India as a market for animated content is absolutely raking up the pitch! From being an outsource-heavy destination, the subcontinent has begun churning out original content and is pushing it ahead. Co-productions, mergers and collaborations are on the rise, for good and as the appetite for content is only increasing, these events are only expected to grow manifolds in 2019. Being considered as one of the best times for the Indian animation ecosystem, players in the industry are spearheading changes to leverage the strengths by bringing in fresh, beneficial and smart models. A recent event further solidifies the fact and stands testimony to it.
The animation studio HopMotion has recently joined hands with Sphereorigins, which is an award winning, independent television and media production company in Mumbai. The company has produced some of India’s most loved and most watched prime time entertainment shows which have strong social messages. With over 6500 hours of original broadcast television series for India, the company specialises in producing landmark features in diverse genres for original programming on India’s prime time general entertainment channels including Star Plus, Colors, Zee, Sony, Life Ok, & TV, etc
Sphereorigins had earlier produced the animated series ‘Chhoti Anandi’ which was aired on Colors & Rishtey. The entire series was conceptualised and created by Anish Patel who founded Hopmotion. This further reflects in the statement of Mr. Anish Patel, “Chhoti Anandi was entirely homegrown and done in Toon Boom Harmony. It was one of the first animated content in India with a female protagonist commissioned by a Hindi GEC channel. It was also the first time that a popular television show character from a social drama has being spun off into an animated show.”
Hopmotion already had a proficient team in place. There are approximately 50 talents in the team currently. Sphereorigins will not only retain the talented team but also retain the brand name which HopMotion has cultivated over the years. While for HopMotion, collaborating with a larger, more versatile entity and rebranding themselves as the animation arm of the aforementioned company will only bring in further goodwill and an even more formidable standing in the industry. The company has already started to scale up the numbers soon. Sphereorigins has acquired a new office space for production in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad which is India’s leading IT destination with the creative office in Mumbai. With the new arrangement, Patel will be heading Hopmotion Animation as a business head of content development.
Says Sphereorigins’ chairman and MD Sunjoy Waddhwa, “We feel now is the perfect time to enter the animation ecosystem and be in the business of that vertical as it’s growing on a sharp scale. This venture is exciting for us because we believe in the synergy and the insatiable force within, keeps driving us to explore new avenues. We want to focus and specialise in IP creation, development and production. Anish has a skilled team of creative and technical people. We want to support that by making Hopmotion Animation brand much bigger and explore the limitless possibilities.”
The company is not only eyeing the broadcast space but is keen on testing the OTT platforms which is taking precedence over the content industry at a rapid pace. The combined initiative has already received good reaction from the industry and the start has been brilliant and receptive.The studio is also consistently working on the IP of developing episodes for kids, KuKu Mey Mey. However, they plan to create animated content not only for kids but also for adults in the average age group of 18 to 25.
“Home-grown animated content is growing. The broadcasters want to invest more than ever now because they have a stronger connect. Even the internet penetration is huge and we are adapting to digital media much faster. When we started HopMotion, we were focused mainly on 2D animation. With Sphereorigins’ established credentials and long standing pedigree of production, we plan on getting into 3D as well as exploit multiple platforms in various territories. Individually we would not have been able to capture all the spheres”, chuckles Patel
The fresh studio is not leaving out on bringing fresher aspects to the mix. The company will also have an initiative called “Think Tank”. It is an idea incubator where younger talents can come up with new ideas. If prospects are aligned for the same, they will be mentored and nurtured in the right direction.
As Waddhwa concludes, “Animation in India continues to be perceived as a kids’ category unlike the US, where adults constitute a major audience for animated content. We want to reach out to the global audience with original Indian animated content which is visually engaging and captivating.We aim to be content driven and content focused.”
Given the ever evolving space of the content industry, it would be interesting to see what lies ahead for the new venture. However, given the response from the indigenous and international industry being warm, the pipeline sure looks promising.