Valued at US$ 264 billion  as of 2019, the global  industry for animation, VFX & video games industry is versatile, vast and fast paced. Endeavours to leverage cutting edge technology  and expand content intellectual property (IP) through production of state-of-the-art animations is notable in SouthEast Asia. Thailand, in particular, has ambitions to become a digital content hub in ASEAN. In 2016, it was ranked first  in the region for animation related businesses. 


A Historical Overview:  Animation business propped up in SEA around the 1940s where some of the earliest works can be traced to Thai post World War II productions that instructed farmers on their apparel. Indonesia launched its maiden animated film in 1955 and Vietnam saw government educational productions in 1959. An industry boom was catalysed when established animators such as Toei Animation and Walt Disney entered the market in the Philippines.


Modern Business Trends:  The popularity of 3D animation is surging in the SEA industry. According to a survey by the South East Asia Animation Report (2018), more than 50 %of business reportedly focused on 3D animation.  Examples include Planion Animation in Vietnam and Tiny Island Productions in Singapore.  2D, visual effects third, modelling and art assets production  followed suit respectively in terms of business focus. The salience of outsourcing and work for hire assignments vs. original IP creation varies by region. Thailand  together with the Philippines is a primary outsourcing provider for big international firms.

Content IP In Thailand :

Only 33 % of Southeast Asian animation companies produce their own content IPs. Many Thai animation firms, recognizing that original content and characters are a gateway to accessing larger and more dynamic markets for growth,  have been creating local productions. These firms include Kantana Animation Studios and Monk Studio.


The market segment for animated content can be divided into 3 sections: pre-schoolers (2-3 years old), pre-teens, and teenagers under 18.  Niche markets for adults and dark cartoons also exist and these various segments indicate an opportunity for diversity in content and medium e.g. games, mobile apps etc


The animation firm Tiga which used to import copyright licenses creates local cartoons on Channel 7 and ThaiPBS.  Pre-teens are a partciularly valuable market due to the complimentary demand generated for merchandise. HomeRun Entertainment, producer of the cartoons  4 Angies and Dogga Doop, expanded its business scope resulting in broadcasting and license sales in India and Middle Eastern countries.


Likewise, internationalizing its efforts is the T&B Media Global Group, a household name in Thai animation. Established in 2016, it  has produced successful animated films such as “Nezha-Magic Boy”, ” Luo Xiaohei’s War “, “Douro Continent” and a branding focus on “happy, positive and beautiful” content with youth and subculture focused themes. T&B founder,  Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp himself created the popular “Shelldon” animated series6. Shelldon was translated into 35+ languages, broadcasted in over 180 countries and is currently streaming on Netflix.  At the 2021 Shanghai International Film Festival, T&B officially partnered with top Chinese creative firms Sunac Culture, Wanda Pictures and SCG Pictures to expand its business ventures.

With core sources of revenue varying by region, the main business model for the animation market consists of box office income, advertising, derivative income and streaming services. These variations are considered when creating new content and marketing strategies. However, Thai production studios are reported to be less keen on marketing. This is where companies like Urbanice come in to fulfill the needs of a complex and vibrant industry.