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Last Updated 18.10.2019 | 10:31 PM IST
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CG Overdrive: A bird’s eye view of the Indian animation industry

The Indian animation industry finds itself in a strange quandary – on one hand, it is a booming market for animation content with Bollywood and broadcasters taking increased interest, while on the other, it is the recession which is slowing things down for the sunrise sector.

AK Madhavan, CEO of Crest Animation Studios, the company that, in many ways than one pioneered animation in India, gave a frank and insightful talk at CG Overdrive, Singapore. Excerpts of the same:

Indian Animation and Recession
“Yes, there’s been a little slowdown in the economy. But things will change and I am sure that we are all going to see greater opportunities in the entertainment and animation business.”

Asian competition
“India is the second largest entertainment producer in terms of content and volume. Animation is relatively new in India, as compared to the other Asian markets. Besides, the traditional 2D animation outsourcing has been happening much before in other Asian countries like Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines and China.”

Where it all began
“Animation took root in India very recently. The very first long format animation show that went out of India into the US market was Jakers! The adventures of Piggley Winks done by Crest Communications in 2003. The show was nominated for Annie Awards, the animation equivalent to the Oscars. The show opened up the Indian market and proved that India can deliver quality shows within a tight timeframe and optimal price.”

TV does the trick
“With animation being the latest buzzword, there’s a sudden increase in volume of animation content in India and is also growing in terms of geometric progression. Lots of international animation channels have entered the Indian market. Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon are, in fact even co-funding various opportunities and projects in the domestic market.”

Bollywood & Animation
“We are a young nation and animation doesn’t have a shelf life or a language barrier. Moreover, revenues are not limited to just the Box–Office but gets extended to satellite rights, DVD sales, licensing and merchandising etc. So, producers are realizing that from a long shelf point perspective, there is an opportunity in animation. And since this is new and exciting, everybody is trying to get into this space. There will be a few failures, of course.
The reason why people are getting into animation is mainly because they realize that it is no longer a kids’ genre but meant for the whole family. Even if you consider the revenue models of the biggest studios in the world, animation has been a big revenue earner for them.”

Stumbling blocks
“Indian animation is still at an introductory stage and has found some acceptance amongst the audience, especially with regards to the mythological content. But the market is still not mature enough for other opportunities like licensing and merchandising.”

Brand Indian animation
“India has lots of stories to tell. Plus we offer fantastic prices. Crest Animation Studios charges $ 140,000-165,000 per half an hour of animation.

In terms of the technology being used, India has learned a lot in the last six years. Owing to our excellence in IT, we have been fairly successful in writing scripts and programs, plug-ins and proprietary asset management tools.

Moreover, there is a sudden surge of talent in animation with a lot of studios across the globe picking up talent from India. These include Lucas Films and Pixar.”

The future for Crest
“In the last six years, Crest alone has delivered more than 300 episodes, a dozen DVDs and DVD features to the international market and we are soon going to release our first co-produced feature Alpha and Omega (working title) in 3D stereoscopy.”

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