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Animation is not kid stuff anymore

Vinson Kurian
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P. Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Animation India
P. Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Animation India

Animated content is not just a ‘kid’s only’ department anymore, says P. Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz Animation India. High-quality animation has takers in every age group across cultural barriers, he told Business Line in an interview.

He welcomed the fact that cable and satellite TV worldwide is increasing broadcasting hours for animated entertainment.

‘South Park’ and ‘Simpsons’ are shows that are very popular among the older crowd. It’s a good thing that cable and satellite TV companies realise that, he added.

There is a spike in the number of channels solely dedicated to the kid’s genre in India, too. Here is Jayakumar’s take on trends in the industry:

Biggest industry trend in recent times

The biggest shift that has happened is a decline in the home video market and emergence of ‘new media’ as a major revenue generator. Netflix is perhaps the best example to illustrate this.

In India, this is currently in the nascent stage. It is the mobile market that is booming here and animation companies are catching up pretty fast.

Strategy to meet demand for content

Most of our international properties like ‘Gaturro,’ ‘Dragon Lance,’ ‘Mostly Ghostly’ and ‘Magic Beyond Words’ were specifically made with the whole family in mind. As for the Indian market, we are not looking at this category for now.

Computer games versus animated series

For animation companies, video games have immense scope for animation, especially for those niche companies focused on gaming.

At the same time, the social threat lies in the fact that children are hooked onto video or computer games from a very young age and find these almost addictive.

As a result, their academic and social life is at stake. Maybe TV shows are getting stale these days and so kids look into gaming as a means for tackling boredom.

The only way to counter this is by gaming companies holding back on substandard or disturbing themes in video games and content providers and generators coming up with original and intriguing shows. Mindless gaming and senseless programming simply have to go.

Outsourcing of animation content to Asia

Yes, it certainly is a good time for animation in Asia especially because of cost factors. It is a positive sign that strong players like Japan, Korea, China, and Singapore are encouraging international co-productions and buyers.

And when a studio like Toonz can ensure a certain level of quality, work will find its way here.

Licensing operations as revenue earner

We have successfully explored licensing and merchandising (L&M) for many of our international properties and the opportunity in this area is certainly huge.

‘Hanuman Returns’ was a popular Indian property of Toonz that is still doing extremely well in the L&M space.

We are presently evaluating merchandising partners for our latest offering ‘Swami Ayyappan’.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 27, 2013)
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