HYDERABAD: The Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC) and the Telangana State Film Chamber of Commerce (TSFCC) have unanimously moved a proposal to stop film screenings and shooting in the Telugu States from March 2018 to protest against the prices levied by Digital Service Providers. Pratani Rama Krishna Goud, chairman of TSFCC, threatened that the protests would be launched if Digital Service Providers like Qube, UFO and Scrabble fail to reduce their digital projection charges.
“We have been escalating this issue for a long time. Once, I even went on a seven-day fast. We have also raised our concerns with the DSPs. They are charging Rs13,000 per week for digital projection and the deposit is higher for small films. As a result, even after the censor formalities, over 300 films are still struggling to get released. The distributors and exhibitors too have assured full support. If the situation doesn’t change before March, we will intensify our protests,” Pratani Rama Krishna Goud said.
The statement has caused panic in the fraternity as several big-budget films like Ram Charan’s Rangasthalam, Mahesh Babu-starrer Bharath Ane Nenu, Allu Arjun’s Naa Peru Surya - Naa Illu India are all slated to hit the screens around the time of the protests. When Express contacted Senthil Kumar, co-founder of Qube, he agreed to explore further possibilities of arriving at an amicable solution with the big wigs of the Telugu film industry soon. “We provide mastering services and test screenings for free. In the rest of the world, digital cinema mastering would cost about $5000 per movie. Even a simple preview screening costs about Rs 20,000 in India but we do all that for free.
However, we do ask for an advance of `50,000 before starting work on a movie and this is adjusted towards billing during the release. We have worked to bring down the print cost per theatre from `60,000-`70,000 to a few hundred rupees per show. We have invested a lot of capital in bringing these advances to the industry and we are sure they understand that investments have benefited everyone hugely and increased number of films made in Telugu. We are confident that by mutual dialogue we can sort this out to the best interests of the Telugu film industry,” said Senthil.
He added: “We have multiple charge structures for non-DCI which is the vast majority of screens, ranging from Rs 325 per show with a minimum of 7 shows a week to a weekly charge structure of Rs 9,000 in the first week and Rs 7,500 in the second week to a flat fee of Rs 22,500 for an unlimited run with the ability to shift from one theatre to another just like a film print. GST needs to be added to all of these figures. DCI screens have slightly higher prices.”
In Tamil Nadu too, the issue cropped up twice (in 2015 and 2017) with producer Kalaippuli S Thanu and Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) president Vishal urging the Tamil Nadu government to regulate the DSPs (Qube and UFO) and alleging that these service providers are resorting to unfair practices and have been charging high rates. That these providers allegedly do not share their ad revenues with producers has been another sore point in Tamil Nadu.