To ensure better infrastructure facilities for single screen theaters, the government of Maharashtra has allowed them to double the service tax from the existing for air and non- air conditioned halls, if they use computerized ticketing and digital screens.
The government has also made mandatory for all cinema halls in the state to follow the satellite computerized ticket printing procedure from April 1st .The state government expects that single-screens, which have been losing business and facing shutdown, will use the tax sop to adopt digital technology.
For any of the cinema hall in the state, no exhibitor or owner and agent should not charge any additional charge to the viewers for online computerized ticket sale. The said amount given to the agency should not be charged to the viewers by the exhibitor/owner.
The satellite ticket printer application allows theater owners to automate the distribution of tickets. Theaters can install printers in remote locations and issue tickets to those remote printers from the central location. With this decision, the ticket of the cinema halls should contain the code of the cinema hall, letter of the floor and roll number. which has to be pre-printed, is cancelled.
What does it mean to online players?
Online players like Bookmyshow and PVR cannot charge convenience fees on their sites following this government order. Given that PVR clocked INR 5 crore last year as convneice fee revenue and Maharashtra drives a significant portion, this is definitely a huge blow to the online players.
As of now, PVRCinemas has implemented it and so has Cinemax.co.in.
Besides, Maharashtra other states also expect to follow similar stand as tickets printed via satellite computerized procedure brings more transparency. With computerized format of the ticket theater owners are bound to mention the rate of the tickets in detail at the backside of the ticket.
The Mumbai based BookMyShow, which raised INR 34 crore in 2012 said that it is planning to use the proceeds to expand into tier II and tier III markets to grow the business beyond movie ticketing.
[Hat tip: Kunal Shah, Freecharge.in]