India’s first kids’ animation summit titled KAM (Kids Animation and More) saw an insightful array of sessions ranging from fireside chats to exclusive presentations and elaborate panel discussions orchestrated around key themes of the Kids’ animation ecosystem followed by ANN awards, India’s first and largest premium and full-scale award function to celebrate the excellence in the animation sphere of the M & E space across Indie studios, major Indian animated shows, prestigious brands, students, animation studios, institutes, and aspirants.
Bringing the industry stalwarts under one roof, the event took place at Mumbai’s The Lalit Hotel on 30 August 2019. Kicking off with the customary lamp lighting session, KAM summit set the tone for the summit with a welcome note. The starry day marked the growth trajectory of India’s animation ecosystem, creating memorable moments and engaging industry veterans in the most constructive ways. The proceedings of the day began with a fireside chat between Sony Yay! business head Leena Lele Dutta and Indiantelevision and AnimationXpress.com founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari who discussed the the challenges faced by Sony Yay being a new entrant in the segment.
Denying that being a latecomer is a shortcoming for them, Dutta said that she rather sees this as an opportunity. She noted, “I don’t see us as latecomers but rather see this as an opportunity. The only challenge is that children already have so many characters entrenched in their minds, so we have to do something disruptive enough to disperse them from their minds and make a memorable IP. We see a lot of unconventional brands also coming to our channel.”
It was followed by a fantastic presentation by Discovery Kids conducted by Vednarayan Pandey where he spoke about the upcoming IP Fukrey Boyzzz, displayed an exclusively comic portion of the animation show. Next was an insightful panel discussion named “Building on 200 million eyeballs”, that tried to answer the important and difficult question of how advertisers can capture the attention of kids audience.
The panel moderated by Publicis Worldwide managing director Srija Chatterjee included big names from the brand side–Hamleys India head of marketing Sivaraman Balakrishnan, Baskin Robbins India head of marketing Samyukta Ganesh Iyer, Pidilite Industries category head – consumer products division Kartik Subramanian, KidZania India marketing director Tarandeep Singh Sekhon, Parle Products sr. category head marketing Krishnarao S. Buddha, and Mattel Toys head – consumer products Permendra Singh.
The panel called out the need for broadcasters to create more relatable and successful Indian animated characters that they can license to create advertisements that can connect better to the audience. They also discussed how kids today have become smarter and are guiding their parents to buy certain products and hence it becomes necessary to communicate with them in their own language. The next item on agenda was a presentation by Mondelez International licensing head – India & MEA Suparna Madan who gave a perceptive presentation on reaching out to the kids’ audience with an analysis of parenting patterns over the years.
The day was taken forward by a free-wheeling chat between Anil Wanvari and Sphereorigins Multivision founder Sunjoy Waddhwa, and HopMotion Animation business head Anish Patel.
The trio turned the cart in the direction of the way the panelists materialised their visions into a success story. Speaking about the success of creating Chotti Anandi, Waddhwa said, “The show was already a hit on Colors so the fact that it had a built-in audience also helped. It fact it did better on Rishtey in terms of viewership”
They also threw light on their partnership and the studio pipeline, HopMotion Animation business head Anish Patel shared, “We specialise in 2D but we also have a 3D facility. It’s a harmony-based studio. We also cater to service studios”
Following that, BARC India head – product leadership and excellence Elbert D’Silva took on the dais to elaborate on how Indian kids consume TV and how advertisers can utilise the opportunity to connect with them.
D’Silva also spoke on the impact that NTO had on the viewership of kids’ channels, saying, “Kids genre saw a drop post NTO but redesigned with the increasing trend leading to summer vacation.”
The second half of the day began with a panel discussion on Animation 2020, between Green Gold Animation founder & CEO Rajiv Chilaka, Sony Yay! programming head Ronojoy Chakraborty, DQ Entertainment COO Manoj Mishra, Nickelodeon programming head Anu Sikka, Reliance Animation COO Tejonidhi Bhandare, and Cosmos Maya AVP revenue and corporate strategy Devdatta Potnis , moderated by FICCI chairman animation and gaming Ashish Kulkarni.
