Is the Indian animation video industry soaring or struggling? There are conflicting opinions. While there have been reports that the industry is set to grow at a rapid rate, many who experience the ground reality of the industry say it presents a grim picture.
Let’s take a deeper look at both ends of the spectrum and explore the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the Indian animation video industry.
#1: India is a prime animation outsourcing partner for Hollywood
A number of Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated animated elements in films were actually created in India. Take for example Jungle Book which won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 2017, or Life of Pi, which won the same award in 2013. VFX is often outsourced to the Indian offices of an animation studio or animated video company that would be headquartered in the US. This has given a boost to the animation video industry as a whole.
Indian talent has produced award-winning work but at the same time, they are not given much creative liberty. They simply have to follow the instructions and produce the animated output exactly as specified. Animation is an extremely creative process, but skilled Indian animators are being used as manual labour.
Some industry insiders claim that Hollywood studios have even signed contracts with the Indian government for permission to set up offices in India under the condition that they would also encourage Indian talent and invest in Indian animation projects. But hidden in the fine print is the condition that they will only produce such projects as they see fit. This absolves them of the responsibility as they can always claim that any project pitched to them simply did not have merit.
#2: Indian animated video industry mainly produces kid’s content*
A number of the most popular cartoon channels around the world get their cartoons animated in India. This also stands true for new and upcoming YouTube channels with content aimed at children who have already amassed a massive following such as Chuchu TV and CVS 3D Rhyme. Even streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are hoping to get into the game and have signed on many studios in India.
Cartoons based on Indian characters are still limited to mythological figures like Bheem, Ram and Hanuman. While producing content for other countries and based on other cultures, the Indian cartoons still rely on animating heroes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata with original characters produced for the Indian audience are rare.
While the animated video industry in India is mainly growing by creating cartoons for other countries or global studios, even cheaper labour is available elsewhere. This becomes a direct threat to the animation industry that is forced to keep prices low in order to compete
* While the Indian animated video industry is mainly focussed on cartoons and kid’s content, an animated explainer video production company, which serves the purpose of marketing rather than just entertaining is an exception.
#3: The Indian market is not favourable
Firstly, with the success of VFX in Bahubali 2, there is a shift in the industry. VFX is set to be a game changer for the Indian animated film industry. Second, even with repeated instances of Indian animated films flopping at the box office, Indian animation studios are still willing to take the risk and produce Indian short and feature-length animated films. Many colleges in India now offer animation courses and the Telangana state has founded an organisation called TVAGA (Telengana VFX, Animation and Gaming Association).
An animated video company that made an Indian animated film called Delhi Safari raked in many times higher earnings in South Korea than in India. When the Indian audience is watching a film in the theatre, they will prefer to go for a superstar-studded movie than an animated film.
There is little to no incentive (apart from creative drive) to make an animated Indian film. Neither the government nor private and industry investors will invest in it beyond a point, even as the global demand for animation rises. Unlike a video made by an animated explainer video company, a film takes a lot more money, effort and time. If it does not do well, and it tends not to do well, it’s too big a risk to take.
What do you think? Is the Indan animated video industry struggling or soaring? Tell us in the comments below. Or if you’d rather leave the animated film industry to its fate and focus on an animated explainer video for your business instead, we can help you! Just send a mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org> or leave a comment and we’ll get in touch with you.