period included a gain on the sale of our investment in two pay television services in Latin America. Collectively, these items adversely affected EPS by $0.07 per share for the six months. Excluding these items, EPS decreased 30% to $0.85 from $1.21 in the prior year six months.

“We had a difficult second quarter due to the weak economy and other factors,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “At the same time, we remain focused on our core business strategy and believe our creativity, brands and businesses will serve us well as the economy recovers.”

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Disney to Soften Your Brain on Hulu with Current and Classic ABC Shows, Soaps, Disney Channel and More!

LOS ANGELES — Hulu and The Walt Disney Company today announced that Disney, through a subsidiary of ABC Enterprises Inc., has agreed to join NBC Universal, News Corporation and Providence Equity Partners as a joint venture partner and equity owner of Hulu, a leading online aggregator of video content. Upon closing, the agreement will enhance Hulu’s programming line-up through the expanded online distribution of Disney’s most popular current and library primetime series and library feature films. In particular, full-length episodes of hit current and library programs like Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Ugly Betty, Scrubs, Greek, Hope and Faith, Less Than Perfect, Wizards of Waverly Place, Phineas and Ferb, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, General Hospital, The View and The Secret Life of the American Teenager will soon be streamed on Hulu on an ad-supported basis.

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Auditing the Disney English as a Second Language (ESL) Schools for Chinese Children

The Wall Street Journal has published an article which peeks into life at Disney’s schools that teach English to China’s youth. Focusing on apparent attempts by Disney to push its brand throughout the country, the article questions the motives and effectiveness of the school. Well received by the Chinese middle class, Disney plans on creating new schools in both Shanghai and Beijing and is contemplating introducing the schools to other countries in the future. Article here.

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ESPN Targets Chicago Sports Fans with New Website

CHICAGO, April 9 (Reuters) – ESPN will launch a website dedicated to the Chicago market on Monday in an effort to reach more fans and generate more revenue from local advertisers, after more than 10 years on the radio in the Windy City.

“This is our first entrance into the local marketplace,” Marc Horine, ESPN’s vice president of digital media, said on Thursday.

“We thought the time was right to go beyond just the local radio station website,” he added. “We have no immediate plans to move beyond Chicago; (but) we’re looking at this as an incubator.”

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Disney Online Signs Agreement to Acquire Assets from Kaboose, Inc.

Acquisition will Include Kaboose.com, Babyzone.com, AmazingMoms.com Funschool.com and Zeeks.com

North Hollywood, CALIF. — April 1, 2009 — Disney Online, part of the Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG), announced today it has signed an agreement to acquire Internet assets from Canadian-based Kaboose Inc. including Kaboose.com, Babyzone.com, AmazingMoms.com, Funschool.com and Zeeks.com. The Kaboose assets will be integrated into Disney Online’s extensive line-up of Web sites, extending its leadership in the kids and family online space. The purchase price is approximately $18.4 million (based on approximate price of CAD 23.3 million), subject to certain adjustments.

“This acquisition strengthens our position as a top entertainment destination for kids and families, and a trusted online resource for parents,” stated Paul Yanover, executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online. “These new Web properties complement Disney Online’s category-leading kids and family sites, broadening our audience and infusing an array of new content into our sites, particularly in the baby and mom categories.”

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Disney U.S. Parks Cutting Jobs, Seeking Efficiencies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Walt Disney Co has cut an undisclosed number of workers at its domestic parks this month in a previously announced plan to consolidate behind-the-scenes operations for Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, a spokesman said.

Local media in Florida, tipped off by laid-off workers, have reported cuts as deep as 450 jobs at the two locations.

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TMZ: Lawsuit Against Disney Blames Death on Antiquated Air Conditioning

TMZ is reporting on a lawsuit filed against Disney in Los Angeles today citing that Disney’s headquarters in Burbank has forced residents to live in ‘terror of emissions’ and has resulted in the death of Louise Jackson. Report here.

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