Mainframe downloads losses during quarter

Execs forsee programming move to pay off in '03

TORONTO — Mainframe’s shift away from work-to-hire and toward creating its own programming has cost the company dearly.

It posted C$2.4 million ($1.5 million) in losses for the third fiscal quarter on Tuesday and predicted a year-end loss, but company execs foresee the move paying off in 2003.

“We made a change this year,” Mainframe prexy Brett Gannon told Daily Variety. “We’re trying to get more involved in proprietary properties, so we’ve lessened our dependence on work-for-hire stuff.”

Mainframe reported earnings of $564,000 a year ago. Revenue was $442 million, down 34%.

More episodes were delivered in the quarter and the nine-month period than a year ago, but the new strategy means that each pays less in the short term, though more over the long haul, the company predicts.

During the quarter, Mainframe delivered eight episodes of “Reboot,” now in its fourth season, and nine of “Max Steel,” for Sony Pictures Entertainment. This compares with 16 episodes in the third quarter a year ago, three of “Action Man” and 13 of “Heavy Gear.” Mainframe has delivered 30 TV episodes for the fiscal year to date, up from 27 for the nine months of fiscal 2001.

Mainframe has begun production on “Barbie as Rapunzel,” a direct-to-video project for Mattel Inc., a new television series for Sony Pictures Entertainment, the details for which will be announced shortly, and a one-hour TV special based on the children’s book series “Scary Godmother” by Jill Thompson.

Next year’s looking good, however. “We are enthusiastic about the financial prospects for the proprietary projects that we contemplate delivering during our next fiscal year,” the company said in a release. That includes television series based on “Betty Boop,” “Tony Hawk,” “Dot’s Bot’s” and “KISS.”

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