Advantage India

Tech-giants like Microsoft,IBM, Oracle and more have cleverly utilised the low cost Indian manpower to keep the bottomline high and floating. Now it is the turn of the media companies to do the same. And what could be a better platform than NAB to explore the possibilities, asks Arul Moorthy, MD, Digital Magic Visuals

World has become global village’ is heard for more than a decade. Now it is time to add ‘Media’ to the phrase, to make it as ‘World has become a global media village’. It is true, as content creators and consumers are embracing towards a situation, where life is depending on each other for ‘neighbouring’ countries like US and India more and more.

It is very obvious that tech-giants like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and more have cleverly utilised the low cost Indian manpower to keep the bottom-line high and floating. Now it is the turn of the media companies to do the same. Particularly when it comes to Animation, Visual Effects and Gaming sectors, where the dependence on Skilled and Semi-Skilled jobs are plenty, it is prudent that the companies should adapt to the out-sourcing model to remain relevant in the respective sector. This is clearly seen from companies like Technicolor, Deluxe and DreamWorks, which have set their studios in India. Similarly, many TV Productions from Walt-Disney and others are happening by joining hands with companies like Piranha, DQ Entertainment in India.

The cost benefit for U.S and European companies in this region is 60 to 70%, which is huge. This will not give a 70% benefit for the entire production, as not all the work can be outsourced to India, but a good chunk of work can happen here. So the overall cost saving could be anywhere in the range of 30%, which will be tempting to anyone. Of course the concerns about loss of job market in U.S will be heard loud and clear, but it is better for the companies to remain profitable, to have strength to fight another war another day. ‘Do what you can do the best, and outsource the rest’ is the mantra of the day.

The cost of outsourcing work to India has gone up, in spite of Indian Rupee getting devalued nearly 20% in the recent few years. But on the contrary, U.S studios prefer Indian studios who are giving quality, more than the cheaper rate. They have realised, only these studios will be able to sustain in business longer time, which will make the working relation easier than searching for a new studio for every project. Also in term of controlling the cost-arbitrage, both the sides have learned their lessons, and have put mechanisms in place to protect the cost variations due to factors that are not under their control.

Big and small studios in India have started adapting to the MPAA and CDSA standards to protect the IP security. When it is followed, it is only through someone’s memory they can take out the footage off the studio, which is the best possible solution necessary. So overseas studios need not worry about their IP security, but find partners who follow the standards set.

And business benefits need not be one way traffic. As most of the top Hollywood movies, with a very minimal incremental cost, speak in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, which gives them an additional revenue. Not only the direct revenue, but the characters make in-road in to the rural India, giving a long term benefit in the form of TV Shows, Merchandise, Comic Book etc. So U.S companies which have not explored this route should jump the bandwagon and get the benefit.

And what could be a better platform than NAB to explore the possibilities in the media space. This is my 22nd Year at NAB, almost non-stop. I have immensely enjoyed this Media Festival every year. It has helped me stay ahead, and do innovations like India’s First 3D Stereoscopic Graphics, India’s First Digital Movie production and many more. I am looking at the opportunity that has become more for both U.S and Indian companies in the last couple of years and will become lot more in the coming years, due to change in the mind-set and technology, and of course the cost and time constraints.

The following are the areas the companies should look forward to collaborate.

• Animation Pre-production Works (very small amount of work happening at the moment)

• Pre-Visualisation (For Movies, News items, Architecture)

• Rapid Prototyping (3D Modelling and 3D Printing)

• Remote Colour Grading (For TV Shows and Movies)

• Remote On-Line Editing (For Packaging, Montages where multi-layering and Effects are intense)

• BW to Colour (for Movies, Documentaries and News Footage)

• Tools development (based on India’s ICT expertise)

• TV News - Outsourcing


U.S companies also look for joint development of IP with Indian studios in the Animation Production, Movies and Games segment. Surely the small and medium U.S and European studios can find a willing co-production partner, to make the projects come to reality. While the overseas companies can bring their international expertise in script, character design, Voice, marketing etc., Indian studios can take care of the production part and create a cost-effective output, thus benefitting both the parties. When I visited NAB in 1992, I could hardly had seen any collaboration possibilities at that time. But now there is a dramatic shift in the way how both the industries have become inter-dependent, and will become more deeper in the years to come.

Life is like how far you can see while drivingin a dark night with head-lights on. This is what we can see at the moment, as we move forward more things will appear inside the spotlight.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Arul Moorthy M, Managing Director of Digital Magic Visuals, has three decades of expertise in Animation, Post-Production and Visual Effects with 350 movies and 3500 ad films tohis credit. He owns and operates Digital Magic, a state-of-the-art post-production, animation facility which offers DI, VFX and other post -production services

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28 Feb 2017 Issue

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