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Marvel Comics To Focus On India & China; Need For Localization?

spidey

Marvel, the comic book publisher behind characters like Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Hulk, Captain America, Iron 

Man and Ghost Rider, is turning to India and China to drive growth.

The company has included Manmohan Shetty, film and TV show producer and Peter Yip, CEO of China’s CDC Corp to the board, Reuters reports. Manmohan Shetty runs Walkwater Media and is the president of the Film and TV Guild of India. He was the chairman of Adlabs Films Ltd, which Reliance acquired in December 2007.  He is also the Director of NDTV Lumiere, a partnership between NDTV Imagine, film activist Sunil Doshi and him. He invested in Bollywood production house Irock Media and animation school Frameboxx.

The company expects rapid growth in India and China by way of larger populations and is setting up an international advisory board. To expand rapidly, Marvel will also need to hire local talent and executives.

Is Localisation Really Necessary?

We don’t think a large and growing population means that products will be successful in this market. Localization doesn’t appear to be the way out either – Marvel had launched an Indian version of Spidey called Pavitr Prabhakar (a slumdog Peter Parker from the streets of Mumbai) that does not seem to have done very well. Marvel also decided to launch the comic books in Hindi and other regional languages, according the Business Line. The company had tied up with Virgin Comics (now Liquid Comics) to launch Batman and The Incredible Hulk, and invested around Rs 15 crore in the country. Kids Media India, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based Spacetoon Media International Group has been taking care of licensing, merchandising, publishing and promotional rights in India for Marvel Entertainment. Will Marvel continue this relationship or opt for an acquisition of an animation house in India?

Simon Philips, President, Worldwide Consumer Products for Marvel, has said that in order to grow locally, it needs to set up initiatives that will work locally. Is this just Marvel’s attempt to foray into the Indian animation scene as it is picking up traction? Indian publishers such as ACK Media and Diamond Comics have recently announced tie ups to animate comic characters.

Spider-Man and Hulk are popular among schoolchildren. Its films – the Spider-Man series, The Hulk and the more recent Iron Man have paved the way to introduce its other characters without changing them. Where’s the need to localize?

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