Banijay Asia links with Bear Grylls’ The Natural Studios for Indian push

Banijay Group’s recently launched production joint venture with Bear Grylls is partnering with the French company’s Asian division to create adventure programming in Southeast Asia and India.

The collaboration will see Grylls’ prodco The Natural Studios work with Banijay Asia – itself a joint venture launched in 2018 with Deepak Dhar – to create long and short-form content for both local and global platforms.

Deepak Dhar

Grylls and business partner Delbert Shoopman launched The Natural Studios with Banijay in October, with a focus on creating and producing adventure TV and film content. It will work with Banijay Asia to “create and build the high-octane genre in the subcontinent,” Banijay said.

A development slate of projects in India and Southeast Asia are already in the works, with a greenlight expected in the coming weeks. Further details were not revealed.

Shoopman, co-CEO at The Natural Studios, said: “Conversations with Deepak followed almost immediately after launching the JV. Together we all could see the potential of venturing into a new space in India and Banijay Asia’s knowledge and contacts have been invaluable in making it a reality.

“Already, the response from the market has been positive and we are all looking forward to working together to establish a new genre and original IP.”

Dhar added: “The partnership with The Natural Studios came at the perfect time, as we look to create and bring new genres into the country and the region. Adrenaline-fuelled projects have been relatively unexplored with huge potential on the horizon, and with Bear and Delbert, we are confident we have what it takes to turn this genre into a must-have for buyers in Asia and around the world.”

Dhar’s Banijay Asia has already produced more than 600 hours of content since its launch two years ago and it currently has 14 shows on air, with series such as Hostages for Hotstar Specials, Parchhayee for Zee5 and ARRived for YouTube. In October, the former Endemol Shine exec told TBI in a far-reaching interview that the Indian market is poised for considerable expansion over the coming months.

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