Last Updated: 12.05 PM, Feb 27, 2023
Amazon Prime Video will stream the Hindi version of Vijay-starrer Varisu, starting 8 March. The Tamil action drama is already streaming in its south Indian versions on the service.
Video streaming platforms are fast recognising the diversity of India as a nation and the importance of reaching out to Indians in their languages. Services, both local and foreign, are upping their dubbing game for marquee content.
Industry experts say the dubbing game is important to reach out to tier-two and tier-three towns that services have penetrated into during the covid-19 pandemic with even niche originals gaining popularity.
Indian audiences have a strong appetite for localized content as can be seen in the success of localized marketing of global content in the country, say platform executives. The extension of web show experiences from an audio perspective beyond subtitles was long overdue. Plus, the strategy takes inspiration from the popular Hollywood studio move of getting top Bollywood stars to dub for foreign flicks. Tiger Shroff had dubbed for Tom Holland in the Hindi version of Spider-Man: Homecoming while Varun Dhawan had voiced Marvel’s superhero movie Captain America: Civil War.
Video streaming platforms will increasingly dedicate 50-60% of their budgets to southern language content, with programming in these languages seeing much traction and 30% of current OTT viewership coming from southern films and series, said media and entertainment industry experts. Films like RRR, Beast, and Jana Gana Mana have been big hits on Netflix last year, for instance, while Amazon Prime Video has seen much traction for its Tamil original Suzhal.
Producers and platform executives say the other advantage is southern originals are easy to put together with talent costs not as high as Hindi. It is estimated that 50% of overall subscription growth in 2022 has come from the five southern markets.