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  • Amit Arora

Future of Subtitling in India

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

Few years back we were totally dependent upon DTH services for content. For every household in India, television used to be the only source of entertainment. Before retiring to bed the daily dose of entertainment for any person here in India used to be boring soap operas, movies that people would had seen hundred times, repeat telecast of sporting events and political news. Believe it or not there are 902 channels in India, but none of them has fresh content.

In the year 2015, Star started its streaming platform ‘Hotstar’ in India and in the following year Netflix and Amazon too started their services. People were offered great variety of content that they had never seen before. These services were welcomed with open hands. Netflix became profitable in its first year of operations. In India, there are over 300 million mobile phone subscribers or households. So, there’s a huge market and people in India, like those around the world, love watching television. As per a research, Netflix’s next 100 million subscribers will come from India.

With the emergence of streaming platforms, demand for subtitles has grown leaps and bounds. Earlier, subtitles were only for movies releasing abroad or showing in film festivals. India was essentially a dubbing market. Subtitling had lesser priority and was rarely given to professionals. Lack of expertise resulted in shoddy and laughable subtitles. In the last two years though, global streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have disrupted the subtitling scene in India. They aimed to expand the audience base for their existing content library, which was primarily in English. For that, content localization was the way to go. Subtitles were the first step in that direction because dubbing would cost 10 times more. Last year, Netflix launched an Indian original series called Sacred Games. It was dubbed in 4 languages but subtitled in 24.

The content will only grow, and so will demand for subtitles and professional subtitlers.

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