Is this a survival year or a profit making year for the media industry

February 27, 2021 11:04 AM

All production studios are purely looking at chasing revenues and cutting costs as only doing one of the two won’t help them

Not only people working behind the screens crew, makers, technicians but artistes on screen are going through a heavy pay-cutNot only people working behind the screens crew, makers, technicians but artistes on screen are going through a heavy pay-cut.

By Nikul Desai

2020 was purely a survival year for the media industry, unlike pharma and essentials who might have made great numbers. With no fresh programming, no new series, no films for months in lockdown or even post that – survival was becoming a huge concern today. Where everyone had great plans of launching new shows and series for the year 2020 and had made optimistic plans of revenue targets, COVID took us by surprise.

A lot of people lost their jobs, only because it was becoming next to impossible for promoter lead companies or production studios to continue paying their onboard teams on a month to month basis, even if they were discounted payouts. With advertising revenues taking a hit for promoters and broadcasters, production studios and other departments also had to work at a discount. Meanwhile, people and the team have to multi-task as the capacity of the production crew show was reduced by the government in their new COVID protocols film and series production guidelines.

This year and a few more months till the vaccine reaches the regular citizen survival is going to be key. In metros, people with appointment viewing are falling. As to get the audience to sit in front of the television at a specific day and time is highly difficult, especially when a nation who thrives on cricket and entertainment (TV and Bollywood) has seen none of these fresh (content) for 6-7 months.

Planning of TV shows for the past year, live events and international tours have gone out of the window and still, international travel for events and concerts looks difficult for quite some time. Not only people working behind the screens crew, makers, technicians but artistes on screen are going through a heavy pay-cut, as the show has to go on even if it has to be made of the same quality but at a lesser cost. This is primarily because the promoters or platforms are also fighting the same battle of getting the advertisers and subscribers.

All production studios are purely looking at chasing revenues and cutting costs as only doing one of the two won’t help them. But to look at the positive side as TV is going to stay for a long time and these testing times have also taught us a lot of things from working in tight schedules and budgets to also understanding the seriousness of detailed planning. TV is called the big monster which eats up a lot of content every day. For this, work has started at multiple levels and more shows are going to be produced, which will help with a chance for the production studios/ companies to do business and survive this financial year and hopefully make profits in the coming times.

Having said that, good narratives and great storytelling will be the key and game-changer too, as the lockdown has worked as a big decluttering device for the audience. So only great content will survive the new normal. As makers, we have to just focus on great storytelling with smart production and we can turn the survival year soon into happy numbers and profit marking.

The author is creative producer of Optimystix. Views expressed are personal.

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