Around 1,800 movie theatres in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Saturday stopped screening films in
protest against the "overpricing" of the virtual print fee (VPF) levied by digital service providers (DSPs) for South Indian films.
VPF is a fee that service providers, who supply equipment to project films in theatres using satellites, levy on film producers and theatre owners.
According to South Indian Film Producers Council Chairman D Suresh, the decision was taken after several rounds of talks between producers and the service providers failed.
"The strike call was given by the film industry to protest against the exorbitant VPF levied by service providers. The international norm is that eventually the VPF should become zero. Here, on the contrary, it is being increased which is not acceptable," he told PTI.
He informed that there was currently no VPF in the United States as well as for foreign films in India.
"Theatres in Tamil Nadu were partially closed on Saturday as well as 750 in Kerala. Exhibitors from Karnataka have said that they will close their theatres from March 9 if the issue is not resolved," he said.
Suresh added that they planned to resolve the deadlock in the next "two to three days". A joint action committee of distributors and producers from the five southern states had been formed, he said.
He said that service providers like UFO Moviez and QUBE Cinema Technologies control about 90 per cent of the market.