The State of Irish Animation in 2013

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First of all, a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Remember, Guinness is Irish; corned beef and cabbage is not.

On this day last year, we took a look at the Irish animation industry and where it stood, so it makes sense to do an update after another eventful year.

Overall, the industry has gone from strength to strength. Output is up as is employment and the number of players in the industry. Not content to rest on their laurels, various studios have either sprung up or expanded into the gaming and mobile sectors.

At the feature level, both Cartoon Saloon and Brown Bag Films have feature films in production. The former continues work on their successor to The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea. The latter is currently developing their first feature film, Nightglider with their US-based partner, Wind Dancer.

In the televised sector, many players continue their success from last year. In addition to Cartoon Saloon and Brown Bag, Boulder Media continues their winning streak with The Amazing World of Gumball. JAM Media recently opened a second office in Belfast to further their presence in the market. Caboom continued their strong streak from last year and have plenty in development too.

Telegael has expanded their capabilities with the construction of a dedicated stop-motion studio that will produce series for Irish and foreign markets. Monster Animation rebranded as Geronimo Productions and their latest series, Planet Cosmo is currently teaching astronomy to kids all over Ireland and further afield!

As the industry in Ireland matures, it has naturally branched out to touch other industries where animation plays a role. Video games, in particular those for mobile and tablet platforms, have seen an influx of animation studios who realised that their skills were just as applicable to interactive forms of entertainment as it is for passive ones. Kavaleer continues their success in this area and Brown Bag also has their eye on it as they recently announced the creation of a ‘digital division’ to handle properties the area.

The Irish animation industry is in good shape for 2013 and should look forward to another successful year of growth. That said, challenges lie ahead that will have to be at least addressed. Chief of which is the creation of a tax break for animation production in the UK. With the potential loss of their cost advantage, Irish studios may have to get innovative to attract work.

The pace of the transition to digital distribution continues apace and although things are not as advanced as they are in the US, they soon will be. The proliferation of online content (either through YouTube or other services) spells trouble for business models that rely solely upon the traditional methods of funding.

As of writing, no Irish studio has embraced the online model completely despite the fact that large audiences are already there. Perhaps 2013 will be the year an Irish studio pulls a Frederator and gets their own content up and available for worldwide viewing.

Otherwise, the Irish animation industry remains in great shape for 2013. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m outta here for obvious reasons 🙂

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