The dictation of commercial agencies on selections of TV programmes, especially the teleplays and serials, is discouraging many seasoned actors and directors to continue their works.
The agencies dictate the private TV channels to buy programmes, select the plots and treatments of the teleplays and serials, and even the cast members, many actors and directors said.
Such malpractice, which began with the operations of so many private TV channels, is disturbing for many talented artistes as they are forced to make plays following the orders of the agencies and compromising with their artistic freedom, seasoned artistes bemoan.
As a result, the artistes observe, the quality of local teleplays and serials is falling while the audience is becoming more interested in foreign programmes available on satellite TV channels, YouTube and several other online platforms.
Terming the dominance of agencies on TV channels an ‘incurable disease’, actor-director-producer Mamunur Rashid said, ‘If the TV channels continue such dependence on the agencies they will be the ultimate losers as the viewers will stop watching cheap entertaining local productions.’
As the number of TV channels increased, an evil competition started among them to earn revenue, said the industry insiders adding that TV channels these days sell time slots to the agencies.
‘Usually agencies select cast members for a production and appoint their chosen directors to make programmes within the lowest possible budget’, said actor-director Salahuddin Lavlu.
The situation deteriorates during the special occasions like Eid festivals when the marketing departments of the TV channels dictate the programme selection departments, the industry insiders say.
Though many directors and producers submit programmes following the purchase rules set by the TV channels, producers having good relations with the agencies or owners of the TV channels get privilege, the industry insiders say.
Sometimes the directors having good contacts with agencies submit programmes on the eve of the Eid for airing during the festival though the TV channels call to submit programmes at least two months before the start of a festival for previewing, the insiders complain.
It is the agencies that determine which teleplays, serials, magazine shows and reality shows will be aired on which channels, said the industry insiders adding that each of the big agencies now produces around 100 programmes in a year for TV channels.
‘The result is low quality productions with typical plots, actors and directors. But, many quality actors and directors, who do not have good contacts remain jobless’, actor-director Shahiduzzaman Selim said.
‘It is becoming difficult for the artistes to survive with dignity,’ he added.
A talented director Masud Sejan, whose one teleplay will be aired on a channel in this Eid festival, said, ‘The agencies are like contractors. And the industry has gone totally awry.’
Sharing his experiences of acting in a number of Eid plays in short period, actor Chanchal Chowdhury said, ‘Actors get scripts at the shooting locations and do not get time for preparation. No question arises of rehearsal and it is really difficult to act in such low-budget teleplays aired during the Eid festivals these days.’
Television officials also admit that they depend on commercial agencies for productions as the agencies provide them with TV commercials.
‘Most television channels have become dependent on commercial agencies as it is easy for them to buy programmes or to sell time slots to them’, said Dewan Shamsur Rakib, programme head of RTV.
Actor Aly Zaker, also chairman of Dhoni Chitra, a dominant advertisement agency, also observes that the television industry is in a chaos.
‘It has happened as many TV channels are in operations though the total advertisement market is not so big for survival of them all,’ Zaker explains.
Grey Advertising managing director Gousul Alam Shaon said, ‘TV channels all over the world purchase programmes through agencies as per their requirement. But, the local TV channels depend mostly on the agencies.’
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