South masala adds flavour to the Hindi movie genre

 Dubbed south Indian movies, especially action movies, are increasingly finding a loyal audience base on Hindi movie channels

e4m by Suraj Ramnath
Updated: Jan 2, 2012 7:11 AM
South masala adds flavour to the Hindi movie genre

 It has been many years now that Hindi movie channels discovered the advantages of dubbed movies in their core content offering. Not only from a cost to acquire but also from ratings they can generate viewpoint, dubbed movies have become essential for Hindi movie channels. Earlier it was the Asia movie fare, where channels were banking on the popularity that actors such as Jackie Chan had with Indian audience. And now, the dubbed movie proposition has gone ‘South’.

One key trend for the Hindi movie genre in 2011 was the increased number of dubbed south Indian movies in a Hindi movie channel’s content line up. And this was true across all channels in the genre. An observation made was that south Indian movies helped garner television ratings particularly from Hindi heartland including markets in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Forming a Loyal Audience Base
Sameer Ganapathy, Business Head, UTV Movies pointed out that there was a week-on-week viewership growth of dubbed films across Hindi movie channels. He said, “This trend stands testimony to the fact that there are people who enjoy this genre and follow it religiously.”

Mohan Gopinath, Business Head, Zee Cinema Premiere, Action, Classic (PAC), Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEE), agreed that dubbed movies, that have been a regular fare on ZEE movie channels for some time now, delivered good television ratings. He said, “The fact that we have been showing these films for many years now is an indicator of the healthy support we get on these from advertisers.”

In particular, it is the action movies of South cinema that has clicked with movie buffs. The trend was seen on the big screen with Bollywood producers remaking south Indian movies. A few examples are ‘Bodyguard’, originally a Tamil film ‘Kaavalan’, ‘Wanted’, a remake of ‘Pokkiri’, ‘Force’, which is a remake of ‘Kaka Kaka’ and the likes of ‘Singham’ amongst others.

This trend has manifested on television too. Neeraj Vyas, EVP & Business Head, Max noted, “We have seen good viewership for action-based dubbed south movies. We show more Telugu than Tamil movies but these are the languages in particular. There is the SEC C, D & E audience that seem to be contributing more to the viewership numbers of dubbed south movies.”

Potential for further Growth
The acceptance of south actors and the universality of the action genre are working for south Indian movies at present. Hindi movie players believe that the genre has potential for further growth for these reasons. Gopinath said, “Stars like Rajnikant are big in Hindi markets. Their films rate well. Since the genre is primarily action, the movies speak a universal language. These trends will not change for a while.”

Vanita Keswani, COO, Madison Media Sigma observed that there were more reasons why these kinds of movies will continue to work for Hindi movie channels for a while. She said, “The cost of acquisition of south Indian dubbed movies may also be low. From an advertiser viewpoint, movie channels add reach to the media plan and hence they are bought both for reach and frequency.”

A point that Rajneesh Chaturvedi, National Director, MEC Access agreed with.

For most players, the future of dubbed south India content also looks bright because of the intrigue these films generate. Sameer Ganapathy remarked, “With the digital platform of distribution gaining ground and subscription model being the future, there exists a possibility of niche channels that are totally dedicated to sub-genres like dubbed action content.”

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