BILLIONS EARNED, PRODUCER GETS NONE WHERE IS THE REVENUE GOING?
WHERE IS THE REVENUE GOING?
By Anil Nagrath
It is really strange that at a time when the streams of revenue have become manifold and every second, every film is earning money because some people somewhere in the world are watching the film for which someone is being paid. It cannot be denied that the payment may vary according to the number of people watching the content, which in major cases run into millions of people who hit on the trailers within 24 hours of the trailer being launched. The magnitude of the viewership has to be understood in view of the fact that everyone today considers smart phones a necessity and our security guards, lift operators, drivers and peons, can always be seen watching films of their choice on their smart phones at their own sweet will and desire, which was unimaginable a few years back.
This growth of technology should have acted as the backbone of the film industry because maximum viewership on the net is only film oriented and hence like a dinosaur, the net also requires better and better films to be made so that the users spend maximum time on the net and they can rake in the moolah.
However except for few producers who make star-studded blockbusters and are able to command a price for their music, none of the producers gets even a single farthing of the vast revenue generated by the film and its music. There has been news of producers complaining that even in case of super-hit songs like Baby Doll Main Sone Ki, the music company has pocketed the entire revenue which must be in multiples of crores giving the reasoning that their promotion cost has not been recovered.
If this is the case of such a song which has become the iconic item song, one can imagine how much share these companies must be giving to small producers whose all rights, they acquire for Rs 501, with the assurance that they will do publicity of a certain amount subject to the producer doing dialogue publicity through them of a certain minimum amount. This is with the rider that till they recover their investment, they will not give any statement of what has been spent by them or recovered. The producer therefore does not get a single paisa of the revenue generated by these music companies, who have their own applications and portals where they charge heavy amounts for this very music and pocket the entire amount without revealing the same to the producer who is the actual owner and beneficiary of the film.
The producer unfortunately is not aware of the tremendous revenue potential and more so how and where to exploit this potential. In view of this and with a view to popularise their film because of the association with the music companies, the producer agrees and writes over all the rights to them, without realising that he is giving them all rights over what belongs to him.
The revenue sources for films and music is also public performance rights about which we read in various newspapers regarding several agencies claiming copyright production, collecting money from restaurants and other public facilities for playing music belonging to their clients, who are the producers of films and have appointed them for collection.
In the industry, everybody is of the impression that IPRS and PPL are the only two registered copyright collection agencies who collect amounts from all people who use the music for public performance. Nobody is aware of the fact that after the implementation of amendments in the Copyright Act in 2012, both IPRS and PPL have ceased to be copyright collecting societies and without informing their own members, have converted themselves into collecting companies registered under the Companies Act in 2014.
This was not informed and made public and till date in all music related agreements entered into by the music companies, IPRS and PPL are shown as copyright collecting societies to make the producers have faith in their agreements. Earlier producers also could become members of IPRS and were being paid crores as their share of revenue generated by their content but of late forget the producers, even the authors, composers, singers and all others entitled to royalty are not being paid the same and the same is being distributed among the music companies themselves more particularly where PPL is concerned.
In today’s times, a producer’s job does not end with completing the film but he has to make his own investment to get his film to the cinema hall or multiplex because unless it is a big starcast film, no one else is interested. The producer has to spend many crores on the publicity, promotion, digital uploading and downloading charges to release the film which is akin to digging his own grave because everyone associated with him tells him that his film will do wonders when released but in actual fact after spending crores on publicity and promotion, the film doesn’t get any worthwhile number of screens, where also very few shows are given and half of the revenue is taken away by the government by taxing the tickets.
The only hope for the producer then becomes the electronic media rights for which again there are many racketeers who go around acquiring the rights but never paying anything except the signing amount. There are many buyers who are shadow companies for big corporates and who buy these small and medium budget films, as they also need a regular flow of content on their apps and portals. Their audience today is not willing to wait a full week for a new release and they want something new every day. In this scenario I would have thought that people like music companies and other copyright holders, who are earning crores from the rights that they own, would come forward and make investments in making of films so that they can have a steady supply of films which can be exploited by them for which it is very important that the creator, that is the producer, does not die and gets his share of revenue out of the money raised on the basis of his content.