Known actors profitable to web series: ALTBalaji's Manav Sethi

Known actors profitable to web series: ALTBalaji's Manav Sethi


MUMBAI: Bollywood actors are seeking refuge in TV and online series. The spurt of content with known big-screen faces points to a trend of getting value out of their established names.

ALTBalaji has launched a plethora of shows with A-list names. “It is more profitable to sign an actor when he does justice to the role and the script does justice to the actor. It is not about celebrity or non-celebrity. We are the first one to sign Rajkumar Rao for an online series. We, as creative shop and storytellers, don’t go behind celebrities, we go behind actors,” says ALTBalaji CMO Manav Sethi.

Actor selection is not dependent on his one time success or failure. “When we script, we check which talent will be suitable,” he adds.

The actor’s fee in movies is significantly higher than web series. Actors are paid in the range of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore for a series, which is significantly less than their movie fee. What makes them settle? Sethi answers, “Movie is a medium that is restricted and constricted whereas online shows give them a lot more freedom, versatility and options and I believe that entices them.” He adds that another crucial factor is the ability of web series to reach out to far and diverse audiences.

The tactic also works for the creator because they can ensure their work reaches millions of people with less marketing and communication. The production cost goes up by 25-50 per cent if they sign a known face.  

ALTBalaji launched a web series The Test Case on Republic Day with actors like Juhi Chawla, Nimrat Kaur and Rahul Dev. A few days back, ALT had roped in Vivek Oberoi for its upcoming web series Family (working title). Before that, it came up with Bose: Dead or Alive with Rajkumar Rao. Earlier, Ragini MMS Returns had the Bengali beauty Riya Sen. Soon, Haq Se will stream with Bollywood actors like Rajeev Khandelwal and Surveen Chawla in the lead.

ALTBalaji is heating up the online content game by releasing web series back to back in 2018 with the promise of doing about 200-250 hours of original content this year. The VoD player is betting high on popular Bollywood and TV actors, which increases the cost but still gets them significantly better results.

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