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Toonz hires exec for new MENA base

India’s Toonz Animation has opened a new office in Turkey as it expands into the MENA region, hiring a local industry veteran to run it, TBI has learned.

Yesim Aktas will run Toonz Turkey, which will target local broadcasters primarily, but also from futher out in the Middle East region.

Toonz, which is part of Indian giant Toonz Entertainment, is making the move into the MENA region as its CEO, P. Jayakumar, believes the region’s demand for original production is swelling.

“The demand is coming up from the likes of Al-Jazeera, MBC and Majik TV,” Jayakumar told TBI. “The appetite for content from there is increasing and we see that as similar as what’s happened in India. Every channel in India has been getting into original content, and not just for one series but multiple projects.”

Aktas joins having previous ran her own advertising-focused production company. She is known for launching toon firm Veloce with Andre Drouin, woner of Montreal-based prodco Postscriptum, in 2001. The prodco was behind series including Gemeaux and Les Deux Minutes de Francois Perusse.

Aktas also launched the Turkish arm of French multimedia company Ikonos, which later became pert of advertising company Publicis.

Jayakumar said Aktas had “a great background in animation” and would prove an asset to Toonz, which has been in expansion international mood.

Earlier this year, it opened an office in New Zealand with Mark Nicholls, and acquired Spain’s Imira Entertainment last year for an undisclosed amount.

Jayakumar said the Kiwi office would reveal its first television series next year.