The animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) industry has witnessed unprecedented growth rates in recent times. Witnessing the burgeoning rate of AVGC sector, finance minister Nimala Sitharaman presented the Budget 2022 to further strengthen the sector.
She said that the crucial developments like the deployment of task force, 5G auction, cryptocurrency incorporation, launching of digital rupee will take place to spur the AVGC sector’s growth and its contribution to the country’s GDP.
“The animation, visual effects, gaming, and comics (AVGC) task force will be set up to build domestic capacity to serve our markets and global demand,” said Sitharaman in her Budget speech for the financial year 2022-2023.
Over the years the AVGC sector has produced world renowned animated content, VFX heavy movies (which became globally popular), engaging made in India games, esports tournaments, eye grabbing comics and graphic novels as well. However, the recognition wasn’t there. This announcement has brought a stream of joy for the stakeholders of the AVGC sector who have continued to produce content and entertain the audience all these years even during the pandemic. Therefore this development is indeed a major boost!
KPMG India partner and head, media and entertainment, Girish Menon shared, “The Budget 2022, from an M&E perspective, provides an emphasis on further strengthening India’s digital infrastructure through clarity on 5G auctions, and start-up ecosystem; proposes the formation of AVGC task force to address domestic and global demands and, commits to 200 TV channels to foster digital education, especially amongst the rural areas, and envisages to foster growth of micro transactions through the proposed Indian digital currency.”
Zee Entertainment Enterprises CEO and MD Punit Goenka also shared, “The holistic focus on broad-based economic recovery in the Union Budget, with a huge emphasis on job creation and digital ecosystem of the country, is a positive for India Inc. at large. The steps announced to build domestic capacity for the AVGC segment will certainly help enhance capabilities, enabling the country to compete more effectively at a global stage. An extension in the credit line guarantee scheme is also a welcome move, which will provide some much-needed relief to the relevant sectors which were impacted due to the pandemic.”
Here’s what the stakeholders of the AVGC sector have to share about this massive development:
Toonz Media Group founder and CEO P Jayakumar shared, “This is truly fabulous and a very welcome announcement. It is something that we all have been looking forward to for many years now. Having a dedicated task force to build the domestic market will inevitably increase global demand for the Indian AVGC industry. I see this as a strategic move from the government’s part coming at a time when our industry is poised for tremendous growth in the backdrop of advancements in emerging technologies and the strong foundation we have built over the last two decades.”
Assemblage CEO Arjun Madhavan added, “The AVGC promotion task force is a great step in the right direction and very timely. India has and will continue to play a critical role in the global animation and VFX ecosystem and any additional support from the government will only further boost it’s growth and allow players in India to consolidate its position in the global value chain. Time for the Indian AVGC sector to even further deepen the ‘Make in India’ narrative. It’s an incredible time for animation and VFX, and an even more incredible time for India.”
Charuvi Design Labs founder Charuvi Agarwal shared, “The fact that the government has mentioned in the budget and that they will be setting up a task force means that they are indeed wanting to focus on this industry, and that’s a very encouraging development. Their support will be needed in three areas to start off with. Firstly, set up a robust system of imparting requisite skills to thousands of boys and girls each year through proper courses in institutions across states. Secondly, annual IT equipment and software cost is at times more than the employee cost. The government needs to create a mechanism to bring this down, either through lower GST or tax deductions. Lastly, like the IT industry benefited with low taxation for many years initially, monetary incentive programs should be brought about so that India can become a service export hub for the AVGC industry. Once we see the ecosystem get built, innovation and creativity will take over and, in a few years, India can become a global hub for AVGC services and talent.”
Parijat Animations managing director Atish Tripathi said, “Government’s decision to set up an AVGC promotion task force to build domestic capacity for serving market and global demand is a welcome step in the right direction. It’s gladdening to see that the Indian government is finally waking up to the immense potential that the AVGC sector has to generate revenue and offer employment. Apart from economic benefits, the AVGC sector also has the capability to establish India’s cultural superpower across the world. Growth in the AVGC sector can offer creative fulfilling jobs to scores of youth in India.”
Anibrain Studio founder and CEO Jesh Krishna Murthy shared, “It is a very welcomed news. It really warmed my heart, when I read that because if you look at what we have achieved in the last two decades, we have managed to bring the best of global VFX to India. It is a huge validation in the efforts of many across the country, who have helped India gain global recognition. As a result, we are also getting recognised at home for the great achievements that the industry has created for itself.”
Asked about his expectations post the announcement made by the union finance minister, he said, “Many of us have a dream to make India a world beater in this industry. So any support we can get to do that would be very welcome. Expectations are maybe the incorrect word because whether we get the support or not, we will yet attempt it and we have been. So if the government can be that propellant wind which will allow us to unfurl our wings fully and soar then that would be what we would need.”
The AVGC sector insiders often talk about government incentives that would encourage the artists, but Murthy feels that the basic acknowledgement itself is very heartwarming.
“More than any specific incentive, I think it’s about support and understanding that this is a very big global opportunity for India. It’s very large and the content creation market is massive, globally,” he said.
According to him, it would be great if the government can understand the size of what this potentially could mean and provide adequate support. “We are staring at a workforce and talent force in this country which is truly capable of being world beaters.”
redchillies.vfx chief operating officer and VFX producer Keitan Yadav shared, “We feel that this decision is certainly a step in the right direction, given the technological advancements India has made in the segment compared to the last decade, this is a recognition of the same. Not to mention that this is a motivating nudge to increase employment opportunities in this sector as well. This emphasis on instituting an AVGC taskforce will bolster the media and entertainment sector in climbing ranks in the global market and representing India.
