South Indian Film Industry Threaten Shutdown On March 1 Over Digital Service Provider Pricing

The Digital Service Providers charge around Rs 22,500 per screen to the producer for the Virtual Print Fee (VPF), which the producers find exorbitant and demand price reduction.

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South Indian Film Industry Threaten Shutdown On March 1 Over Digital Service Provider Pricing

Four south Indian film industries are likely to be hit on March 1. (Representational)


New Delhi:  With the ongoing stand-off between the south Indian film industries-  Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam - and the Digital Service Providers (DSPs) over pricing issues, the industry has threatened a shutdown from March 1, which means no south Indian films will release on that day.

The producers and digital service providers have met several times in the past two weeks and an official announcement was expected after the final meeting in Bengaluru on Friday last week, but nothing concrete came out of it. After the meet, Jayendra Panchapakesan, co-founder of Qube Cinema, a leading Digital Service Provider tweeted, "Qube offers multiple  price options in Bangalore meeting between Producers and Digital Service Providers including dramatic price reduction from 22,500 to 14,000 rupees. All offers turned down."
 For a regional film, the Digital Service Provider such as Qube and UFO charge around Rs 22,500 per screen to the producer, which the producers believe is too much for the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) and demand the prices to be reduced.

On the other hand, Digital Service Providers like Qube feel that their Virtual Print Fee rates are the lowest in the world. "Our VPF rates are the lowest in the world and the most flexible. Apart from the flat rate of Rs 22,000, we have multiple options as low as RS 325/show," Senthil Kumar, co-founder of Qube Cinema, was quoted as saying to The Hindu.

"We offer digital cinema mastering services, content delivery, digital rights management and long-term archival... all for free," Mr Kumar added.

With south Indian film producers threatening for a shutdown On March 1 over the unresolved pricing issues, several big releases are likely to be hit. While official decision on the matter is still pending, SR Prabhu, treasurer of the Tamil Nadu Producers Council said that they'll go for an indefinite strike till they find a solution.

"The reduction of 10 to 12 per cent will not be sufficient. VPF has to be completely removed even if the film is getting released in less than 100 screens," Mr Prabhu told the The New Indian Express.

"We also believe that the Digital Service Providers will come to an agreement before March 1. We'll be on indefinite strike till we find a solution," he added.


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