Q. Your “Dine Out with Adnan” Youtube channel is highly followed, not only by Bangladeshis and Indians but also by a huge Diaspora population from other countries. Tell us about your journey from a TV actor to an online content creator?
A. Travel and Food were always my passion! Even when I used to work as a professional actor, I would look for any break to travel out to new destinations and explore local cuisines. So it was a very easy, and practical, choice when I decided to change my career from acting to becoming a travel and food content creator. Through my YouTube channel, I can now share my experiences and views with millions of people, which would ultimately help them to make a better informed choice about their travel plans and food choices. That is my main motivation!
Q. Your channel focuses on Food. How do you envisage expanding your content portfolio eventually?
A. As I mentioned, food is a passion for me! I love to taste new varieties of food items, find new menus and sources. Hence, choosing food reviews as a content was a personal choice supported by my passion for it. However, in my Youtube channel, while I started out with food reviews, I am now also covering travel destinations as a different topic. I am also planning to launch a new channel based on the travel information that people want to know before planning their next vacation – I am very excited about that project!
Q. What type of audience are you targeting with your channel ? You talk about both tastes and prices, so are you targeting the middle-class consumer more ? How is it spread between Bangladesh and India?
A. Well, I select my reviews and content based on more on the interests of the consumers. It is slightly different than socio-economic backgrounds. The reason for this is because you cannot really say that any particular food item is only for the rich people or only for the middle class. So I always make my research team collect the information on what is currently trending and what is happening in the market. Based on that research, I create the content – be it a video on food review or travel destination. However I always mention the price that people are expected to pay if they choose to try that specific food item at that specific restaurant, since that would help them make more informed choices.
Regarding the audience from Bangladesh and India, it is roughly 60:40. But it really depends on what sort of content I am uploading. For example, when I upload reviews from India, then more people will get interested than Bangladesh. Similarly, I upload content based from Bangladesh, then more people from Bangladesh are interested in that.
Q. Content Creation is a great way to spread awareness of each other’s cultures, especially in South Asia where our countries are still quite disconnected in terms of mutual awareness ? Will you call your content, that transcends viewers across the region, a form of cultural diplomacy that can help overcome this awareness deficit?
A. You are absolutely right – there is a lack of good quality information-rich content on travel and food sector on South Asia – for South Asian viewers. While it is true that there is a lot of content on this area, there is a dearth in good quality content that can help people to get practical information. Through my Youtube platform, I am trying my best to help create that knowledge base and awareness. But there is still a lot of opportunities for more and more content creators to come up & create valuable content.
Q. How can Content Creation focused on South Asia be better promoted? What sort of assistance would you need to take channels like yourself to the next level ? What is your advice to similar content creators from this region, especially on the ways to meet operating costs and monetising the video content ?
A. The truth is that many content creators are doing this currently from their own financial resources. As a result, we cannot always do all the things we would have loved to do. This is a major area that government tourism boards need to focus on. If these tourism boards can give logistical and financial support to content creators through endorsement or sponsorship, then that can definitely incentivize the creation of more resource-rich content for people who will ultimately come to those destinations as tourists. I also believe that tourism-based media organizations need to see this as an opportunity to work with content makers and tie up with them – they have the readership base while we have the content. Such synergies would be a win-win for both parties.
Q. Can sub-titles help reach out to regional audiences who may not know Bangla but may be interested to know about Bengali cuisine? Is this easier said than done ?
A. Producing subtitles is not a question about easy or not easy. It is directly linked to the budget that the content creator needs to spend in order to create that content. Creating good subtitles is a professional job and hiring such professionals requires a lot of financial resources. This is why content creators need support from corporates and government so that there is a budget to create good meaningful subtitles, as well as hire other technical staff. That would then definitely help reach out to a wider audience base.
Q. Do you think content on food and destinations should ultimately help boost tourism? What can we learn from Southeast Asia, since outbound tourism from all our countries has increased leaps and bounds to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc.?
A. I agree with you that online content on travel, food and culture has a direct positive growth on both inbound and outbound tourism. If one looks at the countries from Southeast Asia – the government of each and every one of those countries has, and is, investing a lot of resources to promote their country to the outside world. If we want that same type of tourism growth to South Asian countries, then that is the first thing we can emulate from our Southeast Asian neighbours.
For more information on Dine Out with Adnan, click here.