The Bombay High Court on Thursday pulled up Internet based movie ticketing companies for charging users an extra convenience fee despite having been asked not to do so earlier.
A division bench, hearing a public interest litigation on additional charges being levied by online ticketing companies, asked the companies to respond to the complaint, according to a new report.
Earlier in April, the government had ruled that online ticketing companies must not charge convenience fee for movie tickets. This came as a big blow to online ticket sites.
The ruling will impact companies such as BookMyShow, Big Cinema (Reliance Mediaworks), Fame India Ltd, INOX, Fun Multiplex, Sterling, Globus Cinema, New Excelsior, 24 Karat Multiplex, HDIL Broadway, Abhiruchi City Pride and E-Square.
The government of Maharashtra had allowed cinema theaters to double the service tax from the existing, for A/C and non-A/C halls, if they use computerized ticketing and digital screens. The government had also said that, 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.
Following the resolution may operators, like PVR Cinemas, Bookmyshow.com and some others had implemented it on their website. Some other states in the country were also expected to follow suit and implement similar resolution.
In most cities going to a multiplex for watching a movie has become a costly affair. In a city like Bangalore, a movie goer has to shell out an average of Rs 200 for a weekday movie ticket, which gets costlier towards the evening. This average price takes huge jump over the weekends. Tickets that cost Rs 380 in Mumbai will cost Rs 436.18 in Bangalore.
As a result of these prices, multiplexes have discounted ticket prices for the First show of the day or for shows that fall within a particular time slot. Some multiplexes have also implemented a whole day of the week where all show tickets are discounted.
A negative side effect of this trend is that in the morning multiplexes are filled with college/school students who otherwise are unable to afford the steep ticket prices for the other shows.
Should the rest of the country also get rid of ticketing charges like convenience fee? Will it break the back of ticketing service providers?