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  • Deccan Chronicle

Producers greed restraining cinegoers from film theatres

VIJAYAWADA: Sections within Telugu film industry are blaming movie producers from AP and Telangana for crises the industry is going through because fewer cinegoers are preferring to watch their favourite movies on the big screen at film theatres or multiplexes.

One of the main reasons for many people not turning up at film theatres is they can instead watch the same movie on the OTT (Over the Top) platform. With ticket prices at cinema theatres and multiplexes costing a bomb, many movie lovers, particularly those with families, are preferring to delay a bit and watch the movie on OTT platforms.

Earlier, film producers used to wait for 50–60 days from releasing their new films at theatres before permitting their movies to be screened on OTT platforms. Now, the time gap has reduced to 20–30 days. Within this limited time, OTT platforms are publicising release of new films directly to viewers at their homes within a few days. This kind of campaign is making a good number of cinegoers avoid visiting the film theatres. They prefer to wait a few more days from the time of release, just to watch the movie in the comfort of their home with all their family members at a much lower cost than expenses incurred to see the same content on big screens at cinema halls.

Film distributors say they buy films from producers with hope that it will fare well when screened in their respective areas. But with fewer cine fans reaching cinema halls, distributors as well as theatre owners are seeing their income drying up. They are blaming producers for turning greedy and selling their movies to both distributors / exhibitors and OTT platforms without leaving sufficient time for movie theatres to make sustainable profits.

Incidentally, some OTT platforms are even offering amounts ranging from ₹30 crore to ₹40 crore for a film with a top star. This lures producers into releasing their films on OTT sites sooner. Viewers, particularly those expense conscious and with bigger families, thus have an option of watching movies at a much lesser cost though at a later date. Patronage at theatres is thus gradually falling.

Though Producers’ Guild has even threatened to stop shooting films keeping in view the interests of distributors and exhibitors, not all producers are taking the same point of view. There are others who continue shooting films, indicating differences of opinion among producers themselves.

Another aspect is some top producers holding talks with AP and TS governments for getting ticket prices of their movies hiked. This makes the price of tickets out of reach for all family members in case they want to watch the movie together. Such cinegoers prefer to watch the same movie on an OTT platform and avoid an enormous expenditure.

The ongoing crises within the film industry has led to Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce and Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce forming a special committee to resolve the issue. The committee, comprising producers, distributors and exhibitors, is scheduled to meet on August 2, the main agenda being poor patronage at film theatres.

A senior functionary of Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce said: “If producers prefer “crazy prices” from OTT platforms, they will continue causing loss to distributors and exhibitors. If this trend continues, no distributor or exhibitor will buy films for screening them in theatres.”

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