APOS: Applause Sets up India Adaptation of BBC’s ‘Luther’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Indian content studio Applause Entertainment will produce a local version of hit BBC crime drama “Luther.” With “Luther,” Applause will continue its business model of assuming the risk of producing shows, and later offering them to OTT platforms as finished works.

Starring Idris Elba, “Luther” is now five seasons old. The Indian adaptation will be multi-season, with the first one playing over 8-10 episodes.

Wherever possible Applause retains the IP of the shows it produces and license them to platforms. In other cases it sells them outright. “I am solving the hard work of actually putting it together, from the idea to the writing, to assembling the team, casting, production design, funding, to making it into a product that is good enough to stream immediately,” Applause CEO Sameer Nair, a veteran of Star TV, NDTV Imagine, Turner General Entertainment, and Balaji Telefilms, told Variety.

“There’s a risk and there’s a reward,” says Nair. “But we are operating at between $100,000-$200,000 an episode, which is reasonable.”

Applause is backed by the $45 billion Indian conglomerate, Aditya Birla, and has a production war chest of some $45 million. It was set up in 2017 with a three-year break-even planned. Nair says that the company is ahead of schedule and is in negotiations to provide content to most of the OTT majors in India, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Applause’s Indian adaptation of BAFTA-winning British series “Criminal Justice” streaming on Hotstar, Disney’s Indian OTT service, is now in production of a second season. Applause adaptations of global hit “The Office” and Israeli show “Hostages” will also stream on Hotstar, alongside political drama “Mayanagari – City of Dreams”. Applause recently acquired the adaptation rights of A+E Networks’ Peabody-winning series “UnREAL.”

Applause is talking to potential co-production partners including Korea’s Kross Pictures, and Israel’s Keshet International. It plans to expand its existing deal with Israel’s Armoza Formats that currently covers “Hostages,” “Honey Badgers,” and “La Famiglia”.

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