Satellite rights ‘uplink’ top Sandalwood stars
By A Sharadhaa - BANGALORE
07th August 2012 08:24 AM
Although the trend of satellite rights for Kannada films is still new, it is only the big stars who make money, while there are no takers for films of second level of artistes. On the other hand, producers also feel that they don’t make any profits out of satellite rights as the heroes get all the benefit. City Express explores further.
With TV channels and networks competing to acquire the satellite rights of films in Sandalwood, ‘big star movies’ are being sold for bumper prices. Films of Power Star Puneeth Rajkumar has set a record as far as pricing is concerned and his films have kept the cash registers ringing. Puneeth commands excellent value because his films ‘hit a new record’ with each of his releases and thereby, attracting a high price for his satellite rights.
The next ‘bankable star’ is Darshan, whose films score well. “We have two criteria to buy the rights of high-ticketed films. The first is to buy the movie before it gets released and the other is to buy after the film hits the theatres. We categorise it as A+, A and B. Category A+ are stars who fall into 1 and 2 level. We also have another category called director and producer’s category. Based on the category, the value of the film is fixed,” says Anup, Business Head of Suvarna channel.
Puneet Rajkumar’s films like Anna Bond, Hudugaru and Yaare Koogadali fetched the highest with rights sold somewhere between Rs 3.5 and Rs 4 crore followed by Darshan, Kichcha Sudeep and Shivarajkumar films whose films get satellite rights between Rs 2 to 2.5 crore. Upendra, Ganesh and Vijay are also considered bankable stars.
However, market sources claim that the competition has gone down. TV channels are finding it difficult to recover their TRP or cost from sales. There was a time when movies were acquired at pre-production level itself. ETV has stopped buying films for the past five years while a few channels think of buying films of A category.
“Lately, there is a lull in the acquisition of satellite rights by TV channels in Karnataka. One reason is that many Kannada movies have failed to click on television in terms of numbers, both Gross Rating Points (GRPs) and sales revenue. Channels are now adopting a pick-and-choose policy where A grade movies with good star cast are acquired. A movie is shortlisted based on: star cast, director, budget, storyline, music and previous theatrical and television performance of a similar film,” says Dr M Gautham Machaiah, Executive Vice-President, Zee channel.
Out of the 110 movies released, 10 movies run in the theatres for a decent period. There is not a single movie today, which has created a record. When films do not do well in theatres, they does well on television too. So the channels are re-working their strategy. The Kannada film industry is protected and not ready to liberalise because of dubbing issues and therefore, they have closed themselves to competition totally. According to industry sources, there are no recruits for their films when it is the case of second level stars like Diganth, Yogi, Yash, Srinagar Kitty. “The problem with these actors is that they do not get much TRP ratings and secondly, they quote a high price of Rs 60 to Rs 70 lakh, which is usually not negotiable,” Anup adds.
According to Umesh of Udaya TV, films have started to get more satellite rights because of the increase in the number of channels. “Stars like Darshan and Puneeth rule the roost on small screen because we get minimum guarantee in the TRP ratings, which can’t be in the case of newcomers.”
Addhuri starring newbie Dhruv Sarja has sold at a good amount, even though the film is still running in theatres. “Dhruv as a newbie is a hit today because of Addhuri. But it will benefit the channel only if Dhruv still has a market value when we air the film after one year of release,” says Umesh. According to Anup, movies are picked based on selling point and the star value. “For lesser known star-cast, the money value is limited. If the channel listens to the story and feel that the film might run on small screen, they try to acquire those films,” he says.
There are some cases, where the films do well in theatres but do not get a good price for satellite rights. “We try to avoid a few films which have done well as TV is for family viewing,” says Anup. So what happens to films like 'Dandupalya' and Veena Malik’s 'Dirty Picture — Silk Sakkath Maga'?
“Most channels don’t attempt to buy ‘A’ certified films. A film which runs for two hours in theatres will see a lot of cuts, which does not make sense when it is aired on TV. We have to re-apply to the censor board before we acquire the rights of such films, which is a long procedure. So, channels avoid taking such films,” says Umesh.
“Though there is competition among channels, gone are the days, when films were bought at unrealistic price as we have realised that the market is not big enough,” says Anup.
“Even though there is competition, we usually don’t approach movie makers. We have permanent customers who want us to air their films,” reveals Umesh adding, “It’s like an investment for the producer in making a film. As and when the film is announced, negotiations are done with the channels. When the film is finalised, part payments will be made to the producer, which helps him financially.”
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