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3 years ago 06:30:00am Television

Applause Entertainment to venture into documentaries, animation content


Mumbai’s Bandra boy Sameer Nair-helmed Applause Entertainment has positioned itself as a “content studio” (inspired by Steven Spielberg’s content production company Amblin Entertainment), which is now planning to get into making documentaries, feature films and even gaming content having made a name for itself for making compelling shows for OTT platforms.

Pointing out that Applause Entertainment is definitely geared up to explore and expand into newer territories of content generation, Nair said, “We have just announced out first feature film (‘Iftikhar’) and have a whole bunch of other films (lined up for production).”

`Iftikhar’, is an adaptation of a chapter from the book “India’s Most Fearless 2: More Military Stories of Unimaginable Courage and Sacrifice”, published by Penguin Random House India and written by two journalists.

In conversation on Friday’s Live chat show on Facebook with media maven Raj Nayak, who currently runs House of Cheer after successful stints at Star TV and Viacom18 group, Nair, a former colleague of Nayak at Star spoke, on a range of topics from his early days as a Bandra boy to his childhood dream of becoming an astro-physicist to venturing into the media world via Yellow Pages directory where he was a salesman.

According to Nair, having released 11 shows on various OTT platforms in 2020 (“almost one a month”), Applause Entertainment is now also looking into newer territories of content generation and planning to get “into documentaries, animation” content.

“The market is booming. There’s so much demand for good content,” Nair said during the conversation, adding that till now the company has worked with 16-18 different directors and there was “so much to learn” from those directors as also the various OTT platforms as “each platform has a different worldview of the market”.

Some of the hit and acclaimed web series produced by Applause Entertainment — some of them in collaboration with other companies like the BBC — include `Scam 1992’ (based on the India’s biggest stock market manipulation by Harshad Mehta), ‘Criminal Justice’, ‘Hostages’, which is an Indian adaption of the hit Israeli series of the same name, two seasons of  ‘The Office’, ‘Madhuri Talkies’, ‘Bhaukal’ and ‘Avrodh-The Siege Within’.

Incidentally, unlike in some cases in TV programming, Applause retains the IPR for all shows it produces for OTT platforms, thus leaving itself ample room to monetize a product in future too. 

Nair also felt that the spike in OTT video consumption that happened during the pandemic lockdown in 2020 has not only changed viewing habits of Indians, but also formalized newer ones. “When there was real and complete lockdown, real spike happened (on OTT consumption). Lot of habits is also being formed as large numbers of people were introduced to streaming. The ease of viewing that streaming offers is unique…(as) on TV once you miss it, it’s gone,” Nair said, adding, “OTT is here to stay”.

Asked by Nayak for his views on impending content regulations for OTT platforms, Nair felt that there has always been regulation of some sort, including those in the more mature democracies and the West like the US.

Explaining Applause’s viewpoint on content, regulations and sensitivities, the tech-savvy and a voracious reader of books, Nair said, “We are (like an) invited guests in people’s homes, so there’s some dignity we have to maintain.”

However, according to Nair, any impending content regulation for streaming content, as one existing for print and TV media, should encourage people to “alleviate the style of story-telling.” 

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