Photo credit: #puppetsontour during Puppet Animation Festival 2013 by Puppet Animation Scotland
The Korean animation industry is one of the largest in the world, coming in behind the animation industries of Japan and the United States. At present, there are well over 260 animation studios in the country, with countless free-lance animation specialists who will provide material for the animation studios, many of whom do not have the computational capacity to produce feature-length animation films in-house.
In the past, animation was mostly geared towards children, however, as computers have become more and more sophisticated, animated films are now geared towards adults as well, some of whom have become fans of Korean produced anime-type shows.
The major animation markets are the United States, Canada, Japan, China, France, Korea, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Animation companies in those countries are increasingly taking advantage of the talent that is available in Korea and outsource their work to highly skilled freelancers.
Another reason why companies are choosing to outsource animation work to Korea is the availability of inexpensive computer animation platforms such as cloud computing-capable supercomputers. Making the case for outsourcing animation work to Korea even more interesting is the fact that workers in the animation industry receive lower wages than their counterparts in the United States and Europe.
Opportunities for Mexico in the Korean animation industry
Thanks to the tremendous computing capacity that’s available in Korea and necessary for modern, cutting edge animation, many companies from the U.S. and Europe will outsource their animation work to artists and animation specialists in Korea. While at first glance a person might think that there would be no opportunity for Mexicans in this arena, the truth is that there are possibly infinite opportunities.
The first opportunity is for Mexican animation specialists. Because the animation industry in Korea is so decentralized with even the main animation producers using cloud computing rather than in-house hardware and software, most of the outsourced work from abroad gets “re-outsourced” – some sections of a project will be given to local freelancers, and other sections of a project may be given to animators from India or China. If a Mexican freelance animation company has the skills a Korean producer wants, chances are highly likely that he or she will get hired.
The second opportunity for Mexico in the Korean animation industry is for local Mexican work to be outsourced to Asia. In other words, if a Mexican broadcaster wants an animated television show, they can hire a Korean company to do it. Along with all of the technical expertise in the hands of a Korean animation firm, they’ll also get the internationally recognized talent of Korean animation specialists.
The third opportunity for Mexico in the Korean animation industry is providing the necessary computational power. At the moment, there are several supercomputers operating in Asia such as the EKA computer that provide cloud computing capabilities, which eliminate the need for expensive hardware. If Mexican companies can provide the same levels of cloud computation and provide the same animation talent, they could very well take over all of the outsourcing work from the United States and Japan that is currently going to Korea.
Finally, Mexico has recently passed the telecom reform to open free-to-air TV to foreign investment and increasing caps on CATV and data networks. Competitive content, like Korean animation, will be needed. Licensing, production-on-demand, localization, VOD and broadcasting businesses will be on the rise.