Regulation of movie tickets will fix reduce tax evasions, says Publicity Minister
In an exclusive interview, Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur C Raju touches upon various aspects, scopes, and prospects of the decision to take the digital plunge
Transparency and accountability are the buzzwords behind the State's decision to go online insofar as sales of movie tickets are concerned. Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur C Raju touches upon various the aspects, scopes, and prospects of the decision to take the digital plunge in this exclusive interview.
What is scope, reach, and future of the plan to sell movie tickets online across the State?
Online sales of movie tickets would be implemented at multiplex theatres under Corporation limits. Later, the model would be expanded to air-conditioned theatres, before finally being imposed on the 1,000-odd theatres across the State. The government will roll out a mobile app, which will have details of all the theatres across the State and the schedule of movie shows. This would empower people to choose a theatre and a show of their liking.
What is the outlay of the project?
As of now, one cannot say the exact outlay. Currently, very few sites are selling movie tickets online and charge a convenience fee of Rs 35.4 per ticket. When the online portal or the app created by the government rolls out, the price of the ticket may be cut down by Rs 10 or Rs 12. Some entities have expressed intent to develop an exclusive app; those quoting the least will be given the project. The project will be implemented in urban areas first.
What are the benefits?
Apart from ensuring accountability and transparency, it will generate revenue for the government. The data on the trade of movie tickets for each show and screen will be recorded and submitted to the government. This will help curtail tax evasion. The audience too will be cushioned during festive seasons or the release of star actor as theatres will not be able to fleece them.
How would a common man from remote areas and without access to smartphones or fast internet be able to book tickets?
There is no house without a smartphone these days. Even people from the hinterland book bus and train tickets online. However, we will go full scale only after giving the people time to adapt to the new system. Till then the existing system will run parallel to the online project. The rural people will not be affected in any way.
Was there any discussion with the stake-holders? What was their response?
Theatre owners responded positively. The producer's associations too have welcomed the initiative.
What prompted the move?
While the industry handles a huge volume of business, data on the number of shows screened and the number of tickets sold is not properly submitted to the government. This gives scope for tax evasion. There have been instances of box office collections being exaggerated for movies starring certain actors to pass it off as a blockbuster. This will put an end to such malpractice.
What does this mean for film producers?
The producers are largely dependent on the report from theatre owners on how their investments have fared. More often than not, producers suffer on account of such deals. Now, this facility would usher in an era of transparency as data will be available realtime. This will help them make intelligent decisions when it comes to hiring actors. Moreover, banks too will loan money for producing movies, ending their dependence on private financiers and money lenders. The move will protect the interests and prospects of all stake-holders.