Qube Cinema, UFO Moviez withdraw VPF charges for November

By: |
November 12, 2020 4:15 AM

To be sure, multiplexes collect the VPF directly from producers given that they have invested in digital technology and infrastructure but in case of single screen cinemas, the same is collected by DSPs. Multiplexes will continue to charge VPF.

Film makers, sitting on an inventory of pending releases and incurring holding costs for the same have been refusing to screen new movies due to the high VPF charges.Film makers, sitting on an inventory of pending releases and incurring holding costs for the same have been refusing to screen new movies due to the high VPF charges.

In a relief to film producers and single-screen exhibitors, digital service providers (DSPs) Qube Cinema and UFO Moviez have waived off VPF (virtual print fee) charges for all new movies slated for release in November.

Senthil Kumar, co-founder at Qube Cinema, told FE that companies (DSPs) will incur losses of about Rs 12-15 lakh due to the withdrawal of VPF for a month. The move, however, is essential to revive the industry that has been reeling under the impact of Covid-19, Kumar said.

Film makers, sitting on an inventory of pending releases and incurring holding costs for the same have been refusing to screen new movies due to the high VPF charges. A cap on seating capacities have already stymied prospects of higher revenue realisation from ticket sales. VPF charges stand at about Rs 10,000-17,500 per film per property depending on the type of equipment used. Qube Cinema’s Kumar explained that there are varied arrangements for charging VPF—it can be charged as a flat fee for any number of shows in a particular theatre, can be levied on the basis of per week, per screen or on a per show, per screen basis. “A decision on VPF post November will be taken after looking at the occupancies at the theatres and the collections movies make. But, we expect to discount VPF by 50% in December,” Kumar added.

To be sure, multiplexes collect the VPF directly from producers given that they have invested in digital technology and infrastructure but in case of single screen cinemas, the same is collected by DSPs. Multiplexes will continue to charge VPF.

Many film producers have turned to over-the-top (OTT) platforms to launch movies. OTT firms do not mind paying a premium to acquire fresh content at a time when they are attempting to broaden their reach. Bulk of the releases have been cornered by deep-pocketed players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+Hotstar.

Qube Cinema and UFO Moviez had last month announced a relaxation in VPF charges wherein producers were given the option to choose between a flat 50% waiver or payment basis box office collections. However, the move was not considered to be adequate.

“Exhibitors need content to get audiences back to the cinemas. Big movies have postponed releases but there are many small films that want to get screened. Therefore, we wanted to extend support to the industry during the Diwali season. Producers will be motivated to go for a wider theatrical release,” said Rajesh Mishra, CEO, India operations at UFO Moviez.

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