Riding on the thrust being given by the Telangana government, animation, visual effects, gaming and allied fields are likely to attract investments worth $ 100 million (about Rs 720 crore) in the next three to five years, according to Telangana VFX, Animation and Gaming Association (TVAGA) President Rajiv Chilaka.
“The demand for local over-the-top (OTT) content is on the rise from the likes of Amazon Prime, ZEE, Netflix and other service providers. They are looking up to India for content and Hyderabad is also getting some demand mainly due to the set ecosystem here,” said Chilaka.
“Telangana’s initiative to launch IMAGE Tower, an exclusive cluster of gaming, animation, special effects and allied fields, will also bring focus back to Hyderabad. In the process, the existing players will expand and new ones, including many international companies, will come here as partners or will come to set up their network here,” Chilaka said.
According to him, the IMAGE Tower will give the animation industry an address and identity. “It also gives members access to many common facilities and will save costs. This will reduce the overall costs which can be passed on to the end-users. That will be an ecosystem enabler here,” he said.
There are about 150 players from the organised segment in the industry body. Besides, some many small ventures and startups do significant work as freelancers. An estimated 10,000 people are now working in Hyderabad in VAGA. “The number could rise ten-fold in three to five years. Growth of OTT, intellectual property, demand for vernacular content, e-sport, gaming, programmes dedicated to children and mainstream cinema will fuel the demand for manpower in VAGA,” he said adding that new age computers and mobiles along with high-speed internet are also aiding in higher consumption of VAGA.
On the other growth factors, he said with US market getting saturated and China not open to some OTT players, Hyderabad and Telangana and other Indian States will be in the reckoning.
On meeting the skilling challenge, he said the industry has matured over the past two decades and the academies here understand the needs and train the students accordingly. “A small three-month course can fetch select jobs for graduates. VAGA needs people from art and technology,” said Chilaka, who is also the Managing Director of Green Gold Animation, the makers of the famous laddu-loving comic character Chhota Bheem.
Hyderabad has played a significant role in post-production of many a blockbuster Indian and overseas movies. Now, many firms are getting overseas work through partners and affiliates as well. “Hyderabad boasts of talent and skills that match international standards,” he said adding that smaller cities like Warangal too are joining the animation bandwagon.