Technicolor’s Animated Centennial Adult Toons Rising
As the company’s name implies, technology has always been at the core business of Technicolor. One hundred years ago, that meant developing what would become the dominant technology for shooting and projecting color film. Now, digital entertainment in general and animation in particular are at the core of the centennial-celebrating company.
Technicolor’s entry into animation began in 2008 with the acquisition of Paprika Studio in Bangalore, India. Having first developed the studio’s potential as a service studio — its size has doubled over the past four years to roughly 800 employees — Technicolor has since worked toward developing its own animation properties.
“As a strictly work-for-hire service studio, you aspire to have ownership in properties and in brands in order to add value to your company,” says Robert Winthrop, head of animation and games. “Before we were involved in original IP development, we were the Technicolor brand, which is amazing, and we were an animation studio in India. Now we are an entertainment company that not only has an amazing studio in India, but a studio that creates, develops and produces amazing entertainment and nurtures fantastic brands.”
The company’s first wave of properties — adventure series The Deep, co-produced with Nerd Corps and A Stark; and comic superhero series Atomic Puppet, developed and produced with Mercury Filmworks and Gaumont — are in production and will be the focus of Technicolor’s efforts at MIPTV. Technicolor also is offering a peek at a pair of in-development shows: an adaptation of the children’s book series Chamelia — co-produced with Mercury — and comedy series Bear, Bud & Boo.
Technicolor acquired in February the Parisbased OuiDo Productions to establish a base in producing branded entertainment content in Europe. Headed by Sandrine Nguyen and Boris Hertzog, OuiDo’s production credits include Alvinnnn! & the Chipmunks, Sega’s Sonic Boom; an adaptation of
comic-book series Les Légendaires, and a new series of Monchhichi.
“We like the brands that they were producing and their ability to finance them out of France, and we felt that was a missing piece in the overall strategy, which is participating in branded entertainment,” says Winthrop. The company sees that as a growth market despite increasing competition as it heads into its second century. “Known brands with brand equity are still, I think, the go-to’s,” Winthrop says. “And whether it’s on a handheld device or on a television or in the theater, those go-to brands are going to drive commerce.” [ Networks, says adult animated shows have proven appeal that transcends borders.
“This is one of the more broad-appeal commissions Comedy Central in the U.S. have made and it’s one of the ones I’m most excited and optimistic about taking out into the market,” says Beaton.
Scheduled to debut on Comedy Central later this year, Viacom is confident enough in the show to take it to MIPTV.
“There is serious money being invested in adult animation as it tends to have a long life in schedules,” Beaton says. “The reason we commissioned this show and are working on the show is we see this genre as one that is very clearly in growth. It’s very clear that more shows are coming into the market place.” [