Taskforce to Aid in Growth of Animation Industry

Photo: JIS Photographer

Story Highlights

  • The group comprises of stakeholders from the public and private sectors
  • The organisation is seeking to continue the critical work required to lay the foundation for building the Jamaican animation industry

A high-level working group has been convened to aid in facilitating the growth and development of Jamaica’s animation industry.

The group, which has been assembled by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, comprises of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, the animation industry, training institutions, business support services, and financial institutions.

“The taskforce has already started to craft the policy framework required to support all aspects of the industry, through the provision of the most enabling environment,” the Minister informed on July 17, as he addressed an animation workshop at JAMPRO’s New Kingston offices.

The establishment of the group is among initiatives by the Government to drive growth in the animation sector and position Jamaica as the animation hub of the entire Americas.

Mr. Hylton said that through JAMPRO and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a finishing school will be developed to equip animators with the skills to compete on the world stage.

He informed that the administration is already in discussion with the HEART Trust/NTA for the inclusion of an animation workforce training course, to be added to their curriculum, “to produce Jamaica’s first home grown batch of animators”.

Currently valued at over US$200 billion, the global animation industry has been growing at a tremendous pace over the past four years, expanding by over $1 billion per year, which is equivalent to a 20 per cent yearly growth rate.

Minister Hylton said that this presents tremendous economic opportunities for Jamaica and the Government is committed to ensuring that “we do not miss the animation boat”. He noted that the network of animators and animation outfits in Jamaica continues to grow, with four animation studios exporting their services globally.

He said that Jamaica has many advantages in the sector including access to a large, skilled workforce, a near shore advantage and cultural affinity with the large animation markets of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition, Jamaica is the third largest English-speaking nation in the Western Hemisphere, with a strong reputation for creativity.

“Outsourcing in the animation industry is lucrative, and makes for good business sense because gone are the days when any job is completed in one location. In 2012, global animation revenue in entertainment alone generated over US$100 billion, most of which was specific to the video game industry, and discrete elements of any video game are produced in several spaces.  The ship of outsourcing animation is sailing, and Jamaica needs to be on board,” he stated.

The Minister further noted that animation can be integrated into pre-existing plans, such as the Logistics Hub Initiative, tourism and sports.

“In exploring the possibilities for the growth of the animation industry, we need to factor in the linkages to other industries.  For example, animation is a tried and proven methodology for the creation of training videos in every discipline at every level. It will also undoubtedly play an important role in a wide range of communication and media related activity associated with the development of the Logistics Hub,” he said.

Stating that a “platinum opportunity” awaits the country in the global animation industry, he said that Jamaica must prepare and position itself to take advantage of the opportunities, and use them as platforms for economic growth, and job and wealth creation.

“Becoming a key player in the global animation industry will have a significant positive impact on the medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME) sector and will support the goals of the National Development Plan Vision 2030.The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce remains committed to that wider goal of economic development and in building the animation industry …Jamaica’s brand dominance exists in the areas of sports, music and aspects of culture. Let us now work towards carving out our niche and becoming a mega brand in global animation,” he stated.

Chairman, JAMPRO, Milton Samuda, said being a labour intensive industry, animation provides employment opportunities for Jamaica’s inventive youth and more importantly, given the highly mobile attributes of the sector, it has a strong potential for the exports of services and the earning of well-needed foreign exchange for Jamaica.

“JAMPRO has played a significant role to date in engaging our animators and establishing linkages with external stakeholders – both from a developmental and support point-of-view as well as in respect for demand for animation services,” he said.

He said that through the workshop, the organisation is seeking to continue the critical work required to lay the foundation for building the Jamaican animation industry.

Entitled: ‘SME Internalisation: Positioning the animation industry for investments and exports’, the workshop was put on by JAMPRO in collaboration with the IDB.

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