QUBE’s answers to Tamil Cinema strike | English Subtitles | Jayendra | Senthil | MY 240

I think it is the right time
for this conversation We spoke to many producers,
theater owners and distributors They have given their version to the Press They have made many allegations
and flooded WhatsApp with forwards So many questions have been raised
and circulated from their side We felt it was our duty to hear your side
of the story and present your justification Initially when film was being
converted to digital format It was a very good move indeed That specific transitional phase Even producers were happy
the amount to be invested was less That is why they accepted this change During the digital transformation phase Theater owners, distributors and producers …because they lacked the technical
awareness of the digital format …they feel their digital service provider
exploited their ignorance What is your ‘take’ on this? We deny this completely We feel we have served our industry
only for its betterment Only now out of the blue
we have heard a different version To the general public When we initiated this change …first we asked the theater owners
if they were interested in buying this They felt they cannot afford
this kind of investment ‘If we invested in this
we won’t reap any benefit whatsoever’ The picture quality will be the same
from the point of view of the audience Be it film print or digital version
the quality will still be the same So they asked us why
they should be the ones to invest? We then went to the labs I met Mr Manmohan Shetty
founder of Adlabs Films Ltd And Mr Suresh Babu
of Ramanaidu labs They are our friends and
I could approach them We asked if they could
invest in this new format We didn’t have that kind of
huge figure to invest We approached Prasad Labs also None of them came forward Maybe because this was a risky proposition How this will work out No one knew This is a huge risk, right? Whether we can convert from film
to digital and will it be reliable? Will the audience accept this quality? No one could predict the future,
say 5 years or 10 years ahead No one took it up not knowing
if the risk factor may boomerang Finally we decided to risk the entire funds
we had at our disposal in our company And bank loan We started with 30 theaters In November, 2004, ‘Perazhagan’ ran
from 100th day to another 100 days In AVM Rajeswari theater
It was our 1st test initiative Then in March we asked Mr Ramanathan
to try out the same in Abirami Theater He welcomes new technologies He always likes trying out new ideas He had great faith in us because we had
succeeded in bringing DTS sound system So he went ahead He agreed to implement it After that we converted
another 30 theaters in 2005 One by one the movie was converted
and released in these theaters It took 2 more years
for this change to gain popularity Only in 2008 we brought 100 theaters
under this new format finally So this was a gradual process
wherein you explained in detail …to the theater owners and producers Including the fact
we risked all our money We didn’t have the funds to
convert in these 100 theaters We met venture capitalists
and private equity investors Streetedge, a company invested
in our firm to develop our technology This technology was developed in Tamil Nadu It has now spread all over the world
to 50 other countries from our state Be it China, Australia, USA, Italy, Spain
it is our technology that’s being used We should feel proud We are unable to understand
the negativity from the producers We are shell shocked Till now we considered them our friends
and they have suddenly turned against us Hearing various rumours
and being misinformed …they are now against us This is what we feel In the initial stages, to provide
this server and projector system …you agreed to charge Rs 20,000
per film for 5 years …after collecting the money
over a period of time …you agreed that the projectors
will belong to the theater owners You agreed to collect only a service fee But you still collect VPF First of all we never said
anything like this to any producer That we will stop collecting
VPF after 5 years Because such a clause
never featured in our plan We have submitted our business plans
to so many investors We have never committed to this
at any point of time So that is definitely not true We had agreed to transfer the equipment
when the contract period elapsed …for a certain price But no theater showed any inclination
or interest to buy the equipment Because that equipment
after the 5 year contract period …was not in a very usable state To understand this right
1st we used film projectors That cost only Rs 300000 or 400000
It could be used for 20 years But our first E Cinema projectors
had a life span of only 3-4 years After that we were forced
to change that projector The producers’ accusation is… …in 3-4 years we would have
got back the money we invested Why are we still charging them? It will be good if someone went
to the theaters using E Cinema And asked them how many
projectors have been changed so far We have changed at least
2-3 projectors in each theater Many have gone from
