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Dec, 07 2010

MULTI-FACETED MULTIMEDIA GIANT

As per a recent report, the Indian media and entertainment industry is projected to reach Rs 1,052 billion by 2013. Multimedia giant, Image Infotainment Limited, plans to contribute to this growth by further boosting its already successful franchise model

THE multimedia industry is on the brink of becoming top revenue earners. A large number of multimedia and animation organisations are signaling a great time ahead for the multimedia professionals and organisations. Multimedia industry comprises plethora of segments in media, print, graphic design, animation, visual effects, television, advertising industry and more. To cater to the growing demand for quality training in the multimedia industry, Image Infotainment Limited was born.

Image is the brainchild of K. Kumar, who pioneered the idea of providing high quality digital media education. From introducing multimedia courses more than a decade back to providing specialised skills in digital media to students, professionals and enterprises, Image has grown as a powerhouse of knowledge and has helped thousands of students create successful careers in the digital media industry.

Inception of the company

In year 1996, Image Infotainment Ltd launched India's first professionally managed training institute, Image (Institute of Multimedia Arts & Graphic Effects), in Chennai. The company operates 40 centres across India and provides vocational training in the field of digital media training. Image has trained about 42,000 students and has been maintaining 100 per cent placement record till date. The company offers courses in digital design, web design, graphic design, advertising design, 3D design, 2D and 3D animation, visual effects, e-learning and mobile gaming, B.Sc in Multimedia degree programme, etc. The courses are of varied duration. They have one to six months certificate courses, 12 to 24 months diploma courses and three-year degree programmes.

The organisation also deals in two other verticals. The first vertical is Image College (ICAT), India's first digital media college and presently, country's most experienced with its 20,000 sq.ft state-of-the-art campuses in Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. ICAT was recently rated as the number one training institution for animation and gaming in India by AC NIELSONS, a research agency, in its survey titled 'Hot Sectors and Best Courses in India.' Their other vertical is software development.

This vertical offers comprehensive digital interactive content solution, as they have collaboration with numerous IT and media majors the world over. With the most talented individuals in the world to help create value and foster innovation for the benefit of their customers, Image offers a mind-boggling range of interactive creative capabilities. “Image Infotainment Limited has anticipated, adapted and prospered through years of rapid technological change, major paradigm shifts and explosive growth in the industry,” says Kumar.

The company has assisted numerous organisations in their quest for powerful and effective modes of communication, which includes BHEL, Cavin Care, Wipro, Unilever, IFFCO, TVS, L&T, SIFY, BGR Energy, PUNCH US, Digital Chocolate, US and many more.

Multiplying the multimedia growth

The company stepped into franchising business since its inception 14 years ago. At the time of its commencement in Chennai, Images simultaneously established its first franchise centre at Secundarabad and since then there has been no looking back. The company presently operates 31 franchise and nine company-owned centres. All franchise centres are run through single-unit model.

K. Kumar, Managing Director, Image, says, “Franchising is sharing the acquired knowledge with like-minded people. By franchising, the brand gets established across India in no time. By sharing the company's success formula with franchisees, the potential of both the franchisees and the brand increases. The franchising business model contributes significantly towards the growth of the company.”

With the creative industry all set to provide the next big opportunity for economical growth, India's creative talent is already making its mark on the global entertainment industry and popular culture. Presently, 30 per cent of the company's growth happens through franchising business. Witnessing a boom in the creative industry, Image is planning to open 250 centres, 20 colleges and one university by 2016. Initially, the company will open its outlets in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh and at other major cities across India.

Conversion franchise & women entrepreneurs

The company believes in delivering quality and expects the same from its franchisees. The company seeks franchisees who have 100 per cent commitment in business and passion in the field of education. To take the franchise of Image, the potential franchisee needs a centrally located area of 1,500 to 3,000 sq. ft and an investment of Rs 25 to 45 lakh, as per the target location and the city.

The company is also open to the idea of conversion franchise, as it does gives franchise to franchisees of other brands, who are not performing well for various reasons. As per Kumar, “We feel that we can provide conversion franchisees with our valuable support, both technically and marketing wise, and turn the centre into a profitable one. At present, Image is on the verge of finalising a deal with one conversion franchisee.”

Unlike other sectors where women take a backseat, 20 per cent of Image franchise centres are run by women entrepreneurs. The post of career advisor in any Image centre is also held by a woman. Image franchise centre is an ideal bet for women entrepreneurs, as the company believes that women always give their 100 per cent commitment and dedication to the job they do, have greater affinity towards education and always perform better.

Support to succeed

In every business, it is difficult to replicate the business guidelines. Constant updating of technology also requires huge amount of R&D. “For knowledge transfer to franchisees and their staff, Image has a 15-member strong R&D team, which works on constantly upgrading the knowledge of the trainers on latest version of the software, etc. Image is the only company in India which provides its own course material to students and holds the copyright for the same. The company takes care of each and every detail of the franchise make-up, including the responsibility of recruiting both technical and marketing team for the franchise centres,” says Kumar. The company follows the ISO standard technical delivery method that includes batch schedule, monitoring of classes, delivery of courses and materials, conduct of exams (projects, VIVA and student seminars) student feedback and corrective action, student satisfaction report and certification and job placement for students.

For marketing matters, Image offers national press and regional television campaign support to franchisees. All art work support for advertisement, posters, mailers, etc, is provided to the franchisees. They also support the franchisees in conducting seminars in their respective cities. Online and tele-inquiry support are also provided. The company has created a unique scholarship model called 'Creative Talent Search', whereby they select talented students, ensuring both business and quality to the franchisees.

The company conducts quality audit every month at every centre and record the findings and incorporates corrective action. These findings are later verified by ISO External auditors every six months . The company strictly follows quality standards for every process, right from inquiry generation, delivery of classes, conduct of examination, certification and placement to student satisfactory report. The company offers high quality creative education and constantly endeavours to introduce cutting-edge technology programmes that have a futuristic value. As per the demand and growth in the industry, Image has achieved tremendous growth by offering multiple courses at multiple locations, thereby widening the scope of creative education and acquiring long sustainability in this business. “The introduction of our multimedia curriculum in 1996, web design course in 1997, animation curriculum in 2002, first degree in digital media in 2006, launch of game programming course in 2004 and e-learning course in 2006 were some of the milestones in our journey,” states Kumar.

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