Despite challenges, TV production houses say the show must go on

Production houses met Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray recently to discuss the resumption of shoots and challenges around them

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 26, 2020 9:42 AM
Television Production Crew

After a two-month halt, the shooting of web series and TV shows in Maharashtra is likely to resume in June or July. The state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met with stakeholders, including producers and broadcasters, to discuss the possibility of restarting the shoots and other major concerns.

The stakeholders also discussed the concerns of business and job losses with viewer fatigue of reruns and expressed the desire to restart shooting with utmost care of safety and SOPs, tweeted Ekta Kapoor after the meeting. The CM addressed all these issues and asked for a committee to be initiated to work out the possibilities to start shooting soon.

“We are creating our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for on-shoot and our office. We are also doing this in tandem with the SOP being created by the IFTPC so as to make it exhaustive. For shoots, the SOP will cover points for different types of shows – scripted /non-scripted.  Each will have dedicated processes. Our attempt is to align ourselves with the standard practices as would be agreed under IFTPC,” said Abhishek Rege, CEO, Endemol Shine India.

After the meeting, the production houses are preparing themselves to resume shootings, the uncertainty around when exactly the shoots will resume and the challenges around them remain intact.

Abhimanyu Singh, Founder and CEO of Contiloe Pictures shared, “No one has complete clarity on how things are opening up. However, everyone has to come up with a plan and as of now we are in advanced talks with various stakeholders to put in SOPs which ensure within the studio, how you can keep as much distance as possible, how you could make it a safe environment for people to work in”.

The adage for the TV media and entertainment industry has been ‘the show must go on’, said Directors’ Kut, founder, Rajan Shahi. “Television has kept families together and entertained them for years. I believe there has to be a collective call taken with all the precautions we should resume. Other concerns including the production cost, all the stakeholders need to discuss collectively.”

Echoing similar thoughts, Singh also shared that the whole idea is to ride this as a community and as a team. Everyone should make sure that they don't make the other person's business unviable. “How cost reductions are going to happen and how they're going to percolate across the ecosystem is something that is still currently speculation.”

While there is the pressure of having to make good whatever part of the year has been lost as of today, there is all other safety issues and costs of being COVID-19 ready which will have an impact on the overall costs as well. “There is also rent, standing costs etc of the downtime to be looked at. There's a balance on both sides and we'll arrive at a solution only when things start. Right now it is all hypothetical. It's too premature to say what the losses are and therefore what is expected on budget discussions with the broadcasters. We'll know only when we get a clear date on the work to restart as that’s when we will have a complete picture on the impact,” explained Rege.

He also added that the broadcaster is not out to just cut costs for the sake of it. He explained that they understand the impact that this will have and that it is a decision best taken with the individual producer and the broadcaster together. “For the last 8-10 weeks, there is no new programming on daily soaps etc,  and therefore the decision to look at which shows to bring back or which slots to replace with new shows is a call the broadcasters will be in the best position to take. A lot of research will go into this. These will be one on one decisions between respective producers and broadcasters.”

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