E Cinema to D Cinema It is so easy to casually say we must
have got back returns on our investment Our company has invested
more than 4 billion till date Not a single investor has taken
even 1 rupee as dividend so far Not even 1 rupee as dividend
from this company Not taken the investment or the returns Our fund of 4 billion
is still in the market In this present situation… …if any businessman says
he will stop this revenue stream …do you think it is fair? All producers are businessmen They should also understand
the nuances of this business If we haven’t as yet taken
our capital or the returns …how can we stop collecting VPF? We were under the impression, this was
a service we have brought to our industry Like Uber and Ola You don’t have to buy a car
or spend money on fuel or driver Just hire their services and
use whenever the need arises Pay the necessary charges, that’s all Because it is convenient
and cost effective If you take the price of a call taxi… …only if Uber or Ola is cheaper
you will use their services We started this with the same mindset This is way cheaper than the print cost From 60,000 we have
brought it down to 20,000 Now it is less than 15,000 So it is only decreasing And we were thinking this service
is getting better by the day Why does it cost this much? Everybody is calculating
13 years have lapsed since 2005 They say we have been helping ourselves
to VPF even after so many years 1st flaw in their argument is, in 2005
we invested in only 30 projectors Those projectors didn’t last even for 1 year Off the shelf we bought Panasonic projectors High end projectors no doubt But those projectors were
not built for this purpose We wanted air conditioners
in the cabins for the projectors But even then… …the dust factor and
frequent power outage …lessened the lifetime of
the projectors to a vast degree Next we touched base with
a company called Delta in Taiwan We explained our requirements They manufactured 3 models
custom made for our needs Like DCI projectors for E Cinema With many security features as add-ons They casually claim this cost us 500000 This projector cannot be
made at this low a cost They claim the cost of the entire
equipment is only 5 lakhs Our server alone costs 5 lakhs This is not a common digital player We have incorporated forensic watermark It has the capability to playback J2K With as many features as possible
to be compatible with D Cinema …we can take the credit for making
E Cinema stand apart in the whole world So what is the cost involved?
They are quoting a low figure Roughly 12 lakhs
when we started E Cinema It lessened slightly When we converted to E Cinema
3 or 4 years ago …may be 10 lakhs If these 2 are not incorporated
this content can be stolen digitally By transferring the output
into another recorder digitally If the forensic watermark is absent In a camcorder you cannot identify
the theater it was pirated from If copied digitally and the source
of theft is unidentifiable …our entire system will breakdown It’s a given according to everyone
piracy will anyway rear its ugly head In a fatalistic way At least the source should not
be from our side is 1 factor And most important
not before the film releases for sure The innovations we have made The date cannot be changed in our system The date & time
is from a different hardware You can’t change from Friday to Wednesday
and thereby open the license for it This should be clearly
understood by everyone Someone is willing to give servers
for E Cinema at a very low rate Producers want to know
why they can’t opt for it? If the date is advanced And your content is dispatched on Wednesday If the film is pirated 2 days
prior to release …does it set a good precedent
for our industry? Not good at all The reason forensic watermark is essential Any visible mark Everyone claims to add
2 layers of watermark One is visible and the other
is too small for the naked eye So the theater where it was pirated
can be identified is what they claim But I am saying, if it is visible
I can delete it easily All you need is a digital non linear system We have access to free software DaVinci Resolve Using it, watermark can
be removed easily Our watermark is
civolution forensic watermark We have implemented
the same watermark as in DCI Ours is the only company
to do so in the world It cost us more than
100 million to do this No one asked us to do this Why we are aware of what is
needed for security purposes …we understood everything because
of our prior experience with DCI There is no comparison if we use
a system without this security precaution We can’t compare apples and oranges This is the rate of our system I mentioned about service support If the quality of this service support
lessens even a little bit… …we have a staff of 350
in just south India And 350 million invested in spare parts
and back up systems If we didn’t have this kind
of resource contingency And 100 million of
satellite bandwidth If all these resources are absent …show losses will increase
to a very large extent The reason being It is a digital equipment Due to heat and dust
