Many Kannada films has no TV channels to buy them

It is not just the theatre goer who is abstaining from watching Kannada films. TV channels which were buying the satellite rights and providing an outlet are now playing hard to get.

While the satellite rights of some kannada films are cracking the roof, there are many Kannada films that no television channel is ready to purchase. The last three years have witnessed an unprecedented number of Kannada films being made and released. Three of the four times that 100 Kannada films have been released in a calender year, have been in the previous three years.

Until recently, it was a norm for television channels to pay an advance even before the film was completed. Many producers even utilised the advance money paid by channels to complete their films. But things have changed rapidly. “Some private television channels have completely stopped purchasing satellite telecast rights of films. Those who are buying are opting only for films with stars and those which have already proved to be a hit at the box office,” says Sudheendra Venkatesh.


While films of stars like Puneeth rajkumar, Darshan and Ganesh have been fetching Rs 1 crore and above for sometime now in the satellite telecast market, Shiva Rajkumar’s films have also started fetching Rs 1 crore and above. His film Bhagyada Balegara was reportedly purchased for Rs 1.25 crore. But it is Puneeth Rajkumar who tops the list. His films are bought for between Rs 1.5 to Rs 1.75 crore for broadcast.


“There are about 30-35 films made in 2009 that have no takers. Producers of these films are unable to convince any television channel to buy the satellite rights of these films. Also, there are films from the previous two years that have no takers. Most of these films were made by newcomers with a new cast,” Nagendra Rao.

This is a far cry from the heydays when a kannada film with all newcomers like Orata I Love You managed to rake in Rs 38 lakh as satellite rights. Mr Garagasa, which was made on a shoestring budget got Rs 55 lakh for its producer. The money was more than the budget of the film. This was because the film was a box office hit.


Middlemen who buy satellite rights and then resell the same to television channels are sitting on a huge pile of unsold films. Mahesh Kothari, one of the leading middlemen, says that there are at least 60 films which are stuck in the market with no takers. “New television channels buy all kinds of films because they need software. We had three new channels that were buying films. Now they are looking for quality films and not quantity software. So small films have no takers today. Some of the 60 films that are stuck are not even complete because they were started with the hope of making money through satellite rights for their completion,” Kothari says.

With the only assured returns for a film drying up, many newcomers have packed their bags and are leaving Sandalwood. After three consecutive years of 100 plus releases, the numbers are expected to come down to the earlier levels of 60-70 films in 2010.