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Is DTH shutting the lights out of multiplex?
Ajay Bijli, CMD, PVR

Twelve years ago, a nascent multiplex industry sowed in the seeds of a dream—to get the cine fans back to the theatres and since then, close to Rs 2000 crore has been invested in setting up a chain of more than 800 state-of-the-art cinema halls across the country. Every new plex that opened doubled the revenue for the filmmaker, we still set the benchmark for how a film has done. Theatrical contributions have risen high as people chose to see the latest films seated in luxurious seats and voted for an aesthetic and hygienic ambience.

This latest move of releasing a movie across DTH on day after its release is not fair. We, at PVR for example had slotted 138 shows for the film a week which we have not even played out yet. Here is a big star cast involved, there have been three releases this weekend and people need space and time to watch all the films. If this had been decided earlier, we could have given the other two films more shows.

Windows are critical and even the West has tried and accepted that a decent time gap between windows is good for all business, one cannot cannabalise the net box office collections. Even if a movie has not done well, there can be some post release marketing, there is no need to panic in 3-4 days.

Jawahar Goel, MD, Dish TV

For years, the cable piracy has not killed the exhibition industry, why would a DTH and movie-on-demand (MOD) affect it?

Human psyche shows there are two types of consumers. One who will watch it on pirated dvd and the other who will go out to the theatre to watch a film. It’s like eating at home or a seven star hotel, DTH is like home dining while the plex experience is like a seven star. People pay for the luxury, not the movies in a plex. Both DTH and the exhibition industry are complimentary to each other and if competitive, it is in a very small way.

DTH helps to kill piracy, the consumption experience is so different, a movie-on-demand can go some way in being an upside for a producer and it is so small that the theatres need have no worry at all. In fact, the more people that experience a movie on DTH, may actually see some people convert and go to the cinema hall to watch a film after that! The bigger screen experience can never be replicated on the small screen. Tommorrow, a film may release on mobile, does it mean everyone will switch to seeing films only on mobiles?

A plex has a three tier pricing, from Rs 40-400, are these competing with each other? I don’t think so. Adequate window times will evolve and stabilize as the industry matures. For now, the fight is against piracy and DTH offers a transparent revenue option, so everyone should work together.

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