What 5G means for your data privacy?

5G is the start of revolutionary technological change. But this technology will also impact your privacy. Read more to learn what 5G means for your privacy online. 5G is the technology of the 2020s. It’s a significant investment into the next decade and will be the anchor of a vast range of innovations — from driverless cars to Internet-of-Things style home products and much more.

You’ve probably heard about 5G. And you can already find it in major cities in the US, China, Korea, and other countries. But it’s time to learn more about 5G, how it changes things, and how it’s going to put your privacy at risk.

What is 5G?
5G stands for the fifth-generation cellular network used for mobile communication. Not only it will bring faster download speeds but will also reduce latency (thus, increasing responsiveness). Everyone will be able to connect many more devices at the same time.

The technology behind 5G is immensely sophisticated. It involves various radio frequencies, cellular tower enhancements, and more. The best way for consumers to understand its impact is by comparing it to 4G.

The first 4G phones emerged in 2010. But standardisation of 4G and mass adoption took a few years. Likewise, the primary application of 4G tech took time to develop.

Apps like Snapchat and Uber gained widespread use in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Video calls over LTE also became popular at that time. Likewise, you can anticipate significant changes as the 5G technology reaches mass adoption.

What changes will 5G bring?
It’s hard to predict how 5G will change things. In 2009, nobody could have predicted Uber redefining transportation. But technology researchers have long understood that 5G is the key to the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

IoT technology is already all around us. From smart thermostats and lights to virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri. Everyone has had some experience with it. These types of lower-level IoT applications will continue to increase as people connect more products to the internet. In the end, you’ll be able to use your smartphone to program just about anything in your home.

But 5G has even more significant implications for genuinely radical technologies. 5G is the key to self-driving vehicles. Google, Tesla, and other companies already have had successful launches of safe, self-driving cars. Not only 5G will enable these vehicles to drive as they do now, but also yo interact with each other, traffic lights, and other networks. They will become more safe and efficient.

And self-driving vehicles are only one aspect of 5G technology. Artificial intelligence, immersive education experience, and industrial applications will find a use for it too. Like the internet has touched every aspect of life, so will 5G continue this path into new dimensions.

What does 5G means for your privacy?
5G will transmit astounding amounts of data. If technologies like 4G and enhanced WiFi launched the era of big data, then 5G will take it to the next level.

Picture this. Everything around you is connected to the internet and tracking all kinds of metrics. Your lights measure how often you turn them on, at what times, and even at what intensity. Your refrigerator counts the number of times you open its doors or pull out food.

Data researchers have already labeled 5G as a hackers paradise. And it’s not only hackers. Governments, big corporations, advertisers, internet service providers, and any other interested parties have a goldmine of data to harvest.

Looking at past scandals like Cambridge-Analytica in 2016, there’s a clear precedent that shows consumers need to worry about their privacy. And it will become a more significant concern as everyone will start incorporating 5G into their daily lives.

How to have both 5G and privacy?
5G technology is going to be incredible. It’s nothing to run from. By 2023, researchers estimate that 51 per cent of all phones worldwide will be 5G. You’ll have a 5G device in your pocket in no time.

That’s why you need to learn the lessons from the 2010s and apply them in the next decade. You need to be aware of who you can trust with your data. And you need to take its security into your own hands.

More than anything, it means being careful with every device you connect to your network. Change every default password, starting from your router and ending with the latest tech gadget you buy.

Also, safeguard your internet connection. You can use a virtual private network (VPN) for that. You can find a VPN for Mac (https://nordvpn.com/download/mac/), Windows, Linux, smart TVs, and more. You can even set a VPN on your router to protect all smart devices connected to your home network.

And don’t forget to keep up with the tech news. That includes all things cybersecurity. The more you know about things that concern your privacy, the better you’ll be prepared to face or prevent them.

Threats to your privacy are already here, so act now before it’s too late.

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The most nerve-wracking games

Who doesn’t love games? The technology has made it possible for the top providers to make games with extraordinary quality and revolutionising graphics. The great games along with the great performances that the computers and other consoles have are a perfect match. As we know, some of them can be addictive and stressful to play. So, with that thought in mind, we’ve come up with a list of the most nerve-wracking game types.

