Airtel DTH to telecast Vishwaroopam

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 21:30 hrs

While one side is trying to find an amicable solution to the ongoing tussle relating to the telecast of his new movie Vishwaroopam’ on the direct-to-home (DTH) platform before releasing in theatres, it was learnt that actor, producer-cum-director Kamal Haasan has finalised a deal with Airtel DTH to release the movie on the DTH platform.

Besides, the actor is also in talks with other domestic and global DTH players like Malaysia’s Astro and Singapore-based SingTel, according to sources.

A source close to the development said Haasan had finalised the deal with Airtel DTH to air the movie, which is expected to be released eight hours before it hits the theatres. The DTH provider is expected to meet the producers’ council on Wednesday to discuss the idea. Attempts to reach Airtel DTH for a confirmation failed.

Veteran producer S A Chandrasekhar, who also represents the Tamil Nadu Film Producers’ Council today told reporters, “Kamal told us he will arrange for a meeting with the DTH players.”

The meeting comes at a time when the actor’s idea (that of releasing the movie on the DTH platform first) has evoked strong protests from theatre owners and distributors who feel the decision would impact their business. They are also worried it would lead to an increase in piracy. A cross-section of theatre owners and distributors even threatened to boycott the movie.

Abirami Ramanathan, a member of the theatre owners in Tamil Nadu, said more than the DVD piracy, this would be a bigger threat as with the development in technologies this can be easily recorded. Today, after a meeting with producers in the Producers' Council, the theatre owners’ association reiterated the movie should not be aired on DTH before it is released in theatres.

Kamal Haasan had announced that the movie would be broadcast on the DTH platform eight hours before it hits the theatre screens and the new model would help producers of the film industry find a new revenue stream. The movie can be viewed by paying Rs 1,000 on a pay-per-view basis.

The action-thriller Vishwaroopam’ is to release on January 11 in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. The movie, which was produced at a cost of around Rs 95 crore is likely to sell the DTH rights (for one show) for Rs 60-70 crore.

Besides the domestic DTH player, Kamal Haasan is also in talks with Malaysia-based Astro, which holds stake in Kalanithi Maran-run Sun TV’s DTH company Sun Direct, Singapore-based SingTel, two companies in the Gulf region and to players in Australia.

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