Television

UTV bags $10 mn animation contract from BKN New Media

MUMBAI: UTV Software Communications has entered into a $10 million animation outsourcing deal with US-based BKN New Media Inc.

 
 
 

Under this agreement, UTV Toonz, the animation division of UTV, will produce animation content for International Toon House BKN over a 3-4 year period. UTV will have the India rights and will feature some of this content on its kids channel Hungama TV.

 
 
 

The content will involve four 26-episode 3D series. Alternately, it can be three 26-episode series and a movie.



'We aim to, in a year have the largest order book for an animation company in India and our deal with BKN is one step further in that direction' says UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala. "Animation last year represented less than 1 per cent of our revenues and we see that growing to 5 per cent in the future and all of this will be global business".

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, UTV director operations and finance Ronald D'Mello says, "The first two 26-episode series will be executed in the next 18 months and a small part of this deal's revenue will be reflected in this fiscal itself. Production is scheduled to start in January-February 2006. "

The first two 26-episode 3D series will be for Kong The Next Generation and another which is yet to be titled series. BKN has also recently signed a number of licensing deals with partners in the US for other Kong Properties.

UTV Toonz will be ramping up its man force for this contract, adding up to 100 people under the variable model, says D'Mello. "We have a long term arranagement with BKN. We expect to get more outsourcing contracts from them."

That apart, under this USD 10 million agreement, UTV Toonz has also bagged distribution, licensing and merchandising rights to some of BKN's high demand animation series like:

  • Legend of the Dragon, a successful title based around the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac;
  • Roswell Conspiracies, which got revenues of over 11 million for BKN in its first few months;
  • Starla & the Jewel Riders;
  • Skipper & Skeeto,
  • Ali Baba Forty Thieves.

Some of these will feature on Hungama TV, the company announced. BKN is an international producer, distributor and marketer of animated children's programmes and exploits the ancillary rights through licensing and merchandising. The company has a catalogue of some 22 titles covering 862 episodes.

"With this deal, we expect the revenues from our animation division to be around $3 million this fiscal," says D' Mello.

Says BKN International CEO Allen J. Bohbot, "BKN has made King Kong a major centerpiece of our company's expansive original animation slate and we look forward to embarking on the production of Kong - the Next Generation Series and Kong II - Return to the Jungle feature film with UTV, one of India's - and the industry's largest and most prolific 3D studios".

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