A Taiwanese animation company is blending news and entertainment into a viral web sensation. When no video camera is present to capture the big story, the people at Next Media Animation are at the ready to make it up.
From recreating Tiger Woods' controversial car crash, to alleged improprieties by Al Gore in a hotel room, to JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater jumping down his plane's emergency chute, NMA animators have illustrated some of the biggest news stories around, racking up millions of YouTube hits with their quirky work.
NMA's Michael Logan and Emily Wu spoke with ABC's Sharyn Alfonsi for today's edition of "The Conversation."
"It's illustrating events for which there are no original footage, but there's a lot of other material to work with," said Logan, who helps select stories and write scripts. "We are presenting a picture of what we believe actually happened. We believe that is journalism."
Not all journalists would necessarily agree, but there's no question that NMA's work is attracting plenty of eyeballs. The agency's English language website, NMA.tv, got about 7.5 million hits in August.
"The only thing that's surprising to me [about the success of the videos] is that the audience loves the Taiwanese take. They like the Chinese subtitles, they like the Mandarin VO [voice-over narration]. They don't necessarily want it in English," Logan said.
While NMA's work has drawn plenty of attention in the United States, its true target audience is in Asia.The agency is owned by the billionaire publisher Jimmy Lai, owner of Asian tabloid Apple Daily.
Animations illustrating news stories attract a daily audience of some 4 million users to the Apple Daily Hong Kong website, one of the the main outlets for the clips.
NMA's animations are produced by a dedicated staff that numbers in the hundreds. From script to final production, a video can be created in just three hours. They produce 11 minutes of animation every day.
"Speed to us is really the key," said Wu.
We hope you'll watch for more.