China’s DeZerlin Media and the UK’s Zycon Media today signed an ambitious co-production agreement to co-finance and co-produce a slate of animated features and TV series for the global market. The deal, said to be valued in excess of RMB 1B ($159M), was inked in the presence of British Prime Minister Theresa May who is currently on a visit to the Middle Kingdom. It covers 10 features and 10 series to be produced over the next eight years, across the two countries. The parties expect all product to be distributed globally “through mainstream studios and distribution companies.” The first project is Watch The Skies, an action fantasy about a marooned alien boy and the Earth kids who rescue him. Worldwide theatrical release is eyed for early 2019. In prep is Codename: Furball, an adventure about a secret agent cat who saves England during WWII. DeZerlin Media was founded in 2010 in Qingdao and has financial partnerships with Houtu Venture Capital, HG Capital and DH Capital. Zycon Media was established to create, acquire, finance, produce and globally manage entertainment content that is capable of becoming international cross-platform entertainment brands.

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Four months ahead of the Cannes Film Festival, and two before the MIPTV market and inaugural Cannes Series event, the Riviera outpost is bulking up its beach. The seaside town is shipping in 80,000 cubic meters of white sand, Reuters reports, to widen the beach down a nearly mile-long strip off the Croisette. By the time May rolls around, the bigger stretch should be in place. While the news agency reports that locals are divided over the expansion, some fretting it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money, a larger beach would be a boon to the restaurant and club owners who host meals and events throughout each day of the fest — and cater to tourists throughout the summer. Certainly, Cannes has suffered from erosion. The film festival faced a rushed clean-up ahead of its start a few years back when high tides dumped heaping sand onto café terraces. It also took a beating during a freak storm in October 2015 on the eve of Mipcom. One resident told Reuters of the new sand, “What worries me is whether the sea will just take it all back. It cost the town a lot of money.”

Reliance Industries’ TV18 Broadcast is taking control of Viacom18 from its joint venture partner, Viacom Inc. The Indian broadcaster already held 50% of the company and is increasing that by 1% for $20M. The brands and content license agreement between Viacom Inc and Viacom18 also gets extended by 10 years under the deal. Viacom18 recently produced and distributed the controversial feature Padmaavat which released last weekend to great numbers at home and set a new record as the biggest Bollywood opening ever in North America. The company also has 44 television channels across 80 countries in six different languages and operates OTT platform VOOT, among its businesses. TV18 operates India’s largest bouquet of news channels across 12 languages and 26 states, as well as a portfolio of entertainment channels across genres. The partners believe that in the fast-evolving media and entertainment landscape in India, TV18 can drive value-addition and synergies across the multi-platform group that includes broadcast, digital, filmed and experiential entertainment and media strands.