By Nethmi Rajawasam
COLOMBO – Sri Lanka’s state-run Rupavahini Corporation will lease airtime of its Channel Eye to UK based Lyca group to earn revenue and mitigate losses, Information Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.
“A few hours of airtime would be leased to Lyca group for cricket broadcasts for which 25 million rupees would be charged for a month,” Minister Gunawardana said.
“At the moment it is making losses and cannot even pay the electricity bill.”
When the transaction was brought to cabinet for approval, he was informed that the matter was within the purview of the Board of Directors of Rupavahini Corporation.
The transaction with Lyca group came from a proposal made to the board.
“I have instructed them to call for public bids for a longer term contract to lease airtime for sports and entertainment,” Minister Gunawardana said.
“I addressed the directorate and made it clear that whoever, locally or internationally, may be willing to purchase air time of the channel may come forward and purchase under a tender, starting from 25 million as a base rate, and possibly even at 200 million at best.”
The board of directors have been appointed to earn revenues and turnaround the state enterprise.
“If you have any other suggestions to earn revenues we are willing to consider it,” Minister Gunawardana said.
The Lyca Group’s broadcast entertainment arm consists of Lyca Productions, which has produced Kollywood blockbusters such as Ponniyin Selvan I (2022) and II (2023), Vada Chennai (2018); along with Tollywood blockbusters Pushpa (2021) and RRR (2022), the latter which went onto have an international release in the United States and Japan, after becoming India’s highest opening-day grossing film to date.