Slator 2018 Media Localization Report

Media entertainment is a high growth industry, driven in large part by the digitalization of content, as digital providers have begun to challenge the traditional models of the big Hollywood Studios.

At the same time, consumers have more ready access to video content online as internet penetration is increasingly globally, leading to the democratization of video content. This trend is being propelled by the growing numbers of social media companies, who are also starting to stream original video content to audiences through their platforms, further blurring the lines of what constitutes media entertainment.

Audiences in turn are becoming more demanding, and the ground is shifting in terms of how people choose to view content. Now that content can travel globally and is more readily available to local audiences, the demand for localized content – hence localization – is growing fast.

The decision to localize into a particular language or for a particular locale is one of strategic importance for media entertainment companies since adding new language options opens up new audiences and geographical revenue streams. Localization is therefore considered to be a revenue driver in media entertainment.

Consequently, providers of language services to the media entertainment industry are being driven to produce high volumes of localized content and are experiencing growth above market rate. Many language service providers (LSPs) in this space focus their entire business model on servicing media entertainment customers, embedding themselves in the media production workflow, for example by developing compatibility with different viewing platforms, operating a network of dubbing studios around the world, or developing cloud / remote solutions to increase efficiencies and provide operational transparency to clients.

Within the media localization landscape, dubbing and subtitling – the two major services – carry complexities of their own. In many cases, historical preferences for a particular locale may determine whether dubbing or subtitling is appropriate for a particular customer. In other instances, the customer’s budget will be the deciding factor. Dubbing has a higher price point and is influenced by external factors such as actors’ unions, VIP voice talent premiums, and real-estate costs for studio rental.

Nevertheless, dubbing is becoming the preferred experience for casual viewers, who are increasingly consuming different content on multiple devices at the same time, suggesting it is potentially susceptible to disruption, for example in the form of providers operating cloud-based, or AI-backed subtitling or even dubbing solutions who can offer a lower-cost solution. One challenge common to both dubbing and subtitling is that of resourcing qualified linguists, and talent shortage within media localization is widely touted as the most important problem to solve.

This holds especially true for language combinations which are traditionally less common but for which the demand is growing. One of the byproducts of cross-cultural exchange is an increase in demand for localization of content that does not involve English as an original or target language, e.g. localization from Hindi to Chinese, as Bollywood hits China. For LSPs looking to carve out a niche for themselves within media entertainment, a good vendor management strategy is arguably the most critical element to get right, at least while the industry remains highly resistant to developments in machine translation technology.

While generalist LSPs can leverage many of the audiovisual capabilities they have developed for existing corporate customers (which is also big business), they will still need to invest time into learning the media entertainment industry by going to events and sourcing the right linguists.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary  4
Key Stats5
  • Market Size
  • Major Providers
  • Major Buyers
Industry Overview8
The Role of Language Services in the Industry9
  • Introduction
  • Market Sizing
  • Industry Service Model
  • Content
  • Technology
  • Language Production
  • Sourcing Talent
  • Automation Suitability
Competitive Landscape14
  • Introduction
  • Main Providers
  • Major Buyer Examples
  • Adjacent Services and Markets Worth Keeping in Mind
Sales, Business Development, Marketing21
  • Sales
  • Business Development
  • Marketing
  • Events

How to Use This Report

Slator’s easy-to-digest research offers the very latest industry and data analysis, providing language service providers and end-clients the confidence to make informed and time critical decisions. It is a cost-effective, credible resource for busy professionals.

Slator In-Person Lead Generation

Slator conceives, plans and executes custom roundtable events to attract a very targeted set of language service buyers in media entertainment. To learn more, contact Slator Commercial Director Andrew Smart at

Slator Advisory

Developing a go-to-market sales strategy and building an effective sales team is critical to securing and expanding your client work in the media entertainment industry. Slator provides a 1-day workshop for LSPs to review their strategy and assess and motivate their sales teams. To learn more, contact Slator Commercial Director Andrew Smart at