Friday talks may resolve crisis of TV serials

November 17th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 17 (IANS) It seems tele-serial viewers will have to wait a while for their favourite soap operas to resume as the next round of talks between programme producers and the striking cine workers is slated for Friday.Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) general secretary Dinesh Chaturvedi told IANS Monday that the next talks are scheduled for Friday.

Friday is also the deadline the broadcasters, under pressure from the advertisers, have served to the producers to settle their dispute with the cine workers.

Keen to resolve the crisis, some producers conducted a series of informal meetings with FWICE office-bearers and other stakeholders the whole of last week.

The attempt was to make the FWICE aware of the serious problems the producers and broadcasters are facing because of the cancellation of shootings of the tele-serials.

“We listened to them, but we have asked them to put their suggestions in writing before we make any final commitment,” Dinesh Chaturvedi of the FWICE said.

He said a core committee of producers, headed by filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt, had offered to give a meagre wage hike to the non-contractual cine workers but declined to meet their demands in toto.

“They have promised to revert to us for official negotiations over the issue by Friday. I don’t see any other way out for them,” Chaturvedi pointed out.

He blamed the producers for giving in to the pressure exerted on them by the broadcasters to suspend the shootings of their shows.

“By doing so, they only exacerbated the problem. Apparently, it was meant to browbeat the cine workers into submission. Now that they are feeling the pinch as the cine workers have stood their ground, suddenly their approach to the problem has changed,” Chaturvedi added.

The producers’ core committee is now desperately seeking an honourable escape route, he said.

Producer Ratan Jain, president of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Programme Producers (AMPTPP) and a key member of the core committee, said that without further delay all the three stakeholders - the broadcasters, producers and cine workers - should approach the issue with a positive mindframe in order to find out a long-term solution.

“First, the FWICE must realise that the economics of the film and television industries are not the same. When it drew up its bye-laws, those were framed keeping only the film industry in mind. So, it should not apply the same to the television industry strictly,” Jain said.

Secondly, he said, the broadcasters on their part also must try to understand the constraints of the producers.

Thirdly, he said, in view of the current economic slowdown, it has become imperative for the producers to cut production costs to relieve the channels of their financial burden in these trying times.

“In sum, it is only if all these three stakeholders try to understand each other’s problems with a give-and-take attitude can a solution to the stalemate be found before it is too late,” Jain said.

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