Madman Entertainment

Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd. is an Australian distribution and rights management company, specialising in feature films, documentaries, television series and anime across theatrical and home entertainment formats in Australia and New Zealand. Its headquarters are in East Melbourne, Victoria.

Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd.
Founded1996 (1996)
FoundersTim Anderson
Paul Wiegard
Area served
Australia, East Timor and New Zealand
Key people
  • Brett Chenoweth (chairman)
  • Tim Anderson (president and CEO)
  • Paul Wiegard (managing director)
ProductsDVD, Blu-ray, Digital Video, Video on demand
DivisionsMadman Films
SubsidiariesGarage Entertainment
Madman Interactive
Madman Printing


Early history

Madman launched in 1996 solely as an anime distribution company, but has since expanded. It manages the distribution of live-action titles through its labels Madman Films, Directors Suite, Madman Sports, Madman Laughs, Madman Television, Bollywood Masala and Eastern Eye as well as children's entertainment through its Planet Mad and Mad4Kids labels. Madman also has a theatrical distribution arm called Madman Cinema. In addition, the company distributes programmes acquired or produced by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (and newly, titles from WWE in Australasia, thus replacing Shock Entertainment[1]) on DVD and Blu-ray.[2]

Until 2005, Madman was the distributor for Umbrella Entertainment.[3] Umbrella was established in 2001 and is based in Kew, Victoria.[4][5] It focuses on the genres of horror, cult, arthouse, classics and Ozploitation, as well as restoring and remastering old Australian films.[6][7]

Acquisition by Funtastic Limited

On 1 May 2006, Madman Group was purchased by Funtastic Limited for A$34.5 million, in order to acquire the media rights to titles for which Funtastic held the toy rights. Madman founders Tim Anderson and Paul Wiegard also signed an employment agreement upon the acquisition, remaining on Madman's board of directors.[8]

On 23 February 2008, Madman announced that it had reached a distribution deal with Viz Media to distribute Viz Media's manga titles in Australia and New Zealand.[9] The distribution deal ended in April 2016, with Simon & Schuster taking over distribution of Viz's catalogue, and Madman Entertainment ceasing distribution of all manga titles.[10]

At the 2008 Supanova Pop Culture Expo, Madman announced plans to explore new distribution methods. Madman launched the Madman Screening Room, a video on demand streaming service, with School Rumble being the first title on the platform.[11] Madman also began releasing Blu-ray Disc titles, starting with The Transformers: The Movie in June 2009.[12] On 1 June 2009, Madman Entertainment produced an English adaption of Tamagotchi: The Movie, a 2007 film based on the Tamagotchi digital pets from Bandai and WiZ. Madman also intended to dub the film's sequel, Tamagotchi: Happiest Story in the Universe!, but the dub was cancelled for unknown reasons.

In April 2008, the company announced a collaboration with British company Warp Films. Warp and Madman plan to make "at least two films together over the next three years, starting with Tyrannosaur."[13]

Independent company

On 4 March 2014, Funtastic Limited announced its intention to sell Madman Entertainment due to Madman's market value being half of its carrying value.[14] On 31 July 2014, original founders Tim Anderson and Paul Wiegard, along with a small group of investors, purchased Madman Entertainment from Funtastic for A$21 million.[15][16]

In early 2016, Madman announced Madman Anime Festival, an annual anime convention to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The convention was held in Melbourne on 3–4 September of that year.[17] Following the inaugural convention, Madman announced that it would expand to Perth and Brisbane in 2017. The convention also became the host for the preliminary rounds of the Madman National Cosplay Championship in Perth and Brisbane.