it is bound to breakdown You can use it for 30 years Maybe spend Rs 2000 to 3000 each year You can ask in any theater If their equipment has a break down… …how long does it take
for the engineer to come? Isn’t that important for a producer? He’s releasing a film We’ll come to this topic later I am not talking about the theater owner A producer is releasing a new film today He can get back his investment
based on the collection …on Friday, Saturday and Sunday If a few shows are missed
due to equipment failure To minimize that cost… …that is, a loss in collection …means 50% loss to the producer
It is a huge loss in his share If he loses that share
on those crucial days …when he is releasing in 200 screens 2 extra shows incur substantial loss
due to lack of support network The savings we got
in this VPF goes for a toss Only if you compare
VPF and Show losses …will it be obvious
if this is a fair fee VPF seems to be the biggest concern now What were the terms & conditions
you decided on? We draw up an agreement according to
the film each producer brings to the table Each film has a separate agreement In that agreement we specify the rate
and ask him how many screens he requires We have different rate structures A flat run means the print can
be used indefinitely And change it to
any number of theaters Like a real print We have fixed that as Rs 20,000 Or Rs 21750 for Digital Cinema Initiatives That rate is exactly equal to a film print It can be played in any number of theaters
with no time constraint Like Sathyam theater
supposing there are 6 screens In whichever screen
Unlimited number of screens The same cost holds good All screens of Abirami
it is the same Rs 21750 That kind of scheme
or go in for weekly payment Or per show payment 1 screen with 1 show a day
or 2 shows a day only For DCI it is Rs 450 For E Cinema it is Rs 290
for the 1st week 2nd week Rs 250
3rd week Rs 200 The average works out
to Rs 215 per show Small budget films find it
very difficult to release If a small budget film
gets only 1 show for a week… 250×7 This will be their VPF charges I don’t think this is too much for any film Another allegation is
VPF has been increased This is NOT true at all Let them prove this point This same allegation was
directed at us 2 years ago I was emphatic
just like this even then This is NOT true We have not raised VPF
for more than 10 years If you show us whose film and
which year, we can show you our bill From 10 years back till date Going by what you have told me now… …whether projector set up fees or
charges for your service provider …after the charges
have been repaid …you have said the projector
will belong to the theater owners According to our original contracts …we had drawn up a contract
to transfer the projector in their name The projector was not usable No theater was willing to buy it So they agreed to upgrade That is why I am saying in each theater
we have changed it 2 to 2.5 times Sometimes 3 or 1 DCI projector’s life is much longer We transfer that to the theater
at the end of the contract definitely But there is another important
point to bear in mind In 2005 E Cinema was a neccessity in India At that time everyone did not support
the conversion to E cinema in India This was all we could charge as VPF Hardly anything for advertising Theaters couldn’t raise
the ticket rates either E Cinema was a definite necessity in India E Cinema existed in Iran and China They had changed to DCI India had to change to DCI
Not only for security but also for quality And compatibility DCI prints could be sent from India
to any other part of the world And we should be able to screen
any foreign film in any of our theaters But security is equally important If we didn’t safeguard it …some day or the other, in a year or two
a hacker will find out how to break this Our software engineers
keep developing all this But it can’t be done
beyond a point in E Cinema Security and quality were
2 of our essential requirements It has to be upgraded And not only in just Tamil Nadu
The whole of India has to change to DCI It is good for our entire nation Equally good for our film industry Without it So going by your explanation,
90% of the theaters …should be having
their own projectors by now But even now 90% of the theaters
don’t own their projector Conversion of DCI started
only 2 or 3 years back And E Cinema is on a reducing scale now From the time of DCI conversion Our contract is still on an average
for around 7 years in all theaters Varying from 6 months to 10 years But the average today is 7 years If we cross that 7 year period
theaters will own their projector But if we move everyone from
E Cinema to DCI urgently …and pay off the DCI within this period …it will be the best situation for our
industry To convey this point or convince
any of the theater owners No one came forward to
engage in a discussion They claim they know it has been paid off Someone else is willing to give
a projector for only 5 lakhs …which will fulfil their needs
is their thought process They showed a sample of Epson projector It is a good one
LCD projector I am very sure its life
will deteriorate very quickly If you see our brochures we sent
