Oktobor cuts advertising apron strings, shifts focus to animation

Oktobor’s managing director Bruce Everett told Stuff in September last year that the company’s commitment to advertising was still deep, despite the fact it was steadily being transformed into “visual effects, animation and digital creative convergence studio”. Well, the connection to advertising wasn’t that deep, obviously, because Everett has announced that Oktobor won’t be offering TVC and VFX services to the advertising and commercials market on a day-to-day basis anymore and will instead shift resources across to the relatively recently christened but obviously very successful animation arm, Oktobor Animation.

“Since its inception in May 2010 we have invested millions of dollars into the animation business, employed over 120 new crew and I’m glad to say Oktobor Animation is going from strength to strength,” he said in a statement. “…Given the amazing work created by our talented commercials team over the last few years, it is with some sadness that we move out of TVC post-production.”

Oktobor was a big player in the commercials scene, offering top-end post-production to national and international clients, so some of its competitors will presumably be pleased to see this gap opening up. But with the success of Oktobor Animation (largely attributable to joining forces with Backyard Animated Pictures to create a CG animation studio to service media goliath Nickelodeon) and the challenge of ever-shrinking budgets in the adland, he says “this strategic refocusing of the business is the best way to move the company forward and ensure a solid future for Oktobor and its staff”.

As far as job losses go, Everett was unable to be reached, but the release said a small core administrative team will remain at Oktobor as Everett believes its Sale Street HQ in central Auckland and strong technical infrastructure means it will be able to support previous staff, freelancers and boutique creative shops by offering dry-hire facilities and the 400m2 sound stage at 105 Cook St.

Back in November, Everett anticipated the studio, partly modelled on the success of Weta in Wellington, would provide up to 300 jobs over the next four years through its connections to Nickelodeon and Dreamworks and offer several paid internships to top CG graduates of NZQA institutions nationwide.

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