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Nikhil Madhok quits Disney+ Hotstar

The executive VP had led the conception of the streaming platform’s foray into original content titled Hotstar Specials.

Nikhil Madhok, executive vice president, Disney +Hotstar has resigned. He had led the conception and launch of the streaming platform’s foray into original content titled Hotstar Specials.

Confirming his exit, Madhok said, "Building Hotstar Specials from scratch has been one of the most joyous and satisfying experiences of my professional life. The contribution these shows made to Disney + Hotstar's explosive growth were a source of pride, but the best gift was the love and appreciation received from our viewers. The Emmy Award nomination was not bad either! During this time, I have had the good fortune of working with some incredible colleagues across the organisation and in particular with an extremely talented and passionate content team. I wish them the very best. At the same time, I am extremely excited about the next opportunity that has come my way and eagerly looking forward to sharing details in due course."

He was at the OTT platform since July 2018 and was responsible for the entire slate of Specials from content strategy, ideation, curation, script development, production and launch.

The service launched Hotstar Specials as a premium original content brand in March 2019. It was an ambitious content foray featuring shows from India’s most acclaimed storytellers. The first production under the banner was Roar of the Lion—a docudrama miniseries chronicling the Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 Indian Premier League.

The platform has since expanded its offering to include many more shows – across genres, like period action-drama, family crime drama, medical drama and murder mystery. Popular titles include Criminal Justice, Aarya, Hostages and Grahan. Last year, the team announced the launch of 16 new series, including The Empire, Aarya 2 and Special Ops 1.5. Hotstar Specials have dominated the list of most watched series in India (Source Ormax 2021 report). It has also received global recognition in the form of the Emmy nomination for Aarya.

In an interview with afaqs! in 2019, Madhok had said that the main target with Specials is to create content that consumers love enough to pay for. “What we are trying to do at this stage is offer a variety of shows. What we have seen in the OTT space is there are a lot of shows which feature violence, so we wanted to create a sense of variety. In the beginning, it is important to experiment and offer something new; only then will we be able to understand what it is that people like and customise accordingly.”

With almost two decades experience in the industry, he has worked with Unilever, Turner Broadcasting System, Star Network and Discovery. This was his second stint at Star. He has earlier worked with the network from 2011 to 2016. Prior to joining Star in 2017, he was with Discovery Inc in Singapore and was responsible for Discovery's suite of Linear TV and Digital products across APAC.

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