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‘3 Idiots’ looks to cash in on TV rights

‘3 Idiots’ looks to cash in on TV rights
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First Published: Mon, Jan 11 2010. 11 50 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jan 11 2010. 11 50 PM IST
New Delhi: The makers of 3 Idiots are looking to make a killing on the idiot box but television executives aren’t having any of it.
After earning Rs240 crore in the first 10 days of its release, Aamir Khan-starrer 3 Idiots is hawking satellite television rights of the movie for a record Rs20 crore, said senior executives of at least three Hindi entertainment channels eager to buy rights to broadcast the film.
“The price we hear is prohibitive but broadcasters expect it to come down in the next two weeks,” said Gaurav Gandhi, executive vice-president, business operations, NDTV Imagine. A senior Colors executive agreed that the current price is “unheard of”.
“I haven’t taken a call yet,” the film’s producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra told Mint in a text message.
If Chopra manages to sell the film for Rs20 crore, it would be the highest price for satellite TV rights of any film in India.
To be sure, satellite TV rights for blockbuster films do not come cheap. Some of the earlier box-office hits sold at a premium include films such as Om Shanti Om, Krrish, Dhoom and Taare Zamin Par, which were sold at between Rs10 crore and Rs15 crore exclusively to TV channels for a specified number of years and broadcasts.
Kamal Gianchandani, chief operating officer of Reliance Big Pictures, which distributed 3 Idiots in India and abroad, isn’t surprised by the price tag. “Considering the success of the film, the producer can demand a much higher price,” he said.
Gandhi said that although television channels are keen to get the TV premiere rights, 3 Idiots may not appear on the small screen in a hurry since it is a smash hit and is still running in theatres.
However, over the years, the lead time between the release of a film at cinema halls and its television premier has reduced dramatically. “The rights are often sold with a clause which allows television premiere within 45 days of a film’s theatrical release,” the Colors executive pointed out. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
The reason is that a producer makes his money in the theatrical release in a much shorter time thanks to an increased number of prints (1,000 prints now instead of a couple of hundred earlier), digital or otherwise, that are released. As a result, the film reaches the smaller towns much faster, Gandhi said.
Since the film has been already seen widely in theatres, it could affect its television viewership.
Gianchandani, who has also worked extensively in the multiplex business, disagrees. “Such films are watched again and again on different formats. Besides, even the most successful film is seen by 6.5 crore people in theatres,” he said.
Cable and satellite TV has some 400 million viewers in India.
So are the television channels open to picking up the rights for such a high price? “One has to see if it makes financial sense,” said the Colors executive, who may be encouraged by the high television rating that Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif-starrer Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani delivered for the channel.
A senior executive at Sony, however, said the price of the film would come down. “The producer is fishing. There’s no serious discussion yet,” he said, declining to be named.
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First Published: Mon, Jan 11 2010. 11 50 PM IST