Casino Games
Casino games have always been popular for the players. These days, online casinos have made the games even more reachable and you can play them from the comfort of your home. Whenever money is on the line, you know that you cannot afford to make a mistake. There are many online casino games that offer tremendous prizes, which is why people love to play them. The top picks from this section are poker, Blackjack, roulette, and slot games.

Racing Games
There is nothing worse than being just seconds away from victory just to get hit by the opponent and lose the race. Racing games are extremely fun to play, but they come at a price. They are full of nerve-wracking moments where you need to beat tough drivers in order to proceed, and it can be quite annoying if you fail a few times. The best and toughest games in the racing section are the Need for Speed games, where you will experience the thrill of street racing, car tuning, and countless police chases.

Horror Games
You simply knew that this type would be featured on our list. Horror games are widely known for their intriguing and scary gameplay, often involving apocalypse and zombies. These games are extremely scary to play, especially during night hours. Some of the most popular games in this category are the Resident Evil series, Condemned: Criminal Origins, Past Cure, Condemned 2: Bloodshot, and Penumbra: Black Plague.

MOBA Games
Finally, we have games that have been dominating the world recently. MOBA or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games are real-time strategy games where multiple people from around the world play in teams against each other. They have become highly popular because they require a lot of reflexes and intelligence to outsmart your opponent a win the battle. The most popular MOBA games are League of Legends, Dota 1 and 2, Heroes of the Storm, and Arena of Valor.

Another similar type like MOBA is the online battle royale games, where instead of competing in teams, the players are fighting individually. PUBG and Fortnite are the top games in this category.

An interesting thing about these games is that some of them are even part of the e-sports category. There are numerous tournaments with excellent cash prizes each year. For example, a young kid recently won $3 million in a Fortnite tournament.

The largest prize pool of any tournaments is in Dota 2. This year, The International became the e-sport tournament with the highest prize pool ever. $34.3 million were split between 90 players in 18 teams.

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Minneapolis-based fantasy soccer platform Starting 11 receives $5 investment from Indian investor Brand Capital

Starting 11, a Minneapolis-based fantasy soccer platform, has received backing in the form of a  $5 million investment from Brand Capital, strategic investment arm of Bennet, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL).

“This deal brings Starting 11 into Asia in a big way, and Brand Capital and The Times Group are the best possible partners to help Starting 11 scale quickly and globally.We’ve been insanely cash-efficient to date, and now we’re thrilled to have Brand Capital’s support – both in terms of marketing dollars and support from their expert marketing teams — to dramatically expand our user base. Starting 11’s partnership with Brand Capital represents an enormous vote of confidence in our team and our product and sets us up beautifully for future growth and profitability,” said  Starting 11 co-founder and CEO Teague Orgeman.

Starting 11 is the world’s first live-action daily fantasy soccer app. The app allows players to make substitutions to their fantasy squads in real time – just like a real-life soccer manager. Starting 11 is currently offering free and real-money contests for players in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. Free contests are now launched on iOS and Android platforms in India.

“Any active one on one communication especially in the sports category will always be a winner especially when available on the mobile handset and more so in India which has a significant smartphone usage. Starting 11 is a company with a committed responsible eSports platform with a passionate co-founder in Teague Orgeman that we believe will energize the category in India and bring a world class fantasy gaming experience,” said Neville Taraporewalla, President, Brand Capital International based in San Francisco.

Starting 11 will leverage the Brand Capital investment to expand into India and to drive user acquisition through The Times Group’s 360-degree media assets in India, which include the country’s most popular print, television, radio, and digital channels. India, with a population of 1.4 billion people, is the fastest-growing emerging fantasy sports market in the world and has already produced a unicorn in the fantasy cricket space.

 

 

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CAKE signs TeamTO’s ‘Mighty Mike’ with UK’s CITV

CAKE has signed a deal with CITV in the UK for TeamTO’s maverick slapstick comedy Mighty MikeThe deal will see Mighty Mike premiering on the channel on 6 January 2020 and airing weekdays.

CITV joins broadcasters Cartoon Network, who air the series internationally on Boomerang; Universal Kids in the US; CBC and Family Channel in Canada; France Télévisions France; Super RTL Germany and more recently, YLE Finland, VRT Belgium, KRO-NCRV Holland and ABC Australia. Tencent will launch the series in 2020 in China.