to the theaters in 2005 We had covered an entire chapter A technology that wasn’t
even acceptable in 2005 …why are we trying to
implement in 2018? It is okay for home use At home I watch films on
an Epson LCD projector But I may be watching a film
once or twice a week for an hour or two In this heat and dust He may provide a warranty Back to factory warranty With specific terms & conditions So many hours etc This should be given due thought
with proper experience And the pricing should be analysed It will be a totally different figure To minimize the Show losses Our recovery from VPF is very, very minimal Plus taking mastering into account All these services are
included in this price bracket Nowhere else in the world is this followed Some claim this mastering
is part of our process If this agreement has to be broken… …between Qube and a projector
what holds good at the moment …a notice period is required They say the notice period
is 6 to 18 months I think the notice period is 6 to 12 months Not beyond 1 year Let’s keep it as 6 to 12 months We have invested this much as of now
and placed our equipment in the theater How is it right, if we are
asked to remove it tomorrow? There is a proper method
to terminate the contract If I pre-close a car loan
I have to pay a penalty for it How is this different? All the theater owners have read
this agreement and only then signed it It has been duly signed The same owners have read it a 2nd time
when they renewed it again The owners are not objecting Why is a 3rd party getting involved? If an agreement is between you both Both of you are okay with
the terms & conditions By giving a new bulb, projector
or providing a new sound system …they claim you locked them into it
at a lower cost or fresh upgrade If we did not upgrade We shifted from E Cinema to D Cinema We changed from 2K to 4K and then laser Technology is improving rapidly Supposing a theater nearby
is using a 4K projection …won’t this theater owner want to
upgrade his theater by emulating the same? It isn’t wrong for the owner to
want to provide the best quality Only with the owner’s consent
Only if he asks for an upgrade He is already using DCI He is using a 2K projection How can we insist
unless he wants to upgrade himself? How can we pressurize anyone?
He has an expense he has to meet Either a rental or an advance Or advance + rental charges Or return an old projector
and pay a fresh deposit Cost is shared by both parties This present equation is such …a theater pays when
they upgrade their equipment Producers when they enjoy the benefit The print cost is lesser than 60,000
in our present digital format They reap the benefit too This is the present
best case scenario for all Suddenly if the producers want
to enjoy only the benefits Are our theaters in that state now? After 8 years will the theater
reap this same benefit? This is the question we should address That is okay It should be a joint discussion Theaters Along with us as service providers
and other DSPs, producers It should be an amicable joint discussion And then decide After upgrading take the industry
to a safe position We haven’t retrieved the capital
that we have invested so far It can be checked in various ways There is a way to check it Jayendra brought this out
as a specific point He asked them to appoint
an independent auditor He was open to scrutiny by that auditor What was their response? They didn’t pay heed or comply
We got no reply We should have paid some dividend
to our shareholders? We would have taken some dividends too
as shareholders, right? If you find even 1 dividend
I’ll just close shop at once If a theater owner questions or retaliates …from the producers is their allegation They claim you give extra shares
in revenue from advertisement …to keep them satisfied? We draw up an agreement
when there is an upgrade We have to ask
the permission of our board We have always kept our word We have agreements with our suppliers Agreements with banks which we honor In a theater owned by a producer
or if a theater owner questions about VPF …you part with some freebies
or give hi-tech equipment for free Or give extra VPF shares
and manipulate the situation But greasing someone’s palms
as in the form of a bribe …I can assure you
all that has never happened We have never given so far
And why should we? This particular service Theater owners can switch to someone else
offering the same for a lesser rate Why are so many theaters standing by us? If you take the last 2 years They offer discounts
to the theater owners But not wanting to break the contract
they stick to them till that time frame But generally the word spreads How our service support started We used to sell broadcasters
of Avid Technology And News is telecast 24×7 It can’t go down even for 1 second We applied the same to theaters too That is the reason theater owners are
very happy about our service support This is a main concern for producers I am a producer and I pay VPF
to screen my film in the theater It is a payment for your services If I have to add an advertisement,
teaser or trailer for another film of mine …how is it fair to charge me?
