KOCHI: To get a clear picture of box office collections of movies being screened in the state, a centrally-controlled, server-based e-ticketing mechanism will be introduced in theatres within three weeks.
Theatres under the Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) started a trial of the system on Thursday. Once the system is installed across all the screens, Kerala will perhaps become the first state to introduce e-ticketing in theatres.
“Barring two, all theatres under the KSFDC will undertake trial. Only the theatre in Paravoor, which is under renovation, and the one in Chittoor which will be renovated soon, will not go for the trial,” said KSFDC chairman Lenin Rajendran.
“We are on trial for 10-15 days. All theatres in the state operating under The Cinematograph Act, 1952, will have to implement the system in three weeks. KSFDC will provide them with necessary support,” he said.Though initiated in the previous UDF regime when K B Ganesh Kumar was the Minister for Cinema in 2012, the system could not be implemented owing to strong resistance from unions of exhibitors and theatre owners. The Information Kerala Mission (IKM) has designed the system which will provide information about tickets to three systems - the Kerala State Cultural Welfare Board (KSCWB), the distributor and the Local Self Government Department under which theatres in the state function.
The IKM is also in the process of developing an app to book tickets.
The local body gets the Entertainment Tax from sale of tickets while the KSCWB gets the ticket cess. A major allegation against a section of theatre owners is they fudge the daily collection reports to evade Entertainment Tax and the distributors’ share.
Concerns over execution
There are apprehensions over lack of clarity in the way the move will be executed. Former KSFDC chairman Sabu Cherian said the government should implement the system in all the theatres.“If the government allows theatre owners to implement the system on their own, they can sabotage it,” said Sabu, during whose tenure the move was initiated.