BBC Worldwide today officially announced the opening of its Indian production office.
The office, headed up by Saul Nassé, will be responsible for bringing the enormous production expertise of the BBC to the Indian market, working with local talent throughout India to produce and deliver world class television.
The Indian office, which will trade as BBC Worldwide Productions India, is BBC Worldwide's third local production base.
It will complement BBC Worldwide's hugely successful Los Angeles production studio – which currently works with all the major US networks and is responsible for producing the record-breaking Dancing with the Stars on ABC – and its production company in Australia, a joint venture with Freehand.
Making the announcement at MIPCOM in Cannes, Wayne Garvie, Managing Director, Content & Production, BBC Worldwide, said: "India is one of the most important and successful territories for BBC Worldwide. This local production office underlines our commitment to Indian broadcasters and audiences and firmly positions BBC Worldwide as a leading global content network.
"Under Saul's leadership, I'm confident that the office will quickly become a key player in India’s growing television industry."
Saul Nassé, General Manager and Creative Head, BBC Worldwide Productions India, added: "I've spent the past year in India, setting up the office and meeting representatives from all the many broadcasters with whom BBC Worldwide works. Two indisputable facts: local productions are by far the most popular programming in India and BBC Worldwide has one of the world’s richest catalogues of television content and formats.
" Taken together, therefore, the Indian production base offers genuine synergy. I'm delighted that the office is now open for business."
BBC Worldwide has enjoyed a strong distribution business in India for many years as well as close relationships with all the networks. Standout local production successes include Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Dancing with the Stars – which has just started its second series on SET and, as Dancing with the Stars, has now been sold to 30 countries around the world – The Weakest Link, Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, which in 2002 won two Indian Television Awards.
Saul Nassé recently led the BBC's highly successful India & Pakistan ’07 season, having previously been Editor of Tomorrow's World and Acting Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC.
Working alongside Nassé will be Sonia Chowdhry, Creative Director, Development and Special Projects, BBC Worldwide Productions India. Chowdhry launched the award-winning Haath Se Haath Milaa (Let's Join Hands) programme for the BBC World Service HIV/Aids campaign in India and was Head of Programming for Nickelodeon in India. She will be driving the future business of the company, working with the development teams in London and pitching to local broadcasters. Additional appointments will be announced shortly.
Notes to editors:
BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC's assets for the benefit of the licence payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has six core businesses: Global Channels, Global TV Sales, Magazines, Content & Production, Home Entertainment and Digital Media. In 2006/07 BBC Worldwide generated profits of £111 million on sales of £810 million.
Content & Production, headed up by Wayne Garvie, manages the acquisition of rights from the BBC and independent producers and provides brand management for key titles. It also licenses programme formats to broadcasters outside the UK and is the home to BBC Worldwide's film unit. In addition to Dancing with the Stars, successful entertainment formats include The Weakest Link, Friends Like These, The Generation Game and Just the Two of Us. In the US, Viva Laughlin!, a remake of the hit BBC musical drama Blackpool, was commissioned by CBS.
Dancing with the Stars has been sold to 30 countries internationally, and continues to be BBC Worldwide's most successful current format. It has aired in markets including Argentina, Israel, New Zealand, Poland and South Africa. Dancing with the Stars was the highest-rating locally-produced entertainment show of the year in Australia, while in Denmark the series peaked on TV2 with a 76% share. Series 5 has just been unveiled in the UK, after over 12 million people tuned in to the finale of Series 4 in December 2006. In the US, Dancing with the Stars – produced by BBC Worldwide's LA production base for ABC – is currently on Series 5. Most recently, BBC Worldwide launched the series on Hunan TV in China.