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New releases on DTH: Are theatres right in protesting?
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#1
Multiplex owners are up in arms against direct-to-home (DTH) operators broadcasting films soon after they are released in theatres. Recently, DTH users got to watch the Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer Main Aur Mrs Khanna just three days after the film was released sparking widespread criticism from the theatre owners. Are film producers being fair by exploring various ways to ring in revenue? Or will this latest development set the tone for the new dynamics of the film industry?

“A very dangerous precedent is being set up,” said Shravan Shroff, Managing Director of Fame Cinemas. Shroff said that while a family of four-five would spend about Rs 1,000 for an outing to the theatre, the same movie could be watched at home on a DTH for as little as Rs 150. “This is actually going to scale and stifle the exhibition business, which is not a good news for the entire film industry because than consumers effectively would stop going to the theatres.”

“A film appearing on the DTH format so soon after release should be an absolute no-no for any filmmaker,” agreed Producer Mahesh Bhatt. “The theatrical life of the film is very important for every film even if it has had a weak run.”

Bhatt added that a film releasing soon after its theatrical release would be counter-productive for a producer and that the trend should be nipped in the bud.

“This is a very dangerous precedent, which should not be allowed at any cost and there must be some kind of a regulatory system to see that these kinds of blunders are not committed again,” Bhatt said.

Bhatt, who is also the chairman of the United Distributors and Producers Forum, said he had called a meeting of members to discuss the issue. “In the film business, it is important to maximize your revenues from every single window available to you. Bit by overlapping the windows, you are killing your own business,” he said, adding that he would try and impress upon other producers see his view.

“I would like to share that with my brothers who are junior to me and make them see the light that what they are doing is not correct,” he said.

When asked why multiplex owners didn’t protest when the Priyanka Chopra-starrer What’s Your Rashee was broadcast on DTH a few weeks after release, Shroff said, “We didn’t rake up such a large issue primarily because of fact that we thought it was a one-off incident.”

The concept of DTH was new to India and Shroff hoped of finding a way of negotiating with producers of solving the latest crisis on their hands. “Internationally also, after release, a movie gets a theatrical window, post which it goes onto cable, DTH or home video,” he said.

“It’s important for producers and multiplex owners to sit down on the same side of the table and discuss the matter instead of arguing over it,” said Bhatt. “The idea is to increase the revenue pie and not divide it.”

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#2
I wouldn't conclude they are right or wrong. The effect of decline in multiplexes watching will definitly aggrevate them against DTH operators.
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#3
May be !
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