India’s expertise in animation gets global eyeballs

March 26th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by admin  


Mumbai, March 26 (IANS) As the Rs.13 billion ($324 million) animation industry grows rapidly in India, global players like Walt Disney and Cartoon Network are increasingly looking at the country for content - with the same level of specialisation but at lower cost. Walt Disney, the Hollywood media giant, is poised to invest Rs.13.14 billion ($327 million) in two UTV group firms.

Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd (PNC) has struck a Rs.1.8 billion ($45 mn) deal with DQ Entertainment (DQE), one of the world’s leading animation and gaming production companies, to co-develop and co-produce six animation movies over the next three to four years.

PNC had also signed a five-movie deal with Motion Pixel Corporation (MPC), a Florida-based animation company that has its animation studios, Estudio Flex, in Costa Rica.

As both international and domestic investors are jostling to grab a share of the pie, it has become critical to address every issue of the trade with utmost care, say experts.

“The absolute key to this business is having strategic partners. It’s important to ensure that a property lasts 15, 20, 30 years,” said Dean Koocher, managing director of US-based Honest Entertainment, at Ficci-Frames, a media and entertainment meet, here Wednesday.

Honest Entertainment is the creator of popular characters such as Tele Tubbies and Fido Dido among others.

“While ensuring the revenue stream for such a business, one also needs to look at certain other critical aspects such as territories, which is very important in keeping the product consistent,” Koocher said.

Jiggy George, executive director for Cartoon Network Enterprises in India and South Asia, said: “It is very important to understand what revenue model we are looking at, how margins should be defined. The opening of the retail business could prove to be a huge revenue earner for the Indian animation industry.”

George also highlighted the retail aspect of the business with a plethora of merchandise such as accessories, apparel, stationery, toys books and crockery among others, which is growing at 20 percent year-on-year.

Munjal Shroff, chief operating officer of Graphiti Multimedia, agreed. “It is ultimately the content that translates into revenues. Some of the very important aspects of creating a property lie in its uniqueness, appeal, target audience, look and theme.”

He also felt that protecting property was important. “In India IPR (intellectual property rights) laws have become stricter. With a little time and effort, as the process may well take one and a half years, one can be sufficiently protected.”

The Indian animation industry is poised to attain a market size of Rs.40 billion within the next four years from the current Rs.13 billion, according to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (FICCI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

“Domestic demand will create the fillip in its growth as well as contribution from international co-productions, especially in the television segment,” the report said.

The entertainment portion of the animation, gaming and VFX industry grew by 24 percent over the previous year in 2007 and is estimated at Rs.13 billion, up from Rs.10.5 billion in 2006.

The Indian animation market is growing and serves the content for both domestic as well as international clients, the report said.

FICCI-Frames, the ongoing annual global forum, looks at the business aspects of the media and entertainment industry.

It is billed as one of Asia’s biggest forums for the entertainment business with some 2,000 Indian and 500 foreign delegates discussing issues like growth and sustainability of the sector and how to address the challenges facing it.

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