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Strike forces channels to air re-runs of soaps

Nov 11, 2008 12:54 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Here's bad news for all you couch potatoes. In a rare display of solidarity, leading entertainment channels have announced that you the viewer will have to watch re-runs of your favourite soaps and shows on television.

“We had no other choice but to announce a blackout of fresh programming. We cannot cope up with the increased costs,” GM, Star Plus, Keertan Adyanthayan said.

While CEO of NDTV Imagine Sameer Nair said, “Our country has the biggest film industry and the television industry is also huge but when compared to the rest of the world as far as working conditions are concerned then we don't have any standards whatsoever.”

The problem is several weeks old. The Workers Federation had struck work in October demanding higher wages and shorter working hours.

Broadcasters and producers had promised to look into their demands. But last week, the broadcasters asked producers to solve the dispute with the Workers' Federation on their own.

“The standoff is not just going to affect 1,40,000 workers but thousands of advertisers, millions of viewers and dozens of broadcasters,” CEO of Star TV Uday Shankar said.

But producers say they can only meet the demands if broadcasters pay them more.

Leading producers and the Workers' Federation are reportedly still in talks, but nowhere near a solution. Given the recent economic downturn, a solution seems less likely now.

"I think this is the biggest sign of recession because the Federation has increased the pay of the workers but the producers are not willing to pay, expecting the channel to pay and the channel is saying that the advertisers are cutting our money so we rather not show anything for a week,” Creative Head of Balaji Telefilms Ekta Kapoor said.

With Dhoni's boys doing India proud, maybe it is time for you to switch to the other national pastime – cricket.