Covid-19: I&B secretary writes to MHA to consider reopening of cinemas from August 1

Published: July 25, 2020 2:00 AM

India’s media and entertainment industry is expected to touch $33 billion in 2021, according to Ficci Frames report. Over the past few months since the lockdowns were imposed, several films have got released on OTT platforms.

If the theatres are not able to reopen on August 1, the I&B ministry has suggested they do so latest by August 30.

By Malini Bhupta

Information and Broadcasting secretary, Amit Khare, has written to the ministry of home affairs, requesting it to consider reopening cinema theatres from August 1.  The home ministry is currently evaluating the proposal, and if it agrees, the theatres would be opened.  FE has learned that the I&B secretary held a call with entertainment industry captains on Friday to discuss the proposal to reopen theatres with the requisite safety precautions and social
distancing norms.

If the theatres are not able to reopen on August 1, the I&B ministry has suggested they do so latest by August 30.
The meeting included CEO of Star & Disney, K Madhavan, CEO of Amazon Prime, Gaurav Gandhi, NP Singh of Sony, Megha Tata from Discovery Network and Sam Balsara of Madison.

The I&B ministry has also suggested social distancing norms which would bring down capacity to 35%, which may not be viable from a business point of view. If theatres reopen, they will have to leave every alternate row vacant with one seat vacant between two seats. The ministry is of the view that normalcy will not return till cinema theatres reopen in India. The home ministry is expected to come up with a proposal in a week’s time. The current proposal is to leave every alternate seat and row vacant, which adds up to only 35% capacity being utilised. This, the industry believes, would be unviable as it would make it tough to recover costs.

India’s media and entertainment industry is expected to touch $33 billion in 2021, according to Ficci Frames report. Over the past few months since the lockdowns were imposed, several films have got released on OTT platforms.

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