CAKE CCO & managing director Ed Galton said, “CITV is the latest in a long line of key partnerships on Mighty Mike, which is testament to the series’ strong calibre and universal appeal.”

The 78 x 7’ dialogue-free chase cartoon features Mike, a refined pug with sophisticated tastes who longs for a quiet life but is instead forced to defend his house from a bunch of furry intruders. Raccoons, turtles and Fluffy the Cat have a knack for showing up at the worst possible moments, dragging Mike into a series of unforeseen twists and turns! After his owners return, an exhausted Mike finds himself in the dog house once again, missing yet another opportunity to impress Iris, the neighbour’s elegant dog.

ITV’s senior programme acquisitions executive Darren Nartey said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing this distinctive animated series to CITV.  A combination of slapstick comedy and great writing makes this the perfect show for our audience.”

With photorealistic visuals, Mighty Mike is aimed at six to 10 year olds but has a broader family appeal. An original TeamTO production with Canada’s Digital Dimension, CAKE handles international distribution (excluding France, Germany and China). Surge Licensing are handling licensing in the US and Canada.

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Netflix and messaging app, Line collaborate for original animated series

Netflix and Japanese messaging app Line are partnering to produce a comedy animation series based on the app’s Brown & Friends character stickers. The characters will be expanded into a whole new world of storytelling with the animated series.

The CG animated show will feature five characters from the sticker Line, and it will not have dialogue. Created in CG animation, the Netflix/Line Friends collaboration will invite audiences of all ages into the world of Brown, Cony, Sally, Moon, James and others.

“With an original animated series on Netflix, Line Friends will enhance its competitiveness in global content, and strengthen its presence in the entertainment industry,” said Line Friends vice president KD Kim.

Line launched stickers in 2013 and they have since spread to other messaging services around the world, which users can purchase and send as part of their messages. Line also offers a wide variety of stickers, some from anime and manga franchises.

Los Angeles-based Kickstart Entertainment is a co-producer on the series.

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20 year old dies after drinking toxic chemical instead of water while playing PUBG

How engrossing game PUBG can be ? A 20 year old man died instantly after drinking liquid toxic chemical instead of water mistakenly while playing PUBG.

Saurabh Yadav, 20, from the city of Gwalior in central Madhya Pradesh state, was riding a train on Tuesday with his friend Santosh Sharma who uses jewelry cleaners in his job. The men shared the same travel bag. During the trip, Yadav was playing the mobile version of the popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds online videogame, known as PUBG, on his smartphone and died 45 mins before it reaches Agra cantonment.

At one point Yadav was so absorbed in the game that he reached into the bag and, instead of a bottle of water, he pulled out a jewelry polishing compound and drank it without checking,  the Agra Cantt railway station chief of Government Railway Police (GRP) Vijay Singh, said, citing the victim’s friend Sharma.

The toxic liquid quickly caused deterioration in his health and he collapsed,” Singh said, noting that Yadav had died before the train reached the station. His body was sent for autopsy to clarify the cause of death.

Agra division senior divisional operational manager Ankush Goel, concurred with guard and said, “Railway records show that chain was pulled at 2:40pm, between Dholpur and Mania stations. Since Agra was the only station with better medical facility, the guard took the call for onward journey.”

Although it was an accident however Saurabh’s family has accused him of giving him acid deliberately.

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Exclusive: Mumbai represents a rolling of wheels that were set in motion over two years ago: Framestore CEO Sir William Sargent

Having long been hailed as the film-city where dozens of movies are shot and released every year, Mumbai is the center and birthplace of multi-million dollar Indian film industry. In addition to that, majority of Indian films and series are also given face-lifts in Mumbai-based VFX studios. India has witnessed a paradigm shift in video consumption with the advent of digital platforms making inroads in the content industry. With the burgeoning demand for differentiated, global and VFX-rich content that can travel outwards, its interesting to note that many VFX companies have set tentpoles in the Indian subcontinent too.

Recent entrant in the list of global VFX studios in India is Framestore that recently announced their plans to build on its Indian presence with the opening of its branch in the hub of the land of Bollywood.  Drawing on India’s growing creative talent pool. Framestore is all set to open its doors in Mumbai in 2020 as a full digital production facility. Framestore founder and CEO Sir William Sargent spoke to AnimationXpress about his future plans.