Discussing the way forward for the animation industry in the coming years, they elaborated more on the opportunities and challenges that the industry currently faces. The panel insisted that there is a big need there to have more successful animation studios in 2020.
Discussing his visions about the future of the animation ecosystem, Rajiv Chilaka shared, “I wish to see more successful Indian studios. I realise the pain of running an animation studio. It’s something you have to keep on upgrading the hardware and software. You need to understand the pain of the employees. On top of all this, there is GST also now. But I’m happy that Chota Bheem paved the way for domestic animation. Motu Patlu is a roaring success. We need more passion and more young blood coming with us. We need to reach out to the Indian diaspora. Chota Bheem being number one is something we never dreamt of. We need to reach the benchmark of 100 crore and then 100 million.”
The next item on agenda was a fireside chat between Lodestar UM CEO Nandini Dias and Anil Wanvari. The duo discussed how kids’ animation sector has evolved over years for the marketers and what opportunities it presents to the advertisers.
Dias mentioned, “Five years back, we would start with TV as the mainstay, but today often our conversation starts with e-commerce, digital, and factors like methods of discovery. Then comes television.”
She further noted that apart from e-commerce, another thing that has boomed in the past few years in the gaming industry. The chat was followed by another panel discussion titled “The Boutique Studios: Tomorrow’s Giants”. Discussing the power of studios in today’s creative world were Paperboat Animation Studios creative director Aashish Mall, Dentsy Story Lab EVP Kumar Deb Sinha, Vaibhav More Films founder Vaibhav More, PhilmCGI managing director Anand Bhanushali, and Bioscopewala president Nishith Takia. The session was moderated by industry veteran Krishna Desai.
The speakers discussed the ways in which Indian Animation Scenario can be improved. The panel noted that there is a need to work on design forms and build on them to attract more audience.
The proceedings were taken forward by Cosmos Maya AVP revenue and corporate strategy Devdatta Potnis who gave a presentation on Cosmos Maya’s journey and IPs. The next panel to take on the dais comprised of Videogyaan chief strategy operations Rangarao TM, Shemaroo SVP – animation, kids digital, and L&M Smita Maroo, Sun NXT senior manager Vidhyalakshmi T.A., and Lattu Kids co-founder and CEO Vivek Bhutyani, moderated by Kinsane Entertainment CMO Pranab Kunj. The panelists shared their views on the evolution of kids’ content on the digital platform.
Next, there was a thorough discussion on the topic of “Making odd-screen animated hits” between Dream Theatre founder and CEO Jiggy George and Green Gold Animation chief strategy officer Srinivas Chilakalapudi. The trio discussed licensing and merchandising in a light-hearted yet informative manner.
Upon being asked about the challenges in licensing of the IPS due to the absence of L&M culture in Dream Theatre, Jiggy George shared, “There wasn’t really a culture of L&M and India is a very diverse market. You can make a t-shirt for 99 rupees and high-quality ones for 499 rupees. However, the biggest challenges remain to be piracy and counterfeiting.”
Speaking about his success with L&M, Shrinivas Chilakalapudi shared, “We have had success with licensing so you we have done Mighty Raju, Super Bheem, Mighty Little Bheem in Toddler’s Space”
George added, “To the animation companies, my wish is that we need authentic characters. it’s authentic when you do your own characters. Do what the Japanese do. Check which characters can be seamlessly integrated into the script. When it’s seamlessly done, it easier for us. Otherwise, we don’t like to slap it onto a t-shirt.”
The final panel of the day discussed the topic of “Creating an Impact for Kids Audience”. Sitting on the panel were Grey India national planning director Arun Raman, Wavemaker managing partner Monaz Todywala, and Omnicom Media AVP, PHD Media Asmita Pawar Reelkar. The panel was moderated by Sony Yay! VP marketing and OAP Sujory Roy Bardhan.
Arun Raman noted that segmentation within kids genre creates a big problem for the marketers. He insisted that the kids’ content should be made more inclusive and relevant to audience across categories including adults.
The knowledge-packed day culminated into the gala ANN Awards where top performers in the animation sector within the country were felicitated for their work.