Will TV producers look at IP ownership in the post-Covid2019 world?

It is important for every production house to hold its IP, say TV producers

MUMBAI: When a nationwide lockdown was imposed to stem the tide of Covid2019, all film and TV shoots were suspended. Finally, the Maharashtra government gave a green signal for the resumption of film and television shootings in non-containment zones.

As things are slowly getting back to normalcy it has become important for every production house to hold its intellectual property.

This was the unanimous view of a virtual round table conference organised by to discuss the challenges faced by TV producers. 

The panel, moderated by founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari, had Swastik Productions & One Life Studios producer & managing director Rahul Kumar Tewary, SOL Productions founder and managing director Fazila Allana, Contiloe Pictures founder and CEO Abhimanyu Singh, Endemol Shine India CEO Abhishek Rege, Fremantle India Television Productions managing director Aradhana Bhola, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah producer and Neela Films owner Asit Kumarr Modi, and ANM Global managing partner Nidhish Mehrotra.

With the whole pandemic situation, some television producers also have the fear of being kicked out of shows. This scenario has put a big question mark on broadcasters who own the intellectual property rights for most TV shows.

Swastik Productions & One Life Studios producer & managing director Rahul Kumar Tewary says, “Currently broadcasters have been very supportive, but mostly it is discussion rather than action that has happened from broadcasters’ end. However, I am very hopeful that they will come forward and help. Ultimately, they are the owners of the IP.”

He adds that this lockdown will create opportunities for producers who have trust in their content and IP. This situation will give producers some time to create different business models and IPs. Apart from this, there will be huge financial calculations also.

Adding to Tewary’s point, Contiloe Pictures founder-CEO Abhimanyu Singh said, “It has been a long discussion among all producers. This is a time where the production community can work along with broadcasters with some co-investment in place to create IPs.”

Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah producer and Neela Films owner Asit Kumarr Modi thinks it is very important for all producers to own their IPs. With the help of IPs producers can also sustain their business and become a long-time player.

He adds, “If I don’t own an intellectual property then I am merely a production coordinator and not a producer. Post Covid2019 it will be interesting to see who owns IP. Repeat telecasts are seeing a huge consumption on digital media. IP has its own value, who will own what percentage that producers and broadcasters will have to mutually decide.”

SOL Productions founder-MD Fazila Allana said: “Despite having our own IP there are certain formats which are created indigenously for the movie market which is not owned by them.”

She adds that it is a continued struggle. It is more than ever now that the platforms and the channels do not want to give up IPs. Because even they have realised that in this situation, they need a bank to play and they don’t want to pay for it again.

“The struggle is going to be tougher as everybody is now realising that there is a huge financial problem, so they are alright with producers sharing the cost and therefore own half IP. So, co-investing and co-owning could be a solution for this mid path. I don’t think the broadcasters or OTT players will give 100 per cent IP,” she further explains.

Adding to what Fazilla Allana said, Fremantle India Television Productions MD Aradhana Bhola believes that OTT players have now realised that there is no boundary to create content. They can do dubbing and subtitling; and consumers are willing to see those contents.

As we all know that a large part of Indian television comprises reality TV shows like Indian Idol, Bigg Boss, Dance Plus, etc.   While some producers are of the opinion that owning IP will incur them huge costs and financial burden, others think that it could be the way going forward.

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