The Competition Commission of India is likely to slap theatre owners and Tamil Nadu Theatre Association with a penalty for engaging in anti-competitive strategies against the movie Viswaroopam. The CCI is acting on a complaint by the actor, director, producer of the film, Kamal Hassan.
Kamal Hassan, who had initially planned to launch the trilingual film on the DTH platform ahead of its release in theatres, had to change his strategy owing to protests from theatre owners. Hassan then approached the CCI alleging industry bodies had adopted anti-competitive practices to restrict the release of his film. He further had alleged that the association had acted like a cartel.
The decision, according to industry experts, is good news for DTH players and might carve a new way of revenue and trend for film producers and the DTH players. Rajkamal Films International had scheduled the release of the film on the DTH platform at Rs 1000 (Tamil Version) and Rs 500 (Hindi and Telugu version).
A new trend
Since the industry now understands that the decision, if executed, is likely to boost the morale of DTH players and can provide further screening of films on the platform, it is highly felt that other film producers are likely to follow suit of associating with DTH players for screening of certain topical films. Roopak Saluja, Founder of Bang Bang Films mentioned, “The trend can emerge, but it would depend upon the kind of film and the audience it caters too. Having said this, I would also say that it would not be a bad idea to initiate such a step. This could definitely help the industry. It certainly can emerge as a good revenue option for players and the filmmakers.”
A Tamil production house owner, on condition of anonymity, said, “We too have earlier thought of screening films on DTH first. This is a very innovative step, as audience have the luxury of sitting at home and enjoying the movie. But no film producer took the risk of going against the theatre owners. Now this decision could be a benchmark and might encourage other movie makers to also think of the DTH option first.”
Industry experts feel that DTH platform might generate revenue and would also illustrate exact viewership of the film. Although, they also feel that this might discourage the Box Office collections to a certain extent, but that would be topical. “Some movies are created for certain audiences. Some become a hit after they get off from theatres. This is a good move and if CCI decision is able to encourage other movie makers, then it would not only impart value to the movie but would also ensure that cash crunch does not happen on the producer front,” said Amitesh Jha, Entertainment and Media Analyst, Money Value Holdings.
Although the decision by CCI is still pending, the Commission has received a report from its Director-General of Investigation. It is likely to pass a decision against the cinema association soon.
Rajkamal Films International could not be reached for comment at the time of filing the report.