Sir Willian Sargent

Excerpts

What brought on the idea of bringing Framestore to Mumbai?

Demand for Framestore’s work has led to increased growth across our various locations – our Montreal office alone has doubled in size over the past two years. We’ve had a presence in India since 2017, and Mumbai feels like a logical progression – the talent pool is fantastic, and the city’s rich creative culture seems to chime with Framestore’s own outlook.

What sets Framestore apart from other VFX services?

Broadly speaking, I think Framestore represents an intersection of creativity, technology and innovation. This is built on – and stems from – a company culture that feeds and rewards excellence, from training and development opportunities through to an environment that encourages curiosity and left-of-centre solutions to film-making challenges.

Would you also be targeting television programmes that are increasingly making VFX a part of their storytelling?

For the time-being at least the majority of our film clients are likely to be north American, as Hollywood continues to drive demand for our work. The new and emerging VOD services do represent an enormous change, however, and the boom in episodic work is extremely exciting. While there’s significant crossover in terms of the writing, acting and directorial talent involved, the scope to expand universes and really dig into storylines is significant. This obviously means there’s tremendous scope for companies like Framestore, as seen with a TV show like His Dark Materials which required some 2,000 shots of film-quality VFX work. Beyond film and TV, we have worked with a number of Chinese clients in the immersive sector – notably ‘Pearl Quest’, a dark ride project for China’s Wanda Group and, most recently, in creating five state-of-the-art attractions for the Lionsgate Entertainment World theme park in Zhuhai Hengqin.

Framestore

Any plans of servicing non-Hollywood markets like Indian movies and local content?

 Our work is driven by the needs and demands of our clients. We don’t have any Indian projects on our cards at the moment, but when you look at the partnerships our clients are currently inking with Indian producers that could well change in the future.

What projects are in the pipeline?

We have wide and varied slate of film and TV projects at the moment, from live-action updates of Disney classics and superhero features, to thrillers and horror titles. We also work across advertising and immersive entertainment (which encompasses VR, MR, AR and theme park rides), so it’s a huge melting pot of exciting, challenging projects.

Recent and upcoming films

Tom & Jerry (Warner Bros.); Mulan (Disney); Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.); Timmy Failure (Disney+); No Time To Die (Eon)’ The King’s Man (20th Century Fox); The Aeronauts (Amazon Studios); The Voyage Of Doctor Dolittle (Universal); Artemis Fowl (Disney); The Secret Garden (STUDIOCANAL); A Boy Called Christmas (Netflix/Studiocanal); The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.); Army Of The Dead (Netflix)

Recent and upcoming episodic titles

His Dark Materials (BBC/HBO); The Witcher (Netflix); See (Apple TV+); The Crown (Netflix); A Christmas Carol (BBC); The Marvellous Mrs Maisel (Amazon); Watchmen (HBO).  

Any projects that you have been approached for?

We’ve got some incredibly exciting projects on the cards, but unfortunately we’re not allowed to talk about them just now.

Would you say that filmmakers in the current times are progressively coming around to the importance of VFX?

It’s definitely being seen as a fundamental part of the film-making process nowadays. When people think of VFX they might typically think of superhero films, sci-fi epics and fantasy titles, but our work goes far beyond this. We’ve provided ‘invisible FX’ for films like Downton Abbey, while a film like The Aeronauts – a period adventure film where most of the action takes place in a hot air balloon – relied heavily on photorealistic CG environments.

Topics like digital humans, AI and de-aging are also coming more and more to the fore, and being utilised by directors across the film-making spectrum.

Lastly, what advice would you give to the aspirants and budding VFX artists who would like to work with your studio?

On a practical level, it’s important to have a great showreel – one that demonstrates your talent and the breadth of your work, but also passion and flair for a particular department or specialism. Equally important for us, however, is outlook and ethos. It’s important to be creative and technically excellent, but we also want great communicators and great collaborators who are hungry to learn, develop and share what they know with their colleagues.

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2019: How did Indian Animation fair?

Animation has gradually become mainstream from the periphery, and this year has been a prominent example. The upward spurt of the animated IP rush that started in 2018, continued this year too enabling the numbers to rise exponentially. 