Changing ownership of Madman Anime Group

On 17 February 2018, Madman co-founder & CEO Tim Anderson confirmed with Anime News Network that on 15 November 2017, Sony Music Entertainment Japan subsidiary Aniplex became a minority shareholder in Madman's anime business, Madman Anime Group, and was issued an undisclosed number of shares.[18] On 6 February 2019, Madman Entertainment later sold Madman Anime Group to Aniplex for A$35 million.[16][19]

In late 2018, a Madman staff member confirmed that Madman had reached a distribution deal with Funimation, with Madman becoming the local distributors for select Funimation titles in Australia and New Zealand, and Funimation handling licensing and localisation for titles.[20][21]

On 24 September 2019, Aniplex and Sony Pictures Television announced that they were consolidating their anime streaming services, with a new joint venture comprising of Funimation, Madman Anime Group and Wakanim, and led by Funimation. Under this joint venture, Funimation will acquire and distribute titles for FunimationNow, AnimeLab and Wakanim.[22]

Madman Anime Group

Madman Anime Group is an Australian distribution company focussed on anime and Japanese media. It is owned by Sony Music Entertainment Japan's subsidiary Aniplex, after being sold from Madman Entertainment in 2019, and forms part of a joint venture with Sony Pictures Television's Funimation and Aniplex's Wakanim. The company handles licensing of anime, as well as video on demand through AnimeLab, and hosts the Madman Anime Festival conventions.


Logo used from 2015 to 2019
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Video on demand
Available inEnglish
Area servedAustralia and New Zealand
ParentMadman Anime Group (Aniplex)
Users1 million (2018)[23]
Launched28 May 2014 (2014-05-28)
Current statusActive

AnimeLab is a video on demand service that specialises in the online streaming and simulcasting of Japanese anime series.[24] The service is owned and operated by Madman Anime Group, and serves the Australian and New Zealand markets.[25]

AnimeLab originally launched in beta on 28 May 2014 as a Madman Entertainment skunkworks project with 50 series and 700 episodes, and replaced the Madman Screening Room. During its beta, AnimeLab streamed its series for free without advertisements.[24] Originally streaming titles exclusively from Madman's catalogue, on 4 September 2014, distributor Siren Visual announced that they would release titles on AnimeLab, starting with The Devil is a Part-Timer!.[26] AnimeLab also simulcasted Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, despite Hanabee acquiring the distribution license for the series.[27]

On 26 May 2015, AnimeLab announced that the website had exited beta, and introduced a paid subscription, alongside an ad-based free service.[28]

In August 2016, AnimeLab launched AnimeLab On-Air, an anime programming block airing originally on Friday nights on C31 Melbourne and C44 Adelaide.[29] The block later moved to a Monday night schedule.[30]

On 25 August 2017, AnimeLab announced that they would begin streaming select titles from Adult Swim's back catalogue.[31]

At Madman Anime Festival Melbourne 2018, AnimeLab announced that they had reached one million users.[23] AnimeLab also announced a collaboration with the Australian Red Cross to promote blood donations in Australia with the simulcast of Cells at Work!.[32]

Shows on the AnimeLab website can be watched using a modern web browser on a range of platforms, as it uses an HTML 5-based video player.[33] AnimeLab also has an iOS app [34][35] and Android app [36] which allow users to stream anime on their mobile devices and tablets.

The AnimeLab app also launched on the PlayStation 3 and 4 on 19 October 2015,[37] the following year it launched on Xbox One on 5 December.,[38] however lacking the Kinect voice functionality. Madman has confirmed they're looking into implementing Kinect support.[39]

In AnimeLab's live-stream panel at Supanova in Perth, two AnimeLab staff members, Jess McCallum and Christine Busby discussed their new mascot 'Violet' who is named after Australian scientist Ruby Payne-Scott and has the personality of Akiho Senomiya from Robotics;Notes mixed with Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate.[40]


On 1 December 2016, Madman launched DocPlay, a dedicated documentary streaming service.[41] The service has over 130 titles on it at launch, with it currently only available to view via web-browser, Android, Chromecast and iOS.[42] Unlike AnimeLab, the service is primarily subscription based with only a handful of titles available for free to watch.[43] The service was partly funded by Screen Australia due to the platform's ability to share revenue with local producers.[44]


