Mumbai: Kumar Mangalam Birla has hired Sameer Nairto revive the fortune of his privately held production company, Applause Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, that has been defunct for almost a decade.
Sameer has stepped down as Group CEO of Balaji Telefilms Ltd very recently and he is the second Balajite to lead Applause Entertainment after former COO of Balaji Telefilms Mr. Rajesh Pavithran.
“We plan to reignite Applause Entertainment to invest in the creation and distribution of content for new audiences and new markets,” Birla said. He plans to invest Rs 200-300 crore (for starters) on creating this content for distribution across platforms.
Nair believes the Indian audience is completely bored of daily soaps but that there’s a massive new untapped urban audience that is currently hooked to House of Cards and Game of Thrones. There’s no content currently available in “the world betweenNaaginandNarcos”, Nair said, referring to two popular series, one on Indian TV (Colors) and the other on Netflix.
“Daily soaps started as an idea in India in the year 2000, but went on to become so wildly successful that they stunted every other form of story-telling. This resulted in us missing an evolutionary step, that of premium subscription content,” Nair explained. Applause will work with content producers in the established studio structure.
“There’s a big audience in India today that is fatigued of TV, but is not necessarily watching Netflix. So, the opportunity for us is to create premium content drama series, in multiple languages and genres, in the shorter format with seasons to feed this new audience,” Nair said.
Applause will roll out the first of such shows in the next six months and 20-30 of them over the next 18 months. Nair is convinced there is a market for them and cites the huge opportunity presented by the growing number of smartphones and mobile wireless broadband connections in the country. “Content has to now play catch-up with technology,” he said.