For international broadcasters, going local not only implies being one with the language and culture, it also implies pushing up viewership and moving from the fringes into the mainstream. For some, especially special interest channels, this effort has taken the shape of dual feeds (in English and Hindi) aimed at targeting both Hindi and English-speaking audiences. Infotainment channels, National Geographic and Discovery have adopted this model quite successfully with the result that new entrant The History Channel (from the National Geographic stable) also boasts of a dual feed.
Some other channels such as CNBC-TV 18 have taken a bilingual approach with the daytime market hours showing some prominent Hindi-language programming, while Cartoon Network has gone a step further to dub its shows not only in Hindi but Tamil as well.
One more to take the route of Hindi-language programming is action-adventure channel, AXN, which is banking on a "slow and steady approach" as opposed to a rapid fire one, to try and woo audiences without diluting its brand equity.
The channel has started with a one-hour dual feed between 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm, from Monday to Friday, beginning with the popular Ripley's Believe it or Not in Hindi. In the pipeline, as Rohit Bhandari, assistant vice-president, marketing and sales, SET India, points out, are shows such as Guinness World Records and Now See This. "These shows lend themselves well to dubbing," he says. "There is a fair amount of narration in these shows, which makes it easier to dub," he adds.
On the cards are some six English movies, the dubbed versions of which will be telecast from next month, on Saturdays at 8.00 pm. These include Godzilla, Mask of Zorro, Stuart Little and Bats in February and Mission Impossible and I Know What You Did Last Summer in March.
The dual-feed experiment, interestingly, has been restricted to reality shows and movies with action dramas out of its purview. "A sizeable amount of investment goes into running two feeds, not to mention, the costs incurred while dubbing in Hindi. Hence, we need to know how the audience is receiving it," says Bhandari.
Incidentally, the channel had undertaken a similar exercise two years ago where the third repeat of Ripley's was dubbed in Hindi. However, as Bhandari points, a certain section of the audience was keen to watch the show in English, which prompted the channel to scrap it. "That experience made us realise that we could come up with a dual feed as opposed to a single feed carrying a dubbed repeat," he says.
Apart from Hindi-language programming, the channel is set to premiere the World Rally Championships by the end of this month, while Boomtown, an action drama, premiered on January 5 at 10.00 pm. © 2004 agencyfaqs!