Baig's U-turn: Can't regulate ticket prices at multiplexes

Baig's U-turn: Can't regulate ticket prices  at multiplexes

Information Minister R Roshan Baig on Friday did a U-turn on his earlier statement on regulating ticket prices at multiplexes, saying the government could not do that as the quality of the moviegoers’ experience would be hit.

 He had previously talked about a uniform rate for tickets at multiplexes in the State.
“It is impossible to regulate the ticket prices in multiplexes. Yesterday, I myself went to a multiplex to watch the film ‘PK’. The cleanliness maintained by these multiplexes cannot be replicated if ticket prices are regulated. It will not work,” he said.

On many occasions earlier this year, Baig had expressed his displeasure at the high pricing of tickets at multiplexes. He had said: “There should be a normal rate. There cannot be ad hoc pricing in these multiplexes. If they price the tickets at Rs 500 or Rs 600, how can the middle class and lower middle class survive? Does that mean the common man should not go to the movies?” Baig had in fact made it public that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had supported a uniform rate
policy.

However, on Friday, Baig said that his personal experience had taught him that multiplexes give a lot more comfort to moviegoers than ordinary theatres. “In Tamil Nadu they have brought a uniform ticket pricing policy. The tickets are priced at Rs 70-80. As a result, there are no multiplexes ready to set up shop in that state. We cannot afford that kind of regulations,” he justified.

Meanwhile, he said the government was serious about bringing an “end” to the cable
mafia. “The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its previous rulings has said that states cannot start their own cable television networks. Why can’t the State have a cable television network and break this lobby of private cable TV operators? They say that for Rs 500 they will provide 500 channels. How many people watch 500 channels? It’s non-sense,” he said.

The minister said he would visit Delhi in the coming days and meet the TRAI officials to ensure that the State can launch its own cable TV network.

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