Ajay Devgn signs $73 million deal with Star India

Deal will give network huge uptick in TRPs.

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Bureau Report

CHENNAI: Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn has signed a deal worth about Rs. 400 crore ($73 million) with Star India for exclusive satellite rights to all his upcoming releases until 2017, the second such contract that the network has sealed after it inked a pact with superstar Salman Khan last month.

Ajay Devgn. Credit: http://ajaydevgn.com/
Ajay Devgn. Credit: http://ajaydevgn.com/

Devgn, the only other Bollywood actor apart from Khan to have four films in the Rs 100 crore-club, said he could ensure a better value for his films than his producers, reported The Economic Times.

“Business is becoming increasingly open and clear, so it’s easier to deal directly,” said Devgn, talking to Times from Bhopal, where he was shooting for Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha.

“I am securing the producer a higher value, so he benefits eventually,” said Devgn, explaining the impact of the deal with Star India which is for a period of five years and is said to include at least ten films. Producers, depend on satellite rights to bankroll at least 35% of the cost of production.

“But I am also ensuring a certain amount for myself. For the rest, like actors fees etc, all depends on the relationship between an actor and producer,” he added.

Besides Devgn’s yet-to-be-released films, the network has 18 of his earlier films, including Singham, Golmaal, Zameen and Gangajal.

Among the films to be released, is Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala, which studio Disney UTV releases at the end of the month. The next is Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha, followed by an action film with Prabhudeva and a sequel to Singham with Reliance Entertainment. “This should keep me busy for the next year-and-a-half at least,” said Devgn.

The deal has strategic value for the network, said Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer of Star India.

The small screen is the new cinema hall where a premier of a big film can attract 20-30 crore viewers, ten times that in theatres, Gupta said. Research shows that television viewers spend 20-30% of their time watching movies on the small screen, impacting the television rating points keenly followed by advertisers, said the report.

“We have been growing this space aggressively as also buying more films. Our spend on buying films has increased 20% year-on-year,” said Gupta, who heads the network’s fiction and non-fiction programs, helmed by Bollywood talent. For Gupta, adding movies also contribute at least 25-30% Gross Rating Points or GRPs for his network. Star India has two movie channels apart from the main general entertainment channel, said the Times.

A film is considered a success on TV if it can manage to garner an average 2.5 television rating points or TRPs through the year, apart from the high number it garners on premieres. The last three premieres on Star Gold starring Devgn averaged 6.2 TRPs.

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