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Instead of producing 10 to 15 in-house shows and serials, big media houses are now tying up with individual producers and scriptwriters for good quality content
Big media houses are finding it difficult to generate good content and are now eying to tie up with well-known writers and producers, individually.
“You need individual creative teams for surviving in the television business. Corporates are now tying up with individual writers and local producers to create good content,” said Umesh Ray, chief executive officer and joint managing director, SP Telefilms Pvt Ltd.
Big media houses like the Reliance ADA Group and UTV as well as major TV channels are finding it easier to tie up with individuals for content rather than aligning with production houses like Balaji Telefilms Ltd. Earlier, these media houses tried to produce in-house content in collaboration with production houses, but they failed to generate revenues as well as deliver greater viewership through higher television rating points (TRPs).
Earlier in 2006, Reliance ADA Group’s unit Adlabs Films Ltd (now renamed as Reliance MediaWorks Ltd), had a tie-up with Synergy Communications Pvt Ltd—a production house owned by well-known quiz master Siddhartha Basu. The joint venture, Synergy Adlabs Media Ltd, produced some non-fiction shows like ‘Jiya Jale’, ‘Champ’ and ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain’ as well as interactive shows ‘Aap Ki Kacheri’, ‘Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hai?’ and ‘10 Ka Dum’.
Despite using top film stars as anchors and airing them on prime time, these shows failed to garner higher TRPs as well as capture the viewer’s mind.
Similarly, Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV, which is in the TV content business since 1991, has been unable to churn out good content lately. UTV made its mark with blockbuster daily soap ‘Shanti’ in 1994 on national TV channel Doordarshan. Later it produced some content like ‘Chakravyuh’ and ‘Saanp-Seedi’ for Zee TV, ‘Bhabhi’ for Star Plus, ‘Soni Mahiwal’ for Doordarshan and ‘Athiradi Singer’ for Sun TV.
UTV, also a major player in film production and distribution, later tied up with anchor-actor Shekhar Suman and Smriti Irani, but their joint ventures could not produce good, saleable content for TV. Last year, Smriti Irani Television Ltd (SITL), UTV’s joint venture with Smriti Irani, also known as the ‘bahu’ or daughter-in-law of the small screen, announced that it would produce a serial based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. However, there are no signs of the serial till date.
9X, the TV channel promoted by Peter Mukerjea, former chief of Star TV India, also vanished from the scene as it could not produce appropriate and quality content to pull in viewers. Following decline in TRPs, Sony also revamped its content but is still waiting for results.
Star Plus and Zee, which also registered lower TRPs, have shown some good results after tying up with individual writers and producers. Zee has tied up with Swastik Pictures of Siddharth Tewary and Vikas Seth and is producing a daily soap called ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitya Hi Kijo’. Swastik has also tied up with other TV channels and is producing serials like ‘Mata Ki Chowki’ and ‘Agla Janam’. Recently, Zee TV has tied up with film producer Rajshri Productions and is producing a fictional show called ‘Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli’. SAB TV had also tied up with Tonny and Deeya Singh’s production house DJ’s Creative Unit for a program ‘Left Right Left’, a serial based on the lives of soldiers.
Mr Ray from SP Telefilms said, “Endemol, a UK-based digital production company, has tied up with two individual scriptwriters, Anjana Sood and Vicky Chandra, to produce ‘Sabki Laadli Bebo’ in Star Plus. SAB TV had tied up with Asit Modi’s Neela Telefilms to produce a family-oriented show ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma’.
Colours, the most successful Hindi television channel, has partnered with some of the country’s leading production houses. The channel’s production partners include Endemol India (for ‘Fear Factor–Khatron Ke Khiladi’), Meenakshi Sagar Productions (for ‘Jai Shri Krishna’), Shakuntalam Telefilms (for ‘Bandhan Saath Janmon Ka’), Playtime Creations (for ‘Jeevan Saathi’), Sphere Origins (for ‘Balika Vadhu-Kacchi Umar Ke Pakke Rishtey’), Jay Pranlal Mehta (for ‘Rahe Tera Aashirwad’), Wizcraft Television (for ‘Sajid’s Superstars’) and Deepti Bhatnagar Productions for ‘Mohe Rang De’.
“Individual producers have responsibility for the content they produce as they need to cover the production cost and generate profits to survive and create a name in the industry. But when you are employed in a corporate you do not need to worry about performance because at the end of the month, you will get your salary,” said Mr Ray.
Five years back, big corporates were reluctant in funding individual writers or local producers and performance was a question. But now corporates are welcoming talented people and are ready to fund them.