Multimedia Localization & Consumption in the Wake of The Coronavirus
The digital transformation of the media and entertainment industry has given rise to many OTT (Over the top) media and streaming services as compared to traditional pay-tv. Many movies & shows use a language other than the users’ own, which has paved the way for media localization. Many streaming services allow users to watch movies & shows in the users preferred language, which mostly gives the user the preference to watch with subtitles or voiceover options.
According to PWC’s Perspectives from the Global Entertainment & Media outlook 2019-2023 “Global OTT Revenue will increase at a 13.8% CAGR to US $72.8bn in 2023, with its growth supported by the rising consumer appetite for video- streaming services, consumption increasing in mature markets and rapid expansion in less-developed regions.”
PWC’s report was published prior to the burst of the deadly virus, Coronavirus or as known as coronavirus. No one had anticipated this disease and many OTT services were scheduled to go live mid-2020. In the wake of coronavirus, the pandemic that has hit many countries and has resulted in quarantine measures, more users are resorting to online entertainment and thus has and will increase localization needs.
Let’s take a look at how OTT streaming services were introduced worldwide:
Current Providers & their Localization methods
When Netflix was launched in 1997 as the world's first online DVD store, no one had anticipated that it would change the OTT streaming market forever. Netflix began its streaming service in 2007 and expanded to international markets by 2010. As of Q1 2020, Netflix has a total of 167 million paid subscribers globally and is available in over 190 countries in over 20 languages.
Although Netflix enjoyed being the only video streaming service for quite some time, other players were quick to jump at the growing subscription on demand (SVOD) market opportunity. Another SVOD, Amazon Prime Video, available worldwide, is currently competing directly with Netflix with global subscribers estimated to be around 150 million and is available in over 200 countries. Both these SVOD’s were first launched in the United States. Gradually, they started to enter international markets.
Let’s first look at how Netflix expanded globally. Netflix has invested in localization in order to be accessible in new markets. It is available in over 190 countries and features many genres with the availability of more than 20 different languages. It has allowed its users worldwide to watch movies and shows in the dubbed language of their choosing and stream films by using subtitles in their preferred language choice. Netflix has also localized its user interface to support languages based on the user’s location. It has also acquired original content available to the market it competes in and allows users to view these titles. One main strategy for Netflix was making international content available, no matter what language the content is in.
Amazon Prime Video had caught up, landing in over 200 territories worldwide and offers subtitling and dubbing for multiple titles. It offers movies for rental and purchase and original content from Amazon Studios.
Both Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus were launched in November 2019 and are aggressively competing against Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Apple TV Plus began its localization process the day of its launching and Disney Plus is also looking to expand worldwide gradually. Disney Plus first launched on November 12, 2019, in the U.S, Canada, and Netherlands. Disney Plus expanded to Europe in March 2020 and is now available in Spain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Italy, UK, and Switzerland.
On the other hand, Apple TV Plus launched in over 100 countries on the very first day of launching. Barclay’s analysts suggest that Apple TV Plus will gain 100 million subscribers in the first year, due to its free year of Apple TV Plus with all purchases of new hardware users.
The SVOD market is set to grow by the introduction of WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming service and NBCUniversal's Peacock, which are set to launch in May 2020 in the United States.
Quarantines from the coronavirus scare may be an advantage to both streaming services, while many people are staying home and streaming content. It was said, before the spread of Covid-19, that HBO Max will enter Europe and Latin America markets in 2021. It is unclear if it will continue with its localization process in the meantime.
What localization aspects should new entrants take care of?
Aside from the common answer of the choice of content, the SVOD provider should study the markets it is entering to understand its cultural preferences and user viewing habits. It should then localize its user interface and website. In addition to its licensed content that is dubbed and subtitled, there are also other factors that can help guarantee global growth.
Such examples include:
- Translation accuracy
- Value for money/promotions
- Restrictive laws
- Internet speed in the targeted country
- Purchasing power of population (can they afford the service?)
- User payment behavior /taxes and payment methods
- Censorship/cultural sensitivity
- Accessible through different devices/platform
Following social distancing and quarantine measures, traffic on streaming platforms has increased significantly. A study by Nielsen states that staying home can lead up to almost a 60% increase in the amount of content users watch. This exponential growth will be witnessed by SVOD players who are competing against each other. The winners in this SVOD war will be the ones with high quality original content, the ones who understand their audiences, have localized content in different languages, and understand users’ viewing preferences.
How has the coronavirus affected SVOD services and what is the impact on long term success?
As the Coronavirus continues to spread, and while people are in quarantine, the power of entertainment is increasing and has affected the media localization industry positively.
Multimedia Localization servicesYour multimedia localization project needs to be handled with care. You must search for a multimedia localization company that focuses on quality and has the right experience. When looking for a localization company, you want a very communicative and responsive company in order to be capable to manage all the details of the project.
Whether your choice is to add subtitles or provide a voice over for your audio track with the translated language, Saudisoft translators & engineers can help you manage your multimedia projects and make your content available to users worldwide.
We hope everyone is staying safe taking the necessary precautions and following good hygiene practices.
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