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'Jio Fiber's First-Day-First-Show: Are producers, exhibitors worried?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 • Telugu Comments

Mukesh Ambani has announced a potentially disruptive plan.  Touted to be a mega plan, it is about cinema-viewing in the comfort of home right on the day of a film's release.  

Jio Fiber's First-Day-First-Show plan has caught the attention of both consumers and market players.  The subscribers of Jio's broadband services will be able to watch new movies on Day 1 right in their homes with their family.  The plan will be rolled out from mid-2020.  Tollywood producer Prasad V Potluri, for one, has described Ambani's announcement as a "game-changing" one.  

So, are millions of movie-goers going to stop visiting theatres?  Are multiplexes as well as single screens going to lose hundreds of crores of business?  

It's not so easy.  Exhibitors have always expected a window period during which a film can't be aired on TV or streamed on, say, Prime or Netflix.  As such, producers sell satellite rights, digital rights, etc keeping this deal with distributors and exhibitors in mind. 

If producers want to sell their films to Jio, they will naturally lose out on theatrical business and even satellite business to the tune of crores of rupees.  Which essentially means that they can't have the cake and eat it too.  Small films, however, might sell off rights to Jio happily.  

In Tollywood and other industries, union bodies might come up with rules that prevent producers from selling rights to Jio within the window period.  If theatres don't get audiences, the foundations of the film industry will be shaken.  Not everyone can make a 'Saaho' to make the audience watch a film only in the theatre.  

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