India's Digikore bags $5m animation TV series deal

MUMBAI: An Indian company Digikore Studios has staked its claim to be the first Indian company to bag a $5 million animation deal -- what it refers to as probably the largest of its kind -- and is expecting around $10 million revenue. The company claims to have set its sight on bigger pie of the global $25 billion animation market.

A medianet release says that the company, that is part of the $50 million Growel group, plans to co-produce 2D and 3D animated TV series and features and set up a chain of animation training schools in the country. It also claims to be in talks with interested venture capitalists to fund expansion plans.

Digikore Studios will produce a 2D animated TV series and a theatrical feature for New Zealand incorporated Gtoyz Management Company Limited. Digikore also expects to garner around $10 million revenue through 15 per cent proceeds of the worldwide TV sales and 20 per cent of the worldwide theatrical revenue besides the $5 million contract.

New Zealand-based Gtoyz Management Co Ltd is in the process of producing this new series with an investment of around $15 million.

The release says that the new series based on the concept developed around eight years ago and will be co-produced by one of Gtoyz Management Co directors, namely Rob Pacholek. Other New Zealand and North American creative talent has been utilised to produce the exciting characters of 'Kung Fu Millionaire', her 'Pipsqks' and their arch rival, 'Dodgy Dog'.

Gtoyz Management Co also plans to introduce collector cards, comics and other merchandise to create excitement around the series to provide an opportunity for the viewers to enjoy a close relationship with their favourite characters.

The release quoted Digikore Studios operations director Abhishek More as saying, "The new contract comes as a shot in the arm for Digikore which has consistently been producing world class animation programmes. We are confident that this will become a catalyst in our endeavour of becoming one of the world's leading animation producer. We are gearing up to capture a sizeable chunk of the animation market by scaling up our infrastructure to deliver high quality productions."

The company also claims to be currently working with a South Korean producer as well as a German producer for their respective TV series and features and is in advanced level of talks with a French producer for their TV series.

"Digikore also intends to co-produce programmes with international producers. The company is in the process of evaluating projects from major US, European and Australian producers to invest in. The companies has also announced plans to invest in four projects which will be ready for broadcast by end of 2004 or early 2005.

These projects will be broadcast worldwide and depending on its investment Digikore estimates revenues of between $3 million to $5 million per project. Digikore is actively in talks with VC?s who have shown keen interest to fund the expansion,"More added.

Apart for the production front, Digikore is taking active interest in promoting animation in India and will be opening its first animation school in Mumbai by this year end. It has plans to make it a national chain with schools in Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and other major cities over the years. As per a study conducted, there are about 5,000 animators in the country today and there will be a need for about 20,000 more by the year 2008.

According to More, "The animation industry has come as a blessing in disguise for art graduates who until now did not have a particular industry to get into after their education to make a career out of their talent. This industry offers great growth opportunities and fantastic pay packets because of its very highly skilled nature."

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