Newark, NJ, December 11, 2003 – IDT Entertainment today announced that it has agreed with NorthStar Entertainment Group, Inc., a subsidiary of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. (CBN), to create a joint venture that will develop, produce and distribute family friendly entertainment programming. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company.
“Jim Courter, IDT’s CEO and I feel this match is made in heaven. It links two innovative communications companies, IDT Entertainment and The Christian Broadcasting Network,” said Howard Jonas, IDT’s Founder and Chairman. “By connecting IDT Entertainment’s proprietary animation technology and original programming, with CBN’s loyal audience, international reach and the credibility of Pat Robertson, its visionary leader, this joint venture creates a new distribution channel with the potential for reshaping the entertainment landscape for positive family entertainment.”
Pat Robertson, Founder and CEO of CBN adds, “I am a great fan of Howard Jonas, the founder of IDT. His business acumen is astounding. Even greater is his personal integrity. I believe that the joint venture between a division of IDT and a subsidiary of CBN will provide exciting family entertainment products for a wide segment of the American public, which I greatly applaud.”
Both IDT and CBN believe there is a serious lack of family friendly entertainment today and this partnership is intended to fill that void in American culture.
According to the terms of the agreement, the joint venture will develop, produce, distribute and promote family friendly programming and related products through direct marketing and retail. The initial programming will include “Hip Hop & Hamilton,”
a 3-D, computer generated (CG) animated series, created and produced by IDT Entertainment. Intended for a pre-school audience, this edutainment series uses music and original characters to entertain and engage children while it prepares and encourages them to read.
IDT Entertainment and CBN also intend to co-develop and co-produce additional positive family entertainment programming. CBN will contribute archived interviews from the “700 Club,” selected by Dr. Robertson. CBN will also contribute films, programs and videos to the joint venture.
“This is a powerhouse deal that will do for family friendly entertainment programming what Oprah did for books,” said Morris Berger, CEO of IDT Entertainment. “This agreement perfectly demonstrates what IDT Entertainment is all about, partnering with top notch companies and using our considerable animation, production and distribution capabilities to produce family entertainment with a positive moral message.”
In March 2003, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), now a unit of IDT Entertainment, acquired rights to Starpoint Academy and Char, both Gene Roddenberry creations. Starpoint Academy is presently in production. In May 2003, IDT Entertainment acquired a controlling interest in Film Roman, Inc., the animation company well known for its production work on popular broadcast television programs. In July 2003, IDT Entertainment acquired a minority equity interest in Vanguard Animation, LLC. Under the terms of the Vanguard Animation investment, IDT Entertainment was granted a first look right to provide production services on future Vanguard Animation projects. IDT and Vanguard Animation also entered into a joint venture agreement to jointly develop, produce, finance and arrange distribution of computer generated (CG) animation entertainment. In November 2003 IDT Entertainment entered into an agreement to purchase Anchor Bay Entertainment Group from Handleman Company. In December 2003, IDT Entertainment acquired a controlling interest in Mainframe Entertainment Inc., a Vancouver; Canada based entertainment company well known for producing CG animation for films, television, videogames and the direct-to-consumer market.
IDT Corporation, through its IDT Telecom subsidiary, is a facilities-based, multinational carrier that provides a broad range of telecommunications services to retail and wholesale customers worldwide. IDT Telecom, by means of its own national telecommunications backbone and fiber optic network infrastructure, provides its customers with integrated and competitively priced international and domestic long distance and domestic all-distance telephony and prepaid calling cards. IDT Entertainment is the IDT subsidiary focused on developing, acquiring, producing and (with the Anchor Bay acquisition) distributing computer-generated and traditionally animated productions and other productions for the film, broadcast and direct-to-consumer markets. IDT Media is the IDT subsidiary principally responsible for the Company’s initiatives in radio broadcasting, brochure distribution and new video technologies. Winstar Holdings, LLC, which provides service under the IDT Solutions brand, is the IDT subsidiary focused on providing broadband and telephony services to commercial and governmental customers through a fixed-wireless and fiber infrastructure. Net2Phone, Inc., a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, is a leading provider of high-quality global retail Voice over IP services and offers a fully outsourced cable telephony service to cable operators allowing cable operators to provide residential phone service to their subscribers. Liberty Media Corporation holds a 5% stake in IDT Telecom and also owns 5.6% stakes in IDT Entertainment and IDT Media.
IDT Corporation’s Class B Common Stock and Common Stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols IDT and IDT.C, respectively.
Important Note: In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those in which the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate, “target” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 are used. While these forward-looking statements represent IDT’s current judgment of what may happen in the future, actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied by these statements due to numerous important factors, including, but not limited to, those described in IDT’s most recent report on SEC Form 10-K (under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”), which may be revised or supplemented in subsequent reports on SEC Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings IDT may make with the SEC.