CREATING A WORLD OF INDIAN SUPER HEROES

By Pickle  October 17, 2019
CREATING A WORLD OF INDIAN SUPER HEROES, Pickle Media

In the next five years, if all goes well, then our existing library of nearly 500 live action movies titles in multiple genres would grow to 1000 titles and we would have created at least 10-12 new IPs in the kids space,” says Aneesh Dev, Director, Wide Angle Media

What is your objective and focus at MIPCOM 2019?
This year at MIPCOM our objective is to exhibit new IPs to the international market in order to generate interest for our product amongst buyers from all over the world (including India).

We provide freshly created quality content for our younger audience across varied media platforms.

What are some of the new projects you are working on? Tell us some of the growth priorities for WAM.
We have an impressive line-up of new IPs this MIPCOM which includes the 3D animated avatar of the live action series JUNIOR G- a very popular and highly successful TV serial on Indian television that has been aired on approximately 12 TV channels in India in various languages. Further,
we aim at introducing the concept of animated motion comics through our IPs which include the adventurous and magical stories of Arjun and Garuda, Zudora and Bhoot and Friends.Through the tales of our characters, we wish to create a world of Indian superheroes.

What is the state of Indian animation industry today? Capture some of the trends emerging out of India which are exciting?
Over the years, Indian animation industry has gained widespread acceptance and appreciation across borders. Indian animation companies have collaborated and worked with well-established production houses and created an international presence. With ever increasing demand for entertainment content in today’s time, there has been a significant growth in the demand for animated content as well- both domestically and internationally. The emerging trend in India suggests that TV channels are being proactive in developing interesting original IPs.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we believe that the future of Indian animation is now and it looks brighter than it ever has.

What are the three or four reasons why India has not be able to create a strong market for its own kids content?
While Indian animation industry has a fantastic talent pool to create world class content and IPs, it faces certain challenges right from its inception. There is a heavy dependency on outsourcing work from overseas companies for their survival. There has been reasonable amount of demand from Indian audience for original Indian content and IPs, however, the demand for the same has been significantly lower from the broadcasters’ end up until 2-3 years ago. This is because most of the international broadcasters in India have been focused on dubbing and distributing their own foreign shows to monetize.

The advertising budget spent in the kids genre in India is relatively low.

Do you see good times for Indian kids content to expand global footprint? Give us some examples of why Indian animation content will excite overseas audience.
Yes. You create a good product with quality that is at par with global players and the market will respond to you. In fact the market has never been hungrier for good content with broadcasters & OTT platforms having to cater to the fast increasing number of eye balls. Recently the popular kids series in India Chotta Bheem franchise was picked by Netflix which sparked interest amongst buyers in overseas market.

CREATING A WORLD OF INDIAN SUPER HEROES, Pickle Media

It is fantastic that you have moved from a buyer to a producer and distributor? Tell us about your journey and how you have been able to manage this transition.
WAMINDIA has been one of the major content aggregators of movies and kids content since the last 14 years. We have dealt in more than 700 movies and around 300 hours of kid’s content. Prior to this, we were full time producers of live action TV shows and movies for almost 9 years. After producing around 32 live action TV shows across leading TV channels, we moved on to aggregation, distribution and licensing of content. A few years ago, we were the top producers of live action Kids shows and movies with big hit titles like Junior G (TV), Bhoot Unkle & Bhoot and Friends (Movies). We also distributed Pentamedia’s animation movies Pandavas, The legend Of Buddha, Alladdin amongst many other library titles.

Our experience as producers enriches our understanding of the production aspect of the content and our vast experience in aggregation, distribution and licensing enables us to understand the requirements and demand of content on the broadcasters’ and other media platforms’ side.

What are your views on the current VOD and OTT platforms? How are audiences (especially kids) engaging with content?
One word that instantly comes to mind on hearing the term OTT is‘Future’. It is the rapidly growing present and definite future of all media platforms. With increasing access to smart phones and availability of high speed internet at affordable rates to the huge populations across geographies, the demand for videos has risen sky high and this is just the beginning. It is the most convenient media platform that is customized for individual demand and can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Every leading TV channel & digital content distribution company either already have or are in the process of developing their own OTT platforms.

In fact OTT platforms are beginning to consider children as huge target markets with great potential. Most of the children use multiple digital mediums and spend a great deal of time on it nowadays. This trend isn’t lost upon the OTT platforms. You can take Netflix for instance. The OTT giant has its eyes set on exploring and providing quality content for children. It recently acquired StoryBots, a children’s story brand. Amazon Prime video has reportedly acquired the rights of Harry, an indigenous animation series. If that isn’t a clear indication towards growth in kids entertainment market,
what else is?

What are the biggest challenges in the business today?
We believe that the biggest challenge in production is to narrate a story well and create good content for the target audience. There is also the challenge of finding an appropriate buyer broadcaster / platform who would understand the potential for that content.

Do you see still life for linear television programming — especially in the kids segment?
Linear television and broadcasting is a hardcore lifestyle amongst people and not to forget, the heart and soul of advertising business. So it is safe to say that TV broadcasting is not going anywhere.

The real question is, how well will it survive against the upcoming and growing VOD platforms?
Digital media offers the tempting advantage of providing customized selection of content for consumers which can be viewed by them at their convenience a strength that television can neither overlook nor overcome. As digital media takes over, it becomes tougher and tougher for TV broadcasters to maintain their market position. In India, majority of the children are still consuming content through traditional television viewing. However, it is only a matter of time before the trend switches.Second screens have already penetrated this segment and are gaining rapid popularity amongst children. Big players in the entertainment content industry are taking steps to tap into this high potential market. Disney has announced that it will be introducing its own SVOD platform. Even Discovery Kids launched its own animation series inspired by the movie ‘Singham’ and also acquired the rights of a kids show Bandbudh and Budbak- from ZeeQ in order to capture their share of the market.

How would you like to see WAM grow in the next three to five years? WAMINDIA targets to create and aggregate good engaging content while taking it to its target audience through the right channels and platforms. In the next five years, if all goes well, then our existing library of nearly 500 live action movies titles in multiple genres (like mass entertainment, action,
comedy, horror amongst others) would grow to 1000 titles and we would have created at least 10-12 new IPs in the kids space.

Who is your biggest influence/ influencer in driving WAM?
I personally admire Mr. Walter Elias Disney’s vision for the fabulous content he and his grand institution has made for the kids and family audience and the mega business value they have created out of creating content.

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