While India Inc is busy shopping on foreign shores, a slice of the foreign is making inroads into the Indian vernacular market.
Disney - with its popular host of characters like Mowgli, Alladin, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi and others - will soon be available in Hindi and Marathi.
Speaking to HT, a Disney Publishing spokesperson said, "We are looking at localisation as a strategy for our growth. Our initial print run for eight book titles – including The Jungle Book, Alladin, The Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, Cinderella, Tarzan and Peter Pan – will have 3,000 copies in Hindi and 3,000 copies in Marathi.
Disney channels in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi are also in the pipeline. The deal is a long-term licensing agreement with Popular Prakashan, wherein they will produce, market, print and sell the titles while Disney will license its brand.
According to Samir Patil, CEO of ACK Media, which bought Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha, vernacular titles do have a lot of potential. He is evaluating plans to go vernacular not in the print medium but on television.
Talks are on, he said, with a few television channels for a television series based on Amar Chitra Katha or Tinkle. This, however, would be following in the footsteps of Diamond Comics' popular character Chacha Chaudhary appearing in television series a few years back.
L. Subramanyan, CEO of Chandamama, which is published in Santhali and Sanskrit, apart from other languages, attributed the trend to two primary reasons - lack in the supply of adequate content and the rising affluence of nonEnglish speaking population. "An additional reason for a lucrative vernacular markets is the new found confidence and willingness to ‘go back to roots'."
He, however, was sceptical about English content being translated into local languages. "We believe that there is a huge treasure trove of content available within this country to which we are oblivious."