Auckland's digital talent teams up

Digital media, game developers, and film producers team up for Auckland-focused industry body

Auckland’s film industry is working with game developers and digital media studios in a new initiative to make Auckland a hub for digital content creation.

The Auckland Screen and Digital Content Sector (ASDCS) launches today, with the help of Auckland Tourism and Economic Development (ATEED) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

ASDCS says its formation is in response to the rapid change in the screen industry from what was traditionally mostly film and television, to production software, digital content creation, gaming, and design software.

Citing Statistics New Zealand data, the strategy document says the Auckland region contributed $2.297 billion to the screen sector last year.

The new body says it will foster growth in the Auckland by developing and commercialising products produced by the industry or at tertiary institutes. ASDCS says it will also act as regulatory body for the industry within Auckland.

How it plans to do this is still unclear, but ASDCS says it is approaching industry members for input to its strategies which it describes as being in “perpetual beta”.

Key initiatives on the ASDCS agenda for the next year include working with the Auckland Council to finalise its screen protocol, establishing an industry-led education group, and attending and blogging from international trade shows.

It is also considering aligning with the Innovation Precinct being built at Wynyard Quarter to establish its own innovation centre.

Dan Wang, co-founder of Auckland-based animation studio Oktober, says Auckland has the oppoprtunity to establish itself as a bridge for digital content between established markets in the West and the emerging Asian nations.

“Now is the time to forge our identity as the hub for high-end digital content, services and technology to both the established West and the emergent East,” says Wang.

“With a well-timed delivery of this strategy Auckland has an exciting opportunity to capitalise on the tremendous aptitude and potential locally.”

Stephen Knightly, whose NZ Game Developers Association is on the leadership comittee for ASDCS, says the organisation is committed to including a wide range of digital talent.

“It covers the whole screen including film, animation and the fast-growing games sector, and has an eye on the future as the screen industry continues to go digital,” he says.

At the inaugural NZ Game Developers Conference in May, Knightly told the audience that gaming studios are increasingly getting more support from the government. He says already there are already four studios supported by NZTE, and the Ministry of Science and Innovation has given grants to three studios.

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