Content Localisation, which involves preparing TV, film and video titles ready for global distribution, is now a huge business across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and is set to get even larger. According to a recent programme of research conducted on behalf of the MESA Europe Content Localisation Council, current spending on these services across the region is close to $2 billion annually and, based on the year on year growth expectation of between 8% and 10%, is expected to exceed $2.5 billion before 2020.
The explosion in channels, driven in part by OTT, has opened up more and more opportunities for programme makers to sell their titles into new market territories, and such is the insatiable global appetite for content of all types, it is not just high profile new release programming that has a localisation requirement. Back catalogue TV series and movie titles also finding new outlets and a new audience in regions where they haven’t been seen previously.
With a 70% share of total spend, dubbing accounts for the largest portion of revenues for the specialist suppliers to this sector and although technology will play an increasing part in the future, the translated dialogue needs to be delivered with the same nuances and timing used in the original release, so acting as well as language skills are required.
“This represents one of the major concerns for the industry moving forwards” said Jim Bottoms, Executive Director of MESA Europe “already in some of the key markets there is a significant shortage of localisation skills, and given the continued growth in demand, content producers and their supply partners are very keen to expand the talent pool to avoid serious capacity shortages.”
The need to develop more skilled resource is a recurring theme at the regular Content Localisation Council Meetings, as content owners, distributors and their localisation partners identify areas where a collaborative approach can help to harness the professionalism of an industry which relies heavily on a local contribution in many markets.
This helps to explain the fragmented nature of the Content Localisation business, where a small number of global players compete alongside a wide range of local and regional specialists, often offering a small part of the overall package of services that content owners are looking to access.
Quality Will Always be a Priority
Whatever happens in the future, quality of localised output will always remain a high priority for all those involved in the localisation sector and there is little or no room for compromise on this, despite pressure on timescales and budgets.
“For me, quality always has to be the highest priority benchmark, it is the paramount consideration when looking at potential suppliers, as well as localisation tools and technologies” said Catherine Retat, a senior studio executive and co-chair of the Localisation Council.
“Since we launched the content Localisation Council in the Spring of 2016, the group has more than doubled in size, led by programme makers and distributors wanting to help establish a ‘best practice approach’ for the industry said David Millar, Director of Communications at MESA Europe.
Among the other areas under consideration by the group are compliance guidelines, raising awareness of timescales and processes and refining supplier audit procedures. The Council meets regularly throughout the year and comprises senior level executives from across the industry.