This is their query We don’t charge extra
for screening this in the theater We charge only the logistic cost
to dispatch it to the theater You are a theater owner You plan not to screen that film
Why would you screen that trailer? This isn’t from the point of view
of the theater owner Our charge is only one time Rs 750 per trailer It is up to the theater owner
to play it or not You have made 2 films I am screening 1 film of yours I am not taking up your 2nd film It will be screened
in the neighboring theater The theater owner thinks he is promoting
the business of his competitor He doesn’t intend screening that film He wants to know
why he should screen its trailer But what we said in
the Joint Action committee meetings …each chamber of every state Or Producers Council
as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned …you tell us which trailer needs to be
sent We will send 2 trailers per movie You should draw an agreement
with the theater owner for the screening To add that
advertisements- If you counted the advertisements
the rate will increase much more And anyway if they had screened
a trailer in the old film format… …they would have been
forced to spend much more In fact we were giving DTS
trailer discs for Rs 500 I know The cost would have been much more then For just Rs 750 we are mastering
and sending it to the theaters How many theaters in Tamil Nadu
own their projector? We would have billed it But they may be paying as EMI Like a hire purchase scheme It will be transferred to them Fully paid may be 50-60 Sathyam, PVR, Inox or
Fun cinemas buy the projectors They are paying in some scheme or the other The reason I asked you this Even if they own the projector
100% VPF collected from the producers …they claim it is split in a 80-20 ratio
for theaters and you That is definitely true Or some multiplexes If they own the projectors
we collect on their behalf Or they themselves collect In the case of PVR or Inox, they collect So we do this openly Because they have invested From their point of view, their projector
will be obsolete in some period of time They have to make another huge investment Only if they collect like this, they can
meet the next big expenditure to upgrade From the theater’s point of view, we can
assume they are preparing for their upgrade Or this fund helps
in providing good quality But from a producer’s point of view The theater owner has a projector Why should VPF be paid for it? This is a very pertinent question When we shifted from print to digital
print cost was 60000 to 75000 So the producer saves 40000 to 50000 Now the present cost is only 15000 to 20000 If you calculate it as roughly
Rs 15000 per screen …the producer saves at least Rs 45000 Theater has to spend a lot more
because of digital format They have to pay an advance of 3 to 4 lakhs Earlier, to buy 2 projectors
they used to spend 3 to 4 lakhs Which would last for 40 years Each year they had to spend
only Rs 10,000 as maintenance cost Now each AMC costs
2 to 3 lakhs per year Why should the theater owner
be burdened with so much extra cost… …for the benefits to be
reaped by someone else? In this system we have implemented
it is a win-win situation for all Theater owner benefits because
they avail an equipment worth 40 lakhs …they get with an advance of just 3-4
lakhs And then payable in
monthly instalments The producer saves 45000 in print cost We do a separate business
in the same theater Advertising shouldn’t be combined
with this but anyway I’m bringing it up We will deal with advertisements separately For film projectors …the technology did not
change for 75 years It was the same projector
used with constant repairs In digital format
technology changes once in 4 years We have no other option but to upgrade When that is the case Many producers have asked me this We don’t pay if the seats are refurbished Nor do we pay
if the audio system is changed Why should we pay
if the projection is changed? They are justified in asking
Let me explain why The producer doesn’t gain
in any way if seats are changed Same case with the sound system The audience will benefit for sure It brings in audience to the theater too The producer gains a 2nd hand benefit And to the theater If the projector is changed
from film to digital …only the producer
gets all the benefits The theater gets almost zero benefit This cost should be taken
only to the producer VPF is the scheme that equalizes both ends What you have to understand is
this scheme did not originate in Tamil Nadu It was not a scheme
that began in India either It was an international idea Why? Why do they pay a VPF of $850
if our films are screened outside India? We are asking for only Rs 15000 They are paying $850 Ask any overseas distributor you like They pay a bit more
to release in Bombay Another important question
from the producers’ side Isn’t there a sunset clause? Internationally a sunset clause
was based on a methodology Around 7% What is the cost of borrowing
from the bank here? What are our interest rates? What is the duty levied? To import the projectors How much are we repaying in this scheme? In this low cost of VPF
how much are we repaying? How many years do we require? All these factors should be considered Will we do this forever?
