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Miditech moves on

Abhilasha Ojha  |  New Delhi 

Pinning down Niret and Nikhil Alva, promoters of the Rs 50-crore television software company Miditech Pvt Ltd, is not easy. While the president of the company Niret Alva is shuttling between the metros shooting the auditions for Sony TV's reality music show, "Indian Idol", younger brother Nikhil Alva, and Miditech CEO, is in Singapore to supervise the new office. He's also meeting the National Geographic channel (NGC) executives who have short-listed four of their films to air on NGC.
Niret Alva admits that "Indian Idol" on Sony is big for the company and they have been working on it for almost a year now. "Shows like these are a challenge to direct as all emotions must be captured: their (participants') triumphs and tears, everything," he says. Besides, reality shows give him a high, he adds.
To be sure, the producer duo is currently getting its high from moving into the entertainment television segment in a big way. After having established itself in the documentary genre with a series on environment on Doordarshan and other films for the BBC, Discovery and National Geographic, Miditech is eyeing the entertainment market. "We're very serious about expanding in the fiction and entertainment space," explains Nikhil Alva who moved to Mumbai almost a year ago to set up Miditech's office in the city.
To grow its entertainment programming portfolio, Miditech has pinched UTV's creative head Monisha Singh who has joined as vice-president (entertainment and fiction).
Singh will, obviously, produce Miditech's soaps and serials for the Indian small screen. For starters, four new shows on Bennett, Coleman & Co's lifestyle channel Zoom are in the pipeline. This includes a talk show and a travel show. "There's a celeb show where the concept has been lifted from various newspaper segments," explains Nikhil Alva.
On popular demand, MTV has relaunched Miditech's "Roadies" as "Roadies 2", a reality show where a group of seven young girls and boys zoom on Karizma bikes for 35 days along the Grand Trunk Road.
Meanwhile, the company recently launched "Hum 2 Hain Na" on Sony and Nikhil Alva first wants to build TRPs for this 8 pm, Monday-Thursday slot. The Alvas claim that the company first diversified into serials two years back when it launched "Kabhi Biwi Kabhi Jasoos" on Sony and "Saara Aakash" on Star Plus a little later.
Of course, in the next two years they expect entertainment programming to contribute nearly 60 per cent to Miditech's turnover. "Within the next two years, the entertainment segment of Miditech will help the company achieve the Rs 100-crore turnover target," affirms Nikhil Alva. The company is apparently also close to signing a deal with Sahara Manoranjan for four new programmes including a travel show and a couple of fiction serials. The buzz is that the company may also bag some programmes for Disney's new channel in India.
For the company that started out with a small office in Delhi in 1992, it has been a successful innings. Today, ICICI has a 25 per cent stake in Miditech and the company boasts of nearly 120 employees, mostly in Delhi and Mumbai. However, it also has offices in Bangalore and Singapore. By the end of the year, it will set up offices in London and Indonesia.
But isn't Miditech, known for its documentaries, diluting its brand by moving into entertainment suddenly? "It's not a sudden move," retorts Nikhil Alva adding that they have been planning for nearly three years and have consciously got into the entertainment section. "We believe it's poised to grow by leaps and bounds," he says.
Besides, despite diversifying into entertainment, the infotainment section hasn't taken a back-seat. "In Delhi, Niret sees to it that we still come up with one documentary every month while in Mumbai I am confident of launching one new fiction product every quarter from next quarter onwards," says the younger brother.

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First Published: Wed, September 29 2004. 00:00 IST