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Dec, 07 2010

Multiple avenues in multimedia

Thinking about opening a multimedia business? We have all that you need to know about the industry, business, franchise, glitches and everything else. We provide you with the nuts-and-bolts information that can make your business profitable, stable and bu

THE Indian animation market, estimated at USD 494 million in 2008, is likely to grow at compounded annual growth rate of 22 per cent by 2012. The reason for this growth is that industrial economy is giving way to creative economy, thus raising the scope for multimedia and animation industry to grow. Creative industry mainly caters to segments like media, print, graphic design, animation, visual effects, television, and advertising. Multimedia and animation industry governs major part of this creative economy. Cashing in on the current scenario of growing demands of multimedia and animation professionals are education providers in the industry, majority of whom are into franchising. Multimedia and animation industry has taken rigorous strides and made tremendous advancements over the years. The growth of the industry can be attributed to the advancement in technology.

A budding profession

Multimedia and animation can be used these days for brand promotion, for beautifying the design of a website, effective online promotion or marketing of a website, for online banners, etc. As says J.V., Umamaheswara Rao, Training - Head, TAPAS, an educational institute offering advanced training in 3D animation, “India has a very good scope for multimedia and animation industry, as it has touched all the corners of media, entertainment and business. Everybody needs some kind of a design or a presentation. Demand is always there. In the future, more animation movies are going to come up and CG has been used extensively in movies (eg. Robot and Avtar) and people are going to like it.”

The educational institutes can also use these attractive images while imparting audio-video lessons to the students. The advanced technology used by the film and entertainment industry in cartoon making is another area where multimedia and animation industry is quite useful. Ravi Ranjan, Director, TGC Animation and Multimedia, states, “The current scenario of multimedia and animation industry is quite bright, as it has surpassed the boundaries of entertainment industry, digital media and e-learning and has adopted a global outlook. Multimedia industry, with a strong diversification in web design, content development and interactive gaming, is growing with an enormous speed like never before.”

Realising the growing scope, lot of youngsters are exploring career in the industry. There are lucrative careers in cartoon making and computer graphics. The advancement in technology demands quite extensive knowledge on sophisticated use of computer graphics. This growing need for career has led to the emergence of lot of players in the sector.

Why to franchise your business

The odds of doing well in business zoom upwards if you purchase a franchise and benefit from the prior work of others and their lessons learned. The players in this industry are mostly education providers, who have developed courses in digital design, web design, graphic design, 3D design, 2D and 3D animation, visual effects, e-learning and mobile gaming, B.Sc multimedia degree programme, advertising design and other aspects of digital media. These brands wanted to expand far and wide and none other than the franchise medium suits them the best.

Says ????Irfan, “Multimedia and animation industry in India is dominated by franchise players. This is due to the fact that except for one to two brands, all other are regional brands, who have not been able to expand in other parts of the nation through company-owned outlets. They find franchising most appropriate for expansion.”

Some significant ones among these educators are Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC), TGC, Images Infotainment, TAPAS, UV Animation, Cavalier Animation Tech and Animaster.

MAAC is a pioneer in high-end 3D animation and VFX education and India's leading educator in high-end 3D animation and visual effects. Founded in 2001, it was recently acquired by Aptech Ltd. TGC firmly took its base in Delhi in 2000 and since then, has been expanding across the country and beyond. From introducing multimedia courses in 1996 to providing specialised skills in digital media to students, professionals and enterprises, IMAGE Infotainment has grown as a 'powerhouse of knowledge' and has helped thousands of students create successful careers. The company is into franchising business since its inception, i.e. for 14 years.

Cavalier Animation is a one-year-old company founded to create unmatched talent in the animation industry. In the coming three to four year's time, the company aims to be a one-stop solution for animation services. Says Ranjan, “We kickstarted the franchising business mode in 2008. The need was felt, as the market was ripe and the educational quality across the country was getting bigger and better.” KUMAR KANNAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR & CEO, IMAGE INFOTAINMENT LIMITED, highlights, “With franchising, the brand gets established across India in quick time. By sharing the company's success formula with franchisees, the potential of the franchisees and the brand to grow nationalwide is more.”

The latest addition to list of the brands is Ahmedabad-based animation and multimedia training institute, Aartissan Design Media. Established in 2006, the company has joined hands with Francorp to facilitate expansion on a national scale through franchising.

Training, support to franchisees

Franchisors in this multimedia and animation education industry are carrying out dual responsibilities. On one hand, they are preparing professionals to fulfill the ever increasing demand and on the other hand, they are providing a lucrative opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. These franchisors are expanding their brands by appointing franchisees. Says Kumar, “We do the recruitment process for both technical and marketing team for our franchise centres .We give 15 to 60 days' time for technical training to the recruited staff, execution of marketing plan, delivery of classes and even certification and placement.”

The franchisors provide training and support to the franchisees in terms of scouting for ideal centralised location, infrastructure generation, hardware and software outsourcing, hiring of staff and faculties, marketing plan and strategy, grand opening and channels of promotion, artwork support along different verticals, training of manpower and periodic training as per the audit and demands of the centre.

Highlighting the franchise system, Irfan opines, “Every franchisee is our pillar. If one pillar shakes, the entire structure shakes and comes for a fix. We are purely working on mutual benefits and our franchisees grow along with the company.” Informs Rao, “At the moment, we are looking at only a limited number of franchisees. We provide the basic training and design the course according to the industry standards.”

Initial hurdles in setting up franchise

No business is free from the initial challenges and multimedia and animation industry is no exception. Feels Rao, “Firstly, the franchisee needs to know what is multimedia. Unlike other businesses, it is related to creativity and requires lot of software knowledge. The rest is very much like any other IT training.” Then, there are issues of uniform standards of quality and infrastructure to be addressed to due to diversity of geography and spending capacity. Other areas to be handled are hiring suitable partner, marketing and promoting the brand, ensuring good RoI, garnering investment, etc.

However, if well-tackled, these challenges can be overcome with a proper planning and strategy. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow in itself.

Most of the franchisors believe there will be a huge demand for multimedia in the future due to better bandwidth and large internet base within India. The forces that are shaping the development of the animation and multimedia industry in India include technical manpower to meet the 2-D and 3-D animation requirements. Besides, creative training is being nurtured beyond the conventional fine arts colleges.

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