If it’s a service model we can do If you insist only the theater owner
has to invest the money …can the theaters afford to invest? The stand alone theaters in Tamil Nadu
and the predicament they are in Do you think theaters can run their shows
buying a 4K or laser projector? If they can You said the producers gain
by the changing of projectors The gain is in the shift to digital format
and the reduced cost in making copies Or is there some other profit? That is their profit Security also increases In a film print, you cannot
trace the source of piracy You need an armed guard to
escort the print to the theater That is not practical at all This was the practice
followed for big budget films But none of this is required
in the digital format You can blindly send If someone records in a camcorder …the time and venue
can be traced immediately Partiality in approach is alleged
in 2 different ways For theaters that cross more than 5 years VPF is not applied to English films Then why is it applied
to Tamil films alone? This is also an allegation
in complete ignorance They blindly say VPF is not
applicable to English films In this meeting …Senthil even showed them the required
proof on the basis of payment Their rates are roughly comparable We have a nondisclosure clause
in all our agreements So I could not specifically
discuss this openly But I can say the rates paid are either
the same or higher than Indian rates So English films also pay VPF Their contract also lapses
after a certain period But I cannot disclose the exact numbers Can Tamil films also follow
the footsteps of English films? We can definitely discuss this
setting a date and we can decide We have to discuss this amiably Afterwards theaters have to
invest in their equipment If this is acceptable
definitely we can do it The other partiality in approach Between certain
experienced old producers To be more open,
influential producers And newbies, young producers
of small budget films …there is a difference in the rates
billed? We stick to the same rate
We adhere to our rate card For big producers if they cross
a certain billing, we give them a discount It is followed in all business procedures Airtel may offer a certain rate to
a company if it has 100 subscribers And the rate may decrease slightly
if another firm offers 1000 subscribers If you approach them
as an individual consumer …the rate may be slightly higher I’ll waive exclusively for you Nothing of that sort happens? We are not the 2 individuals
handling this business Only then it can work smoothly Find out if anyone has spoken to us
and availed any discount? So no one can break
the standard operating procedure? The board is empowered to do so The board can but I mean any producer Or the distributor can’t bend the rules To ensure 100% security
we had to buy ISO We have to stick to the required process Otherwise we will lose our ISO certificate I mentioned about English films Why do you think they accused you of this? They claim in some theaters
after the 5 years time …English films are being screened
without paying VPF Why are they saying this? All this is based on half knowledge Hearing some news somewhere Misunderstanding the information
and misconstruing it to 4 other people They believe it to be true It is a collective misconception of truth If Hollywood has a sunset clause
you mean Hollywood doesn’t pay Even today Indian films pay VPF
when they release in Bombay Indian films pay $ 850
when they release in Hollywood No one is mentioning this difference I am saying even English films
are not screened for free 99.99% of English films
or Hollywood films …are not released in E Cinema They release only in DCI format That is why I want
our whole country to change to DCI They have already finished mastering And the keys Our job is to only deliver it
to the theater And they pay separately for it They pay for delivery and VPF separately So there is a difference in rate
because they do the mastering and keying Even then it is almost the same rate Or more, per show is more actually Whatever we discussed so far
is producers’ point of view Or problems they are facing As a viewer, what we have faced
in recent times is KDM issues Either an early morning show Or FDFS when a film is released
or the fans wanting to enjoy the experience The key hasn’t reached or KDM issue I don’t know if everyone even knew
the word KDM about 18 months earlier If a film hasn’t released
they blame it as a KDM issue This is an unfortunate problem
prevalent in our Tamil industry Finance isn’t cleared
till the last minute Sometimes it has happened earlier If a financier or some other person
comes up with a court order We call it Lab clearance Giving the green signal to release the film The clearance is delayed quite a bit
We are not to blame We keep everything ready Only after we receive a letter from
the financiers certifying its clearance If the KDM cannot be released …the theater owner will surely
attribute it as KDM issue Very true The concern from the producers’ side
regarding the financial clearance …the clearance is denied even if
they are short of just Rs 500 This doesn’t apply only for our money Some very, very, very rare case
it can be due to our money being blocked It is between them, they borrowed money
and did not settle till date of release We have to sign a lab letter According to the lab letter Financier, producer and Qube All 3 parties have to sign this The producer also agrees
we should not release To get that clearance takes time This isn’t our money Because the financier
has not got his returns You said in very rare cases this has been
