We will create the Indian binge viewer, says Applause Entertainment’s Sameer Nair
New Delhi: After feeding the Indian audiences a diet of daily soaps on television for almost two decades, Sameer Nair, chief executive at Aditya Birla Group’s Applause Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, hopes to create the online binge viewer with his latest set of premium drama series. Applause Entertainment is Kumar Mangalam Birla’s privately held production company that will invest in creation and distribution of content for new audiences and new markets.
“Applause is looking to create this binge viewing premium Indian drama series and give it out to the first 100 million online consumers who feel there’s a need-gap. This content will be delivered on the back of the big highways that have been built through telecom and all other platforms that exist. I think the Indian binge viewer is waiting to be created,” said Nair, who was previously the chief executive of Balaji Telefilms Ltd, a television and film production company.
“I really think we need to create a nation of binge addicts now with local language content. The opportunity is clear and present. The technology is in place. The audience has primed over the years. Because TV hasn’t done it, the need gap exists and fatigue has set in,” he said.
For the shows that Applause will create, his target audience is the one which has a 4G connection, access to a screen, one who does not want to watch Netflix originals like Narcos and is tired of daily soap operas like Naagin. “At Applause we’re in the process of creating content and IP, we want to identify these gaps. One of them is premium drama series which seems like a lucrative opportunity because the market needs it,” he added.
Nair said that the distribution ecosystem for online content is in place—from the giant domestic telco platforms to international and domestic over-the-top video streaming platforms. “We are focused on creation of the content. There are different ways to distribute it. There will be a telecom partner. I have great faith in what I call captive audiences of the telecom footprint. I think the telecom audience is a big untapped resource for the entertainment industry,” he said.
Currently, at Applause, a team of 25 people are working on green-lighting multiple projects across comedy, crime dramas and an ambitious historical series on the lines of Tudors. “Lots of writing is underway,” said Nair, whose budget range from Rs40 lakh-1.5 crore per episode for his originals. “The missing piece today is content not platforms. My priority is content,” said Nair
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