Fresh debuts for children in the competitive space of TV shows and OTT platforms have actually helped in growing the audience which indicates that more children are opting to watch new programming with the growing focus on dedicated TV channels for the kids genre. As that number grows, the share of animation driven quality content is also expected to grow.

According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report (February 2019), the animation segment is expected to grow at a higher CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 15.50 per cent, largely led by the continued swelling of animation and VFX services in the domestic television and film space. Infact, animation and VFX industry in India reached Rs 73.90 billion (US$ 1.15 billion) in FY18 from Rs 62.30 billion (US$ 928.60 million) in FY17, at a CAGR of 18.60 per cent.

‘Fukrey Boyzzz’

The trends this year clearly reflected that flagship shows and localising content in regional languages continue to pay dividends. Kids’ entertainment channels prosper on the dominance of flagship shows. The numbers increased as the broadcasters focused on commissioned original animated shows and build their own library rather than licensing content. At least 12 to 14 Indian originated shows are produced each week creating a healthy assembly line of production.

And this year, we saw the Bollywood love affair of Indian animated content splurge. After the huge success of Little Singham last year, 2019 witnessed two more Bollywood inspired animated IP – Fukrey Boyzzz (October 2019) from Discovery Kids and Golmaal Jr. (May 2019) from Sonic, part of Nickelodeon, launching and almost immediately clicking with the younger audience.

The success of these animated IPs influenced by Bollywood film franchises, was the outcome of intensive and extensive research aided by a brilliant understanding of their consumer – the kids, and their fascination for Bollywood characters and stories. This helped the channel to deliver the right product to the right TG (target audience) at the right time.

Comments Discovery Kids business head Uttam Pal Singh, “We’re happy to be the trend setters in this format. Animation as an industry is definitely entertaining and Bollywood is like a religion here. So, these two joining forces together is sure to gain more traction. In the Fukrey franchise, we saw great potential from the audience point of view. The characters were so appealing, that we decided to give it a shot. We also had a lot of other things to look at too and wrapped the concept into a setting and pitched it to Excel which they loved. Leveraging the brand’s strength is the popularity of the actors that would definitely attract more eyeballs. It was a very conscious decision to resemble the animated characters to the actors of the film. We brought in the whole cast and I think their animated versions found their own space in the series by adding more layers. It’s like a sitcom that you want to come back to everytime and enjoy. I think Fukrey Boyzzz is going to lift the Indian animation industry.”

Fukrey Boyzzz eventually led to a huge upsurge in viewership of 60 per cent in the afternoon slot and 84 per cent in the evening slot for Discovery Kids. The show jumped to number three in the following two weeks as the overall channel TSV galloped 19 per cent from 82 minutes to 98 minutes. (According to data provided by Discovery Kids).

Viacom18 backed kids channel Sonic, a part of Nickelodeon, also saw promising potential in the trend when they launched Golmaal Jr. which went on to garner appreciation and eyeballs all over. It is based on one of the iconic movie franchises of Hindi cinema – Golmaal, immensely popularised by Shetty again, and brings to life a mix of slice-of-life friendship, relatable characters, humour and loads of fun – all rolled into an enthralling joyride.

The series has a 2D animation format of 11 minutes showcased in the usual half an hour slot. Targeted at the age group of six to 12 years, the humour is the key ingredient and the broadcaster has tried to give full justice to the original franchise with the use of proper elements. Viacom18 Hindi mass entertainment and the kids TV head Nina Elavia Jaipuria thinks that the show will be entertaining not just for the TG but for elders too. According to the latest BARC report (2 November to 8 November 2019), Sonic stands at number three among the top five kids channels.

Notes Viacom18 Kids Entertainment Cluster content head Anu Sikka, “Bollywood has been the wholly accepted religion of India which has entertained kids and adults alike. It is an important part of every Indian kid’s life and they have always loved films and these characters. Golmaal has been a very successful franchise, much loved by kids, and the animated series Golmaal Jr., with its unique take on fun, friendship and humour is sure to get the same patronage and love from our young fans. The addition of Golmaal Jr. will bring further depth and repertoire to our squad of indigenous Nicktoons.”

What is more exciting is that Sonic has improvised the character of Bhavani Shankar, immortalised by Utpal Dutt in the 1979 classic Gol Maal, as the principal in order to pay homage to the veteran.