stalled because you haven’t been paid Will you and the producers negotiate
or try to resolve this issue? Sometimes they pay the charges
for 2 days, up to the weekend Or take the KDM for 1 week
instead of full run You have agreed to this kind of flexibility For sure
Even now If you look at the show rate of Rs 250 Earlier on it was Rs 325 For Friday, Saturday and Sunday
it is decidedly a minimum amount Any producer will be
willing to pay that amount Usually they pay for 1, 2 or 3 days They will release the film Because of this advantage of show rate A situation of them
not being able to pay us Such a problem has never risen The film will be released Unless the producer settles the financier
the latter brings in a ‘stay’ …you become aware of KDM issues What the fan gets to hear I saw your Press release
on the rate revision Only after this issue became
a grave matter of concern You came up with this rather late
is what some producers opine First we offered
what was within our limits We could afford to concede 9% Our profitability is already very low After this overall investment of 4.5 billion …our returns is much lesser
than a fixed deposit We did what we could manage Because the entire industry
joined hands and insisted So it will cause us immense pain
but we know this for sure If we drop our service level
because of this discount …losses for our industry
will mount even more We won’t drop our service level Somehow we will manage this impediment That is why we took this decision Only due to being pushed into a corner Actually we cannot afford this We didn’t want to hinder
our industry’s progress We did the best we could do I spoke to everyone
in this same manner But no one was willing to listen First we introduced Avid …to take our industry
to another level of creativity …we brought in non linear editing Before DTS was introduced in the theaters After DTS sound was adapted When ‘Jeans’ was released… …the producer told us proudly Collection in Theni was higher
than the collection in Madurai DTS made a huge difference
and created an enormous impact Audience started liking
the movie-going experience once again Because at that point
TV was a threat Today in the same way
Amazon prime, Netflix, Hotstar These online screening services
are the competitors To shut our industry now temporarily Truly I feel terrible That’s why we wanted to salvage
this deadlock somehow To prevent the industry
from stopping the screening When the other 3 states
are okay with our terms …I don’t know till date
why they are not accepting this And another important point This strike was announced first Even prior to the commencement
of the discussion …the date of the strike
was announced as March 1st Only then we were called
to discuss the pros and cons How is this fair? When the other 3 southern states are okay …you said you are puzzled why
Tamil Nadu isn’t willing to concede So what were the negotiations
in the other 3 states? Everyone joined and negotiated Through Joint Action Council Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada
jointly discussed and negotiated So we believed everyone will
agree on an unanimous basis When they negotiated as
Joint Action Committee Both of them said they have
formed a WhatsApp group Participants are all the members
of this committee They have been receiving information
regarding the rates continuously We were shell shocked Meeting was on Monday
after they had discussed on Saturday Only on Monday evening we got to know
Tamil Nadu alone did not accept our terms Even Kerala
They have resumed Karnataka’s chamber had an idea
to implement their own system I don’t know if that still holds good
But they have resumed now We spoke to the theater owners also Service is very quick You said ‘why don’t you ask
the theater owners?’ In the case of quality,
service, maintenance In all spheres the theater owners
have no issues with your modus operandi But their only concern They feel there isn’t enough transparency
in revenues from advertisements We have an automated system They can log in and
see their account statements The server was down for a few days Actually I was not aware of it It has been set right and
we have informed all our clients We have sent a mail also There was a mistake on our side
and it has been rectified They can check online Their revenue from advertisements
Our accounting is fully transparent About the ads to be screened
in my theater and the duration Will I get prior information? To a certain extent, but there may be
inclusion of some ads in the last minute I am a producer I pay VPF I am paying VPF for my film that is
being screened in a particular theater Advertisements are also added The revenue from
the advertisements go to Qube From that amount a share
goes to the theater owner Venue belongs to the theater owner
Film belongs to me It means my VPF includes the cost
of screening those advertisements You are not paying VPF for the ads You are paying for the projector system
and our services only Advertisements always belonged to the
theater No one has any doubts regarding this Legally too it belongs to the theater Holds good world over
Not just Tamil Nadu Let me explain why If you own a property legally… …all the revenues you get from it
belong only to you Now the producer draws up an agreement He wants a certain percentage
of the tickets sold at the box office The theater owners give the producers
that %, which is their agreement So advertisements and producers
are not connected at all World over this is the norm It can’t be linked either Depends on the theater But this is the model worldwide In many places, theaters survive
only because of the canteen Not just in India In India in the 1950s, Blaze Central
