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Canuck animator cuts 65 jobs

Co. plans to keep around 250 episodes per year

MONTREAL — Nelvana, Canada’s leading animation producer, has cut 65 production staff jobs — around 10% of its staff — as part of a major restructuring due to tough economic conditions in the international TV market.

“License fees are dropping, consolidation in the U.S. has reduced the number of places to sell to and Germany has basically gone away,” said Nelvana senior veepee and head of production Scott Dyer. “We have to cut costs. We have to find ways to produce shows more efficiently.”

Nelvana, owned by Corus Entertainment, has been increasing its production volume annually for the past five years, but now the company plans to keep numbers steady at around 250 episodes per year.

The layoffs come less than a year after Corus slashed 320 jobs to reduce debt and focus on core businesses. A Corus spokesman said the Nelvana job reductions are strictly due to restructuring and are unrelated to Corus’ previous belt-tightening measures.

Recent Nelvana productions include “Max & Ruby,” “Medabots” and “Beyblade.” Company was acquired by Corus in September 2000 for C$540 million ($339 million).

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