Besides the midas touch of Bollywood in Indian animation space, we saw a few popular celebrities getting animated! The list includes Indian Cricket team skipper Virat Kohli (from Star Sports), legendary comedian Johnny Lever (from Yolo Media) and India’s first superhero Shaktimaan (from WordSword Creations).

Launched on the occasion of his 31st birthday today, 5 November, Super V is an animated series that features the teenage animated version of Kohli. Teased for the first time during the ICC Cricket World Cup in June, Super V is a weekly animated series about a 15-year old aspiring cricketer inspired by Kohli in his older days. The 15-year old Virat when discovers that he has superpowers, assumes the responsibility of fighting the looming threat of a super-villain, who can destroy the world. While he vanquishes villains, he also has to deal with the everyday issues that an ordinary teenager faces.

‘Super V’

Kohli mentioned in an official statement, “In today’s world, children are always looking up to superheroes for inspiration, and I believe Super V aims to send out the right message to young viewers. I am ecstatic to be a part of this concept and to be associated with Star.”

Commissioned in 2017, Super V has been produced as a collaboration between Star India, Cornerstone Animation and Baweja Movies. The 12-part series premiers in 70+ countries across five continents via the Star network and Hotstar.

On the other hand, In a first of its kind in India, a famous Bollywood actor/comedian will have its own animated series, similar to that of immensely popular and cult series of West, Mr. Bean, as the makers informed. Yolo Media in co-production with writer Sukhwant Kalsi has created a 3D animated series based on the popular comedian. Titled Johny Lever, the series consists of 52 episodes of 11 minutes for season one. 

Hopes Srivastav, “I see some fantastic times ahead with this new animated show coming soon. We’re very excited about this as Johnny Lever’s mannerisms are sure to attract audience irrespective of their age. We did research on the kind of movies that he has done and his enviable popularity among kids, even in recent films.”

For Shaktimaan, WordSword Creations are creating a 3D animated series and already has 26 episodes ready as of now. Targeted at 10 to 25 year olds, WordSword Creations is creating the animation of Shaktimaan inhouse and just launched the teaser at Mumbai Comic Con on 7 December. 

WordSword Creations founder Catherine John shared, “The purpose of bringing up of Shaktimaan in animation is that today’s generation should know our first Indian legendary superhero and the positive impact he had on the generations that followed. It is very important for us to incorporate those educative knowledge in today’s young generation that the character has already proved in the past.”

Mukesh Khanna who popularised and conceptualised the idea of Shaktimaan back in 1997 exclaims, “A superhero in that medium becomes immortal as this will remain even when I’ll cease to exist. Today’s kids are living in a fast life run by competition and internet. Kids sometimes need somebody to show them the right way. Shaktimaan, being a great icon in the past helped kids and gave guidance. Today’s kids I think need it more. So, I think a character like Shaktimaan is the need of the hour.”

The makers of both Johny Lever and Shaktimaan animated series are looking for OTT platforms beside linear television to showcase their much talked animated content.

With that, we turn our focus to various OTT platforms who are also eyeing animation as a genre to attract masses and the market. Several animation shows both acquired and original are making the rounds of a number of OTT platforms which have garnered a huge number of views and appreciation.

Golden Robot Animation head of business development RK Chand asserts, “The best thing about OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon is that they have given us the liberty to innovate and experiment with the storytelling. Kalari Kids is the first kids content (Beyond Chhota Bheem) on Amazon which has now found its way to Pogo. Basically, the secret of success lies on the style of storytelling and reach. With Mighty Little Bheem, we’re trying to reach that place.”

Mighty Little Bheem has gone to become a sensation since its launch on streaming giant Netflix, which has greenlit the third season for Mighty Little Bheem after the first two seasons of the animated original series received rave reviews and created headlines.

Netflix CEO Reed hastings recently revealed at HT Leadership Summit 2019, “People like babies in many countries and Mighty Little Bheem has been viewed by 27 million households outside India. Baby Bheem is going strong.”

Mighty Little Bheem is a preschool spin-off based on the much loved kids animated franchise Chhota Bheem. Launched in April (first season) and on 30 August (second season), it soon went on to become the first Indian animated show become a global hit. It has taken the standard of Indian animation at par with its international counterparts, and has also become the second most popular original kids programme to be launched on the platform.

