DQE shines with super shows: Tapaas Chakravarti, Chairman & CEO,DQ Entertainment

DQ Entertainment, one of the leaders in quality animation productions, is at MIPCOM to present its shows to broadcast acquisition executives as well as meet producers to explore potential for coproduction projects. Pickle spoke to DQ Entertainment Chairman and CEO Tapaas Chakravarti

MIPCOM helps us to gauge new trends to create content that understands the needs of Broadcasters and connect with large number of broadcasters

How has been 2016 for DQ Entertainment? What has been DQE’s major milestones in recent times?

Our business divisions of Animation, VFX , Licensing & Distribution and Digital Media continue to perform to satisfaction. We are experiencing continued growth for our animation division along with solid demand for our Intellectual Properties (IP). This refl ects the creative prowess of our teams. Our IP and commercial teams have successfully managed the very creative process of animated cross border co-productions with our international partners. The IP development pipeline of the company is very robust and is expected to see at least 2 new TV series being produced for global audiences every year.

In 2016 we have continued to deliver high quality shows such as Miles from Tomorrowland Season II – produced for Disney Junior, 7 & Me - produced by Method Animation and supported by DQE, ZDF, RAI and France TV a hybrid show combining high quality CGI with live action footage and Zak Storm- TV series produced by Zag Toons in co-production with Method Animation & DQE. The Hive Season 2 and Sheriff Callie’s Wild West season II for Disney Junior were also delivered by DQE in 2016.

Super 4 -based on Playmobil Toy line with Method Animation, France, Sammy 2 being produced by Zag Toons, USA and Method Animation, France, Pio the Chick TV series, an adaptation from Pulcino Pio (the hugely successful online musical sensation) with Rai Commercial, Italy in partnership with DQE, Italian producer Gruppo Alcuni and Planeta Jr, Italy are currently in production.

What is your objective and focus at MIPCOM 2016?

DQ Entertainment is recognized as a high quality producer of kids animated content. As one of the leaders in quality animation productions, our objective is to present our shows to broadcast acquisition executives as well as meet producers to explore potential for co-production projects. MIPCOM helps us to gauge new trends to create content that understands the needs of broadcasters and connect with large number of Broadcasters and Licensing Agents to license our library.

You work closely with a lot of Japanese companies. Japan is the country of honour at MIPCOM. What are the highlights of DQE’s collaboration with Japan?

We have co-produced animated TV series with Japanese partners in the past and would welcome the opportunity to once again partner with Japanese producers on new shows. The Jungle Book – season 1 was acquired by Disney Japan and we continue to present our titles for broadcast to Japanese audiences.

Are there any new launches at MIPCOM? What are the co-production’s currently on/or in pipeline for DQE?

At MIPCOM our objective is to showcase our new IP’s 5&IT (52x11’) TV series supported by Disney, Germany and Disney, France and co- produced by Method Animation France and our fl agship property The Jungle Book season III which is in production in collaboration with French partners. At this market we are thrilled to debut another 2 well known titles that will once again engage and entertain not only children but the entire family. Similar to our other TV series these shows will also feature fi rst-in-class animation, comedy and adventure and have universal appeal suited for global markets.

Do you see broadcasting getting impacted by OTT, video streaming ( Netfl ix, Amazon Prime) and new emerging digital platforms specifi cally for animation content? What’s driving animation business today?

Traditional linear broadcasting is already impacted by digital platforms – OTT and VOD. Cable and satellite subscriptions are already declining as more people are opting to access content through digital platforms. While there are more companies interested in licensing content than ever, many of these companies will live and die based on the content that they have available. While exclusivity and original programming have become important for live action programming, for animated content, producers looking to monetize their IP will want a wider reach and distribution on greater number of platforms on nonexclusive basis.

Also is there any impact of pre-school programming for animation in the broadcast space?

Pre-school programming while still largely driven by linear broadcast, is also impacted to some extent as parents have flexibility and control while selecting the content on digital platforms, which is available on demand.

How do you see animation growth in Indian market?

Indian animation is seeing the mushrooming of several small players to address the growing demand for locally produced content. While demand for content based on Indian culture and local relevance is increasing, it often lacks commercial viability. This may cause an impediment and question the sustenance of the studios in the long term.

How has DQE embraced digital distribution?

Our digital platforms - ‘Power Kids’ and ‘Tiny Toonz’ channels are gaining traction and delivering consistent revenue. We intend to expand our content offering with third party content as well as ‘produced for on-line’ properties. Rise and success of Content on-Demand (CoD) services, ease of access to high fidelity data networks and vertical integration by social media platforms to offer streaming video services are the prominent factors driving growth of the VoD service market currently.

Do you see animation content top in the radar of OTT?

It is noted that OTT services have seen the most growth among consumers 35-64, not usually the group we think of being on the edge of technology. One would have expected this audience to skew younger 18-24. But they are still older than the target audience for animated content. Demand for kids animated content will therefore be a mixed bag driven by OTT as well as linear TV.

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