TBI reported last year that KI, the international arm of Israel media group Keshet, was prepping new Indian and Lat-Am bases and the Mumbai office has now opened. It will be headed by Arpit Agarwal, who is director, India and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).
Keshet has already landed a scripted format deal for Prisoners of War with Star Plus in India and placed Rising Star with Viacom 18’s Colors channel.
Karlekar joins from consumer electronics business Le Eco where he was senior manager content business development and strategic alliances. Before that he was at Indian broadcaster Zee.
The new execs have been tasked with growing KI’s drama and unscripted businesses in the country, getting existing formats away in the country and finding local IP with international potential.
Agarwal, who joins from Asian distributor Bomanbridge, will report to Gary Pudney, KI’s head of Asia.
“India is a vibrant market in which we see huge potential,” Pudney said. “The success of Prisoners of War and Rising Star has demonstrated our catalogue’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.”
Agarwal added: “Keshet International has made rapid inroads into the Indian market in the last year and I’m hugely excited at the prospect of further expanding its footprint in the SAARC region – home to over a billion eager TV viewers.”
KI set up Keshet Asia in 2015 and its notable deals include shopping Master Class into China, and sealing several deals for Rising Star and Boom!
The company has been expanding rapidly in international markets, going more deeply into Asia and setting up a new Lat Am production hub in Mexico.