This industry is young. According to a report, 57% were set up in the last six years, and only a quarter have existed for more than a decade. Overall, 3D production dominates, though the wages are low and vary widely across the region.

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South-east Asia’s Animation production trends

From a product point of view, there have been several trends in the animation industry in South East Asia over the past few years:

  • The popularity of superheroes
  • The attraction of producers to sequels to successful projects
  • Diversification of risks
  • Creation of universes

Animation production models

There are two main models in South-east Asia’s animation industry: studio and production.
A studio is when your own studio is created, with permanent employees and constantly used equipment. It gives a stable high-quality result, but the owners of the studio have a need to constantly load it with work. The production model has a different concept: you have partners where you locate animation production, but at the same time you try not to depend on the need to load them all the time.

South-east Asia’s Animation Industry representatives conclude that the animation industry in South-East Asia is rather modest in terms of volume compared to the western one. There are no giant studios in South-East Asia that have existed for decades. It is more difficult for startups and young studios to get support. But not impossible.

There are studios that are quite firmly entrenched in the industry, have released several full lengths, they are trusted by investors and viewers. In addition to financial support, the components of success must include a creative component, a well-staffed staff, an effective organizational structure.

Shortage of high-quality animation personnel in South-east Asia

It’s no secret that animation today is largely computer-based. But the significant spread of computer technology in the field of animation does not exclude a shortage of personnel. There are a lot of cases when people work as screenwriters, directors and producers who were not initially connected with this craft in any way. They were not chosen by anyone, it was just that the place was vacant and a project had to be done – and people took on this role. Studios cover the need in different ways, and the pros appear that way too.

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There is a big shortage of professionals in the industry in general. There are not enough producers and directors. Successful, professional people are in great demand.

A possible solution is to outbid, firstly. Secondly, constantly look for young talents. The third option for solving the personnel issue is remote work.

Labor, cost, distribution of animations and timeframes in South-east Asia

The content is produced by animation studios. There are usually 20-40 people in the team of one episode of the series, 100-200 people prepare a full film. One 5-7 minute episode for a series – from a month to five.

Animation production is very expensive, and the payback period for projects here is from three to five years. When a series is launched, it has a very limited budget for a very long time. Because the series does not “shoot” quickly. A minimum of 30-50 episodes must be released so that the audience starts to “sit down” on it and the children – to fall in love with the characters. Only when this flywheel is up and running does the studio start making money from views and merchandising.

Animated film releases receive omnichannel support: influential corporations and institutions that own TV frequencies, audience networks on the Internet and social media participate in co-production. For example, Asterix is promoted by Canal + and Center National de la Cinematographie. A Mirai in Japan is a group of companies Dentsu and Nippon Television Network.
Due to the fact that South-East Asia’s animations do not receive such active support, producers use all the opportunities to receive funding.

Studios earn money not only on screenings in films. The sources of their profits:

  • Film distribution
  • Secondary display platforms (TV, digital media, YouTube, smartphone apps, new platforms, including VR and AR)
  • Merchandise projects (clothes, shoes, furniture, souvenirs, food and other products branded with animation characters)

Animation Display Platforms in South-east Asia

Display platforms are changing: already now, film distribution and secondary platforms are giving players a profit, which correlates as 40% to 60%. Apps for smartphones appear, new forms of display. Both parents and children pay attention to this, because in this way they can control both the content and the form.
Content consumption by children is very different from adult consumption. Parents traditionally want to not only protect children from unwanted and harmful videos and pop-up ads, but also control the script by controlling the composition. Popular platforms are responding to this need with separate kids’ subscriptions and apps for kids.

If 10 years ago, animation producers worked mainly with an offline audience – they sold toys, made promotions in the shopping center and on product packaging – now more and more emphasis is placed on online and mobile applications.

 

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  3. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  4. Cartoon Brew: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/