Getting investor’s support for animation is never easy. Especially those who do not have a good understanding of the industry. They will compare your returns with investment in property, bonds and shares. This is especially true in Asia.
In the past, most finances come from traditional broadcasters. As the audience is moving away from TV, it is no longer that easy these days. However OTT (Over The Top – like Amazon, Netflix) market is growing. Original Series are currently financed by OTT companies. (https://studios.amazon.com/)(http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2015-11/12/content_22440272.htm)
The other traditional option is government support. Quite a number of countries (Malaysia, Korea, France, Singapore, UK, Australia, Canada, China etc) have some form of government support on this.
Distributors and Executive Producing / Animation Companies know how to gather funds from different countries to form a co production deal. They are potential people to work with too.
Besides the above option, we begin to see new strategic investors who take interest in investing in animation. These are the people who understands the business and they are the ones who know how to make the money back. They know what works and what do not work. However before you approach these players, do make sure you have a concept that has strong commercial values. E.g it could potentially spin-off to toys/merchandise and computer games.
(Some examples of Strategic Investors could be Telco Companies, Toys Companies/Manufacturers, Theme-park / Restaurants owners, Computer Games Companies.)
Nowadays, many series are invested by computer games and toys companies. Several major China toy companies are also buying IP from Korea.
TOY COMPANY HASBRO – TRANSFORMER PRIME
TOY COMPANY YOUNG TOYS – TOBOT
TOY COMPANY PLAYMOBIL – SUPER 4
GAME COMPANY ACTIVISION – SKY LANDERS
Some theme-park owners are also building IP for their theme-parks. This is especially growing in China.
CHINA FANTAWILD – BOONIE BEARS (http://www.fantawild.com/)
(They have 20 themeparks in China)
For independent producer, this is what I strongly advise you to do. Build your fans. Don’t rush into pitching to investors. It isn’t that easy. It is a very crowded market. Your concept needs to really stand out. Not many strategic investors will give you a second chance. So make sure you are well prepared with a concept that has a strong commercial potential.
With all these new social media platform, you can use it to test your content and build your fans first. Crowd funding platform is also a very good way to build your fans and raise funds. Don’t under estimate it. When you have a lot of fans, investors will take interest. Spend time to work on a social media promotion strategy and also a good concept with strong commercial values (computer games / merchandise) With these, it will raise potential in getting support.
Talking Tom and Friends is a good case study. They have first roll out an app to build their fans. (Just like Angry Bird has their mobile game) Once they have built their fans, investors will take interest in them. You can see that the clip has 20 million views. With these fans support, they can continue to get more investment support.