2016 has been a key year in the history of Amar Chitra Katha. We are on the cusp of turning 50 and there has been a lot to look back at and be thankful for.
Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle have been collaborating with brands for a while now. In a world where storytelling for brands is a very important tool for marketing, we provide a solution that is simple, elegant and informative. In 2016 alone, we have collaborated with the Government of India, Tata Mutual Funds, Kellogg’s, Camlin, and Johnson and Johnson’s, to name a few.
How it started
It all began in about 2013, when we got our first major campaign from Lifebuoy (Hindustan Unilever), promoting hand washing and personal hygiene with Suppandi and Shikari Shambu. This was quickly followed by Visa, where Suppandi learnt about how to use his card safely. Since then, we have licensed Tinkle characters to brands, and created entire Amar Chitra Kathas for both the private sector and the government.
Does it work?
We believe that our fundamental skill, telling stories using pictures and words, can simplify ideas and concepts both for children and adults alike. This is especially reflected in our work with banks and financial institutions where we have explained complex ideas through comics. This is the reason we are seeing an explosion in the number of organizations interested in our style of storytelling.
Tata Mutual Funds, for example, circulated 69 lakh copies of “Making Investments with Suppandi and Simply Simple” with major newspapers with a full-blown outdoor and digital campaign to supplement it. The comic holds the record for the highest circulation of a comic in one day.
Ensuring integrity of the comic and its characters
We put in a lot of effort to make sure that the approach to storytelling, whether for brands or the magazine, remains the same that has made Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha the legendary publications that they are.
We have a small unit of the studio that works on brand solutions, however there is heavy involvement of our creative teams across Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha. Editorial integrity is extremely important to us, as is the fact that we try to tell the best story that we possibly can. Take, for example, our work with Kellogg’s. While Chocos as a product is highlighted, the real hero of the story is Coco, the monkey, Chocos’ mascot. We have given him character and depth and he has become a very popular character with our readers.
What about revenue?
Over the years, for Amar Chitra Katha, subscriptions and retail sales have been the primary source of revenue. But recently brand integrations and partnerships have provided an added source.
While book sales have slowed down towards the end of this year, due to various factors including demonetisation, we are very positive about how we have performed in 2016. Besides retail and subscription sales, our revenues from partnerships and brand solutions have also shown an upswing and we will be concentrating on that over 2017 as well.
Outlook for the future
We are working on a few models that might change the industry as we know it, but I am unable to share them with you at this time. Watch this space!
As far as 2017 is concerned, we are going cautiously optimistic. For us as a company, this year is extremely exciting as it is the 50th year of Amar Chitra Katha. We will be celebrating this in a big way with many releases and events across the country as well as increased visibility across media.
(These are purely personal views of ACK Media, CEO, Anuraag Agarwal and AnimationXpress.com does not necessarily subscribe to these views)