Indian studios to lobby for airtime, even as China mulls banning foreign cartoons from primetime

nullIndian animation studios are struggling to form a coalition which could convince the Government to make it mandatory for broadcasters to showcase a certain (small) amount of locally created animation. Just across the Great Wall, China is planning to completely push out foreign cartoons from primetime TV. In a country like ours which boasts of more than 50 million cable households, Television certainly rules the roost. Add to that the additional number of households that receive DTT and the numbers swell to about 87 million. Given the magnitude and scale with which the booming media Industries in India are expanding, the fledgling Indian animation industry ideally ought to be occupied full time in creating local content for the same. However it is very sad to see that the industry has to constantly be on its toes, offering its production services to international content owners and creators. It is not that the Indian studios are lacking in concepts or in the capability to execute, it is simply a matter of Government support and collaboration with the entertainment biggies. Time and again we hear of some new body or association formed by the animation studios, with an aim to convince the powers that be about how support for the animation industry can translate into job opportunities, into greater and perennial profits for the entertainment industries and overall greater amount of revenue generation. These bodies have discussed issues such as subsidies, CO production treaties and a broadcasting cap, which ensures that the broadcasters have to showcase a certain amount of locally created animation. While in India we are still trying to get a toehold into the local TV space, reports that have recently appeared in leading Chinese language newspapers hint that China’s national media bureau, The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) is mulling the ban of foreign made cartoons from prime time television once the quantity and quality of domestic cartoons reaches a certain level. The ratio of foreign-made cartoons to domestic ones is already set to 4:6 (for primetime). Also, broadcasters can acquire only one foreign animation title for each one they produce in China. The People’s Daily Online, China quotes Wang Taihua, Director-General of (SARFT) as saying,”The SARFT plans to expand the broadcasting scale of homemade animated cartoons; vigorously carry out excellent homemade animation programs; step up the enacting of specific policies in 18 aspects such as constructing homemade animation industrial base and animation teaching and research base etc. to support the development of domestic animation” He is further quoted as saying,”Local governments should seriously study and effectively use the various preferential policies granted by central government and local governments to attract domestic capitals, particularly private capitals, to participate in the development of homemade animation industry” China is not a sole example of Government support for the local animation industry. Canada, France, Korea are all prime examples of how Government and intra industry support can do wonders to boost the local industry. Even as this report goes live, there is a buzz that the Indian animation studios are forming a new coalition to lobby with the Government. Stay tuned for more!