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Time for regional content to take flight!

There is no doubt that you would not have grooved to the internet sensation Sri Lankan music Manike Mage Hite if you are of the GenZ or older generation. The lyrics would not have been readable for many of us, it was just the music that consigned the song to our memories.

Creating viral videos has become a popular way to gain success. A wiry Tirupur resident runs a youtube channel in which he cooks up feasts in his lungi and does the commentary in Tamil. Who would believe that 41 lakh people watch him do that. He had originally started his channel in 2015 but got fame in 2017.

Across art languages, Hindi, Bengali, and Marathi count up to 75% of Indians who are browsing the regional content. According to YouTube, 90% of its content is viewed in people's local language. Streaming videos in regional language has become a leading platform since 2020, where most Indians are consuming it for entertainment purposes. According to a March Ficci -EY media and entertainment industry report, the regional languages will make up 60% of the television consumption, 55% in 2020, and 30% in 2019. There was a surge of regional channels during covid - Zee Vajwa (Marathi), Enterr10 Television's Dangal Kannada and Enterr10 Rangeela in Bhojpuri."Regional markets offer tremendous opportunities for networks like Enterr10 that are eager to expand beyond the Hindi-speaking belt, being many of them underserved," Arpit Machar, head of marketing, Enterr10 Television Network.

 With the help of translations, the language barriers which were a hindrance have faded away.      “Subtitles have played a major role in the globalization of cinema not only in India but around the world as well. Although the real credit should be given to the speedy growth of film forums and online communities, subtitles have played a crucial role in helping to globalize cinema.", says Harshit Bansal - The founder of Humans of Cinema pages on Facebook and Instagram. In recent years, we have been able to win awards at film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, and Toronto. In addition, our streaming platforms are ensuring that we discover their genius sooner rather than later.   

Due to the growing interest in regional content, big giants like Amazon, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar are acquiring regional web series and films. Sony Pictures Networks India's video streaming service SonyLIV aired the Assamese film Aramis on 1 October. Lima Das and Arghadeep Baruah star in the film that has toured the festival circuit. Bhaskar Hazarika directed the film. Earlier this year, Amazon Prime Video announced a four-film deal with Tamil star Suriya, with the premiere of his production Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum on 24 September. Meanwhile, Netflix is adding south content to its library.

 Today, in the market, the brands have an inclination towards regional content creators. Through digital marketing, they gradually gained access. This helped since most internet users reside in those areas. Less than 20% of Indian internet users live in the top 50 cities. However, digital marketing hasn't been able to move the needle much beyond this. Collaborating with influential regional figures allowed them to smash this barrier. The results of the research show that 88% of Indians who browse the internet in their native language respond better to digital ads.

 Why? They build effective campaigns by understanding their audience and adapting content to what will appeal most. Additionally, consumers find these creators more relatable, as if they were their neighbours. Put in perspective, a Delhi-based creator may have a million followers, but these followers are geographically dispersed. Therefore, the impact of the creator is diluted. Because of this, they show less efficiency when collaborating on campaigns with them.

There are only 50K followers for a regional creator, but most of those followers are concentrated in one place. Through these factors, campaigns are able to reach a greater audience, engage more users, and become more effective. The market for vernacular content in India is worth $53 billion as brands source creators from local regions and small towns.

Next year, there will be more than 199 million English-language internet users. By comparison, there will be 536 million Indian language users. Vernacular content is consumed by 210 million users of internet access which could be monetized.

For brands as well as creators, the market has great potential and growth potential. It is critical, particularly for marketers, to see the niche from a monetization perspective and leverage it from there.

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