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Dubbing company Business of Language eyes digital expansion

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MUMBAI: Indians love to consume content, be it in the language they understand or otherwise. Understanding this need to reach to greater viewers, Discovery Channel, which started operations in the country 20 years back introduced dubbed content to Indian viewers. Viewers since then have been exposed to content dubbed not just from English to Hindi, but other regional languages like Tamil, Telugu and Bengali among others.

Bridging the language gap is also Business of Languages (BOL), which was launched by former Disney UTV national business head - dubbing Rahul Bhatia in September 2013. Bhatia, who has been in media for the past two decades, decided to set up his own venture to expand his expertise. 

BOL’s journey started with Fisthronaut on ZeeQ, which later expanded to NGC, Fox Traveller and NDTV Good Times. Bhatia is also working with Google for metadata service, wherein BOL has done a pilot project to translate English content into Hindi. “Google is a big client for us and we plan to work more closely with them in the future,” says Bhatia.

BOL dubs content into Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Assamese and Bengali among others. “We specialise in dubbing. The USP of the company is that we dub the content from the region. We do not believe in dubbing Tamil content from a studio in Mumbai. We would do it from a Chennai studio. We are currently dubbing content in Gujarati for NGC Gujarati from Ahmedabad. The reason behind this is to get the perfect local dialect, which makes it easier for people to connect,” says Bhatia.

After tasting success in broadcast, BOL is now spreading its wings to digital, radio and print. The company is into content translations as well and is working with public relations company MSL. “We do all the language translations for their press releases. We are also the exclusive vendors for Fortis Hospital,” he informs.

BOL has also worked on the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The campaign was done by the NGO Breakthrough in English. We translated it into Hindi and made certain creative changes as well,” informs Bhatia.

Understanding that digital is the key, BOL has created food videos for a digital platform. “Anything to do with language on any platform is where we operate. We have worked with Ibibo, Micromax and e-learning content,” he says.

What’s more, it was BOL that dubbed the famous animation Burka Avenger in Hindi and Telugu, which was telecast on ZeeQ.

Based in New Delhi, BOL has regional operations in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The company has also tied up with studios in different states, which act as their local vendors. “I have my operations people in the region, who coordinate on a day-to-day basis,” he adds.

In the wake of Netflix’s impending entry into India next year, BOL has set its sights on digital expansion. “Netflix has tied up with TV channels for content, which will also need dubbing. We are preparing ourselves for this digital boom,” says Bhatia. 

BOL has, from the beginning, been a profit making venture. “While we started in September 2013, we set up our first studio in December 2013. In the first year itself, we had a turnover of Rs 30 lakh. In 2014, we had a turnover of Rs 1.9 crore and this year we are expecting a turnover of R 3 crore,” he informs.

The dubbing sector has seen a major price fall. While at one stage, a set up would cost approximately Rs 40 lakh for one studio, today it has come down to as low as Rs 8-10 lakh for one studio. Not only this, the cost of dubbing has also come down substantially. “In the beginning, dubbing cost Rs 1-1.5 lakh per episode, but today it has gone to as low as Rs 15,000- 20,000 per episode,” he says.

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