Variety

Club X review - Join the Club

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala | Updated on October 19, 2011

Club X set up   -  BUSINESS LINE

Club X   -  BUSINESS LINE

Movie premieres are almost always red carpet occasions. Celebrities vying for the spotlight in Jimmy Choo's and Gucci, the paparazzi blinding you with the incessant flash of the cameras and the screaming fans who call out for a glance. Yes, movie premieres are the place to be seen. But what if you want to avoid the cameras and commotion and just enjoy a movie premiere at home with family and close friends? Is it possible? Club X might just be the solution you're looking for.

Invite only

Club X may not have all the glitz and glamour surrounding the red carpet, but it is still an exclusive and invite-only service. To be eligible for a Club X invite, you need to have an existing home theatre setup. And I'm not talking about a 40-inch TV and surround sound system. Users of Club X are required to have a proper theatre setup in their homes, with a large screen, projector, seats and state of the art sound equipment.

Club X works on a member-referral basis only. If you are recommended for membership by an existing user, a member of the team will come to your home and conduct an analysis, and only if you fulfil the criteria, will sign you up.

Club X is the brainchild of Valuable Group, which operates in the media and entertainment sector. Mr Ameya Hete, CEO of Valuable Group, says that the criteria for membership of Club X does not depend only on having a fully equipped home theatre. The brand plans to maintain its exclusivity, so memberships are only offered to people of a certain ‘societal stature'. When I ask him to elaborate further, he says, “Celebrities like movie stars and sports stars and chairmen and CEOs of big companies mostly form our clientele.”

Perks

So is all the exclusivity of Club X worth it? Users seem to think so. Prominent Club X users include Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Harsh Goenka and Yash Birla, to name a few.

Club X has tied up with a number of production houses, which provide movie content on the day of or sometimes even before the release of the film. While most of the production houses signed up are from Bollywood - UTV, Dharma Productions, Aamir Khan Productions and Hari Om Productions to name a few - there are a few Hollywood companies too. The Oscar winning ‘Kings Speech' was among the Hollywood films screened to Club X members. 3D movies are also becoming increasingly available, and last year, a few IPL matches were streamed live in 3D to Club X members too.

Every member also has a dedicated Relationship Manager, who they can call for any queries or to request a screening. The Relationship Managers are always in touch with members, and keep track of their movie preferences, as well as make recommendations based on what the member likes to watch.

Technology

So how exactly does the content reach your home? Hughes Communication is the network partner to Valuable Group, and they ensure the delivery of the content from the central datacentre via fibre-optic connectivity. Since security is a big issue, various methods like 3DES Encryption, Conditional Access Systems, and Firewall for the Satellite Routers are provided for. The delivery happens over a 2-way satellite technology, and all you have to do is keep the network and router on at your setup. Members are provided Satellite Broadband Network by Hughes over which the data is transmitted, and there is no need for them to have a regular broadband connection. They can also use the satellite broadband for their personal internet needs.

Cost

The sign up fee for Club X is Rs 6 lakh, which covers the cost of installing the system. This also includes the Rs 2 lakh deposit that works like a credit system, so members don't have to bother about payments for the first few movies. Each movie costs between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000, depending on how big a launch it is. However this cost covers only a one time screening, so if members want to watch a film for a second time, they have to pay again. According to Mr Hete, many members watch the same movies a couple of times, because their hectic travel schedule doesn't enable all members of the family to be around at the same time.

If you think you have what it takes to be eligible for a Club X membership, be sure to ask for a recommendation the next time you rub shoulders with an A-list celebrity.

>ketaki@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 19, 2011

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