A Summary of 2018’s Media Localization Report
New methods of consumption are making content more readily accessible to online video content. The Internet is proliferating around the world at an accelerated rate, especially in emerging markets. The content is spreading not only through large distribution channels such as Facebook and Twitter, but also through smaller niche social media companies. These smaller companies are beginning to stream directly to their audiences, and they are streaming fully original content. The concept of media entertainment is growing, and it can be difficult to determine what is considered a “professional” media entertainment company or not.
The New Audience
As a result, the audiences taking in this content are becoming more impatient and demanding. The landscape is moving in terms of how people are consuming this content as well. Because streams can move over the globe instantly with personalization set to the locale, the demand for content that speaks to a localized audience is rising.
One of the most important decisions for any media entertainment company is the decision to localize. Moving into the language is only the first step. Many audiences are demanding a deeper kind of localization – one that is cultural. This is especially important in locations with many dialects in a single locale. For companies with limited production and marketing budgets, the decision to strategize for a particular location is an important one. The choice of language has the ability to open up a production to completely new audiences and revenue streams from other geographies.
This makes localization one of the most important revenue drivers in the new age of media entertainment.
The New Language…of Money
As localization becomes more important in media entertainment, language service providers with a specialization in the entertainment industry are getting more business. These providers, also known as LSPs, have the necessary volume to focus their entire model of business on the industry of media entertainment. Many of the best companies are now a part of the production workflow for successful media companies. Within these relationships come even more specialized production workflows and localized methodologies.
For instance, certain companies may limit themselves to a particular region and develop compatibility with the most popular distribution platforms in the area. Additionally, local companies may help to develop remote solutions for improved operational transparency and efficiency for clients.
Dubbing and Subtitling
The two major services that media localization covers, subtitling and dubbing, become more complex the more that you drill down into a specific locale. Different spaces may have a longstanding preference for one or the other. In other cases, the production budget is the limiting factor. Subtitling is the less expensive option, but dubbing tends to create a more loyal fanbase. Its higher cost comes from many directions – dealing with local actors’ unions, renting studios that can handle the recording and paying the premium for elite voice talent.
However, the production value of original programming across media entertainment is rising. As a result, more customers are demanding a true dub of content to achieve a higher engagement with the source material. This generation of consumer must also be very highly engaged in order to stick with a program for any period of time. The modern consumers of media entertainment are often taking in more than one source at one time, meaning that a source of low engagement will soon lose that engagement to a competitor.
Producers are looking to AI to deliver precise dubbing for local audiences. Cloud based, AI charged subtitles and dubs can create real time adaptations for a relatively low cost. However, there are still challenges to this method. For both subtitling and dubbing, qualified linguists must first be found. With all of the complexity of technology and distribution, the number one problem in the industry continues to be finding the right vocal talent.
This is becoming even more true as the Internet brings new forms of media entertainment into emerging markets. These new markets may hold languages that are less traditional or common, but the audience has enough volume that it is profitable to consider their translations. For instance, there is a large increase in content that has nothing to do with English as the target or original language. For instance, the need for localization from Hindi to Mandarin Chinese is becoming much more prevalent. Bollywood is finding its way into China, even faster than new movies and content from Hollywood and American media companies are. This is a chance for new LSPs to build an entirely new market from overlooked languages and localization efforts.
The number one takeaway from the report is that being a general LSP is not the best way forward. The more specific, the better chance of market growth. Although general LSPs can attach themselves to the current production infrastructure for the purposes of audiovisual hardware, there is an entirely new set of skills to learn in sourcing non-English linguists and learning the hidden corners of the new media entertainment industry.