Sashim Parmanand, CEO of One Animation, talks to TV Kids about what’s to come, harnessing the power of YouTube and the value of fan interaction.
The Singapore-based studio One Animation is a 3D-animation specialist, content producer, digital influencer and distributor all in one, with programming broadcast in some 180 countries around the world. Its flagship Oddbods property is a resounding international success, with a staggering number of views on YouTube and presence on marquee platforms from Disney to Nickelodeon, Netflix to Amazon Prime Video. And the new property Antiks is following suit.
TV KIDS: How has One Animation positioned itself in this incredibly competitive kids’ marketplace?
PARMANAND: Since inception, One Animation has been creating magical and immersive storytelling and bringing it to life with the very latest animation techniques. We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality animation with a specific focus on delivering characters and storylines with real heart that audiences relate to and empathize with quickly and easily, regardless of culture or language.
Oddbods and the new show Antiks are great examples of this; both are non-/minimal dialogue, but through their clearly defined, loveable and highly relatable personalities and expressive faces, their friendships, challenges and fun adventures are easy to follow for even our very littlest fans.
We also focus on creating multiple formats (short form and long form) for each IP we develop. This is strategically relevant in creating franchises for our brands and ensuring that we create robust content distribution opportunities. For example, our short-form content for Oddbods (one-minute episodes) is distributed on YouTube, and our longer-form episodic series (seven-minute episodes) are distributed on Netflix as well as premium linear channels such as Boomerang, Cartoon Network and Disney.
TV KIDS: How is One Animation tapping into YouTube to promote visibility for itself and its properties?
PARMANAND: One Animation’s shows have a very large and ardent fan base on YouTube: Oddbods has 20 million subscribers and 18 billion views on the platform, while the new show Antiks has 650 million. Meanwhile, our new Oddbods & Friends channel, which launched fully in Q3 last year and features all four of our shows, including the action adventure Insectibles and educational preschool animation Rob the Robot, has over half a billion views.
Having such a significant and engaged audience is a huge asset, and we work hard to find new ways to entertain and engage with our fans on the platform; the content is always fun, colorful, fresh and ever-evolving. Following multiple fan requests via the channel’s Community Pages for longer, story-led content, the studio developed a new 22-minute format to complement Oddbods’ standard one- and seven-minute episodes and launched this first on YouTube. Fans loved it, rewarding us with 500 million views within just a few months.
Capitalizing on YouTube’s immediacy, the studio has developed bespoke content for the channel that celebrates real-world events such as Earth Day (Earth Day, and Recycle), Wimbledon (Game, Set, & Match) and the World Cup (FIFA World Cup) as well as major box office movie launches in real time. This helps ensure that Oddbods continues to be relevant, gaining us greater exposure outside the channel.
The platform also offers great opportunities to cross-promote our shows, consumer products and partnerships via fun pre-rolls, banners and call-outs.
And because we don’t want anyone to miss out, over the last year we have increased the number of languages in which the Oddbods channel is available from 5 to 14, including Hindi, Malay, Arabic, Thai, Vietnamese, Turkish, German and Japanese. We’re proud to say that these channels already make up a hefty 60 percent of Oddbods’ ever-growing YouTube community.
TV KIDS: What have been some of the milestones for the Oddbods brand, and what are the plans to keep the momentum going?
PARMANAND: Oddbods has been on a rapid journey of expansion and development over the last year as we’ve explored a range of successful new opportunities and platforms. We kicked off  in partnership with SEGA’s sister company, goGame, to deliver our first commercial Oddbods game, Oddbods Turbo Run. Fast-forward 11 months and the game had racked up 15 million downloads and a 4.5-star review on the App Store. Weyo launched Oddbods Oddlife, a fully immersive and revolutionary AR experience for iOS featuring Apple’s new ARKit3 technology, and this year will see the launch of an Oddbods multiplayer game filled with gags, laughter and fully customizable Oddbods on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox. Lastly, Rivet, the smash-hit global reading app from Google, will be releasing a series of 15 Oddbods e-books.
We’ve also been working with new partners to get Oddbods content directly into fans’ hands. Later this year, Oddbods content will be preloaded on an estimated 20 percent of all new mobile phones in the U.S. and 28 percent in the U.K., on a total 300 million handsets across the globe. Verizon and Kidomi will also be preloading Oddbods episodes to their kids’ tablets; that’s another 2 million entertainment units packed with Oddbods fun!
Bringing fan interaction even closer still, China’s CMC launched the first of 15 family entertainment centers in Q4 last year, a 25,000-square-foot interactive space packed with themed attractions, live character shows, storytelling and reading areas and even a working Oddbods train! A further two are planned by the end of 2020 and form just the first step of our plans in this field.
But that’s not all: following sell-out QSR promotions with KFC, Hesburger and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and some highly successful retail activations in Walmart, SPAR and Alfamart last year, you can expect to see a lot more Oddbods merchandise in 2020.
TV KIDS: What sets Antiks apart as a series?
PARMANAND: Antiks is our newest show to launch, and it’s packing quite a punch already! Since it hit screens in Q2 last year, it has racked up an impressive 650 million views on YouTube and has already secured a raft of linear and digital broadcasters around the globe.
A slapstick comedy following the antics to two sibling ants, Joey and Boo, who have an insatiable appetite for food, mischief and minuscule levels of mass destruction, the show lends itself perfectly to gaming and education. Watch this space!
TV KIDS: What else is coming down the pipeline from One Animation this year?
PARMANAND: We have a lot cooking, from new formats of existing shows to some great new ones. Hard Boiled is a fast-paced buddy comedy following the super-sleuthing antics of best friends Benni and Hammond. In their colorful world, life is all about cracking cases as they strive to become the greatest detective pair ever known. As you can imagine, things don’t always go quite to plan, with hilarious results. The show, currently still under development, has already attracted a lot of interest from broadcast partners, so keep your eyes peeled.
TV KIDS: As you look ahead at the rest of 2020, what are the priorities for the company as a whole?
PARMANAND: Our goals for this year continue to center on our audiences, putting loyal fans at the forefront of decision-making in terms of the products and services we create. We have a robust development pipeline across our content portfolio, digital gaming and experiential events, with several high-decibel deals rolling out across 2020. Our ambitions are strongly focused on delivering cutting-edge, high-quality content and experiences across all consumer touchpoints to cater to our growing fan base.