PVR plans sub-brand to enter smaller towns; may also take over single-screen theatres

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on December 04, 2018

Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas

Multiplex major PVR plans to expand into smaller towns through a sub-brand. A final decision is expected towards the end of this fiscal.

Nearly two-thirds of PVR’s revenues come from tier 1 cities, with tier 2 cities contributing the balance. Its presence in tier 3 cities and smaller towns is limited.

The company has been experimenting with a low-cost format, ‘PVR Talkies’, over the last 2-3 years across eight markets, including Latur and Aurangabad.

Low-cost set-up

Compared to a Gold Class (its premium offering), where setting up a screen costs around ₹5.5 crore, the setting up of a regular PVR outlet comes at ₹3 crore per screen. Compared with this, setting up a screen under PVR Talkies costs ₹1.75–2 crore.

According to Gautam Dutta, CEO, the company is in talks with various consultants on having a sub-brand.

“We are contemplating the introduction of a sub-brand in tier 2 and 3 markets. Maybe a decision on this could come closer to March this year,” he told BusinessLine.

Nearly 10 per cent of the company’s top-line came from its premium offerings such as Gold Class, IMAX, 4DX and PXL. It operates a cinema circuit of 741 screens at 159 properties in 63 cities pan-India, with 167,972 seats.

It is also open to the idea of taking over single-screen or iconic theatres in tier 2 and rebranding them as ‘PVR’. “All our offerings will be branded as PVR,” Dutta said.

The company plans to invest ₹500-600 crore over the next two years to add around 100-odd screens every year.

For the differently abled

PVR is also investing in a special programme to expand the scope of movie viewing for the differently abled.

Under this programme, the company intends to provide assistive equipment to people with mobility issues, ensure wheel-chair friendly seats, provide audio description with the help of the XL Cinema app to the visually-impaired and play films with subtitles for the hearing impaired.

Staff training

Staff training is also being carried out to cater to differently abled customers.

Around 230 screens at 50 cinemas have been readied accordingly under the first phase of this programme. By June next year another 45 cinemas with 230 screens should be ready under the second phase.

“Approximately 1 per cent of the seats in an auditorium will have facilities for the differently abled. More than increasing footfalls, we are focussing on inclusion,” Dutta said.

Published on December 03, 2018

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