Central Asia Design Hub will enrich television content and licensing in Central Asia
The Central Asia Design Hub Project, funded by the U.S. Department of State, launched on May 30 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Through the project, IREX will work with local partners to improve professionalism in media, increase local-language content, and enrich local production.
IREX officially launched the Central Asia Design Hub at an event attended by U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic Donald Lu, Kyrgyz Minister of Culture, Information, and Tourism Azamat Zhamankulov, and Chairman of the National Committee on National Language Nazarkul Ishekeev, in addition to representatives from the U.S. Embassy and creative professionals.
“What I think is going to be really terrific here about the Design Hub,” Lu said, “is that it will include licensed programs—high quality programs—that are legally offered, in local languages.”
Establishing relationships with U.S. license holders to diversify media programming
Licensed American series are almost nonexistent on Central Asia’s airwaves.
Stations choose TV series mostly based on what shows are inexpensive for regional broadcasters to obtain from foreign sources, including Turkey, Russia, China, Korea, India, and the United States. This often neglects intellectual property rights. Stations sometimes also lack the market knowledge and connections to diversify their programming.
In order to decrease the violation of international and national property rights throughout Central Asia, the Central Asia Design Hub will support TV, online media, and radio stations to develop internationally lawful practices and boost film and television industries by establishing relations with leading license holders in the United States.
Broadcasting unique, high-quality content in Central Asian languages
Governments of Central Asia have local language content laws, which prescribe a minimum number of hours the stations must air content in the national language. In the Kyrgyz Republic, for example, the Law on State Language requires 50% of TV content in Kyrgyz.
Improving the quality of TV content in the national language is so important that the minister of Culture Information and Tourism, the chairperson of the National Committee on the National Language under the president of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the chairperson of the Media Industrial Committee publicly supported these shared aims at the Central Asian Design Hub launch.
The Central Asia Design Hub aims to empower TV stations to broadcast quality content in local languages. The project will assist with finding quality American TV programs and working with local studios to subtitle or dub the language to Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbek. In doing so, the Central Asia Design Hub will build the capacity of local production and subtitling companies.
In Central Asia, television management lacks viewer preference data and testing instruments. Management teams often don’t make data-informed decisions about what international content would generate viewership.
IREX will work with TV stations to diversify and improve media content in the region. Design Hub trainers will conduct training sessions and provide support.
By addressing these challenges and working with local partners, the Central Asia Design Hub seeks to improve professionalism in media, increase local language content, and enrich local production.