Nimbus Television gears up for 06; to ink deal with intl. production house

MUMBAI: The television production arms of Nimbus Communications - Nimbus Television and its wholly owned subsidiary Nirvana Television Ltd are looking at doubling their production output this year and in the pipeline are at least four new shows.

That aside, the company is also looking at entering into a collaboration with an international production house towards the latter half of 2006.

While the company is in talks with three-four international television production houses, nothing has been finalised as of now.

"This collaboration will open up the international market for television programming produced by Nimbus specifically for the international audience. Currently a lot of Indian movies being made are on par technically with the best of the world cinema and there is no reason why that cannot happen for Indian television as well. Nimbus will be the first Indian company to lead this movement," said Nimbus Communications creative director films and television Mautik Tolia.

Apart from this, Nimbus is also in the process of bringing some systems and practices (S&Ps) in place that will help direct interface between the channels and the production house as also in maneuvering creative control.

The company is in talks with an agency that will lay out the S&Ps for them.

"TV shows today are still produced in pretty much the same inefficient chaotic manner as they used to 20 years back. The objective of this initiative would be to stop spillage and leakage in the TV production process to ensure optimisation of production and minimising production inefficiencies. It will also ensure that clients are serviced better as they will be getting real time updates on the production process through a common interface between the client and Nimbus," said Tolia.

Nimbus Communications, which started out as an airtime selling agency, has managed to move up the value chain to become an agency that provides full service sports marketing and production services, end to end solutions including rights management, television production, sponsor services, event management, new media content and on air ad sales.

Now the television arm is also looking at restructuring itself a la a Hollywood studio model. Through co-production and acquisitions of smaller production houses, the company will move on to a business model wherein it will have a number of production houses specialising in varied content residing within the larger Nimbus umbrella. "This will completely change the way television business operates today," Tolia added.

In August last year, UK based private equity fund 3i acquired 33 per cent stake in Nimbus for Rs 1.97 billion. "The funding for co-productions and acquisitions will come from there," Tolia informed.

On the programming front, Nimbus has already been contracted to produce the ICC Champions Trophy, Afro-Asian Cup, NFL amongst other sports events in 2006.

Nirvana Television will be introducing new formats like a sports reality show on a sports channel and also a sports based soap. In fiction, a saas-bahu drama series called Beta and the second season of Kareena Kareena (Zee TV) are scheduled. A reality show called 100 is also in the pipeline.

"2005 has been a very special year for us considering we produced 545 hours of TV programming consisting of nine shows and six sports events. What is interesting is that at Nimbus we have mastered the art of striking a balance between Hindi and regional language programming, an achievement which is very evident in our offerings," said Tolia.

The production house is aiming at emerging as the market leader by the end of this year "not just in terms of volume but also in terms of sheer innovations that will be brought about both at the micro level through creating cult cutting edge TV shows and at the macro level by way of bringing a paradigm shift changing the way television business is run currently," said Tolia.

Also notable is the fact that the production house has received four nominations at this year's Apsara Film and Television Producers' Guild Awards, whereas Balaji and UTV have received two and three nominations respectively. Nimbus' nominations are in the following categories:

Best actor in a TV serial: Sudhir Pandey for Kareena Kareena

Best comedy series: Kareena Kareena

Best sports show: Challenger Series 2005, Mohali

Best title song: Kareena Kareena

"In 2005, we've produced shows in five languages - Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and English of which Kareena Kareena and Amma Nagamma have been No.1 shows on their respective channels," informed Tolia.

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