Star Plus, the flagship Hindi general entertainment channel from News Corp's Star India, has been made available across the 65 countries it is distributed in a same-day subtitled feed. Content on the channel was until now available only with a week's lag, also with English subtitles.
The company claims to have shortened the process of subtitling by making it digital, with ‘substantial' investments in technology.
To drive subscriptions
Star expects this move to drive subscriptions in its key international markets — those housing a sizeable South Asian origin population, led by UK, US, West Asia , Africa, Australia and South East Asia.
Star Plus, at present, claims to reach 400 million subscribers globally, with a majority of them residing in India.
Speaking toBusiness Line, Mr Sanjeet Saha, VP - International Business, Star, said, “While we are already present in those markets, we expect that being available in real time with subtitles will open up international markets further for Star, starting with the flagship channel. We are launching this with Star Plus and will explore taking other channels abroad in a similar manner.”
The channel is looking to build on the existing viewer base in international markets consuming Star Plus content with the same-day telecast of shows, and add new viewers, thanks to the subtitling.
Mr Saha explained, “We found that there are a lot of markets where those of Indian and South Asian origin are deeply connected with our culture and traditions, though they do not speak Hindi the way we do. Many of these families have spent three to four generations there, so language becomes an issue even though they are crazy about Indian entertainment.”
The same-day telecast is expected to interest advertisers looking to reach audiences in multiple markets at the same time, he noted. Among advertiser categories who target Star's international audience are foods, and travel and tourism.
With the phase lag eliminated, Mr Saha noted that the issue of piracy would also get addressed.
Until now, episodes are available on the Web after the India telecast, and viewers abroad unwilling to wait for a week for telecast viewed them on the Web, for free.
“The popularity of shows like Saathiyan, which is the top rated show both in India and the UK, tells us that there is a strong similarity in the preferences of audiences across markets,” he added.
Source: Business Line