Tamil, Telugu films' dubbing rights for telecast, streaming in hot demand in China, Taiwan, not just North India
Tamil film producers are surprised by the new demand for the Chinese and foreign language dubbing rights. The Chinese dubbing rights of Gnanavel Raja’s Mr. Local, starring Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara, sold for Rs 25 lakhs.
Today, the market for Tamil and Telugu movies is not limited to their respective states. Gnanavel Raja, one of the leading producers in Tamil and Telugu, says “Even before selling the local and overseas business rights, we get several offers for Hindi dubbing rights (including satellite rights) and as the deal is quite reasonable, producers are happy with this new booming market."
KJR Studios’ Chief Rajesh who recently released Ajith’s Viswasam in Tamil Nadu says, “The Hindi dubbing rights are in demand for films featuring animals and also for horror thrillers. Buyers from the North are looking for acting sequences, CG shots and movies featuring animals like monkeys, snakes, and horses also have a good demand. The Hindi dubbing rights is almost equal to 30-40% of the satellite rights offered by Tamil TV networks."
We hear that Jiiva’s animal-heist thriller Gorilla, which also has a chimpanzee in an important role, got a considerably large amount by selling the Hindi dubbing rights.
Though most of the Tamil and Telugu films don’t have a direct theatrical release in Bollywood, leading Hindi channels snap the dubbing rights and telecast in their respective networks. Reliable sources in the industry tell us that the Hindi rights of Ajith’s Viswasam is said to have gone for more than Rs 15 crores and Vijay’s Sarkar was sold for more than Rs 20 crores.
Prabhu Deva is another hero who enjoys a very good market in the Hindi dubbing market. Rajesh of KJR Studios, who produced Gulaebaghavali, says, “Prabhu Deva sir has got the pan-Indian appeal so his films always have good demand in the Hindi dubbing market." Other than telecast and digital streaming, dubbed south films also register a massive view count on YouTube.
A popular producer on condition of anonymity says, “Though Prabhu Deva’s recent Tamil films were not profitable in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil and Hindi satellite rights are selling like hot cakes. A major investment of his films is recovered by selling these two rights. Due to the huge Hindi satellite rights of Prabhu Deva’s films, many producers are ready to bankroll his movies despite the actor’s poor success rate in Tamil Nadu.”
Just like how Tamil and Telugu films are merely dubbed in Hindi for satellite telecast, Telugu films are now censored and dubbed in Tamil for the satellite and digital rights. The theatrical revenue of the Tamil dubbed version of Mahesh Babu’s Bharat Ane Nenu and Sai Pallavi’s Fidaa were meagre but Vijay TV snapped the digital satellite rights due to the popularity of these two stars in Tamil. Similarly, Tamil films are dubbed in Malayalam for the telecast and digital streaming. Vijay’s Kaththi, which wasn’t released in Malayalam, is now streaming on Netflix. Many Tamil films of Vijay are dubbed in Malayalam for the telecast so, in addition to a very good revenue from his films in Kerala, the actor’s films also enjoy a reasonable market in the Malayalam TV and digital rights.
Knowing the huge demand for Hindi satellite rights of the South films, satellite networks like Star India and Zee are now buying the Hindi rights of the Tamil and Telugu films along with local satellite rights. But producers don’t find this business strategy as a favourable revenue model as these satellite channels only quote 60-70% of the actual potential market of the films.
For a popular sequel which released last year, a leading Hindi dubbing rights player offered nearly Rs 10.5 crores. Gokul, who is taking care of the marketing and promotions of Dream Warrior Pictures, producers of Suriya’s NGK and an upcoming film of Jyothika, says “If carefully executed, a production house which bankrolls small budget films can get 40-50% of their investment through satellite and digital rights. While films of big stars have huge demand, small budget films also get reasonable revenue through this new market."
What surprised Tamil film producers is the new demand for the Chinese and foreign language dubbing rights. The Chinese dubbing rights of Gnanavel Raja’s Mr. Local, starring Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara, sold for Rs 25 lakhs. “As of now, only big hero films have the demand for Chinese dubbing rights. But the door is open now. Slowly, small budget films will also grab the attention of the buyers," says Gnanavel.
Again, there is no guarantee for the Tamil and Telugu films to get a theatrical release in China but there are players to buy the dubbing rights and they will resell to the local Chinese TV networks. Besides Chinese, Tamil and Telugu films are also get dubbed in Taiwanese and English these days. But South Indian film producers should be careful in selling overseas rights. If they sell their films to overseas buyers along with foreign language dubbing rights, they will not enjoy the additional revenue.
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