Viu, Keshet ink licencing deal for two scripted series in India

MUMBAI: Viu, the leading OTT video service by PCCW, and Keshet International (KI), the global production and distribution company, have inked licencing deal for two scripted shows.

The new partnership secures Viu adaption rights in India for two of KI’s acclaimed scripted formats, the romantic comedies ‘The Beauty and The Baker’ (S1 & S2 – 10 x 30’) and ‘The Stylist’ (12 x 60’), both of which were originally commissioned by Keshet Broadcasting for Keshet 12 in Israel.

‘The Beauty and the Baker’ will be adapted locally in Telegu by the prominent Annapurna Studios for Viu, while the show-runner for ‘The Stylist’ will be Bollywood heavyweight Goldie Behl, which will be adapted in Hindi with Rose Audio Visuals producing. This is the first international licensing deal inked by KI for ‘The Stylist’, which debuted strongly last summer, connecting particularly well with young, upmarket Israeli audiences.

Viu India country head Vishal Maheshwari said, “Our aim has always been to encourage and showcase original and premium content, and Keshet International shares our vision of creating great quality entertainment with local flavor for the audience. This partnership with KI gives us the liberty to bring two highest viewed, prime time shows in Israel to the Indian market. Along with bringing more entertainment for our audience, we are adding to the repertoire of offerings delivering unique concepts for the region.”

KI General Manager of Asia Gary Pudney said, “We are excited to be partnering with Viu for the very first time and bringing these two engaging romcoms to Telugu and Hindi-speaking audiences in India. The international success of Keshet series like Prisoners of War, Traffic Light, When Heroes Fly and The Baker and The Beauty, which just got picked up by ABC in the States last week, shows how well Israeli storytelling continues to travel and captivate audiences around the world, whatever the platform.”

Created by Assi Azar, ‘The Beauty and the Baker’ follows the impossible love story between a simple baker and an international superstar. The original Hebrew series had the highest rated first season debut of a scripted series in Israel, before being picked up in a worldwide deal by Amazon Prime Video, spawning a raft of successful local adaptations – including in Russia by CTC and in the US by ABC (ordered this week from Keshet Studios as part of the 2019-2020 season pick-ups) – as well as generating a wealth finished tape sales globally. A third season is currently in development in Israel.

In ‘The Stylist’, a small-town girl with big ambitions, and an equally big attitude gets her first break in fashion, only to discover that her dreams come with a price to pay – in love, in her career, and in her values. Based on an original Israeli created by Dana Eden, Michal Moncaz, Tamar Marom, Avner Bernheimer for Keshet 12, this romantic comedy-drama set in the glamorous world of style and celebrities is a story that is guaranteed to resonate with audiences in the Hindi-speaking belt of India.

KI already has a strong presence in India, with a number of its hit formats and premium dramas enjoying success across the region. Many local adaptations of Keshet formats have been made, including Star TV’s POW – Bandi Yuddh Ke, which has run a total of 126 episodes, winning Best Drama Series at the 2017 Indian Television Academy Awards and five ABBY awards (dubbed the “Indian Advertising Oscars”); and Rising Star India which premiered on Colors TV in February 2017 and to date has run 49 episodes across two series, with a third in production.

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