was a well known company They supplied advertisements
to all the theaters Before the TV era Only in theaters the audience could
watch moving advertisements People our age will be well aware of this The ads will be played
100 times or more in the same theater That company defaulted After that none of the theaters got
advertising on a national level A neighboring shop may advertise
in a local self contained manner If you are a national advertiser… …you cannot be communicating
to all the theaters in India On an individual basis It is viable only if worked
on a collective network basis We filed a patent in 2001 for this This idea So this is a patented system No one else can carry out
this procedure like the way we do In fact we have licensed this
to other companies too I think this is an issue, the producers
have to assimilate and absorb They must be aware of it A theater owner today is struggling
to survive in the present scenario Many claim only 20 people come to view
a film or less than that per show For some films that have a good run
it is a houseful show The owners are struggling
to maintain a theater is a fact In this dire straits of trying
to make ends meet… …only if the theater is run profitably …the facilities offered
will be of good quality Only if the facilities are good
audience will come Only then our films will be a success I feel the producers should
take a long term view They should take a long term view
with foresight for sure Advertisement is being screened with
their film inclusive of the VPF they pay Why are we as producers
not getting a revenue from it? Because it belongs to the theater I am a producer and I take a package
for 2 weeks for my film I have paid VPF But suppose my film runs only for 1 week Will I get a refund
of my balance amount? Most definitely, yes We ask them to release on Friday On Monday you can decide the package
you want depending on the theater This is what we follow It is like a mobile plan Sometimes you pay per minute and
at other times unlimited calls per month On Monday you can take your pick Unlimited or weekly basis
according to the theater No one pays upfront for 2 weeks Usually it is weekly We don’t have to clear this at all Each and every producer
is well aware of this About getting their refund Recently a film was released
2 or 3 weeks back The producer had paid
an advance of 7 lakhs Their VPF came only up to 150,000 We refunded 5,50,000 This isn’t an one off case But they claim there is
a delay in refunding We have stipulated 40 days Like I mentioned earlier We need to get the play logs from the
theater For those who chose ‘per show’ For us to know how many
shows have been played actually Hence the 40 days
But we don’t take that long Usually we refund in 30 days So the refund is decided only after
my film is not screened in any theater? It can be refunded
as per the theater if you want A film runs only for 2 weeks From 2 weeks Though allegations, accusations and
questions are strong and vehement… …the point you are emphatic about …you have upgraded the quality and
film viewing experience in Tamil Nadu So Qube as a digital service provider …from your side, for the producers
by this implementation …can you tell me 5 advantages
Qube has provided to the producer? 1 advantage obviously
is the fall in price From Rs 60,000 to Rs 15,000 Last minute changes can be made Once the printing process was started
changes cannot be made Or in every print, the edit
has to be implemented Now changes can be made even after release
of course with the approval of the censors Register the changes as voluntary cuts Changes can be carried over
‘n’ number of times after release also Another advantage is security You know it cannot be pirated The producer has the control You can trace the source of the piracy
even if recorded in a camcorder Not necessarily from us There are 2-3 labs in the world The producer can find out
if he contacts those labs He doesn’t have to trust us There are international labs
These are the advantages Biggest advantage
if you notice in the last few years …after the advent of digital format …small budget films have progressed
to a mammoth unimaginable level Digital cost was easily affordable
by producers with a low budget Even a small film could be
released in 60-80 screens The theaters had flexibility Digital brought the decided advantage
small films can also see the light of day That is why small budget films
could get this exposure Main reason why Tamil Nadu
which produced 50 films in 2005 …has produced 300 films in a year You have offered discounts
more than what you can really afford You say you have met the producers
more than half way Even after this if the industry If they continue the strike …is there any other solution? Cost cutting They should believe we work
for the benefit of cinema That is how we think
and work, heart of hearts All these years
this has been our mindset We will continue
in the same manner If people believe us
our actions will be understood If they don’t trust our sincerity
accusations will always be thrown at us You have to decide
whether you trust us or not Besides trusting you
and being fair Opposing Qube in this manner Do you think so? A few select producers It has not been the case so far Our professional relationship has
always been very good with everyone Not just Tamil industry We have worked in
all the industries in India Even I am completely in the dark Till date we don’t know why
Tamil Nadu alone is taking this stand I am unable to fathom why producers
in Tamil Nadu are being so stubborn


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