By Anshia Dutta
Over the last four years, the movie exhibition industry has been witnessing a wave of consolidation among its four top players: PVR, Inox Leisure, Cinepolis India, and Carnival Cinemas. While the four big players have been constantly bringing new innovations to the market in order to expand their businesses, now, a relatively smaller and flourishing budget chain like MovieTime Cinemas has also decided to invest in expanding its screen-count.
Big players going strong
The big players have, for a long time now, been focusing on developing innovative methods and strategies to maintain their market share and to continue to rule the market. Inox Leisure displays interiors of international standards, facilitates modern projection and acoustic systems, has stadium-styled high-back seating with cup holders and armrests, varied theatre food, and most importantly, high service standards. Carnival Cinemas is the third-largest multiplex chain operator in India and is expanding with each passing day. Currently, it operates 324 screens in 88 cities and plans to have 1000 screens across India by the end of 2018. Cinepolis India has now become a swanky movie theatre chain with reclining leather seats, high-end eats, cocktails & waiter service.
PVR Cinemas is also not lagging behind, as it has signed eleven theatre agreements with 4DX, along with ten theatre agreements with IMAX, out of which four have already been opened up. The IMAX properties have a stadium seating and are equipped with dual 2K projections and laser-equipped sound system. In addition to this, PVR’s Director Cut, which is the luxury arm of PVR Cinemas, has 3D-enabled digital 4K projection technology, fully reclinable armchairs complete with a pillow, a blanket, a personal attendant call system, and an exciting in-seat food and beverage menu.
PVR Cinemas has also launched India’s first ‘Virtual Reality Lounge’ at PVR ECX in Noida in a tie-up with HP in order to bring interactive virtual reality (VR) content to movie-goers. The lounge provides a delightful experience to its customers through VR pods with high-resolution screens and head-mounted displays (HMDs) connected to HP’s OMEN computers. It enables the customers to explore a whole new library of enthralling and adventurous content curated from various genres like mystery, thriller, science fiction, horror, and action, among others. Not only this, PVR signed a deal with South Korea’s CJ 4DPLEX in December 2017 to add 16 more screens in order to ramp up the offering in the metro markets. PVR Cinemas CEO, Gautam Dutta said, “We would be investing USD 11 million on 4DX and we really hope that this technology can really take a giant step towards making a new market for itself and getting more and more consumers back into the cinemas.”
MovieTime Cinemas’ strategic investment
MovieTime Cinemas, the Indian-based chain of multiplexes, has earmarked an investment of ? 125 crores in 2018, so as to double its screen count from 50 at present. Ankit Kapoor, head of business development and operations, MovieTime Cinemas, has told the Economic Times, “We will be investing about Rs 125 crores in building 50 new screens by the end of this year. We are investing in tier II and III cities in states like Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka. So far our presence is limited to North and West India, which we want to expand to all geographies. With the current investment, we will have a good foothold in the South as well.” He added that since MovieTime Cinemas is a family-owned group company, the directors are going to invest their own money.
The plan is to make the 50 new screens well-equipped with technology and innovations that will offer customised theatre geometry and powerful digital sound system which will create a unique environment. In addition to this, international formats will bring a cutting-edge projection system, which will deliver crystal-clear images and enable the audience to have a great cinematic experience. Ankit Kapoor also said, “These new screens will provide the best-in-class, seamless and sophisticated movie-viewing experience with a pure blend of luxury and technology, a delight to movie enthusiasts and will showcase large, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling screens, with international formats like with its ultra-plush luxurious auditoriums to present a high-end movie experience. Since inception, our prime focus is to deliver high-quality familiarity with affordability and innovation. We challenge ourselves every day to ensure that we deliver the most immersive experience to movie buffs.”
Effect on small theatres
The four big players of the market—PVR (Cinemax and DT Cinemas), Cinepolis India (Fun Cinemas and few DT Cinemas properties), Inox Leisure (Fame Cinemas and Satyam Complexes), and Carnival Cinemas (Big Cinemas, Glitz, and Broadway)—have bought in the latest premier formats like Imax, 4DX and Laserplex with the aim of increasing ARPUs (average revenue per user) by offering an enigmatic experience to the consumers of their services. Small players are unable to sustain this growing rich cinematic experience and are consequently being shut down.
However, there is still a ray of hope for these players. As per industry estimates, India has less than 8500 screens at present, which opens up a big opportunity for small players to open up in smaller towns. Multiplexes have been opening up in the southern part of India, but single screens continue to dominate the market there, bringing in 70-80 percent of the revenue for a film. However, in the north, 85 percent of the film revenue comes from multiplexes. Justifying the investment plan, Ankit Kapoor added, “We see demand in smaller towns. Even if Bollywood is not working, there is enough audience for regional and Hollywood films, which will get quality cinema experience with MovieTime.”
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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