TORONTO — Nelvana, the Toronto-based kids’ TV producer behind “Franklin Bear” and “Rolie Polie Olie,” reported year-end financials boosted by the company’s increasing emphasis on its merchandising business and has announced it will bow Nelvana New Media, a division that will use technology to capitalize on Nelvana’s character brands.
Nelvana New Media will create Web destinations and interactive games for CD-Rom and Internet distribution as well as look for merchandising opportunities. Miklos Tomka has been tapped general manager of the new division.
Nelvana signed a couple of deals to help Nelvana New Media along. Havas Interactive, an e-publisher of entertainment and educational software, will distribute Nelvana’s CD-Rom titles. Snap Media Corp. of Toronto will provide primary design and implementation services.
Revenues for the year ended Dec. 31, 1999, were C$91.7 million ($62.7 million), an increase of 25% over the previous year. Net earnings were up 17% to $6.9 million, or 95¢ per share; cash flow from operations up 78% to $31.5 million. Revenue from branded consumer products was up a whopping 146% to $13.8 million, driven by strong demand for “Little Bear” and “Franklin” merchandise.