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Reliance Jio, Siddharth Roy Kapur’s RKF in digital content deal

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-09-2017 Lata Jha

New Delhi: Indian LTE mobile network operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, on Wednesday, announced a multi-year digital content deal with Roy Kapur Films (RKF), the film and media production house founded by Siddharth Roy Kapur, the former managing director of The Walt Disney Co. (India). The association will include exclusive long and short-form content across genres that RKF will put together as ‘Jio originals.’

Kapur quit the Disney studio in January this year to start this venture. Jio, on the other hand, began its commercial operations last year offering a combination of free Internet access and voice calls, attracting 100 million subscribers in less than six months.

Original content currently seems to be the key word for streaming platforms in India. While American service Netflix Inc. has announced series like Selection Day, Again and Sacred Games, arch rival Amazon Prime Video released its first original, a sports drama called Inside Edge in July. Local film and television production house Balaji Telefilms Ltd provides about 32 original shows in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Gujarati.

Last month, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla hired Sameer Nair—who stepped down as CEO of Balaji Telefilms Ltd —to revive Applause Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, his privately held production company. The goal, Nair had then emphasized, would be to create premium content drama series for a digital-savvy audience.

“This association with Roy Kapur Films will help us power towards our goal of delivering the highest quality video entertainment content to our mobile subscribers,” Jyotindra Thacker of Reliance Jio said in a statement, adding that the network currently carries over 5.5 crore hours of video daily on its network. “Over the last decade, Siddharth has developed and produced some of the most commercially successful and creatively path breaking movies in Indian cinema, and we are happy to partner with him in the creation of a creative ecosystem that enables everyone to fully live and experience the Jio Digital Life.”

Kapur had headed the Indian arm of The Walt Disney Co. (India) that currently operates Disney and UTV Motion Pictures as well as a network of television channels since 2014.

Roy Kapur Films is currently in the process of developing and backing several feature film projects. These include a biopic on Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space, with Aamir Khan playing the lead role. There is also Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari’s next venture, an adaptation of the book How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company, as well as a film based on the real-life story of Alwar resident Vijendra Singh Rathore who was separated from his wife in the 2013 Uttarakhand flash floods and finally found her after 19 months of search across hundreds of villages in the state.

“Jio’s digital platform offers an unparalleled opportunity to produce and deliver high quality and world-class entertainment content that can be watched all over India, across all demographics and completely at one’s convenience, across all screens and platforms. Our goal is to provide Jio subscribers with a wide variety of content that caters to their diverse tastes and sensibilities, and keeps them coming back for more,” Kapur said in a statement.

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