MIGHT OF SATELLITE RIGHTS!
Films can now mint money regardless of boxoffice collections, thanks to sales of satellite rights; top stars benefit the most from this
The throng at the box office on Friday is still the litmus test for a film’s commercial success, but these days, satellite rights have begun to play an equally big role in the world of cinema.
The latest rumour is that Salman Khan’s new film, Race 3, made on a budget of about ₹120 crore, has already sold its satellite rights for a massive ₹100 crore. That’s nearly 85% of the money recovered even before the film’s release. In recent times, Akshay Kumar’s film Pad Man, made on a budget of about ₹20 crore, as per trade figures, sold the satellite rights for ₹40 crore, making a 100% profit independent of ticket sales.
Bollywood trade expert Atul Mohan says, “Satellite rights mean that a film can be playe across any channel that has paid for the rights. That channel can also share it with other channels, if it wants. Nowadays, channels have their own online streaming platforms as well.” This, therefore, includes every single film that we watch on television.
PECKING ORDER FOR DEALS
Trade experts and film-makers unanimously agree that when it comes to big stars like the Khans — Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman — and Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn, satellite rights for their films could sell for a very high price.
While declining to comment on the rumoured figure, Race 3 producer Ramesh Taurani says, “Big-budget films like Race 3 need to sell off the rights at a high cost in order to enter the safe zone.”
Prernaa Arora, co-producer of Pad Man, says, “The price (of the satellite rights) goes from high to low according to this list: at the top is a film that’s a part of a franchise; comedy is at number two; family films are at number three.” She adds that a producer “can ask for a price that’s higher than the film’s budget”.
Arora further says, “I have a huge number riding on Shahid Kapoor, who stars in my film Batti Gul Meter Chalu, as he’s satellite-friendly.”
NO FEES FOR TOP STARS!
Among stars at the very peak of Mt Bollywood, fees mean something else now.
Trade expert Komal Nahta says, “If a film producer asks for a huge price (before release), and a channel isn’t willing to pay, then they put in these clauses — if the film earns ₹100-150 crore, the filmmakers will be paid this amount; if it collects ₹200 crore, then this amount; and so on.
Many big actors don’t charge any (acting) fees now. Their fee is the (share of) satellite rights and (box-office) profits.”
Race 3 is an exception to these negotiations, because Salman has reportedly struck an exceptional deal. Reports say that he has sold the rights of his next four films to a channel for ₹400 crore!
What about the producer’s profits? Nahta says, “These days, it’s the stars who make money, especially the top stars. Unless you’re a Karan Johar or an Aditya Chopra, you don’t make much money; you just have to be happy that you made a film with a big actor. Of course, the negative of the film belongs to the producer, in partnership with the star.”
* All figures are industry estimates
Satellite rights for Pad Man sold for ₹40* crore; Filmmaking budget: ₹20 crore
Salman Khan in Race 3 Satellite rights for Race 3 sold for ₹100* crore; Filmmaking budget: ₹120 crore