Most Indians like watching content made in languages other than the ones they speak or understand if they come with subtitles while a lower percentage prefers content that is dubbed. A recent survey by market research and data analytics firm YouGov India looked at viewers consuming content in foreign and regional languages and concluded that 72% watching such content prefer subtitles while 24% prefer it dubbed. Viewers in South India (82%) are big consumers of subtitled content among all the regions while those in North and East India are twice more likely than the South to prefer dubbed versions. The viewership preference data collected online by YouGov profiles nearly 1,015 respondents in India representing adult online population in the country. The survey was conducted in June 2019.
When it comes to translations (subtitles or dubbing), most people in India prefer to have foreign or regional content translated in English (71%), followed by Hindi (23%). By 'foreign content' YouGov means content made in languages other than English and by 'regional content' it means content made in languages other than Hindi. Even though the majority want English translations, around 2 in 33 people (7%) said they would prefer translations in their native language. Of the people who said this most speak either Malayalam or Tamil.
Commenting on the survey, Deepa Bhatia, general manager, YouGov India, said, “India is an amalgamation of different languages. In order to win over this lucrative market, content creators need to localize as much as possible." A vast number of Indians are interested in consuming content in their mother tongue, and brands must understand their preferences in order to expand their audience, she added.
Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the country but most Hindi speaking Indians would like the content they watch in other languages to be translated in English rather than in Hindi. However, among the English speaking population of India, 34% want Hindi translations and the research showed The highest demand for English translations comes from Kannada and Telugu speaking Indians.
Even though only a small percentage of respondents wished to see foreign or regional content being translated to their native language, the research revealed that the probability of consuming content in one’s native language seems to be high, with around eight in ten claiming they would watch foreign (82%) or regional content (78%) if it was made available to watch in their mother tongue.
The data also shows that more than half the people (55%) watch foreign content and an even higher proportion watch regional content (84%). Almost three fourth of Indians who were surveyed said they consume most foreign content through YouTube (75%), followed by OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime (61%). Indians consume foreign content from TV and social media almost equally at 53%. As for regional content, most Indians prefer to watch it over TV (73%), followed closely by YouTube (72%), and then by social media (50%).