The media and entertainment major UTV Group is making waves in the promising Indian animation market. Its animation division, UTV Toons, has bagged the contract to develop animation in flash software, the first ever if its kind, for Canada based Cinegroupe. The project is for a 13-episode TV series called Daft Planet for Teletoon network, a popular kid's channel airing animation programmes in Canada.
The total project cost is around $2.6 million. "This is India's first animation TV series made in flash which is a popular software for the Web and interactive platforms. The indicative range for a flash episode is about $200,000 for each episode," said Biren Ghose, Chief Operating Officer - Animation at UTV Toons.
He further said, "We are doing about 45 to 50% of the 2D and flash work done across India for the international companies. The 2D shows are worth about 300,00 to 400,000 dollars per episode. For service work, there are about 130 episodes being executed from India this year."
UTV is not an isolated example as the animation works done locally are gaining popularity among the cartoon channels in India also. The leading kids channel Cartoon Network is going to broadcast an animation film 'Ramayan-The Legend of Princeram' from 5th October onwards. "The telecast of Ramayan-The legend of Prince Ram's telecast on Cartoon Network establishes animation as an entertainment genre in India," said Ram Mohan co-director of the feature. He recently quit UTV Toons to join Graphiti Multimedia as the chairman. Graphiti Multimedia is known for creating the animated genie character for Star Plus's game show Khuljaa Sim Sim.
"Indian animation industry has come a long way in the past 4-5 years. Indian studios are producing world-class original animation and continue to collaborate with international majors for joint projects," said Anshuman Misra, Managing Director- South Asia of Turner International that runs Cartoon Network channel. Being optimistic about animations developed from India, he further added, " In other words, high quality content is being developed at a relatively low cost and therefore there is immense growth potential in India and abroad. As Indian studios get exposed to international markets and vice versa, we should see an explosive growth in the Indian animation industry in the years to come."
The findings of a study by Anderson Consulting on Indian animation industry justify Misra's optimism. According to the study, the Indian animation industry is currently worth around $550 million. It is expected to grow at a rate of 30 per cent per annum for the next three years and reach $15 billion by 2008.
The Indian advertising industry is also using animations for remaining on top of viewer's mind. But it seems to be less lucrative as Ghose said," It is exciting and growing but it is a minimal business in comparison to theatricals and TV work." However, the scenario is expected to change with the growth of Internet as more and more advertisers will resort to animations based promotions on Net. Already brands like Honda, Airtel, Mahindra's Scorpio and Nokia etc. are using animations to grab the Internet users' attention.