Dubbing - leading the way to India


September 21, 2023

Did you know that the latest Hollywood releases of 2023, Barbie and Oppenheimer are on their way to creating new records at the Indian box office beating Fast X, MI7?

The box office collection of Oppenheimer stands at nearly Rs 100 crore in just the first two weeks of release and that too when it was released only in English and Hindi, leaving major regional market yet to be tapped!

India, like Europe, has the widest range of languages spoken across different regions and presents a significant opportunity for the localization industry to cater to the needs of the local audience. It is home to Hindi, the third most-spoken language in the world after English and Chinese (Mandarin). It is also home to 121 languages and 270 mother tongues, 22 of which are official languages. This is the top underlying reason for the Indian dubbing industry on a roll with the recent OTT boom and worldwide releases, taking regional cinema beyond geographical boundaries!

This blog highlights how all roads lead to India when it comes to localization of content.

How dubbing and subtitles are spearheading the global content craze

The Global Film Dubbing market size was valued at USD 3274.73 million in 2021 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 7.31 percent during the forecast period, reaching USD 5000.1 million by 2027. The American cinema has historically been the largest exporter of genre films in action, animation, fantasy, horror and sci-fi across the globe and its impact here in India has substantially grown over this decade mainly because of dubbing and or subtitles. Hollywood has been contributing to over 10- 15% of Indian box office revenues, action films being the biggest contributors with just 70-80 releases a year.

On the other hand, South Korea with one of the five largest film industries in the world, trailing the U.S. and China and at par with Japan and the U.K., is contributing hugely to streaming platforms. The international entertainment industry, particularly India is riding on ‘Hallyu’ (the Korean wave), India being amongst the Top 5 consumers of K drama.

Netflix, the frontrunner in OTT platforms alone released 20 Korean language originals in 2022, driving a 100% growth in 2021over 2020 as they believe that entertainment is still fundamentally local around the world. They subbed The Squid Game in 31 languages and dubbed in 13 more, blowing up the Internet and they are ready for the second wave now.

The dubbing industry is undoubtedly entering its golden phase now

The increasing penetration of internet and smartphones in India shows a growing appetite for regional content among the Indian audience. The rise of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram have also led to the popularity of short-form videos in regional languages, creating a significant demand for localization services.

Is this because a large population (every year 2.5 million Indians migrate overseas) of Indians living abroad crave to remain connected to their roots and love to watch content in their own mother tongue, wherever they might be stationed?
Or because Indian audiences are expanding their OTT palate and are bingeing on the swoon- worthy Korean rom-coms, Spanish action, Nordic thrillers, and Turkish dramas spiking the foreign language consumption up by seven times?

Why India and not others?

Bong Joon Ho, director of the award-winning movie Parasite had told the crowd in 2020, “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films."

Today we can surely say so in the Indian context

While Hindi and English currently dominate content among streaming platforms in India, regional platforms and OTT apps are on the rise, targeting audiences looking for content in Indian regional languages (IRL). The growing penetration of Internet users and OTT content consumers in India makes it one of the most lucrative destinations to perforate new content in. A report by FICCI and EY estimates that by 2024, 54 percent of content produced for OTTs will be in languages other than Hindi and English. The huge number of Indian regional language (IRL) content viewers, specifically Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali is enough to ensure that a one-time localization effort can pay off huge dividends as it enables you to greater penetrate a market of more than a billion people.

With impressive projections for the coming years for the Localization industry, it is important we become future ready. Dubbed and subtitled content should not be seen as merely an opportunity for foreign language content to come into the country, but also perceived as an opportunity for the Indian originals to cross the border onto the other side.

The future of content localization looks promising as global markets continue to grow, and media companies strive to expand their reach & shape the future of content localization. As global markets continue to expand, media content localization, or in plain words- Dubbing, Subtitles and Audio Descriptions will become an increasingly important strategy for media companies looking to stay ahead of the competition.

Prime Focus Technologies (PFT), the creator of AI-powered technology solutions for the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry, introduces CLEAR® Localize, a cloud-based process automation platform that simplifies the Localization process. Through CLEAR®'s articulate dashboard, easy onboarding of multiple vendors, smooth subtitling, auto re-timecoding, automated cloud native localization orchestration, dubbing in over 60 languages, varied language/dialect talent availability native to PFT, the choice is sure limited.