Mumbai: Bollywood might be seeing a lot of films making it to elite ‘100 crore’ club, but filmmakers say that the biggest challenge they face today is of piracy and new films being aired on television.
Sharing their concerns during a session at At FICCI Frames 2017 here on Thursday, producers and filmmakers said piracy and telecast of films on TV within two-three months of their release lead to less footfalls in cinema houses.
“Multiplexes improves your viewing experience that is great but high ticket pricing takes away a big chunk of audience. The film is available free of cost on television and pirated versions are also available. So there is no incentive for audience to watch the film in theatre,” says Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures.
Andhare says films should have television premiere at least six months after official theatrical release.
“If the telecast of a film on television is pushed to six months or more from current three months then the audience is not going to wait long to consume a film on television for free, they would rather go to watch it in a theatre. But this is not going to happen easily as the biggest expansion in India is happening on television,” he says.
Echoing similar views, Sameer Naik, CEO of Balaji Telefilms says shrinking footfalls in theatres is a big concern as audience these days decide before a film’s release whether they want to watch it in theatre or on television or see the pirated version.
Venky Mysore, CEO, Red Chillies too thinks the bigger threat for the film industry is of piracy.
“The challenge is to change the model, how do we grow the market as the leakage that is happening is affecting the revenues,” he says.
Telugu film producer, Daggubati Suresh Babu, says that the menace of piracy can be curbed.
“There is a need for strong trade bodies and there should be people who will push for the problems to be solved. Like in Karnataka, there is no piracy of Kannada films but piracy of other language films do happen as selfishness comes in.”
“It is not that difficult to prevent piracy. People need to meet police and higher authorities… You have to meet people regularly to sort the issue,” he says.
To bring the audience to theatre Babu says, the Telugu film industry creates a lot of hype around the film before its official release.
He further says, when it comes to marketing of films, Telugu film industry does not differentiate between big and small stars and promote the films at the same level.
In terms of story telling, Viacom18 Motion Pictures’s Andhare feels the content has improved in Bollywood in the last four-five years.
“We have had some great content like ‘Queen’, ‘Neerja’ and others. Today Salman Khan is not doing a film like ‘Wanted’ or ‘Dabangg’. He is doing ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. So everyone including the stars are focusing on good stories.”