Tapping India’s Animation & VFX Potential

By Pickle  February 20, 2020

As Indian history, mythology, and folklore resonate strongly with the Indian consumers, It requires scriptwriters, visualizers and techsavvy animators who can translate these stories from live-action to animated content, writes Dr S. Raghunath, Professor of Strategy, IIM Bangalore

As India inches closer to adopting the 5G technology, the consumption of entertainment content will increase manifold, presenting a neverbefore opportunity for broadcasters and OTT platform providers to grow their business. Therefore it is not surprising to witness the trend of increasing investments in original IP content.

Indians are reportedly watching at an average of eight hours and 33 minutes of content a week that is higher than the global average of six hours and 48 minutes of content per week, where animation-based content has a significant share in the online content consumption.

The potential opportunity to expand animation and VFX business is immense while in reality, it requires commensurate talent to realize that potential.

We are aware that Indian history, mythology, and folklore resonate strongly with the Indian consumers, as most Indians are aware of their local heroes and their stories. It requires scriptwriters, visualizers and tech-savvy animators who can translate these stories from live-action to animated content. India is replete with folklore and characters that have a strong appeal in vernacular languages.

Our creative artists and writers can dip into the most valuable assets of folklore and mythology and draw upon a rich library of characters, and more specifically refresh and rejuvenate the connection that these characters have established with end consumers in rural and mofussil areas. The library of characters and storylines can contribute to a highly synergetic business model, in which animation and VFX can play a critical role, and Management graduates can address key marketing challenges in the creative industry.

Creative media, art, and design education requires a thrust and the focus that brings exposure to world class technology to aspiring young minds in the country. Students need face-to-face tutorial sessions with their teachers who have updated their knowledge on the current practices and technology in the industry in a studio-based learning environment.

To prepare for their future careers, students need to hone not only their technical skillsets but also soft skills such as networking and bringing exposure to their work through social network sites, festivals or exhibitions. They need mentoring from industry professionals, starting with workshops and guidance conducted by such professionals. Students can gain exposure to specific knowledge, skillsets, and inspiration for industry standards through these interactions. Participating in Master Classes, or in workshops with famous artists and animators from the industry can help students to develop the mindset of entrepreneurship for their future career growth.

Students require support on their action learning projects through remote access to computer resources. Remote access provides students with the flexibility to determine when to work on their action learning projects.

Educators must consider giving students more independence when they are given more responsibilities for their learning in project-based contexts. More independence and self-paced application may encourage students to do well in their projects. Student autonomy may have a positive impact on shouldering responsibility, creative freedom, and performance.

The Government of India has identified animation, under the audio-visual category, as one of the 12 champion sectors. As part of the champion sector categorization, the government has allocated a dedicated fund of Rs. 50 billion for the development of 12 sectors. Contribution and development of such ‘Centres of Focused Learning on Animation and VFX’ can immensely benefit the industry.

It is common knowledge that margins in animation business are not high and are known to be based on the volume of business. Countries like Canada, France, Spain, Ireland offer tax incentives to their companies in order to remain competitive. Perhaps we must consider supporting this fledgling industry until it attains maturity.

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