Go and Grow digital – Toonz Media Group’s new content strategy

“Digital provides a different opportunity. There is no restriction when it comes to producing content for the digital space. The traditional 26 x 30 series doesn’t come into picture as even a 3 minute series can be put it on the digital platform and then we can see whether there is an audience engagement and if it can become a hit,” expressed Toonz Media Group, CEO, P. Jayakumar.
Toonz Media Group, CEO, P. Jayakumar
Toonz Media Group, CEO, P. Jayakumar
Toonz Media Group has taken the digital way to upscale their business on the animation front. With the launch of their WebTv for kids called ‘Chotoonz’ in late 2014, which reached over 50 million views per month in just the first six to seven months, the company now plans to strengthen their digital content library. He believed, “At a fraction of a cost you can launch an idea on digital platform and if it’s good then it can be turned into a franchise. We recently bought a company in Spain called Imira Entertainment to strengthen our content library. Now, we control almost 4000 hours of kids content library across the world.” Toonz Animation has created a scripted series of the world’s largest kids property – Gummy Bear. Toonz approached Google to create a complete scripted series for the same and Google agreed to fund it. “We are now producing 39 x 7 minutes of scripted series of Gummy Bear exclusively for the digital space.”   “Along with this we are creating exclusive digital content for Fruit Ninja which is one of the top 5 mobile game brands in the world. We are currently working with one Australian creator for Cutie Pops Girls which is again an original IP.”   While Toonz is going digital so vigorously, there are around 25 to 30 artists working for the digital wing focusing primarily on 3D content. Most of the digital activity is for pre school audience. “We want to create things where there is a possibility of creating franchises. The idea is to create franchises and then involve licensing and merchandising around it.” Gummy and Bear 1 Currently, they are working on a R.L. Stine movie for a live action feature film with a group in the US. Also, they are creating a 52 episode live action TV series for BBC called Jamillah Aladdin. In terms of animated feature film, “We will finish a US movie called Bunyan and Babe in July. Cinedigm will distribute the film in the US theatrical front while, GFM Films will distribute it worldwide.” “We are also starting a new animated feature film called Beijing Safari which is a spin off of Delhi Safari (2012).” It is a co-production between India, China and New Zealand. Toonz Media Group will be collaborating with the major owners of Krayon. When asked on the idea of creating a complete Indian animated feature film Jayakumar answered, “I don’t think Indian audience is matured enough for a big budget animated movie. A Jungle Book is okay because they spend millions of dollars because the quality is so high but whether it works in India or no doesn’t really matter to the producers because their money making territories are very different. I don’t think we (Indian producers) are yet ready to put in an experimentation of a 100 crore budget Indian animated feature and see whether it will work or not.” Toonz Media Group is therefore channelising its potential resources towards the digital platform in order to cater to the large audience available at these platforms. Also, it is all a matter of changing trends as the world is moving towards digital platforms for content and now every major player in the industry is seen adapting to the new age technology. Bunyan and Babe