[100 Companies in Pangyo, the Silicon Valley in Asia] Youneedcharacter, a company specializing in digital character and animation
[ Lee Eun Sil 2020-08-31 ]  
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-TV animation Cricket Pang broadcast in India TV and OTT channel
-Character IP strengthens global competitiveness by launching educational apps and mobile games

These days, various Hallyu (Korean wave) contents ranging from music and video to games are valued highly in the global market. Led by K-pop and K-dramas, the global awareness of various digital video contents such as broadcasting, animation, and movies is rising. With this, the global challenges of content companies that will prove the competitiveness of K-culture are also accelerating. Among them, Youneedcharacter is producing the TV animation Cricket Pang that will be aired on local TV and OTT channels in India in December. Its business footsteps are attracting attention from the industry in that it is the first Korean company to enter the Indian TV animation market.

Youneedcharacter is a character animation production company founded by CEO Song Min-soo in 2017 to start the intellectual property (IP) business with characters. He had previously worked at ICONIX, the maker of the famous character Pororo. In the beginning of the establishment, the company aimed to start the global business with the character IPs. But, Song realized that making animation was the way to promote the character, so the company started its direction to making animations.

Song was interested in global business from the start. But, the US already had high walls with Disney and Pixar, and the UK was still preoccupied with Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter. Japan and China had their own characters that were strong, and this hesitated Song. That's when CEO Song was invited to a content-related event called India Licensing Expo as the first Korean company. To make the company recognized in India, it made animations with materials related to India. It used its national sports cricket and elephant as the subject matter in the animation. This was how the animation Cricket Pang was born.

(Cricket animation)

Cricket Pang is an animation depicting comical situations played by an elephant who loves cricket and his friends targeted for preschoolers. When Cricket Pang was released at the event, the response was so good. People in India were especially amazed at the fact that a Korean company made an animation that fit the Indian sentiment. It has currently received proposals from various buyers such as education companies."

Youneedcharacter participated in the India Licensing Expo twice in a row and built a network with Indian content producers, distributors, and post-production. It is planning to complete Cricket Pang Season 1 within this year and air it in India TV and OTT channel starting in December. "I thought there would be an animation based on cricket because of the popularity of cricket in India, but there was none," said CEO Song. Seeing the annual number of newborn babies reaching 25 million per year and the growth potential of the kids business in India, he targeted the Indian market as the main target.

Youneedcharacter is preparing various character products to develop additional business with Cricket Pang character IP along with the Season 1 airing. It plans to launch a number of education and game apps for children and young adults in the app market at the end of this year when it starts airing. It will start writing the Season 2 scenario upon finishing the production of Season 1, its goal is to make strong kids brand by building awareness in the Indian market.

The company saw the possibility of advancing into the local market through a South African broadcasting station PD who participated in the India Licensing Expo. At the end of last year, it became the first Korean company to participate in DISCOP Africa, the largest broadcasting content exhibition in Africa. Starting with India, the company plans to advance into countries that play cricket like South Africa, UK, and Australia to provide One-Source Multi-Use service. Particularly wanting to grow Youneedcharacter as an animation company with strong digital power, Song said,  "Since the non-face-to-face service has been in the spotlight since the COVID-19 outbreak, we are preparing to launch mobile services and AR educational products by using our characters."

On the reason for starting Youneedcharacter in Pangyo, Song said, "It is because networking with related affiliates such as game companies and Internet services is easy here." He then requested, "For more K-culture companies to thrive in Pangyo, there must be more networking programs among resident companies, and on top of that, joint cooperation and support programs for company branding like business programs and media PR are also needed."

Global News Network 'AVING'
by Lee Eun Sil (www.aving.net)

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