DreamWorks Animation, the makers of those cute and heart-tugging films like Shrek, Antz and Shark Tale, will soon be getting some of its brilliant animation work done from Bangalore. The Steven Spielberg-promoted studio signed a strategic alliance with Technicolor Servcies, a division of Thomson, the e6 billion media and entertainment group to develop “world animation abilities in India”.
The deal allows Thomson to leverage its acquisition of Bangalore-based Paprikaas Studios, an animation and game content provider that the company bought for an undisclosed amount in February this year. Content services, of which animation is a part, contributed $500-600 million to the company’s turnover last year.
“It is a great achievement for us” says Thomson India vice-president Thierry Pasquet. “Paprikaas already has a renowned studio. This deal allows us to go one step further in improving its quality and image. Someday we may be able to produce Shrek 4 in India,” he says. Paprikaas recently won a “Best TV series” award at the Australian Effects and Animation Festival in Sydney for its work on FARMkids, an animated children’s series.
As part of the alliance DreamWorks will have access to the spanking new 100,000-square-foot digital studio that Thomson has recently set up in Whitefield (an Eastern suburb of Bangalore that houses R&D centers of companies like GE and SAP). Pasquet says that it is the first of its kind facility in Asia but declined to say how much the company had invested in it.
A press release issued by Thomson says that DreamWorks will assist Technicolor in the recruitment, training and development of animation talent to the Paprikaas facility in India. “Our objective is to tap into and further develop the gifted base in India with the potential to do feature-level work” said Ann Daly, Chief Operating Officer, DreamWorks.
Pasquet says that India has all the assets for becoming a major animation hub just like in BPO and IT services. According to Nasscom, the global animation market, growing at 9 percent, will reach $26 bn by 2009. The animation development market, which is growing at 34 percent, will be a $950 mn market by then. The number of animated feature films released annually has grown from just one a decade ago to over 20 between 2004-2006.
“We now have a good foothold in India which we can leverage to expand our services to Indian as well as International clients,” says Pasquet adding that DreamWorks, which has a large animation facility in California, was looking to set up an animation studio in India. After scouting around for opportunities the studio decided to go with Technicolor, famous for brining color to motion pictures over 90 years ago.