Industry jittery about lockdown extension as film production halts in Maharashtra
The government issued new guidelines on the night of April 13 and imposed section 144 for 15 days amid the COVID surge
The Maharashtra Government on Tuesday announced that section 144 will be imposed in the state starting from April 14, 8 pm amid spike in COVID cases in the state. The government said that it is imperative to take certain emergency measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus.
As part of the curbs, shooting for films, serials and advertisements are to be halted till May 1, 2021. With these directions, the industry has been reliving 2020 when shoots were halted for two to three months leading to no original programming on GECs, and loss of viewership and advertising revenue.
JD Majethia, Chairman- TV & Web wing, Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) said, “Firstly, we stand by the Maharashtra government decision. However, we will go through the order and discuss it internally. We, as the entertainment industry help people to stay at home. We are also among the frontline workers. We will see if there is any possibility to discuss this with the government and if not then we stand by the government decision.”
The lockdown period will impact majorly on TV shows of Hindi General Entertainment channels (GECs) and Marathi GECs as shoots are only halted in Maharastra.
“We believe TV broadcasters generally have a buffer of 10-15 days before a fresh episode is a shown (due to editing and finishing touch for content), hence the impact will be minimal if this restriction stays for 15 days, however in case of any extension, it will have a negative impact for broadcasters like Zee, TV18 which have a high share in Hindi GEC,” said Karan Taurani, VP, Elara Capital.
He further said, “In terms of SunTV, it will see a favourable impact even if TV shows are halted as it has a large catalogue of films which can be monetized just as it did last year. Also, web series/long-form feature films will see no or minimal impact so far due to this 15-day lockdown - however, an extension of the same will be a negative.”
As earlier reported by exchange4media, with Covid protocol restricting shoots to just five days a week in the presence of lesser crew members, TV producers are already struggling to keep the shows running. “With the current situation, not all the shows are able to maintain the bank. Two weeks programming still be manageable by most of the producers but if lockdown extends then we have to run old episodes on the show,” said a media observer.
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