Keshet Asia, the Hong Kong branch of Israeli-producer-distributor Keshet International (KI), has opened an office in Mumbai, India.
With the opening of the new branch, Arpit Agarwal (pictured, left) has been hired as director, India and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) reporting to Gary Pudney, head of Asia. Mihir Karlekar (pictured, right) joins Agarwal as senior sales manager, India and SAARC.
Agarwal and Karlekar will work together to grow the number of KI’s scripted and non-scripted formats being adapted for Indian audiences and discover local IP for international distribution. They will also work to lay the foundation for an eventual local production company.
The Mumbai office follows the launch of two flagship KI programs in the country, Prisoners of War and India’s first live voting talent showRising Star on Viacom18′s Colors.
Agarwal joins Keshet Asia from Singaporean distribution and prodco Bomanbridge Media, where he was director of business development and sales across South Asia. Prior to this position, he was business head at general entertainment channel Sahara One. He also led operations at FremantleMedia India, and helped launch The X Factor India and the rollout of Indian Idol V and India’s Got Talent III, among other titles.
Karlekar joins KI from consumer electronics conglomerate LeEco where he was senior manager content business development and strategic alliances. Prior to this role, he was commercial manager, acquisitions at Zee Entertainment where he managed all linear and non-linear content acquisitions for three OTT platforms, FTA and Niche Channel clusters and format licensing for GECs, before being elevated to head of commercial at Zee TV’s digital convergence arm.
“India is a vibrant market in which we see huge potential. The success of Prisoners of War and Rising Star has demonstrated our catalog’s ability to resonate with local viewers, but as well as selling more content into the region, we are equally keen to begin producing and acquiring IP. With Arpit and Mihir on board, we feel we have the right people in place to capitalise on our success and drive the business forward,” said Pudney, head of Keshet Asia, in a statement.