Animated films have grown in popularity as expanding markets (such as TV and video) and new technologies (notably computer graphics imagery) have broadened both the production and consumption of cartoons. As a consequence, more animated films are produced and watched in more places, as new - worlds of production - have emerged. The animation production system, specialized and distinct from film production, relies on different technologies and labor skills. Therefore, its globalization has taken place differently from live-action film production, although both are structured to a large degree by the global production networks (GPNs) of the media conglomerates.
This research examines the structure and evolution of the animation industry at the global scale. In order to investigate these, 4,242 animation studios from the Animation Industry Database are used. The spatial patterns of animation production can be summarized as, 1) dispersion of the animation industry, 2) concentration in world cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, 3) emergence of specialized animation cities, such as Annecy and Angoulême in France, and 4) significant concentrations of animation studios in some Asian countries, such as India, South Korea and the Philippines.
In order to understand global production networks (GPNs), networks of studios in 20 cities are analyzed. Animation studios in these cities have formed different types of networks - some global, some local, and some both global and local. In addition to seeking lower production cost, other factors, such as institutions, business culture and cultural contents have affected the geography and strategies of animation studios throughout the world.