Yes, I know. You spotted the pop culture reference immediately. No wonder. You are the supremely desirable English Speaking Market. Flashback to 1992. STAR Plus launched as an English channel. ‘The Bold and The Beautiful’ and ‘Santa Barbara’ entered our consciousness. Our long and still growing affair with cable television began with English content. Decades passed.
Hindi became the dominant language of content addressing almost two-thirds of India’s population, from Gujarat to Assam and from the Kashmir Valley to Goa. Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam pocketed the South. As education and income levels rose, there was a renewed interest in English, with new, high-value audiences seeking news and entertainment in the language. Simultaneously, viewers discovered a whole new source of content, the ever expanding, nearly ubiquitous web. Nothing was too far or entirely inaccessible. Thanks to Google searches and the internet.
Even content that had never aired on television was available for the asking. Even as content owners may whine about piracy, there was little they could do to entirely plug it. Not surprisingly, top global content owners figured it made better sense to get the content to one of the world’s largest English speaking audiences legally than to see it purloined and produce no revenue.
That we have seen a spate of launches in the English entertainment, infotainment and films genres over the last year, then, is scarcely an accident.
It is an attempt to bolt the stable doors before all the horses bolt.
(The author is principal, Provacateur Advisory)