Lockdowns led to the shutting down of cinema halls, with most major movie releases moving to streaming platforms in the last two years adding to theatre owner woes.
For top multiplex players, Bollywood, or the Hindi film industry, contributes at least 60 percent of overall box office collections and a downturn caused by pandemic-scale events is sure to have hurt the bottom-line, as moviegoers could not venture out of their houses.
Larger Plans For Expansion
‘Overall gross box office of India got impacted due to COVID-19. The idea was to give impetus to the sector which was languishing. The sector and we (theatre operators) can increase the revenue pie if we have more screens. Our focus is to increase screen count and put India on the global map in terms of screen count,’ said Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director, PVR.
The merged entity will target adding 200 screens every year.
“India has 9,500 screens compared to China at 70,000 screens. As a country we were adding 400 screens in a year and China was adding 6,000-7,000 screens a year. We are underpenetrated and we hope this merger enthuses the cinema exhibition industry for more investments,” said Siddharth Jain of INOX.
‘In the last two years we have not been able to consume that pipeline and we are looking at executing this pipeline in markets which is a combination of tier II, III and top Indian 50 cities as many pockets there too are under-screened. As a combined entity we will be in 109 cities but there are 200-300 cities to go to,’ said Jain.
Bijli said that the merger process will take six-nine months, adding that Competition Commission of India (CCI) approval may not be required.
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