BKN Inks with China’ sToonMax TV

Animation company BKN International A.G. has pacted with Shanghai-based satellite and cable TV channel ToonMax TV to create Chinese content. ToonMax TV will also license at least 26 episodes from BKN’s catalogue of Western properties annually for the next ten years. The entities have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is expected to become binding within the next 90 days.

The joint venture will feature a $1 million initial share capital to co-produce at least 26 episodes of animated content each year. In addition, ToonMax TV will air such BKN properties as Legend of the Dragon, which will join the weekday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. lineup in September of this year.

Hong Kong toy company Asian World Enterprises has secured the master toy license for Legend of the Dragon and will launch its product line in 2006.

BKN has an option with first refusal right to acquire equity shares of ToonMax TV when Chinese law allows for foreign investment in local media companies or when ToonMax TV files for an IPO, whichever comes first.

"China is the only market with such vast potential and limited competition from the major global kids’ broadcasters," says Allen Bohbot, chairman and CEO of BKN International AG. “We are extremely pleased that we have successfully found a good formula for establishing our presence in this crucial market. ToonMax TV and its major shareholders will make excellent partners for our company as we look for ways to establish ourselves in China ahead of our major Western competitors."

Partly owned by Shanghai Media Group, China’s second largest state-owned media enterprise, ToonMax TV airs 18 hours of animated programming seven days a week.