The network has spent Rs 300-320 crore, say sources.
STAR Gold, the Hindi movie channel from STAR India, has acquired the telecast rights of 18 movies for 11 years with a clause of unlimited runs across the network. Of these, four movies were a part of an older deal (in 2013) with Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn, respectively. The cost of all the movies is about Rs 300-320 crore.
The other movies which are a part of the fresh (2014) deal are Bombay Velvet (Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma), Bang Bang (Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif), Roy (Ranbir Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez and Arjun Rampal), Hamshakals (Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Bipasha Basu), Bobby Jasoos (Vidya Balan), Creature, Gang of Ghosts (Sharman Joshi and Mahi Gill), Traffic (Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Parambrata Chatterjee and Divya Dutta), Sonali Cable (Rhea Chakraborty and Ali Fazal), O Teri (Pulkit Samrat, Sarah-Jane Dias and Sara Loren), Bhaag Johnny (Kunal Khemu and Zoa Morani) and Hawaa Hawaai (featuring Partho Gupte and Saqib Saleem).
The network had signed output deals with Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn for Rs 500 crore and Rs 400 crore respectively, which gave the broadcaster the satellite rights for the movies released till 2017. With the new deal, all these movies will stay with the network for 11 years for unlimited runs.
The network had also bought a library of over 500 movies from Viacom18 when the latter dropped its plan to launch a Hindi movie channel. With this, the channel has got enough movies to sustain its line up for this year.
Jhaveri adds, "This year we have lined up quite a few content propositions, so this year we are going to be slow in terms of acquisitions, till the end of 2014. We did a few good deals last year. If at all we acquire anything, it will be only if you feel that there is a need for the genre. I think that's a trend now. There is a lot of stuff that is going unsold."
After Yaariyaan, Jai Ho will be the first one to be premiered, in about a month. Like Bullet Raja, many movies will be premiered on STAR Gold.
Jhaveri explains, "We have been acquiring in advance. The cost of the movies is going to be so restrictive and exorbitant in the coming future that people will start making safer bets. From what I understand many broadcasters might go off-acquisition for this reason. It's tough to be in a market where movie prices go up on a Friday to Friday basis and with no real justification."
Recently, STAR India premiered quite a few of the Rs 100 crore Bollywood films, including blockbusters such as Singham, Bodyguard, Ra.One, Housefull 2, Bol Bachchan, Son of Sardaar, Dabangg 2 and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Jhaveri adds that box office performance is quite subjective. He adds, "We are investing in a product, not a banner or an actor. Box office success doesn't guarantee TV viewership."
There is a striking change in the preferences of Hindi viewers now, says Jhaveri, and the need is to focus at the variety that they want to watch. Also, advertisers are always ready to pay a premium and this has been proved time and again by the viewership that these movie premieres fetch for the channels.
Recently, movies such as Chennai Express (19541 TVTs), R...Rajkumar (11527 TVTs), Ram Leela (8900 TVTs), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (6995 TVTs) and Ramaiya Vastavaiya (5926 TVTs) have premiered on television with good numbers.