Big media houses tying up with individuals for TV content

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. 
-Pallabika Ganguly
 

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COMMENTS

R Sridhar

9 years ago

Very nicely researched article. Keep it up!

Indian textile exporters target fresh markets

Following tough competition from China and South Korea as well as lack of incentives, many Indian textile exporters are unwinding their positions from traditional markets like the US and the EU. These exporters are now focussing on markets like Japan, the Latin American countries, New Zealand and Australia. 

“The US market is a comfortable zone and a better bet for all of us as it offers good quality and quantity potential for textile exporters. However, due to incentives withdrawn by the Indian government, our battle with countries like China and Korea has become even tougher,” said a senior official from Nahar Spinning Mills Ltd.
 
According to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), during the first half of the current financial year (April to September 2009), Indian garment exports tumbled 7.3% compared to last year. In October, the country's apparel exports were hit severely and declined by 17.6% to $603 million over the year-ago period.
 
Indian apparel exports to the US, the world's largest market, declined by 6.5% to $2.27 billion during January to September this year compared to $3.1 billion in the same period a year ago. However, during the same period, China's exports to the US increased by 2% to $17.20 billion while Bangladesh's exports rose 2.4% to $2.70 billion.
 
"The government must introduce fiscal relief measures to save garment exports out of India," said AEPC chairman Rakesh Vaid, adding that there are fears of the industry suffering collateral damage. "Stimulus packages and other steps announced so far have had negligible impact on the Indian apparel industry. These measures were either release of withheld benefits or the restoring of benefits withdrawn earlier."
 
With weak US markets and despite marginally better recovery signs from EU countries, the Indian textile industry is not expecting higher margins, said an official from the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC).
 
Accordingly, the trend is likely to continue for another two to three years with a 2% drop in exports to these nations, the official from Nahar Spinning added.
 
Textile exporters from India are not against the idea of exporting textiles to the newer markets like Japan, Latin American countries, New Zealand and Australia but would have preferred to  enjoy their earlier privileges which the government has withdrawn, he said.
 
The government has provided better pricing for the newer markets and with less competition, the textile exports to these markets will increase, the official added.
 
“We have just started (exports) and have not rigorously entered these markets as we are to still studying and understanding them,” the Nahar Spinning official said, adding that it would take at least another six months to a year to do well in these markets.
-Aaron Rodrigues
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Promoters tank up on preferential allotments in Sistema Shyam

Promoters of various companies have been known to pamper themselves by allotting preferential shares at prices significantly lower than prevailing market prices. With equity markets enjoying a solid run, greedy promoters seek to make a killing by allotting shares of the company to themselves at a steep discount, while selling existing holdings at an enormous profit.

In much the same manner, promoters of Sistema Shyam Teleservices, a mobile service provider, are looking to cash in on the current boom, at the cost of minority shareholders of the company. Recently, the Department of Telecom (DoT) gave its nod to the Russian government bid to pick up a 20% stake in the service provider for an estimated Rs3,200 crore. Sistema Shyam has said it could subscribe ‘‘fresh equity shares of nominal value of Rs 10 each at the rate of Rs 49.31 per share approximately for an investment of up to $676 million.” This will come as a rude shock to the minority shareholders of the company (forming 2.5% of total shareholding), who will be left watching from the sidelines as the promoters make a quick buck in the secondary markets. The company has called for an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) on 10 December 2009, for discussion of the proposal.
 
Although SEBI had in 1994 tightened rules for preferential allotment to deter promoters from taking unjust advantage at the cost of minority shareholders, promoters continue to find ways to manipulate the system to their benefit. Although such allotments are completely legal and within the framework of SEBI guidelines, they are still unfair to the minority shareholders of the company.
 
Sistema Shyam offers its mobile telephony services under the MTS brand name in the country. Russian telecom giant Sistema has a 74% stake in the joint venture with Indian based Shyam Telecom, which has more than 2 million fixed-line and mobile subscribers in seven circles of the country.
 
Interestingly, Sistema was looking at merging Sistema Shyam with its main asset and top Russian mobile operator, MTS, earlier this year. The decision to merge the Indian entity was to be based on its capability to deliver appropriate returns.
–Sanket Dhanorkar
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