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Agencies, production houses, and animation studios: Which do I need and how do I tell them apart?

Production for corporate client

Mass media communications is an industry that has been profoundly transformed with the exponential advances in technology. In the B2B media world, some companies have decided to incorporate more functions and services into their portfolio. It also means that businesses have changed the way they define themselves both to the world and to potential clients.

Production houses, animation studios, full marketing agencies, and brand experience labs are just some of the terms that have become more common in the industry. This seemingly vague way of defining a business can be confusing when a potential client is looking for a specific service. Clients unfamiliar with these terms may question if they are reaching out to the right team, especially when a company claims to be several of them. 

Here are some basic definitions that might help you better find what you’re looking for.


An agency is an organization that acts on behalf of another organization, one that provides a broad spectrum of actions and functionalities. If what you need is a strategic branding or marketing solution, and want it put in front of your targeted audience, you should reach out to an agency.

Production house

If you want to produce video content, then a production house will suit your needs the best. An agency can also be a production house if they offer video production services. For example, a company could create a video advertisement for social media while also developing the marketing strategy. 

Animation studio

If you think you need a visualization for a product, a project, or an idea, then you probably will need the help of an animation studio.  While production houses shoot live footage using cameras, the animation is done digitally on a computer.

A production house can also be an animation studio, if they create 2D or 3D animations, and usually several other graphic design functions. In some cases, you can find businesses that define themselves as graphic design studios, or simply design studios.

Sometimes, you will need to contact different types of providers if your project requires it. A branding strategy could require content production, which at the same time could have an animated component. Media design is another need that could require a holistic approach, especially when one is talking about a product for TV or a video format in general.

What if i'm not sure?

If you are having trouble deciding who to reach out to, think about what you ultimately want to accomplish. Do you want to market your product or service and reach new clients and customers? Or do you want to create a video or animation? In many cases, you might benefit from a combination of these. While it may seem simple enough, having a clear understanding of your needs will allow you to save time and money in the long run. Fortunately, most media communications companies will provide you with their portfolio so you can easily determine if their services align with your goals.

Regardless of which route you choose for your project, each type of service can add significant value to your business and lead to long-lasting creative partnerships. Good luck with your search!