  1. "Madman Entertainment Becomes the New Distributor for WWE in Australasia". Capsule Computers.
  2. "Madman Entertainment - Anime & Pop Culture Store". Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. "Change in Distribution for Umbrella Entertainment Titles" (Press release). Madman Entertainment. 1 August 2005. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  4. "About Umbrella". Umbrella Entertainment. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  5. "Opening up the Umbrella". Umbrella Theatrical. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  6. "South Australian Film Corporation partners with Umbrella Entertainment to re-release South Aussie screen classics". Film Ink. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  7. Groves, Don (7 January 2013). "Resurrecting Australian classic movies". SBS Movies. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  8. Hayward, Jon (11 May 2006). "Madman Acquired by Funtastic for $34.5 Million AUD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  9. "Viz Media Teams With Madman Entertainment on Manga". Anime News Network. Madman Entertainment. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  10. Hayward, Jon (21 April 2016). "Simon & Schuster Australia Takes Over Distribution of Viz Manga in AU/NZ". Anime News Network. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  11. Hayward, Jon (31 March 2008). "Madman News from Supanova Expo". Anime News Network. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  12. "Transformers - The Animated Movie (Blu-Ray)". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  13. "Warp Teams with Madman". Madman Entertainment. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  14. Hayward, Jon (6 March 2014). "Funtastic Limited to sell Australian Distributor Madman Entertainment". Anime News Network. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  15. Hayward, Jon (31 July 2014). "Madman Entertainment Completes Buy-Back from Funtastic Limited". Anime News Network. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  16. Thompson, Sarah; Macdonald, Anthony (6 February 2019). "Director's cut: MacKenzie's Five V Capital sells Madman anime arm to Sony". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  17. "Madman Entertainment Announces Madman Anime Festival 2016". Anime News Network. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  18. Hodgkins, Crystalyn (17 February 2018). "Aniplex Invests in Australia's Madman Anime Distribution Company". Anime News Network.
  19. Antonio Pineda, Rafael (6 February 2019). "Aniplex Acquires Australian Distributor Madman Media's Anime Division". Anime News Network. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  20. Slykura (14 December 2018). "Some insights". Madboards. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  21. Slykura (7 January 2019). "In short, we have a new distribution agreement with Funimation which means that we are their local distributors NOT licensee, but distributor for their products". Madboards. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  22. Spangler, Todd (24 September 2019). "Sony Merges Anime Streaming Businesses Under Funimation-Led Joint Venture (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  23. MyAnimeList [@myanimelist] (15 September 2018). "In celebration of @AnimeLab's recent achievement of 1 million subscribers, a lucky fan won a lifetime subscription to the Australian anime streaming service #MadFest" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 February 2019 via Twitter.
  24. Hayward, Jon (28 May 2014). "Madman Entertainment Launch Anime Streaming Site AnimeLab". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  25. "AnimeLab Terms and Conditions of Use". AnimeLab. Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  26. Hayward, Jon (4 September 2014). "Siren Visual to Stream The Devil is a Part-Timer! on AnimeLab". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  27. Hayward, Jon (14 October 2014). "Animelab Now Streaming When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  28. Hayward, Jon (28 May 2015). "AnimeLab Launches AnimeLab Premium Service". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  29. "NEW PROGRAM | AnimeLab On-Air". Facebook. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  30. AnimeLab (7 June 2019). AnimeLab On Air - June 2019 Promo - C31 Melbourne (YouTube video). Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  31. Chirlin, Els (25 August 2017). "AnimeLab ♥'s Adult Swim". AnimeLab. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  32. Madman Anime Festival [@MadFest] (14 September 2018). "If you were at the @AnimeLab panel you would have seen the announcement of this amazing collaboration with @RedCrossAU ❤️ Let's see how much blood we can donate between now and Sydney Madfest! ❤️ #MadFest #SavingLives" (Tweet). Retrieved 19 December 2019 via Twitter.
  33. Digitally Downloaded - Madman's AnimeLab is going to be one of the best streaming services in Australia
  34. ANN - AnimeLab launches iOS App
  35. Gizmodo - AnimeLab Now Has A (Great) App For iPad And iPhone
  36. ANN - AnimeLab launches Android App
  37. "AnimeLab Is Now Available On PlayStation". Madman Entertainment. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  38. "AnimeLab is Now Available On Xbox One". Madman Entertainment. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  39. "Hey Mark! Our dev team will be looking into this this week. We'll let you know how they go". Facebook. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  40. AnimeLab panel
  41. "About page". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  42. "Introducing DocPlay". Madman Entertainment. 1 December 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  43. "Free titles". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  44. "Screen Australia names recipients of $2.5 million in Enterprise funding". Inside Film. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
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