VTV9 Channel of Vietnam Television has increased the time limit to air Vietnamese films to two hours, instead of one as earlier. Films begin at 8pm Monday through Friday every week.
Those companies that VTV9 has chosen to produce films are giants in the advertising and communications fields, such as Song Vang Company, and Sao The Gioi and M&T Pictures, who now run films at 5:30pm on VTV9 and at 1pm on HTV7 of Ho Chi Minh City Television, respectively.
The three above companies are also making several movies for other TV channels such as HTV9, Vinh Long 1 and SCTV14.
It takes one to two years for TV film makers to recover their capital, requiring them to have a strong capital source. Several have had to sell their property or borrow up to several billion of dong to produce a film.
However, if their films fail to lure enough advertisements, the payment made by TV stations will be not enough to cover production costs.
The difficult economic situation has reduced the number of films produced by both small and large studios. For instance, BHD has yet to start a new project since its last TV serial aired on VTV3 in October 2010.
Phuoc Sang studio is also in the same position. Newcomers like Cho Lon, Dai Nam and Nam Saigon have taken no action after producing one to two films.
Most advertising and communications companies have signed outsourcing contracts with state-owned studios Giai Phong and Vietnam Feature Film, and with private ones like Thang Mo, Midi and Sena.
Several film makers and directors said that coordination between TV stations and the giants is normal.
Film "Tay choi miet vuon" produced M&T Pictures will be aired on SCTV 14 soon
Writer Bich Thuy, manager of Sena, said that film studios like hers usually get bank loans for up to a few billion dong and spend several months producing a film serial. For instance, a 30 episode serial costs VND4 billion (US$192,300) and takes six months to produce.
After completion, it is not clear that the film will be aired and lure enough advertisements. As a result, only the advertising giants dare to produce TV films, while the studios usually agree to outsource films for them.
Tran Luc, director of Dong A film studio, says that currently the TV stations live on advertising revenue. Coordination with the advertising companies helps them have more advertisements. However, he expressed concern about the quality of films.
The advertising and communications giants began to run TV films in 2005. Ever since, viewers have complained about inserted advertisements and the blatant advertising in the film’s content.
Another concern is that if the TV stations give too much priority to these giants, who usually do not invest in deeper subjects like history, they might provide the audience with a poor selection of film categories.
Ms. Thuy said that the coordination between the big advertising companies and TV stations might be a good solution for both of them. However, the companies are doing business, and thus they will not insist on art or education matters but on capital recovery. Thus, the TV stations should draw up contracts with close terms regarding film quality.
Director Minh Cao suggested that the advertising enterprises work with several directors and film studios to diversify their film content.
An act of the film "Cho Yeu Thuong Quay Ve"