Disney from the East is coming !

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As China’s economy is getting stronger and stronger, we begin to see Chinese company moving from servicing work to building its own IP. Imagine companies are able to acquire IP and produce its own animation. In order to make the characters popular, the company has the capacity to buy kids TV channel and promote its characters through the channel. Once the character become popular, the company is able to manufacture and distribute its own toys. Then build its own theme restaurants and theme parks. So that it can sell its toys through these platforms 24/7. All these are now becoming a reality in China.

Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Co could just be the next Disney from the East. The company runs its own Toy Company – Auldey Toy. It promotes the sales of its toys through originally-produced animations. The acquisition of JiajiaKT Cartoon Channel in 2010 allows it to operate an animation channel in China.

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf  is like the Mickey Mouse of China. It has made so much money from its animated TV series and feature year after year. And now the brand is under Alpha.

Alpha has also acquired South Korean IP Bernard, (known as Backkom in South Korea).

Besides Bernard, Alpha is the master toy partner for the South Korea’s preschool Super Wings!

The company has also launched its company Auldey Toys in North America (a subsidiary of Alpha Animation and Culture). It will launch the initial US toy program with Toys ‘R’ Us this October, before a national retail rollout next spring.

Alpha has acquired 100% of U17.com, China’s leading platform for original comics and animations. The merger, valued at US$143 million, is being called the largest acquisition deal in Chinese animation history.

On top of that, Alpha Animation and Hasbro has announced a strategic co-development partnership for China and Major Markets. Under this Letter of Intent, Hasbro and Alpha Animation intend to form a Chinese joint venture company for the co-development of toys and games.

If still you are not impressed, how about this. Investment in Michael Bay’s 451 Media Group , Investment in Oscar Winning Film: Revenant – where Leonardo Dicaprio won an Oscar for Best Actor, Investment in Assassin’s Creed Movie and also Investment in Deepoon VR – China’s leading Virtual Reality (VR) headset maker.

So you see, its time to really get to know the Chinese Players. The table is turning around.

Read more about them here:


Keep trying. Keep believing.

A technopreneur who has attended my recent IP talk came to see me the other day. I have promised to catch up with him when he was at my talk. That day was a super busy one. One meeting almost every hour. Unfortunately, I was also hit by food poisoning that day. I was feeling unwell to focus. Meeting started to overrun. As a result, I have to assign my assistant to met up with him on my behalf.

I felt really bad for not being able to meet him in person. I can imagine how disappointed he was. When I first started out, I met many top-level people in the industry. At the event, they always look very enthusiastic and excited to work with you. But when you write to them or call them. You never hear from them again. It feels really lousy. Especially for someone who has just started out. No way am I going to make him feel that way.

The week after, very quickly I arranged a new meeting to see this technopreneur. At the meeting, he demonstrated to me this cool technology he was developing. I saw so much in him. Not just the technology but the spirit and passion in his work. Since then, I have been thinking of how to help him grow his business and reach out to his dream. He is amazed how fast I am responding to him. (This is what I learnt from the Koreans. “Shoot first then aim later.” ha ha.)

This technopreneur is a one man company working from home since 2013. He has little monthly income ($300 a month) but has never given up.  I have decided to provide him an office space and work out a plan to assist him in creating a demo. I am also finding ways to sustain his monthly income. Together I believe we can create something amazing to surprise the world in coming months. I am glad that he feel encouraged. And this makes me very happy and I feel all energized. I am no Steve Jobs. But I will do what I can. I just hope this little contribution can make the difference.

Our industry need more entrepreneurs like him. Only then we can bring our industry to the next 10 years. As long as you have the talent, you have no fear. Keep trying. Keep believing.

Budget for Animated TV Series

A very interesting and useful article from Dean Wright

Budget for Animated TV Series

Here I will give you additional insights of the market place.

Most of the numbers in the article are more towards bigger major companies. Though some of these numbers are high. Most of the money goes to voice talents. Example, when a series like Simpsons go to Korea, don’t expect they will pay them $90k per minute.

For indie companies, most cannot afford these kind of budget.

As the TV licensing fee is dropping like crazy, a producer cannot afford to make a 22 mins x 26 series at a cost of more than USD$3.9M these days. Which is about USD$150k per episode. Or about USD$6,818 per minute. Else it is hard to recoup.

Typical prices these days without pre production (service for hire)
Price for 22 mins per episode

(Varies from companies to companies)
Canada (After Tax credits) – around USD$133k
Korea and France – USD$70k (drop in Euro has made it hard for France to outsource their work now)
China and India – USD$55k (China is focusing more and more in IP creation and India more to VFX)
Thailand and Indonesia – USD$30k
(From my recent trip to Thailand, the better studios are looking at 55k to 85k. Some even close to 100k)

So you see, for servicing side, there is a huge price war. No one is going to win at the end as the numbers will only go lower and lower when lower cost countries like Vietnam and Myanmar are established. Hence IP creation is the eventual way to go. That is why China is really shifting its position.

Producing an animated feature based on a Pre School Concept in North America

In North America, the parents are the ones who decide which film to watch. Hence it is very important for the film to be for family entertainment. (Not just for the kids or adults. And it also cannot be too childish or too violent.) If the animated series is already on TV, chances are parents would just let their kids watch it on TV. This is especially true for preschool content that becomes an animated film eventually. It seems that those content that started from an animated TV series and later becomes an animated film, most of them do badly or average at the box office only.
With reference to one of my previous post.

Case Study:
” Aardman latest film Shaun the Sheep Movie had a disastrous U.S. launch, debuting in eleventh place with an estimated $4 million.”

Read More:

Further Reference: Feature Animated Films based on existing TV Series.

Like the Flushaway, (one of the earlier Aardman film with Dreamworks) it also didn’t do as well. Which lead to Aardman breaks away from Dreamworks. I am not too sure if British humour is well appreciated among US kids. This could be another possible reason.