Television

Dubbing a success story

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Kishore Bhatt is a happy man!

In 2001, the 50-year old gave up a secure job in State Bank of India for a career in dubbing.

At that time, it looked quite a gamble: the switch from one of the country's top financial institutions to something which has an uncertain entertainment industry piggybacking it. There were many who wanted to correct him.

Now, as I speak to Bhatt, his ten year old kid proudly lists out names of the characters Bhatt lends his voice to: Beakman, Batman, James of the Pokemon series, Samurai Jack, Uncle in the Jackie Chan animation series…the list goes on.

For Bhatt, the timing was right. This period saw international players including Discovery, The History Channel and National Geographical Channel entering the Indian market. Then, Walt Disney's arrival in three Indian languages has ensured lot of work from the kids' channel segment. We have many more international networks knocking the door as well in approximately Rs. 150 million TV language dubbing industry.

The evolution

As per industry estimates, the total dubbed content was of approximately 2,400 hours in the 2003 fiscal. In the current fiscal, Disney alone has 1800 episodes of dubbed content in Telugu and an equal number in Tamil. The channel has already dubbed 1650 episodes of content in Hindi. Taking all the other players into account, the growth pattern definitely shows an upward curve.

Indranil Ghosh

"The volume of dubbed content in all segments including broadcasting has gone up. English to Hindi dubbing has gone up over the last two years," says UTV Post Production and Dubbing GM Indranil Ghosh.

The industry scenario

Dubbing vendors are riding on this wave. UTV, which has a

UTV's dubbing business primarily caters to movies, television serials, documentaries and animation films. Walt Disney, Discovery, Star TV, Nickelodeon, National Geographic Channel (NGC) and The History Channel figure in its clientele. UTV is offering dubbing services to the Walt Disney channels in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu for serials and feature films. According to the agreement with NGC Networks Asia, UTV's services include translation and transcription of the original English scripts into Hindi and Tamil for both dialogues and lyrics and also for dubbing.

dubbing business unit, recorded a volume of 733 hours in this period. In the quarter ended December 2004, the company has done 461 hours of dubbing.

Other leading dubbing vendors include VGP, En Sync, Mainframe and Sound & Vision. The boom has given birth to a large number of dubbing organisations, big and small. There are at least 25 small outfits in Mumbai itself. Industry experts find it difficult to give an accurate assessment of the size of the market because of the fragmentation.

"It is a very fragmented market. Apart from a handful of big players, we have many smaller players to take into account," says Ghosh.

Industry analysts value the market size at an approximate Rs. 150 million with UTV in the lead. The company earned Rs. 34 million from dubbing in the 2003 fiscal and has already touched 24 million for the six months period ended 30 September 2004.

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