Satellite Rights of a Movie

Before television, box office and option for home media, sales of tickets were the only way for movie to earn money. But with the developing digital era, the producers of films have figured out may ways to earn money; one of which is satellite rights. Satellite rights are the rights that the producer of the movie or the person that owns the satellite rights of that movie gives to a TV channel. The TV channel in return to it pays an agreed amount to the producer or person who owns those rights. The rights can be sold to the TV channel for lifetime or for shorter period time depending on the agreement they have come to. For example, the satellite rights of the movie sooryavansham were sold to MAX for 100 years, that is the reason when MAX does not have anything to show they air that movie. In a study it was seen that in the fiscal year 2020, the revenue generated from selling and distribution of cable and satellite rights by the film makers in the Bollywood Industry was approximately 19 billion Indian rupees. It was said that it is way more than the revenue generated in the previous fiscal year.

Satellite rights are different from digital rights. Digital rights are bought by a franchise from the production company or the person who owns the rights for use of their work. These rights refer to the relationship between the user and the copyrighted digital work, it means the person who owns the copyright gives permission to the owner in exchange of something. On the other hand, satellite rights only include television rights. It can be said that satellite rights are the legal permission given by the producer to any TV channel to show his/her film on their channel. It can be for a limited time or for lifetime.

How does the Satellite right promote the TV channel?

The satellite rights of the movies are mostly sold even before its release. Channels have realised the potential of movies and the stars that are part of the movie. As people are very keen to watch movies of their favourite actors, channels have found a way to earn their bid by buying satellite rights of movies and then showing them on their channel and earn from the advertisements. To get the satellite rights the TV channels must go in a bidding war with the other TV channel and the person who bids the most gets the satellite rights. A channel considers many things before buying the rights such as:

  • The actor that is starring the film.
  • The past record of that actor, producer, and the director.
  • Success expectation of that film
  • How big the production house is, as bigger production houses get more money than the new production houses.

After considering all these things the TV channel decides rights of which movie they should buy, so that it would benefit the growth of their channel. The channel that gets the rights of a film starred by a famous actor it boosts the number of people watching their channel and the traffic on their channel increases by a lot. Satellite rights affect the interest of people in their channel.

Usually, the TV channels are mostly interested in buying the first satellite rights or the exclusive rights of the movie, it means that no other channel can stream that movie on their channel for a specific time. Usually, these exclusive rights are given for 24 months starting from the 6th month from the release of the movie, but for smaller films they are given for 12 months commencing from 3 months within release. After this time the second satellite rights are given to the TV channels. The amount and the period for which these rights are to be given depends on either the producer or the person that owns the satellite rights of that movie.

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