In a short span of 20 months, the content creation group has produced 25 shows spanning languages, platforms and audiences across television and digital with 600+ hours of content and 14 shows on air and 8 in production right now.
The latest collaboration of Banijay with The Natural Studios will bring in a new genre of entertainment namely Adven-thrill. It is in the genre of non-fiction but an element of adventure will be added. Bear Grylls is known for his shows on Adventure and thrilling survival shows. He has travelled the world looking for adventure. This collaboration will look to create and bring new genres into the country and the region. Adrenaline-fueled projects have been relatively unexplored with huge potential on the horizon. Adven – Thrill will be a combination of adventure, survival and thrilling action sequences. All in all a great treat for the viewers.
Over the months, Banijay Asia has collaborated and devised the strategic partnerships with the talents who are best in their business like Salman Khan’s TV, MS Dhoni’s Dhoni Entertainment Pvt Ltd., Group M’s Motion Content Group, Talpa Global and Wavemaker to create content across television and web platforms for Indian and South East Asian audiences
Medianews4u.com spoke to Deepak Dhar, CEO & Founder Banijay Asia on the recent tie-up with Bear Grylls. We also spoke about the journey of Banijay Asia in the short span of 20 months and the future strategy to grow the Production House.
The tie-up between Banijay Group and Bear Grylls and Delbert Shoopman.
This has been something on my mind for a while, you know, action and adventure in all categories very underserved. In this market, this was something that I thought was a perfect fit to really take, nonfiction content to the next level because there’s so much happening in the, explored platform spaces where they want all kinds of different formats and different kinds of content. Given the fact that a lot of the youth are watching not just linear television but also SVoD a lot of the action-adventure formats that we are creating along with Bear Grylls is something that we are really excited to take to the market with a company called The Natural Studios and started the new ever genre called Adven-thrill. We are now taking that relationship forward with a full fleet of fundamental nonfiction properties and other properties for India and South East Asia. This content will be the focus in the next 3-4 months, we will be partnering with Bear Grylls for at least two-three shows in 2020.
How has Banijay Asia grown since its inception and where do you look forward?
That’s a very emotional question. It was just 15-16 months ago that I stepped out on my entrepreneurial journey and it has been very exciting, to say the least, purely from the fact that all the broadcasters have embraced this little new studio, it’s been reassuring to say that people bet on the jockey rather than the horse. I’m saying it very humbly, that when we’re looking at the show, I need to connect to the man behind the show. It doesn’t matter if you’re making ‘Bigg Boss’ or ‘Fear Factor’ or ‘Masterchef’, I need to see what he brings to the table. People had trusted me when I was turning these little brands into monsters, so I have to trust them as well. You can have the best IP, format and franchise internationally, but if you don’t have the right guy working on it, then the joy is taken away and it starts reflecting on the show. We have been very blessed by the fact that the content ecosystem has embraced us in the traditional broadcast space. We did a show called ‘Roar of the Lion’ with MS Dhoni, which was very different, we decided to do a docu-drama, though we were not sure whether a docu-drama would work in the Indian ecosystem. But we had to try something different and the show did very well.
Clients have really embraced us as one of the top-notch, content studios in the country
OTT shows do really well, but something that gets seen by the wider audiences is the true test. The power of content is not only that it is converting the usual OTT audiences, that is, the youth, but also the new audiences.
This is an extension of the last question is you have tied up with Kapil Sharma, Salman Khan what made you do this?
The idea is to give, not just production services, which actually is readily available in the landscape that we’re operating in. It is to create something more to our clients and partners. The entire experience of creating content which is well received.
Branded Content, on TV it didn’t take off but on OTT it is doing well, your thoughts?
Branded content is slightly differentiated and what we’re doing is we’re actually creating it for brand search, not really branded content or product integration or advertiser-funded. Different opportunities, different ways of communicating with, your subscribers more strategically
Regional is the way forward, where do you see regional content?
Last seven years, Big Boss has been produced in all regional languages and I am a huge believer in regional content. The regional market is growing leaps and bounds. It’s like creating a new show in every language.
So many OTT platforms opening where do you see production houses in the next two years?
It is a challenge, given that there is so much demand. The only way to go about this is to invest in the right talent and us as individual creators and content producers to invest in new talent, not only invest but also to build skill sets. The onus lies at our end. We have to invest in talent. There is no other way out. We have to work with new people, give them a chance; we have to build a little runway for them to fly. Right now there are only around 20 great producers in the ecosystem, whereas there are over 30 OTT platforms. Another thing is that there is a huge demand for non-fiction shows and there is a necessity now to build and equip talent here. But we have to go to new people, guide them with our experience and give them a chance. It’s always a trial and error.
Way forward for Banijay Asia?
I believe in collaboration and I constantly seek opportunities in life. 2020 is going to be challenging for us. Like I said earlier, we want to take one day at a time. 2019 has been really good for us Banijay Asia is among India’s Top 3 players in terms of revenue and the revenues of 2019 has surpassed the numbers 2019 by 5 times.
Our strategy for expansion in 2020 will be original scripts and adaptation of International formats. This will help to expand and create something new as well as unique. Additionally, building meaningful strategic alliances with A-listed talent to not only expand the business but also ensure a quality product. In addition to that, advertiser funded programmes like the one with GroupM is a great step as it has the potential for massive revenue. Looking at Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia in terms of expanding.