Billion Dollar Animation Industry
The Second Golden Age of Animation is creating enormous revenues from both box office gross to billions of dollars in sales generated by all manner of kids’ products spinning off from Intellectual Properties aimed at the kiddy market, products that range from the bizarre (Spongebob) to the sublime (Harry Potter).
When was the First Golden Age of Animation? This was a period in American animation history beginning in 1928 that began with the introduction of sound cartoons. It continued into the early 1960s when the introduction of this new medium of television animation drew audiences away from cinemas. It was during these years that an impressive number of Animation Properties came into being; such characters as Tom and Jerry, Superman, Woody Woodpecker, Felix the Cat as well as a huge range of Disney characters.
Walt Disney’s first films; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi came into being during this era.
What then is the Second Golden Age of Animation? It is happening today. Traditional animation, called cell animation, had been the standard since the 1920’s. Very labor intensive, cell animation was the backbone of the Disney corporation production facility and other companies such as Hanna Barbera. The introduction of computers, while slow to take hold, has completely changed the face of animation production taking animation from two dimensional characters to three dimensional images that are more realistic, easier to manipulate and store and most importantly, are the backbone of the huge video gaming market.
Animated films have far outstripped other genres in home video and DVD sales in the last fifteen years with retail dollars now capturing 32% of total sales, far ahead of second place comedy at 20% according to the Producer To Producer Book, 2nd Edition. In recent years, the licensing and merchandising industry driven by animated television series targeted at children has performed beyond most industry expectations. An excellent case in point, the children’s craze, Pokemon, surpassed accumulated worldwide sales of $10.0 Billion by 2001. Licensing and Merchandising revenues are expected to exceed $100 Billion annually by the year 2010 fueled by such monster hits as Shrek 2 – $881 Million Dollars, Finding Nemo – $865 Million and The Incredibles – $624 Million to name just three.
The target market for children’s television and films is the 50 million plus 4 – 12 year old North American kids whose buying power for toys, games and puzzles was approximately U.S.$13.4 billion per year in the nineties and now in excess of $200 Billion a year. The secondary markets are Europe, Asia and the Pacific region where North American companies have traditionally experienced success with many movie driven properties.
Kids buying power grew 12% over the 90’s and is expected to continue at a double digit growth rate well into the 2000’s. So dramatic was this growth of the Kids market that marketers dubbed the 90’s as the “Decade of the Child”. In response to this phenomenon, more and more toys, clothes, food and entertainment products are being developed for this huge and growing market. The companies involved in producing children’s live and animated productions have now identified this Kid’s market as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and now team up with toy companies and other manufacturers to exploit this lucrative ancillary market with an unimaginable number of products ranging from downloadable clips for cell phones to video games to social networking websites.
Computer generated films are now the driving force behind the enormous jump in sales of toys, electronic games and the multitude of other products aimed at the kid and tween market. items.
What does the future hold in this new Golden Age of Animation? Producers, manufacturers, distributors and kids are always on the lookout for that next new product. What will that be? As usual, it’s anybody’s guess. Who would have thought that some years ago, adults would be fist fighting over something called Cabbage Patch Dolls? Whatever the next hit is, it will no doubt be spawned from the depths of a computer chip.
The Author and Associates
Michael Trigg is CEO of You N Me Productions Corp, a Vancouver Canada entertainment company. You N Me Productions has joint ventured with Media Kitchen I.N. Teractive and Worlds Away Productions Ltd of New York to produce a new children’s website entitled Greanwold’s World.
Greanwold’s World www.greanwold.com is the environment of Greanwold and his Minosaur friends, the newest children’s property in the kids international market place.