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An explosive growth industry in search of new talent

News Industry Jan 10, 2020 5:30:47 PM 12 min read



By Lars Mandal

I wish that a talented 3D academy like Truemax was allowed to educate twice as many people as today, because we constantly have 60 vacancies in the industry,” says Jan Neiiendam, Industry Director at Interactive Denmark and Deputy Director of the Danish Producers’ Association.


Numbers never lie. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the VFX, 3D and video game industry if you want to be sure to score a good job after graduation.
Nordisk Film Shortcut is a shining example of the evolution of the industry.
“It’s going really well. We have already achieved the goals we set for 2020. We’ve grown 50% in just four years by focusing on VFX, restoration and mastering/delivery. We have a healthy business and happy employees,” says a clearly satisfied Production Manager Mia Bang Stenberg.
Shortcut has grown and now employs 35 employees plus freelancers, partly because the company has succeeded in selling many more VFX hours, most recently Shortcut has delivered 6,500 VFX hours on Denmark’s first series for Netflix, the series The Rain.
“Today, we do tasks that we could not deliver four years ago, and we now get more and more complex tasks than before,” explains Mia Bang Stenberg, who expects Shortcut to reach a turnover of DKK 34 million this year.

Bo Christiansen, CEO, Truemax Copenhagen Academy, confirms that the program’s students are in high demand.
“Companies are lining up for internships for our students. We are contacted almost daily by companies who want our students before they graduate. ”
A closer look at the latest industry figures shows that the trend has accelerated since the 2016 figures were published, but the trend from 2009 to 2016 alone is remarkable:

All arrows point upwards

The number of companies in the gaming industry in Denmark has gone from 72 to 162, an increase of 125%. The number of FTEs increased from 516 to 804, an increase of 55%. Turnover has almost tripled from DKK 377 million to just over a billion, DKK 1,025 million. And exports have almost doubled from DKK 339 million to DKK 649 million. million, an increase of just over 91%.
“It is remarkable that the games industry in Denmark is now as big as the TV and film industry,” says industry director Jan Neiiendam, who is also deputy director of the Danish Producers’ Association, “and on the global stage, it is worth noting that the games industry already overtook the TV, film and music industry two years ago. Together,” he adds.
In 2018, renowned research firm NEWZOO expects mobile games, PC games and console games to reach a combined global revenue of $138 billion, with massive growth especially in mobile games.

Need for more educated people

In Denmark, new jobs are constantly being created in the 3D and gaming industry, and Jan Neiiendam has high praise for programs like Truemax.
“We struggle every day to find qualified applicants to fill vacancies in this rapidly growing industry, and we recently realized that there are almost 60 vacancies in the industry at any given time. We are competing with major universities in Sweden and elsewhere for the coveted talent, so I could dream of a coveted university like Truemax being allowed to double the number of students. We can’t train enough people as it stands now,” states Jan Neiiendam.
Bo Christiansen, Truemax: “We have just received the Ministry of Education’s commitment to increase our intake of SU-eligible students by 25%, and we hope to be able to meet a modest part of the high demand we are experiencing, both in gaming and in the VFX industry. ”

Nordisk Film invests heavily

One of the most active companies in the industry right now is Nordisk Film, which, among other things, has invested a triple-digit million dollar amount in a Swedish computer game company, Star Stable Entertainment AB, which is behind a global online horse game for girls.
The investment is part of Nordisk Film’s growth strategy within gaming, and it is the fifth acquisition in Nordic video game companies since 2017. Nordisk Film is owned by the media group Egmont.
“Gaming is a growth area where we can leverage our competencies in Nordisk Film and Egmont, and we are ready to make major investments,” says Allan Mathson Hansen, Executive Vice President, Nordisk Film. At the end of May, it was also announced that the company with the famous polar bear has acquired the remaining shares in Avalanche Studios, one of the largest video game companies in the Nordic region. The acquisition was part of a strategic investment in the fast-growing gaming market and was the largest single deal ever for Nordisk Film, which in 18 months has invested close to DKK 1 billion in video game companies.

Political focus on the creative industries

Politicians are also focusing on a Danish position of strength within the creative industries. The creative industries employ 79,000 people in Denmark, contribute to innovation and growth in the rest of the business community and help brand Denmark.

Exports have increased from DKK 60 billion in 2009 to DKK 86 billion in 2015 and today account for 7% of Denmark’s total exports.

As new digital technologies emerge, there are good conditions for a high international demand for Danish creative products, services and competencies. The government’s growth team in the area will, among other things, look at the framework for the business community to use the new digital business models, companies’ access to skills and talent, access to international marketplaces and the interaction between the creative industries and other industries.

Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Brian Mikkelsen has stated: “Denmark is internationally recognized for design, film, TV series, games and architecture. The Danish creative industries must continue to be a Danish position of strength in a digital age. Therefore, in continuation of the government’s digitalization strategy, we have asked a number of business people to give the framework for the creative industries a growth check. ”

Minister of Culture Mette Bock has said that “in Denmark, we have a strong content production within games, music and film that helps create growth and innovation in Danish society. However, the creative industries are facing a new reality where digital services, among other things, are constantly changing consumption patterns. I look forward to the growth team coming up with concrete proposals on how we can best support the new digital business models in a growing global market. ”

Another doubling

As already mentioned, the Danish gaming industry is booming. Over the next three years, the Danish gaming companies expect to double their combined sales to reach a total turnover of around DKK 2.5 billion.

“New companies are springing up, and at the same time, investors are now really coming into the picture, which can act as fuel for growth,” says Jan Neiiendam, industry director at Interactive Denmark, who has previously said: “We need to double the industry’s turnover, exports and number of employees in two to three years. That’s our goal, and we’re basing it on the market growth in the gaming market. We’re constantly adding new companies to the industry, so there are now over 150 of them, and they’re getting bigger. ”

The industry has already doubled from 2012 to 2015 with the mobile game Subway Surfers being the big driver. According to one of the new big players in the industry, Nordisk Film Games, there is a basis for doubling.
“We see a lot of gaming companies bubbling up now. Compared to five years ago, there are both more of them and more high-quality ones. It doesn’t take many of them breaking through internationally before you can really feel it. Just one title that becomes popular internationally can make a big difference,” said Mikkel Weider, CEO of Nordisk Film Games.
At Truemax Copenhagen Academy, Bo Christiansen is pleased with the bright prospects. “We have great success in selling our students abroad, for example, Framestore in London has several of our students as interns and, not least, as employees after graduation, where they have worked on films such as Paddington and Starwars. ”

Vidar Christiansen

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