Good scripted shows are the biggest challenge for the new Endemol CEO Abhishek Rege
With absolute clarity on the road ahead in less than a month into his new role, Abhishek Rege, CEO, Endemol Shine India, has set his priorities. The production house has already established itself as the leader in the non-scripted genres. However, Rege now wants Endemol to achieve the same in the scripted zone. Irrespective of the platform, in 2018, the company is set to focus on creating original scripted content. Once that is put in place, by mid-2018 Rege has his eyes set on film production. Exchange4media managed to catch up with the man who claims to be working 24X7 to ensure his plans turn into reality. Excerpts:
As the new CEO of Endemol Shine India, whatâ€™s the game plan now? What are the current challenges that lie in front of you?
From growth perspective, one of the key challenges, from quite some time, has been to make a major foray in the scripted space. We have done a lot of shows in the daily space as well as premium content in terms of 'The Test Case'. On the daily side we have had some long-running soaps like Sabki Laadli Bebo, Geet, Mile Jab Hum Tum and several more. But it is the non-scripted space where we are undisputed leaders. Last year, our three showsâ€”Master Chef, Voice of India and Big Boss, were competing against each other on prime time on different channels. So, for future our biggest challenge and focus area is going to be the scripted space.
What type of scripted content are you looking at? Any particular genre?
Relationship-driven drama is on the top of the list but what weâ€™re also looking at is giving something that is in a slightly action zone. The plan is to have some 30-40 episode series that will run on Saturdays and Sundays, and have scope for multiple seasons. We are also looking at some scripted crime shows which are not similar to Crime Patrol or CID. We are also considering adapting certain stories from books which have been best sellers including period dramas.
On digital front, Endemol Shine India tried its hands at â€˜The Test Case.â€™ Any plans to expand there?
We are in the process of actually closing out a couple of properties which would be on regular TV and on digital platforms. Over the last couple of years, we have been developing concepts that will be a great fit for digital platforms like Amazon and Netflix.
You have had some successful launches in the regional market in the last few years. What are your expansion plans for regional markets?
Yes, we have been successful with Bigg Boss in regional languages. Kannada, Tamil and Telugu versions did extremely well. The plan is to now launch the show in Marathi and Malayalam markets by next year. We are also hopeful of launching Fear Factor and Master Chef in different languages as there is demand for such formats in the regional space.
How has 2017 been overall for Endemol Shine India?
2017 has been a very good and balanced year. We have extended the Bigg Boss franchise into the Tamil, Telugu but we have missed out on doing MasterChef . So, we have lost a couple of shows but weâ€™ve gained others. Overall, itâ€™s been a good growth year in terms of number of shows, hours, etc.
You have also produced a few big films. What are your plans for films in 2018?
We plan to focus on films by third quarter in 2018. One of our key targets in doing so would be to create new Ips. The clear focus is going to be on picking the right stories for Right audience. But largely, we will be moving at a slower pace until we have the comfort of having locked the right projects. We are also observing new trends like selling all the rights to digital with no theatrical release at all. It has not happened in India yet but there are players who are talking to production houses about it. Of course, it canâ€™t be a big superstar movie but a smaller budget movie. It is a very interesting space that we will be very keenly observing in the near future.
What are the other future projects lined up besides â€˜Ticket to Bollywoodâ€™?
We hope to lock our 2018 lineup by end December or January and will be announcing these launches soon.
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