ZN toons take flight with GlobeCast

Second recent int'l dist deal for China animator

BEIJING -- China's Zhejiang Zhongnan Group Animation and Shanghai Media Group subsidiary WingsMedia have landed a raft of Chinese cartoons and popular entertainment shows with GlobeCast for video-on-demand distribution in Europe.

The Mandarin-language shows aimed at the Chinese-speaking diaspora include the preschool educational cartoon "RUBI" and an animated show called "Zheng He’s Voyages to the West Seas" about the adventures of a 15th-century Chinese admiral.

The deal, announced Wednesday by GlobeCast, a unit of France Telecom, is the second in the last year to see ZN Animation -- as it is known -- land international distribution for its cartoons.

In June, the company founded in 2005 sold its "Magic Wonderland" to U.S. cable giant Viacom as a part of the hour-long ChinaToon programming block aimed at Chinese speakers in 13 Asian territories.

Keenly aware of the decades of soft power wielded by Japanese animation, China's broadcast regulators have moved in recent years to boost China's nascent cartoon industry by barring imports from Chinese TV's primetime hours and by subsidizing local animators.

In 2009, "Zheng He" won the Accolade Award of Excellence in TV Animation and was nominated for Best Animation  at The Asian TV Awards.

Under the new deal, GlobeCast took on the cartoons from ZN animation's Singapore-based sales partner CHINAnimax and 16 shows from WingsMedia for distribution to VOD viewers on the direct-to-home platform and in pay-TV packages throughout Europe.

GlobeCast will split revenues based on the number of subscribers the shows reach, a company representative reached by email in Singapore said. She would not disclose the number of hours of programming taken on over what period.

Among the WingsMedia live action shows in the deal are the talk show "ChenChen All Star" and the popular dramas "Love Affairs" and "Burning Roses."
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