The Kannada and Tamil film industries have joined hands to fight the digital service providers against discriminatory pricing. There will be no screening of new films in Karnataka till the issue is resolved. In Tamil Nadu the industry has gone a step further and from March 16 there will be no film related activities including screening, shooting and promotional press meets. DSPs UFO and Qube have been told that no new Kannada and Tamil films will be given to them for transferring to the theatres.
There are three points on which there is a problem now. One the rates. Kannada industry is demanding reduction of the rates by 50 per cent. The DSPs are agreeing to only 22 percent reduction. The DSPs have also initiated cases against theatres. The film industries have demanded that all these cases have to be withdrawn. The theatres are worth many crores but are held to ransom by providing them with an projector and server worth Rs 4-5 lakhs and making them sign an unequal agreement preventing them from moving to cheaper alternatives and then charging producers exorbitant prices. The third demand is to give freedom to theatres to opt for any DSP they want. As of now a theatre can have only one set of server and projector. But there are several available which are cheaper. The industries are demanding that there should be no monopoly of any one group. As of now UFO and Qube are the two dominant DSPs in Karnataka. Now both of them are on the verge of merging creating a single monopoly.
Actor producer Vishal represented Tamil film industry in the meeting with KFCC in Bengaluru today. He was very specific and and said that there will be no film activity whatsoever from March 16. This will go on till the DSPs agree to the demands. The two industries have also said that they will henceforth decide on the future course of action together and will keep each other in the loop about any development. The Telugu film industry which was part of the protest has alone agreed to the proposal of UFO and stopped the protest. The Kannada and Tamil industries have therefore closed ranks.
There will be no screening of new films of any language in Karnataka. It is not limited to Kannada and Tamil which are protesting. New Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and English films will also not be screened. Sa Ra Govindu requested all producers and exhibitors to cooperate in the matter. He said exhibitors from across Karnataka including north Karnataka exhibitors under Odugouder and those in Mangaluru will be asked to cooperate unitedly in the issue so that all producers and film makers will benefit.