VIJAYAWADA: A section of film distributors and exhibitors are planning to move Andhra Pradesh High Court objecting to “state government’s interference” in online sale of film tickets by shortly launching a web portal 'Your Screens'.
Telugu film industry has largely welcomed AP government’s move to introduce online sale of film tickets through Your Screens portal of Andhra Pradesh Film Development Corporation (APFDC). The industry expressed Its willingness after state government heeded to its request of revising upwards rates of admission into film theatres, following complaints that they had been very low. The government even allowed the film industry to raise ticket prices of all classes for big budget films up to a period of 10 days.
Recently, however, it entrusted the task of selling tickets online to AP Film Development Corporation by launching Your Screens online portal. The cost of tickets sold by the government web portal will be low compared to those sold by private aggregators.
A section of film distributors and exhibitors are upset over this, as they could lose considerable money. Firstly, they sell online tickets though private aggregators at an exorbitant price for the first few days when big budget films get released, thereby quickly making huge money.
Secondly, they get interest-free loans running into several crores of rupees from existing private online movie ticket aggregators. Thirdly, exhibitors show lower occupancy in film theatres compared to actuals and knock away some money from box office collections. Fourthly, private aggregators charge ₹25 to ₹30 extra on each ticket.
This section of film distributors and exhibitors thus fears that it may lose all these benefits once APFDC starts selling tickets online through its Your Screens web portal at government fixed prices in a transparent manner.
Further, film exhibitors are also concerned over duration of time over which the memorandum of agreement will be entered into between the exhibitors and state government on sale of online tickets. They are also questioning feasibility of state’s assurance that it will remit collections from sale of online tickets to exhibitors the next day.
A senior functionary from Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce said, “Though we are all welcoming the initiatives of AP government to streamline sale of film tickets and ensure transparency, some of those who resort to malpractices for making quick money are planning to move the High Court to stall the entire process. We are, however, trying to dissuade them from doing do so for the benefit of all stakeholders in Telugu film industry.”