Memo works, producers to meet FWICE tomorrow

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 04, 2008
After the ultimatum issued by the broadcasters, the producers and the FWICE will meet to arrive at a solution

The & #BANNER1 & # memorandum sent by the broadcasters has had its desired effect on the producers and the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE). The producers' associations, comprising three bodies, the IMPPA, AMPTPP and Film and Television Producers' Guild, are scheduled to meet the FWICE on Wednesday evening to discuss the issue and arrive at a sensible solution, says Mukesh Bhatt of the Producers' Guild.

The heads of all the broadcast companies came together at the weekend with the intent to put an end to the ongoing cold war between the three parties. They prepared a memorandum which stated that the two parties resolve their dispute between themselves and not involve the broadcasters. It also gave them time till November 9 to respond with a solution, failing which the broadcasters would stop procuring fresh content from the producers.

It's a chain reaction, says Tony Singh of DJ Productions. "If the broadcasters won't increase the production budget, I won't be able to pay the workers. And if the workers' demands continue, we will all be doomed," he declares. He says he has his fingers crossed.

Dheeraj Kumar of Creative Eye Productions is optimistic that the outcome will be encouraging. "The financial crunch has hit everybody. Hypothetically speaking, the demands of the workers are justified to an extent, but not in such a scenario," he says.

Kumar adds that the workers have been demanding higher wages for the past two years, but the demands were not agreeable to either the producers or the broadcasters. He says all efforts will be made to pacify the workers and convince them to relent.

It is reported that more than 75 per cent of original content production has been shelved because of the impasse. Sunjoy Wadhwa of Sphere Origins says that the producers had made several futile attempts to reach a consensus.

"Now that the broadcasters have sent a memorandum, things might improve because they realise that times are indeed tough and insisting on the demands will not help anybody," he says.

Broadcasters have surely got the ball rolling. Wednesday will decide the fate of the Indian television industry.