Active media investor, Jeff Sagansky, and founder of Kapital Entertainment, Aaron Kaplan, have partnered with top entertainment executives from India to launch of Golden Karavan. The Mumbai-based venture will create and finance original high-end TV content over the next five years that targets OTT services in India. Joining Sagansky and Kaplan is Florence Sloan of Goldenpeak Productions and Apoorva Bakshi, Pooja Kohli and Sanjay Bachani of FilmKaravan Originals.
“Given the access to broadband that is transforming the Indian media landscape, the timing is ideal to launch Golden Karavan, a studio that will provide provocative and high-end, Indian-themed content,” said Jeff Sagansky upon making the announcement. Sagansky is no stranger to the Indian market. In 2015, he and his finance partner Harry Sloan invested in and took public on the NASDAQ Videocon d2h, India’s fastest growing satellite provider of pay TV, which is expected to merge with DISH TV later in the year to become the largest media company in India.
Golden Karavan already has two productions greenlit and 10 more in active development, the outfit intends to create a steady supply of content from the region, targeting OTT and digital services including Netflix India and Amazon India.
“Given our extensive knowledge and distribution experience of the Indian film business, Film Karavan wanted to use that expertise to expand into the TV sector,” said Apoorva Bakshi, speaking about the new venture. “We are hitting the ground running with two series projects greenlit and many others in development.”
“We recognize the opportunity to focus on the underserved Southeast Asian market with amazing storytellers and talent, both in front of and behind the camera, and we couldn’t have stronger partners leading the creative than we do with Apoorva, Pooja and Sanjay,” said Kaplan.
Golden Karavan’s initial slate of OTT projects includes the following:
- The company has formed collaboration with renowned indie filmmaker Hansal Mehta to adapt Ashwin Sanghi’s best-selling book, “The Sialkot Saga.” Mehta’s most recent directorial venture, “Omerta,” garnered rave reviews when it recently premiered during the Toronto International Film Festival.
- Golden Karavan is also collaborating with award winning Canadian-Indian auteur Richie Mehta on a yet unnamed drama series. His latest, a Google-funded Ridley Scott initiative called “India in a Day,” was critically applauded worldwide.
Why does this matter?
As Sagansky mentioned in his statement, access to broadband is transforming the Indian media landscape. Currently, more than half of India’s population (of 1.3 Billion) does not have access to the internet. But this is quickly changing due to the introduction and accessibility of smartphones. With a new demographic logging onto the internet, the demand for relatable content is on the rise. To answer that demand, more than 30 OTT platforms have sprung up across India including Netflix, Amazon, and Apple. But these companies have quickly learned (especially the US based ones) that without original local content their chances of successfully breaking into the market is slim.
Despite Netflix and Amazon’s recent investments in India-based original content, this situation puts Golden Karavan in the perfect spot to flourish. With more than 10 originals already in production and with the experience of its diverse team behind it, Golden Karavan could be the perfect pipeline to India’s wallet…I mean, heart.