It was a historic moment when the top GEC players of India assembled under one roof to announce that there will be re-runs of all the television shows (except for Colors' Big Boss) because of the issue of demand of increase in production costs by the producers. The producers, in turn, are asked by FWICE (Federation of Western India Cine Employees) to increase the wages of the workers of the TV shows.
Albert Almeida, business head, Sony Entertainment said, "There will be re-runs of the shows from tonight as the production of the new content has got disruptive. We had set 9 November as the deadline so that a meaningful solution to this problem can be decided but unfortunately there has been no resolution. This was the last resort as producers but we'll do all we can as a group."
The increase in production costs would have been about 15% if FWICE's demands were conceded. FWICE is asking for a unilateral raise across all shows including fiction and reality. The production costs for various shows differ across the spectrum and this unilateral raise was not viable, said the broadcasters.
Sameer Nair, CEO, NDTV Imagine added, "To suddenly impose this increase is arbitrary and unfair in the current environment. We will discuss things but not in this ad hoc manner." Rajesh Kamath, CEO, Colors specified that the dispute between the producers and the workers is about increase and not about layoffs etc because of the economic downturn.
Uday Shankar (pictured), CEO, Star India expressed "deep regret to the viewers." He also said that the broadcasting industry had taken huge pressures during the last few years and the cost increase demanded was not sustainable. He said that the loss would not only be in terms of financial losses but would impact broadcasters' relationships with the viewers and advertisers. "The advertisers need to advertise now more than ever because of the economic downturn."
Advertisers are said to have been "very supportive" of the broadcasters' decision. "The clients have been informed at every step and they have been very supportive. AAAI has sent out letters to all its members asking them to be patient," said Almeida.