DQ Entertainment to foray into animated feature films

The company, which listed on the BSE, has new plans for expansion and broadening its revenue base

DQ Entertainment (DQE), a global animation, gaming and live-action entertainment production & distribution company, listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday. Its order book stands at $95.50 million (spread over 2.5 years), said a top official. The company is also producing two animated 3D stereoscopic feature films which will hit global screens by the winter of 2011.

The shares of the company listed at Rs135 on the BSE on Monday (29th March), a premium of 68.75% against the issue price of Rs80 a share. “We hope to increase our order book of $95.50 million, as we are coming up with a series of new projects,” said Sanjay Choudhary, financial controller, DQE.

Apart from the television series, the company is ready to foray into television feature films ranging from 85 minutes to 90 minutes. “We completely own both the properties, but we need to raise funds for the production of the two movies. We will have to part with around 50%-60% of ownership to raise the fund. There will be around two distributors for each film. The distributors will own 50%-60% stake in these two films. The revenue earned from the distribution will be divided among these two distributors (for each film) according to the stake they own,” said Tapaas Chakravarti, chairman and CEO, DQE.

“Besides the ownership revenue, we will also receive the revenue earned by the movies in the box office. This will not be shared with the distributors,” he added.

The company has also signed a co-production deal with Hive Enterprises Ltd for a new animated series—‘The Hive’. DQE will produce 78 episodes of 3D computer-generated imagery (CGI) ranging for 7 minutes each for each episode of ‘The Hive’. The total cost of production of the series is Rs24 crore. The company has still not finalised the global satellite broadcaster for this series.

Moneylife had earlier reported on how DQE has tied up with Walt Disney for co-producing three animated series. The company on Monday announced that it is partnering with Marvel Animation, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company and Method Animation for co-producing 26 new episodes for the second season of the animated series, ‘Iron Man: Armored Adventures Season Two’. The production budget for ‘Iron Man’ stands at Rs60 crore.

“We have signed one co-production deal with Disney and we are in the process of signing two more. Disney has already bagged the pay television rights for ‘Jungle Book’ for 29 countries. The rights are for four years,” confirmed Mr Chakravarti.

The company holds 20% equity stake in ‘Iron Man’. DQE will earn 20% of the total revenue from the series. The company also expects a substantial amount from merchandising, licensing and publishing agreements for this series. Earlier, the company was earning 95% of its revenue from production and the balance from merchandising, licensing and publishing agreements. Currently the company is looking at earning around 10%-15% from these marketing activities.

DQE is planning to employ 600 fresh recruits over the next two months, which will raise its employee strength to 3,800. The new recruitments are mainly for 3D HD stereoscopic animation production. Around 90% of the content produced by the company is in the 3D stereoscopic format.

“We produce 90% of our content in 3D stereoscopic (format) and we have plans to launch a series based on this format. We will be launching ‘Jungle Book’ by this calendar year. Next year, we will be launching ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Iron Man: Armored Adventures Season Two’ and ‘Charlie Chaplin’. All these series will be (in) 3D stereoscopic (format),” said Mr Chakravarti.

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