September 2017



Kumar Mangalam Birla - Chairman of the Aditya Birla group, has hired Sameer Nair, the former group CEO at Balaji Telefilms, to revive Applause Entertainment, which earlier produced movies.

Applause Entertainment will compete with Balaji, for OTT content.

"We plan to reignite Applause Entertainment to invest in the creation and distribution of content in film, television and digital for new audiences and new markets,'' Birla told the press. "I am excited with the possibilities and opportunities that beckon as the telecom, media and entertainment worlds collide and converge."

Apart from OTT platforms, telecom companies such as Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel have their own streaming services. "There is this whole segment of audience today which is lapsing from television. They have 4G data and broadband connections, and are willing to spend money on entertainment… There is huge demand for original content in Indian languages. Video streaming platforms can't just rely on nonexclusive content like movies or TV shows. They need addictive content to make audience binge-watch it," said Nair.


"In the last 20 years, broadcast has been dominated by daily soap operas. They killed off all the other formats of storytelling. It is catering to the lowest common denominator. We completely missed out on the premium subscription model that is prevalent in the US," said Nair. "The video streaming market is nascent today and content is playing catch up," Nair explained.


India is witnessing an increase in content consumption on mobile phones via over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime video on the back of an improvement in broadband speeds, lower 4G internet tariffs and cheaper smartphones.

Amazon Is Spending More On Content Creation Than The Top 3 Hindi GEC Channels!

Amazon has reportedly allocated ₹ 2,000 crore for content creation in India. This is higher than the annual programming budgets of the top 3 Hindi GEC channels put together!

Netflix has signed a multifilm deal with Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's production company Red Chillies Entertainment, giving it access to the banner's back catalogue and exclusive streaming access to future releases over the next 3 years.

Eros Now has collaborated with Vodafone India and Jio to offer its content on their platforms.


Except for Netflix, OTT players largely follow the freemium model, which means most of the content is free and some premium content is charged.

Original content is the hook to attract and convert paid subscribers," said Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte. "As India is predominantly mobile, our content has to be created for individuals than groups."


Birla's Idea is to merge with Vodaphone India next year. The merged entity will have 400 million mobile phone subscribers. This will be a huge inhouse market for content from group company - Applause Entertainment.


Kumar Mangalam Birla will invest up to ₹ 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. It may also occasionally produce movies. The content studio will make shows in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu to start with and then move to other languages. n