It is with interest that I read comments from Biren Ghose, COO of animation for UTV. His observation of his [international] competition was that it had an Achilles heel. ‘Everyone working in the outsourcing game has to keep up with what they commit,’ said Ghose. ‘What favored India – and UTV – is the fact that the Philippines had lost its early advantage, to some extent due to an inability to meet deadlines and quality [standards].’
The comment is strange considering that every major Indian company entering the animation market has employed Filipino supervisors and trainers (almost exclusively) in both the creative and logistics areas and continues to do so.
In my experience, producers deal with production houses and not countries. Decisions for the placement of contracts are based on the confidence that the producer has in the chosen studio. And this confidence is [dependent on] a number of criteria, including quality, value, reliability and relationship issues.
It is onerous to compare the Philippine animation market to that of India. The Philippines is a mature market, whereas India is in its infancy. The Philippines is also a smaller domestic market and will naturally have fewer operators than India.
The Philippines enjoys proactive support from the Department of Trade and Industry, has benefited from an attractive exchange rate for exporters, and enjoys regionally competitive salaries. Its communication technology infrastructure is advanced and readily available, and English is widely spoken.
Top Draw itself was founded four years ago, at a time that was widely described as the international industry’s most difficult time. We have posted growth each year – 400% this year over 2002 – and are currently employing some 700 personnel.
Historically, it has taken at least 10 years for animation markets to mature. This was the certainly the case with Australia, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines and mainland China, and I suspect this will be the case for India – regardless of what is or is not happening in the Philippines.
Aussie Wayne Dearing has worked in the animation business in the Philippines for 12 years of his 25-year career. He currently owns and operates Manila, Philippines-based studio Top Draw Animation.