Film animation is a new avenue of rapid growth for India's booming outsourcing industry, with more Hollywood studios sending work to the sub-continent. Animation outsourcing in India used to only involve filling in the colours on each frame, but now companies in the US and also Europe are harnessing India's creative talent for more complicated computer animation, such as enhancing computer-generated characters in films including 'Garfield the Move' and 'The Chronicles of Narnia'. Indian animators have also been called on to work on the new 'Superman Returns' movie and are helping on more than 40 US television series.
Walt Disney Pictures, Time Warner's Cartoon Network Enterprises and Sony Pictures Entertainment are among the studios using India's inexpensive computer programmers and animators, enjoying savings of up to 50% on their usual animation expenses.
According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies, the animation industry in India is worth $285 million and is expected to grow 35% per year to reach $1 billion by 2009.
Indian companies such as Crest Animation Studios, Prime Focus, B.A.G Films and UTV Software Communications are all growing fast and have great potential for investors. However, analysts warn that the market is very volatile, with many companies trying to expand rapidly. Already some are experiencing a shortage of trained animators and feeling the pinch of rising competition and technology investment costs.
Nevertheless, the success of some is impressive. Crest reported a profit of 105 million rupees ($2.3 million) in the year ended March 31, compared to a loss of 38 million rupees the year before.
Source: Indian animators are talk of the toon
By Binny Sabharwal and Eric Bellman
Wall Street Journal, July 13 2006
Review by James Curtis