LONDON – Global content and media producer and distributor Keshet International (KI) has announced a landmark deal with Tata Sky, India’s leading content distribution platform, for the finished tape of the Israeli series Prisoners of War (Hatufim). This is India’s first deal for a Hebrew language series.
A gripping series that inspired the Emmy award-winner Homeland, Prisoners of War is a drama about three Israeli soldiers who were captured 17 years ago while on a secret mission. Originally commissioned by Keshet Broadcasting, the story begins with their return home after years of negotiations for their freedom. However, while they are acclimatising to their new lives, a secret investigation is launched, highlighting discrepancies in their stories.
As the investigators get closer to finding out the truth of what really happened, the soldiers are even more resolute to do anything they can to hide the biggest secret of all. Created, written and directed by Gideon Raff, both season one (1×60’, 9×45’) and season two (14×45’) of Prisoners of War have been sold by KI to Tata Sky.
Arpit Agarwal, Head of India and SAARC, Keshet International, said: “We are thrilled to have signed India’s very first deal for a Hebrew language series. Keshet’s original series has already proved to be a hit with audiences around the globe, and here in India, spawned Star TV’s highly acclaimed local adaptation, POW: Bandi Yuddh Ke. We hope this deal will introduce viewers to our high-quality slate of scripted content from around the world and that it will be the first of many more series sold here.”
Tata Sky, leading the game in bringing curated international language content for viewers, believes Prisoners of War will have a successful run in India. Arun Unni, Chief Content Officer at Tata Sky said: “In today’s day and age, both viewers and we look for access to good, intriguing content, irrespective of language barriers. In the past two years, Tata Sky has successfully brought hidden gems in content from across the globe to viewers in India. Hatufim is one such gem that will shine across the viewer preferences, with its engaging story line and high production quality. We are glad to partner with KI on this project and hope this opens doors for more of such high-quality series in the times ahead.”
Following its world premiere on Keshet 2, Prisoners of War (Hatufim) won 40% market share and went on to become Israel’s highest rated drama in both 2010 and 2012. Since then, this highly acclaimed series – described by The Guardian Guide as “emotionally charged and wrenchingly powerful” – has been sold in its original form to over 65 territories by KI, including the US on Hulu (their first non-English speaking show) and on Sky Arts in the UK. Showtime’s Homeland has gone on to win five Golden Globe awards and eight prime time Emmy awards.
KI has a strong presence in Asia, 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.