Guest Column: Relook. Rethink. Reinvent – Animation and OTT in 2020

This year has been a testament to resilience. A year that will forever be remembered as being one of the most challenging due to the Coronavirus outbreak worldwide and other major incidents. Atlas shrugged; the world paused. We were introduced to; we accepted and we adapted to the ‘new normal’. 

The undeniable fact is that the pandemic has been an agent of change. Habits, relationships, methods of connecting have all been forced to change thus changing our daily lives. A few essentials moved to being choices and a lot of choices became essentials. Consumption patterns across the gamut changed. Entertainment saw a massive change. OTT took massive strides to be accepted as household media. 

OTT was a bright light during the year. With a massive growth rate fuelled by the production and the acceptance of quality original content, OTT cemented  itself as complementary to a television. While television viewing times rose as well, OTT surged ahead in terms of gaining new viewers across demographics. One of the fastest growing segments in the online space, kids have been a major contributor to the viewership. Major OTT players in India have reported an increase of minimum 1.5 per cent increase in kids active viewership in 2020.

Netflix with its Original programming cemented the belief in the capability of quality content. When we embarked on Mighty Little Bheem, we did not have any idea how well it would be received outside India but within the first three weeks itself the show became the most watched kids show worldwide and continued to outperform expectations with over 27 million households streaming the show worldwide. Mighty Little Bheem was the first major bet by an OTT platform in animation in India. The success of the show has led us to release the third season in 2020 and many special episodes as well. 

The animation services and production market in India continued to gain traction in FY20 due to growth in demand for animated content by OTT platforms. A recent report stated that there has been an increase in the proportion of domestic animated content compared to foreign content over the last few years, accounting for almost 40 to 50 percent. While the entirety of this is not produced specifically for OTT platforms, almost all major broadcasters in India have launched OTT channels with a specific kids category and the content being created add to the OTT catalogues. 

Rajiv Chilaka

A point to focus on is that IP based production in animation has been steadily growing at a CAGR of 13 per cent. Overall domestic animation production has increased with the advent of OTT platforms as it’s an added avenue of broadcasting content. 2020, with the safety protocols, has brought into focus a lot of challenges faced during live action production and animation and VFX might have found the perfect ground to make a case for increased usage in content production.

With all the challenges past and more on the horizon, the new normal reminds me of a quote by Maya Angelou: “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”  The difference in context notwithstanding, I believe this statement does indeed fit the world this year and I do believe something amazing is what awaits us all.

(This article has been contributed by Green Gold Animation founder and CEO Rajiv Chilaka and Animation Xpress does not necessarily subscribe to these views