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ZEEL implements same language subtitling on Marathi channels

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), in association with USAID, PlanetRead and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM A), has implemented same language subtitling (SLS) on its leading regional channels Zee Talkies and Zee Marathi. The aim is to improve the basic functional reading competency of children in Maharashtra.

The initiative is in line with the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) – ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat’.

ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka said, “Television, being an effective medium of mass communication, is an excellent platform for children to improve their reading skills. We at Zee have undertaken this pilot project of same language subtitling on our regional channels, Zee Talkies and Zee Marathi with the objective of improving literacy in children in Maharashtra. Over the span of two years, SLS has been activated for songs in over 250 frequently aired movies in our library. Seeing the successful results of this study, we plan to extend this project to our other channels, as well.”

IIM Ahmedabad professor and co-author of the SLS report Brij Kothari stated, “In the pilot project, for nearly two years, from June 2013 to May 2015, same language subtitling (SLS) was added on all the songs of 10 weekly Marathi movies telecast in prime time on Zee Talkies. The song-subtitled movies were further repeat-telecast in other slots on Zee Talkies and Zee Marathi. Together, this resulted in an unprecedented scale up of SLS in Maharashtra, far more than the project had even planned for or anticipated. The study has shown tremendous impact on school children’s reading skills, especially in Classes I–III, with the results showing 10–14 per cent more children becoming good readers in each grade.”

Conceived in 1996, SLS is the idea of subtitling mainstream TV content in the same language as the audio. Research studies have found that SLS causes automatic reading engagement among viewers. Especially on song-based content, regular SLS exposure is known to contribute to reading skill improvement.