DSP Vs producers: will the VPF waiver pave the way for more new film releases for Deepavali?

Tamil Film Active Producers Association (TFAPA) and Qube, one of the digital service providers (DSP), were at loggerheads over Virtual Print Fee (VPF) because of which there was an uncertainty over the release of new Tamil films, especially for Deepavali. But in an unexpected move, UFO, another digital service provider, announced that they are ready to waive VPF for the month of November. And now, Qube, too, has joined the fray. Will this announcement pave way for more Tamil films hitting screens this weekend?

Bharathirajaa, head of TFAPA, issued a press note yesterday, in which he said, “We never have any intention to hurt any individual producers or exhibitors. As DSPs have announced that VPF has been waived off for this month, we have decided to release films for two weeks. However, we firmly stick to our decision of not paying VPF to release films after two weeks’ time (sic).”

However, T Siva, general secretary of TFAPA, says these offers by the DSPs can’t solve the issue forever and they want a permanent solution. He points out, “It is not impossible for Qube to agree to our fair demands. But they behave as if it is a Himalayan task. Now, they have waived VPF for this month, but what about December? We have always wanted a permanent solution, and hence, attempts to lure us with these kinds of offers won’t work. We have been unnecessarily paying an amount as VPF all these years. That said, we are hopeful of finding a solution after more rounds of discussions.”

Senthil Kumar, co-founder of Qube, says that their decision to waive VPF for this month wasn’t an impulsive one and that they had suggested it during their earlier discussions with producers. Their decision was made public when UFO announced its offer. He adds, “There are many individual producers who are keen to release their movies, but are facing immense pressure from TFAPA. I hope Irandam Kuththu, which has announced its release, hits screens this festival. If they agree to our offer for November, we will give them a 50 per cent discount on VPF from December. They should realise that it is a good offer.”

Santhosh P Jayakumar, director of Irandam Kuththu, avers that his duty was to finish the movie and get it ready for release on time. He explains, “As per the agreement, I have the film ready, and I will promote the movie as the hero and director if the producer wants me to. As the VPF amount has been waived, it is likely that a huge number of exhibitors will screen the film. We will get to know the exact number of screens and special shows only on the day of release.”