An elated Green Gold Animation founder and CEO Rajiv Chilaka says, “We are very proud of  Mighty Little Bheem and humbled by the positive response it has been generating across the world. Our friends and associates across the globe have been appreciating the show and it’s a joyous feeling. This also gives us the boost to make more of such shows with high-end animation and entertaining story-lines. We’re hoping to take it outside India on linear television.”

Apart from infant Bheem, Indian IP Lamput from Vaibhav Studios is also going steady and earning recognition across the world. After being invited to Annecy in June, the second season of this critically acclaimed local Indian homegrown animation, was nominated for an International Kids Emmy and scooped an additional two Asian Academy Creative Awards last week. 

Lamput also emerged as a regional winner in the India category at the 2019 Asian Academy Creative Awards, in ‘Best Animated Programme or Series (2D or 3D)’ and ‘Best Short Form Content’. 

Cartoon Network, POGO and Boomerang Asia Pacific head Leslie Lee informs, “The global response to Lamput has been astonishing, and being invited to participate at Annecy was a real honour. The series has been huge on both our TV channels and our digital services in India. The feedback has also been phenomenal in almost every other corner of the world, from Latin America to Europe and Asia Pacific. It may be a show born in Mumbai, but it’s shown it has got real legs (albeit orange and gooey!) and travels extremely well.”

Vaibhav Studios founder Vaibhav Kumaresh points, “ I’m thrilled at the nominations and wins. The most important component in Lamput is the visual script. Being a non-dialogue show, it relies heavily on the plot and its visual narration. It  includes a lot of homework, in the form of creating doodles, oral narrations, deciding on acting choices, writing notes and more doodles goes into arriving at a strong animatic which is the blueprint of the film. We were busy having fun creating it and enjoying the heartening reactions by the audience. It’s been really hard work for the team, but it’s been immense fun. We have recently been creating some of our best Lamput shorts to date.”

In keeping its efforts to strengthen the local animation fare on the Disney Kids Network, Disney Channel too launched two original IPs this year – Oye Golu (May) and Bhagam Bhag

Weaving in magic and adventure, Oye Golu brings in the antics of a seven year old boy named Adi and his friend Golu, who happens to be a genie! Golu cannot resist helping Adi face his daily problems in life – with a little bit of magic, of course! However, Adi’s ambitious plans and Golu’s unpredictable magic often create bigger. 

Bhaagam Bhaag is about Sunny a not-so-average school going boy Sunny, and his race against time to beat the school bus to school every single day. The new show launched in October. One would think Sunny is an average school boy, but he isn’t! His escapades to catch his school us on a daily basis make a seemingly ordinary task an adventure of blockbuster proportions. 

Other animation broadcasters and studios – both indie and big ones have contributed enormously to the expansion of the Indian animation space. Broadcasters like Sony YAY! Who didn’t come up with any new IP this year, had a plethora of event activations lined up to keep their loyal fans and admirers hooked throughout the year.

Major ones were: GoKickO song launch with Badshah, Multi-city mall and canter activations, Association with PVR for the theatrical release of Honey-Bunny movies, Celebrations of World Music Day (Roped in singers like AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Amaal Malik, Arko, Palak Mucchal to donate autographed instruments to an NGO, Teach For India), ‘Heroes Behind the Heroes’ activation (The channel felicitated the likes of DIVINE, P. Gopichand, Dilip Vengsarkar, Afroz Shah for inspiring millions across the globe and being the real driving force behind successful individuals across multiple walks of life), Participation at Juniorthon Mumbai 2019 – Honey-Bunny flagged off the kids marathon. 

SPN Kids genre business head Leena Lele Dutta noted, “We conducted our van activation across almost over 100 cities and towns through the length and breadth of the country. So, that’s a big big initiative. In one city we visited two to three locations, collate kids, have contest, get inclusion from parents. So, we’re trying to make sure our characters’ presence is widespread than launching another IP and focusing on that. This entire year it’s about making our IPs popular through our PTL activities and this we plan to take the entire summer season on ground.”

