TV producers set to leave Maharashtra and shoot in
other states, even as viewers tire of watching re-runs, TRPs dip and
By Subhash K Jha and Runna Ashish Bhutda
Posted On Sunday, November 23, 2008
Television viewers are tired of seeing TV serials
characters going through all the motions and machinations again, in
re-runs of soaps. TRPs have dipped dangerously (see box), revenues may
dip too. The industry is in serious trouble.
And so the
television workers' strike now threatens to have graver repercussions
than one would have envisaged. Faced by a no-show situation for weeks
now due to the deadlock, producers have now decided to shoot their
serials outside Maharashtra - in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
Delhi and West Bengal.
Broadcasters and producers have held
closed-door meetings to examine the possibility of shooting serials in
other states. Says a highly placed source from the television industry,
"How long can the channels go without fresh inputs? Broadcasters are
seriously looking at options of shooting serials outside Western India.
This is our only option. The viewers are getting restless. The
advertisers are also getting restless. Everyone thought that the strike
would last a week at the most. But now when it's showing no sign of
ending, an alternative crisis management plan is being formulated."
Shankar, CEO Star India, said, "Even if the strike ends today, it will
take ten days for fresh transmission to resume. The TV industry is in a
about the losses in revenues? One broadcaster says, "That's another
battle waiting for us. We had requested advertisers not to put pressure
on us. So far they've been very civil. They've neither asked for
compensation nor refunds."
The situation, Uday Shankar admits,
is now more tangled than before. "It's been almost two weeks. The
pipeline has run completely dry. We broadcasters are very badly hit.
Viewers are getting withdrawal symptoms. Advertisers' campaign plans
are getting disrupted. The ordinary workers are losing wages."
to the problem is the fact that TV software producers are terribly
disorganised. Says a channel head, "Audiences get emotionally involved
with the story of the soaps. If they lose thread it will be very hard
to wean them back. We will have to start shooting in other states. The
obvious choices are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh Kolkata and Delhi which
have a developed television industry. The whole television industry in
Maharashtra will get fragmented. For producers who are making multiple
serials this arrangement will be hell. But we have to make the best of
a bad situation."
Albert Almeida, Business Head Sony TV, said,
"The demands are untenable. If they continue to make their demands
unviable and unreasonable, our reaction would need to be equally so."
1. At any given time, monthly
rentals for a set range between Rs 7-8 lakh. There are about 75 to 80
sets in Mumbai. So the cumulative expenditure on rentals is estimated
at Rs 5 to 6 crore. Producers are paying this rent without shooting.
a single show, a producer has to pay salaries that amount to about Rs 5
lakh. For 100 shows, it would mean an expenditure of about Rs 5 crore.
3. To date, the TV industry has been losing Rs 12-15 crore profit on serials, per month