Blockbusters a big draw for channels as ad spends move to TV

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 24 2010, 04:31am hrs
The lure of higher television ratings and better advertisement revenues is driving broadcasters to acquire satellite rights of new blockbuster Hindi films. The number of satellite rights will rise to 50 this fiscal, compared with only 35 films last fiscal.

Rights for Anurag Basus Kites was bought by Colors and the film will be screened on the channel on June 27 in India. The film will also be shown on the same day in the US and the UK.

With this new deal, Colors is hoping it can challenge Star Plus and Zee TV and reclaim its top position on the ratings chart. According to TAM Media Research, a media rating agency, Star plus has garnered a gross rating points (GRPS) of 335, Colors 288 and Zee at 256 for the period June 6-12.

Advertisement revenue continues to be be a big attraction rights. Advertising spend by companies grew 30% compared with last year, when business houses shrunk their ad spends owing to the recession. Ratings too shoot up if a new film is being showcased.

With an increasing number of new Bollywood releases being premiered on general entertainment channels, the rates for ad spots have gone up to Rs 5-8 lakh per ten second slots, depending on the popularity of the film.

Pas premiere on Star Plus in March commanded Rs 10 lakh for a ten-second slot, media planners say.

Farokh Balsara, partner and national leader, media and entertainment practice at Ernst & Young, says: Other channels like Star, NDTV and Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd ( MSM ) which operates Sony TV are likely to buy the satellite rights of newer films slated to release next month.

There are nearly ten big films slated for release next month, including Puneet Malhotra directed I hate luv storys, Milenge Milenge directed by Satish Kaushik and Anant Mahadevans Red Alert.

Gaurav Gandhi, chief commercial officer and head-international business, Viacom 18, which runs Colors channel explains, Until late last year, most channels generally preferred non-exclusive rights of a new film on a collective basis and shared the rights because the prices expected by the producers or film studios had increased significantly and the studios wanted to do deals for a limited period. However, this model is now going back to exclusive rights for a fixed 5-7-11 -year period.

He further says that Colors will acquire 10-12 films between August and March.

He added television ratings go up significantly during the week when a new film is aired on the channel, which is another determinant for acquiring the rights of a film.

When Ajab Ki Gajab Kahani was released by Colors a few months ago, it commanded a television rating of 7. A recent report by Ficci-KPMG states that this film, which gained high ratings, helped the channel in maintaining its leadership.

However, media planners say that each film has an ad spot of 10-12 minutes per hour and the spots are sold at Rs 5-7 lakh for ten seconds. The title sponsorship for a new film is sold at a premium.