Newark N.J., June 10, 2004 – IDT Entertainment today announced its management team and the appointment of John W. Hyde as Chief Operating Officer of IDT Entertainment. Mr. Hyde will also continue in his present position as Chief Executive Officer of DPS/Film Roman Inc., a division of IDT Entertainment. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company.
John W. Hyde joins IDT Entertainment’s experienced team of entertainment industry executives. The management team will report to Steve Brown, Chairman of IDT Entertainment and Morris Berger, IDT Entertainment’s CEO. IDT Entertainment’s management executives include Yehuda Wurtzel, President of Production and Chief Technical Officer of IDT Entertainment, Ted Green, CEO of Anchor Bay, Dan Krech, President of DKP Effects, Jackie Lynette, CEO of DKP Effects and Rick Mischel, CEO of Mainframe Entertainment. As COO of IDT Entertainment, Mr. Hyde will be responsible for coordinating the operations of DPS/Film Roman, Mainframe Entertainment, Anchor Bay Entertainment, DKP Effects and Digital Production Solutions, divisions of IDT Entertainment.
“IDT Entertainment has assembled a management team of entertainment industry superstars with years of experience in all aspects of the entertainment business,” said Jim Courter, IDT’s CEO. “Inspired by the same combination of solid business strategy and entrepreneurial spirit that has made IDT Corporation a world-class telecommunications industry leader, this group of hands-on professionals is well on its way to building IDT Entertainment into the entertainment company for the 21st Century.”
John W. Hyde’s career in entertainment includes leadership positions in production, distribution, management consulting and restructuring for entertainment companies. He served as Chief Executive Officer of MCEG Sterling Inc, which he merged into Orion Pictures and subsequently into MGM. As an executive and/or producer, Hyde has overseen the distribution of more than 50 feature films and production of 21 motion pictures, including “Short Circuit,” “Flight of the Navigator,” “Eight Million Ways to Die,” “UHF,” “The Never-Ending Story,” “9 1/2 Weeks,” “The Clan of the Cave Bear” and the award-winning “Das Boot.” Hyde is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is the former Vice Chairman and board member of the American Film Marketing Association. He served as an officer and director of The Cousteau Society.
Yehuda Wurtzel, President of Production and Chief Technical Officer of IDT Entertainment, has worked in the entertainment industry as a writer, producer, director and designer for over three decades. His credits include “Lights” an animated television special that aired on ABC which featured the voice talents of Judd Hirsch, Paul Michael Glaser and Leonard Nimoy. Mr. Wurtzel’s blueprint for a software and digital production protocol, which succeeded in networking animation shops worldwide, formed the basis for the company that became Digital Production Solutions
Ted Green, CEO of Anchor Bay, IDT’s home video division, was founder and President of Sony Wonder, a subsidiary of Sony Music. As President of Sony Wonder, Mr. Green guided all aspects of sales, marketing, product development, artist and inter-company relations and acquisitions. Under his direction, Sony Wonder grew from a start-up family entertainment business in 1993 into a $100-plus million dollar company with worldwide reach.
Dan Krech, President of DKP Effects is a leading director and producer of visual effects for television commercials and feature films. He founded DKP in 1985. Today, DKP boasts an impressive list of visual effects and animation clients including Disney, Dreamworks, Sony/Columbia Tri-Star, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and PBS/Nova.
Jackie Lynette, CEO of DKP Effects, has for the past 12 years performed dual roles at the company, CFO as well as CEO. Under her direction DKP has grown and prospered regardless of the business climate. As the company’s primary business strategist she has played a key role in DKP’s longevity and success.
Rick Mischel, CEO of Mainframe Entertainment is well known as an animation/entertainment industry leader. Prior to his position at Mainframe, Mischel served as President and COO of the Harvey Entertainment Company in Los Angeles. There he was responsible for all production, development, distribution, online development, operations, merchandising and business affairs for the NASDAQ publicly traded company.
“The management of our company is dedicated to one goal; making IDT Entertainment an industry leader,” said Steve Brown, Chairman of IDT Entertainment. “From the outset, we set our sights high. Two years ago, IDT Entertainment was a start-up. Today we’re the leading producer of primetime broadcast animation, a leading home video distributor and a film producer with three features and numerous television projects in production. And this is just the beginning.”
IDT Entertainment, a division of IDT Corporation, is a vertically integrated entertainment concern that develops, produces and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content, with a particular focus on high-quality animation. IDT Entertainment is in the early stages of production on two proprietary CG animated feature films, Gene Roddenberry’s Starpoint Academy and a feature yet to be named, directed by Christopher Reeve. IDT Entertainment consists primarily of the following wholly owned or controlled subsidiaries:
· Anchor Bay Entertainment is one of the largest independent home video distributors of DVDs and videos to retail outlets, and has a significant presence in the children’s, horror and fitness genres. Anchor Bay’s library consists of over 3,500 owned or licensed titles, including the Thomas the Tank Engine series, the Halloween series and the Crunch fitness series.
· Digital Production Solutions, or DPS, is a Computer Generated (CG) animation production company. DPS’s proprietary Global Animation Studio platform enables numerous animators at diverse locations to work cooperatively and simultaneously on the same animation project utilizing IDT’s telecommunications infrastructure.
· DPS Film Roman is a leading third-party provider of television animation services and special effects. Film Roman has been the animation studio for The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Tripping the Rift, now airing on the Sci-Fi network.
· Mainframe Entertainment is a leading provider of CG animation for television and direct-to-video products such as the Barbie DVD collection for Mattel, Popeye and Scary Godmother.
· DKP Effects is a 3-D animation, and special effects productioncompany, well known for its innovative work for movies and television.
IDT Entertainment has completed several investments and joint ventures to secure access to brand name characters and content as well as distribution channels for family-friendly content. In July 2003, IDT purchased a minority equity interest in Vanguard Animation and entered into a joint venture with Vanguard to co-produce and co-own future Vanguard properties distributed in theaters, direct-to-video and on television. Vanguard Animation is a CG animated feature film company founded by John Williams, the originating producer of Shrek. Vanguard’s initial production, Valiant, is the first in a series of four Vanguard-produced films to be distributed by Disney. IDT Entertainment has an equity interest in Archie Comics Entertainment as well as rights to co-develop and co-produce animated properties based upon selected Archie comics characters as well as Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. IDT has also entered into a joint venture with the Christian Broadcasting Network to develop and distribute family-friendly programming. IDT Entertainment also owns a minority interest in Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. In connection with IDT Entertainment’s investment in POW!, the companies agreed to co-develop and co-produce a minimum of six animation projects for Direct-to-DVD distribution and broadcast. Recently, IDT Entertainment entered into a multi-faceted development, production, and distribution agreement with Todd McFarlane Productions (TMP) to produce animated programming and merchandise based on Spawn and other TMP original intellectual properties.
Important Note: In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those with 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. 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.