Mumbai based Media Mandi (parent company of Ettamina Studios) has acquired a majority stake in Los Angeles based gaming company Sun Game, for an undisclosed amount.
This acquisition will mark Media Mandi’s foray in the gaming space and will focus on mobile gaming to start with and later on other platforms as well.
Speaking to Bollywood Hungama, Media Mandi CEO, Ashoke Aggrwal shared, “Sun Game is almost two years old company and specializes in games for a variety of platform. We are also planning to launch an IPO in the coming two months and after that we will announce the board of directors and other strategies of the company.”
Media Mandi has also acquired a 20,000 square feet of area in Montreal to set-up its motion capture facility which will focus on motion capture work for Hollywood. Also in the pipeline are three animation movies done through its subsidiary Ettamina Studios based in Mumbai and Singapore.
Animation and Gaming: How to manage in turbulent times?
By Money Sharma
Recession is undoubtedly hitting each and every vertical of the entertainment industry and animation & gaming is also a sector which is not immune to this current trend. But what are the measures one can take to manage the work and cash flows in these turbulent times?
In a session moderated by DQE’s Tapaas Chakravarti, Member of Parliament Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Exim Bank’s Mathew John, Turner’s Vishnu Athreya and Think London – UK’s Alison Porter had a detailed discussion on the challenges and opportunities in the industry and how to go about managing them.
Kick starting the session, Tapaas said, “A downturn could be just the challenge to energize and restructure our sector and recession will prompt radical changesâ€¦ how companies respond will determine their future. The animation industry is not ‘recession proof’, but recession resistant as compared to other sectors.”
On survival strategies, he said that co-production is the key where one can look at international multi party and domestic co-productions for local IP. He also said that the animation industry needs stronger backing from the government. “Convince the government that investments in this industry will result in revenues from the global animation industry and employment creation for thousands of white collar specialists,” he said.
Vishnu shed light on how processes can be managed resulting in better output. He said that there are 10 ‘P’s which one need to follow viz. planning, process, production, pricing, positioning of the company to name a few.
Raje focused government interest and the need of creating the public private partnerships which would support the industry and make it grow.
Mathew shared Exim Bank’s operations on how they look at the possibilities and opportunities in the industry. Exim Bank of India has been both a catalyst and a key player in the promotion of cross border trade and investment.
Alison talked about the opportunities where India and UK could work together. She added, “There are around 57 post production companies in London and we have lot of creative people working there. We have around 63,000 people working in the gaming industry.”
‘India – A great talent bazaar‘ – says the Panel
By Money Sharma
The panel on ‘talent bazaar in animation’ unanimously agreed that India has got a lot of creative talent and passion which has kept the Indian animation industry alive and working so far. International speakers in the panel looked through their lens at the various genres of Indian talent in animation and discussed their experiences in this regard.
The panel included Pala Flicks’ Greg Acuna (moderator); Imageworks’ India Joe Gareri, Big Animation’s Vijay Sinha, Gotham Entertainment Group’s Sharad Devarajan, Prana’s Samir Hoon and MEL’s Jai Natarajan.
Here are some of the panellists’ comments on India talent in animation:
Vijay Sinha: “India has a quality talent available and Indian animation is moving forward with growth in outsourced work and original content. There is also huge opportunity in gaming and mobile content. Talent is not only in bigger cities but also in the smaller towns and villages.”
Greg Acuna: “India has amazing talent. Artists at the top level are as good as any other place in the world and we can see some of the world class work happening here. We need to work on bringing mid level of artists on top level and institutes should work actively in order to churn out better trained freshers.”
Samir Hoon: “People here are enthusiastic and talented enough to be in this field. Animation is only the field where art and technology inspire each other but somehow I feel there is still some gap between both of them.”
Joe Gareri: “Artists in India have the willingness to work and they are always focussed at finding solutions and keep trying hard till the time they succeed.”
Jai Natarajan: “India has got lot of young and creative talent that is willing to learn from the best practices. It is up to you how teach them.”
Sharad Devarajan: “We wanted to take Indian talent and creativity ahead and create content beyond Bollywood. There are lot of budding artists in India and we at Liquid Comics have been instrumental in building a team of such artist and training them.”
FICCI-Frames discusses Bollywood’s next big thing
By Mrigank Dhaniwala
Day two of FICCI Frames ’09 saw industry stalwarts come together for a discussion on ‘The Next Big Thing… In Film and TV’ world renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, UTV Group Chairman and CEO Ronnie Screwvala and Bollywood film maker and producer Karan Johar spoke at the session.
Shekhar spoke of the ‘technology of democracy’ as being the next big thing, wherein consumers would be able to inter-relate to the content, something that is happening with Youtube. He predicted the fall of the gatekeepers, who will now become facilitators. “We are competing for the audience’s emotional time. People will communicate with each other in the audio-visual medium directly without the gatekeeper. It’s already happening. With blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, where ideas form and entertainment is being created over high speed broadband,” he said.
Ronnie was of the opinion that ‘destructive consolidation’ i.e. mergers and acquisitions in the business of filmmaking would be the next big thing with more radical technology coming in like the iPhone or the iPod.
“A shrinking of the entire supply and demand chain will occur. Consumer spending will go down. The box office today has not been affected for certain products only,” he said, hence calling for companies to come together through effective consolidations.
On a positive note, Ronnie pointed out that the consumer in India has actually held back from spending but was not poorer as compared to the Western world.
Karan said, “We are the next big thingâ€¦ Indian cinema is the next big thing. The new influx, ideas, vision is the next big thing.”
Karan started by saying that, “I have been absolutely floored with the last two days I have been here. We film makers live in a world of our own, we live in a bubble.” He further added that there was a lot to learn.
Karan tracked the history of Indian cinema from the pre-independence classics from Bimal Roy and Satyajit Ray to the ‘yahoo’ phase of romantic musicals to the ‘angry young man’ phase dominated by Amitabh Bachchan and the Salim-Javed duo, to the 80’s which Karan “considers the worst phase ever.” He called 2001 the defining year for Bollywood with Chandni Bar, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hain.
“Keep costs low” says a Top economist to Bollywood
By Mrigank Dhaniwala
Prominent economist and author Swaminathan A. Aiyar has a word of advice for Bollywood, “It (the slowdown) is going to be a long haul and the emphasis should be on keeping costs low, using technology and reaching larger audiences.” He was speaking at a session on recession on day two of FICCI Frames ’09 in Mumbai.
Talking about the phenomenal fillip that the media & entertainment sectors received over the past few years, Aiyar said, “Optimism spurred a very large number of people to raise money and go ahead with their adventurous spirit. That game is definitely over.”
However, Aiyar added that as compared to the developed world, India’s economy was still doing well. “We are at a higher growth trajectory. I can see a whole lot happening for the film industry. Let’s not be fancy on budgets and adjust our expectations.” The key will be on how one can innovate, he added.
The panel on ‘Recession and the Entertainment Industry’ included, besides Aiyar, FICCI’s Dr. Amit Mitra; KPMG’s Rajesh Jain; Reliance Entertainment’s Rajesh Sawhney; Intel’s Narendra Bhandari and Madison Communications’ Punita Arumugam.
Stressing on the need for freeing up capital, Sawhney said that businesses needed to go aggressive on new media. Punita agreed with him by adding that most advertisers were now looking beyond conventional media for advertising.
Jain posited that the media & entertainment sectors should look at strategies like narrowcasting and digitalization as inevitable changes instead of obstacles.