Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013: Creation of relevant local content key to global TV success

Locally-relevant and female-centric content is key to engaging regional TV audiences, delegates heard on the second day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013.

Locally-relevant and female-centric content is key to engaging regional TV audiences, delegates heard on the second day of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2013.

Mark Hollinger, President and CEO of Discovery Networks International and Man Jit Singh, CEO, Sony India, discussed local exports, the challenges and opportunities of 4G and the rising importance of the female viewer.

In a session titled Going Global - Opportunities and Challenges in a Media Centric World, Hollinger said Discovery now operates in 224 countries with nearly 1.6 billion subscribers across its 42 markets.

Both executives stressed that producing localized content is becoming more and more important.

"Local teams are sensitive to the sensibilities of the local market. We need to cater to local markets because the local population wants to see local programmes," said Singh. "In smaller towns audiences have different needs, the opportunities are huge. Programming will become more niche."

Hollinger said Discovery's TLC network acquisition of Fatafeat, the Dubai-based cookery channel, was part of a strategy to produce local content for different markets. The content on Fatafeat is also a way to target the all-important female audience, he added.

Previously, Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney International, spoke about the company's shift away from exporting American content to global markets to become more locally driven.

In particular, he spoke about the growing importance of China - the second biggest theatrical market outside the United States - and building strong, relevant localized content.

"Previously we were largely an export company of film and television - our content would be dubbed into the local language. Whether in China, India, or UAE, it was representative of the United States Walt Disney Company. We've been striving to move from that position - how do we become the Chinese Walt Disney Company? What does that take? Relevancy is the key word - the world has accelerated at such a fast pace and brands have to remain culturally relevant in front of consumers".

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