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BBC and Applause Entertainment partners to make Indian adaptation of BBC shows

Applause Entertainment, a privately held production company of Aditya Birla group’s chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, has inked a partnership with BBC Worldwide India to develop and produce Indian versions or adaptations of BBC shows like ‘Criminal Justice’ and ‘The Office’.

In a statement, the companies say that this it will be the first time both Criminal Justice and The Office formats will be developed in Asia, starting with India.

The development comes as a big deal for Applause Entertainment, which was basically defunct for a long time and produced Amitabh Bachchan starrer movies such as Black (2005) and Dev (2004). Kumar Mangalam Birla had shut Applause Entertainment in 2009 after it struggled to turn a profit. In August this year then, Birla roped in the former group chief executive Sameer Nair of Balaji Telefilms to revamp the production house and make entertainment content for telecom operators and digital platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar.

Birla will reportedly invest up to Rs 300 crore in his personal capacity in Applause Entertainment in the first year of its operations to make 15-20 shows across the drama, romance, crime and thriller genres, and it may occasionally produce movies. The content will be made in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu initially.

Besides BBC deal, Applause Entertainment is also set to roll out its first series based on the cross-border surgical strikes conducted by the Indian army in 2016, which is produced by Irada Entertainment for Applause Entertainment.

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BBC bullish on India

In its efforts to capture a digital audience in India, the global news broadcaster has been adopting multiple strategies in full force. So far it was limited to its news service. This month we reported that BBC World News is partnering with technology companies in India to provide ‘personalised news service’ in the country. This new project is led by BBC’s research and development unit- BBC Connected Studio. In October 2017, BBC World began its broadcasting in four Indian languages MarathiGujaratiTelugu and Punjabi. BBC plans to create 157 new roles in Delhi in India and expand its bureau. The expansion into Indian languages is set for late 2017 but the broadcaster does not mention a timeline or dates.

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