21.03.2016
Article Overview Long

Success Secrets of Masha and the Bear

«Анимаккорд»: как возникла самая успешная российская студия анимации

Reading time 5 minutes


One of the episodes got over1 billion views on YouTube, all around the worlds related products are sold, and the creators have managed to produce two cartoon spin-off about a little girl and a big bear. We found out how the most successful Russian animation studio was created.

Where did Masha appear from?

Animakkord Studio was created specifically for the Masha and the Bear project completely on the money of the investors, whose names were not disclosed. According to thef serial co-producer Dmitry Loveyko, it was not clear, whether the project would shoot off / be a success or not, but in the creators hands there were 8 scenarios, and the entire series’s plan has been developed. Fortunately, investors were ready to wait for five years until the series would be recompensed and return the money to them. All was left as to to set up technical project line, engage experts, prepare the intellectual protection and work out a marketing campaign.

Initially, creators did not plan that the studio would have a complete production cycle. From the very beginning two Russian animation studios offered to take up all the technical side of the cartoon production. However, six months after the launch the authors realized that the Russian studios basis was good but it was not enough. “For licensing activities and development of the brand it would better if the entire production of” Masha “was focused under our control,” – says Loveyko. Therefore, it was decided to set up his own studio in 2008. Due to a crisis many studios were closed so it was possible for “Masha and the Bear” to recruit a highly professional team.

All the technologies and staffing originally were built to create an animated TV series of premium status in all components: animation, image and music. “We realized that there were a lot of animated series, especially in the West and in Asia – says Dmitry Loveyko – as it is required format for today’s niche of children’s television.”

To avoid being like anyone else in the market, the creators decided that the cartoon hallmark should be a three-dimensional animation with a very high level of imaging. The benchmark for the series was the 3D animated movies like Pixar and Dreamworks.

Who is Masha?

“The idea of the show came from the fact that we wanted to present the relationship between adults and children is not a didactic, but in a comic form so that all the spectators had a clear understanding of that heroes experience”, – says the director of the project Denis Chervyatsov.

According to Chervyatsova Masha has been drawn from a real prototype. In 90th Art Project Manager Oleg Kuzovkin was resting on the sea and saw a little girl on the beach. The baby was so genuine and open for communication that could easily come up to a stranger and play chess with him or pick up flippers and go to swim in them. However, after a few days holidaymakers began to hide from the girl – so active and annoying she was. This story stayed in Kuzovkin’s head and a few years later came into the idea of the serial.

Plots for the serial creators were also takenf rom private life. “Most of us have children, – says Chervyatsov. – Those who are engaged in animation, copy the behavior of their children or friends, in the same way as writers do. ”

International success

The series about the friendship and adventures of a little Russian girl and a big bear quickly gained popularity all around the world. The cartoon is broadcast in 22 countries, and one of the series, “Masha + kasha” brought together more than a billion views on YouTube, becoming one of the 17 most popular videos in the history of the service.

The popularity of the series is explained by its creators in a simple way: such a light-hearted, playful and cheerful “Masha” is present in almost every family, irrespective of its nationality. “I think that all children up to 5 years in any country are not much different” – says Denis Chervyatsov with a laugh. In the series, there are no long dialogues. According to the creators, they made an accent action rather than on dialogues, they are closer to the silent movies format, where everything is clear without words.

In addition to the audience recognition “Animakkord” also won professional respect. One of the most influential professional publications, Canadian Journal Kidscreen, since 1996 has presented its own award called Kidscreen Awards, a kind of Oscar in the field of animation. In 2015, Masha and the Bear won Best Animation nomination for this award. Moreover, Kidscreen called this studio one of the most successful production companies of the year on a par with such masters of animation as the Cartoon Network Studios and Dreamworks Animation Television.

What’s next?

Apart from the main series Masha and the Bear it has been expanded to two spin-offs. Masha’s fairytales were launched in 2012, and in 2014 they released their second spin-off Mashkin’s Horrors. In Masha’s fairytales Masha introduces the viewer to the world of Russian folk tales, and in the horror stories” she tells“scary” stories, which in fact become / turn funny and instructive. The creators of the show do not want to comlete it, hoping to further expand the universe of the project. Together with partners Animakkord creates a network of interactive learning/ educational museum. Masha and the Bear alsoproduces magazines and educational computer games.

However, the producer is sure that in the next couple of years, Masha and the Bear will just remain a series, they are not considering full-length film because it need huge resources. Since the project has no state maintenance, Animakkord can count only on themselves.

“I hope that in a year or two we will become a full-fledged international brand, then if we have a partner with a successful experience in the production of three-dimensional full-length films, of course, we will consider cooperation”

– says Dmitry Loveyko.

Now in the studio there are about 100 employees, who work simultaneously on several cartoon series. It takes about three months to create one series.
According to Sosial Blade estimates, through advertising on the YouTube brings to Animakkord about $ 1.5 million per month. Most of the profits of the project comes from the licensed products with Masha and the Bear. This is food, stationery, toys and much more. An agreement on the products of the same brand has already been signed by Annimakord with major players in the market as Danon, Burger King and the German toy maker Simba Dickie. As estimated by the studio, this year’s sales revenue could reach $ 300 million, which would mean a $ 15 million profit for the company.

The producer gives a simple explanation of the success of Animakkord: “Masha” is made with love and a very good team of professionals. “We work on the principle that the next series should be better than the previous one” – says Loveyko. Masha and the Bearis primarily a “series that is clowanage, a clowanage that is clear on all continents to adults and children.

Posted on Categories ArticleTags , ,

Leave a Reply