Report – Opening Panel: The Future of Animation Business
- Storytelling remains at the heart of projects
- Technology can be used as a tool to build narrative and speed up production
- Using multiple platforms can boost brands to reach new audiences
Kate O’Connor from Animation UK introduced this session, asking how we can create and secure the future of animation business. The panellists included: Andy Wood from Cubic Motion, Benjamin Donoghue from Blackstaff Games, Olivier Dumont from Entertainment One and Jackie Edwards from BBC Children’s Acquisitions and Independent Animation.
Collaboration is important in securing a strong future for the animation industry. In this session, Andy Wood highlighted the positive impact of harnessing technology to speed up pipelines and Benjamin Donoghue explained that creating interactive products as a tool for building narrative can enhance brands and storytelling.
Olivier Dumont also emphasised the importance of working closely with broadcasters, as this has enabled Entertainment One to ensure scheduling creates wider global reach for brands such as Peppa Pig.
Jackie Edwards spoke of animation opportunities in the UK and discussed the pitching process for BBC Children’s Acquisitions in particular. She explained that there are potential opportunities to experiment with ideas through short form and went on to reference Plug-In Media’s ‘Tee & Mo’, which began as a series of games and songs and has now become a TV series broadcasting on CBeebies.
The panel also discussed the importance of finding the right partnerships and agreed that securing the right network of funding for a project is important in ensuring success.
Olivier Dumont explained that despite the popularity of streaming services, where preschool audiences are concerned there are still a substantial number of children watching linear television. He said that linear viewing also remains popular with parents.
Jackie Edwards agreed, saying that CBeebies has retained its audience, in spite of a general societal shift towards viewing content in more flexible ways, and the linear channel is highly regarded as a safe destination for pre-schoolers and their families.
Overall, the panel concluded that future looks bright. There are increasingly opportunities to make content more quickly using technology and there are storytelling opportunities in digital developments, such as VR. Kate O’Connor also highlighted that the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund – covering both live-action and animation – will be opening in April 2019. She explained that this £57 million fund will be great news for the sector and will include development funding, presenting an opportunity for independent production companies and individuals.
President, Family & Brands
Head of BBC Children’s Acquisitions & Independent Animation
Co-founder & Managing Director