This decision is surely a step in the right direction as to how the AVGC industry will mature and take the wheel on the global tracks.”
Asked about his expectations post the announcement made by the union finance minister, he said, “The Indian VFX and animation industry can surely benefit from things like the increased budget allocation, developing a centre for training and content creation in animation and gaming, and as pointed out, drafting a national AVGC policy to standardise industry norms. All of these things, when executed, will open huge doors for global representation and large scale projects, which we as an industry are absolutely ready and equipped for.”
He is sure of the positive effect on the industry. “The Indian animation and VFX industry has grown leaps and bounds, has bounced back by 30-50 per cent post a difficult year in 2020, has generated immense employment opportunities for the youth of the country, as well as achieved global recognition.
Setting up an AVGC taskforce substantiates this industry and its work even further. As per report, India commands around 10 per cent share of the global VFX and animation market, but has the potential to scale up to 20-25 per cent through structural interventions,” he said.
Yadav further mentioned, “We see this taskforce ushering the youth to realise their talents in this sector, and weighing in the AVGC industry as not only a viable career option, but one with potential for growth and national representation.”
Asked if setting up this body is a big leap or other sort of government incentive would have been better, he said, “Well begun is half done. So yes, this is surely a welcome decision that the industry will benefit from. And as we grow even further, government resource allocation shall also increase. I think this is a chance for the AVGC sector to make the most of these additions from the government. And yes, slowly but surely, if and whenever incentives for the industry follow, they would be a productive addition as well.”
Lakshya Digital CEO and Media & Entertainment Skills Council (MESC) governing council member Manvendra Shukul shared, “AVGC, gaming in particular, is an industry segment with phenomenal potential for creating jobs as well as revenue for the exchequer. Given the right ecosystem, India can easily be a global leader in this space. Creation of the AVGC Task Force is amongst the first steps that needs to be taken to capitalize on India’s inherent strength in this space. Selection of the right people from each of the segments of the AVGC will be key to the success of this much needed initiative.”
Gamitronics CEO Rajat Ojha shared, “It’s a great move by the government of India. Whatever was being done at the state level has got national recognition now and this validates the industry finally. It’s going to help strategic policies come into effect to support the industry, create jobs and provide infrastructure to make it all happen. The digital India is all poised to grab the central attention globally with its foray in metaverse, leadership in blockchain and VFX and with added government support, the industry is just going to board a rocketship.”
PlayerzPot CEO Sunil Yadav mentioned, “AVGC task force has come at the right time, for those pursuing a career in gaming as the sector is booming right now and needs more talented youngsters to grow. With the government introducing digital rupee and a visible trend in crypto adoption, NFT’s will grow significantly. 5G services auction within FY 22-23 across the country will play an important role in the growth by further penetrating in the markets and also enhancing the gaming experience. As the minister mentioned in her budget presentation, the gaming sector has the potential to become the torchbearer of ‘Create in India’ & ‘Brand India’, on the same lines we were hoping for transparent and progressive regulation that will help differentiate games of skill from those of chance, because this is a key area of concern for the industry as a whole.”
WinZO co-founder Paavan Nanda commented, “We welcome the finance minister’s announcement during Budget 2022 to set up the AVGC task force with the objective of building domestic capacity to serve our markets and global demand. Gaming is a soon-to-be trillion-dollar industry, and it is heartening to see that the Government of India has acknowledged the exponential potential that this sector holds. As a giant step towards contributing to the same, WinZO launched the country’s first-ever national-level scholarship program called B.O.S.S (Battle of Super Scholars) and unveiled a $26M Game Developer’s fund with an aim to provide a platform to the best minds to disrupt this emerging global gaming industry. WinZO, as a leading game tech company, will be willing to work with public stakeholders to attract the best talent to this growing industry.”
Amar Chitra Katha CEO and president Preeti Vyas shared, “We are thrilled with the announcement about the government building an AVGC task force. This will bring in much needed attention and mobilise resources into the animation and comics industry. We believe and hope that this task force will enable our world class Indian talent to create more content for the domestic market and present their creative capabilities on a much larger global canvas too.”
Fenil Comics founder Fenil Sherdiwala said, “New budget unlocks lots of opportunities for our AVGC sector. As our animation, gaming and comics industry grows day after day, the new budget will be a booster for the AVGC sector’s future. We have already been working in collaboration with foreign publishers for the past two years, and the new budget will further help us grow our business in near future. We can now attract more talents in industry. We welcome the new budget.”
Vimanika Comics founder Karan Vir Arora shared, “This is like a shot in the arm especially for the comics industry in India as it’s really going through a depressive phase. It’s very encouraging that the government finally decided to include our comic industry with animation, VFX, and gaming industries. As the AVG industry is all close to a trillion-dollar mark in India, the comic markets fades in comparison trudging along from 50 million to 100 million dollars industry in India and have been even more hit with the covid pandemic. A few even have closed their shops and others are shy to publish more as there isn’t much support in the market from the public and private sectors. The government setting up a task force would help the comics markets to be more organised and less fragmented compared to the state it is in at the present. It will also help the industry to ramp up its local capacity to serve a global demand and scale-up in funds and tech support so that it can compete with the aggressive international comics market and create innovation with employment!”
He further added, “Apart from being a fragmented industry, many IPs of potential 21st-century Indian comic characters do not get carried forward to licensing them onto entertainment media platforms like Netflix and Amazon. We need the support to establish our IPs so that we can follow suits like the markets in the US, Europe and Japan with brands like Marvel, DC etc who have done in the past decade building their IPs/brands. Through the support of television and merchandise they have become behemoths of tom.”