MUMBAI: The state-wide agitation over Telangana notwithstanding, the Andhra Pradesh government is pulling out all stops to make Hyderabad a media, animation and gaming hub.
And not without reason, for, of the approximately $70 billion worth global animation industry, India’s contribution is around $ 900 million, with Hyderabad alone accounting for nearly $ 550 million.
The Rs 350-crore GAME City project is in the last leg of finalising tenders, informs Madani
So, after sponsoring the participation of Hyderabad-based animation companies at the recently concluded MIPCOM 2013, Information Technology and Communications Department deputy director (promotion) Syed Shawket Hussain Madani also made a pitch about how Hyderabad has a large talent pool that just needs the right push.
Enlisting the challenges facing the animation industry, Madani said: “Infrastructure, which is dedicated to the media pool, is one challenge. The second important thing is to nurture the talent pool that specialises in 2D and 3D. The third challenge is to make gaming a part of the curriculum while the fourth is the policies relating to the animation industry,” and added that the AP government is coming up with a Gaming Animation Media Entertainment (GAME) City to tackle these obstacles.
About the Rs 350-crore GAME City project funded by the state government, Madani informed: “We are in fact in the last leg of finalising tenders, which will be out by this month end.”
Spanning more than 38 acre, GAME City will have an incubation space constructed over 8 lakh sq ft and various other facilities including a sound and acoustic studio, auditorium and shade studio. “We will give free bandwidth to the occupants for the first three years. Also considering that the software required for making animation series is expensive, the government has decided to buy the software and load it on the common server, which can be used by various companies located within GAME City,” said Madani.
With plans to complete the 27,000 square feet incubation centre in the next two months, “Tenders for this are already out,” said Madani. The AP government is looking at big names to be part of the GAME City project. “Though Electronic Arts and Walt Disney already have their presence in Hyderabad, we want more such names to be part of this GAME city,” he said.
As part of the larger project, a delegation was recently formed, comprising members from the AP government, industry and associations as well as architects and teachers from various institutes. “The team went to Dubai, Manchester, Amsterdam and South Korea to understand the needs of the animation industry and ensure that GAME City is well equipped,” said Madani.
Additionally, the government is in the process of holding meetings with BBC and Al Jazeera among a host of other channels to set up businesses in Hyderabad. “We are negotiating with the University of Manchester for its specific programme that promotes animation in 2D and 3D. We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with Netherlands to set up an educational joint venture for making available its educational content to universities in Hyderabad,” informed Madani.
Not only Hyderabad’s animation industry but also the work force stands to gain from these measures, which are expected to generate jobs for nearly 40,000 people. “This GAME city will complement the existing media and entertainment industry of Hyderabad,” concluded Madani.
This is all very well but naysayers peg the fortunes (or otherwise) of the project on the upcoming elections. “The project sounds interesting and will be helpful to us. But, everything depends on the upcoming elections. If there is change in power, I am unsure if the project will see the light of the day,” said a Hyderabad-based CEO of an animation company who did not wish to be named.