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, 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?

2 thoughts on “Could Taiwan’s wacky news animations catch on?

  1. Daniella Ashkenazy

    Animated news???

    Jimmy Lai and NEXT MEDIA are not the only boy on the block – although this is a case of David and Goliath.

    At the same time, Chelm-on-the-Med©- Online – an open source website of zany news from Israel was ALSO busy developing an animated news wing for television. Without a $30 M R&D budget and 200 employees. Four Israelis – myself included – developed a FAR SUPERIOR PRODUCT in our spare time on PCs and on spec (in six months, not two-and-a-half-years)! Lai’s ‘creation’ has (rightly) been derided in the West by professional news-gatherers. Yet it is questionable whether one can stop technology-driven distribution of information, including news. Lock the door, it will climb in the window. The only question is – what standards will the industry set – where and what kind of ‘animated news’ is suitable, and what is detrimental or irrelevant. Anyone who wants to see a SERIOUS use of animated news segments that can TRULY challenge traditional means of presenting news on television, check out the “demo” for this Israeli initiative at

    The ‘model’ is applicable to any light or odd news beat – not just Israel.

    Short three to three-and-a-half minute segments like this will be a weekly feature, designed to follow or ‘close’ regular conflict-driven HARD news from and about Israel, with one nutty SOFT news story from Israel for balance. Two leading Jewish stations – JLTV and JTN – that reach tens of millions of households in the USA are interested in airing the segments, and others (not all Jewish) are weighing becoming affiliate stations, as well. The production team is now looking for a backer to cover production costs and get this baby on the road. (Spielberg? Katzenberg? Are you listening?)

    In the meantime, Jews (and odd news junkies everywhere) can feed on similar wild and wacky news stories from Israel that are available in columns published on Chelm-on-the-Med© Online at – a contribution to the popular ‘odd news beat’ (where Israel has been missing) – such as the Technion alumnus who creating an “Honorable Menschen” award for lectures who not only know their stuff, but also know how to ‘be a mensch’. Or the divorcee who stole her ex’s toilet, and he wasn’t even pissed off… (see August 2010 Column 2 on the website)

    For more information contact me at

  2. Pingback: Adobe Edge promises animations viewable on Apple devices | Job for freelancers, outsource firms and local workers.

Leave a Reply