'Though reality shows are expensive, the yields are also high' : Deepak Dhar - Endemol India country head

 Riding the reality format boom, Endemol is stepping up efforts to grab a slice of the fiction content market in India. The company is also planning to foray into regional language content and is in talks with broadcasters like Sun TV, Raj TV and Maa TV.

In an interview with Indiantelevision's Nasrin Sultana, Endemol India country head Deepak Dhar also talks about the company's venture into gaming and Call TV format shows.


Most of the shows that Endemol introduces in India are based on international format. What kind of research and creative inputs do you work on to add local flavour to it?

Whenever we get an international show format to India, we always try to adapt it to the local market. There is certain amount of local creativity that is allowed on the format shows. We try to draw and pull in expertise from other countries and learn from how they are doing the show there.

We follow certain standards and practices while adapting an international format. Our in-house Indian teams make sure that the format is tailored to suit Indian sensibilities so that audiences can watch the content with their families around.

For example our international property Fear Factor, which has done so well in other countries, was spiced up in India according to the need. Unlike its international version, Khatron Ke Khiladi had 13 female celebrity contestants.

With the 13 female contestants in such difficult situations, we delivered nail biting thrill and competition. This was the first time that these female models were making public appearance without make-up. Besides, the Akshay Kumar-factor gave us an upper edge this time in the show.

Does the India division of Endemol own any original format? Are you selling your format show to other foreign broadcasters?

Endemol India owns the rights for the musical show Mission Ustad on 9X. The show was produced in association with United Nations. The show featured AR Rehman along with various singers who performed to achieve eight millenium development goals set by the UN. In the show, the contestants also composed and performed original tracks.

We are in talks with an UK broadcaster to sell the rights of the show. We hope to seal the deal in two to three months.

What about your most popular show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge?

We do not hold any rights of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Star India holds rights for the format and the show. Endemol India only produces it.

Besides Fear Factor and Big Boss, what are the other format shows that Endemol India is launching in the local market?

We are in talks with a couple of Indian broadcasters to launch some of the format shows that we had brought rights to in Mipcom last year. Right now we are looking to launch format shows like Divided, Set For Life. Wipe Out, Divided and 1 vs 100.

At the last Mipcom, Endemol had bought rights of shows like Kids are Alright and 11 Cameras for the Indian market. What is the reason that you have not yet launched them?

These shows are very advanced in its nature to fit with the Indian viewers. They would not have accepted it then. We are launching them in India soon.

'Although Indian broadcasters and producers have tasted success with reality, it is still fictions that work well with all kinds of viewers in India'

What went wrong in your not-so-good experience with fictions like Jamegi Jodi for 9X and Full Masti 88.2 for Sab TV?

Although Indian broadcasters and producers have tasted success with reality, it is still fictions that work well with all kinds of viewers in India. Our weekly sitcoms have drawn good response. We are building up on that front.

How aggressive are you on the fiction front and will it be in the same comedy space?

We have a full fledged fiction division in Endemol India. This time we are trying to get away from the comedy genre. Currently we are working on two fiction-based shows in different genres. We are launching a fiction show, Miley Jab Hum Tum, on Star One.

What steps are you taking to tap the rapidly growing regional space?

We will be foraying into regional language markets very soon. We have already firmed up our team. Starting with the South, we will get into producing shows for Marathi and Bengali channels. In the South, we are talking to Sun TV, Raj TV and Maa TV.

With reality shows being so expensive, do you think regional channels can afford them?

Why Not? Though reality shows are expensive, the yields are also high. Regional players are ready to fork out money for such shows and reap the returns.

What are the other areas that you are stepping into?

Endemol is expanding its business in India. Besides producing shows, we are getting into other areas like gaming and call TV format shows.

What are the shows that you are looking at to develop into the game software?

We will develop gaming software on the format shows. We are planning a strategic alliance with a gaming company. We will hold the gaming rights for all these shows.

Some of the format shows that we are looking to develop into gaming software include Deal or No Deal, Set for Life and 1 vs 100, among others.

We are also planning to release DVDs with respective broadcasters on various shows.

Could you elaborate on Call TV shows?

Call TV is a show wherein viewers can interact with the TV programme host through a mobile. The theme for Call TV shows may vary from astrology to cooking recipe. These shows will be mostly in the non-prime time band.

As of now, Call TV initiative is at the initial stage of formation. We will be introducing th Call TV shows by the year-end.

For Call TV shows, are you talking to any Hindi news channels?

We are in talks with some of the Hindi news channels.

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