Contender Entertainment Group
Contender Limited, trading as Contender Entertainment Group, is a media company founded in 1995, and originally traded as a home video distributor, acquiring properties to distribute on VHS, mostly children's properties under their "Nippers", "Bonkers" and "Kult Kidz" labels.
In Mid-2002, the company expanded to full television and original IPs by launching a television division, which brought along the popular series Tractor Tom and Peppa Pig to the world. By this point, they expanded to DVD releases, holding a partnership with manufacturer Cheerful Scout.
In 2004, the company expanded when it acquired Medusa Communications, and in 2005, Contender Entertainment Group split their television and home video divisions into separate divisions - Rubber Duck Entertainment and Contender Home Entertainment, while CEG became a holding company. CEG later expanded to theaterical distribution by founding Contender Films and consumer products with Contender Merchandising.
In June 2007, Canadian company Entertainment One Income Fund announced they would acquire Contender for £49.4 Million. The sale was soon closed, and Contender became the UK subsidiary of the now-expanding business.
In March 2009, with the rebranding of the Entertainment One Income Fund as E1 Entertainment, Contender Ltd. was rebranded as E1 Entertainment UK Limited, with the Contender brand scrapped in favour of the universal "E1 Entertainment" brand. On August 31, 2010, the company was rebranded again to Entertainment One UK Limited, after a change in branding.
1st Logo (1995-1999)
Logo: On a gray-white gradient background, a dark red square is seen inside a frame, representing a stop button on a VCR. The frame then flashes to change it to a pause button, then to a play button, and finally to a fast forward button. One of the arrows on the button slides to the right. Both arrows get incorporated into the text "contender" in Optima font, which casts a shadow. The now empty button fades out.
Technique: Limited animation.
Music/Sounds: A hip hop/breakbeat tune containing a drum beat from Bobby Byrd's Hot Pants (Bonus Beats), with a lead flute, along with synths, and a small brass section with a horn is heard at the end.
Availability: Rare. Releases utilizing the logo are out of print, but it can be seen on pre-1999 Art Attack and Zzzap! VHS tapes.
- Tapes released between 1998 and 2000 only contain the Nippers, Bonkers or Kult Kidz logos, all serving as sub-divisions of Contender that traded until 2003.
2nd Logo (2000-2005)
Logo: On a space background, a blue star with an abstract red eagle inside of it zooms towards the screen. An explosion of bright light occurs, and we zoom out, revealing a few more blue stars as smaller orange and white ones move around erratically. Another flash occurs and as we continue to zoom away, said eagle is drawn in. Several light rays appear, forming "CONTENDER ENTERTAINMENT GROUP". A ripple forms the company URL below, and finally, the eagle's eye rotates as light emits from it.
- There exists a shortened version, only seen on Tractor Tom.
- On the first season of Peppa Pig, the logo is in-credit.
- A still version of this logo exists at the end of some UK VHS tapes. It usually lasts either 5 seconds before the logo fades out to black, or 30 seconds before the logo cuts to black. Other UK VHS tapes have the normal logo at the beginning as well as the end.
Technique: Well-made and colorful CGI, a huge improvement from the previous logo.
Music/Sounds: A trance theme, ending in a 3-note synth-string fanfare. On Tractor Tom and Peppa Pig, the show's closing theme plays over. The still version is silent.
- This logo appears on UK VHS's and DVDs, including a few classic Hong Kong movies, like Wheels on Meals and major releases such as Will and Grace, Spooks, Farscape, Footballer's Wives, Bad Girls, Takeshi's Castle, and The Professionals.
- It also appears on Contender's library of children's programming, such as The Story Makers, Miffy & Friends, and post-1999 Art Attack and Zzzap! VHS tapes, as well as nursery rhyme compilations, and various anime releases such as Beyblade V-Force, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon Chronicles.
- Various Tractor Tom VHS and DVD releases also contain this logo, alongside the first two Peppa Pig home video releases - "Muddy Puddles and Other Stories" and "Flying a Kite and Other Stories". It also showed up on the promotional VHS release "Polly Parrot and Other Stories".
- The variants can be seen on Tractor Tom and the first season of Peppa Pig.
3rd Logo (2005-2009)
Logo: We see a blue skyline with the River Thames below, and some of London's recognizable buildings on the landmark side (including the London Eye and The Gherkin). Then an orange sun rises beyond the wheel as the camera zooms in. We pass all the buildings and the sun flashes into the whole screen, then collapses into a print red circle with the letter abbreviation "CEG" on it. Below, "CONTENDER" is seen with "ENTERTAINMENT GROUP" under it.
- The logo icon may very between divisions:
- For Contender Home Entertainment and Contender Films, the sun becomes an outline with a large star in the middle featuring a white "C".
- For Contender Merchandising, the outline features a red square with a white "C" in the middle.
- An in-credit version exists which just has the "CONTENDER ENTERTAINMENT GROUP" text in white.
- Various other variants were seen on Contender's website.
Technique: Very good CGI produced by FLETCHERWILSON.
Music/Sounds: An ascending tune, followed by a majestic orchestral fanfare. The fanfare was composed and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.
Availability: Extremely rare, unlike the Home Entertainment and Films variants. The only known release to feature the standard variant is the 2009 UK DVD release of the first season of Underbelly.
- The in-credit variant appears on the TV special Lost and Found.