Viacom 18 entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Eros International Media for forthcoming releases and is reported to have acquired nine movies for satellite broadcast.
With the kind of prices that these films command, the roof threatens to cave in on the television broadcast business already reeling from multiple challenges. Neeraj Vyas, vice president and business head at Set Max, said that there needs to be some kind of rationalisation on rates for films. The broadcast industry, as per him, is going through a turbulent phase. The transition to 100% digitally addressable systems, the advertising cap being introduced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and the swings in television viewership data are posing some serious challenges to the broadcasters. “Everyone’s facing the heat. It’s time to take some hard calls on overpriced films,” says Vyas. He points out that a lot of the new cinema involves edgy fast-paced content that may do well at the box office in metros but does not resonate with people in smaller towns. The content that finds universal appeal is in short supply.
He hopes that “some sense prevails” as far as rival networks go because the bidding war is pushing the prices up the roof. “We prefer a cautious approach. If we feel that the film just does not justify the cost, we are not afraid to walk away,” he said.
Hemal Jhaveri, executive vice president and general manager at Star India, feels that market forces should be left to decide the pricing. The market will resolve its own problems. “It will correct itself,” he says.
Raj Nayak, chief executive officer at Colors, said that Bollywood entertainment is recession-proof and that means that prices will keep catapulting ahead. Still, these films account for the lion’s share of viewership. Colors does not have any exclusive tie-ups, but has an excellent working relationship with production companies such as Eros, UTV and group company Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, he said. “We look at buying movies if it makes a good business proposition. Once you buy a movie, it has to deliver good returns over