In India, the fast-growing media and entertainment industry is
expanding into the heart of the country by making new investments in
regional languages. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi.
the coming week, Star India will launch a new TV entertainment channel
in Bengali - a language spoken in the east of the country. Star also
plans to start TV channels in five other regional languages in the coming months.
India is owned by media giant, News Corp, and was the first foreign
broadcaster to enter India. So far, its main focus in India has been on
English and Hindi speaking audiences.
But like other media
groups, Star wants to expand into a largely untapped market for
entertainment and news in local languages. It plans to invest $100
million in the regional language TV channels.
India has as
many as 20 official regional languages. And in recent years, an
expanding economy has raised both incomes and literacy in small towns
and rural areas. Millions of people, who mainly speak the local
language, now have access to television. Others are turning to regional
newspapers for the latest headlines.
As a result, regional audiences have been steadily growing in size.
Phadnis, chief executive of consultancy group mediaE2E, says the boom
is being sustained by a massive increase in advertising revenues
generated by regional markets. He says television channels in
particular are grabbing a larger slice of advertising money.
what would typically happen that the regional market would typically
garner close to 30 percent of the viewership share, but would only get
15 percent of the revenue share," said Phadnis. "So there was
clearly an imbalance. Today that situation has improved considerably.
Regional language channels get upwards of 25 percent of overall market
share of ad [advertising] revenues."
beaming in local languages initially offered greater entertainment
content. But of late, several media groups have launched news channels
in regional languages.
However, it may not be an easy run
for all media groups. Star television, for example, faces tough
competition from local companies like Zee Entertainment and Sun, which have made huge inroads into regional markets.
recent report by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers says India's media
and entertainment industry is the fastest growing in Asia, and is
attracting many global collaborations. It estimates the industry will
grow to $32 billion by 2012.