Worldvision Enterprises

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This article is about the media company. For the charitable organization that is not affiliated with the media company, see World Vision.
Worldvision Enterprises, Inc.
Former type Corporation
Industry Television syndication
Home video distributor
Fate Merger with Viacom/Paramount Pictures, incorporation into Republic Pictures
Successor(s) Paramount Domestic Television (1999-2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006-2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Founded 1953 (as ABC Film Syndication)
Defunct 1999
Headquarters United States
Area served Worldwide
Owner(s) ABC (1953–1973)
Independent (1973–1979)
Taft Broadcasting/Great American (1979-1988)
Spelling Entertainment Group (1988-1999)

Worldvision Enterprises, Inc. was a television program distributor established in July 1953 as ABC Film Syndication, the domestic and overseas program distribution arm of the ABC Television Network. They primarily licensed programs from independent producers, rather than producing their own content.


The company was created in 1953 by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as ABC Films.

In 1971, as a result of the fin-syn rules, the FCC barred the participation of networks in the syndication of their own programs. Worldvision Enterprises was formed by five former ABC Films executives to purchase the network's syndication assets.[1] The purchase was completed on March 30, 1973.

Their home video division released numerous Hanna-Barbera titles and Jack Nicklaus' Golf My Way instructional video series.[2] They were also responsible for the television distribution of a majority of the Carolco Pictures feature film library (inherited from Orbis Communications, which was a division of Carolco before the studio went bankrupt).

Worldvision has been owned by many companies over the years. The growth of its home video division was primarily under the ownership of Taft Broadcasting, which acquired the company in 1979, and later became Great American Broadcasting, under Carl Lindner, Jr.

Television producer Aaron Spelling, attempting to find an outlet to distribute his programs, attempted to buy Worldvision from Great American. Lindner told Spelling that he was not interested in selling the company, but decided to merge with Spelling, giving both of them Worldvision.[3] The merger was finalized on March 1, 1989.[4]

In later years, Aaron Spelling consolidated his companies, and Worldvision as a wholly functioning unit ceased to exist and became folded into Republic Pictures (which Spelling bought in 1994), although Worldvision as a distribution unit continued for many years after until Spelling/Republic merged with Viacom (which also started as a syndication arm of a television network, in this case CBS) in 1999, the same year Viacom announced its acquisition of former parent CBS (completed in 2000). These mergers allowed Viacom to become the second-largest media conglomerate in the world. Viacom later renamed itself to CBS Corporation and spun off its basic cable and motion picture interests into a "new" Viacom (for its impact on the former Worldvision library, see below).

Worldvision's library today[edit]

Today, ownership of Worldvision's library is in the hands of different companies. The Hanna-Barbera library and most Ruby-Spears material are now owned by Time Warner, and syndicated by Warner Bros. Television Distribution. Time Warner had inherited the rights to these libraries after purchasing Turner Broadcasting System in 1996. TBS, in turn, had purchased Hanna-Barbera and most of the Ruby-Spears library in 1991. These libraries were used (along with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and pre-August 1948[5] Warner Bros. animated libraries, as well as the Fleischer/Famous Popeye cartoons, which were also owned by Turner at the time) to launch Cartoon Network (most classic cartoons are now on sister channel Boomerang).

The rights to the Casper (and other Harveytoons) cartoons once distributed by Worldvision are now owned by Classic Media, including TV and DVD distribution. DreamWorks Animation inherited the rights to these libraries after purchasing Classic Media in 2012. Universal Studios had previously acquired home video rights in the 1990s in preparation for the release of the 1995 Casper feature film.

Distribution rights to The Addams Family have reverted to MGM Television (successor-in-interest to Filmways). The Program Exchange syndicates the series to TV on MGM's behalf, while MGM has licensed DVD distribution of their library to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Ownership of the rest of the television library is held by CBS Television Studios (who now owns most ancillary rights to Republic's TV library, while sharing the copyrights with Republic), with the company's syndication arm handling distribution. As of 2009, the theatrical output, which Worldvision had distributed, is now handled for television by Trifecta Entertainment & Media (under license from Paramount Pictures)--this includes Republic's theatrical properties.

Most of the Worldvision library has also been released on DVD via different companies, depending on the content and individual underlying rights. For example:

As for Worldvision itself, it is known to exist only in-name, as a copyright holder for many classic shows the company once distributed, such as One Step Beyond.

Legal issues of the name[edit]

The company's logo, as it appeared at the end of the programs it distributed, carried the following disclaimer: "Not affiliated with World Vision International, a religious and charitable organization." This was due to that fact that, in the mid-1970s, the charity sued the syndicator for its use of the "Worldvision" name. They eventually settled, with Worldvision allowed to continue using the name for the syndication company, provided that a disclaimer was included to distance themselves from World Vision International, which has been implemented since 1974.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in "Toons": From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. pp. 191–192. ISBN 1-57036-042-1. 
  3. ^ Interview with Aaron Spelling. Archive of American Television (November 18/24, 1999).
  4. ^ "Spelling Entertainment Inc. formed in reorganization of Aaron Spelling Productions Inc.; merger with Worldvision and Laurel also completed.". 
  5. ^ The latest released WB cartoon sold to a.a.p. was Haredevil Hare, released on July 24, 1948.

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