At a time when the television industry is looking for ways and means to tide over the present crisis, the strained relationship between producers and channel managers is a major cause of worry for the industry captains who are out to devise the right strategies to tap the big growth potential of the television in the years ahead.
Sidharth Das, CEO, Pritish Nandy Communications describes the relationship between channels and producers as 'very contentions' as there is total lack of mutual respect for each other. He complains that producers are not given creative freedom though the risk is all theirs. Since successful programming depends upon the expertise of both channels and producers, Das advocates that producers should develop skills to enable them to evolve cutting edge strategies while channels should help producers by sharing information about their target viewership and overall strategy.
Noted producer - director Raman Kumar blames multi channel era for curbing the creative freedom of producers. He charges that channels are dictating their terms to producers because the contracts are one-sided. "Unless you do not bring in partnership in basic contract, creativity in programming won't come", he maintains.
Highlighting the creative and financial frustration of producers, Vandana Malik, director, TV18 says that the producers are caught in a cobweb of low rewards and high risk in the commissioning system adopted by most of the channels.
Zarina Mehta, director UTV is strongly in favour of channels saying producers must realise that nobody owes them business and it is their responsibility to produce good programmes. While emphasising the need for a healthy relationship between producers and channels to bring in innovative programming, she says that channels need to do their bit by properly slotting and promoting the programmes to make these succeed.
The sensitive issue of TRP also figures at the centre of producers - channels relationship Sony Entertainment Television, CEO Kunal Das Gupta maintains that besides low programming budget, the intense pressure of TRP has been responsible for the strained relationship.
Endorsing Das Gupta's view point, Vandana Malik says that the relationship is marred by mistrust as channels do not provide access to confidential knowledge of rating the programmes.
Vinta Nanda, Ideation Director, Zee TV strikes a conciliatory note saying "Now that I have stepped in to the shoes of a channel manager, I can say that often the mistrust between the producers and channel managers develops as producers are not aware of the problems faced by the channel people". She calls upon producers and channel managers to develop a better understanding of each other's problems.