Television

UTV Toons inks animation deals with Porchlight, Mike Young

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MUMBAI: UTV Toons, the animation arm of media conglomerate UTV Software Communications Ltd, has inked co-production and animation outsourcing deals worth $ 14 million with Porchlight Entertainment and Mike Young Productions.

UTV will jointly produce and finance with Porchlight Entertainment a 3D animated feature film, Jay Jay's Race Around The World, slated for theatrical release during Christmas 2007. Budgeted at $10 million, the feature is based on the popular award winning preschool series, Jay Jay The Jet Plane.

Scripting for the feature is already underway and pre-production will begin in October at UTV in Mumbai and PorchLight Entertainment in Los Angeles. The entire production will be carried out at UTV Toons. The marketing and distribution strategy of the feature will be jointly created and implemented by the two companies who will have an equal and perpetual share in revenues and exploitation of the property.

The other co-production deal is with Mike Young Productions' distribution arm Taffy Entertainment and Method Film France for TV series of Cosmic Quantum Ray (26 episodes x 22 minutes). UTV Toons will have a perpetual 20 per cent share of worldwide revenues and the studio's investment in this co-production is around $1 million, which would be part payment and part in sweat equity.

Besides the two co-production deals, UTV Toons has also bagged an animation services contract worth $ 3 million from Mike Young Productions. The service contract is a total of 13 hours of 3D animation for a variety of Direct to DVD as well as TV episodes.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com's sister concern Animation Xpress.com, UTV COO Ronald Dmello said, "These deals signify an important step in the growth and development of UTV within the animation space. They mark a significant step towards the addition of some very high profile titles into UTV's animation portfolio and an entry into the elite animated feature film makers' club."

"This is the next step in globally maximising the Jay Jay brand," said PorchLight CEO and executive producer of Jay Jay the Jet Plane Bruce Johnson. "We took the success of Jay Jay on PBS and grew it into a recognisable licensing brand. Now, having added new characters, new storylines and the PBS Sprout platform to the series, it's logical to align ourselves with the talents of UTV and produce Jay Jay in a long form format."

Commenting on the deal, Mike Young Productions & Taffy Entertainment co-CEO Mike Young said, "We are very excited about starting this new relationship. We expect to benefit hugely from the abilities and experience of UTV's animation studio and also their pedigree and depth as a media company."

The newly announced deals add to the already bountiful UTV Toons order book where production is on in full swing. Starting July, the studio will be delivering 14 direct to DVD titles back to back to BKN. Deliveries on Freej (15 x 22 mins) where UTV Toons is involved right from pre to post, have also begun.

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