Kerala is likely to become the first state in the country to introduce a centrally-controlled, server-based e-ticketing mechansim for film theatres, a senior official of the state-run Information Kerala Mission (IKM) said.
Kerala is likely to become the first state in the country to introduce a centrally-controlled, server-based e-ticketing mechansim for film theatres, a senior official of the state-run Information Kerala Mission (IKM) said. IKM has been assigned to develop an e-ticketing system by the Local Self Government Department (LSGD), under which the film theatres in the state function. The LSGD gave sanction to develop the software in February this year and the system is to be implemented in a year. IKM is also in the process of developing an app to book tickets.
The move is expected to bring transparency in the industry where the daily collection reports (DCRs) are fudged to evade entertainment tax and share of the distributor, Sabu Cherian, former chairman of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation, told FE. Cherian is a bit apprehensive over the move by the government to execute the system on its own as he feels that the service backing by a government agency would be lax and slow.
The local body gets the entertainment tax from the tickets, and the Kerala Cultural Welfare Board gets the ticket cess. At present, the entertainment tax is 20% in the state whereas cess is `3 per movie ticket. “The effort by the state government is likely to boost the revenue of the local bodies with recent Malayalam movies notching record collections from theatres. Recently many movies have recorded gross theatre collections above `50 crore with one movie grossing `150 crore,” Jerit Venugopal, a senior producer, said.
He added that this would also help in bringing transparency to the system of allotting theatres and hold-over. Many films are not screened or removed after a day in Kerala due to the refusal of theatre owners citing ‘held-overs’. Hold-over refers to the process by which a movie is removed from the theatre due to the lack of ticket revenue. The specification for resorting to hold-over is that collections from three consecutive shows must total a housefull collection or the theatre owner can change the movie.
The move to introduce a centrally-controlled electronic ticketing system dates back to 2012, but the government had to hold the decision owing to protests from theatre owners and exhibitors who have their independent unions.
Kerala had 1,800 movie halls in the 1980s. Over the years, as real estate boomed, scores of theatres were transformed into shopping malls, marriage halls and convention centres.