Can the Indian Animation Industry Adopt the Same Growth Patterns as the Software Industry

Can the Indian animation industry take the same growth path to global leadership as the software industry? 

June 17, 2014, Bangalore, India
With some 50 percent of the Indian population under the age of 24, animation promises to be one of India’s fastest growing areas of employment.
For decades India’s backroom programming capabilities have helped modernize the country. But the software industry is still trying to work its way out of the boiler rooms of business to better margins. Animation’s value-add, creativity, could help. (Nasscom estimates 2014 revenues of $118 billion for software and related services).

Seeing that clout comes from closeness to the customer, Indian products and services have to get past the resellers for value to accrue to the Indian brand. In short, India needs to be a source of the ideas that actually drive processes like software.

Given its role as a leader of the developing world, India’s global opportunity in animation may be to mentor animation in emerging nations through educational offerings and partnerships. Another opportunity (especially for smaller producers/publishers) would be to globally package ancient insights in a modern but appealing format.

It would make sense use a flexible, high impact articulation medium (like animation) to provide the world with insights on yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, ancient scripture etc. With quality animation education availability growing, these niche areas strengthen “brand India” with the “wisdom factor” yet provide recognizable value as they serve the consumer’s “higher” needs.

Traditionally major players in animation outsourcing:  
Indian animators at Bangalore based Technicolor Inc have already made their mark on outsourcing work for movies such as “Life of Pi” and “Prometheus.” Life of Pi won four Oscars and a Golden Globe award. Indian animators led by Samir Hoon also worked on earlier classics like Star Wars, Jurassic Park etc. Indian animation, (according to a 2013 report in the Economic Times) gets at least 60% of revenues from outsourcing.

The industry is also growing rapidly in India. Popular TV serials for children like “Chhotta Bheem” have also contributed to the 20 percent in annual sales growth reported in 2013.

Animation leverages the nation’s strengths because it is technology, education and labor intensive.

The Colossus awakes? 
With the world’s largest film industry, India is already looking at related mediums like animation to excel in. There is opportunity at all levels. Though Bollywood makes twice as many films as Hollywood, blockbuster 3D potboilers are not mandatory. Can quality and focus be the new mantra for Indian animation?

A new culture? 
Consider the potential of a new generation of e books, devotional materials, health education primers, training products and the like. These can now use animated content to improve comprehension.  India’s new cogni-products could address the higher end of “Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” as they support corporate training, global health and spiritual well being.

Training infrastructure: 
For the industry to prosper, vocational education in animation is imperative even though it is capital intensive. Enlightened educators also aver that while training is often process oriented it must also stimulate creativity and the ability to literally and figuratively “perspect” from any angle.

Onward and Upward
Says Shruti Natarajan of Animaster Academy, an animation educator in Bangalore, “Animation is already popular in the west. Of the 20 most profitable movies of all time worldwide, as many as ten were animated.” Only time will tell if the Indian film industry will take the hint and really cash into the new medium.

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