UTV Action, which is launching a Telugu channel, believes that there is still space left at the regional level.
In the mood for some action? Want to watch Jean-Claude Van Damme or Angelina Jolie kick ass in your language? If the answer is yes, then your wait is almost over.
UTV Action, which showcases Hollywood action movies dubbed in Hindi, is launching its regional language dubbed channel. “For us, the UTV Action was a fantastic success. It hit a goldmine when we put a certain list together. It wasn’t that dubbing Hollywood movies in Hindi but it was a fact that one couldn’t find good action movies at one space. Action is something which is neutral in its language and appeal. Therefore, now for us the next step was to take UTV Action to Telugu, Tamil, Bangla, Punjabi, Gujarati etc.” said MK Anand, CEO, Broadcast, UTV.
He adds, “Any language which can be accommodated feasibly is where we want to go. Because we have something which is working for us, we already have the rights to the films. We have a head start. We know the format, so to take us to the next language wasn’t difficult.”
Most national-level channels have invaded the regional space in the past few years and many are planning to do so, UTV is one of them. But when asked about the reason behind it, Anand explained, “One mustn’t forget that the Hindi speaking belt is huge and that’s why Hindi channels are called national channels. But you’ll see the Hindispeaking market only in the north and western areas which sees Hindi-speaking market (HSM) as its staple channels along with metros which have been ‘Hindised’. Whereas the South and East of India have always been into their local language – be it print or television. So the channels which have become able or have developed certain skill sets over the last decade of doing good television which has been exhausted in this region because of the competition are now looking at the possibility of any region.”
In future, the channel too won’t mind tweaking its content to launch regional programming languages. “One is always comfortable in their own language, their own faces, so we might think of taking the same template of, say, UTV Bindaas and go regional. But it’s important to do research as well as economics and see if the channel will work or not.”
Compared to the Hindi market, the regional market still has space and the competition too is less and what makes the channel secure in the space is the fact that they believe unless not more than one or two more channels of the same nature/content, they don’t have a problem. “However, in another 24 months or so, the space is going to get congested as well,” feels Anand.
Speaking about UTV Action Telugu’s programming strategy Anand said, “We want to give our viewers the best of action – be it any language. We plan to launch with 250 Hollywood actionpacked blockbusters for the first year and then gradually increase the number, depending upon viewing pattern and changing trends.” According to the channel, specialisation and holding on to it is the basis behind staying ahead in the competition. The language shouldn’t be a barrier in reaching out to the audience.
However, comedy or drama lovers will have to look at other options as the channel as of now only plans to focus on action. “At the mass level, action is trans-cultural. The grammar of action can be picked up by a local Telugu guy or someone sitting in any part of the country. As for comedy, the cultural nuances make a huge difference and many times the essence is lost in translation.”