Balaji Telefilms is one of the leading television software producers in India. It’s software production spans across four languages i.e. Hindu, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. The company has a unique mix of soaps, sitcoms and children’s programmes, which has given the company a leading position among all television content providers. The company already has a rich content library, which has a high re-run value.
Balaji continues to rule the TRP charts (Television Rating Points). As on February 7, 2004, the company’s programmes continued to dominate the entire top 10 programmes slots and 25 of the top 50 programmes in Hindi Cable & Satellite Channels. Such high level of success puts Balaji in a comfortable position while negotiating with broadcasters.
The revenue mix of the company is tilted favourably towards commissioned programmes, in which the company does not bear any risk (assured operating margins) and assumes responsibility to deliver content to the broadcaster. However, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of the content gets transferred to the broadcaster. Whereas, sponsored programs are those where the company bears the risk. Commissioned programmes now account for over 65% of the company’s total revenues as compared to a mere 13% in FY99.
Balaji Telefilms produces a broad range of linguistic content. Apart from Hindi, the company is now planning to enter into the Gujarati and Bengali markets. It is already producing Telugu and Kannada serials. It is present in regional market through Gemini TV and Udaya TV apart from the main line channels. While some of the programs are family dramas there are others which are youth-centric and thrillers. It also plans to diversify into film production and event management businesses. However, it must be noted that these are high-risk propositions.
Considering the flip side of the business prospects, the company’s top family soap operas seem to be attaining a saturation point amongst the audience. In fact, though the company has still largely managed to hold fort the top 10 slots in TRP ratings, its programmes in the top 50 have been on a decline. Further, the company’s reliance on 3 channels (Star, Sony and Zee) for almost 75%-80% of its revenues could be a cause for concern, as its fortunes could fluctuate with that of the channel houses.
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