Netflix Targets Young Animators in India

All roads in digital entertainment continue to pass through India. Netflix just concluded a week-long (March 15-19) visual storytelling course for students at India’s Amity School of Film & Drama. The virtual event was organized in partnership with Paris-based animation school Gobelins L’école de L’image and focused on animation principles, storytelling fundamentals, character design and gesture design.

Students heard guest lectures by expert animation studio heads, including Guillaume Dousse (Sun Creature) and Anish Mulani (Fractal Picture). The group also heard from Green Gold Animation founder Rajiv Chilaka, who created Netflix’s preschool series, “Mighty Little Bheem.”

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Netflix and Gobelins in 2019 first partnered on two scholarship programs to help develop emerging talent in animation. Since then, Netflix has backed animators from France, India and Africa through its Japan-based Netflix Animation Scholarship Program as well as Character Animation Scholarship Program.

“We love fresh new creative voices, and were grateful to be able to help support and spend time with this group in a way that celebrates India’s storytelling culture and helps bring more of it to the world,” Karuna Gulyani, corporate and policy communications lead at Netflix India, said in a statement.

Netflix, like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, among others, has focused considerable efforts tapping into the second most-populous country in the world. Disney, through its acquisition of Hotstar, now counts 30% of its 100 million Disney+ subscribers from India. Netflix launched Indian operations in 2016. In 2019, it pledged to invest $400 million in Indian original content, a move that resulted in the SVOD pioneer’s first original Indian series, “Sacred Games.”

Netflix also bowed its first mobile-only subscription tier in India, priced at $3 monthly. India had more than 1.1 billion mobile telecom subscribers through last September, according to Statista. Netflix hopes to generate 100 million Indian subs, but reportedly ended 2019 with just two million.

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