“WowKidz Distribution is a logical extension of the overall efforts taken up by Cosmos-Maya” : Devdatta Potnis

Cosmos-Maya is one of the leading innovative animation studios based out of India and Singapore. Now the studio has launched its own sales arm, WowKidz Distribution, under its digital banner WowKidz as its first step in becoming the global content gateway. WowKidz Distribution aims to be a one-stop shop for all the distribution requirements of global animation content players starting with the widely growing key market of Asia Pacific and then expanding into the rest of the world. Content acquisition is one of the key focus areas for WowKidz in the first stage of its distribution initiative, with the division debuting its dedicated acquisitions team at MIPCOM.  Cosmos-Maya has been the forerunner and flagbearer for many firsts within the animation industry in its region. From commanding a staggering 65 per cent share of the Indian domestic animation production market, producing 50 half hours a month to add to its existing content bank of 2000 half hours, to a multitude of European co-productions, the studio has been focusing on bringing about change in the dynamically evolving market. Talking to Animation Xpress about this new initiative, Cosmos-Maya Revenue and Corporate Strategy SVP, Devdatta Potnis revealed their content strategy, future planning and more. Read on : 1. What was the idea behind creating WowKidz Distribution under the banner of your digital channel,  WowKidz? It was a logical extension of the overall efforts that the company has been taking for the longest time now. If you look at Cosmos-Maya’s overall portfolio, we have a strong presence here in India and also doing very well in international production space. By the virtue of being present in all the markets, having a great deal of content of our own, we are fully aware of the lacuna on both sides, as content creators and also as platform owners who have got content pieces, a common pathway was missing. So, this was like a logical extension of bridging the gap of one business in that sense.
Devdatta Potnis
2. How has this digital platform WowKidz proved to be beneficial for Cosmos Maya? WowKidz has been consistently growing at a significantly higher rate year after year. I don’t want to get into the details of CAGR, but it has been growing at a phenomenal rate. Digitally if you look at it, this growth rate can only grow up to an extent and that’s when one has to diversify the avenues. When we initially started, WowKidz was primarily dependent predominantly on YouTube. But presently, we are looking at a multitude of platforms our content is present on. Platforms like Zee5 are coming where our content is available , we have got our shows on Netflix as well. So, there are are larger synergies happening on account of of big global deals, like the Disney star Merger and Hotstar being one of the  front-runners in India. We saw that as an opportunity in the days to come. We were checking the trends of what’s happening in the USA because the Indian market generally follows suit. There’s an Apple TV coming up; even Warner Bros. is launching their own streaming platform so eventually,  kids content is becoming one such thing that drives stickiness, if not grabbing subscription because we are in this kids content space. Hence, it ends up being a critical component of a long-term standpoint in the digital space which is where we come in. 3. What are the territories you are looking at or targeting for content syndication and distribution? For WowKidz Distribution, obviously when we are creating a new division, one is obviously going to play on its strengths, which in our case are the Asian markets to begin with.  Once that grows up to a critical mass and we are able to penetrate every possible avenue within every possible country within the continent, then we will look at expanding further to Europe because it’s logical to extend our markets there and also because we are doing a lot of European co-productions. In Asia, China is one of the biggest markets from the consumption standpoint, and we have a dedicated person handling our business for the Chinese Market. What also works is that, once we have a greater control over the distribution, then the distribution insight itself sort of works as a fuel or a catalyst if it is not an inspiration to the content we create. 4. Is there any specific team working on this and are you heading this arm? We are at the moment working with the resources we have at our disposal. But of course there would be independent consultants who would be working and taking care of this initiative. 5. Do you have any recent projects under this banner? To be honest with you, we have a couple of projects, some really interesting titles  under this banner that will be announced in due time. This initiative has really got the kind of traction of people as well as in the media more than what we anticipated at the first go. A soft launch coincided with MIPCOM 2019 which was largely from the B2B standpoint and to create awareness among the content creators and owners. We are looking at this division to be carried off in a much larger manner and specific projects and deal related announcements will take shape in due course of time.