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Update: Vishwaroopam releasing on Airtel DTH and Dish TV
#1
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Actor Kamal Haasan's decision to show his Tamil movie, Vishwaroopam, on the direct-to-home platform a day ahead of its release - a first for a big-budget movie in India - has evoked strong protests from theatre owners and distributors who feel that the move will spell doom for them.

   

The theatre owners and distributors are worried that by showing the movie, reportedly made at a cost of Rs 70 crore to Rs 80 crore, on the DTH platform, Kamal will start a trend that could cripple their business and make it more difficult to keep a tab on piracy, which is already inflicting huge losses on the south IndianBSE -3.25 % film industry.

They have threatened to boycott the movie if Kamal goes ahead with his plans.

In a statement late on Sunday night, Kamal announced his decision: "It will be a single show and this new model would help the producers of the film industry find a new revenue stream." The 58-year-old star, who debuted as a child artiste nearly 53 years ago, said the cost of viewing the film on DTH, some eight hours before its theatrical release, will be Rs 1,000 on a pay-per-view basis.

"We are not against Kamal, we are just against the DTH mode through which he intends to release his movie," said AbiramiBSE 4.71 % Ramanathan, one of the key members of the theatre owners association of Tamil Nadu. "More than DVD piracy, this would be a huge threat. With advanced technology today, you can easily record and put it up online."


Others are worried that it would be impossible to restrict the number of people watching the movie over DTH. They feel people could join together and watch the movie at a common place, like a club or a friend's house, bringing down the numbers at theatres.

"If he is going to release it eight hours before the theatrical release, the movie will surely be on YouTube within 30 minutes," said another theatre owner on condition of anonymity. "If he wanted to show it on DTH, why did he talk so much about Aura 3D (a state-of-the-art sound system) and convince theatre owners to install it?"

DVD and online piracy have been bleeding the Tamil film industry, forcing some 350 cinemas to shut down in the last five years. Most of them have been converted to either malls, godowns or wedding halls.

While it is still not clear how much Kamal would get by agreeing to show his movie on the DTH platform, insiders said he has already firmed up deals with AirtelBSE -1.16 % and Dish TVBSE -2.73 %.

But film producers, bogged down by the recent spate of flops in the Tamil film industry and sky-rocketing budgets, welcomed Kamal's move as it would open up a new revenue stream for them. In 2012, the Tamil film industry has proved to be a minefield for producers - of the nearly 148 movies released so far, only eight have been hits.

Cinema business in Tamil Nadu is facing a deep crisis, buffeted as it is by rising production and marketing costs on the one side and increased competition from other entertainment sources like the internet and regional channels on the other.

Indiatimes
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#2
Cinema owners threaten to boycott Kamal Haasan's film

The Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatres Association has threatened that none of Kamal Haasan`s films (old or new) would be released in any theatres in the state if he goes ahead with his plan to release his upcoming spy thriller `Vishwaroopam on the DTH TV serivce, before releasing it in theatres.

This was declared by theatre owners and their representatives across the state after a meeting to decide their future course of action in view of Haasan deciding to release Vishwaroopam on DTH on 10 January and in theatres the next day.

Briefing reporters on the deliberations of the meeting, association general secretary, Paneerselvam said theatre owners have already asked Haasan not to release the film on DTH, which would set a precedent, leading to closure of theatres.

The association claimed that Haasan has decided to release the film in theatres in other states, including Kerala and said it would request him not to mete out such a step-motherly treatment to theatres in Tamil Nadu.

Indiantelevision
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