Yesterday’s Press meet of Kamal Hassan regarding the DTH issue was an emotional outburst. He tried to explain that he just postponed the release for his convenience and his DTH screening plan is there and he will not let down his DTH partners. Today’s press release confirmed that the Film will be released on 25th January through 500 screens throughout Tamil Nadu and he is silent on DTH screening that means decision still pending.
We know Kamal Hassan always brought new technologies to Tamil Cinema. The idea of DTH screening prior to the theatrical release of his 95-crore VISHWAROOPAM, first attempt in the history of Cinema. We thought another stream of revenue is being opened for Tamil Cinema.
It is clear that DTH platform is a new stream of income for Tamil Cinema and there is no denial of that fact that this is the future of home entertainment. Then why this much opposition from industry so that he has to review his decision?
Why Tamil Cinema is opposing DTH Screening?
Theatrical Collection is the biggest revenue of any cinema industry. Movie going experience is unique and it has to be experienced from cinema halls only. You will never get that experience in your home even if you have a latest home theatre system. For us it is a culture and it has to be maintained and supported. Now a days theatrical revenue of a film saturates by 2 or 3 weeks due to piracy and various other factors. Because of that the cinema hall numbers are reduced to 1200 screens in Tamil Nadu which was more than 2500 screens 10 years ago.
If a film is available on DTH prior to its theatrical release, the curiosity factor which prompts a moviegoer to watch the film on first day first show or within couple of days of its release will not be there and the theatre revenue will go down and a lot of illegal screening will be happening in restaurants and coffee shops like football or cricket matches. All these will lead to closure of the theatres.
When we talk about revenue streams of Tamil cinema, trade analysts always thinks that we have so many limitations unlike Hindi cinema, but in reality, Tamil cinema will be able to collect a magical figure of 200 crores which was the collection of Enthiran. Sadly, after that Tamil cinema never reached even 100 crores with an exception of recent Thuppakki..
As per a recent study, 50% of Tamil cinema revenue is lost by video piracy. Surprisingly, there is no revenue for Tamil cinema from the DVD rights or Home Entertainment. Why? The TV channels who buy the satellite rights of the film never wants the DVD of that film to be out for Home views. They include DVD rights in their contract and never release it to the stores. But everybody knows that there is an ample demand of DVDs and the supply comes from pirates. As Kamal Hassan rightly said yesterday, “delayed entertainment is denied entertainment”. If the DVD is released to the market immediately after the theatrical collections reach saturation, we can curb piracy menace to a large extend.
Nobody can stop the advancement of the technology. The only solution for this is to implement the new technologies wisely that a level playing should be maintained. Ideally, DTH screening can be done after three weeks and DVDs should be released after one month. This will curb the piracy and bring revenue to the Tamil cinema industry. For that, a collective effort should be taken by the all concerned (producers, distributors and exhibitors) parties..
Now Kamal Hassan stands as a winner, his Viswaroopam will be releasing in 500 screens which means grand opening and the initial collection will be fantastic. Hype is maximum due to this controversy. At this juncture we have to remember that he came up with DTH screening only when he was not getting enough theatre screens due to the heavy price. So shall we I say, all is well that ends well?