The cat is out of the bag. The Indian Animation industry isn't exactly in the pink of health. Even industry veterans are accepting it now, on record.
"If you produce an animated series with a given amount, generally you recover only a part of your investment through the sale of broadcasting rights. We need to find more ways of getting revenues, as the Indian Animation Industry is struggling to survive," said N. R. Panicker, Chairman of Accel Animation Studios, speaking at a panel discussion on the inaugural day of India's biggest media and entertainment convention, FICCI Frames 2011.
Discussing the state of Indian animation along with Panicker, were Big Animation CEO Ashish Kulkarni (moderator) Turner's Mark Eyers, Maya Digital Studios' Frank Foster, Golden Bridge Animation Studios' Agnes Li and Graphiti Multimedia's Munjal Shroff. The topic under discussion: 'Challenges of Creating Animated Content from Asia Pacific for Global Distribution'.
Citing the example of his own studio, Panicker further emphasized on how he has been working with a European investor. "We need to look more on co-production treaties, which will help us in getting the content picked up for the universal market," he added. This statement is relevant in the light of the fact that indigenous animation content broadcasting never really took off in the Indian context. Animation films have also failed to earn decent revenues at the box-office.
Munjal Shroff outlined the problems, "We came from an advertising background producing a lot of short form content. With due course of time, when we started working on long form content, we learnt that timely delivery is the key. If we miss the deadlines by a few days, we miss our slots on the TV."
In reply to a question and highlighting the key factor one should consider before green lighting a project, Agnes said, "We would firstly look at the story and then the characters because it is the characters that help you a lot when it comes to revenue generation, especially in the form of licensing and merchandising revenues."
The panel discussed the co-production challenges that Indian animation studios faced while dealing with their counterparts in Asia-Pacific and other countries, and also what it took to create universal content for the global audience. It also enlisted the ways to get into co-production and discussed new character brands and story flavors that the Asia Pacific region could contribute to the global content library.
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