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Wanted: Malaysian-made creative content with universal appeal

Taken from Digital News Asia 

By Gabby Goh, December 12th, 2012

MALAYSIAN – made animated content is on par with international standards but a more global approach to story-telling is needed.

This was the observation made by Toon Goggles’ creative director Brendan Pollitz, who was attending the inaugural Asian Animation Summit (AAS) at Intercontinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, which showcased some of Asia’s strongest and most commercially viable animation projects.

Toon Goggles, a Children’s Video-on-Demand service, has signed a deal with the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) to add animated series Saladin to its site.

Pollitz shared that the company intends to time the series’ US premier with the annual Consumer Electronics show hosted in Las Vegas.

This was in part to the company’s content partnerships with electronics brands such as Panasonic, Sony and Sharp for its line of smart televisions.

When asked if anything at AAS had caught his eye, Pollitz pointed to Wonderballs! by South Korea’s Synergy Media and two Malaysian projects, Origanimals by Giggle Garage and the Harry & Bunny Show by Animasia Studio.

“I’m interested in Harry & Bunny in particular because it’s mostly told through visuals which help when you want to translate it to different audiences worldwide,” he said.

He believed that the production quality of local animated content was on par with international standards but urged creators to think more globally when crafting their ideas, and aim for universal appeal.

A relatively new player, Toon Googles officially launched its website and online channel at the start of the year, with a current average of 100,000-150,000 unique visitors per month. It launched its iOS app in March and has since expanded to the Android platform.

Pollitz said the idea was borne out of an observation that there was a lack of children-friendly content channels in the United States, with a decision made to launch an IPTV channel.

Mostly via its partnerships with TV makers, the company claims access to 25 million screens worldwide, with a target for 100 million by the second quarter of 2013.

In July of this year the company also announced its collaboration with Toon Boom Animation to develop applications that will enable kids to create and netcast their own animations.

A new section of the Toon Goggles website called Boom Goggles, will feature animations powered solely by Toon Boom products.

Pollitz said that the company was taking a proactive approach toward “second screen” applications, seeing it as the future of media content consumption and delivery.

“The traditional television model is antiquated. The new generation is accustomed to getting their content on demand and will not adhere to something like a schedule to consume what they want,” he said.

The AAS is a platform that brings together globally renowned animation experts who will facilitate and enable the co-production and co-financing animation opportunities in the region.

The concepts are pitched to leading programme buyers from television networks across the United Kingdom (UK), Europe, Canada and North America. These include buyers from the BBC and its children channel CBeebies, Nickelodeon International, Disney Channels Worldwide and France’ Televisions.

The summit was also attended by broadcasters from the Asia Pacific region. They include Australia’s ABC TV, Malaysia’s Media Prima, Astro, RTM and TV Al-hijrah; Korea’s KBS, EBS and Tooniverse as well as Singapore’s Mediacorp.