The global animation market has been growing by leaps and bounds. Rapid advancements in technology, rise in gaming services, surge in streaming video consumption, and soaring demand for high-definition visual content have contributed to market growth. In addition, increase in number of multinational cable channel companies, studios, and TV broadcasting companies has fueled the expansion of the animation industry.
These entities are engaged in a multitude of activities, ranging from pre-production to distribution. They have also been focused on different revenue sources such as intellectual property licensing and sales of DVDs. Partnerships, joint ventures, and co-production are some of the other key strategies adopted by multinational studios.
The popular strategy of co-production has worked successfully for studios across countries. Flow of funds from animation houses in developed countries to those in developing ones, and vice versa, has been an ongoing trend that has benefitted the industry. In recent years, studios in Japan, Europe, and North America, for instance, have partnered with studios in India and China. This flexibility and exchange of resources, creativity, and ideas has given the animation industry a significant boost.
In October 2017, Singapore, China, and Thai animation companies signed a US$250 million, 10-film co-production deal, reportedly the biggest animated film cooperation in Asia. The deal involves Singapore’s Tiny Island Productions, Thailand’s Shellhut Entertainment, and China’s Wingsmedia, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group. While the first film is expected to be completed by 2020, Tiny Island Pictures and Shellhut are already looking to bring European and American partners on board for upcoming projects.
The creation of moving images in a three-dimensional (3D) digital environment is an advancement that has revolutionized animation. This technology has found application across sectors such as manufacturing, government and defense, media and entertainment, education and academics, and construction, wherein industries benefit from improved clarity, graphics, and speed. Demand for and adoption of 3D animation software in media and entertainment can be attributed to growing interest in animated movies and television series such as Toy Story, The Lego Movie, The Simpsons, and South Park.
Ad campaigns have also incorporated animation techniques to grab consumer attention. Apple Inc.’s 2018 annual holiday campaign took everyone by surprise: a three-minute animated film, featuring a MacBook Pro, on the theme ‘Share your Gifts’. A first of its kind for the tech giant, the film’s animation is incredibly detailed and mixes computer-generated imagery (CGI) characters with real 3D model backgrounds.
Online gaming has been rather influential in driving the market, wherein animation and VFX play a crucial role. 3D animation in game designing and production lends a level of realism that makes the game more appealing to players and keeps them engaged. Over the years, online gaming has become graphically more intricate and impressive, thanks to the superior quality of animation and gameplay variety. Realizing the growing scope of gaming in the entertainment industry, Walt Disney entered into a game development partnership with Jam City in November 2018. The leading mobile gaming company will, as per the terms of the deal, hold rights to develop new games based on various elements from Disney’s Walt Disney Animation Studio and Pixar brands.
The market is characterized by the presence of local, regional, and international vendors and a high level of competition among them. Rise in technological innovation has widened the scope of application in a number of industrial sectors and has also enabled market players to provide services at a low cost. As a result, new entrants have been finding it increasingly difficult to withstand this competition in terms of quality, price, innovation, and reliability.
Some of the leading players in the animation market are Corel Corporation; Adobe Systems Incorporated; Autodesk, Inc.; NVIDIA Corporation; and The Foundry VisionMongers Ltd. Apart from these, Maxon Computer; Image Metrics; Pixologic Inc.; Trimble Navigation Ltd.; and SideFx Software have also been operating at various levels in the market.
Research Support Specialist, USA