India-based UTV Toons, a division of UTV Group a media and entertainment company, has signed a US$65 million deal with Ottawa-based Funbag Animation to produce nine animated series. Funbag will produce 26-episodes of each program over the next 3 years. Both companies will own all global merchandising rights. "This deal clearly puts India on the global map for animation," said UTV Group chairman Ronnie Screwvala. Recently, UTV produced JASON AND THE HEROES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS for Fox/Saban, co-produced KONG with BKN and co-produced FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE with Funbag. Curtis Crawford, Funbag VP of corporate affairs, said, "Funbag is very excited to be working with UTV to bring to the international marketplace a large slate of original animated children's properties. In doing so, we are seeking to create new brands that extend beyond television into a broad range of merchandising and licensing opportunities, including new media, publishing and a variety of consumer products. The creative capacity of UTV Toons and the financial and management strength behind it make this a very import strategic relationship for us." Pre-production has already begun, but no delivery date has been set.