Seeking to bring digital services under its fold, the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) has appointed itself as the one-stop shop for producers, theatre owners and digit service providers (DSPs). Bypassing the monopoly enjoyed by major DSPs like QUBE Cinema, TFPC announced that all digital services will now be administered through the Microplex-TFPC mastering unit, set up in Kodambakkam two weeks ago.

With the advent of the digital era in the early 2000s, virtual print fee (VPF) was introduced to fund the purchase of digital projectors. Having set up digital projectors in the 1000 odd theaters across the state, the eight DSPs in Tamil Nadu have been recovering the capital cost from producers through VPF. In March, TFPC went on a 47 day strike demanding lowering of VPF.

Unhappy with the rates offered by QUBE and others, TFPC president decided to take charge of the digital service by empowering the relatively small players. In April, TFPC signed a deal with Aerox which offered digital services at costs 50% below the market rates. Now, TFPC has appointed Microplex Global to operate its mastering unit and preview theatre. Microplex has already installed an advanced 4K projection system worth about INR 40 Lakh in Kovilpatti and charges only half of what major DSPs charge as VPF. Microplex will be setting up the same projectors in 50 other theatres in the coming months. The emerging DSP is also reportedly in talks for leasing other 200 screens across the state.

South has faced a really big problem with this and for some time now. They had tried to get the prices down since the past three months now officially, but they had been talking to a wall and trying to negotiate for a lot more than that. But eventually after realizing there’s no point in talking anymore, they decided to deal with it on their own and by doing so they have easily saved half the price they pay per film. That’s just the South, just 4 regional industries down below. So why don’t we, the Hindi Industry, being the biggest film making industry in India, come together as one to fight it? Why are our egos bigger than the need to save at least half the amount we pay unnecessarily?

Right here in this very same column I’ve said it times and over for 100 other issues that we as an industry should come together in support of each other; irrespective of our differences, for the betterment for all of us? Another day and I’m writing a column on another issue that we are facing. How many more columns should be written before we actually unite and fight the various issues plaguing our industry? Let’s start by coming together and doing what they did in the South and in doing so we will even save hundreds of crores together which is just going to benefit us and no one else.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan

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