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.


11 thoughts on “Budget for Animated TV Series

    • Unless you have buyer like Netflix. Based on current licensing fee in the market, it is hard to recoup if you work at such high budget. I am guessing you are an independent producer.


  1. Yes, I talk about TV Animation Budgets section not in film,tvc or games cimetic. Those article said 10K$ / minute or 220K$ / EP. / 22minute why Asia like Thailand got 30K$ /EP. it look so far from 220K$ (7 time) o_O but good article from you. Thank for answer. ^^


    • Cost of living is different. Example: In the US, you pay an artist USD$1k to 2k a week for entry level ? In Thailand, you pay an artist USD$200 a week for entry level. (But the numbers have gone up due to rising cost in Thailand)


    • It varies from Channel to Channel. Country to Country And it is dropping like crazy as the audience are moving to OTT (Netflix, Hulu) Based on my experience. In 2007 when I first enter US market, I was told we can send at USD$50k per 22mins. But I only manage to sell at USD$25k. In 2010. it dropped to USD$15k per 22mins. These days you won’t be surprised that there are people asking for free. As the focus now is on Licensing and Merchandising. Showing on TV is just to build fans. In fact, now many are going online.

      In general (my own experience) US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy. You might be able to sell at 4 to 5 digits per 22 mins (5 digits not easy) Pan Europe, Pan Asia etc, you can get around $3k to 5k. Asia are mostly 3 digit. USD$300 to 400. These are humble estimation.

      However, selling to OTT has more money these days I heard. E.g Netflix. Hope it helps.


    • In US, Canada, Uk, France, Italy, Germany, they can pay between 4 to 5 digits. In Asia, mainly 3 digits. If you are selling in bulk e.g Asia, Europe.. It could be 4 digits.


  2. How much does it cost to produce 22 minutes of, let’s say, the pinnacle of TV quality CGI Animation, with a lot of stretch and squash, cool BG’s, great extreme poses, great mouth charts, really awesome voice acting on the level of Mel Blanc and Daws Butler(but not celebrities), great shot to shot hookups and camera movement, nice color styling, let’s say just a couple of steps down in Production quality from Hotel Transylvania, but with the cool color of Kung Fu Panda?


    • In general, it is not just about the money you want to invest in. Your budget and quality is affected by the current state of TV licensing fee. If Netflix wants your show, you can set the budget and quality higher. As I heard they have higher budget to finance it. If it is based solely on current TV market. I say try not to go beyond USD$3M if you want to recoup. (Excluding licensing and merchandising) I assume you are an independent producer.

      Pre Production cost will depend who is writing the script and doing the designs. Same for Voices. Depending on where you do it. In Western countries are always more expensive.

      Production in Asia will definitely be cheaper for sure. But for the kind of animation you want, there are not many experience studios who can do it. So probably you can go to countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and maybe certain studio in India.

      Hope it helps.


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