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August 25 2010

14:25

Could Taiwan’s wacky news animations catch on?

Following the growing trend for animation re-enactments of news stories in Taiwan and Hong Kong TV broadcasts, Time Magazine this week detailed the successes of one of the companies behind these videos, Next Media Animation.

According to the report, the Taiwan news service produces more than 30 computer-animated re-constructions every day, from Lindsay Lohan’s prison term to Gordon Brown’s rumoured bullying to the actions of Steve Slater, the US air steward who abandoned his plane by emergency slide after an altercation with a passenger.

The company reportedly had a bid for a cable licence denied last year, due to “the sensational nature” of some animations. As a result Next Media launched as an online news channel and has been live for around two weeks, according to the feature.

Next Media’s commercial director Mark Simon is quoted by Time Magazine as saying that in the near future “if you don’t have an animation in your news sequence, it’s going to be like not having colour photographs in a newspaper.”

Following the Time Magazine article, Lostremote.com picked the story up and asked whether animations like Slater’s slide exit, which it reports is receiving more than four million views a day on Next Media’s site, could become a hit with Western audiences.

I can imagine it starting with tabloid TV, but can’t rule out some station using a variation of animated news. After all, we use some animations already (think of an animation showing a plane going down a runway, taking off and crashing). This is another step entirely. While it’s clear the stuff is animated, will that be enough to keep news from crossing the line into fiction? Judging from the popularity, it’s clear the audience likes this stuff. But is it local news-worthy?

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