Airtel Digital TV is releasing a Telugu feature film, Minukumanna Minugurulu on digital TV through its Pay Per View platform on the same day of its theatrical release.
Releasing on January 24, 2014 on Airtel Digital TV at 00.30 hours, the movie will be available to customers for 5 days until January 28, 2014 on channel number 157 on Airtel’s Digital network. Customers can book to watch the movie by sending a SMS <BOOK 157> to 54325 from their registered mobile number for Rs. 100/- per day. This payment will allow the customers to watch any or all of the 8 shows of the movie aired on that particular day.
Releasing non-mainstream films on DTH (Direct To Home): Mainstream, commercial film like Vishwaroopam saw opposition from theatre owners for its release on DTH owing to the loss of revenue that theatre owners may face. On the contrary, the director of Minukumanna Minugurulu which portrays the lives of 40 visually impaired & orphaned children, has been looking for avenues to release the film.
Speaking at the Children’s Film Festival of India (CFFI), Ayodhyakumar Krishnamsetty, Director of the film was hoping that the film’s screening at the film festival would fetch them a distributor for its national release. Unlike the proposed price for Vishwaroopam which was at Rs 1000, this film is being priced at one-tenth of that price, at Rs 100 per day on DTH with facility to view all 8 shows of the film throughout the day. While Kamal Hassan was looking to counter piracy through the digital release of his film, film like Minukumanna Minugurulu could receive visibility through this release.
Digital release of such non-mainstream films could create a good opportunity for independent film-makers to release and monetize their films. Indie film makers could and should look into this model especially if their movie release clashes with a big budget movies which are likely to have bigger marketing budgets and brand presence. This model could help them generate revenue even if the film does not manage to procure sufficient screen in multiplexes.