Aardman Animations

Making a Wallace & Gromit film or a series of Shaun the Sheep looks fun, but Aardman Animations’ David Sproxton believes its success owes as much to sound business strategy as it does to creative genius.

"Keeping the quality threshold high, delivering to our strengths in storytelling and character animation and keeping an eye on budgets has been key to our success," says David, the company’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman.

  • 16 million people watched the Wallace & Gromit film A Matter of Loaf and Death on BBC One on Christmas Day 2008

Riding out recent tough economic conditions, meanwhile, has required flexibility. "We’ve had to keep flexible in what we take on, rationalise in areas that were investment heavy or weren’t performing financially and play to our strengths with our strong, well-loved brands," David says. "We have also extended into the digital areas and integrated the departments in the company more to get greater collaboration on projects." Aardman Animations has also had to cope with its Hollywood deal coming to an end. "It made us look at feature film financing in a different way and focus our thinking on delivering commercially viable films at the right price point to our key territories."

While its creations have made the company world famous, the UK needs to do more to help other businesses follow in its footsteps, David reckons. "We need to develop high-level skills and not be obsessed with the 16–19-year-old age group," he urges. "Our sector needs postgraduates with high-level skills to drive the industry forward."