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Report – Animation Online

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2016 5:28pm

In this session we talked to animators who have chosen the internet rather than a traditional broadcaster to bring their work to an audience

Takeaways

  • Big production money does not guarantee online success.  Talent and the skill to execute a production well are far more important
  • Try to understand how the YouTube algorithm works, and then decide what is best for your content
  • Paid adverts are a great way to increase online audiences
  • Above all, human interaction (like sharing) is the best way to build and sustain a fan base

Detail

Questions were posed to the panel and a collective ‘yes’ emerged – and no.

Has the animation business changed much in the last ten years? Have platforms like YouTube, which have lowered the barriers of entry to the market caused a barrage of poor quality content? If everything is everywhere, should animators become online curators?

Animation industry heavyweight, Fred Seibert of Frederator Networks, reminded us of a similar disruption 35 years ago, when cable TV came along in the USA. The difference between then and now is, essentially, gatekeepers: We no longer need them.

David Curry, Director at Cutlass Productions proved that they relied on independent financing, tax incentives and schemes like the Creative Skillset to support the development of their brand, and used YouTube as a platform to build their fan base.

But it wasn’t – and still isn’t – easy.  SuperAwesome’s Paul Nunn quipped that we should all just make videos about cats. Mike Bell, Executive Producer of Simon’s Cat, jumped in: “If you’re a dog lover, you can meet in the park. If you’re a cat lover – meet on the internet!”

According to Mike, Simon’s Cat is the largest animated character channel on YouTube, with 756 million views, almost four million subscribers, and averages nine million views per month.

But Simon’s Cat emerged before YouTube was the saturated market it is today. So how do today’s online media producers get the attention they need?

When Internet People came out in 2007/2008, Frederator decided to make a compilation of viral videos as homage to YouTube’s stars. This attracted the viral videos’ creators and their fans, who were then pushed to Frederator’s new offering.

Sarah Darling and Jonti Picking, from Jelly Penguin, noted the golden algorithm that so many online creators try to satisfy: “You need to upload at least three to four times a week, and at least ten minutes a week – but that’s really tough for animators.” Careful not to clutter their channel with low quality clips, Sarah and Jonti decided not to use this approach, and instead focus on creating high quality content.

What makes content “high quality” or “low quality” remains frustratingly subjective. As Fred said; “The audience is the determiner of quality – not the producer.”

Report by guest blogger Kerrin Kokot

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