Even Viacom18 Kids Network is not behind a fully planned and executed marketing strategies. Viacom18 Kids Network and Hindi Mass Entertainment head Nina Jaipuria mentioned, “We’re a 360 degree entertainer across all platforms. We have almost 11,000 reach in retail and ‘Back to School’ products. For Golmaal Jr. we’re checking highly visible outdoor plans. From visibility in malls, to retail outlets, to transit media branding, to partnering with fun-zones, fun photo opportunities with the iconic Golmaal bike and audio standees at multiplexes playing the catchy Golmaal title track, pranks on Fever FM and Golmaal promos in theaters, we have a lot that’s sure to break the clutter.”

Apart from the biggies in this industry, The Government of India has also come forward to keep the growth of AVGC sector unhindered. They’ve agreed to set up the National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects and Comics industry across the country including Kerala, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and coming up in Kolkata. In fact, 100 per cent FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is allowed in the sector through automatic route provided it is in compliance with RBI guidelines. Besides that, State-level initiatives by governments has also been taken to encourage animation industry.

The Indian animation and VFX industry is expected to expand to Rs 151.80 billion (US$ 2.26 billion) by FY23. 2018 and 2019 has proved to be far the best times for the Indian animation, professionals and wise minds from the business have different views, opinions and formula to attain success. With myriad ideas and innovations pouring in, it’s difficult to zero down on a model that’ll work, but the sector is sure to generate more revenue, job opportunities and provide high quality content on the broader global canvas.

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MPC shuts Vancouver office and aiming to grab more attractive opportunities in other locations

MPC has shut down its Vancouver visual-effects studio, according to Cartoon Brew as well as the Vancouver Sun and CBC News.  A letter was also allegedly sent out to employee that cited “increasing external market pressures in Vancouver and more attractive opportunities in other locations” as the reason for the shutdown.

The full text of the letter was posted online by an anonymous person and we have not been able to independently verify its authenticity.

 

“This decision has not been taken lightly,” states the letter, noting that “more attractive opportunities in other locations have created a challenging environment” for the company to sustain its Vancouver office.

According to a former anonymous MPC employee confirmed the studio closure with Daily Hive that many artists’ contracts wrapped up on 9 December and they were made aware of the full closure via the letter that was leaked on Reddit.

“For those small few who didn’t wrap on the 9 December, Wednesday was the first official contact,” they said.

DigiBC, executive director Brenda Bailey a local digital media trade association, told the CBC Vancouver’s tax incentives may have been a factor in the decision to close MPC’s Vancouver operation. “I think that there is a little bit of uncertainty right now in terms of the tax credits and business doesn’t thrive in uncertainty,” she said.

British Columbia’s tax credit for digital animation, VFX and post-production was reduced from 17.5 per cent to 16 per cent effective on productions that started principal photography on or after 1 October, 2016, but has remained steady since then.

The  studio has been know for amazing projects around the year  and continues to operate in Los Angeles, Montréal, London and Bangalore. Job openings at those sites are listed at the company’s dedicated careers site.

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DreamWorks Animation reveals its star cast for animated Netflix original

DreamWorks Animation has announced the cast of its Netflix original series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. The forthcoming coming-of-age animated series includes Karen Fukuhara (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power), Deon Cole (black-ish), Coy Stewart (The Blacklist), Sydney Mikayla (General Hospital) and Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars).

The series also voice casts Sterling K. Brown (Frozen 2), Dan Stevens (Legion), Lea Delaria (Orange is the New Black), Joan Jett, John Hodgman, GZA (Wu Tang Clan). Apart from these, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts also features Jake Green (The Boss Baby: Back in Business), Grey Griffin (DC Super Hero Girls), Ian Harding (Pretty Little Liars), Rhea Butcher (Take My Wife), Betsy Sodaro (DreamWorks All Hail King Julien: Exiled), Taylor Louderman (Mean Girls),  Michael-Leon Wooley (DreamWorks The Adventures of Puss in Boots), Matt Lowe (DreamWorks Trolls: The Beat Goes On!)  and Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights).

After spending her entire life living in an underground burrow, a young girl named Kipo is thrust into an adventure on the surface of a fantastical post-apocalyptic Earth. She joins a ragtag group of survivors as they embark on a journey through a vibrant wonderland where everything is trying to kill them is downright adorable.

A visually striking coming-of-age tale from creator and executive producer Radford Sechrist (How to Train Your Dragon 2), Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is slated to debut on 14 January. The series is executive produced and developed for television by Bill Wolkoff (The Man Who Fell To Earth).

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