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Growth Story of Toonz Media Group

Published on Feb 09, 2022
Source : Toonz Media Group


One of the first companies to be started in Technopark, Trivandrum, Toonz was established in 1999 by our visionary founder G.A. Menon. Animation was not even a sector in India at that time. Mr Menon was scouting for a location to start a first-of-its kind animation studio in this part of the world. That was around the time when the Technopark project was just taking off. He believed that Kerala, and Technopark would offer a fertile land to groom professionals and artists in the field of animation. And thus, Toonz was born.

Toonz began its pioneering journey with a handful of artists, and animation masters from around the world who mentored the new crop of artists. From the beginning Toonz saw the value and opportunity of working with the big U.S. studios and kids’ networks. We, thus, began providing them with quality, first-class animation for the global as well as local markets. This know-how and recognition enabled us to grow and put Toonz firmly on the global entertainment map. And then, as a natural progression, we started developing and producing our own IPs, handling the production as well as the international distribution of them. We launched our first 2D project ‘Tenali Raman’ way back in 2003, in partnership with Cartoon Network India. In 2004 we launched our first 3D project ‘Finely the Fire Engine’. This was followed by our first theatrical ‘Return of the Hanuman’ in 2007. The same year we produced our first Hollywood co-production ‘Drangonlance’. There has been no looking back since then.

Today, Toonz Media Group constitutes a fully integrated global kids and family entertainment company whose activities span IP development, production, distribution & rights exploitation, licensing merchandising, gaming and AR/VR. Our corporate offices are spread across the globe in key territories including New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey, the UK, Spain, Ireland, the US and Canary Islands. Toonz’s clientele currently includes the world’s top networks, studios and broadcasters. Currently under production in Toonz studios across the world are international projects being co-produced with the world’s leading creators and studios. Many of them are big budget shows, developed and led by our own artists and directors. These include Paddypaws which has been created by Keith Chapman who is known for shows like `Paw Patrol’ and `Bob the Builder’. With American actress Janet Hubert we are producing a 2D feature cum series called JG & the BC Kids. The feature film is slated to release in March/April 2022. Another marquee project currently under production at Toonz along with Clan TV (TVE) is Sunnyside Billy, a very colourful and upbeat slapstick comedy 2D animation series about a friendly fried egg and his friends. The creative heads behind this project are none other the late animation legend Olivier Jean-Marie, and creator of Robotboy and Dude, that's my Ghost Jan Van Rijsselberge. Meanwhile, the CGI series Aliens in my backpack comes from Rob Lee and James Driscoll, creators of BAFTA nominated World Award winning titles like Fireman Sam. We are also co-producing highly anticipated animation features with leading production houses like Highland Films, Exodus Film Group and Cinema Management Group.

Over the years Toonz also diversified its operations to several allied media and entertainment sectors. Toonz launched its own OTT platform MyToonz in 2021. The company also ventured into the platform entertainment business with the launch of its first broadcast channel in Indonesia last year. Toonz will be launching more kids and family channels and OTTs in the coming months in different territories, including Middle East and North Africa. Toonz Academy, established in 2002, is already one of the leading animation training institutions in India. In 2021, Toonz also launched an EdTech platform called Ri8brain, which exclusively dedicated to creative art forms. Animation Masters Summit, Toonz’s flagship annual event, is a much touted event in the animation industry that brings together stalwarts as well us budding artist in the creative field on a single platform.

Toonz Media Group’s latest venture has been in the NFT space. We launched world’s first fully integrated NFT design lab in October last year, in partnership with blockchain R&D company GuardianLink called Toonz NFTLabs. The online game that we are currently developing will be our first NFT-based product to be launched in the market, tentatively in the first quarter of 2022. The company’s stupendous success in the last 22 years has been spearheaded by our CEO P. Jayakumar. When he joined Toonz, Mr Jayakumar was a newbie in the animation industry. The company at that time was led by an American CEO. A Chartered Accountancy graduate, Jayakumar was cherry picked by G.A. Menon to don the role of Head of Finance at Toonz. Before long, he was promoted to take up the position of COO and eventually to the CEO position in early 2003. The rest, as they say, is history. Under Mr Jayakumar’s inspirational leadership, Toonz expanded from its home ground in India, growing its global footprint, diversifying business, and making strategic international acquisitions, such as the Spanish distribution company Imira and Ireland-based studio Telegael. Today, Mr Jayakumar is a distinguished figure and a much-admired thought leader in the media and entertainment industry. He was named as one of the top twenty Toontitans in Asia by Animation Magazine, a leading trade publication in the animation industry. With an exceptional track record in building partnerships and scaling new heights, Mr Jayakumar continues to propel the success story of one of Asia’s most pioneering animation studios – Toonz Media Group.