Jakarta, Indonesia-based MNC Animation (MNCA) was established in 2011 as the kids and family content arm of MNC Group, one of the largest multiplatform media companies in Southeast Asia. With the goal of creating a family entertainment media powerhouse, the arm brought industry vet Seung-Hyun Oh (TRON: Uprising, Generator Rex) on board in 2015 as CCO to spearhead new development. Targeting both a domestic and global audience, MNCA plans to produce 10 new original properties by 2020. Leading the way is Kiko, the company’s first CGI-animated series to enter the international market.
The 52 x 11-minute action-adventure comedy is the aged-up version of MNCA’s existing 39 x seven-minute preschool series of the same name. Since premiering on RCTI in February, Kiko has become the Indonesian free-to-air TV channel’s top-rated animated children’s series.
Targeting kids ages nine to 14 and airing every Sunday at 9 a.m., Kiko is also the highest-rated children’s program in its time slot among Indonesia’s 11 free-to-air channels. And it averaged a 20% share in its first eight months of broadcast.
Kiko follows the underwater, problem-solving adventures of a fish boy and his best friends.
To produce the highest-quality show possible, MNCA recently opened a new state-of-the-art studio in Jakarta that can accommodate 450 people, and partnered with 200 Indonesian animators.
Although the company has been able to expand, resources remain MNCA’s biggest challenge, according to Oh. “There aren’t many schools and institutes here, so it’s really hard to recruit people. But we are planning to open branches in Bandung or Yogyakarta,” Oh says.
“BEKRAF, Indonesia’s government organization (which is similar to KOCCA in Korea or MDEC in Malaysia) isn’t proactive with animation yet,” notes Oh. “So all the funding will come from our company. I hope it changes. There are 250 million people here, so the market is growing fast.”
To help grow the sector, MNCA launched an animation development program last October that’s currently training 80 interns for potential work on its new productions.
Among the studio’s upcoming shows for 2017 are Zak Storm, a co-pro with Method Animation (France), Zag Toon (US) and SamG (Korea), and Titus, an MNCA original kids and family detective show featuring problem-solving animal characters.
Other projects in development include an animated version of the hit Indonesian live-action superhero series Bima and a robot- and toy-driven action series entitled The Gian 8.
As for Kiko, MNCA is currently looking for production, distribution and licensing partners, and is close to signing a deal with Disney for the exclusive broadcast rights for SouthEast Asia.
The IP will also be featured in a US$700-million theme park that MNC Group expects to open in the Lido region of Indonesia in 2020.
Oh says MNCA has a feature film strategy in the works, too. “Beginning in 2018, we will produce a TV movie special first; then move on to a theatrical project,” he explains.