In just five years, Mumbai, India-based Cosmos-Maya has gone from a service studio to an IP-creating powerhouse, with 750 employees and 1,000 half hours of original animated content under its belt. Now, the 2D and 3D production company is taking its ambitions global, thanks to a recent investment from Singapore-based equity investor Emerald Media, which took a controlling stake in Cosmos-Maya this month.
While both companies have declined to comment on the amount, the funds will help Cosmos-Maya CEO Anish Mehta take three new series outside of India and into the international marketplace this year. (To date, Emerald Media has committed US$300 million from its KKR Asian Fund II to media, entertainment, consumer tech and B2B industries across Asia.)
“Emerald invested in us because of our original IPs and co-productions. The benefits of having Emerald with us is are its domain knowledge, management potential and vast network in the Asian and North American media space,” says Mehta. “So we plan on leveraging this expertise in order to grow faster. Right now, we have three international co-productions that have been signed. First off is our project called Atchoo!” The 52 x 11-minute series (pictured) premiered in fall 2017 on RAI (Italy), Nat Geo Kids (LatAm) and Amazon (India). It is a co-production with Italian prodco Studio Campedelli and follows a nine-year-old boy who turns into an animal every time he sneezes.
Up next for Cosmos-Maya is Captain Cactus, a co-pro with Olivier Jean-Marie (Oggy and the Cockroaches), Jan Van Rijsselberge (Zombie Hotel, Robot Boy) and Charles Vaucelle (Oggy and the Cockroaches). An international distributor has recently signed onto the series, which will be announced at Kidscreen Summit in February.
To round things out, the animation company has also teamed up with German creator Gerhard Hahn (Mia and me) to develop a new series about the Indian God Ganesha entitled Help Me Ganehsa. The pilot episode is currently in production, and more details are expected to follow. (Hahn recently sold his 50% stake in Mia and me to German brand manager m4e, which now owns 100% of the rights to 78 x 23-minute popular series.)
Mehta plans to keep his company’s most popular production, Motu Patlu, within India, where it currently airs on Nickelodeon. Cosmos-Maya will also continue to work on its impressive catalog of CGI-animated kids shows in India for companies like Disney, Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network and Sony Pictures.
Even though the Emerald Media investment is about growth and moving beyond India, Mehta knows the acquisition signifies a big move for the animation industry in his own country.”This is a very big deal for India because this is one of the world’s largest private equity investors investing in a studio like us, and by extension in the animation industry here,” he says.
Besides linear TV content, Cosmos-Maya is upping the international presence of its WowKidz YouTube channel, which currently has 2.5 million subscribers and more than 2.3 billion views since launching in mid-2015.