DQ Entertainment to sign 2 major licensing deals

DQ Entertainment to sign 2 major licensing deals

Mumbai: Animation content provider DQ Entertainment (International) will sign licensing deals with two major broadcasters to distribute animated content in Asia, a top official told Reuters on Wednesday.

In June, the company had signed a deal with Sun TV Network to provide 117 half-hour animated programmes, including four renewed properties - Casper’s Scare School, Benjamin Bear Season 1, Leonardo and Pet Pals.

“I can’t disclose the names, but two more major licensing deals are happening putting many of our properties together and these would be in India and south east Asia," chief executive Tapaas Chakravarti told Reuters, adding that the details of the deals should be out soon.

He said the deals are expected to unlock properties, mostly international, that have been under the company’s fold for three to four years. DQ Entertainment, which is also listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, has licensing deals worth Rs640 crore to be executed over next two years or so, said Chakravarti, who founded the company. The company acquires intellectual property rights for animated films such as Casper, Lassie and Friends and the Jungle Book, or taps films available in the public domain, and produces them in a 21st century context using modern technology.

It then signs licensing deals for these films and television series to distribute the content worldwide.

In the current fiscal, the firm has signed about 30 deals for its Jungle Book and Peter Pan series and expects to close about 100 deals in next one year, Chakravarti said.

The global animation market, estimated at $68 billion in 2008, is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 percent to hit $100 billion by 2012, according to a Nasscom-Ernst & Young report.

Growth Plans

DQ Entertainment plans to double its content library to 1,000 hours by acquiring and developing more intellectual properties in next one year.

The company is also planning to turn its key Jungle Book and Peter Pan properties into feature films.

“Already negotiations a re on, which by January we will be able to come up and announce, and start production," Chakravarti. “By January, we will have the co-production partners on board."

DQ Entertainment has planned to produce 10 to 12 films and television series in 3D stereoscopic technology in next one year, Chakravarti said.

The firm went public in March and raised Rs128 crore on its BSE debut.

About 50% of the proceeds from the initial public offering still remain to be utilised. The company plans to use this over next 7-8 months to acquire and develop intellectual property and to deploy necessary hardware and software for production, Chakravarti said.

“We would like to keep liquidity of 700 million to 800 million at any point of time for the next two years," Chakravarti said, adding that it plans to raise funds in foreign currency sometime in March or April.

The company’s shares, which were trading down 3.46%, reversed losses and were up 1.7% at 117.50 in afternoon trade. They closed down 2.21% on the BSE.