The creator of the hugely successful and India’s most popular ‘Chhota Bheem’, Green Gold Animation Pvt. Ltd. was started by Rajiv Chilaka. The company is now one of the largest animation production company in India having its offices in India, Singapore, Philippines and USA. Anvita Prasad, AVP Licensing at Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd., mark out the business trajectory of the company, the keys strengths and shares details on the licensing & merchandising facet of the business in an exclusive interview with Mommy & Baby Times (MBT).
September 14, 2019
MBT: Green Gold Animation has attained astounding popularity with its creation- Chhota Bheem becoming a household name worldwide. Kindly chronicle the business journey of Green Gold Animation from the time of its inception.
Anvita Prasad: Green Gold Animation is a Hyderabad-based company, and it is certainly the top-tier animation company in India. The company entered the Indian Animation Industry in 2001, envisioned with the dream of our founder Mr. Rajiv Chilaka to offer original Indian entertainment content to Indian kids. All of us have grown up watching superheroes from the West such as Spiderman and all the internationally popular content in animation. So, there was a definite gap in terms of lack of Indian original animation content. The founder of the company aspired to develop and present cartoon series that is rooted in Indian sensibilities. He began the company as a proprietary concern with the first project for him being ‘Bongo’ & ‘Vikram aur Betaal’ in animation. Then, he prepared one pilot episode of ‘Chhota Bheem’ with its story being set in the fictional kingdom of Dholakpur. After successfully pitching the idea and concept of the series to the Pogo channel which was liked immediately, so, that is how the partnership with the channel happened. Our first project Chhota Bheem premiered on Pogo in 2008. The animation series on Pogo channel has been a consistent top performer amongst kids’ channels. There is a team of around 1500 people working for Green Gold Animation in total now and all of them are thoroughly committed and sincere. While our headquarters is in Hyderabad, we also have offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata in India, and internationally, Green Gold has established its presence in Singapore, Philippines and USA.
“Our first project Chhota Bheem premiered on Pogo in 2008… has been a consistent top performer amongst kids’ channels. There is a team of around 1500 people working for Green Gold Animation in total now”
MBT: Please outline on the licensing & merchandising business vertical of Green Gold animation.
AP: We started the Green Gold Licensing & Merchandising Pvt Ltd, i.e. the business vertical of Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd with the objective to have a devoted vertical for merchandise sourcing and distribution. As Chhota Bheem became India’s favourite home-grown toon character in the 2-12 year age group, kids wanted more of Chhota Bheem beyond television. Thus, when the tele-series got an amazing reception, we thought of getting into merchandising like T-shirts, CDs, comics etc. That is when we started a full-fledged licensing & merchandising division. In 2012 that is in the second year of the formal operation of our licensing & merchandising division, we were honoured with two Licensor of the year awards which were the highest recognition for licensing of character-based merchandise by any entity or corporation from India. And from the last seven years, we’ve been in the top league as a leading licensing & merchandising company in India. There are about 100+ partners associated with us now such as Savlon, Knorr Soupy noodles and Pepsodent toothpaste, Usha fans, Britannia , Kellogg’s, Parle-G, ICICI Bank amongst others. Also, there are a great many product categories that we are present in with the Chhota Bheem license, be it school bags, lunch box, water bottle, stationery, apparel, footwear, personal care products, and so on. Also, we operate a number of exclusive stores to sell Chhota Bheem merchandise including clothing, umbrellas and home furnishings in cities like Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
MBT: What is the current growth of the licensing & merchandising industry in India especially in the animation segment?
AP: With the surge in the licensing & merchandising industry, there is now a constant parallel opportunity for toon characters in merchandise, entertainment destinations, meet and greet opportunities, movies, and more. When we had started with our venture of licensing & merchandising, this industry was in a very good position in terms of potential for growth. Thus, when we were talking to people about licensing, people were aware about the concept. From the last seven years or so, the market is much more informed and educated and they know that it is not legal to print the IP without the permission of the parent company. In 2010-11, Chhota Bheem license was started with few partners and we have grown to 100+ active licensees with time. Though, the offline market holds a hegemonic position, however, the e-commerce nowadays are playing a crucial role in bringing these products to consumers across India. As the industry is growing in double digits, the companies are increasingly leveraging on these opportunities that didn’t exist earlier.
“And from the last seven years, we’ve been in the top league as a leading licensing & merchandising company in India. There are about 100+ partners associated with us… Also, we operate a number of exclusive stores to sell Chhota Bheem merchandise”
MBT: How would you describe the strengths of the company?
AP: I would say that being an Indian company is the biggest USP for us as when it comes to operating our business, we understand the challenges and opportunities that are there in the market. With our experience and expertise, we can help the corporations that are associated with us to have a smooth sailing in the market. At the same time, it is also true that India has a huge capacity and potential as it is a very dynamic market.