In spite of stringent levies on imported content, the popularity of Indian shows is seeing an upward trend in the Sri Lankan market. Indian soaps have resonated well with audiences in the island nation, courtesy the flashier nature of the content in contrast to the rural and simple lifestyle-based Sri Lankan shows.
Knowing the threat from Indian shores, the country’s creative community–film and TV producers and actors–have for long been lobbying with the government to levy a higher import tax on content. An industry expert talking to Indiantelevision.com said that it is not economically viable to import Indian shows for the Sri Lanka market.
“There will be only blockbuster shows short-listed along with the reduction in the content. For example, earlier there were two or three dramas in the prime time, now there will be one drama and one blockbuster, as many of the dramas are becoming non-profitable because of the increase in levy.”
Earlier in November, Sri Lanka’s Finance and Mass Media minister, Mangala Samaraweera, issued a set of regulations which increases the levy that the government will be imposing on imported dubbed teledramas, films and commercial programmes to SL Rs 150,000 from SL Rs 90,000 earlier.
The expert revealed that Star Plus’ Yeh Hain Mohabbatein and Diya aur Baati Hum were among the most popular shows on one of the Sri Lankan channels. “Sinhalese culture is very close to north Indian culture,” he added. SL audiences have followed Bollywood and Hindi drama and Shanti was the first Sinhalese-dubbed content on one of the channels in Sri Lanka that garnered great traction from the viewers. Since then, there has been no turning back. Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was also telecast and the trend continued later on.
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