The Andhra Pradesh government, through the State Film, Television and Theatre Development Corporation, is getting into a new business: of selling cinema tickets online.
The government will create an exclusive web portal for online booking of cinema tickets on the lines of the Railway Online Ticketing System, according to an order issued by Principal Secretary (Home) Kumar Vishwajeet.
In AP, a majority of cinema halls (single screens) and many multiplexes are under the control of a handful of big-ticket film producers who have full control over the film releases and screenings.
In April this year, the government issued orders, fixing the maximum ceiling rates for admission into cinemas, ranging from Rs 5 (non-AC theatre in a village) to Rs 250 (premium multiplex in a municipal corporation).
The government said the rates were fixed in accordance with an order of the High Court.
In the latest GO issued on August 31, but which came out in the open only on Wednesday, the government referred to the rate ceiling and said it carefully examined the procedure of sale of cinema tickets.
Accordingly, the government decided to develop a portal for online booking.
An eight-member committee of officials has also been constituted under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (Home) to draw the blueprint, develop and implement the new system.
The committee conducted its meeting here on Tuesday and discussed how to go about the process.
There is intense speculation that the cash-starved government decided to take over sale of cinema tickets as a means to generate some additional revenue.
There is also talk that the government will pool all the revenue and later distribute it to the theatres.
Film Development Corporation Managing Director and member of the committee T V K Reddy, however, refuted all talk about the proposed system and maintained that it was mooted basically to prevent tax evasion.
“That the government will collect all the money is not correct. The income will go to the respective theatres only,” Reddy said
He said the online ticketing system was meant to ensure uniformity in rates and also prevent black marketing.
“We are yet to workout the modalities related to the new system. We will also talk to the exhibitors before launching the system, the MD added.