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Sony’s Kaplan, Disney’s Bird Call for Local Content

International execs sees further growth for non-linear services

LONDON

Two Hollywood toppers emphasized the need for global TV networks to localize to compete in international markets, at an industry confab in India.

Sony Pictures Television’s Andy Kaplan, prexy of worldwide networks, said, “Local programming drives higher ratings and global broadcasters like us need to pivot and adjust our content accordingly to survive in a competitive market. … One must remember one size cannot fit all.”

Kaplan was speaking Wednesday at a panel on the future of TV at media entertainment conference Frames, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Mumbai, which wraps Thursday.

Disney international chairman Andy Bird expressed similar sentiments during his opening keynote address on Tuesday. “There is no international market. There is only a vast collection of diverse and dynamic local markets that demand individual strategies and relevant products from any business trying to succeed there,” Bird said.

Kaplan also said that a non-linear service like Sony’s Crackle, which consists of Sony’s film and library titles plus some original programming, was a potential growth area for consumers and advertisers.

He hoped that with India’s burgeoning broadband growth, Crackle would replicate its success in Brazil and Portugal. “However, it is important the content of Crackle is designed not to cannibalize Sony TV content offering,” Kaplan said.

India has a low rate of broadband penetration: in a country with a population of 1.2 billion just 20 million households subscribe. However, this is projected to grow to 600 million by 2020, according to a 2012 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry. The government is investing $3.6 billion toward widening the broadband infrastructure.

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